Saint of the Day: St. Hyacinth, Confessor, “Apostle of the North”
Bishop Ivo was a broad-minded man whose strong personality and powerful position in the church, greatly influenced the spiritual path which Hyacinth decided to follow. He appointed Hyacinth a canon of the cathedral and sent him to Paris and Bologna to study theology and canon law.
Bishop Ivo journeyed to Rome accompanied by Hyacinth, where they met Dominic, founder of the order which would later be named after him. Bishop Ivo asked Dominic to send some friars to Poland. Since none were available, Dominic invited the Poles to join the order in Rome and promised to send them back to Poland. Thus, Hyacinth, along with a few other Poles, entered the novitiate in Rome and was ordained to the priesthood at the age of twenty.
After his profession, he was appointed head of the band of missionary preachers sent into Poland. There he established numerous communities and preached in Prussia, Pomerania, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Lower Russia.
Hyacinth was never provincial nor even a prior. He focused on the challenges facing the Polish Dominicans: the internal and external mission. Paramount was the necessity to deepen the Christian faith, still very superficial in many parts of Polish society.
Tradition has it that during an attack on a monastery, Hyacinth managed to save a crucifix and statue of Mary, though the statue weighed far more than he could normally have lifted; the saint is usually shown holding these two items.
Hyacinth died on August 15, 1257, the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. He was buried in the Dominican church in Krakow.
On April 17, 1594, pope Clement VIII canonized Hyacinth. This fact contributed to the growth of the veneration of Saint Hyacinth, which is most vivid at his tomb in Krakow and in Silesia, his place of birth. St. Hyacinth is credited with many miracles.
Saint Hyacinth is venerated not only in Poland but also in the rest of Europe, the Americas and Asia. The feast day of Saint Hyacinth is August 17. Saint Hyacinth is the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Krakow.
Image source: Roman Miscellany