Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Casimir (1461–1484)

Saint Casimir (1461–1484)

Patron saint of two countries: Poland and Lithuania

Feast day: March 4

A teenager leading an army? That is part of the life story of Saint Casimir. Casimir was born as prince of the Kingdom of Poland and also of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. When Casimir was thirteen, he tried, under his father’s direction, to become King of Hungary. The young Casimir became a conscientious objector after seeing how poorly his soldiers were treated. A serious and prayerful young man, he decided never again to be involved in war and was punished by his father for this with three months of confinement.

Though he reigned briefly as ruler of Poland, he died at the age of 23, most likely of tuberculosis. His remains were interred in Vilnius Cathedral, which remains the center of Roman Catholic life in Lithuania.

In some images he wears a red hat, signifying his rank as the Grand Duke of Lithuania. The lily is often shown, signifying his celibate life. The image here shows the famous painting of Saint Casimir with three hands. While this could be a previous image “bleeding through,” the three hands have come to symbolize Saint Casimir’s generosity to the poor.  Here he is also seen holding rosary beads. (Adapted from Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens [Saint Mary’s Press]) 

(Image public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)