Rafael Arnáiz Barón was born in Burgos on April 9th, 1911. He was a student of architecture in Madrid when he felt the call of God. He gave up a brilliant career and entered the Cistercian monastery of San Isidro de Duenas (Palencia) on January 15th, 1934. In this monastic community he gave himself in joy and generosity to God. Soon after, he developed severe diabetes, which came to be the crucible of his faith journey, and from which he died when he was just 27 years old.
His reputation for holiness spread rapidly and his numerous writings of great spiritual depth extended widely throughout the whole world. Pope John Paul II proposed him as a model for youth in the whole world on August 19th 1998 in Santiago de Compostela during the World Youth Day. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Blessed on September 27th 1992. He was canonised on October 11th 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.
God our Father, you made Saint Raphael Arnáiz an outstanding disciple in the knowlege of the cross of Christ. By his example and intercession may we love you above all things and with hearts filled with love hasten along the way of the cross and so attain the paschal joy. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.