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St. Maximilian Kolbe apostolate. (Lay Movements XX).

The apostolate was founded in Rome in 1917 by the saint who started his Militia Immaculata (MI) to foster devotion to Mary Immaculate. In Canada the movement was started in Toronto by Msgr. Ralph Egan (1901-97) who had a long-time personal apostolate of giving away Catholic literature, mindful of the words of St. Maximilian: "The earth needs to be flooded by a mighty deluge of Catholic and Marian literature to drown out the voices of error."

In 1992, when he was over 90, Msgr. Egan started St. Maximilian Kolbe Apostolate of the Printed Word with the help of two lay persons, Johnny Biafore and Lani Bolo, and the Christian Brother Ernest Gauthier, F.S.C. At first they met on Sumach St. and later moved to St. Peter's Church where a Kolbe office was opened (it was moved later to Holy Name Church basement). A staff of two handled the distribution of Catholic literature and thousands of pamphlets, rosaries, holy cards, and Miraculous Medals were distributed to parishes and schools, and even sent these to missions in South America, Africa, and the Philippines.

This group originally had no connection with International Militia Immaculata, but on Dec. 30, 1993, it became a "filial" of the United States National MI Centre at Marytown, IL. The Toronto group developed a wide apostolate to promote devotion to Mary, and to Christ in the Eucharist. Special weekend retreats were held first at St. Peter's, then at De La Salle high school, under the direction of Father Robert Nusca (now president and rector of St. Augustine's Seminary). Mr. Biafore, and Maria and Therese De Manche. When the Eucharistic program ceased at Del, the De Manche sisters continued with the Kolbe Eucharistic mini retreats on the first Saturday of each month at St. Brigid's Church, with permission of Father L. Clark, O.S.A., the pastor and the Augustinian provincial. These retreats now involve Eucharistic adoration, Praise and Worship, the rosary, and special speakers. Father F. X. Johnson, S.J., is their chaplain.

Among other Kolbe apostolates are (1) special devotions held several times a year at Our Lady of Grace Shrine, Marylake, just north of Toronto; (2) an attractive magazine--Our Lady's Voice--printed from time to time, with Sylvia L. Leaver as editor, each issue focusing on a special theme, such as St. Therese, Doctor of the Church; (3) the bringing of the Pilgrim Statue each fall to several parishes in Toronto Archdiocese by Father Y Ouellet, O.M.I., a director at Our Lady of the Cape Shrine, in Quebec.

The Kolbe movement, now called MI Canada--St. Maximilian Kolbe, has Teresita Nepomuceno as its first president. The many hundreds of Kolbe members try to live total consecration to Mary, wear the Miraculous Medal, and are registered with the MI Centre. The success of the movement is due in large part to those who have donated time and funds, and to the support of pastors and of such laity as Bert Ronan and Ted and Ray Cowdrey. The movement would not have been possible without the valued help of the Christian Brothers, especially Brother Ernest who died in 2002.

For further information contact MI Canada-St. Maximilian Kolbe Apostolate, c/o Holy Name Parish, 71 Gough Ave., Toronto, ON, tel. 416-465-9466, fax 416-465-9468. The U.S. website is <>.
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Author:DeManche, Alfred
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Previous Article:Mary's yes to life.
Next Article:Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). (Lay Movements XX).

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