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Saint Kinga of Poland (1234-1292)

She was certainly ahead of her time. Entrepreneurial and independent businesswomen can take her as their patron. Although she lived in asceticism, fascinated by the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, she had the ability to multiply her riches in order to serve society and the needy. She is an example of what it means to possess wisely: to not subordinate life by collecting treasures and using them for selfish pleasure, but instead to take care that the world around us becomes a friendlier place.

She came from a family of saints. She was born at the court of the Hungarian king. Her sisters were St. Margaret of Hungary, St. Constance, Duchess of Halych, and Bl. Yolanda of Poland. She was a relative of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Bl. Salomea of Poland, St. Hedwig of Silesia, and St. Agnes of Bohemia. As a five-year child, she found herself in Poland, and in 1246 she married duke of Krakow, Bolesław V the Chaste. She became a Franciscan tertiary, devoting herself to charism through a  life of asceticism, chastity, and poverty.

As duchess, she took an active part in political and economic life. After the first Tatar invasion of Poland that devastated the country, she offered her dowry for the repair of damage, economic development, and the renewal of society. She cared greatly for the welfare of the state, therefore she often visited her fatherland of Hungary in order to seek support for Polish interests from her father and brother’s influential court. She is the patron saint of miners because she really supported the development of the industry. Her commitment to the Wieliczka and Bochnia salt mines is written in history and is the subject of many mining legends. The underground Chapel of St. Kinga in Wieliczka is one of the most beautiful treasures of Małopolska, attracting tourists from all over the world. The Salt Mine in Bochnia, which – like Wieliczka – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also delights.

The duchess built churches (eg. the parish church in Bochnia) and financially supported Wawel Cathedral and the Benedictine, Cistercian, and Franciscan monasteries, among other places. She brought in many religious congregations and was engaged in the efforts to canonize St. Stanislaus. She funded hospitals.

In 1257, Kinga was declared Princess of Sandec and during her period of rule, she directed her attention primarily to the fate of her subjects and to economic development. Promotion of trade and commerce, the locations of towns and villages, the introduction of a rent economy, the construction of more hospitals and churches – these are just a few of the merits of the saintly ruler. She generously gave to the needy, the poor, widows, orphans, and the sick.

When her husband Boleslaw died in 1279, Kinga decided to enter the Order of St. Clare. She issued the foundation document of the monastery in Stary Sącz in 1280 and later entered it herself. She established one of the most important centers of spiritual culture in Poland. She promoted the Polish language, cared about fine arts, and nurtured the monastic tradition of the Poor Clares. She died in 1292 from a serious illness.

During her canonization in 1999, Pope John Paul II said: "What can be done to make the family, the school, the workplace, the office, the villages and the cities, and finally the whole country a dwelling-place of saints, who can influence others by their goodness, their fidelity to Christ’s teaching and the witness of their everyday lives, and thus foster the spiritual growth of all people?  (...) It requires that in the hearts of believers there should abound that desire for holiness which not only shapes one’s private life but also influences society as a whole."

MD

The places associated with Saint Kinga of Poland (1234-1292):

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine Several legends are linked to its beginnings, such as Saint Kinga bringing Hungarian miners to Poland. Located inside the mine is the magnificent Chapel of Saint Kinga. It is the world's largest underground church and place... (read more)