Click HERE for a fun activity page about St. Hedwig of Poland.
When Hedwig was young, her father was the King of Hungary and Poland. She lived with her parents and sisters in the castle. But when her father died, Hedwig was sent to Poland to become queen there in 1381. She was only ten years old. It couldn’t have been easy for her to live in a strange place even if she was the queen.
Person of Faith
Hedwig, also called Jadwiga, was a person of great faith in God. She often was seen praying in front of the cross inside the cathedral. She saw that the gospel of Jesus Christ was shared with the people. She devoted her life to the people of her country.
Hedwig married when she was in her teens, and her husband ruled with her as King of Poland. Hedwig was a generous person who did so much for the people of Poland. She worked hard to see that the sick and the poor had what they needed. She was a good ruler and the people of Poland loved her.
Declared a Saint
Hedwig was only 28 years old when she died in 1399. It was almost 600 years later when she was canonized a saint of the Catholic Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II. Saint Hedwig is the patron saint for queens.
This saint is not to be confused with another Saint Hedwig who was duchess of Silesia and is celebrated in October. The duchess died in 1243 and was canonized soon afterward. This was more than a century before Saint Hedwig of Poland was even born.
What Can We Do?
* Let’s look up Luke 12:48 in the Bible: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” How did St. Hedwig live this verse? How are we to live it? What are we to share? Do we share only money, or do we also share our talents and abilities?
* Let’s look at a map and find where Poland is located. People from other countries have been declared saints. Let’s find France, for St. Theérèse of Lisieux; Japan, for St. Paul Miki; Egypt, for St. Anthony; Canada, for St. Marguerite; and Peru, for St. Martin de Porres.
* Let’s remember that St. Hedwig prayed in front of a cross in church. Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. Where can we pray? For what should we pray? Why is it important to pray to God each day? Should we pray in our own words?
Loving God, may we care about other people like St. Hedwig did. Help us to share what we have and be generous to those who are sick and poor. May we look beyond our own lives to the needs of others. Help us to be caring and compassionate in your name. Amen.
Patricia Mathson has many years experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a Master of Religious Education degree. She is currently the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of ten books including 70 Sacrament Starters for Children (Twenty-Third Publications).
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, December 2009.
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