Son of Andrew Kalinowski, prominent mathmatics professor at the College of Nobility, and Josepha Poionska Kalinowski. Studied at his father’s school. Though he felt a call to the priesthood, Joseph decided on college first. He studied zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture at the Institute of Agronomy in Hory Horki, Russia, and at the Academy of Military Engineering at Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Lieutenant in the Russian Military Engineering Corps in 1857. Planned and supervised the construction of the railway between Kursk and Odessa. Promoted to captain in 1862, he was stationed in Brest-Litovsk. There he started, taught, and bore all the costs of a Sunday school, accepting anyone interested.
In 1863 he supported the Polish insurrection. He resigned from the Russian army and became the rebellion’s minister of war for the Vilna region; he took the commission with the understanding that he would never hand out a death sentence or execute a prisoner. Arrested by Russian authorities on 25 March 1864. In June 1864 he was condemned to death for his part in the revolt, but the authorities feared they would be creating a political martyr, and commuted his sentence to ten years forced labour in the Siberian salt mines; part of his sentence was spent in Irkutsk where his relics recently sanctified a new cathedral.
Released in 1873, he was exiled from his home region in Lithuania. Moved to Paris, France, and worked as a tutor for three years. In 1877 he finally answered the long-heard call to the religious life, and joined the Carmelite Order at Graz, Austria, taking the name Raphael. Studied theology in Hungary, then joined the Carmelite house at Czama, Poland. Ordained on 15 January 1882.
Worked to restore the Discalced Carmelites to Poland, and for church unity. Founded a convent at Wadowice, Poland, c.1889. Worked with Blessed Alphonsus Mary Marurek. Noted spiritural director of both Catholics and Orthodox. Enthusiastic parish priest, he spent countless hours with his parishioners in the confessional.