Trappist monk, 1911-1938
+ Rafael was born in Burgos, Spain. As a young man he studied architecture in Madrid.
+ After his graduation, Rafael experienced a deepening of his faith. Feeling called to enter religious life, Rafael entered the Trappist abbey of San Isidro de Dueñas in Palencia on April 15, 1934.
+ After entering the abbey, Rafael developed diabetes mellitus. Complications of the disease forced him to return home for rest and recovery, but each time he returned to his beloved abbey.
+ Ultimately, his health prevented him from becoming a full member of the community and he became an oblate, a lay person living within the monastery enclosure without full religious vows.
+ Throughout 1937 and early 1938 his condition worsened and Rafael died from complications of diabetes on April 26, 1938. Honored as a patron of those suffering from diabetes, he was canonized in 2009.
Pope Saint John Paul II proposed Saint Rafael as a patron saint of the 1989 World Youth Day (held in Santiago de Compostela), declaring that he was a model for adolescents.
“A life of love… this is the only reason for living.”—Saint Rafael Arnáiz Baron
you made Saint Rafael an outstanding disciple
in the knowledge of Christ crucified.
Helped by his example and prayers to love you above all things.
May our hearts be enlarged,
so that we may run with inexpressible sweetness of love
along the way of the cross
and deserve to share the life and joy of the risen Lord,
Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Cistercian Sanctoral)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.