Here is a photograph that I took of the tomb of Brother Aloysius Maria Chmel, a Slovak Augustinian brother who died in Rome, in the odor of sanctity, in 1939. He was just under 26 years old. In Slovak his name is written as Alojz Mária Chmeľ.
Brother Aloysius was the fifth of eight children, from a small town near the Polish border in north-central Slovakia, Spišská Stará Ves (pronounced “Spish-skah Star-ah Ves”). And, as it turns out, I have been to a town very near there – as the bird flies, only 10 miles away.
In that region of Slovakia they still (even today) greet priests with the traditional greeting, “Praised be Jesus Christ”; which basically means that the priest walks down the street continually saying “Forever. Amen.”, a phrase that I will forever remember in Slovak now!
Also, in that town the cows still come home each afternoon. That was the first and only time in my life that I saw cows coming home. It was remarkable.
Anyway, Brother Aloysius joined the Augustinian order with the hopes of becoming a priest, and they transferred him to a monastery near Rome to pursue his studies. While there he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had a very painful death, which he offered for Pope Pius XII. He was known as having been a champion of virtue and a model of purity. He never complained once during his extreme pain, which lasted some five months. His last words were, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!”
Since the time of his death, a number of special graces have been reported by people who prayed for his intercession. In 1997 his cause for beatification was opened. From what I understand, it has made good progress. There is devotion to him among the Slovak community in Rome and certainly in his home country. Hopefully with this post some more people will learn a bit about him and perhaps ask his intercession as well.
Those who might have special graces to report as a result of Brother Aloysius Chmel’s intercession can write about them to:
Fr. Gabriele Ferlisi, Postulator
Order of Discalced Augustinians
Piazza Ottavilla, 1
00152 Rome – Italy