spiritual revolution begun by St. Francis of
touched all sectors of 13th century life.
While Franciscanism is often considered a grassroots movement, it
sparked another spiritual phenomenon which could be described as
“holiness in high places.”
fervent, joyful enthusiasm of the early Franciscans was so contagious that
even some of the European royalty caught the Gospel flame and became
dedicated followers of the Little Poor Man.
this noble number was Kinga (also known by her Latin name, Cunegunda).
Born in 1224, she was the daughter of King Bela of
and a niece of St. Elizabeth of
. From an early age, she felt
called to consecrate her virginity to God and to live for Him alone.
Pope John Paul II, who canonized Kinga in June 1999, describes the
single-hearted response of this royal teen-ager in the face of political
expediency and prevailing social custom:
When the circumstances of the
time dictated that she was to marry Prince Boleslaus (of Cracow), she
convinced him to live a life of virginity for the glory of God, and after
a waiting period of two years the spouses made a vow of perpetual chastity
in the hands of Bishop Prandota.
after this, Prince Boleslaus became his nation’s reigning sovereign.
Together the couple ruled
, happily and holily, for almost forty years.
Blessed John Paul continues:
her husband’s side, Kinga shared in his rule, showing firmness and
courage, generosity and concern for the good of the country and her
Her care for the
poor was lavish; her support of the Church, unflagging.
Queen Kinga knew how to seek first the
and her deeply Franciscan spirit of prayer equipped her to govern wisely.
Boleslaus died, many hoped that Kinga would continue to rule.
’s Queen had only one wish – to spend the remainder of her life in the
Poor Clare monastery she had helped to found in Sandek.
The sisters who lived with her were inspired by her love of God,
her humility, prayerfulness and virtue.
Kinga placed all of her gifts at the service of heaven’s
King, and soon her monastery was known not only as a haven of prayer but
also as a center of Polish culture.
Kinga, Poor Clare heiress and queen of the Kingdom of heaven, died on
July 24, 1292
do not fade away, Pope John Paul remarked at her canonization.
Then he asked: What is the name of that power which defies the inexorable law that
says, “Everything fades away?” The
name of this power is love.