Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and
suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of
the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary,
Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure
and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the
hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German
principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the
spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer,
sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with
the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to
hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she
was grief-stricken. Her husbandís family looked upon her as squandering
the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the
palace. The return of her husbandís allies from the Crusades resulted in
her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.
In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the
remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which
she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabethís health declined, and
she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted
in her canonization four years later.