BROTHER ALBERT REMINDS US ABOUT DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN
THE CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY
Polish bishops edited a pastoral letter on the occasion of the Year of St. Brother Albert which starts on the Day of Lord’s Birth – on 25 December 2016. Hierarchs point that the Year of St. Brother Albert is a continuation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy ended recently. They note that real change of heart is expressed in merciful action for our neighbours. They quote words said by cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the future pope: ‘Mercy and Christianity are the same. If there was no mercy, there would not be Christianity…Expressing faith must be fulfilled with expressing love…. In the opinion of the Episcopate, life and activity of St. Brother Albert are lesson about dignity of every human, which entails necessity of expressing respect to another person. ‘A human is an indelible image of God’ – bishops note. They remind that Adam Chmielowski rejected career and fame to serve to others. They also explain that this serving to others is an encouragement also for us to take every day effort, a discreet devotion of our time and strength, so that we would diminish ourselves when serving to others, and be, as Brother Albert used to say, ‘as good as bread, which is on the table for everyone’. The authors of the letter remind about the person of the saint. They note his devotion with which he participated in the January Uprising during which he was severely wounded, which resulted in amputation of his leg and they also note his devotion to art, which resulted in his studies at the Fine Art Academy in Munich and artistic career. Albert Chmielowski decided to live the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and became a member of the Franciscan Third Order. He became a patron and advocate of poor people, who are disinherited, pushed aside onto the ‘existential peripheries’. In order to serve to the poor better, he took over the management of the municipal steam plant in Kazimierz district of Cracow and then changed it into a shelter where every person in need could find food, home, and first of all, the merciful heart. In order to meet the demanding task of care about the poor, in 1888 Brother Albert founded first a community of the Albertinian brothers for men, and after three years – a women’s order of the Albertinian nuns who took care of poor women. ‘Let’s ask God for such a faith, (…) so that we would have steadfast belief that we serve to Jesus when: we give food to the hungry, give home to the homeless, give clothes to the naked, take care of the ill, helping the addicted, consoling those in grief, give advice to those in doubt, leading those who are lost back onto the right way’ – we read in the letter of the Episcopate.