After all, God can do anything, and we must also do all we can.Letter to Felix Zienkowicz, 1899
On January 18, 1989, a seven-year-old boy named Aleksander (Olek) Roman was crossing a street in Wadowice, when suddenly a car approached at 80 km per hour.
It struck the boy with full force and threw him into the air. The child fell, hitting his head on the asphalt, and lost consciousness. Aleksander’s sister, Agnes, who witnessed the accident, rushed home to their parents. They called an ambulance and the unconscious boy was transported immediately to the district hospital in Wadowice.
An X-ray was carried out and the result showed evidence of multiple fractures of the skull. The diagnosis was very serious. In order to save the child’s life it was decided to proceed immediately with surgery, which lasted two hours.
After the operation, the unconscious boy was sent to Intensive Care. However, the child did not regain consciousness, and the prognosis was bad.
On the day of the accident Fr. Rudolf Warzecha, a Discalced Carmelite was present in the hospital and gave the boy the last rites; then he asked Olek’s mother to go with him to the hospital chapel, where they prayed together for a good outcome for the operation.
The next day they started a novena to Blessed Raphael Kalinowski and encouraged the whole family to join in.
On the eighth day of the novena, the mother touched the boy’s head with the relics of Bl. Raphael.
Next day, to everyone’s surprise, Olek regained consciousness and immediately showed awareness of his surroundings. He was able to respond to questions, could read, write, draw, and perform tasks he had learned in the first five months of primary school. He joined in singing songs with his sister. He took meals and even asked his mother to bring him his favorite cakes.
The canonical process for the alleged miracle took place in the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow from May 29 to June 5, 1989, and eight witnesses were interviewed.
Aleksander’s mother states:
“Fr. Rudolf encouraged us to do the novena to Blessed Raphael Kalinowski. I didn’t pray to any other saints. I trusted Bl. Raphael. I was given his relics by Fr. Rudolf, with which I touched my son’s head on the eighth day of the novena. We prayed as a family, joined by my mother and brother and we kept Bl. Raphael’s image before our eyes” [Process of Canonization, Rome, 1990].
Dr. Stanislaus Chmura commented:
“My experience and medical knowledge have taught me that most similar cases are fatal. Personally, I thought that the boy would not survive the accident, so I cannot explain to myself in a natural way how he managed to survive and recover so quickly after surgery” [Process of Canonization, Rome, 1990].
Fr. Rudolf recalls: “When I asked the doctor what he thought about the case, he said that from what he knew on the basis of experience, Aleksander’s healing cannot be explained by any natural means” [Process of Canonization, Rome, 1990].
Timothy Tierney, O.C.D.
Miracles approved for the glorification of Raphael Kalinowski (excerpt)
On 17 November 1991, Saint John Paul II presided at the Solemn Rite of Canonization of Blessed Raphael Kalinowski at the Vatican. Read our translation of excerpts from the pontiff’s homily at the Mass.
Tierney, T 2016, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: Apprenticed to Sainthood in Siberia, Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN
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