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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

October 16
St. Hedwig
(1174?-1243)


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Rarely do humans realize the possibilities of the wise use of earthly power and worldly wealth. Hedwig was one of the few. Born to nobility toward the close of the 12th century, she was married at an early age to Henry, duke of Silesia (now Poland). Through her persuation and personal efforts, several monastic institutions of both men and women were established in Silesia. Several hospitals, one for lepers, were likewise founded. She was personally a great force in establishing peace in the surrounding areas during power struggles. To her great sorrow, she was unable to prevent a pitched battle between the forces of two of her sons, one of whom was dissatisfied over the partition of estates that Henry had made between them.

 

After she and her husband had made mutual vows of celibacy, she lived mostly at the monastery at Trebnitz where, although not a formal member of the religious institute, she nevertheless participated in the religious exercises of the community. She died in1243 and was buried at Trebnitz.



Stories:

Hedwig sacrificed her wish to become a religious in later life in order to use her earthly goods to help the poor. She chose poverty, distrusting the comforts her means might have afforded her and denying herself even such basic necessities as shoes in winter. She wore the religious habit, lived the life of a religious, but would not give up the administration of her possessions because she used these goods to help the poor. She lived her life and used her possessions so that she and those she was able to help might better appreciate the supernatural life of God’s grace.



Comment:

Whatever possessions we4 may be blessed with are not for our own needs or personal comfort alone; they are also to be used in assisting others. Use of these goods should always promote, never impede, progress in God's love. It is true that earthly things of themselves in no way contradict God love but rather are evident of it. Even so, we cna become so interested in and entriced by what we sense that we become forget of the God from whom these blessings come.

Quote:

Hedwig sacrificed her wish to become a religious in later life in order to use her earthly goods to help the poor. She chose poverty, distrusting the comforts her means might have afforded her and denying herself even such basic necessities as shoes in winter. She wore the religious habit, lived the life of a religious but would not give up the administration of her possessions so that she and those she was able to help might better appreciated the supernatural life of God's grace.


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

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