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Saint Henry

Saint Henry
  • Century: 10th & 11th Century
  • Patronage: Of the childless, of Dukes, of Handicapped, of those rejected by Religious Orders
  • Feast Day: July 13th

St. Henry was the son of Henry, the Duke of Bavaria, and of Gisella, the daughter of Conrad, King of Burgundy.  He was born in 972.  He received an excellent education under the care of St. Wolfgang, Bishop of Ratisbon. 

In 995, St. Henry succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria, and later upon the death of his cousin, he was elected emperor.  St. Henry was anchored deeply in the great eternal truths, and in all things, sought the greater glory of god.  He was very watchful over the welfare of the Church, and had a great zeal for the maintenance of ecclesiastical discipline through the Bishops. 

St. Henry gained many victories over his enemies, both at home and abroad.  He used great moderation and clemency in his ruling Bavaria.  In 1014 he went to Rome and received the Imperial crown, at the hands of Pope Benedict VIII.  On that day, he confirmed the donation, made by his predecessors, to the Pope, of the Sovereignty of Rome.  Circumstances several times, drove the Holy Emperor into war, at which he always came forth victorious.  He led an army to the south of Italy against the Saracens and their allies the Greeks, and drove them from the country. 

St. Henry had a deep humility, and spirit of justice that were equal to his zeal for religion.  A good example of his deep humility is, he laid himself at the feet of Bishop Herebert of Cologne, and begged his pardon for having treated him with coldness, on account of a misunderstanding.  He wanted to retire into a monastery, but yielded to the advice of the Abbot of Verdun, and retained his title as Emperor.  Both he and his wife, St. Cunegundes, lived in perpetual chastity, to which they bound themselves by vow. 

St. Henry made numerous pious foundations, and gave generously to pious institutions.  He built the Cathedral of Bamberg.  His holy death occurred at the castle of Grone, near Halberstad in 1024.  He is the patron saint of the childless, of Dukes, of the handicapped and those rejected by Religious Orders. 

Practical Take Away

St. Henry was born into a royal bloodline, and was destined to become Emperor of Bavaria.  He shows us by his life, that one can serve both man and God, by following the Will of God for ones life.  He tried to escape the civil life for that of a monastic one, but God graced him with the ability to serve the people and the Church from his being Emperor.  His life shows us that we can serve God and Holy Mother Church through our vocation as well.  If we have any doubts of how to do that, we can always call upon St. Henry for his intercession.