Franciscan Saints

20th December

The Servant of God Elizabeth of Austria

Widow, Third Order

Born in 1554 to the German Emperor Maximilian II a daughter Elizabeth, like her Patron Elizabeth of Hungry, this Elizabeth was to be an honour to her family and to the Third Order.

At aged 15, Elizabeth was married to king Charles IX of France after only four years together the king died and Elizabeth returned to Vienna, the 29 year old widow resolved not to remarry.

On 27 October 1572, the Queen had given birth to her first child, a daughter, in the Louvre Palace; she was named Marie Elisabeth � Elizabeth left her daughter in the care of her grandmother Catherine, this was the last time she saw her daughter for her last and greatest tragedy came on 2 April 1578, when the six-year-old daughter Marie Elisabeth died.

Publically entering the Third order of St. Francis she taught them by her example, at home Elizabeth spent much time in prayer and outside participated in processions and other devotions, Elizabeth wore only the plainest of clothing and fasted often, distaining public amusements.

She tended the sick in hospital and visited homes in the city looking for the poor sick, providing them with medications, occasionally bringing the poor home to her own table as on Thursdays when she provided a banquet for them in honour of the Last Supper.

Elizabeth founded a convent of Poor Clares-Mary, Queen of Angels, where she often did her cooking for the poor. Interested in the upkeep of churches she was more interested in having worthy priests to say Mass and care for the souls of the poor � as such she loved to help educate young men as they prepared for the priesthood.

Elizabeth died aged 35 at Vienna in 1592. She chose this text from the office for the dead for her epitaph:
�Since I sin daily and yet do not do penance, the fear of death disturbs me. As in hell there is no redemption, have mercy on me, O God, and save me!�1

Several miracles have occurred at her tomb.

Prayer of the Church
(Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Let Thy constant pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend Thy
Church, and since without Thee we cannot abide in safety, may
we ever be governed by Thy grace.
Through this same Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Source: Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, The Servant of God Elizabeth of Austria, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois,(p.p.896,897)

Last edited 13/09/2017 14:10 
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