St. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, and wife of Ludwig, Landgrave of Thuringia, was from her earliest youth most devout to the glorious Queen of Heaven. She always took delight in venerating her and in causing her to be venerated by all with whom she came in contact. She never wearied of saying the Angelical Salutation in honor of the Mother of God.

Among the virtues most conspicuous in St. Elizabeth, was her love of holy poverty. This she learnt in the school of our blessed Lady herself, for the Queen of heaven and earth practiced poverty during the whole of her mortal life. This spirit of poverty inspired St. Elizabeth with so great a scorn for earthly possessions, that she detested all that was not strictly necessary, and would not even retain what was befitting her dignity as queen. Once, on the Feast of the Assumption, while assisting at the solemn Mass, she took off her royal crown before all the bystanders and pushing away the cushions set for her, knelt on the bare ground, declaring that such adornments were not befitting a servant of Jesus Christ, seeing that He, the King of heaven and earth, had always lived poorly and died crowned with bitter thorns.

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth underwent the fiercest persecutions. Through the envy and hatred of the great nobles, it was spread about that by her almsgiving she had wasted the Crown treasury. On this account she was driven from the court, exposed to every sort of insult, and finally obliged to take refuge in a little hut, where she suffered terribly from hunger and the severity of the weather. In the midst of these tribulations, always borne with heroic patience, she was lovingly helped by our blessed Lady, her sweet Patroness, who even deigned to appear to her and speak to her. At last, St. Elizabeth was restored to her original dignity. But instead of peacefully enjoying the pleasures and honors of her rank, she turned her back on all the things of the world and asked to be clothed in the poor habit of St. Francis. For the rest of her life she never ceased to exercise herself in the practice of penance and humility. At last, invited by her heavenly Spouse to the wedding-feast of paradise, she exchanged the tears of her exile for the joys of heaven, dying at Marburg, in Germany, on the nineteenth of November, 1231.

Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

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