St. Hedwig of Andechs was born in Bavaria in 1174 and died on October 15, 1243. She was a Duchess of Silesia and one of the eight children born to the Count of Andechs and Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia, Berthold IV. Hedwig had her education at the monastery of Kitzengen and was married to Henry I of Silesbia at the age of twelve. Henry I succeeded his father Boleslo as Duke of Silesia. The union of Henry and Hedwig brought the Duke closer relations to Germany, since his mother was German and he was educated in that country. Their reign rendered inportant services to civilization in the realm; Henry I, as an energetic prince who established his authority on a firm basis, and Hedwig exercised her great influence in the government of the land through her prudence, fortitude, and piety. The couple gave their support to new monastic foundations, including, among many, the convent of the Cistercian nuns at Trebnitz in 1202.
The couple had seven children, however, only two lived to have productive lives: Henry who succeeded his father’s title, and Gertrude who embraced religious life as an abbess at the Abbey of Trebnitz. Later on, after her husband’s death, Hedwig gave away her fortune and took on the grey habit of the Cistercians. She cared for the sick, both personally and by founding hospitals, while supporting the poor. Privately she gave herself up to meditation on supernatural things and had greatly fasted and practiced abstinence. Through this, she grew in the strength of the Spirit and in grace, blazing within her the fire of devotion and divine love.
Hedwig was layed to rest in a church attached to the Monastery at Trebnitz and was canonized by Clement IV on March 26, 1267. On August 25 of the same year, her remains were raised to the honors of the Altar.
This servant of God, never neglected the practice of all good works. Through the divine favor of the sufferings of Christ, she was given the grace when she lacked human means to do good when her own strength failed. She had the power to relieve the bodily and spiritual troubles of all who sought her help.
She is known as the patron of brides, death of children, difficult marriages, victims of jealousy, widows and duchesses. She is considered the patron Saint of Bavaria, Berlin, Germany, the diocese of Gorlitz, Germany and Silesia.