Saint Hyacinth was a Polish Dominican priest and missionary who worked to establish and spread religious communities in his native Poland.
Hyancinth was born 1185 in the Castle of Lanka in southwestern Poland to a noble family. A relative of Blessed Ceslaus, he studied at prestigious institutions in Krakow, Prague, and Bologna, eventually earning the title Doctor of Law and Divinity.
He later travelled to Rome and witnessed a miracle performed by Saint Dominic. He entered the first Dominican monastery in the city, and in 1220 he received the religious habit of the Order of Preachers from Saint Dominic himself.
He was then sent back to his homeland to establish the Dominican Order in Poland. He erected new monasteries throughout the country and spread the Faith.
Legends of his travels throughout Poland tell the story of his missionary visit to the village of Kościelec 22 miles north-east of Krakow in 1238. During his time there, an epic hailstorm destroyed the entirety of their crops and left the people in famine and poverty.
Hyacinth told them to pray to God that they may be saved from what would be certain starvation, and on the next day new crops rose from the Earth. To show their gratitude, the people treated the saint to fresh pierogi made from the newly sprouted wheat. Another legend tells of Hyacinth feeding people with pierogi during a famine caused by an invasion of Tatars in 1241.
An old-time saying in Poland arose from the tales of the saint’s assistance in dire times: “Święty Jacku z pierogami!” meaning Saint Hyacinth with Pierogi!