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Hedwig of Andechs

Hedwig of Andechs

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Saint Hedwig of Silesia , also Saint Hedwig of Andechs (1174 – 15 October 1243) from the comital House of Andechs
Counts of Andechs
The House of Andechs was a feudal line of German princes in 12th and 13th century. The Counts of Dießen-Andechs obtained territiories in northern Dalmatia on the Adriatic seacoast, where they became Margraves of Istria and ultimately Dukes of a short-lived Imperial State named Merania from 1180 to...

 was Duchess of Silesia
Duchy of Silesia
The Duchy of Silesia with its capital at Wrocław was a medieval duchy located in the historic Silesian region of Poland. Soon after it was formed under the Piast dynasty in 1138, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia. In 1327 the remaining Duchy of Wrocław as well as most other duchies...

 from 1201 and of Greater Poland from 1231 as well as High Duchess consort of Poland from 1232 until 1238.

Life


The daughter of Count Berthold IV of Andechs
Berthold IV, Duke of Merania
Berthold IV was the Count of Andechs and first Duke of Merania , that is, the seacoast of Dalmatia and Istria of the House of Andechs...

 and his second wife Agnes of Wettin
Agnes of Rochlitz
Agnes of Rochlitz came from the Wettin family and was daughter of Dedi V, Count of Wettin and his wife, Matilda of Heinsburg. She is also known as Agnes of Wettin. Agnes married Berthold IV, Duke of Merania...

, she was born at Andechs Castle in the Duchy of Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

. Her elder sister Agnes
Agnes of Merania
Agnes Maria of Andechs-Merania , queen of France, was the daughter of Bertold IV , who was Count of Andechs, a castle and territory near Ammersee, Bavaria and from 1183 duke of Merania . Her mother was Agnes of Rochlitz...

 married King Philip II of France
Philip II of France
Philip II Augustus was the King of France from 1180 until his death. A member of the House of Capet, Philip Augustus was born at Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, the son of Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne...

 (annulled in 1200), her sister Gertrude
Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania was the first wife of King Andrew II of Hungary and thereby Queen consort of Hungary from 1205 until her assassination.-Family:...

 (killed in 1213) King Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II the Jerosolimitan was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych...

, while the youngest Matilda (Mechtild) became abbess at the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 convent of Kitzingen
Kitzingen
Kitzingen is a town in the German state of Bavaria, capital of the district Kitzingen. It is part of Franconia geographical region and has around 21,000 inhabitants.Surrounded by vineyards, Kitzingen County is the largest wine producer in Bavaria...

 in Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

, where Hedwig also received her education. By her sister Gertrude, she was the aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Elisabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F., was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Countess of Thuringia, Germany and a greatly-venerated Catholic saint. Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. She then became one of the first members of the newly-founded Third Order of St. Francis,...

.

Duchess consort


At the age of twelve, Hedwig married Henry I the Bearded
Henry I the Bearded
Henry I the Bearded , of the Silesian line of the Piast dynasty, was Duke of Silesia at Wrocław from 1201 and Duke of Kraków and thus High Duke of all Poland - internally divided - from 1232 until his death.-Heir of Wroclaw:...

, son and heir of the Piast
Silesian Piasts
The Silesian Piasts were the oldest line of the Piast dynasty beginning with Władysław II the Exile, son of Bolesław III Wrymouth, Duke of Poland...

 duke Bolesław I the Tall of Silesia
Duchy of Silesia
The Duchy of Silesia with its capital at Wrocław was a medieval duchy located in the historic Silesian region of Poland. Soon after it was formed under the Piast dynasty in 1138, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia. In 1327 the remaining Duchy of Wrocław as well as most other duchies...

. As soon as Henry succeeded his father in 1201, he had to struggle with his Piast
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

 relatives, at first with his uncle Duke Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot was a Duke of Silesia from 1163 to 1173 , Duke of Racibórz from 1173, Duke of Opole from 1202 and from 9 June 1210 until his death, Duke of Kraków and High Duke of Poland....

 who immediately seized the Upper Silesian Duchy of Opole
Duchy of Opole
Duchy of Opole was one of the duchies of Silesia ruled by the Piast dynasty. Its capital was Opole in Upper Silesia.After Bolesław I the Tall and his younger brother Mieszko I Tanglefoot backed by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa had retained their Silesian heritage in 1163, they divided the...

. In 1206 Henry and his cousin Duke Władysław III Spindleshanks of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 agreed to swap the Silesian Lubusz Land
Lubusz Land
Lubusz Land is a historical region and cultural landscape in Poland and Germany, on both sides of the Oder river.Originally the settlement area of the West Slavic Leubuzzi, a Veleti tribe, the swampy area was located east of Mark Brandenburg and west of Greater Poland, south of Pomerania and north...

 against the Kalisz
Kalisz
Kalisz is a city in central Poland with 106,857 inhabitants , the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce...

 region, which met with fierce protest by Władysław's III nephew Władysław Odonic. When Henry went to Gąsawa
Gasawa
thumb|left|100 px|Coat of arms of Gąsawa.thumb|left|St. Nicolas church in Gąsawa: main altarGąsawa called Gmina Gąsawa. It lies approximately south of Żnin and south-west of Bydgoszcz...

 in 1227 to meet his Piast cousins, he narrowly saved his life, while High Duke Leszek I the White
Leszek I the White
Leszek I the White , also listed by some sources as Leszek II the White, was Prince of Sandomierz and High Duke of Poland from 1194 until his death, except for the short periods following when he was deposed as Polish ruler...

 was killed by the men of the Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

n Duke Swietopelk II, instigated by Władysław Odonic.

The next year Henry's ally Władysław III Spindleshanks succeeded Leszek I as High Duke
Seniorate Province
Seniorate Province, also known as the Senioral Province , Duchy of Kraków , Duchy of Cracow, Principality of Cracow, Principality of Kraków, was the superior among the five provinces established in 1138 according to the Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty...

; however as he was still contested by his nephew in Greater Poland, he made Henry his governor at Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, whereby the Silesian duke once again became entangled into the dispute over the Seniorate Province. In 1229 he was captured and arrested at Płock Castle by rivaling Duke Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia
Konrad I of Masovia , from the Polish Piast dynasty, was the sixth Duke of Masovia from 1194 until his death and High Duke of Poland from 1229 to 1232.-Life:...

. Hedwig proceeded to Płock pleading for Henry and was able to have him released.

Her actions promoted the reign of her husband: Upon the death of the Polish High Duke Władysław III Spindleshanks in 1231, Henry also became Duke of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 and the next year prevailed as High Duke at Kraków. He thereby was the first of the Silesian Piast descendants of Władysław II the Exile to gain the rule over Silesia and the Seniorate Province according to the 1138 Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty.

Widow


In 1238, upon his death, Henry was buried at the Cistercian convent of Trzebnica Abbey
Sanctuary of St. Jadwiga in Trzebnica
Sanctuary of St. Jadwiga in Trzebnica is a convent for Cistercian nuns, situated in Trzebnica north of Wrocław, in Silesia, Poland, founded in 1203. After few decades of abandonment in the 19th century, it is an abbey of the Sisters of Mercy of St...

 (Kloster Trebnitz), which he had established in 1202 at Hedwig's request. The widow moved into the convent, which was led by her daughter Gertrude. She invited numerous German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 religious persons from the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 into the Silesian lands, as well as German settlers who founded numerous cities, towns and villages in the course of the Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung , also called German eastward expansion, was the medieval eastward migration and settlement of Germans from modern day western and central Germany into less-populated regions and countries of eastern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The affected area roughly stretched from Slovenia...

, while cultivating barren parts of Silesia for agriculture.

Hedwig and Henry had several daughters, though only one surviving son, Henry II the Pious
Henry II the Pious
Henry II the Pious , of the Silesian line of the Piast dynasty was Duke of Silesia at Wrocław and Duke of Kraków and thus High Duke of all Poland as well as Duke of Southern Greater Poland from 1238 until his death. During 1238–1239 he also served as a regent of two other Piast duchies: Sandomierz...

, who succeeded his father as Duke of Silesia and Polish High Duke. The widow however had to witness the killing of her son, vainly awaiting the support of Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

, during the Mongol invasion of Poland
Mongol invasion of Poland
The Mongol Invasion of Poland from late 1240 to 1241 culminated in the battle of Legnica, where the Mongols defeated an alliance which included forces from fragmented Poland and members of various Christian military orders, led by Henry II the Pious, the Duke of Silesia. The first invasion's...

 at the Battle of Legnica
Battle of Legnica
The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

 (Wahlstatt) in 1241. The hopes for a re-united Poland were lost and even Silesia fragmented into numerous Piast duchies
Duchies of Silesia
The Duchies of Silesia resulted from divisions of the original Duchy of Silesia after 1138.In accordance with the last will and testament of Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth, the Kingdom of Poland was, upon his death in 1138, divided into five hereditary provinces distributed among his sons, including...

 under Henry's II sons. Hedwig and her daughter-in-law, Henry's II widow Anna of Bohemia, established a Benedictine abbey at the site of the battle in Legnickie Pole
Legnickie Pole
Legnickie Pole is a village in Legnica County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Legnickie Pole. Prior to 1945 it was in Germany....

, settled with monks descending from Opatovice
Opatovice nad Labem
Opatovice nad Labem is a village in Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. It has cca 2,200 inhabitants. A large power station is located here.-External links:*...

 in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

.

Hedwig and Henry had lived a very pious life, and Hedwig had great zeal for religion. She had supported her husband in donating the Augustinian
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

 provostry at Nowogród Bobrzański
Nowogród Bobrzanski
Nowogród Bobrzański is a town on the Bóbr river in Zielona Góra County, Lubusz Voivodeship, Poland, with 5,068 inhabitants . It is the administrative seat of the Gmina Nowogród Bobrzański....

 (Naumburg) and the commandry of the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 at Oleśnica Mała (Klein Oels). Hedwig always helped the poor and donated all her fortune to the Church. According to legend, she went barefoot
Barefoot
Barefoot is the state of not wearing any footwear. Being barefoot is regarded as a human's natural state, though for functional, fashion and social reasons footwear is worn, at least on some occasions...

 even in winter, and when she was urged by the Bishop of Wrocław to wear shoes, she took them in her hands. On 15 October 1243, Hedwig died and was buried in Trzebnica, while relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s of her are preserved at Andechs Abbey and St. Hedwig's Cathedral
St. Hedwig's Cathedral
St. Hedwig's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral on the Bebelplatz in Berlin, Germany. It is the seat of the archbishop of Berlin.It was built in the 18th century as the first Catholic church in Prussia after the Protestant Reformation by permission of King Frederick II...

 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.

Veneration


Hedwig was canonized
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 in 1267 by Pope Clement IV
Pope Clement IV
Pope Clement IV , born Gui Faucoi called in later life le Gros , was elected Pope February 5, 1265, in a conclave held at Perugia that took four months, while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France...

, a supporter of the Cistercian order, at the suggestion of her grandson Prince-Archbishop Władysław of Salzburg. She is the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

, of Andechs
Andechs
The Benedictine abbey of Andechs is a place of pilgrimage on a hill east of the Ammersee in the Landkreis of Starnberg in Germany, in the municipality Andechs. Andechs Abbey is famed for its flamboyant Baroque church and its brewery...

, and of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wrocław and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Görlitz
Roman Catholic Diocese of Görlitz
The Diocese of Görlitz is a diocese of the Roman Catholic church in Germany. The current ordinary is Wolfgang Ipolt-History:For the history until 1972 see the History of the See of Breslau....

. Her feast day according to the General Roman Calendar
Roman Catholic calendar of saints
The General Roman Calendar indicates the days of the year to which are assigned the liturgical celebrations of saints and of the mysteries of the Lord that are to be observed wherever the Roman Rite is used...

 is on October, 16. A 17th century legend has it, that Hedwig on a pilgrimage to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 stopped at Zell
Bad Zell
Bad Zell is a municipality in the district of Freistadt in Upper Austria, Austria....

 in Austria
Archduchy of Austria
The Archduchy of Austria , one of the most important states within the Holy Roman Empire, was the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy and the predecessor of the Austrian Empire...

, where she had healing waters spring up at a source which up to today bears her name.

In 1773 King Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

, having conquered and annexed Silesia in 1742, had St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin built for the Catholic Upper Silesian immigrants, now the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin
The Archdiocese of Berlin is a Roman Catholic archdiocese, seated in Berlin and covering the northeast of Germany.As of 2004 the archdiocese has 386,279 Catholics out of the population of Berlin, most of Brandenburg and Hither Pomerania, i. e. the German part of Pomerania...

.

Hedwig glass
Hedwig glass
Hedwig glasses or Hedwig beakers are a type of glass beaker originating in the Middle East or Norman Sicily and dating from the 10th-12th centuries AD. They are named after the Silesian princess Saint Hedwig , to whom three of them are traditionally said to have belonged. So far, a total of 14...

es are named after Hedwig of Andechs.

Children


Hedwig and Henry I had seven children:
  1. Agnes (ca. 1190 – before 11 May 1214).
  2. Bolesław (ca. 1191 – 10 September 1206/08).
  3. Henry II the Pious
    Henry II the Pious
    Henry II the Pious , of the Silesian line of the Piast dynasty was Duke of Silesia at Wrocław and Duke of Kraków and thus High Duke of all Poland as well as Duke of Southern Greater Poland from 1238 until his death. During 1238–1239 he also served as a regent of two other Piast duchies: Sandomierz...

     (ca. 1196 – killed in Battle of Legnica
    Battle of Legnica
    The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

    , 9 April 1241).
  4. Konrad the Curly
    Konrad the Curly
    Konrad the Curly , was a Polish prince member of the Piast dinasty in his Silesian branch.He was the third son of Henry I the Bearded, Duke of Wroclaw, by his wife Hedwig, daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania.-Life:...

     (ca. 1198 – Czerwony Kosciol, 4 September 1213).
  5. Sophie (ca. 1200 – before 22/23 March 1214).
  6. Gertrude (ca. 1200 – Trebnitz, 6/30 December 1268), Abbess of Trebnitz.
  7. A son [Władysław?] (before 25 December 1208–1214/17).

External links