11/19/2021 – St. Rafael Kalinowski

Carmelite, St Rafael Kalinowski, today’s saint

“Sometimes we find the lives of saints more distressing than encouraging. We read that Saint So-and-So from age three to ninety was always faithful, never doubted…, never sinned, and prayed day and night. That kind of story puts sanctity beyond our reach. But the life of Joseph Kalinowski, later as a Carmelite called Raphael, makes holiness possible for us.

By his death in 1907, Raphael was regarded as a great saint throughout Poland and Lithuania. But he progressed slowly on the road to sainthood, drifting away from the faith as a youth and struggling with doubts and hesitations during his gradual conversion.” (Bert Ghezzi)

Fr Raphael was born into a Catholic home, Vilinus, one hundred years before the original image of the Divine Mercy was unveiled in the church there. However he only came to faith slowly grace by grace and we could say bead by bead. He learned the Rosary in his family. Despite his absorption in his career as a military engineer, in his years as a leader in the Polish resistance and subsequent exile in a Russian gulag, he would return to the rosary. For him it became the bridge from confusion and distraction to faith. And from faith to vocation and finally to holiness and heaven.

“Every step of our life should bring us closer to God, and help to provide at least a little happiness to our neighbor.” — Saint Raphael Kalinowski