Feast Day: March 4
Patron of: Poland, homeland of our Pope! Also Lithuania.
Symbol: Lily (for purity)
Saint Casimir was born Prince Casimir on October 5, 1458. He was the third child of thirteen children in the family of King Casimir III of Poland. His mother was named Elizabeth, she was a princess of Austria.
Even when Casimir was a young boy, he preferred prayer and good works to the luxury and comfort of the court life. He practiced many mortifications in secret. A mortification is something you do to make yourself a little bit uncomfortable all the time. It helps to remind you to be aware of God, to pray all the time, and offer the discomfort to God for the suffering of souls.
Casimir was educated by John Dugloss, a holy man called the Canon of Cracow. He was also very good friends with John, and asked his advice on many things. He was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin, and sang a hymn to Mary so often it became known as the 'Hymn of Saint Casimir.' Some people say that he composed the hymn himself.
When Saint Casimir was almost fifteen years old, his father ordered him to lead an army into Hungary. The people there were dissatified with their king and had asked King Casimir III for Saint Casimir to become their king. Casimir didn't want to go, but in obedience to his king and father, he went to Hungary.
By the time he got there, the people of Hungary had settled their disagreements with their king, Matthias. King Casimir wanted Saint Casimir to take over Hungary anyway, but the saint refused to replace a lawful monarch. He returned to Poland and went to the castle of Dobzki, where he stayed for the rest of his life, praying, fasting, and helping the poor.
Casimir died in 1482 , of tuberculosis when he was 24 years old, having spend his life serving a King higher than his father.
What would you do if your King (or President) ordered you to do something you didn't want to do? What if you thought it might be the wrong thing to do? Many people have faced these dilemmas, and solved them in different ways. Even right now, with another war in the Gulf area a possibility, people are talking and thinking about this problem.
Saint Casimir solved it this way. He was the third child of the thirteen children of King Casimir III of Poland. As he grew up, and under the tutoring of the Canon of Cracow, John Dugloss, Casimir was devout in his faith. His love for Jesus Christ was expressed in many private mortifications, and his concern for the poor of his country.
When Casimir was only fourteen years old, and already well educated in both his faith, and the responsibilities of royalty, when his father ordered him to lead an army to Hungary. The nobles of Hungary were dissatisfied with their King, Matthias and had petitioned King Casimir III to send them Saint Casimir for the throne of Hungary. Unwilling but obedient, Casimir lead an army of 20,000 men to the borders of Hungary.
There, he learned that not only had the nobles of Hungary settled their differences with King Matthias, but the the King had formed an army which was marching to defend the borders. It was no longer lawful for Saint Casimir to attempt to take the throne of Hungary, so he returned to Poland.
King Casimir was displeased with his son and ordered him to return to Hungary. Saint Casimir refused, and instead, went into seclusion in the castle of Dobzki. He remained there for the rest of his life, in spite of his father's requests and orders. Having nearly committed an unjust and improper act in obedience to his father once, Saint Casimir was determined not to do so again.
He returned to his practices of piety and good works, sanctifying himself and drawing closer to God. He devoted his chastity to the Lord, and refused to marry. He foretold the hour of his death and died happy to obey His Lord on the 4th of March, 1482 at the age of 24 years. He is buried in the church of Saint Stanislaus. Saint Casimir is the patron of Poland and an example of purity to youth.
Saint Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland and Elizabeth of Austria. From his childhood, he was remarkably pious and devout. His tutor and spiritual advisor was John Duglass, known as Longinus, Canon of Cracow; and holy man of great learning. Casimir and his brothers were extremely fond of their teacher and begged him never to leave them for any other position.
Casimir gained the most from John Dugloss's example and teaching. He consecrated his purity and youth to study and devotion to the Lord, and practiced many mortifications and prayerful acts. This, in part, was out of a distaste for the softness and excesses of court life. His love for Jesus Christ was shown most prominently in his concern for the poor. He gave them all he had and frequently he turned to his brother and father for additional aid and support.
The Palantines and other nobles of Hungary approached King Casimir in 1471, to allow them to place young Casimir on their throne. The saint was very unwilling to comply with his father's orders. But in obedience to his father and King, he marched at the head of an army of 20,000 men to the borders of Hungary. There, hearing that Matthias had formed an army to defend himself, and had settled his dispute with the nobles of Hungary, Casimir joyfully set out to return to Poland.
However, since abandoning this project was in direct contradiction to his father's orders, Casimir did not return to Cracow, but instead went to the castle of Dobzki, three miles away. He stayed there for three months in penance. Having realised the injustice of the attempts against the King of Hungary that his obedience to his father's command had placed him, he could never again be persuaded or convinced to resume it.
He lived for some twelve years after this, sanctifying himself in the same manner as before. He was chaste to the end of his life, refusing the advice of physicians who advised him to marry, suggesting that this would improve his health and possibly prolong his life. Suffering for years from tuberculosis, he foretold his last hour and died at Vilna, the capital of Luthuanian on the 4th of March, 1482.
He was buried in the church of Saint Stanislaus, and is the patron of Poland. Saint Casimir is also presented to youth as an example of purity and piety.
Hymn of Saint Casimir: I have been unable to find the lyrics to this hymn which is titled in English, 'Daily, Daily Sing to Mary'. If anyone knows them please send them our way and I'll post them with this article.
'Mike Gent'responded: I was just looking through older "issues" when I noticed the piece on Saint Casimir. In case someone hasn't already responded, here is the prayer attributed to him:
Mea laudes anima:
Rough English translation:
Sing to Mary
Sing, my soul, her praises due!
All her feasts,
Her actions worship
With heart's devotion true.
According to Pius Parsch's "Year of Grace", Vol. 2, a copy of this prayer was found beneath the right temple of the incorrupt body of the saint when his grave was opened. It seems the hymn was not written by Saint Casimir, however.
Prayer: Almightly God, to serve You is to reign. By the interceeding prayers of Saint Casimir help us ever to serve You in sanctity and justice. Amen.