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June 17

St Albert Chmielowski - June 17

Saint Albert Chmielowski

Brother, Founder

(1845 – 1916)

“There is no place for grace in man’s heart that is unfeeling to our neighbor’s weakness, and indifferent to the needs of the Church and social needs.

Saint Albert Chmielowski

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life in a Noble Family

Albert was born on August 20, 1845, in Igolomia, Poland (near Kraków) as Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski. Born into a wealthy and aristocratic family, Adam was the oldest of four children. He initially studied agriculture in order to manage the family estate.

Involved in Politics and a Painter

Actively involved in politics from his youth, Adam lost a leg fighting in an insurrection against Czar Alexander III at age 18. He began to paint it in Lviv in 1879. In Krakow, Adam became a popular artist and his talent in the subject led him to study in Warsaw, Poland; Munich, Germany; and Paris, France. Adam’s Ecce Homo, shown below, is a famous painting of Jesus with a red cloak holding a reed with a crown of thorns piercing his temples. 

Ecce Homo painting by Adam Chmielowski 1881  

Brother Albert

Adam’s interest in politics and art made him keenly aware of the human misery around him. A kind and compassionate person, Adam felt called to help those in need. Realizing that God was calling Him to a life of service, Adam returned to Krakow in 1874, determined to dedicate his talents to the glory of God. Instead of continuing his work as an artist, he decided to care for the poor and became a Secular Franciscan, taking the name Albert.

Founder of Albertine Brothers and Sisters

In 1887, Albert founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor, known as the Albertines or the Gray Brothers. Then, in 1891, he founded a community of Albertine sisters, known as the Gray Sisters.

The Albertines organized food and shelter for the poor and homeless of any age or religion. Albert preached on the great crisis that results from a refusal to see and aid the suffering individuals in society.

In 1949, Saint Pope John Paul II, who was at the time Father Karol Wojtyla, wrote a well-received play about Albert called Our God’s Brother. John Paul II later said that he found great spiritual support for his own vocation in the life of St. Albert, whom he saw as an example of leaving behind a world of art, literature, and theater to make a radical choice for the priesthood.

His Death

Brother Albert died on Christmas Day, 1916 in Krakow, Poland. He was canonized on November 12, 1989 by Saint Pope John Paul II. The Church celebrates St. Albert’s feast day on June 17.

Beatified:           June 22, 1983 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized:        November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:         June 17

Patron Saint:    Albertine Brothers, Albertine Sisters, Painters



Suppose you were a famous artist that travelled around Europe to Poland, Germany and France. Would you give up your art and your fame to feed and shelter the poor? However, that is exactly what Saint Albert Chmielowski did. He even founded the Albertine Brothers (Gray Brothers) and Sisters (Gray Sisters) – communities that helped poor.

While you may not be a famous artist or found a new order, what can you do to feed and shelter the poor where you live?


Saint Albert Chmielowski – just as your life went through many phases from wounded captive soldier, to a well-known successful painter, and finally to vows to serve God by helping the destitute, poor, sick, elderly and outcasts of society. May you to intercede and pray for us that we may find our life-path and live Jesus’ Gospel to the fullest through God’s grace, wisdom and strength.

Saint Albert Chmielowski, pray for us!  Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Brother Albert and St Faustina: 2 visions of Divine Mercy

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski

Catholic Fire – Saint Albert Chmielowski

Catholic News Agency – St. Albert Chmielowski Feast Day: Jun 17

Catholine Online – St. Albert Chmielowski

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Albert Chmielowski

Daily Prayers – Albert Chmielowski

Franciscan Media – Saint Albert Chmielowski

Wikipedia – Albert Chmielowski

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Albert Chmielowski – YouTube Video (CatholicSaints.Info)

[City of Saints] Adam Chmielowski – YouTube Video (Światowe Dni Młodzieży Kraków 2016 / World Youth Day #krakow2016)