Saint Henry was born in a royal family with a duke as a father and princess as a mother. During his youth, he received his education and spiritual guidance from Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg. His lessons from Saint Wolfgang left a mark on his soul for the rest of his life. Saint Henry eventually took on his father's position as Duke of Bavaria. During his rule, he encouraged German bishops to reform the practices of the church in accordance with canon law, he brought a peaceful end to a revolt in his territory, and acted decisively against an Italian nobleman who declared himself a rival to Duke Henry. Henry became a great patron of churches and monasteries, donating so much of his wealth to them that his relatives complained that he was behaving irresponsibly. But Henry was far from irresponsible, as his leadership of the Western Empire in both war and peace demonstrated. The emperor was also a great patron of the poor, making enormous contributions for their relief. He eventually got married to Saint Cunigunde of Luxembourg and didn’t have any children. Some accounts say that the couple took a vow of virginity. For the last several years of Saint Henry’s life, he had to deal with a serious illness and an additional ailment that crippled his left leg. He found support in prayer and eventually died in 1024, finally canonized 120 years later.
Lord, you filled Saint Henry with your love and raised him from the cares of an earthly kingdom to eternal happiness in heaven. In the midst of the changes of this world, may his prayers keep us free from sin and help us on our way towards you. He suffered a great deal of pain during the last few years of his life, be with us when we are in those times of struggle as you were with him. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.