St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Widow, Third Order
St Elizabeth of Hungary is a Patron of the Third Order of St Francis; Elizabeth was Canonized May 28, 1235, Perugia, Italy by Pope Gregory IX;
Feast day November 17 November 19 (General Roman Calendar 1670-1969)
In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband's family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband's allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was 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 in honour of St. Francis. Elizabeth's health declined, and she died on 17th November, before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.
Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper: The Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many. Elizabeth is also an example to us in her following the guidance of a spiritual director. Growth in the spiritual life is a difficult process. We can play games very easily if we don't have someone to challenge us or to share experiences so as to help us avoid pitfalls.
"Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbour of every individual, without exception, and to take positive steps to help a neighbour whom we encounter, whether that neighbour be an elderly person, abandoned by everyone, a foreign worker who suffers the injustice of being despised, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin of which the child is innocent, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: 'As long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me' (Matthew 25:40)" (Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 27, Austin Flannery translation).
Her 800 anniversary occurred in 2007
The year 2007 was proclaimed "Elizabeth Year" in Marburg. All year, events commemorating Elizabeth's life and works were held, culminating in a town-wide festival to celebrate the 800th anniversary of her birth on July 7, 2007. Pilgrims came from all over the world for the occasion, which ended with a special service in the Elisabeth Church that evening.
A new musical based on Elisabeth's life, Elisabeth--die Legende einer Heiligen ("Elizabeth--Legend of a Saint"), starring Sabrina Weckerlin as Elizabeth, Armin Kahn as Ludwig, and Chris Murray as Konrad, premiered in Eisenach in 2007. It was performed in Eisenach and Marburg for two years, and closed in Eisenach in July, 2009.
The entire Third Order of St. Francis, both the friars and sisters of the Third Order Regular and the Secular Franciscan Order, joined in this celebration through a two-year long program of study of her life. This was conducted throughout the Order, across the globe. There were also religious ceremonies held worldwide during that period. The yearlong observance of the centennial which began on her feast day in 2007 was closed at the General Chapter of the Order, held in Budapest in 2008. The New York region of the Order produced a movie of her life, produced by a sister of the Order, Lori Pieper, O.F.S., Ph.D.
Prayer of the church
Enlighten, O God of mercy, the hearts of Thy faithful, and
through the prayers of Blessed Elizabeth, do Thou cause us to
think little of worldly prosperity and ever to be gladdened by
that consolation which is of heaven.
Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen
Foley, Leonard Fr, OFM., ed., revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.,2009,Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, St. Anthony's messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH
Prayer: Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois
Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia, Modified 15 October 2013, Elizabeth of Hungary, en.wikipedia.org, Accessed 24 October 2013, <web:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_of_Hungary>
Last edited 13/09/2017 08:20
Web administrator Wayne Benge