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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
St. Henry II
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Today on July 15th the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Henry II.  Henry II is not to be confused with the name of the Henry II of English or Henry II of France.  St. Henry II refers to the Holy Roman Emperor.  St. Hentry II was named the the patron saint of the Benedictine Oblates by Pope St. Pius X. He was probably born in Hildesheim, Bavaria, Germany, on May 3, 973 AD. When his father died he became the duke of Bavaria in 995 and emperor in 1002 when his cousin Otto III died. He stressed service to the Church and promoted monastic reform.

He became one of the strongest rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, triumphing over many difficulties as a Christian statesman and warrior. He made frequent journeys through his empire to promote religion, correct public abuses, and prevent the oppression of the poor. According to the chronicles of the time, when upon his return from an expedition against the Greeks in Italy, he was taken sick at Monte Cassino, he was miraculously cured through the intercession of St. Benedict, founder of the abbey.

His wife was St. Cunegundis, and St. Herisbert was his chancellor. A patron of the Benedictines, he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Benedict VIII. Tradition states that Henry wanted to be a Benedictine and lived as an Oblate. He was canonized in 1146 by Pope Eugene III, making him the only German monarch to be canonized a saint.

Those wishing to read more on his life should consult the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on him.

Collect:

O God, on this day You raised the blessed confessor Henry from earthly royalty to an eternal kingdom. May his example enable us to turn aside from the enticements of the world and come to You with a pure heart, even as he was strengthened by Your grace to withstand the fascination of worldly attractions. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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