Saint of the Day – 17 November – St Elizabeth of Hungary TOSF (1207-1231) Princess, Widow member of the Third Order of the Franciscans, Mother, Apostle of the poor, the sick, the needy.. Also known as St Elizabeth of Thuringia. Born in 1207 at Presburg, Hungary – 1231 at Marburg, Germany of natural causes. Her relics, including her skull wearing a gold crown she had worn in life, are preserved at the convent of Saint Elizabeth in Vienna, Austria. Patronages – hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lace-makers, widows. all Catholic charities and the Third Order of Saint Francis. She was Canonised on 27 May 1235 by Pope Gregory IX at Perugia, Italy.
Elizabeth was born in 1207. Her father was Alexander II, the King of Hungary. Her marriage was arranged when she was just a child and at age four, she was sent to Thuringia for education and eventual marriage. When she was 14, she married Louis of Thuringia. They loved each other deeply.
Elizabeth went out with loaves of bread to feed those who were poor. Her husband saw her and took hold of her cape to see what she was carrying. What he saw was roses rather than bread! Because of this, she is also known as the patroness of bakers. Louis supported her in all she did to relieve the sufferings of those who were poor or sick. But Louis’s mother, Sophia, his brother and other members of court resented Elizabeth’s generosity. She was taunted and mocked by the royal family but deeply loved by the common people. Louis loved her and defended her. They had three children.
In 1227, after six years of marriage, Louis went to fight in the Crusades. He died on the way. Elizabeth was grief stricken. Her in-laws accused her of mismanaging the finances of the kingdom, forcing her and her children out of the palace. For a while, they found refuge only in barns. Finally, they were taken in by her uncle, the bishop of Bamberg. When her husband’s friends returned from the Crusades, they helped restore her to her rightful place in the palace. Elizabeth increased her service to others. She was 24 when she died.
She was canonised only four years later. Elizabeth is symbolized by a triple crown—for roles as a member of royalty, as a mother, and as a saint, crowned in heaven.