St. Maximilian] looked with compassionate eyes and serene countenance at the executioners, they could not stand his gaze and demanded 'Turn your eyes away. Do not look at us that way!' As they left the cell they would mutter to themselves, 'We have never seen a man like him.' Thus hatred was conquered by love, evil by sheer goodness, and death by one who freely gave up his life so another might live..."
Brother Francis M. Kalvelage, FI, Kolbe Saint of the Immaculata, (Academy of the Immaculate: 2001), 10.
Saint Maximilian Kolbes feast day was on the 14th August, the anniversary of his death in Auschwitz in 1941.
Having recently read this book about him, he has become one of Gabriels favourite saints.
So it seemed fitting to honour him on his feast day in some way.
I wanted to do something with a red and white theme, for Poland, and for the red and white crowns that the Blessed Virgin was said to have offered him when he was a boy. One was for purity, one for martyrdom. He chose both.
Initially I was planning on fairy cakes, with red and white icing, but it soon became apparent that I was running out of time and energy, and headlong into a very frazzled tea time.
I did strawberries and cream instead.
I have already written about my "ah ha!" moment during a Seder meal, and in a much less elaborate way, this little pudding likewise brought a sweet way of remembering a hero of the church .
Colmcille, who is six and had not paid great attention to the story when I had been reading it aloud, was very perky and eager to be part of the conversation that we had over the strawberries and cream. He was much interested in the red crown and the white crown, and what they indicated, and that led off into other tangential, but interesting, musings.
Just incase anyone is interested, this is my very favourite way of preparing strawberries, it creates a lovely, sweet/tangy crimson liquor that swirls prettily into the cream. It's extremely simple and fuss free to serve too, which is always a bonus for mummy:
Hull and chop the strawberries.
Sprinkle with sugar ( don't be too shy with the sugar, the idea is that it won't be needed at the table, thus doing away with another potential source of aggro)
Drizzle over some balsamic vinegar. If you don't have balsamic vinegar I have managed very nicely with apple cider vinegar and I'm sure other varieties would be fine too)
I can't tell you how much too drizzle, like the sugar, I've no idea. Just stir it all up and have a taste. Then leave it to sit for a bit for all the syrupy liquor to 'mature'. I usually try for at least an hour ahead of eating time.
(Psst. Top tip for slacker mums: much easier than fairy cakes.)