Augusto Czartoryski was born in Paris on 2 August 1858, into exile, his parents being Polish Prince Ladislaus and Princess Maria Amparo, daughter of the Queen of Spain. For about thirty years his noble family, linked to the dynastic interests of Poland, had emigrated to France. From exile Prince Ladislaus sought to restore the unity of the dismembered homeland in 1795.
At the age of six, Augustus lost his mother. Margaret of Orleans, daughter of the Count of Paris, pretender to the French throne, took her place. From an early age, Augustus showed himself to be a good and thoughtful boy. Although closely bound up with his beloved Poland, he was never attracted to court life. The action of grace in his soul led him to detachment from earthly goods and a serious spiritual life.
Between the ages of 10 and 17 he studied in Paris and Krakow, but his poor health forced him to interrupt his studies and move frequently to southern Europe in search of a better climate. During those years, Providence put a tutor, Joseph Kalinowski beside him, who guided him carefully not only in his studies, but above all in his spiritual life. Later Kalinowski became a Carmelite. Today the Church venerates him as a saint.
The tutor described his pupil as a boy with a stable mood, great kindness, perfect courtesy, sincere, intelligent and very religious, but with a simple heart.
In May 1883, Don Bosco was in France. He was invited to the Lambert Palace by Princess Margaret of Orleans. Augustus served the Mass, and the saint told him: "I have long wanted to make your acquaintance!" The Prince was struck by the encounter. Later he went several times to Turin to meet Don Bosco. He insistently asked if he could join the Salesians, but the Founder was not convinced.
Augustus spoke with Pope Leo XIII, who invited Don Bosco to accept the Prince. In July 1887, after having renounced the assets and the possibility of the throne, he entered the novitiate against the advice of the family. He was 29 years old. He strove to adapt to the times and lifestyle, and becomes the most humble of novices. Don Bosco, close to death, blessed his cassock.
He began his philosophy studies but contracted tuberculosis and soon fell ill. In the house at Valsalice, in Turin, he met the Ven. Andrew Beltrami. The two developed a profound spiritual friendship, while Andrew looks after Augustus in his illness. Meanwhile, Fr Rua had him study theology and admitted to holy orders. When he was ordained a priest in San Remo on 2 April 2, 1892, his family chose to be absent absent: they had tried in every way to get him out of the Congregation.
Augustus fully embodied Salesian spirituality, especially the aspect of sacrifice and the offering of his own life and suffering for the good of the young and of the Congregation: Don Bosco also suffered much, even if he did not show it. Fr Augustus died at Alassio on 8 April 1893, Saturday of the Easter: octave "What a beautiful Easter!" He said. He was 35 years old. John Paul II, the Polish pope, had the joy of beatifying him on 25 April 2004. His body is venerated in Przemysl (Poland).
Declared Venerable 1 December 1978; beatified 25 April 2004 by John Paul II