TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2008
Founder of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters, and one of the saints who inspired the vocation of the young Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. Saint Albert Chmielowski was born in Igoalomia, Poland as Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski on August 20, 1845 into a wealthy and aristocratic family. He manifested an intense sensibility as a young man to the human condition and ordinary human suffering. He expressed this sensibility through art, and was actively involved in politics. His political participation and patriotic zeal caused him to lose his leg fighting in an insurrection against Czar Alexander III in 1864. He left Poland shortly afterwards to study engineering n Belgium, where he stayed for only a year before deciding to study art in Paris and Munich.
He returned to Krakow in 1874 having resolved to dedicate his art, talent and aspirations to the glory of God. After having an intense experience of the mercy of God, he painted one of his masterworks, entitled “Ecce Homo” (it can be seen with many of his other paintings at http://www.albertynki.pl/galeria_o.php ) and on deeper reflection, discerned that he was being called to give his life to serving the poor and those most in need. He knew he was called to religious life and so he entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1880, but realized, after suffering a nervous breakdown, that it was not his place.