Thought for the Day – 17 August – The Memorial of St Hyacinth O.P. (1185-1257) – “Apostle of Poland” “Apostle of the North”
“Our readers, we can but fancy, have marvelled at the prodigious labours and travelling of Saint Hyacinth, although we have given only a meager account of them. They extended over a period of nearly forty years and carried him through a large part of Europe and Asia. Doubtless, if they were recorded in detail and in proper sequence, they would be found infinitely more stupendous than we have painted them. He alone could have told them as they should be recounted. Yet it possibly never entered his mind to leave posterity any information on his life. The one thing that engaged his thoughts was, after saving his own soul, to help those of others, to make God known and to extend the kingdom of Christ. The same idea filled the minds of the confrères who were often his companions in labour. In this way, it was only through the scanty records discovered in cities and the early convents that historians have been able to tell us the little we do know about him. Still perhaps never was there a life which should be more completely written than that of Saint Hyacinth Odrowaz.
One may consider the practical, lively faith of the Poles, whether in the home land or in others, as a perpetual miracle of Saint Hyacinth. In no small measure they owe it to him. To that keen faith we must attribute the magnificent institutions of learning, charity, benevolence and the like, as well as the churches, monasteries and similar edifices, in which Poland abounds and in which it has found expression. All these are filled with the spirit which the people largely derived from him. They simply thrill with love and gratitude for him. This true spirit of Catholicity, we must remember, has been preserved undiminished for centuries through wars of every kind, division, hardships, persecution and every sort of oppression-the like of which the world has seen few parallels. We have here, it would seem, the greatest miracle of the zealous apostle’s life. At least, it has contributed more to the glory of God, the good of the Church, and the salvation of souls than any miracle he performed.” (Acta; STANISLAUS, Father, O. P., of Cracow, manuscript Vita Sancti Hyacinthi.)
Saint Hyacinth teaches us to spare no effort in the service of God but to rely for success not on our industry but on the assistance of the Holy Eucharist and the prayer of the Immaculate Mother of God.
St Hyacinth of Poland pray for the Poland, the Church and for us all!