Hedwig (Jadwiga) of Silesia
ca 1174 - 12/15.10.1243
and the Dominicans

A brief biography.

 Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia, was born about 1174, at the castle of Andechs, to Berthold IV, Count of Andechs and Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia.
Hedwig was educated at the monastery of Kitzingen, and, according to an old biography, at the age of twelve (1186), was married to Henry I of Silesia (born 1168), who in 1202 succeeded his father Boleslaw as Duke of Silesia.
Henry I was an energetic prince, who greatly extended the boundaries of his duchy, established his authority on a firm basis, and rendered important services to civilization in the realm.
Hedwig took a prominent part in the beneficent administration of her husband. In particular she gave her support to new monastic foundations and assisted those already in existence. It was chiefly through the monasteries that German civilization was spread in Silesia. Among others Hedwig brought the Dominicans to Bunzlau and Breslau, the Franciscans to Goldberg (1212) and later to Krossen. The Templars established a house at Klein-Oels.  Henry was also the founder of the Hospital of the Holy Ghost at Breslau (1214), and Hedwig tended with disinterested charity the leper women in the hospital at Neumarkt.
For some years after her marriage, Hedwig resided with her seven children chiefly at Breslau. On the suggestion of Hedwig, after the birth of this last child, she and her husband led a virgin life (1209), and pronounced a vow of chastity before the Bishop of Breslau. From this time forward Hedwig spent much of her time at the Abbey of Trebnitz, where, on the death of her husband (1238), she took up her permanent abode. She transferred to the abbey her inheritance of Schawoine.
After her husband's death, Hedwig took the grey habit of the Cistercians, but was not received into the order as a religious, that she might retain the right to spend her revenues in charities. Her piety and gentleness won for her even during life the reputation of a saint.
She died at Trebnitz, 12 or 15 October, 1243. She was canonized by Clement IV, 26 March, 1267, and on 25 August of the same year she was beatified; she is honoured as the patroness of Silesia.

There are a cathedral and churches named after Hedwig. So in Berlin.


Philately

"There is a Latin life or legend of St Hedwig which seems to have been compiled towards the close of the thirteenth century by an unknown writer, who claims to have based his narrative in the main upon memoirs provided by a Cistercian, Engelbert of Leubus.
There is a shorter as well as a longer form of the story, which is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. viii, as well as elsewhere. A manuscript copy written in 1353 and preserved at Schlackenwert is of great interest on account of the miniatures with which it is decorated; they have often been reproduced."  Butler's Lives of the Saints, Christian Classics, 1995.

 

 

Germany, Berlin 1963, Mi 1163,Sc 9N206.

Hedwig (1174-15.10.1243), patron saint of the
cathedral in Berlin.

 

In her hand the model of the Saint Hedwig cathedral of Berlin, built after the Pantheon in Rome.

                                                                                Germany (Berlin) 1955, Mi 133, Sc 9NB15.

Miniature of the Schlackenwert's codex, 1353.
Henry and Hedwig endowed munificently the Cistercian monastery of Leubus. Hedwig brought the Dominicans to Bunzlau and Breslau, the Franciscans to Goldberg (1212) and later to Krossen.  
On this stamp: Saint Hedwig of Silesia with a Cistercian, Franciscan, Augustinian and Dominican Father.

Germany 1993, Mi 1701, Sc 1815.

 

 

Poland 1993, Mi 3470, Sc 3176.

 


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