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19th November - Saint Raphael Kalinowski, Discalced Carmelite

Posted on 19th November, 2019


St Raphael Kalinowski OCDSt Raphael Kalinowski, Priest


Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. After military service, he was in 1864 condemned to ten years of forced labour in Siberia. In 1877 he joined the Discalced Carmelite Order and in 1882 was ordained a priest. He brought about the restoration of the Order in Poland and guided its growth. His life was distinguished by his zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as a confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907. He was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II on November 17, 1991.




From the Exhortations of Saint Raphael, Religious(C. Gil, Ojciec Raphael Kalinowski, pp. 109-110)

You must be holy


The Holy Scriptures praise nothing more than a perfect and holy life lived in the exact and perfect fulfilment of each one’s duties. In the Old Testament our Lord and God taught his people and told them: You must be holy because I am holy (Leviticus 11:44).


The Eternal Father gave us our Lord Jesus Christ as our Teacher, Master and Guide. He confirmed and ratified the Old Testament injunction when he taught us that we must emulate the holiness of the Father: ‘You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48). How does one become perfect and holy? The Doctors of the Church, the leaders of souls, and the masters of the spiritual life answer: If you would be perfect and become holy, fulfil your duties faithfully.


Once a desert father was asked by a certain young hermit what books he ought to study in order to advance in holiness. The old man replied: My practice is to read two books only. In the morning hours I read the Gospel, and in the evening I read the Rule. The first teaches me the way I should walk as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other teaches me what I should do to be a good religious. That is enough for me.


Let us therefore be students of the laws of God so that we may conduct ourselves according to them. When you walk, these will guide you; when you lie down, watch over you, when you wake, talk with you (Prov. 6:22). Wherever we may be or go, may they go with us to direct our footsteps. May they be so near us when we sleep that they may fill our thoughts as soon as we awaken. His voice will speak to us in them. He will refresh us for the day ahead. Through his laws we will gain the victory over our doubts. We will cast away every obstacle. We will free ourselves of that sluggishness of nature which is the enemy of strength, the foe of devotion, and the lover of ease. The law of life will help us to overcome our fears in time of temptation and to follow eagerly in the way of obedience. May it always be at hand to counsel us, so that by it we may find the strength to follow God’s call with generous hearts and willing souls.

St Raphael when he was a soldier



"I keep my eyes fixed on Eternity, and from this source I draw constancy in the midst of the confusion of daily life. God empties my heart of all natural attachments, probably to fill it with things more pure, of which nothing surpasses the desire to do good to my neighbour. I like to find at least a few moments each day spent in doing good for others out of love for God. These few moments, almost unnoticeably used, bring something like rays of peace and comfort behind them. They unite us with people and God with purity and sweetness."





Lord God,

You made your priest Saint Raphael

strong in adversity

and filled him with a great love

in promoting Church unity.

Through his prayers, make us strong in faith

and in love for one another,

that we too may generously work together

for the unity of all believers in Christ.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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