Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Polish "St. Francis", Was A Jesuit For A Short Time

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 ) 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.

He became a Third Order Franciscan in 1887 and a year later founded the Albertine Brothers or Servants of the Poor. He founded the female congregation of the Albertine’s in 1891. The Albertine’s dedicated their lives to serving the poor in every way, from nursing the sick to providing shelter and food and care for homeless children. Brother Albert, as he was now called, left 21 foundations of Albertine’s by the time of his death on Christmas Day, 1916. He was considered a 20th century polish Saint Francis, and was canonized on November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II, who had also written a play about him in 1949.

Link (here)


Anonymous said...

There's also a movie about his life, I think based on the play, with american actor Scott Wilson, playing Bra Albert.

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