Uncle Eddie's E-mails -- July 24
Saint Kinga, (also known as St Cunegunde)
Polish Princess married to King Boleslas
(entered heaven this day in 1292)
I am sorry to hear that you feel so alone among the aristocrats. It is a heavy cross to have to spend a summer, which should be a time of enthusiasm, in an atmosphere so stultifying. But may I make a suggestion? Just because you haven't met any interesting people among the mansion-dwellers just yet, that doesn't mean there aren’t any around there. God hasn't abandoned the rich and well-pedigreed – he loves them just as much as he loves you. And if he has arranged for your summer to be spent researching a thesis on the “current state of the old American aristocracy”, I am sure he has some folks in mind who just need a little spark from the fire of love in your heart to set them ablaze for the Kingdom. You may want to keep today's saint in mind as you look for them.
Few had so exalted an ancestry. Cunegunde's mother was the daughter of the Emperor in Constantinople, and her father was the King of Hungry. Her aunt was St Elizabeth of Hungry and her Great Aunt was St Hedwig. Not too shabby! As a young girl, filled with conviction that God wanted her heart all for him, she made a promise of virginity. But circumstances and the times were against her, and she was married off to King Boleslas of southern Poland. As Providence would have it, however, he was a true Christian as well. And when she told him about her vow, he agreed to respect it, and even ended up making one himself. And although their marriage was never consummated, they became the spiritual father and mother of their nation as few had or would in the future. So beloved were they that the people used to call St Kinga their “comforter, physician, nurse, and holy mother.” The King quickly earned the remarkable and inspiring epithet, “King Boleslas the Chaste.” Kinga outlived her husband considerably, and after he died she took the veil at a convent of Poor Clares that she had sponsored as Queen.
So you see, belonging to the aristocracy is no guarantee of vice. In fact, I would venture to say that there are one or two potential saints right under your nose. Finding them and helping them along would be a fine project for the remaining weeks of your summer, wouldn't it? Just be sure to avoid the shadows of dissipation as you search. Boredom and lack of companionship can expose you to the very sins that St Kinga so heroically conquered. But if you keep in mind the words of Pope John Paul II when he canonized St Kinga back in 1999 at the convent where she had spent her final years, you should be fine:
“[Chastity is that] extraordinary gift whereby man experiences in a special way his own freedom. He can make of this inner freedom a place of encounter with Christ and with others on the path of holiness. Standing before this Convent, together with Saint Kinga, I speak in a special way to you young people: defend your inner freedom! Let no false shame keep you from cultivating chastity! And may the young men and women called by Christ to preserve life-long virginity know that this is a privileged state, which manifests most clearly the powerful work of the Holy Spirit."
Your devoted uncle,
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