View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SFO Patroness: St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the patroness of the Secular Franciscans.

She was born in Hungary in 1207. Her father was Alexander II, King of Hungary. As a child, she was sent to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia to be educated, and as the betrothed of the one of the sons - by some accounts Hermann, by others, Ludwig. Whatever the case, she did marry Ludwig in 1221 when she was 14 and he was 21, and eventually they had three children.

Although a member of the court, she lived a simple and austere life, and soon began supporting the efforts of the Franciscans, who had recently spread to her part of Europe from Italy. She devoted herself to works of charity. Ludwig, who was also religiously inclined, supported and encouraged her in her charities and pious actions.

One popular legend about her is that one time when she was taking bread to the poor in secret, her Ludwig asked her what was in the pouch. She opened it and the bread had been turned into roses.
Ludwig went to fight in the Crusades and died in 1227. On getting the news, Elizabeth reportedly declared: "The world with all its joys is now dead to me."

She left the court after his death, arranged for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world, becoming a member of the Franciscan Third Order (now known as the Secular Franciscans). She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death in 1231 at age 24.


Post a Comment

<< Home