Saint of the Day – 2 December – Blessed Rafal Chylinski OFM Conv. (1694-1741) aged 47 Franciscan Priest, Preacher, Apostle of Charity, Musician – born on 8 January 1694 at Buk, Poznan, Poland as Melchior Chylinski and died on 2 December 1741 at Lagiewniki, Lodzkie, Poland.
Blessed Rafal was born near Buk in the Poznan region of Poland, He showed early signs of religious devotion, so much so, that his family members nicknamed him “the little monk.” After completing his studies at the Jesuit college in Poznan, Melchior joined the cavalry and was promoted to officer rank within three years.
In 1715, against the please of his military comrades, Melchior joined the Conventual Franciscans in Krakow. Receiving the name Rafal, he was ordained two years later. After pastoral assignments in nine cities, he came to Lagiewniki, where he spent the last 13 years of his life, except for 20 months ministering to flood and epidemic victims in Warsaw. In all these places, Rafal was known for his simple and candid sermons, for his generosity, as well as for his ministry in the confessional. People of all levels of society were drawn to the self-sacrificing way he lived out his religious profession and priestly ministry.
Rafal played the harp, lute and mandolin to accompany liturgical hymns. In Lagiewniki he distributed food, supplies and clothing to the poor. After his death, the Conventual church in that city became a place of pilgrimage for people throughout Poland. He was Beatified in Warsaw in 1991 by St Pope John II after approval of a miracle.
His shrine is still a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
The sermons preached by Rafal were powerfully reinforced by the living sermon of his life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can help us bring our daily choices into harmony with our words about Jesus’ influence in our lives.
May Blessed Rafal reminds us that everyone of us, even though we are sinners, has been called to love and to holiness. – St Pope John Paul II