Saint Casimir died young – as the good are wont to do – entering eternity, after a battle with tuberculosis, on this day, March 4th, 1484, at the tender age of 25. He was a Polish prince and heir apparent, but gave up the gloria mundi, devoting his life more to God and His poor, preferring a life of celibacy and chastity. Like Saint Katharine Drexel yesterday, he could have had it all, in an age when kings and princes were truly so, but cooperation with grace, and his own disposition, allowed him to see through the transitory veil of this passing world, to the one that is to come; and this made him all the more human. As contemporary sources describe him, from today’s Office:
A prince preserving his chastity is in itself a quasi-miracle, never mind his disdain for self, and total love for others, especially the poor and outcast. Casimir’s reputation for holiness quickly spread, and he may well have been canonized soon after his death, in 1521, by Leo XIII, but such records were lost in the horrific sack of Rome by barbaric quasi-Christian mercenaries in 1527. We know for certain that Pope Clement VIII enrolled him in the calendar of saints in 1602, and he is now the patron of Poland and Lithuania.
Saint Casimir, ora pro nobis!