Saint of the Day – 8 March – Blessed Vincent Kadlubek O.Cist (c 1160-1223) Bishop, Cistercian Monk, noted Historian, prolific Writer and renowned Precher. His Episcopal mission was to reform the Diocesan Priests and to re-invigorate the faithful. Born in 1160 as Wincenty at Karnow, Duchy of Sandomir, Poland and died on 8 March 1223 at Jedrzejow, Poland of natural causes. Patronages – Writers, Sandomierz, Diocese of Kielce, Jędrzejów. He is also known as – Vincent Kadlubo, Vincent Kadlubko, Vincent of Cracow, Wincenty Kadlubek.
Wincenty Kadlubek was born of noble family about the year 1160 at Karnow, in the Duchy of Sandomir in Poland. He studied at the Cathedral school in Kraków. It was while at the latter that he studied under Mateusz Cholewa. It was the latter’s patronage that allowed Vincent to be sent abroad for further studies. He was sent to France and Bolgona in Italy, where met the future Pope Innocent III when the two were students and he also encountered John of Salisbury, the historian and poet. He received Priestly Ordination in 1189 and became Canon and Dean of Cathedral School of Krakow. A document dated 1212 bears his signature as “Praepositus Sandomirensis of the quondam,” namely the Provost of the Cathedral of Sandomir.
On the death of Bishop Fulk of Krakow on 11 September 1207, the chapter voted in favour of the election of Vincent. Pope Innocent III confirmed the decision in a papal bull on 28 March 1208 and Vincent received his Episcopal Consecration from the Archbishop of Gniezno, two months later. Innocent III’s bull referred to Vincent’s wisdom as the motivation for his selection, while referring to him as a “master and preacher.”
Vincent set out to reform the Diocesan Priests to ensure their holiness, while also seeking to invigorate the faithful to active participationthe life of the Church. He also supported the construction of Monasteries in the Diocese. He Consecrated Saint Florian’s Basilica and was said to have once been the Chaplain to Casimir II the Just.
The Bishop was noted for his linguistic skills, for his charismatic preaching and for his expertise in Canon law as well as for his renowned rhetoric abilities. He knew of the natural sciences as well, since he had studied them while in Paris and Bologna. But it was while in Europe that he started reading the life and works of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and became enthralled with the charism of the Cistercians, to whom he granted attention as Bishop.
In 1214, thanks to the providential intervention of Bishop Vincent, a long-running dispute about the possession of Galicia was resolved. In 1215 he participated in the Fourth Council of the Lateran.
In 1218 he resigned from his Diocese, which Pope Honorius III accepted and entered the Cistercian Monastery in Jędrzejów. He became the first Pole to join the Cistercians.
Vincent died on 8 March 1223 and his remains were buried before the high altar of the Monastery Church. His remains were exhumed on 26 April 1633 with his pallium found intact though his remains had become skeletal. Measurements were taken and it was surmised that he was of “fair height.” His remains were moved to a new location before the high altar on the following 16 August. Kadłubek’s remains were again exhumed and reinterred in mid-1765 and some were moved to Sandomierz in 1845 for veneration. Other parts to his remains were moved in 1903 to Wawel and placed in a silver urn.
In 1682, the King Jan III Sobieski petitioned for his Beatification and a similar petition was made in 1699 by the General Chapter of the Order of Citeaux, though it was not until 18 February 1764, under pressure from Wojciech Ziemicki, Abbot of Jedrzejow, that Pope Clement XIII granted confirmation of cult as “Blessed” although he is popularly known as ‘Saint’ in Poland.
Finally worthy of note that the works of Blessed Wincenty Kadlubek composed as the first Polish journalist: “Chronica seu originale et principum Regum Poloniae” in four volumes. The first three are in the form of dialogue between the Archbishop of Gnesen John (1148-65) and Matthew Bishop of Krakow (1145-65). The first is legendary, the second is based on a chronicle of a Gallo, the third and fourth summarize the experience of the author. The period in which the work saw the light does not find the experts agree: it was commissioned by King Casimir, or when Leszek Vincent was already a bishop, while others, he devoted himself to it now imprisoned in the monastery.
Some of Blessed Vincent’s writings had a huge impact on the Polish political doctrine of the 14th and 15th centuries. Some suggest that his most well-known book “Chronicles of the Kings and Princes of Poland” was written at the request of Prince Casimir II others suggest that it at the request of Prince Leszek while Blessed Vincent was a Bishop; still others claim that it was not written until after his retirement.