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Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Nov. 17th, 2004

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Today (Nov. 17th) is the feast day of one of my daughter's patrons Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Saint Elizabeth pray for us all and lead us to Christ through the heart of Your Blessed Mother, Mary and please pray especially for my daughter today and always. amen.

Father, you helped Elizabeth of Hungary to recognize and honor Christ in the poor of this world. Let her prayers help us to serve our brothers and sisters in time of trouble and need. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)
St Elizabeth is traditionally represented as dressed in rich clothes, bearing in her top skirt-which is gathered up at the front to form an apron-a profusion of red roses, while behind her back she holds a loaf of bread; these are the symbols of her life, her inherited position as Queen of Hungary, and the life she elected for herself of penance and asceticism.

The contrast between the two callings is everywhere apparent in the twenty-four years which made up her life. Even before her wedding at the age of thirteen to the saintly Louis of Thuringia, she was marked out for suffering. Her mother-in-law tried to prevent the wedding out of jealousy and constantly mocked Elizabeth for her charity and humility. She said that she behaved 'like a tired old mule,' when she prostrated herself before the crucifix, and that she was totally unfitted to be Queen.

Her mortification took the form of wearing the simplest clothes woven of coarse untreated wool and of eating as little as possible; she refused to wear her jewelled crown, when our Lord wore one of thorns. However, more important than these mortifications was her constant and remarkable charity, which was expressed in every detail of her life, inward and outward. When she was not actively engaged in the business of government she spent all her time either in prayer or visiting the poor and the sick, with the result that, after her husband's death in 1227, his family accused her of squandering the royal purse on the vagrants of the land.

Her husband's family gained control of the government and ousted her from the palace with her four children, and Louis's brother declared himself regent. He forbade any citizen to take her in, and such was his reputation for savagery that she was reduced to spending the first days of her banishment in a pigsty. She refused the asylum offered by her father, but finally accepted the hospitality of her own uncle, the bishop of Bamberg.

Since 1226 her confessor had been Master Conrad of Hamburg, a severe and unpopular inquisitor of heretics. St Elizabeth now placed herself unreservedly under his direction, which was so severe as to seem sadistic: he banished all her followers, substituting two ugly and disagreeable waiting women; and for infringements of his discipline he would administer a beating, sometimes for merely missing a sermon.

Eventually her husband's comrades returned from the Crusades, entrusted with the duty of protecting Elizabeth. This they were preparing to do when the usurper changed his attitude to her; she was recalled and the rights of her son recognized.

She had few more years of life to run, but she spent them in constant prayer and practical charity, and became universally loved and revered. She died on November 19th, 1231, and was canonized four years later by Pope Gregory IX.

Courtesy of Catholic Information Network (CIN)

Patron: bakers; beggars; brides; charitable societies; charitable workers; charities; countesses; death of children; exiles; falsely accused people; hoboes; homeless people; hospitals; in-law problems; lacemakers; lace workers; nursing homes; nursing services; people in exile; people ridiculed for their piety; Sisters of Mercy; tertiaries; Teutonic Knights; toothache; tramps; widows.

Symbols: three crowns (virgin, wife, widow); triple crown; roses; basket of bread and flask of wine; roses in a robe; infant in a cradle; model of a hospital or of Warburg castle; distaff.
Often Portrayed As: Queen distributing alms; !oman wearing a crown and tending to beggars; Woman wearing a crown, carrying a load of roses in her apron or mantle.
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