This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2 -- Feast of Blessed Melchior Rafael Chylinski

Melchior was had the good fortune to be born in Poland.  Yeah, that may not seem very fortunate for those who know Polish history, but consider how many times Poland has vanished from the map.  He might have been born in Hungary or Russia or Germany or God knows what country, but he had the good fortunate to be a Pole in Poland.

He also had the good fortune to enjoy the company of his father for seventeen years before the elder man's death of plague.  Sure, he would have been even luckier to have enjoyed more years with his aristocratic father, but seventeen years are better than seven, or seven months.  He was also lucky that his dad was an aristocrat, as it gave him the opportunity to inherit wealth and privilege.  Of course he renounced these things later in life, but at least he had them to renounce.

Melchior had the very good fortune to be accepted as an officer in the Polish cavalry under King Stanislaw Leszczynski.  He had even greater fortune when he survived his three year stint in the army and left to become Father Rafael, the Franciscan brother.  

If his kind of good fortune is ringing hollow for you, consider how lucky he was when his family home burned down.  Even I know that's a tough sell, but Mistress Anne Bradstreet takes a good shot at it.  Moreover, he was fortunate that his mom was not killed in the fire, and that he received a special dispensation from the Franciscans to care for his mom.

Although he slept little on a bare wooden bed and wore a hair shirt and iron belt, he frequently commented, "Oh, how good, how good is God. We have a Good Lord."  Even those leg ulcers didn't keep him from praising God.  

He spent twenty months ministering to victims of flooding and plague in Krakow.  Although he died a premature death (age forty-seven, which must be way too young since I will be forty-eight in three months) of illness, he did not died during the epidemic in which he volunteered.  Once again, what a fortunate man he was. 

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