Spirituality for Today – November 2012 – Volume 17, Issue 4

Saint of the Month
Raphael Kalinowski

November 20

A painting of Saint Raphael KalinowskiSaint Raphael Kalinowski

Jozef Kalinowski was born in Vilnius in 1835. He studied at the Institute of Nobles and later at Hory-Horki near Orsha. Next he went to the Academy of Military Engineering in St. Petersburg. In 1856 he received the rank of lieutenant in the Russian Engineering Corps. It was at this time his dilemmas and search began. After a while he was assigned to the Brest fortress. Realizing an insurgence was approaching, he resigned, went to Vilnius and joined the Polish insurgents there. He was appointed Minister of War for the region of Vilnius. Arrested in March 1864, he was sentenced to death. He impressed the other prisoners with his religiousness. Thanks to his family's intervention, he was saved from death.

While in prison, he provided other prisoners with advice, help and solace, winning their respect and love. Russian authorities decided to change his death sentence to ten years of forced labor in Siberia. In 1874 after returning to the country, Kalinowski became the private tutor to August Czartoryski. In 1877 he gave up the job and joined the Carmelite order in Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael of St. Joseph. After completing his philosophy and theology studies and making vows in 1881, he was sent to the monastery in Czerna near Krakow. Soon he became its prior. He performed the same function in Wadowice. Despite the enormous amount of administrative work, Fr. Raphael led a deeply religious life, and often fasted and practiced vows of silence.

He died in Wadowice on November 15, 1907. Pope John Paul II beatified him I an insurgent, exile, Carmelite 00 in 1983 and canonized him in 1991.

O God, You filled Saint Raphael, the priest,
with the spirit of strength in adversity and great love for the Church's unity.
Grant that through his intercession
we are strong in faith and mutual love,
and kindly work together for achieving unit
of all the faithful in the Church.