1955 Calendar (Simple): October 16
Today the Holy Church celebrates the Feast of St. Hedwig. Born the daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania, St. Hedwig married Prince Henry I the Bearded of Silesia and Poland in 1186 at age 12. She became the mother of seven children including Saint Gertrude of Trebnitz. St. Hedwig is the aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. All in all, the life of St. Hedwig illustrates that holiness within the family is contagious and can help make our loved ones saints. Of Hedwig's children, only Gertrude survived her.
St. Hedwig oversaw a number of ministries including caring for the sick both personally and by founding hospitals. Upon her husband’s death, she gave away her fortune and entered the monastery at Trebnitz where her daughter was abbess.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes, "The duchess practised severe mortification, endured all trials with the greatest resignation, with self-denying charity cared for the sick and supported the poor; in her interior life of prayer, she gave herself up to meditation on supernatural things. Her piety and gentleness won for her even during life the reputation of a saint. She was interred in the church attached to the monastery, and was canonized by Clement IV, 26 March, 1267, and on 25 August of the same year her remains were raised to the honours of the altar."
O God, You taught blessed Hedwig to turn from the attractions of the world to follow Your cross humbly and devotedly. May her merits and example teach us to spurn the passing pleasures of this earth and overcome all our difficulties by embracing Your cross; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .