St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Elizabeth lived in the early 1200’s; She was married at age 14 to prince Ludwig. He was a good husband, and they had a happy marriage. At night when they prayed, they would always kneel down together and hold hands.
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Her husband proved himself worthy of his wife. He approved of her many acts of charity and gave her his full support. He was a capable ruler and a brave soldier. In 1227 he went with the Emperor on a crusade to Palestine, but tragically, he died while on the crusade. The news did not reach Elizabeth until a month later, just after she gave birth to her third child. Hearing the news of her husband’s death, she said: ‘All the joys of life are no longer for me.’
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But in the coming years, she came to know the teachings of St. Francis. Elizabeth laid aside her royal dignities in order to serve God. She put on simple clothing and became a third order Franciscan. She had a hospital built, and devoted herself to the care of the sick, especially those who had the most horrible diseases.
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Living in only a small mud house, she put herself at the service of widows, orphans, and the needy. During a famine she distributed all the grain from her stocks. In her hospitals, she frequently cared for lepers, even kissing their hands and feet, because in them she saw Jesus.
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During the night she would rise from bed and spend long periods at prayer, and one night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her to console and teach her.
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St. Elizabeth died at only the age of 24, pouring herself out to aid the destitute. Very soon after her death, miracles began to be worked at her grave and in the hospital chapel, especially miracles of healing.
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An ancient legend tells us, that while she was on an errand of mercy, she was miraculously met by her husband; the bread she was carrying in her apron suddenly turned into roses; and for this reason she is often portrayed holding roses on her lap.
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Many of the relatives of St. Elizabeth of Hungary were drawn to Christ, and led lives themselves of holiness, by her example. We too, should imitate her good works, and in this way draw many others to Christ.

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