Br. William speaks on our Saint: “In August 2022, I was honored with the assignment to provide a blurb for the back cover of “TO LIVE FOR GOD ALONE- The Life and Spirit of St. Rafael Arnaiz y Baron” by Mark OKeefe and Maria Gonzalo-Garcia, a new book on the life of St. Rafael. Here is my contribution: An inspiring work, full of insights on the life of a beloved of God. It reveals his pursuit of the Divine Will through his spirit of purity of heart, simplicity, humility and perseverance. He knows that God loves him and all he wants to do is to love Jesus. This is a spiritual treasury for our faith journey.
Saint Rafael was canonized on October 11, 2009.
He was born in 1911 in Burgos, Spain of an upper-class Spanish family. Both his parents were fervent Catholics. From youth he was a pious lad and had great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was a lover of nature and had great interest in painting and music and his artistic talents gave him the opportunity for a career as an architect.
His first visit to the Abbey of San Isidro was in 1930. He was enchanted by the beauty of the monk’s chant and most of all by the ‘Salve Regina’ hymn to the Virgin Mary. Undoubtedly he felt the call of God to the monastic life. To quote, he said that “I offered myself humbly with a heart filled with joy and much love for God.”
Unfortunately, the sudden development of diabetes during his novitiate caused him to return home for treatment. When he felt that his health has improved he returned to continue his monastic vocation. Again and again his sudden relapse caused him to leave. On his 4th return to the monastery, the abbot gave him the cowl and scapular as an oblate. On the morning of April 26, 1938 he died peacefully. He was 27 years old.
From his spiritual writings were revealed all his simplicity, his sincere piety, his profound faith and his humble desire to love God.
Quote:” How joyfully one lives when one has God and God alone.” –From St. Rafael spiritual journal.”
Note: We were gifted with a relic of St. Rafael from our Trappist brothers at San Isidro Abbey. It is kept in the monks’ retreat house in the cloister, named ‘Casa Rafael’ in his honor.
Your brothers of New Clairvaux
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