Today is the feast day of another wonderful saint. Like St. Margaret of Scotland yesterday, St. Elizabeth of Hungary was also royalty.
She was born a little more than 100 years after St. Margaret of Scotland, in 1207. She was married to Louis of Thuringia, and they had 3 children. Elizabeth also chose a life of simple service, choosing not to indulge in luxury or ignore the people whom she could help. She is an example of a person who chose to turn tragedy into a life of service.
Elizabeth wore simple clothing, and spent her time ministering to the sick and helping the poor. Sadly, Elizabeth's husband died after only 6 years of marriage and her husband's family mistreated her, even finally forcing her to leave the palace. However, her husband's allies came to her help and she was reinstated since her son was the legal heir to the throne.
In 1228, Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died aged only 23, in 1231. She was canonized just four years later.
Elizabeth is often portrayed as a young woman with loaves of bread in her apron, as a reminder of the many loaves of bread she distributed to the poor daily. Sometimes she is shown with roses, instead of bread, pointing to the many miracles attributed to her soon after her death. She is the patroness of widows, brides, Catholic Charities and the Secular Franciscan Order.
Lord, we give thanks for the life and example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. We pray for her continued intercession for the country of Hungary. May we follow her example of faithfulness, even in times of great distress. Amen.
How could I bear a crown of gold, when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And he bears it for me!
-St. Elizabeth of Hungary
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