Dominican Saints 101: St. Hyacinth

August 16, 2012

Like Holy Father Dominic, St. Hyacinth (ca. 1185-1257, feast – Aug. 17, patron of those in danger of drowning) was a canon. And like St. Dominic, a journey with his bishop changed his life.

Vestition of St. Hyacinth by St. Dominic
St. Hyacinth, along with his brother Bl. Ceslaus, was a Canon of the Cathedral of Krakow. When their uncle, the bishop of Krakow traveled to Rome, he brought along his two saintly nephews as well as Henry of Moravia and Herman the Teutonic. Soon after they arrived in Rome, they witnessed St. Dominic raise a young man from the dead. The bishop, so inspired by St. Dominic, begged him to send friars to Poland. But, St. Dominic didn’t have anyone to send. So he told the bishop,

My Lord, you have with you four young clerics; give them to me. I will clothe them with our habit, form them to apostolic virtues, and return them to you in a short time full of zeal and devotedness.”

They were clothed with the habit, returned to Poland six months later, and St. Dominic’s promise came true. St. Hyacinth was filled with such a great apostolic zeal that he traveled to Denmark, Scandinavia, and Russia. Some stories even have him traveling as far east as Tibet and the Great Wall of China.

Tomb of St. Hyacinth in Krakow
Not only was St. Hyacinth zealous, but he was also devoted. Like St. Dominic, he had a great love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, who would often appear to him. On one occasion, the Tartars stormed into Kiev started to burn the city. St. Hyacinth proceeded to grab the Blessed Sacrament to keep it safe, and as he was leaving the church, a statue of the Blessed Mother spoke to him begging him to take her as well. Miraculously, he was able to lift the heavy statue and escape from the church, sailing across the river on his cappa (a miracle similar to that of St. Raymond of Penafort). Like St. Hyacinth, may the Lord grant us the graces to be zealous for the spread of the faith and devoted to His Blessed Mother. O God, who didst make Blessed Hyacinth, thy confessor, glorious amongst the people of divers nations for the holiness of his life and the glory of his miracles, grant that by his example we may amend our lives, and be defended by his help in all adversities. Through Christ our Lord.

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