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Saint Casimir: Biography, Miracles & Timeline

Instructor: Mark Koscinski

Mark has a doctorate from Drew University and teaches accounting classes. He is a writer, editor and has experience in public and private accounting.

In this lesson you will learn about Saint Casimir of Poland and why he was acclaimed a saint. You will also learn about his virtuous characteristics and his will to do what was right.

Personal Characteristics

Young people looking for a historical role model might be very impressed by Saint Casimir of Poland. He held to unwavering personal discipline, no matter the consequences. Casimir (Charles in English) was born on October 3, 1458 to Casimir IV of Poland and Elizabeth of Austria. Casimir was the second son, and third of 13 children. He was tutored by Father John Dlugosz, a learned and saintly member of the Jesuit order. Casimir showed great attention to the poor. Following the biblical injunction, he gave everything he had to the needy and wore only very plain clothing. From an early age, he demonstrated ascetical practices such as sleeping on the ground and wearing a haircloth shirt. A haircloth shirt is a garment made of rough animal hair and worn under clothing as a form of deep penance. The irritation of the skin is a constant reminder not to sin.

Painting of Casimir in prayer
Painting of Casimir in Prayer

The Hungarian Throne

In 1471, the nobility of Hungary was deeply divided over its king Matthias Corvinus. Dissident elements within the nobility asked Casimir to be King of Hungary. Having a Polish king on the throne of Hungary would have been of vital strategic importance to Poland, securing its southern borders. Casimir declined but reluctantly traveled to Hungary at the head of an army. He was then 13 years old. Would you have found the courage to lead an army at that age?

Pope Sixtus IV, the head of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, opposed the adventure. Casimir's soldiers were also not paid and short on rations, resulting in great dissatisfaction in their ranks. The Polish army left the field without fighting. His father, infuriated with this result, incarcerated Casimir for several months to persuade him to return and take the throne of Hungary. Casimir refused then and later when he was offered the throne of Hungary again.

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