St. Hedwig patron Saint of brides, widows, and Silesia
St. Hedwig was a strong mother and wife, and is honored for the faith that she brought to her husband and the people that they governed.
She was born Bavaria in 1174, and was aunt to St. Elizabeth of Hungary. As a girl, she was placed in a monastery for her education, and when she was 12, she was given to marriage to a duke named Henry. Together, they had seven children.
When her husband succeeded his father, and gained the governance of his region, Hedwig encouraged him to establish a monastery of Cistercian nuns. Together, they founded more monasteries, which helped develop the faith among their people, and also preserved and enhanced their culture. Both Henry and Hedwig founded hospitals, which they took personal interest in.
As their children matured, they gave the couple much trouble. Several bickered bitterly over land rights, even battling one another. Hedwig tried to intervene, but eventually resigned herself and moved to one of the monasteries she had founded. There, she spent her time in the prayer and manual labor of the community, and was known for her austerities that helped her sharpen her will. For example, she would often travel to nearby villages for Mass without wearing shoes, in any kind of weather.
She assisted her husband, urging peace at every opportunity. He fought several major battles, and at one point, Hedwig had to ransom him when he was captured. When Henry died, she permanently joined one of her convents that was led by her daughter, and gave away all of her possessions to the poor.
Even when she was alive, St. Hedwig was given the gift of miracles, and she healed a nun who was blind by making the sign of the cross upon her. Several other miraculous cures are attributed to her. She died on this date in 1243, and is patron saint of brides. Her relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica, and her image is used here with permission from Catholic.org.
St. Hedwig, you are the patron saint of brides who gave away all of your possessions to the poor, pray for us!