The Peacemaker – Saint Casimir
Feast Day: March 4
Patron saint: of Poland and Lithuania
Meaning of name: A combination of the Slavic kazic meaning “to destroy” and mir meaning “peace,” so, literally, “to destroy peace.”
Claim to fame: Casimir was born the third son to King Casimir IV, grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland, on Oct. 3, 1458. His tutor – Father Dlugosz, the Polish historian, a canon at Cracow and later archbishop of Lwów – was a deeply religious man. He was a strong influence on Saint Casimir. King Casimir was impressed with his son’s justice and piety, so he gave him a mission – to lead the army against the Turks. During this expedition, St. Casimir experienced conflicts. He believed the war was wrong, but felt obligated to honor his father’s request. However, when his troops deserted because they weren’t paid, he readily returned home. King Casimir, outraged at St. Casimir’s behavior, exiled him. St. Casimir used his time in exile to pray, study and serve the poor.
Why he is a saint? Casimir rebelled against his princely status, wore plain garments and gave of himself to Christ’s poor and sick.
How he died: While he was in exile he became ill from fasting and mortification. He died at the age of 26.