To whom much has been given...

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 29th week of Ordinary Time - Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Luke 12, 39-48 - Watch, be ready: it is at the hour when you will not think of it that the Son of Man will come.

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16 October - Silesian Hedwig, in Polish: Jadwiga Śląska, born in 1174 in Andechs in Bavaria as Hedwig of Andechs is the daughter of Berthold IV, Count of Andechs, Duke of Merania, and his wife Agnes of Wettin.

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Hedwig's sister Gertrude of Merania married Andrew II, the future king of Hungary; from this marriage was born St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Her sister Agnes married Philip II Augustus, King of France. Her sister Mechtilde, became abbess in Kitzingen.

Hedwig was brought up in the Benedictine abbey in Kitzingen. In 1186, at the age of twelve, she married Henry I the Bearded, Duke of Silesia, who became Duke of Krakow and Prince of all Poland in 1232. From the marriage of Hedwig and Henry came seven children, including the eldest son Henry II the Pious, who succeeded his father but was killed at the battle of Legnica against the Mongol invaders in 1241.

Hedwig and her husband lived in a very pious way and they encouraged the spread of the Christian faith. The duchess had an exemplary life, helping the needy, walking barefoot in all seasons, distributing her fortune to the Church and the poor. One of the first Polish Dominican priests named Ceslas was her spiritual guide. After the death of her husband in 1238, Hedwig retired to the Cistercian abbey in Trzebnica, whose abbess was her daughter Gertrude, founded by her in 1202. It was above all the experience of pain following the death of her son Henry II, which led her to found an abbey on the battlefield of Legnickie Pole (Wahlstatt) together with her widow Anne of Bohemia.

She died there in October 1243 and was buried there. Some of her relics are kept at Andechs Abbey founded in 1455 and at St. Edward's Cathedral in Berlin. Hedwig was canonised in 1267 by Pope Clement IV. She is the patron saint of St. Edward's Cathedral in Berlin, of Silesia and its capital Wrocław the former Breslau, of Trzebnica (Trebnitz), of the diocese and city of Görlitz/Zgorzelec, of Andechs and Krakow.