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St. Henry II

Henry II, also known as Heinrich, Duke of Bavaria, and as Good King Henry, was born May 6, 972. He was the son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria. He wanted to become a priest, but at his father’s death in 995 he became Duke of Bavaria. He became King of Germany in 1002 and King of Pavia, Italy in 1004. He married St. Cunegunde; some sources say they lived celibately, but this is not known for certain. Henry defeated his rebellious brother on the battlefield, but later forgave him and the two reconciled. In 1014, Henry was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Benedict VIII. Good King Henry was prayerful and generous to the poor, as was Cunegunde. He founded schools and established peace in the empire. When Cunegunde died, he wanted to abdicate and become a monk, but was counseled by the abbot of Saint-Vanne to remain king and serve God in this way. Henry died July 13, 1024 in Saxony (modern Germany). He was canonized in 1146. His feast is July 13. St. Henry is invoked to cure sterility, and is the patron of the disabled, kings, dukes, and people refused entrance into religious orders.

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