Spirituality for Today – Summer 2019 – Volume 23, Issue 4

Saint for June 2019
St. Albert (Adam Chmielowski) – June 17

Adam Chmielowski was born on August 20, 1845 in Igolomia to an impoverished noble family. His parents died when he was still a child. After completing his education in Warsaw, he studied at the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry in Pulawy. He was a student when the January 1863 Uprising broke out. With his friends, Adam joined the insurgents. After the uprising's collapse he found himself in prison in Olomouc. Freed thanks to his family's efforts, he left for Paris, where he began studying painting. He continued his studies in Krakow and Munich. However, his wartime experience was such a shock for him that his works featured repeated religious themes. He was considering the monastic life.

In 1880 he joined the Jesuit order in Stara Wies. Soon he feel into a depression and had to leave the novitiate. He underwent treatment in Lviv, and then left for Krakow.

He settled in Krakow, where his encounter with extreme poverty inspirited him to organize help for poor city residents. On August 25, 1887 he put on the Tertiary habit and took the name Albert. A year later he made monastic vows, starting the Congregation of the Brothers of the Third Order of St. Francis Servants of the Poor, who are called the Albertines (on January 15, 1891, a female congregation, the Albertine nuns, was founded). He spent the rest of his life helping the homeless and setting up shelters and orphanages for children. In order to earn money for the children's care, he sold his own paintings. Brother Albert Chmielowski dies on Christmas 1916 in the Krakow shelter run by the Albertines at 43 Krakowska Street.

On November 12, 1989, Pope John Paul II canonized Brother Albert.

O King of Heaven,
O King crowned by thorns,
flagellated, wearing purple,
O King of Heaven,
insulted and spat upon,
be our King and Lord,
now and for ever. Amen.

From A Calendar of Saints, the Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year