Sunday, November 18, 2012

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Patroness of the SFO

Today is a special day for Secular Franciscans. It's the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a woman who so loved the poor and suffering that she became the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. 

She was the daughter of the King of Hungary. At 14, Elizabeth she married Louis of Thuringia. It was apparently a loving marriage, and they had three children. But at the same time, she had a Franciscan friar as her spiritual director, and in addition to her duties as wife and mother she was devoted to prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick.

Her husband died in the Crusades. Because she spent so much to help the poor, the young widow was thrown out of the palace by her late husband's family, but she was later allowed to return.

In 1228 she joined the Secular Franciscan Order, and spent the rest of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. In 1231, she died just before her 24th birthday in 1231, and she was canonized just four years later.

St. Elizabeth, pray for us.

Pax et bonum

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