Saint Kinga of Poland
(also known as Cunegunda, Kunigunda, Kunegunda, Cunegundes, Kioga, Zinga; Polish: Święta Kinga, Hungarian: Szent Kinga)
Poor Clare and patroness of Poland and Lithuania; born in 1224; died 24 July, 1292, at Sandeck, Poland.
She was the daughter of King Bela IV and niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and from her infancy it pleased God to give tokens of the eminent sanctity to which she was later to attain. With extreme reluctance she consented to her marriage with Boleslaus II, Duke of Cracow and Sandomir, who afterwards became King of Poland (Bolesław V the Chaste). Not long after their marriage, the pious couple made a vow of perpetual chastity in the presence of the Bishop of Cracow; and Cunegundes, amidst the splendour and pomp of the royal household, gave herself up to the practice of the severest austerities. She often visited the poor and the sick in the hospitals, and cared even for the lepers with a charity scarcely less than heroic.
In 1279, King Boleslaus died, and Kinga, despite the entreaties of her people that she should take in hand the government of the kingdom, sold all her earthly possessions for the relief of the poor and entered the monastery of the Poor Clares at Sandeck. The remaining thirteen years of her life she spent in prayer and penance, edifying her fellow religious by her numerous virtues, especially by her heroic humility. She never permitted anyone to refer to the fact that she had once been a queen and was foundress of the community at Sandeck.
Pope Alexander VIII beatified Kinga in 1690. In 1695 she was made chief patroness of Poland and Lithuania. On June 16, 1999 she was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
(cfr. Catholic Encyclopedia: Bl. Cunegundes)
Nobility.org Editorial comment:
Saint Kinga is one more magnificent example of the many saintly kings and queens of the Middle Ages.
These holy sovereigns understood their temporal duties and fulfilled them to perfection and labored without respite for the common good of their peoples.
At the death of her husband, St. Kinga became a Poor Clare. Her famous aunt, St. Elizabeth ofHungary, had become a Third Order Franciscan. How different her times are to ours today.