Jadwiga of Poland, St.
JADWIGA OF POLAND, ST.
Duchess of Silesia; b. Andechs, Bavaria, Germany, c. 1174; d. convent of Trzebnica, Wroclaw Province, Poland, Oct. 15, 1243. The daughter of Berthold IV, Count of Andechs, she was educated at the monastery of Kitzingen and (c. 1186) married Henry I, who in 1202 became duke of Silesia. Hedwig played an influential part in governmental administration, displaying prudence, fortitude, and piety, and she strove particularly to keep peace between the nobles within her area of influence. Founding new monasteries and supporting old ones, she introduced the mendicant orders, the franciscans and the domin icans, into her realm. By her encouragement, her husband founded (1202) the first convent for religious women in Silesia, that of the cistercians at Trzebnica. After the birth of their seventh child in 1208, the couple took a vow of chastity before the bishop of Wroclaw. In the war over the possession of Kraków in 1229, Henry I of Silesia defeated Conrad of Masovia but was captured by surprise while at a church service. Hedwig, hastening to the rescue, made such an impression on Conrad that he released her husband after some concessions. After her husband's death (1238), Hedwig retired to the convent at Trzebnica, but did not become a nun so that she could retain her right over her possessions for distribution to charities. She was buried in the church attached to this convent. A woman of piety and gentleness, she practiced mortification and had a rich interior life; she was considered a saint during her lifetime. Pope clement iv canonized her in 1267, and in 1706 her feast was added to the general calendar of the Latin rite. She is honored as the patroness of Silesia.
Feast: Oct. 16 (formerly Oct. 17).
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum Oct. 8:198–270. Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae ct mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 1898–1901; suppl. 1911) 3766–68. Der Hedwigs-Codex von 1353: Sammlung Ludwig, ed. w. braunfels, tr. p. moraw, 2 v. (Berlin 1972). Heilige Hedwig, ed. m. kaczmarek, tr. j. retz (Berlin 1995), papers from the conference "Die heilige Hedwig: die Rolle der Frau in der Kirche im Mittelalter und Heute," Trzebnica, Poland, June 1993. g. bazin, Sainte Hedwige, sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris 1895). e. grunewald and n. gussone, Das Bild der heiligen Hedwig in Mittelalter und Neuzeit (Munich 1996). o. habsburg, Die heilige Hedwig von Schlesien und unsere Zeit (Vienna 1975). w. nigg, Hedwig von Schlesien (Würzburg 1991); Die Heiligen kommen wieder: Leitbilder christl. Existenz (Freiburg im Breisgau 1973). Podreczna encyklopedia Kościelna, v.17 (Warsaw 1909) 261–262. g. pressler, Die Holzschnitte der deutschen Hedwigslegende (Breslau 1504) (Hürtgenwald 1997). É. promnitz, Hedwig die Heilige, Gräfin von Andechs-Diessen (Breslau 1926). a. zahorska, Ilustrowane Żywoty Świetych Polskich (Potulice 1937) 93–102. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige, 4 v. (Metten 1933–38) 3:192–195. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheueux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes, ed. by The Benedictines of Paris, 12 v. (Paris 1935–56) 10:532–537. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 4:124–125. m. brard, Catholicisme 5:559.