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Br. Rafael: A New Novice for the Benedictine Abbey of Newark!

Br. Rafael (Jose-Pablo Gonzalez – Cervantes) , began the novitiate tonight during a short service in the Abbey Church immediately following Vespers.  The novitiate marks the formal start of formation for the monastic way of life.  Br. Rafael, will study the rule, monastic history and spiritual writings, and engage ever more fully in the work of the monastery while continuing to discern the call to monastic profession of vows, God willing in April 2021. 

Our Br. Rafael’s name-sake, and selected Patron is the twentieth century Spaniard, Saint Rafael Arnáiz – Barón.  Saint Rafael, was born in 1911 in Burgos, Spain.  St. Rafael, was well known for his humility, respect, joyfulness, and good humor during his lifetime.  As a young man Rafael, suffered many bouts of illness, especially prolonged pneumonia and eventually a very serious and debilitating form of Diabetes which required prolonged care. 

Although born into a well-to-do aristocratic family, and in spite of his illnesses, as a young man he would find himself attracted to monastic way of life at the Trappist Monastery of San Isidro de Dueñas.  Shortly after entering the monastery, Rafael developed a very serious case of Diabetes.  Despite feeling a very serious calling to be a monk, the law of the Church at the time did not allow for those with serious health issues to profess religious vows.  As a result of perseverance, he was allowed to become a monastic Oblate.  On 26 April 1938, at the age of only 27, Rafael, died in the monastic infirmary after a severe attack of the disease.  In 1989, Pope John Paul II proposed Rafael, as a model for youth of absolute love and unconditional response to vocation.  He is a patron Saint of Diabetics, and Young People.

We thank God for the gift of vocations and we ask that you please keep our very own, Br. Rafael in your prayers, and continue to pray for new monastic vocations as we continue to pray for all of you!