dimanche 4 mars 2012

Saint CASIMIR, prince et confesseur


Saint Casimir
Il est le deuxième des treize enfants du roi de Pologne, Kazimierz Jagellon le Grand. Il a treize ans quand son père lui commande d'aller ceindre la couronne de Hongrie. Mais il devra livrer bataille. Casimir refuse une couronne qu'il lui faudra conquérir dans un bain de sang chrétien. "J'ai en vue, écrit-il alors, une union de la Hongrie avec la Pologne, mais pas une guerre fratricide". Régent de Pologne en l'absence de son père, prince intelligent et généreux, il accomplit ses fonctions avec conscience et justice. Atteint de tuberculose pulmonaire, il refuse les moyens qu'on lui propose pour sauver sa vie. Il avait fait vœu de chasteté. Au milieu d'une cour luxueuse, il sut garder un grand amour des pauvres et de la pauvreté grâce à une vie de prière intense. Il mourut en 1484.
SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/03/04/5445/-/saint-casimir

SAINT CASIMIR

Prince de Pologne

(1458-1483)

Saint Casimir nous apprend par sa vie comment l'éclat de la chasteté peut s'allier avec celui des grandeurs humaines. Dès sa jeunesse, il eut soin de fuir les faux attraits du monde, son plaisir le plus doux était de passer plusieurs heures de suite au pied des autels et de faire la cour à Jésus-Christ, le Roi des rois. Il macérait son corps frêle et délicat par les jeûnes et les disciplines, et souvent il passait les nuits entières sur la terre dure, quelquefois même à la porte des églises, où il priait, le visage contre terre.

La dévotion tendre de Casimir pour Jésus Crucifié lui faisait verser d'abondantes larmes à la seule vue d'un Crucifix. Quand il assistait au saint Sacrifice de la Messe, il n'était pas rare de le voir transporté hors de lui-même au moment où la céleste Victime descendait du Ciel entre les mains du prêtre.

Parmi ses vertus, on en loue deux avant toutes les autres: sa charité et sa pureté. Il ne parlait jamais des défauts du prochain. Il avait des paroles enflammées quand il s'entretenait sur la beauté de l'innocence: "Quelle belle vie, s'écriait-il, que celle de l'état de grâce! C'est la vie des anges et des bienheureux dans le Ciel !"

Sa vue seule inspirait la chasteté à ceux qui avaient occasion de converser avec lui. La sauvegarde d'une vertu si extraordinaire était une dévotion peu commune à la Sainte Vierge. Il ne L'appelait que sa bonne Mère, n'en parlait qu'avec tendresse et dans les termes les plus capables d'inspirer aux autres son ardent amour. Il a exprimé les pieux sentiments qui débordaient de son âme pour Marie dans une hymne célèbre qui commence ainsi: "Chaque jour, ô mon âme, rends tes hommages à Marie; célèbre dévotement Ses fêtes et chante Ses vertus." Non content de réciter tous les jours cette hymne, il voulut encore être enterré avec elle, et on la trouva, cent vingt ans après sa mort, dans son tombeau.

Son dévouement pour les pauvres et les malheureux était si grand, qu'il reçut le surnom de Père et défenseur des pauvres et des misérables. A ceux qui lui reprochaient de descendre au-dessous de son rang dans les soins qu'il donnait aux indigents, il répondait: "N'est-ce pas un honneur que de servir Jésus-Christ dans Ses membres?"

Casimir reçut révélation du jour et de l'heure de sa mort, qui arriva le 4 mars 1483. Le pieux prince avait vingt-cinq ans à peine; mais, dans sa courte carrière, il fit plus de bien à son peuple, par l'exemple de ses vertus, que des hommes célèbres pendant un long règne. La sainteté est plus féconde que le génie.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_casimir.html


St Casimir, confesseur

Mort à Vilna en 1484, son inscription au martyrologe en 1584 lui tint lieu de canonisation par équipollence. Le pape Paul V introduisit sa fête au calendrier en 1621.

Leçons des Matines avant 1960

Quatrième leçon. Casimir, fils de Casimir, roi de Pologne, et d’Élisabeth d’Autriche, instruit dès son enfance par d’excellents maîtres dans la piété et les belles lettres, domptait ses jeunes membres par un rude cilice et les affaiblissait par des jeûnes assidus. Dédaignant la mollesse d’un lit royal, il couchait sur la dure, et s’en allait secrètement, au milieu de la nuit, implorer, prosterné contre terre devant les portes des églises, la divine miséricorde. La passion de Jésus-Christ était l’objet continuel de ses méditations, et lorsqu’il assistait à la sainte Messe, son esprit était d’ordinaire tellement élevé en Dieu, qu’il semblait ravi hors de lui même.

Cinquième leçon. Il s’appliqua avec soin à promouvoir la foi catholique, et à abolir le schisme des Ruthènes ; c’est pourquoi il porta le roi Casimir, son père, à défendre par une loi, aux schismatiques, de bâtir de nouvelles églises, et de réparer les anciennes qui tombaient en ruines. Bienfaisant et miséricordieux envers les pauvres et les malheureux, il s’acquit le nom de père et de protecteur des indigents. Sur la fin de sa vie, il prouva courageusement son amour pour la virginité, qu’il avait conservée intacte depuis son enfance, quand, dans une grave maladie, il résolut fermement de mourir plutôt que de rien faire contre la chasteté.

Sixième leçon. Consumé en peu de temps, plein de vertus et de mérites, après avoir prédit le jour de sa mort, il rendit son âme à Dieu, entouré de Prêtres et de religieux, en la vingt-cinquième année de son âge. Son corps, transporté à Vilna, devint célèbre par beaucoup de miracles. En effet, non seulement on vit à son tombeau une jeune fille morte revenir à la vie, des aveugles recouvrer la vue, des boiteux être guéris, et de nombreux malades retrouver la santé mais ii apparut dans les airs à une armée lithuanienne effrayée de son petit nombre, au moment de l’invasion inopinée d’un ennemi puissant, et il lui fit remporter une victoire insigne. Déterminé par ces merveilles, Léon X inscrivit Casimir au nombre des Saints.



Dom Guéranger, l’Année Liturgique

C’est du sein même d’une cour mondaine que l’exemple des plus héroïques vertus nous est offert aujourd’hui. Casimir est prince de sang royal ; toutes les séductions de la jeunesse et du luxe l’environnent ; cependant, il triomphe des pièges du monde avec la même aisance que le ferait un Ange exilé sur la terre. Profitons d’un tel spectacle ; et si, dans une condition bien inférieure à celle où la divine Providence avait placé ce jeune prince, nous avons sacrifié à l’idole du siècle, brisons ce que nous avons adoré, et rentrons au service du Maître souverain qui seul a droit à nos hommages. Une vertu sublime, dans les conditions inférieures de la société, nous semble quelquefois trouver son explication dans l’absence des tentations, dans le besoin de chercher au ciel un appui contre une fortune inexorable : comme si, dans tous les états, l’homme ne portait pas en lui des instincts qui, s’ils ne sont combattus, l’entraînent à la dépravation. En Casimir, la force chrétienne paraît avec une énergie qui montre que sa source n’est pas sur la terre, mais en Dieu. C’est là qu’il faut aller puiser, dans ce temps de régénération. Un jour, Casimir préféra la mort au péché. Fit-il autre chose, dans cette circonstance, que ce qui est exigé du chrétien, à toute heure de sa vie ? Mais tel est l’attrait aveugle du présent, que sans cesse on voit les hommes se livrer au péché qui est la mort de l’âme, non pas même pour sauver cette vie périssable, mais pour la plus légère satisfaction, quelquefois contre l’intérêt même de ce monde auquel ils sacrifient tout le reste. Tel est l’aveuglement que la dégradation originelle a produit en nous. Les exemples des saints nous sont offerts comme un flambeau qui doit nous éclairer : usons de cette salutaire lumière, et comptons, pour nous relever, sur les mérites et l’intercession de ces amis de Dieu qui, du haut du ciel, considèrent notre dangereux état avec une si tendre compassion.

Reposez maintenant au sein des félicités éternelles, ô Casimir, vous que les grandeurs de la terre et toutes les délices des cours n’ont pu distraire du grand objet qui avait ravi votre cœur. Votre vie a été courte en durée, mais féconde en mérites. Plein du souvenir d’une meilleure patrie, celle d’ici-bas n’a pu attirer vos regards ; il vous tardait de vous envoler vers Dieu, qui sembla n’avoir fait que vous prêter à la terre. Votre innocente vie ne fut point exempte des rigueurs de la pénitence : tant était vive en vous la crainte de succomber aux attraits des sens ! Faites-nous comprendre le besoin que nous avons d’expier les péchés qui nous ont séparés de Dieu. Vous préférâtes mourir plutôt que d’offenser Dieu ; détachez-nous du péché, qui est le plus grand mal de l’homme, parce qu’il est en même temps le mal de Dieu. Assurez en nous les fruits de ce saint temps qui nous est accordé pour faire enfin pénitence. Du sein de la gloire où vous régnez, bénissez la chrétienté qui vous honore ; mais souvenez-vous surtout de votre patrie terrestre. Autrefois, elle eut l’honneur d’être un boulevard assuré pour l’Église contre le schisme, l’hérésie et l’infidélité ; allégez ses maux, délivrez-la du joug, et, rallumant en son sein l’antique zèle de la foi, préservez-la des séductions dont elle est menacée.


Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

La fête de ce lis embaumé de virginale pureté, au milieu même des frivolités d’une cour royale (+ 1483), fut instituée par Paul V.

La messe est celle du Commun des Confesseurs Os iusti, mais la première collecte est propre. En voici le texte : « O Dieu qui, au milieu des délices royales et des séductions du monde, avez fortifié par la vertu de constance le bienheureux Casimir, accordez à vos fidèles, par son intercession, de mépriser les choses terrestres et d’aspirer toujours davantage aux biens célestes. »

La fête des saints rois et des puissants de cette terre a un prix et une beauté qui leur sont propres, car plus difficile est la pratique de la perfection chrétienne en un pareil état, c’est-à-dire au milieu des séductions des richesses et de la gloire, plus est glorieuse la victoire que le Christ remporte par ses fidèles serviteurs, rois des hommes, mais serviteurs de Jésus.


Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

Il aurait pu pécher et ne pécha pas.

Saint Casimir : Jour de mort : 4 mars 1484. — Tombeau : à Vilna, en Pologne. Image : On le représente avec une couronne et un sceptre à ses pieds, un lis à la main. Vie : Saint Casimir, prince de Pologne, roi élu de Hongrie, naquit en 1458 et mourut le 4 mars 1484, à peine âgé de 25 ans. Il se distingua par sa pureté virginale et sa charité pour les pauvres. Il est le patron de la Pologne et offre à la jeunesse un modèle parfait de pureté. Il avait une grande dévotion pour la Mère de Dieu. Il composa en son honneur l’hymne si délicat et si charmant : « Omni die ». Quand on ouvrit son tombeau (1604), on en trouva une copie sous sa tempe droite ; son corps était demeuré intact.

Pratique : Un jeune prince au milieu des plaisirs de la cour et des attraits du monde et, cependant, plein de mépris pour le monde et d’une pureté sans tache, quelle prédication pour nous qui sommes encore attachés à la terre !


Saint Casimir

Saint Casimir, prince de la dynastie des Jagellons, troisième enfant et second fils des treize enfants du roi Casimir IV de Pologne (1427 + 1492)[1] et d'Elisabeth d'Autriche, naquit le 3 octobre 1458, à Cracovie. Pieusement élevé par sa mère, il fut formé par les leçons du chanoine Jean Dugloss, futur archevêque de Lemberg, et de l'humaniste Philippe Bonacorsi (Callimaque). Dévot à la sainte Vierge, méditant les mystères de la Passion, le prince Casimir se tenait constamment dans l'exercice de la présence de Dieu et, inviolablement attaché à la chasteté, domptait ses passions par une vie d'austères mortifications.

En 1471, il accepta, pour complaire à son père, son élection au trône de Hongrie[2]. Or, à peine touchait-il les frontières de Hongrie, qu'il se retira parce qu'il avait appris, outre que le pape Sixte IV désapprouvait l'entreprise, que le plus grande partie du peuple hongrois était favorable au roi Matthias. Ses troupes furent battues en Slovaquie (1472) et il retourna en Pologne. Il se retira trois mois dans le château de Cobzki pour expier l'injustice de l'expédition. Puisque son frère Wladislas était roi de Bohême, il semblait que Casimir serait roi de Pologne où il prit part au gouvernement qu'il administra sagement pendant que son père s'assurait la Lituanie destinée au cadet Jean-Albert (1479-1483). Le prince Casimir refusa d'épouser la fille de l'empereur Frédéric III (1481). De mœurs très pures, habitué à la mortification, il était vivement attaché à la chasteté et puisait sa force et sa joie dans l'adoration du Saint-Sacrement et la dévotion à la Vierge Marie.

Atteint de tuberculose pulmonaire, il rejoignit ses parents en Lituanie où il mourut, à Grodno, le 4 mars 1484. Son corps fut porté dans la chapelle Notre-Dame, en l’église cathédrale de Vilna, capitale de son duché de Lithuanie. Saint Casimir laissa le souvenir d'un jeune prince intelligent et généreux, toujours joyeux, dévoué aux affaires publiques et aux pauvres, en même temps que, par-dessus tout d'un homme de prière et de renoncement. Lorsqu’en 1604, on ouvrit son tombeau pour sa translation dans l’église que Sigismond III venait d’élever sous son vocable, on trouva son corps frais et entier qui, entre ses mains tenait cette hymne à la Sainte Vierge :

Chaque jour, ô mon âme, rends tes hommages à Marie, solemnise ses fêtes et célèbre ses vertus éclatantes ;

Contemple et admire son élévation ; proclame son bonheur et comme Mère et comme Vierge ;

Honore-là afin qu’elle te délivre du poids de tes péchés ; invoque-là afin de ne pas être entraîné par le torrent des passions ;

Je le sais, personne ne peut honorer dignement Marie ; il est insensé pourtant celui qui se tait sur ses louanges ;

Tous les hommes doivent l’exalter et l’aimer spécialement, et jamais nous ne devons cesser de la vénérer et de la prier ;

O Marie, l’honneur et la gloire de toutes les femmes, vous que Dieu a élevée au-dessus de toutes les créatures ;

O Vierge miséricordieuse, exaucez les vœux de ceux qui ne cessent de vous louer ;

Purifiez les coupables et rendez-les dignes de tous les biens célestes ;

Salut, ô Vierge sainte, vous par qui les portes du ciel ont été ouvertes à des misérables, vous que les ruses de l’ancien serpent n’ont jamais séduite ;

Vous, la réparatrice, la consolatrice des âmes au désespoir, préservez-nous des maux qui fondront sur les méchants ;

Demandez pour moi que je jouisse d’une paix éternelle, et que je n’aie pas le malheur d’être en proie aux flammes de l’étang de feu ;

Demandez que je sois chaste et modeste, doux, bon, sobre, pieux, prudent, droit et ennemi du mensonge ;

Obtenez-moi la mansuétude et l’amour de la concorde et de la pureté ; rendez-moi ferme et constant dans la voie du bien.


[1] Issu du quatrième mariage de Wladislas Jagellon, il fut envoyé en Lithuanie pour y représenter son frère Wladislas, alors roi de Pologne, (1440) et les seigneurs lithuaniens le proclamèrent grand prince indépendant de leur pays. Quand le roi Wladislas eut péri à la bataille de Varna (1444), Casimir fut appelé au trône de Pologne.

[2] A la mort de l’empereur Sigismond, son gendre, Albert de Habsbourg, fut reconnu comme roi de Hongrie et fut accepté par la majorité (1438) tandis que la minorité élisait Casimir Jagellon, mais les troupes polonaises durent battre en retraite. A la mort d’Albert II de Habsbourg, le roi de Pologne, Wlasdislas III, fut élu roi de Hongrie (1440) tandis que la Bohême élisait Lasdislas le Posthume, fils d’Albert qui, après la mort de Wladislas III fut aussi roi de de Hongrie, mais mourut sans postérité (1458). La Hongrie élut Mathias Corvin et la Bohême élut Georges de Podiebrady. Or, Casimir IV Jagellon avait épousé Elisabeth de Habsbourg, fille d’Albert II, qui lui avait apporté ses droits héréditaires aux couronnes de Hongrie et de Bohême. Casimir IV refusa de prendre le parti de Mathias Corvin contre Georges de Podiebrady qui lui offrit sa succession pour son fils Wladislas lequel fut élu (1471). Les opposants à Mathias Corvin offrirent la couronne de Hongrie au second fils de Casimir IV.


Saint Casimir

Fils de Casimir IV de Pologne (✝ 1484)

Il est le deuxième des treize enfants du Grand-Duc de Lituanie, devenu roi de Pologne, Kazimierz Jagellon le Grand. Il a treize ans quand son père lui commande d'aller ceindre la couronne de Hongrie. Mais il devra livrer bataille. Casimir refuse une couronne qu'il lui faudra conquérir dans un bain de sang chrétien. "J'ai en vue", écrit-il alors, "une union de la Hongrie avec la Pologne, mais pas une guerre fratricide". Régent de Pologne en l'absence de son père, prince intelligent et généreux, il accomplit ses fonctions avec conscience et justice. Atteint de tuberculose pulmonaire, il refuse les moyens qu'on lui propose pour sauver sa vie. Il avait fait voeu de chasteté et ses médecins lui proposaient de l'abandonner comme étant le meilleur moyen de guérir: "Plutôt mourir que de commettre le péché." Au milieu d'une cour luxueuse, il sut garder un grand amour des pauvres et de la pauvreté grâce à une vie de prière intense. Il est le patron de la Lituanie, mais la Pologne ne l'oublie pas dans ses prières.

Mémoire de saint Casimir, fils du roi de Pologne, prince que le zèle pour la foi, la chasteté, la pénitence, la bonté envers les pauvres et la dévotion envers l’Eucharistie et la Vierge Marie ont rendu célèbre. Atteint de phtisie, il mourut saintement, à l’âge de vingt-six ans, au château de Grodno, à Vilnius en Lituanie, l’an 1484.

Martyrologe romain

Le prince royal ne peut rien faire de plus noble que de servir le Christ caché dans les pauvres. En ce qui me concerne, je ne veux que servir les plus pauvres d’entre les pauvres.

Saint Casimir en réponse à l’un de ses interlocuteurs



St. Casimir

Prince of Poland, born in the royal palace at Cracow, 3 October, 1458; died at the court of Grodno, 4 March, 1484. He was the grandson of Wladislaus II Jagiello, King of Poland, who introduced Christianity intoLithuania, and the second son of King Casimir IV and Queen Elizabeth, an Austrian princess, the daughter ofAlbert II, Emperor of Germany and King of Bohemia and Hungary. Casimir's uncle, Wladislaus III, King ofPoland and Hungary, perished at Varna in 1444, defending Christianity against the Turks. Casimir's elder brother, Wladislaus, became King of Bohemia in 1471, and King of Hungary in 1490. Of his four younger brothers, John I, Albert, Alexander, and Sigismund in turn occupied the Polish throne, while Frederick, the youngest, became Archbishop of Gnesen, Bishop of Cracow, and finally cardinal, in 1493. The early training of the young princes was entrusted to Father Dlugosz, the Polish historian, a canon at Cracow, and laterArchbishop of Lwów (Lemberg), and to Filippo Buonaccorsi, called Callimachus. Father Dlugosz was a deeplyreligious man, a loyal patriot, and like Callimachus, well versed in statecraft. Casimir was placed in the care of this scholar at the age nine, and even then he was remarkable for his ardent piety. When Casimir was thirteen he was offered the throne of Hungary by a Hungarian faction who were discontented under King Matthias Corvinus. Eager to defend the Cross against the Turks, he accepted the call and went to Hungary to receive the crown. He was unsuccessful, however, and returned a fugitive to Poland. The young prince again became a pupil of Father Dlugosz, under whom he remained until 1475. He was later associated with his father who initiated him so well into public affairs that after his elder brother, Wladislaus, ascended to the Bohemianthrone, Casimir became heir-apparent to the throne of Poland. When in 1479 the king went to Lithuania to spend five years arranging affairs there, Casimir was placed in charge of Poland, and from 1481 to 1483 administered the State with great prudence and justice. About this time his father tried to arrange for him amarriage with the daughter of Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, but Casimir preferred to remain single. Shortly afterwards he fell victim to a severe attack of lung trouble, which, weak as he was from fastings andmortifications, he could not withstand. While on a journey to Lithuania, he died at the court of Grodno, 4 March 1484. His remains were interred in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the cathedral of Vilna.


St. Casimir was possessed of great charms of person and character, and was noted particularly for his justiceand chastity. Often at night he would kneel for hours before the locked doors of churches, regardless of the hour or the inclemency of the weather. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and the hymn of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "Omni die dic Marix mea laudes anima", was long attributed to him. After his death he was venerated as a saint, because of the miracles wrought by him. Sigismund I, King of Poland, petitioned thepope for Casimir's canonization, and Pope Leo X appointed the papal legate Zaccaria Ferreri, Bishop ofGuardalfiera, the Archbishop of Gnesen, and the Bishop of Przemysl to investigate the life and miracles of Casimir. This inquiry was completed at Turn in 1520, and in 1522 Casimir was canonized by Adrian VI. Pope Clement VIII named 4 March as his feast. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland Lithuania, though he is honouredas far as Belgiumand Naples. In Poland and Lithuania churches and chapels are dedicated to him, as at Rozana and on the River Dzwina near Potocka, where he is said to have contributed miraculously to a victory of thePolish army over the Russians. In the beginning of the seventeenth century King Sigismund III began at Vilnathe erection of a chapel in honour of St. Casimir, which was finished under King Wladislaus IV. The building was designed by Peter Danckerts, of the Netherlands, who also adorned the walls with paintings illustrating the life of the saint. In this chapel is found an old painting renovated in 1594, representing the saint with a lily in his hand. Two other pictures of the saint are preserved, one in his life by Ferreri, and the other in thechurch at Krosno in Galicia.

Sources

POTTHAST, Biblotheca historica medii ævi, Wegweiser (2nd ed.), 1236; CHEVALIER, Bio-bibl., s.v.; ESTREICHER, Bibliografia poloka (Cracow, 1903), XIX, 210-12; PRILESZKY, Acta sanctorum Hungariæ (Tyrnau, 1743), I, 121-32; FERRERI, Vita beati Casimiri confessoris ex serenissimis Poloniæ regibus (Cracow, 1521) in Acta SS., March, I, 347-51; ST. GREGORY, Miracula S. Casimiri in Acta SS., March, I, 351-57; IDEM, S. Casimiri theatrum seu ipsius prosapia, vita, miracula (Vilna, 1604); CIATI, La santità prodigiosa di S. Casimiro (Luccoa, 16..); Officium S. Casimiri confessoris M. D. Lithuaniæ patrini (Vilna, 1638); COLLE, Compendio della vita di S. Casimiro (Palermo, 1650); TYSZKIEWICZ, Królewska droga do nisba albo zycie sw. Kazimierza (Warsaw, 1752); Sw. Kazimier, in Przyjaeiel ludu (Lissa, 1846), XIII; PEKALSKI, Zywoty sw. Patronów polskich (Cracow, 1866); PRZEZDZIECKI, Oraison de saint Casimir à la très sainte Vierge (Cracow, 1866); LESZEK, Zywot sw. Kazimierza Jagiellonczyka (Cracow, 1818); PALLAN, Sw. Kazimierz (Tarnów, 1893); PAPÉE, Swiety Kazimierz królewicz polski (Lemberg, 1902); PAPÉE, Studya i szkice z czasów Kazimierza Jagiellonczyka (Warsaw, 1907), 141-54.

Abraham, Ladislas. "St. Casimir." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 4 Mar. 2017 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03402a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Christine J. Murray.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.


Casimir, born of kings and in line (third among 13 children) to be a king himself, was filled with exceptional values and learning by a great teacher, John Dlugosz. Even his critics could not say that his conscientious objection indicated softness. Even as a teenager, Casimir lived a highly disciplined, even severe life, sleeping on the ground, spending a great part of the night in prayer and dedicating himself to lifelong celibacy.

When nobles in Hungary became dissatisfied with their king, they prevailed upon Casimir’s father, the king of Poland, to send his son to take over the country. Casimir obeyed his father, as many young men over the centuries have obeyed their government. The army he was supposed to lead was clearly outnumbered by the “enemy”; some of his troops were deserting because they were not paid. At the advice of his officers, Casimir decided to return home.

His father was irked at the failure of his plans, and confined his 15-year-old son for three months. The lad made up his mind never again to become involved in the wars of his day, and no amount of persuasion could change his mind. He returned to prayer and study, maintaining his decision to remain celibate even under pressure to marry the emperor’s daughter.

He reigned briefly as king of Poland during his father’s absence. He died of lung trouble at 23 while visiting Lithuania, of which he was also Grand Duke. He was buried in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Comment:

For many years Poland and Lithuania faded into the gray prison on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Despite repression, the Poles and Lithuanians remained firm in the faith which has become synonymous with their name. Their youthful patron reminds us: Peace is not won by war; sometimes a comfortable peace is not even won by virtue, but Christ’s peace can penetrate every government repression of religion.

Patron Saint of : Lithuania, Poland, Russia


St. Casimir was a prince of Poland and born in the royal palace at Cracow, 3 October 1458. He was the grandson of Wladislaus II Jagiello, King of Poland, who introduced Christianity into Lithuania, and the second son of King Casimir IV and Queen Elizabeth, an Austrian princess, the daughter of Albert II, Emperor of Germany and King of Bohemia and Hungary. Casimir’s uncle, Wladislaus III, King of Poland and Hungary, perished at Varna in 1444, defending Christianity against the Turks. Casimir’s elder brother, Wladislaus, became King of Bohemia in 1471, and King of Hungary in 1490.
 
Of his four younger brothers, John I, Albert, Alexander, and Sigismund in turn occupied the Polish throne, while Frederick, the youngest, became Archbishop of Gnesen, Bishop of Cracow, and finally cardinal, in 1493. The early training of the young princes was entrusted to Father Dlugosz, the Polish historian, a canon at Cracow, and later Archbishop of Lwów (Lemberg), and to Filippo Buonaccorsi, called Callimachus. Father Dlugosz was a deeply religious man, a loyal patriot, and like Callimachus, well versed in statecraft. Casimir was placed in the care of this scholar at the age nine, and even then he was remarkable for his ardent piety. When Casimir was 13 he was offered the throne of Hungary by a Hungarian faction who were discontented under King Matthias Corvinus.

Eager to defend the Cross against the Turks, he accepted the call and went to Hungary to receive the crown. He was unsuccessful, however, and returned a fugitive to Poland. The young prince again became a pupil of Father Dlugosz, under whom he remained until 1475. He was later associated with his father who initiated him so well into public affairs that after his elder brother, Wladislaus, ascended to the Bohemian throne, Casimir became heir-apparent to the throne of Poland.

When in 1479 the king went to Lithuania to spend 5 years arranging affairs there, Casimir was placed in charge of Poland, and from 1481 to 1483 administered the State with great prudence and justice. About this time his father tried to arrange for him a marriage with the daughter of Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, but Casimir preferred to remain single. Shortly afterwards he fell victim to a severe attack of lung trouble, which, weak as he was from fastings and mortifications, he could not withstand. While on a journey to Lithuania, he died at the court of Grodno, 4 March 1484. His remains were interred in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the cathedral of Vilna.

St. Casimir was possessed of great charms of person and character, and was noted particularly for his justice and chastity. Often at night he would kneel for hours before the locked doors of churches, regardless of the hour or the inclemency of the weather. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and the hymn of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Omni die dic Marix mea laudes anima”, was long attributed to him.

After his death he was venerated as a saint, because of the miracles wrought by him. Sigismund I, King of Poland, petitioned the pope for Casimir’s canonization, and Pope Leo X appointed the papal legate Zaccaria Ferreri, Bishop of Guardalfiera, the Archbishop of Gnesen, and the Bishop of Przemysl to investigate the life and miracles of Casimir.

This inquiry was completed at Turn in 1520, and in 1522 Casimir was canonized by Adrian VI. Pope Clement VIII named 4 March as his feast. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland and Lithuania, though he is honored as far as Belgiumand Naples. In Poland and Lithuania churches and chapels are dedicated to him, as at Rozana and on the River Dzwina near Potocka, where he is said to have contributed miraculously to a victory of the Polish army over the Russians.

In the beginning of the 17th century King Sigismund III began at Vilna the erection of a chapel in honor of St. Casimir, which was finished under King Wladislaus IV. The building was designed by Peter Danckerts, of the Netherlands, who also adorned the walls with paintings illustrating the life of the saint. In this chapel is found an old painting renovated in 1594, representing the saint with a lily in his hand. Two other pictures of the saint are preserved, one in his life by Ferreri, and the other in the church at Krosno in Galicia.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-casimir/



Saint Casimir  (1458-1484)

Patron of Lithuania

and

The Sisters of St. Casimir


“You will be called Sisters of St. Casimir,” announced Bishop John W. Shanahan, Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the evening of August 28, 1907, to the three: Casimira Kaupas, Judith Dvaranauskas, and Antanina Unguraitis who were to receive the white veils of novices the next day. This day, August 29, would henceforth be commemorated as Founding Day of the Sisters of Saint Casimir.

When, as a young woman, Casimira Kaupas (who would one day become Mother Maria, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Casimir) made her pilgrimage to the renowned shrine of Our Lady of Vilnus, she was naturally mindful of her popular patron, Saint Casimir, whose remains were enshrined in the Cathedral of this city, and whose deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin was universally known.

Saint Casimir (1458-1484), whose father was king of Poland and grand duke of Lithuania, was born in Kracow in 1458. From his earliest youth, he was exceptionally devout. Daily he spent several hours in prayer; morning and evening prayers were a faithful observance. Often he would rise at midnight and lie prostrate in prayer. Often, too, he was observed, even in the dead of winter, kneeling at the threshold of the church, where he had come to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

The young prince also loved his neighbor, especially the poor, whom he consoled with his gracious words, and frequently helped with generous alms. He was known to visit the sick and served them in their needs counting it an honor as he saw in the afflicted one the person of Christ Himself. Thus he earned the title, “Father of the poor.”
He was zealous in his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and had vowed for the sake of her Son, the Lord Jesus, to remain chaste. All his life he kept his heart pure and unsullied. Through his short but virtuous life, he had kept strict watch over his senses and appetite subjecting his body to penances and fasting.

One cannot fail to comment on his mental acuity. The guardian and teacher of his early youth, Dlugosas, affirms that the young Saint Casimir was highly talented, intelligent, and of serious intent. His father had great confidence in him desiring that eventually Casimir would become ruler of the whole land.

Saint Casimir died at the early age of 26 on March 4, 1484, a victim of tuberculosis. Although he lived only a quarter of a century, into those 26 years he packed a lifetime of holiness and example to all the world, especially the youth. Today he is the beloved patron of the courageous Catholics of both Lithuania and Poland. He is also patron of youth.

He is pictured with a crown and lily at his side and without his sword. A scroll inscribed with the words in Latin: “Omni die dic Mariae” (“Daily, daily sing to Mary”) of his favorite Marian hymn, is also shown.



March 4

St. Casimir, Prince of Poland

From his life compiled by Zachary Ferrier, legate of Leo X., in Poland, thirty-six years after his death; and an authentic relation of his miracles, with many circumstances of his life, by Gregory Swiecicki, canon of Vilna; also the Commentary of Henschenius, p. 337.

A.D. 1483

ST. CASIMIR was the third among the thirteen children of Casimer III., king of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the emperor Albert II., a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 5th of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics, and other dignities of the church and state, which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected king of Bohemia, in 1471, and became king of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son: John Albert, the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts. His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors, and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, king of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.

The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniados, begged the king of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father’s will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all differences were accommodated between him and his people, and that Pope Sixtus IV. had sent an embassy to divert his father from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difficulty obtained his father’s consent so to do. However, as his dropping this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to increase his affliction by appearing before him, he did not go directly to Cracow, but retired to the castle of Dobzki, three miles from that city, where he continued three months in the practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt against the king of Hungary, in which obedience to his father’s command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very young, he could never be engaged to resume it by a fresh pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner as he had done before.

He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to preserve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments of the church, he made a happy end at Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, on the 4th of March, 1482, being twenty-three years and five months old. He was buried in the church of St. Stanislaus. So many were the miracles wrought by his intercession, that Swiecicki, a canon of Vilna, wrote a whole volume of them from good memoirs, in 1604. He was canonized by Pope Leo X. whose legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the saint’s life. His body and all the rich stuffs it was wrapped in, were found quite entire, and exhaling a sweet smell, one hundred and twenty years after his death, notwithstanding the excessive moisture of the vault. It is honoured in a large rich chapel of marble, built on purpose in that church. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland, and several other places, and is proposed to youth as a particular pattern of purity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel in St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Casimir, King of Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, retired to Paris, and died abbot of St. Germain’s, in 1668.

What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a just idea of this immense happiness and dignity, must look upon all the glittering baubles of this world as empty and vain, and consider everything in this life barely as it can advance or hinder the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and glorious state, because scarcely any one seeks it with his whole heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a soul upon the ruins of self-love: so long as this reigns, it raises insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy heavenly king, hold their full sway? how many secret disorders and irregular attachments are cherished? how much is found of self-love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves are infected?

The sovereign king of men and their merciful Redeemer is properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in which they constantly live and by the constant attention with which they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost earnestness that God may deliver them from all the power of the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire of his grace and love; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect manner in all their actions, is their most earnest desire and hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in this life, those who are thus liberal towards him! St. Casimir, who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the heavenly grace, loathed all earthly pomp and delights. With what joy ought not all Christians, both rich and poor, to be filled when they hear: The kingdom of God is with you! With what ardour ought they not to devote themselves to make God reign perfectly in their hearts! How justly did St. Casimir prefer this pursuit to all earthly kingdoms!

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/3/041.html

March 4

ST CASIMIR OF POLAND (A.D. 1484)

ST CASIMIR, to whom the Poles gave the title of "The Peace-maker", was the third of the thirteen children of Casimir IV, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Albert II. Casimir was the second son; he and his two brothers, Ladislaus and John, had as their tutor John Dlugosz, the historian, a canon of Cracow and a man of extraordinary learning and piety. All the princes were warmly attached to the holy man, but Casimir profited the most by his teaching and example. Devout from his infancy, the boy gave himself up to devotion and penance, and had a horror of anything approaching softness or sel-findulgence. His bed was often the ground, and he was wont to spend a great part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. His clothes were plain, and under them he wore a hairshirt. Living always in the presence of God he was invariably serene and cheerful, and pleasant to all. The saint's love of God showed itself in his love of the poor who are Christ's members, and for the relief of these the young prince gave all he possessed, using in their behalf the influence he had with his father and with his brother Ladislaus when he became king of Bohemia. In honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary Casimir frequently recited the long Latin hymn "Omni die dic Mariae", a copy of which was by his desire buried with him. This hymn, part of which is familiar to us through Bittleston's version, "Daily, daily sing to Mary", is not uncommonly called the Hymn of St Casimir, but it was certainly not composed by him; it is three centuries older than his time.

The nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with their king, Matthias Corvinus, in 1471 begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, at that time not fifteen years old, was very unwilling to consent, but in obedience to his father he went to the frontier at the head of an army. There, hearing that Matthias had himself assembled a large body of troops, and withal finding that his own soldiers were deserting in large numbers because they could not get their pay, he decided upon the advice of his officers to return home. The knowledge that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to his father to deter him from the expedition made the young prince carry out his resolution with the firmer conviction that he was acting rightly. King Casimir, however, was greatly incensed at the failure of his ambitious projects and would not permit his son to return to Cracow, but relegated him to the castle of Dobzki. The young man obeyed and remained in confinement there for three months. Convinced of the injustice of the war upon which he had so nearly embarked, and determined to have no further part in these internecine conflicts which only facilitated the further progress into Europe of the Turks, St Casimir could never again be persuaded to take up arms though urged to do so by his father and invited once more by the disaffected Hungarian magnates. He returned to his studies and his prayers, though for a time he was viceroy in Poland during an absence of his father. An attempt was made to induce him to marry a daughter of the Emperor Frederick III, but he refused to relax the celibacy he had imposed on himself.

St Casimir's austerities did nothing to help the lung trouble from which he suffered, and he died at the age of twentythree in 1484 and was buried at Vilna, where his relics still rest in the church of St Stanislaus. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and he was canonized in 1521.

A Latin life of St Casimir by Zachary Ferreri was printed at Cracow in 1521 and has been reproduced in the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. i, and there is also a biography by Prileszky in the Acta Sanctorum Hungariae (1743), vol. i, pp. 121-132. A popular account in German is that of Felix Iózefowicz, Der heilige Kasimir, commending the saint as a patron for young students. In the article devoted to St Casimir in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Prof. L. Abraham gives references to several works in Polish of more modern date. Casimir is sometimes referred to as king of Poland and Hungary, though he never occupied the throne of either country. The fact that he is accorded apparently only one line in the Cambridge History of Poland, vol. i (1950) shows perhaps how little impression he made in secular affairs. The so-called Hymn of St Casimir forms one division of the great Mariale, a remarkable rhyming Latin lyric of the twelfth century, which has been attributed both to St Anselm and to St Bernard of Clairvaux. The true author is probably Bernard of Morlaix, or Cluny. Casimir's love of these verses is a testimony at once to his good literary taste and to his devotion to the Mother of God. At a time when certain enthusiastic sympathizers with Polish aspirations were eager to claim the Omni die dic Mariae as a sort of national anthem, a book was brought out which printed the text of the hymn along with translations in various modern languages in the metre of the original. When a second edition was in contemplation, Cardinal Wiseman was invited to contribute an English version of this hymn. His rendering was afterwards published separately, with a musical setting, but it is now little known.





St. Casimir, Prince and Confessor (†1484; Feast – March 4)

It is from a court that we are taught today the most heroic virtues. St. Casimir is a prince; he is surrounded by all the allurements of youth and luxury; and yet he passes through the snares of the world with as much safety and prudence, as though he were an angel in human form. His example shows us what we may do. The world has not smiled on us as it did on St. Casimir; but how much we have loved it! If we have gone so far as to make it our idol, we must now break what we have adored, and give our service to the sovereign Lord, Who alone has a right to it. When we read the lives of the Saints, and find that persons who were in the ordinary walks of life practiced extraordinary virtues, we are inclined to think that they were not exposed to great temptations, or that the misfortunes they met with in the world made them give themselves up unreservedly to God's service. Such interpretations of the actions of the Saints are shallow and false, for they ignore this great fact—that there is no condition or state, however humble, in which man has not to combat the evil inclinations of his heart, and that corrupt nature alone is strong enough to lead him to sin. But in such a Saint as Casimir, we have no difficulty in recognizing that all his Christian energy was from God, and not from any natural source; and we rightly conclude that we, who have the same good God, may well hope that this season of spiritual regeneration will change and better us.

St. Casimir preferred death to sin. But is not every Christian bound to be thus minded every hour of the day? And yet, such is the infatuation produced by the pleasures or advantages of this present life, that we every day see men plunging themselves into sin, which is the death of the soul; and this, not for the sake of saving the life of the body, but for a vile and transient gratification, which is oftentimes contrary to their temporal interests. What stronger proof could there be than this, of the sad effects produced in us by original sin? The examples of the Saints are given us as a light to lead us in the right path—let us follow it, and we shall be saved. Besides, we have a powerful aid in their merits and intercession; let us take courage at the thought that these friends of God have a most affectionate compassion for us, their brethren, who are surrounded by so many and so great dangers.

The Church, in Her Liturgy, thus describes to us the virtues of our young prince:

St. Casimir was the son of Casimir, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria. He was put, when quite young, under the care of the best masters, who trained him to piety and learning. He brought his body into subjection by wearing a hair-shirt, and by frequent fasting. He could not endure the soft bed which is given to kings, but lay on the hard floor, and during the night, he used to privately leave his room and go to the church, where, prostrate before the door, he besought God to have mercy on him. The Passion of Christ was his favorite subject of meditation; and when he assisted at Mass, his mind was so fixed on God, that he seemed to be in one long ecstasy.

Great was his zeal for the propagation of the Catholic Faith, and the suppression of the Russian schism. He persuaded the King, his father, to pass a law forbidding the schismatics to build new churches, or to repair those which had fallen to ruin. Such was his charity for the poor and all sufferers, that he went under the name of the father and defender of the poor. During his last illness, he nobly evinced his love of purity, which virtue he had maintained unsullied during his whole life. He was suffering a cruel malady; but he courageously preferred to die, rather than permit the loss of his chastity, when his physicians advised him that he could if he would only marry.

Being made perfect in a short time, and rich in virtue and merit, after having foretold the day of his death, he breathed forth his soul into the hands of his God, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, surrounded by priests and religious. His body was taken to Vilna, and was honored by many miracles. A young girl was raised to life at his shrine; the blind recovered their sight, the lame the use of their limbs, and the sick their health. He appeared to a small army of Lithuanians, who were unexpectedly attacked by a large force, and gave them victory over the enemy. Pope Leo X was induced by all these miracles to enroll him among the Saints.

In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Casimir frequently recited the long Latin hymn Omni die dic Mariae (Every day say to Mary), a copy of which was by his desire buried with him. This hymn, part of which is familiar to us through the English version, "Daily, daily sing to Mary," is not uncommonly called the Hymn of St. Casimir, but it was most likely composed by St. Bernard.

The nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with their king, Matthias Corvinus, in 1471 begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The Saint, at that time not fifteen years old, was very unwilling to consent, but in obedience to his father he went to the frontier at the head of an army. There, hearing that Matthias had himself assembled a large body of troops, and finding that his own soldiers were deserting in large numbers because they could not get their pay, he decided upon the advice of his officers to return home. The knowledge that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to his father to deter him from the expedition made the young prince carry out his resolution with the firmer conviction that he was acting rightly. King Casimir, however, was greatly incensed at the failure of his ambitious projects and would not permit his son to return to Cracow, but relegated him to the castle of Dobzki. The young man obeyed and remained in confinement there for three months. Convinced of the injustice of the war upon which he had so nearly embarked, and determined to have no further part in these internecine conflicts which only facilitated the further progress into Europe of the Turks, St. Casimir could never again be persuaded to take up arms though urged to do so by his father and invited once more by the disaffected Hungarian magnates. He returned to his studies and his prayers, though for a time he was viceroy in Poland during an absence of his father. An attempt was made to induce him to marry a daughter of the Emperor Frederick III, but he refused to relax the celibacy he had imposed on himself.

Enjoy thy well-earned rest in Heaven, O St. Casimir! Neither the world with all its riches, nor the court with all its pleasures, could distract thy heart from the eternal joys it alone coveted and loved. Thy life was short, but full of merit. The remembrance of Heaven made thee forget the earth. God yielded to thee the impatience of thy desire to be with Him, and took thee speedily from among men. Thy life, though most innocent, was one of penance, for knowing the evil tendencies of corrupt nature, thou didst have a dread of a life of comfort. When shall we be made to understand that penance is a debt we owe to God, a debt of expiation for the sins we have committed against Him? Thou didst prefer death to sin; obtain for us a fear of sin, that greatest of all the evils that can befall us, because it is an evil which strikes at God Himself. Pray for us during this holy season, which is intended as a preparation for penance; impress our minds with the truths now put before us during this Liturgical Season. The Christian world is honoring thee today; repay its homage by thy blessing. Poland, thy fatherland, once the bulwark of the Church, which kept back the invasion of schism, heresy and infidelity, is now in great need of thy prayers.

SOURCE : http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-171/Casimir.htm

San Casimiro Principe polacco


- Memoria Facoltativa

Cracovia, Polonia, 3 ottobre 1458 – Grodno, Lituania, 4 marzo 1484

Nasce a Cracovia, nel 1458. Figlio del re di Polonia, appartenente alla dinastia degli Jagelloni, di origine lituana. Quando gli Ungheresi si ribellarono al loro re, Mattia Corvino, e offrirono al tredicenne principe Casimiro la corona, questi vi rinunciò appena seppe che il papa si era dichiarato contrario alla deposizione del regnante. Impegnato in una politica di espansione, re Casimiro IV (1440-1492) diede al terzogenito l'incarico di reggente di Polonia e il principe, minato dalla tubercolosi, svolse il compito senza lasciarsi irretire dalle seduzioni del potere. Non si piegò alle ragioni di Stato quando gli venne proposto dal padre il matrimonio con la figlia di Federico III, per allargare i già estesi confini del regno. Il principe Casimiro non voleva venir meno al suo ideale ascetico di purezza per vantaggi materiali cui non ambiva. Di straordinaria bellezza, ammirato e corteggiato, Casimiro aveva riservato il suo cuore alla Vergine. Si spegne a 25 anni a Grodno (in Lituania) il 4 marzo 1484. Nel 1521 papa Leone X lo dichiarò patrono della Polonia e della Lituania. (Avvenire)

Patronato: Polonia e Lituania

Etimologia: Casimiro = che vuole la pace, dal polacco

Emblema: Corona, Giglio, Pergamena

Martirologio Romano: San Casimiro, figlio del re di Polonia, che, principe, rifulse per lo zelo nella fede, la castità, la penitenza, la generosità verso i poveri e la devozione verso l’Eucaristia e la beata Vergine Maria e ancora giovane, consunto dalla tisi, nella città di Grodno presso Vilnius in Lituania si addormentò nella grazia del Signore.

Il principe Casimiro, soprannominato dai suoi compatrioti “uomo di pace”, nacque a Cracovia il 3 ottobre 1458, terzo dei tredici figli di Casimiro IV, re di Polonia, e di Elisabetta d’Austria, figlia dell’imperatore Alberto II. Il matrimonio tra i due, rivelatasi un’unione felice oltre che fertile, era stato combinato con l’aiuto di Giovanni Dlugosz, storiografo e canonico di Cracovia, religioso schivo ma di grande erudizione e santità. Proprio a lui fu dunque affidata l’educazione di Casimiro quando questi raggiunse l’età di nove anni ed il sacerdote si rivelò un ottimo insegnante, severo al punto giusto, quasi un secondo padre per il piccolo principe.

Non ancora quindicenne, in seguito alla richiesta da parte della nobiltà ungherese, il padre inviò Casimiro a guidare un esercitò contro il sovrano ungherese, Mattia Corvino. Quando però Casimiro venne a sapere che Mattia disponeva di truppe ben più numerose delle sue e si rese conto di essere stato abbandonato sia dalla nobiltà ungherese che in un primo tempo aveva richiesto il suo intervento, ma anche dalle proprie truppe in diserzione, accolse favorevolmente il consiglio dei suoi ufficiali ed interruppe la spedizione.

Intanto il pontefice Sisto IV, temendo forse che la guerra rischiasse solo di favorire la causa turca, aveva inoltrato un appello di desistenza al sovrano polacco. Il re, dimostratosi disponibile ad un colloquio di pace, inviò un messaggero al figlio, che però con sua grande vergogna scoprì già ritiratosi.
Per castigo fu vietato a Casimiro di fare ritorno a Cracovia e venne rinchiuso per tre mesi nel castello di Dobzki. Nonostante le pressioni del padre e le nuove richieste da parte dei nobili magiari, Casimiro non si lasciò mai più persuadere ad abbracciare le armi.

Pare che il giovane principe non ambisse a posizioni di governo e preferiva piuttosto attivarsi in favore dei poveri, degli oppressi, dei pellegrini e dei prigionieri. Era solito infatti denunciare al re suo padre tutte le ingiustizie nei confronti dei poveri ed ogni loro necessità di cui veniva a conoscenza. Grande gioia provò quando decise di dovare tutti i suoi beni ai bisognosi, che presero a definirlo “difensore dei poveri”.

La sua vita fu da allora più monastica che principesca, il suo carattere mite ed umile lo spinse ad occuparsi più della Chiesa che della vita di corte. Trascorreva infatti gran parte del suo tempo in chiesa, tra preghiera personale e funzioni liturgiche, spesso dimenticandosi addirittura di mangiare, e di notte tornava a pregare dinnanzi ai portoni chiusi della chiesa. Solitamente gentile con tutti, fu però duro contro gli sismatici: proprio dietro sua insistenza il padre vietò il restauro delle chiese ove essi erano soliti riunirsi. Grande devoto della Madonna, nella sua bara fu posta una copia del suo inno preferito: “Omni die dic Marie”.

Nessuno riuscì a convincerlo a convolare a nozze con la promessa sposa, una figlia di San Ferdinando III di Castiglia. Egli sosteneva di non conoscere altra salvezza se non in Cristo e profetizzava la sua vicina scomparsa per stare con Lui in eterno. Casimiro morì infatti di tubercolosi, a soli ventisei anni, il 4 marzo 1484 a Grodno. Le sue spoglie trovarono sepoltura nella cattedrale di Vilnius, odierna capitale lituana, ove ancora oggi sono venerate.

Sulla sua tomba si verificarono moltissimi miracoli ed il re Sigismondo decise di inoltrare al papa Leone X una petizione per richiedere la canonizzazione del principe polacco. Nel 1521 tale papa dichiarò San Casimiro patrono della Polonia e della Lituania, ma fu ufficialmente canonizzato solo nel 1602 dal pontefice Clemente VIII e nel 1621 la sua festa venne estesa alla Chiesa universale. Il clto del santo è rimasto assai vivo anche tra i polacchi ed i lituani emigrati in America.

Vasta è l’iconografia di questo santo polacco: celebre è il suo ritratto eseguito da Carlo Dolci e molti altri dipinti lo raffigurano con in mano una pergamena, riportante alcune parole del suo inno mariano prediletto, ed un giglio, simbolo di castità. San Casimiro è infatti particolarmente invocato contro le tentazioni carnali.


Dalla "Vita di san Casimiro", scritta da un autore quasi contemporaneo.

La carità quasi incredibile, certamente non simulata ma sincera, di cui ardeva verso Dio onnipotente per opera di quello Spirito divino, era talmente diffusa nel cuore di Casimiro, tanto traboccava e dalle profondità del cuore tanto si riversava sul prossimo, che nulla gli era più gradito, nulla più desiderato che donare ai poveri di Cristo, ai pellegrini, ai malati, ai prigionieri, ai perseguitati non solo i propri beni, ma tutto se stesso.

Per le vedove, gli orfani, gli oppressi fu non solo un protettore, non solo un difensore, ma un padre, un figlio, un fratello. E qui sarebbe necessario scrivere una lunga storia se si volessero descrivere i singoli atti di carità e di grande amore che in lui fiorirono verso Dio e verso gli uomini. In che misura poi egli praticò la giustizia e abbracciò la temperanza, di quanta prudenza fu dotato e da quale fortezza e costanza d'animo fu sostenuto, soprattutto in quell'età più libera nella quale gli uomini di solito sono più sconsiderati e per natura più inclini al male, é difficile dire o pensare.

Ogni giorno persuadeva il padre a praticare la giustizia nel governo del regno e dei popoli a lui sottomessi. E mai tralasciò di riprendere con umiltà il re se talvolta, per incuria o per debolezza umana, qualcosa veniva trascurato nel governo. Difendeva ed abbracciava come sue le cause dei poveri e dei miserabili, per cui dal popolo veniva chiamato difensore dei poveri. E benché fosse figlio del re e nobile per la dignità della nascita, mai si mostrava superiore nel tratto e nella conversazione con qualsiasi persona, per quanto umile e di bassa condizione. Volle sempre essere considerato fra i miti ed i poveri di spirito, ai quali appartiene il regno dei cieli, piuttosto che fra i potenti e i grandi di questo secolo. Non desiderò il supremo potere, né mai lo volle accettare quando gli fu offerto dal padre, temendo che il suo animo fosse ferito dagli stimoli delle ricchezze, che il nostro Signore Gesù Cristo ha chiamato spine, o fosse contaminato dal contagio delle cose terrene.

Tutti i suoi domestici e segretari, uomini insigni e ottimi, dei quali alcuni sono ancora viventi e che lo conobbero intimamente, asseriscono e testimoniano che egli visse vergine fino alla fine e vergine chiuse il suo ultimo giorno.(Cap. 2-3; Acta Sanctorum Martii 1, 347-348)


ORAZIONE
O Dio onnipotente, che chiami a servirti per regnare con te,
fa’ che per intercessione di San Casimiro
viviamo costantemente al tuo servizio
nella santità e nella giustizia.
Per il nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, tuo Figlio, che è Dio,
e vive e regna con te, nell’unità dello Spirito Santo,
per tutti i secoli dei secoli. Amen.

SOURCE : http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/26250


Autore:
Fabio Arduino

Voir aussi : http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=33