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March 4

Saint Casimir of Poland - March 4

​Saint Casimir of Poland

Prince, “Father of the Poor”

(1461 – 1484)

“His life of purity and prayer beckons you to practice your faith with courage and zeal, to reject the deceptive attractions of modern permissive society, and to live your convictions with fearless confidence and joy.

Saint Pope John Paul II commemorating the 500th anniversary of St Casimir’s death in 1984

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

His Youth 

Casimir Jagiellon was born October 3, 1458 in the Wawel Castle, Kraków, Poland. He was the the third of thirteen children born to Poland’s King Casimir IV and his wife Elizabeth of Austria. the third of thirteen children born to Poland’s King Casimir IV and his wife Elizabeth of Austria. From the age of nine, Casimir and his brother Vladislaus were educated by the Polish priest Jan Długosz. The boys were taught Latin and German, law, history, rhetoric, and classical literature. Długosz was a strict and conservative teacher who emphasized ethics, morality, and religious devotion. 

Holy at a Young Age

Casimir displayed holiness at an early age. In contrast to the other members of the royal court, he was a shining example of faith, piety, humility, and chastity. He had a great love for the Eucharist and for the Blessed Virgin Mary. After his elder brother Vladislaus was elected as King of Bohemia in 1471, Casimir became the heir apparent.

The Teenage King  

Hungarian nobles prevailed upon Casimir’s father to send his 13-year-old son to be their king.  Casimir obeyed and took the crown. Casimir was sent to Hungary at the head of an army, but found that he was outnumbered by forces loyal to the Hungarian king. Accepting the advice of his officers, Casimir decided to return home without seeking battle. His father was very angry, and had Casimir imprisoned for three months. The youth, for his part, decided he would never again become involved in military affairs (and thus Casimir is considered the patron saint of conscientious objectors). 

Learned the Political Ropes

After his return, Casimir resumed his studies with Dlugosz. He developed a canny grasp of politics by observing his father’s rule.   In 1479, his father, the king, left Poland to attend to state business in Lithuania, leaving Prince Casimir in charge of the realm between 1481 and 1483.

In May 1483, Prince Casimir joined his father in Vilnius. There, after the death of Andrzej Oporowski, Bishop and Vice-Chancellor of the Crown, Prince Casimir took over some of his duties in the chancellery. However, his health deteriorated while rumors about his piousness and good deeds spread further. 

Fasted and Prayed

Casimir was a charismatic person, who was noted for his strong sense of justice and for his charity. In an atmosphere of luxury and magnificence Casimir fasted. He wore a hair-shirt and slept upon the bare earth.  Casimir prayed by night and watched for the opening of the church doors at dawn.

“Father of the Poor”

His charity to the poor and afflicted knew no bounds. Casimir consoled the poor with his gracious words. He frequently helped with generous alms. Casimir was known to visit the sick and served them in their needs. He counted it an honor as Casimir saw in the afflicted one the person of Christ Himself. Thus he earned the title, “Father of the Poor.”

Failed Arranged Marriage

Casimir foresaw the hour of his death. He refused the advice of physicians who told him to marry. The doctors suggested that marriage would improve his health and possibly prolong his life. His father tried to arrange his marriage to Kunigunde of Austria, daughter of Emperor Frederick III. Instead, Casimir chose to die a virgin.

His Death in Grondo, Belarus

At the age of 26, Casimir died on March 4, 1484 in Grondo, Grand Duchy of Lithuania (in modern Belarus), a victim of tuberculosis. He was buried with a copy of a Marian hymn he frequently recited. His remains were interred in Vilnius Cathedral, where the dedicated Saint Casimir’s Chapel was built in 1636.  After a lapse of one hundred and twenty years, his body was taken up, and found without the slightest sign of corruption.  While the devotion to St. Casimir is most prevalent in Lithuania and Poland, these devotion can be found in other countries as well.

Beatified:            Unknown

Canonized:         1522 by Pope Adrian VI or 1602 by Pope Clement VIII

Feast Day:          March 4

Patron Saint:     Against the Plague; Bachelors; Kings; Lithuania; Poland; Princes; Single Laymen

Source:

Reflection

Saint Casimir stood up for what he believed in. He would not led his poor treated troops into battle and returned home. His father ridiculed him for this action. 

Do you have the courage to stand up for your beliefs and for the just treatment of others, even when others may look down on you for it? Spend some time with the Lord. Ask him to give you strength and courage in difficult situations.

Source: Adapted from Saint Casimir (1461-1484) | Saint Mary’s Press (smp.org)

Prayers

Saint Casimir, we ask your intercession to aid all leaders of governments, churches, and families to emulate your virtues; to be poor in spirit, just, pure, and faithful. With your aid, may leaders guide those under their authority to love and serve their country and their God with greater fervor.

Saint Casimir of Poland, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Saint Casimir – My Catholic Life!

Saint Links 

Aleteia – This Polish saint chose God over political power

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 4 March – St Casimir (1458-1484)

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. March 4 St. Casimir, Prince of Poland

Catholic Culture – St. Casimir

Catholic Exchange – St. Casimir (Kazimierz)

Catholic Fire – St. Casimir, Prince of Poland and “Father of the Poor”

Catholic Ireland – Mar 4 – St Casimir (1458-84)

Catholic News Agency – St. Casimir of Poland Feast Day: Mar 04

Catholic Online – St. Casimir of Poland

CatholicSaints.info – Saint Casimir of Poland

Franciscan Media – Saint Casimir

My Catholic Life – Saint Casimir, King 1458–1484

New Advent – Abraham, L. (1908). St. Casimir. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saints, Feast, FamilySaint Casimir’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Casimir (1461-1484)

Saint of the Day – March 04 St. Casimir

uCatholic – Saint Casimir

Wikipedia – Saint Casimir

Video Link

St. Casimir – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)