Feast Day : March 4
Patronage: Knights of St. John; Lithuania; Poland
Casimir was born in 1458, the second son and third of 13 children to King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria. In childhood he became devoted to God through the influence of his tutor, John Duglosz. He refused to play the royal role, instead wearing plain clothes and sleeping on the floor. He spent much time in prayer. His father expected something more traditional from Casimir, and in 1471 sent him to head an army and seize control of the Hungarian throne. Casimir obeyed, but felt the expedition was morally wrong. When soldiers began deserting, he turned around and went home. His furious father confined him to the castle at Dzoki. The exile strengthened Casimir’s resolve to adhere to his spiritual calling. He refused his father’s arranged marriage for him, as well as other plans. From 1479 to 1483, King Casimir was out of Poland, and son Casimir served as regent. While visiting Grodno, Lithuania (now Belarus), Casimir became ill with tuberculosis and died on March 4, 1483 or 1484. He was buried at Vilnius with his favorite song, a Latin hymn favored by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, called “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary.” It is sometimes called the “Hymn of St. Casimir,” though he did not write it. His tomb became renowned for miracles.