St. Maximillian Kolbe, the saint of Auschwitz, had a great devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He encouraged all people to consecrate themselves to Mary or to renew their consecration to Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.
On December 8, 1940, Fr. Kolbe published his final article in his publication, the Knight, just months before his arrest and martyrdom. Here is the text of the article:
Once again, December 8th is approaching, the Feast of The Immaculate Conception.
Whoever can, should receive the Sacrament of Penance. Whoever cannot, because of prohibiting circumstances, should cleanse his soul by acts of perfect contrition: i.e., the sorrow of a loving child who does not consider so much the pain or the reward as he does the pardon from his father and mother to whom he has brought displeasure.
Therefore, this desire is good: to purify our souls on the feast of her whose soul was never stained.
Those souls who have the privilege of knowing her intimately, love her fervently. Most carefully they seek continually to purify and refine their conscience and in this way to resemble her more and more, to attach themselves to her, to please her.
But in what does the evil which stains the soul consist?
If virtue consists in the love of God and of all that which springs from love, evil will be all that which is opposed to love. This the soul should always fear; it should therefore desire to be ever more immaculate, after the example of its beloved Lady and spiritual Mother.
Those souls consecrated to her in a special way ought to renew their offering on that day. Also, the members of The Militia of Mary Immaculate should renew their act of consecration—by which they may gain a plenary indulgence, that is, the remission of all the punishment which, after the sin has been forgiven, they must expiate here on earth or in Purgatory.
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, having received the Sacrament of Penance and having made the act of consecration, and also having thereby gained the remission of punishments, the soul should more easily find interior peace, even joy, for the soul knows that no cross, whether from within or from without, can come without God’s permission, which is that of a truly loving Father. He allows only what is for the greater good of souls as far as eternal salvation is concerned.
May the fruit of this feast be an ever greater purity of conscience and an ever deeper peace. May it be a peace of resignation to Divine Providence. May it be an ever more generous readiness in the most perfect fulfillment of duty, thereby giving tangible proof of love for our spiritual Mother and our heavenly Father.
[Signed] Maximilian Kolbe
With your students, explore the process of consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This video by Fr. Michael Gaitley MIC explains its meaning. Fr. Gaitley also has written 33 Days to Morning Glory which is a thirty-three day retreat leading to Marian consecration. It may be appropriate within a theology course as a communal retreat or as part of your school’s campus ministry program.