Saint Hyacinth, whom ecclesiastical writers are rightly wont to call the apostle of the north and one of the wonder-workers of his century, was of the house of the Odrowaz, counts of Konski, an old and noble Polish family. Some of his ancestors enjoyed palatine rights. To his line also belonged a number of military officers whose bravery and patriotism more than once proved their country's bulwark against invasions by barbarian hordes.
His great-grandfather, Saul Odrowaz, defeated the enemy in several bloody engagements. The saint's grandfather, Saul Odrowaz, who gained an enviable reputation for courage by his martial exploits in the twelfth century, had two sons. Ivo, the younger, studied for the ministry, filled the office of chancellor for the king of Poland, became bishop of Cracow, and died with a great reputation for sanctity. Eustachius, the elder, married a lady whose piety ranked with her birth. God seems to have blessed their union with a fine family. Hyacinth, of whom we now write, was the eldest. According to the more common opinion he first saw the light of day in 1185. His birthplace was the Castle of Lanka, Kamin, in Silesian Poland, now a part of Prussia. The next sketch will be of a younger brother, or at least a near relative, Blessed Ceslas.
Almost from the cradle, nature seemed to have disposed Hyacinth to virtue. His parents not only studiously fostered this happy disposition, but also used great care to procure for their son teachers who would protect his innocence. In this way, he was so well grounded in his religious duties that he passed through his higher studies at Cracow, Prague, and Bologna, without tarnish to his pure soul. Doubtless his model life had not a little to do in helping him to win the admiration of both his professors and fellow-students. God also blessed him with, a splendid mind. Thus, through diligent study, at Bologna he obtained the degree of doctor in canon law and theology...