Blessed Rafal Chylinski’s Story
Born near Buk in the Poznan region of Poland, Melchior Chylinski showed early signs of religious devotion; family members nicknamed him “the little monk.” After completing his studies at the Jesuit college in Poznan, Melchior joined the cavalry and was promoted to officer rank within three years.
In 1715, against the urgings of his military comrades, Melchior joined the Conventual Franciscans in Krakow. Receiving the name Rafal, he was ordained two years later. After pastoral assignments in nine cities, he came to Lagiewniki, where he spent the last 13 years of his life, except for 20 months ministering to flood and epidemic victims in Warsaw. In all these places, Rafal was known for his simple and candid sermons, for his generosity, as well as for his ministry in the confessional. People of all levels of society were drawn to the self-sacrificing way he lived out his religious profession and priestly ministry.
Rafal played the harp, lute, and mandolin to accompany liturgical hymns. In Lagiewniki he distributed food, supplies, and clothing to the poor. After his death, the Conventual church in that city became a place of pilgrimage for people throughout Poland. He was beatified in Warsaw in 1991.
The sermons preached by Rafal were powerfully reinforced by the living sermon of his life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can help us bring our daily choices into harmony with our words about Jesus’ influence in our lives.