Saint Elizabeth of Hungary



 

      Saint Elizabeth of Hungary promulgated her legacy through her works of charity. She was born in the year 1207, the daughter of King Andrew II and his wife, Gertrude of Andechs-Meran. As was tradition to keep alliances between nations, Elizabeth was promised in marriage to Louis, or Ludwig, the son of Landgrave Herman of Thuringia and Hesse, now Germany. From the age of four, she was sent to live in Thuringia in order to be prepared to be Louis’ future wife. They were married when Elizabeth was 14 and Louis was 21.

        Elizabeth endured mockery and disregard on behalf of Louis’ sisters because of her modest and religious ways, but this did not stop her longing for a holy life consisting of charitable works for those less fortunate than she. She lived in a time when war, disease, and poverty were rampant among the people, and she devoted herself to providing assistance to those who had no one else to turn to.

        Louis supported Elizabeth’s cause, although his family and court complained to him because in a time of famine, Elizabeth distributed their grain to the poor until they were almost out. He was convinced that as long as Elizabeth was allowed to continue her charitable work, that the court would never go without, and never imposed any obstacles on her work.

        Elizabeth was widowed at the age of 20 and devoted the rest of her life to the care of the sick and the poor. She died in 1231. Both hospitals and charitable agencies have been named after her. She lived a life that modeled the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching and for that reason, she is the patron of Catholic Charities.

 

The Feast Day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is November 17.

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