LIFE AND
SPIRITUALITY


         

SAINT BROTHER ALBERT - ADAM CHMIELOWSKI was born on the 20th August 1845 in Igołomia near Cracow, Poland. In January, 1863 he took part in the Polish Insurrection, which cost him the loss of his leg.
With ardent love of God in neighbours he sacrificed his life to serve homeless and oppressed people. He opened almshouses for them; in this way he might uplift these people in thier social condition, and point them out to God.
In 1887 he donned the religious habit and one year later he pronounced his vows in the presence of Albin Cardinal Dunajewski, thus giving the origin to the new Order's family. Then he founded The Con-regation of Albertine Brothers and Sisters. He based the Congregation on the primorodial rule of St. Francis of Assisi.
He died on December 25th, 1916 with a reputation of sanctity. His canonization took place on 12th November, 1989 in Rome. The Relics of the Saint are located in the ECCE HOMO Church, in Cracow, at 10 Woronicza Str.

    
Among the Polish insurgents

    
At a family gathering. From left: Adam, Stanley,
Marian, Hedwig


From the homily given by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla for the 50th anniversary of the death of St. Albert Chmielowski, November 23, 1966.

Brother Albert, born Adam Chmielowski – was a rich personality, blessed with many natural gifts and talented in many fields. He first made his mark as a distinguished painter, gaining esteem among all the great masters of the brush who will remain forever in our national memory as the representatives of great art. We know that his natural gifts were further enhanced because he did not keep them for himself. At barely 20 years of age, he took part in the January Uprising (of 1863), staking his all in this cause out of love for his country. That same love of country would brand him with a permanent mark, as his wounds left him a cripple until death, forcing him to wear an artificial leg in place of his own.
Moreover, these gifts of nature were enhanced in him above all by gifts of grace, the Divine Grace which is God Himself bestowing His life on man, infusing Himself as it were into his soul. The more God bestows Himself on the soul, and the more He infuses His life into it through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the more He brings that soul to its knees. In precisely this way, the soul of Adam Chmielowski was bowed down before the ineffable majesty of God, before His holiness and His love.
And yet, God works in a most wonderful way in the affairs of men. In casting a person on his knees before Him, He commands him at the same time to kneel in service before his brothers, his neighbors. This is precisely what took place in the life of Brother Albert: on his knees before the Divine Majesty, he fell on his knees before the majestic dignity of man, and in particular before the majestic dignity of the poorest of the poor, of the most severely handicapped, of even the least beggar.
Perhaps this comparison seems striking, since in our times we do not see such severe conditions, such blatant poverty, such obvious humilitation of man. Even today, there are many conditions which seem on the surface to be less flagrant, and yet in reality are no less so than before. There are many human needs, many cries for mercy – but often in a way unseen and unheard. How many people are sick or abandoned, and yet left in their ailments without any care? How many elderly are left to die of hunger, longing for the warmth of a human heart? How many troubled youth are there, who in today’s environment cannot find the moral support they need?
Mercy and the Christian message are the great need of our times. If there is no mercy, there is no Christian message, for they are one and the same. In the service of mercy, funds are not the most important, not even homes, institutions and hospitals, necessary though they are. Most important is man himself, to whom we must testify by our very humanity, by our very selves. In this regard, Brother Albert is for us an incomparable model. He had almost no material means; he did not have access to any funds or ready-made institutions, so he decided to give of himself. It was for this reason that God brought him to his knees before persons most deprived of human dignity, in order that he might give of himself. And he went on giving to the end of his days, giving with all his strength. This was an expression of his faith and love, which is for us precious beyond measure, as it is in the sight of God. Our humanity must recover with renewed energy a sensitivity to the human person, to his needs, his tribulations, and his sufferings, so that we might be ready to bear witness with our very selves, with hands that are empty but hearts that are full. Such a gift is indeed more significant than hands that are full and means that are plentiful. „Above all these, put on love.”

    
Canonization portrait
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Adam’s mother, Josephine (maiden name Borzyslawski) Chmielowski
Adalbert Chmielowski-Adam Chmielowski’s father

Adam with his brother Stanley and his maternal grandmother
Student (about 1865)

Student
Painter

Apostle Podola (1882-84)
Brother Albert-Photo ID from 1915