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Hedwig of Andechs

Saint Hedwig of Andechs (1174 - October 1243) was born in Castle Andechs, Bavaria, the daughter of Berthold III, count of Tirol and prince of Carinthia and Istria (Andechs-Meran), and his wife Agnes. One of her sisters married Andrew, king of Hungary. Their daughter was Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Elizabeth of Thuringia.

Another sister was abbess at Lutzingen in Franconia. Hedwig received her education at Lutzingen Benedict convent. At the age of 18, she was married to Henry I the Bearded of Glogau. In 1233 Henry also became duke of Greater Poland. Henry I died in battle with the Mongols in 1238. Hedwig and Henry had a son named Henry II. Hedwig entered the Cistercian convent of Trebnitz upon her husband's death. In 1241 her son Henry II was also killed in battle with the Mongols, who attacked Eastern Europe and had come all the way to Silesia and Brandenburg. Their aim was to reach the Baltic Sea and subjugate all people in their path. The German and Polish troops under Gotthart Brandis managed to turn back the Mongol army.

Hedwig and Henry lived a very pious life and Hedwig had great zeal for religion. She always helped the poor, went barefoot even in winter and she donated all her fortune to the church and the poor.

She died in October 1243 and was buried at Trebnitz, while her relics are kept at Kloster Andechs.

Hedwig was canonized in 1267.

Saint Hedwig is the patron saint of Berlin, Silesia and the capital Breslau, of Trebnitz, Diocese of Goerlitz, of Andechs and of Krakow. St. Hedwig's Cathedral is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Berlin.