Saint of the Day – 19 November – St Raphael of St Joseph Kalinowski O.C.D. (1835-1907) – Carmelite Friar and Priest, Teacher, Engineer, Prisoner of war, Royal tutor, Spiritual Director, founder of many Carmelite monasteries in Poland. St Raphael was born on 1 September 1835 at Vilna, Russian Poland (modern Vilnius, Lithuania) as Joseph Kalinowski and died on 15 November 1907 at Wadowice, Malopolskie, Poland of natural causes.
Father Raphael of Saint Joseph Kalinowski, was born at Vilna and at baptism received the name Joseph. Under the teaching of his father Andrew, at the Institute for Nobles at Vilna, he progressed so well that he received the maximum distinction in his studies. He then went for two years (1851-1852) to the school of Agriculture at Hory-Horky. During the years 1853-1857, he continued his studies at the Academy of Military Engineering at St Petersburg, obtaining his degree in Engineering and the rank of Lieutenant. Immediately afterwards he was named Lecturer in Mathematics at the same Academy. In 1859, he took part in the designing of the Kursk-Kiev-Odessa railway.
In 1863 the Polish insurrection against their Russian oppressors broke out. He resigned from the Russian forces and accepted the post of Minister of War for the region of Vilna, in the rebel army. On 24 March 1864, he was arrested and condemned to death, a penalty that was mitigated to 10 years hard labour in Siberia. With an admirable strength of spirit, patience and love for his fellow exiles, he knew how to instil into them the spirit of prayer, serenity and hope and to give material help, together with a word of encouragement.
Repatriated in 1874, he accepted the post of tutor to the Venerable Servant of God, Prince Augusto Czartoryski (1858-1893) (now Blessed- he was Beatified in 2004), living mostly in Paris. His influence on the young prince was such, that Augusto discovered his true vocation as priest and religious. He was received into the Salesians by their founder, Saint John Bosco, in 1887. On the other hand, Joseph Kalinowski entered the Discalced Carmelites at Graz in Austria and received the religious name of Brother Raphael of Saint Joseph. He studied theology in Hungary and was ordained Priest at Czerna near Krakow, on 15 January 1882.
Afire with apostolic zeal, he did not spare himself in helping the faithful and assisting his Carmelite brothers and sisters and many others in the ascent of the mountain of perfection.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, he lifted up many from the mire of sin. He did his utmost for the work of reunification of the Church and bequeathed this mission to his Carmelite brothers and sisters. His superiors entrusted him with many important offices, which he carried out perfectly, right until the time of his death.
Overcome by fatigue and suffering and held in great respect by all the people, he gave his soul to God, on 15 November 1907, at Wadowice in the monastery founded by himself. He was buried in the monastery cemetery, at Czerna, near Krakow.
During his life and after death, he enjoyed a remarkable fame for sanctity, even on the part of the most noble and illustrious of people, such as the Cardinals Dunajewski, Puzyna, Kakowski and Gotti. The Ordinary Process for his eventual beatification, was set in motion in the Curia of Krakow during the years 1934-1938 and later taken to Rome where in 1943 was issued the Decree concerning his writings. His cause was introduced in 1952. From 1953-1956 the Apostolic Process was carried out and the Congregation proceeded to the discussion on his virtues.
Pope John Paul II, on 11 October 1980, promulgated the Decree on the heroism his virtues. After the approval of the miraculous healing of the Reverend Mis, the Holy Father Beatified Father Raphael Kalinowski at Krakow on 22 June 1983.
As the fame of his miracles was increasing, the Curia of Krakow in 1989, set in motion the Canonical Process to investigate the extraordinary healing of a young child. The discussions of the doctors, theologians and cardinals, were brought to a happy conclusion. On 10 July 1990, the Holy Father St John Paul II, approved the miracle for the Canonisation.
In the Consistory of 26th November 1990, Pope John Paul together with the Cardinals, decided to Canonise Blessed Raphael Kalinowski. They set the ceremony for Sunday, 17 November 1991.
St Pope John Paul II, today Canonises him and presents him as a model to all Christians in the universal Church….vatican.va 17 November 1991.
Note: Attending the Canonisation rite, were delegations from the Carmelite Order, from Russia, Byelorussa, Ukraine and especially from Poland and Lithuania, with their cardinals and bishops. And in the places of honour knelt Lech Walesa, president of liberated Poland, and Vytautas Landsbergis, president of the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian Republic.
Proud to do honour to this new saint who was both Pole and Lithuanian and who reached out towards the Eastern Churches as well, they must have responded warmly when the pope cried out: “Rejoice, O Mother Poland … Rejoice, O Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Mother of all peoples!”