August 17: Saint Hyacinth
St. Hyacinth was one of the first members of the Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) and the “apostle of the North”, and is also called the “Apostle of Poland.”
Hyacinth was born into nobility in 1185 at the castle of Lanka, at Kamin, in Silesia, Poland, and received an impressive education, becoming a Doctor of Law and Divinity before traveling to Rome with his uncle, Ivo Konski, the Bishop of Krakow.
In Rome he met St. Dominic and decided to join the Order of Preachers immediately, receiving his habit from Dominic himself in 1220.
After his novitiate he made his religious profession, and was made superior of the little band of missionaries sent to Poland to preach. In Poland the new preachers were well received and their sermons produced a deep conversion in the people.
Hyacinth also founded communities in Sandomir, Kracow, and at Plocko on the Vistula in Moravia. He extended his missionary work through Prussia, Pomerania, and Lithuania. Then, crossing the Baltic Sea, he preached in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Russia, reaching the shores of the Black Sea.
On his return to Krakow he died, on August 15, 1257.
Some of his relics can be found at the Dominican church in Paris.
St. Hyacinth is a patron of Poland.