Thursday, July 13, 2006

Saint of the Day: Henry II

Today is the feast day of St. Henry II, my grandfather's patron saint.

My "Papa" as we called him, was the father of five boys, my father being the oldest. He and "Nana" were wonderful people who loved their children and adored their grandchildren. He was the daily caregiver to "Nana" who suffered from a debilitating arthritic condition which limited her movement and I know was a strain on him, though he never let on. I have very fond memories of "Papa" and know he is looking down on us, smiling.

From The Catholic Community Forum, a little on Henry II:

Son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria. Educated at the cathedral school in Hildesheim by bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg. Became Duke of Bavaria himself in 995 upon his father's death, which ended his thoughts of becoming a priest. Ascended to the throne of Germany in 1002. Crowned King of Pavia on 15 May 1004. Married Saint Cunegunda, but was never a father. Some sources claim the two lived chastely, but there is no proof of this.

Henry's brother rebelled against his power, and Henry was forced to defeat him on the battlefield, but later forgave him, and the two reconciled. He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII; he was the last of the Saxon dynasty of emperors. Founded schools, quelled rebellions, protected the frontiers, worked to establish a stable peace in Europe, and to reform the Church while respecting its independence. Fostered missions, and established Bamberg as a center for missions to Slavic countries. Started the construction of the cathedral at Basel, Switzerland; it took nearly 400 years to complete. Both Henry and Saint Cunegunda were prayerful people, and generous to the poor.

At one point he was cured of an unnamed illness by the touch of Saint Benedict at Monte Cassino. He became somewhat lame in his later years. Widower. Following Cunegunda's death, he considered becoming a monk, but the abbot of Saint-Vanne at Verdun refused his application, and told him to keep his place in the world where he could do much good for people and the advancement of God's kingdom.

No comments: