St. Hyacinth: Apostle of Poland
The saint of the day for August 17 is St. Hyacinth, a Dominican missionary, known as “the Apostle of Poland.”
Born in Oppeln, Poland, he studied at Krakow, Prague, and Bologna and received the title of Doctor of Law and Divinity. Accompanying his uncle, Bishop Ivo Konski of Krakow, to Rome, he there met Saint Dominic and was among the first to be enrolled in the new Order of Friars Minor. He received the Dominican habit in 1220 from St. Dominic.
Hyacinth founded communities in Sandomir, Kracow, and at Plocko on the Vistula in Moravia. He extended his missionary work through Prussia, Pomerania, and Lithuania; then crossing the Baltic Sea he preached in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Russia, reaching the shores of the Black Sea.
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.
He died in Krakow, Poland, on August 15, 1257, and was canonized in 1594. St. Hyacinth is the patron of Poland.