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November 19

Saint Raphael Kalinowski Photo Taken 1897 - November 19

​Saint Raphael Kalinowski

Carmelite Priest

(1835- 1907)

“God gave himself fully for us, how can we not dedicate ourselves fully to God?​

Saint Raphael Kalinowski

Saint’s Life Story

Large Extended Family

Raphael was born Józef Kalinowski in the city of Vilnius (Vilna) in present day Lithuania on September 1, 1835. He was born to a noble family, the son of Andrew and Josepha Kalinowski. A few months after he was born, his mother died leaving him and his older brother Victor without a mother.  His father then married Josepha’s sister (a practice that was not uncommon in that time), Sophie Połońska. With his new wife, they had three more children: Charles, Emily, and Gabriel. After Sophie died in 1845, Andrew married again to Sophie Puttkamer, the daughter of Maryla Wereszczak, who became mother to all of Andrew’s existing children and had four more of her own: Mary, Alexander, Monica, and George.

His Education

From the age of 8, Józef attended the Institute for Nobles at Vilna, and graduated with honors in 1850.  Józef felt a call to the priesthood early in his life, but he decided to complete his education.  He studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the School of Agriculture (Instytut Agronomiczny) in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

In Russia Military Engineering Corps

Józef became a Lieutenant in the Russian Military Engineering Corps in 1857.  During his post he was responsible for the planning and supervised the construction of the railway between Kursk and Odessa.  He was promoted to captain in 1862 and stationed in Brest-Litovsk.  In Bret-Litovsk he started, taught, and covered all the costs of a Sunday school, accepting anyone interested.

Arrested with Years of Forced Labor in Siberia

In 1863, Józef supported the Polish insurrection. He resigned from the Russian army and became the rebellion’s minister of war for the Vilna region.  He only took the commission with the understanding that he would never hand out a death sentence nor execute a prisoner. Józef was soon arrested by Russian authorities and in June of 1864 he was condemned to death for his part in the revolt.  Fearing they would be creating a political martyr, they commuted his sentence to ten years of forced labor in the Siberian salt mines.  Part of his sentence was spent in Irkutsk where his relics have been moved to sanctify the new cathedral.

Released and Tutor in Paris

Upon his release in 1873, he was exiled from his home region in Lithuania. He moved to Paris, France, and worked as a tutor for three years toa 16-year-old Prince August Czartoryski.


In 1877, he finally answered the long-heard call to the religious life, and joined the Carmelite Order at Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael. He studied theology in Hungary and then joined the Carmelite house in Czama, Poland.   Raphael was ordained on January 15, 1882.

Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Czerna, Poland (Source: Wikipedia)

Carmelite Friar and Parish Priest

Raphael worked to restore the Discalced Carmelites to Poland, and for church unity. He founded a monastery at Wadowice, Poland in 1889 and worked with Blessed Alphonsus Mary Marurek. He was a noted spiritual director for both Catholics and Orthodox.  He was considered an enthusiastic parish priest and spent countless hours with his parishioners in the confessional.

His Death

Raphael caught tuberculosis and died in November 15, 1907 at the age 72 in Wadowice, Malopolskie, Poland. In 1991, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II, his boyhood hero. Raphael was the first friar in the Order of the Discalced Carmelites to have been canonized since co-founder John of the Cross became a saint in 1726.

Beatified:            June 22, 1983 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized:         November 17, 1991 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:          November 19

Patron Saint:     Educators, Engineers, Officers of Poland, Siberians



Saint Rapheal Kalinowski is another example of a saint that was born without a halo over his heads. He drifted from his faith as youth and had no need for anything associated with God. Like many of our lives growing up, Saint Raphael had many different professions ranging from agriculture student, civil engineer building railways, a soldier, a prisoner in Siberian labor camp, a tutor to a prince (that would become a saint) and last (but far from least) a Carmelite priest.

Yet another sign that is never too late for any of us to turn back to God, Saint Raphael went 10 years without receiving the Eucharist or going to confession. So, one never knows when or where God will work to strengthen and grow our faith. For Saint Rapheal Kawlinowski, his turning point was the 10 years he spent in hard labor in the Siberian salt mines.

When do you last go to confession or received the Eucharist? It is never too late. Pray to Jesus that your heart may be opened to whatever God’s plans are for you in whatever unlikely place at any point in your life.


Let us ask for Saint Rapheal Kalinwoski’s intercession for the courage to lay aside our plans and follow after Christ, whatever riches and honors the world might seem to offer.

St. Raphael Kalinowski, pray for us!

Source: St. Raphael Kalinowski, A jack-of-all-trades and a personal hero of John Paul II’s – Aleteia

Saint Links 

Aleteia – A jack-of-all-trades and a personal hero of John Paul II’s

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 19 November – St Raphael of St Joseph Kalinowski O.C.D. (1835-1907)

Catholic Fire – St. Raphael Kalinowski, O.C.D.

Catholic News Agency – St. Raphael Kalinowski

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Raphael Kalinowski

Discalced Carmelites – St. Raphael Kalinowski

Loyola Press – Saint Raphael Kalinowski Feast Day November 15

Vatican – Raphael Kalinowski, O.C.D. (1835-1907)


Video Link

St. Raphael Kalinowski – YouTube (Andrew Harrington)