Leonardo Defilippis will present a live performance of "Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz" Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary Church, 15 Clark St. in Auburn.
The one-man theatrical drama illustrates the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Catholic priest who was imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1941. There he was tortured and forced into slave labor. He later volunteered to take the place of a stranger — a married man with children — who had been sentenced to death in a starvation chamber. He was executed on Aug. 14, which became his feast day after he was canonized in 1982.
Defilippis chose to portray St. Maximilian Kolbe because the saint’s story holds a powerfully relevant message for our culture at a time when religious freedom and values are under attack.
"We live in an exciting, challenging time, and we need heroes to show us the way we should live in an increasingly secular world," Defilippis said.
Defilippis is no stranger to St. Mary Parish and the Auburn area. He was at the church in March 2010 when St. Mary hosted his production of "Vianney," a theatrical drama about the life of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests worldwide. St. Mary hosted that production in honor of the 2009-10 Year for Priests, which was declared by Pope Benedict XVI and coincided with the 150th anniversary of St. John Vianney’s death.
A producer as well as an actor, Defilippis is best known for directing and starring in "Therese," a feature film that was shown in theaters during a yearlong run. The president of Saint Luke Productions, Defilippis has over the past 31 years produced numerous one-man and one-woman plays about saints’ lives and the Gospels, as well as feature films and programming for television, radio and the Internet.
"Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz" lasts 90 minutes and is suitable for people 10 years and older. A free-will offering will be taken at the performance.
For more information, contact St. Mary at 315-252-9545 or visit www.stlukeproductions.com.