Saint Casimir, our Patron, 1458-1484
St. Casimir, the son of the king of Poland and grandson of the emperor of Austria, was born in 1458. His father, also named Casimir, and his mother, Elizabeth, were the parents of thirteen children; ten girls and three boys. From childhood, Casimir enjoyed spending time with the Lord in prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, and in reflection upon the sufferings of Jesus. His inward practice of living in Godís presence showed itself outwardly in his pleasant and peaceful manner.
Casimirís love for God found expression in his love for the poor. He used his royal influence for their welfare and attended to their needs through personal donations. He held a special place in his heart for Mary, the Mother of God. He often repeated the words of the hymn, ďDaily, Daily Sing to MaryĒ as a form of prayer in her honor.
When he was only thirteen years old, Casimirís father placed him at the head of an army, sending him to occupy the throne of Hungary by force. Beset by the desertions of many soldiers who were not receiving their pay and knowing of the large body of troops which the enemy had assembled, Casimir decided to bring the army home. Angered by his sonís decision, Casimirís father refused to allow him to return to Cracow and exiled him to another city for several months.
Upon his return home, Casimir served as secretary of the treasury for the kingdom of Poland, conducted official correspondence for the king and took part in legal proceedings and deliberations in the Congress. When he was twenty-one, Casimir traveled to the town of Lithuania where, for two years, he fulfilled many administrative responsibilities for his father. From 1479-84, he served as viceroy of Poland during his fatherís absence from the capitol.
Despite his royal environment and duties, Casimir maintained a simple way of life characterized by discipline and penance. Seeking to make God his first and only love, Casimir chose not to marry.
Weakened by a chronic lung condition, Casimir fell ill while on a journey during the winter of 1484. On March 4 at the castle of Grodno, he exchanged an earthly crown for a crown of glory as he surrendered himself into the hands of God and entered eternal life. Following reports of miracles at his tomb, Casimir was declared to be a saint in 1521. The Church celebrates his feast day every year on March 4.
A Spiritual Reflection on the Life of St. Casimir
St. Casimir was the son of a king and grandson of an emperor. But he was a man little interested in the arts of kings. Where royalty sought greatness, Casimir preferred humility. Where monarchs waged war to maintain their power, Casimir abandoned a military campaign that might have put him on a throne and brought his army home in peace. Where princes vied for the hands of lovely ladies, Casimir took Mary as the lady of his life and devoted himself to her praise. According to the rule book of kings, Casimir made all the wrong choices. But according to the Gospel Book of the King of Kings, Casimir chose the best. He exchanged the fading glory of a crown of gold for the lasting brightness of a crown of holiness. He made himself lowly on this earth and was raised to the heights of Heaven. His was a life of simplicity and God rewarded him by surrounding him with the splendor of the saints. Our patron saint was a remarkable person. So wise and yet so young Ė only twenty-six when he died. So humble and yet so famous Ė so many churches are named after him today. So saintly and yet so human Ė a boy who found himself at odds with his father and who suffered from chronic illness. St. Casimir, you are one of us and we claim you as our own. St. Casimir, pray for us and help us to be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer to Our Patron Saint
St. Casimir, patron of our parish, we turn to you. We ask you to awaken in us a deep love and respect for Jesus Christ, present in the Holy Eucharist. Grant us the wisdom to turn to the Mother of God in time of need. Give us compassion for those who suffer and make our hearts peaceful that we might never cause suffering to another. Help us to be faithful to our calling in life and guide those who are searching to find the calling God has chosen for them. Pray for us, St. Casimir, that we may live well here on Earth and one day live gloriously in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.