The Commissioning of WYD Cracow 2016 Pilgrims
The Feast of Saint Jacob the Apostle
Patron of Day: St. Hedvig
St. Hedwig of Silesia, The Princess Jadwiga of Andechs-Meran was born between 1174 and 1178 in Bavaria. She was relative of werewith the rulers of Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and France (her sister Gertrude, wife of King Andrew II of Hungary, was the mother of St. Elizabeth of Hungary). Jadwiga received an excellent education in the monastery of the Benedictine Sisters in Kitzingen. When she was young she became the wife of Henry I (the Bearded the Silesian Piast family). Both led a pious life and cared for the development of the Church.
Duchess Jadwiga was a founder of many churches and monasteries, including the Cistercian monastery in Trzebnica (which largely was built by prisoners). Jadwiga came to the conclusion that the construction work will be more useful than idle rot in the dungeon.
Jadwiga was extremely committed for helping the sick and the poor inhabitants. She was more than just help in the hospitals and hospices, inter alia, a hospital for lepers women in Sroda or hospital of St. Spirit in Wroclaw. “The wandering hospital”was her idea too. It was based on the doctors who had been walking around and helping people who were lost in the forest village.
She was talking care being really close to the people with whom she had to live. She wanted to be closer to them , it was one of the reasons why she quickly learned the Polish language. Moreover not just to be able to talk to them, but to support and ask for daily needs/interview required.
Although she was a humble Christian, when she really wanted to achieve something she could find the way to do it. The legend says that she was walking without shoes because she wanted to be as ordinary people. She didn’t want to be different, she was more than just humility and modesty. It annoyed her husband a lot, who forced the confessor to say her during confession that she had to wear of shoes. The priest gave a pair of shoes to Jadwiga asking her to always put them on. Duchess request obediently complied with them everywhere wearing shoes … suspended on a string.
Duchess Jadwiga accepted with humility and submission the death of people who were close to her. She strongly believed that it had to be like that because of Religious reasons.
She gave birth to seven children, of whom three survived.
After 19 years of marriage, Jadwiga and her husband made a vow of celibacy. Since that time she had visited the monastery in Trzebnica regularly, where her daughter Gertrude was superior. There she died on 15 October 1243.
In 1267 years, so less than a quarter of a century after her death, Pope Clement XIV proclaimed her a saint. Since that time she has been worshiped as the patron of Polish and all the historical Silesia. In 1680, thanks to the efforts of King John III Sobieski, her cult was extended to the whole Church.
Saint Hedwig is also regarded as the patron of peace, especially the Polish-German reconciliation. During his stay in Wroclaw Pope John Paul II spoke about her: “The history of Europe is like a holy Hedwig of Silesia character limit, which combines two nations: the German people and the Polish nation. It combines the centuries of history, which was difficult and painful. St. Jadwiga among all historical experience remains for seven centuries been an advocate of mutual understanding and reconciliation … “.
Footnote to the photo – “When the bridge Tumski in Wroclaw, is forged Jadwiga stone. It stands on the bridge between eastern and western bank of the Odra river. All make passing look at each other and make them think that they are all brothers, at any bank of live. … ” ks. Cardinal. Boleslaw Kominek On 16th October 1978, i.e. on the day of liturgical commemoration of St. Queen Jadwiga, the patroness of Lower Silesia, Karol Wojtyla was elected the successor of St. Peter and the Bishop of Rome. John Paul II repeatedly stressed later that the date had not been accidental. In his letter to Cardinal Gulbinowicz he wrote: “I am deeply convinced that on that memorable day St. Jadwiga became the patroness of the election of the first Pole in history to the capital of St. Peter”.
Thousands of the faithful pilgrims of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw (approx. 10 000 pilgrims) walk every October to the tomb of St. Queen Jadwiga in Trzebnica. We will all go together to the Sanctuary in Trzebnica on Monday 25th July 2016 from where we will set off to Krakow to meet Pope Francis.