Monday, August 8, 2022

St Elizabeth of Hungary – Feast Day – November 17

St Elizabeth of Hungary was a princess born on July 7 1207 in Bratislava, Slovakia (previously Pozsony, Hungary), and died on November 17 1231 at the age of 24 in Hesse, Germany (previously Marburg, Landgraviate of Thuringia). We celebrate her feast day on November 17 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Elizabeth of Hungary is the Patron Saint of

  • Widows
  • Third Order of Saint Francis
  • Teutonic Order
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo City, the Philippines
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bogotá
  • Nurses
  • Lace-makers
  • Košice, Slovakia
  • Hospitals
  • Homeless people
  • Falsely accused people
  • Exiles
  • Dying children
  • Countesses
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Brides
  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Bakers
St Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious Biography
St Elizabeth of Hungary - Feast Day - November 17
St Elizabeth of Hungary – Feast Day – November 17
Date of Birth July 7 1207
Place of Birth Bratislava, Slovakia
Profession Served the sick
Place of Work Thuringia, Germany
Date of Death November 17 1231 (aged 24)
Place of Death Marburg, Landgraviate of Thuringia (modern-day Hesse, Germany)
Feast Day November 17
Canonization By Pope Gregory IX on May 27 1235 in Perugia, Italy
Patron Saint of
  • Widows
  • Third Order of Saint Francis
  • Teutonic Order
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo City, the Philippines
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bogotá
  • Nurses
  • Lace-makers
  • Košice, Slovakia
  • Hospitals
  • Homeless people
  • Falsely accused people
  • Exiles
  • Dying children
  • Countesses
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Brides
  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Bakers

St Elizabeth of Hungary Life History

St Elizabeth of Hungary’s father was King Andrew II of Hungary and her mother was Gertrude of Merania. Her lineage was of nobility from both parents’ sides.

From Hungary, Elizabeth went to Thuringia in Germany at the age of 4 years to be betrothed to Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (Ludwig). She lived in the royal courts until she was 14 years when she finally married Ludwig.

When the Franciscan friars arrived in Thuringia in 1223, St Elizabeth of Hungary learned about the life of St Francis of Assisi and started to practice them in real life. Her husband, Ludwig was very supportive of her charitable works, and together with Elizabeth, they were liked and appreciated in equal measure by the poor and the needy in Thuringia.

When Konrad von Marburg, a priest became St Elizabeth of Hungary’s confessor, he influenced her a lot and she continued being pious. 

In 1226, Ludwig was selected by the emperor, Frederick II, to represent him at the Imperial Diet in Cremona. Elizabeth took control of the affairs in Thuringia. At that same time severe floods, famine, and plague hit Thuringia and Elizabeth sent alms to the poor and needy in all the affected parts of Thuringia including royal ornaments and robes.

When St Elizabeth of Hungary’s husband, Ludwig, went to the Sixth Crusade of Emperor Frederick II, to recapture Jerusalem, he died of fever in Otranto, Italy on September 11 1227. Elizabeth was very devastated and remarked, “He is dead. He is dead. To me, it is as if the whole world died today.” Elizabeth was only 20 years old with three children when she was widowed.

Henry Raspe, Ludwig’s brother took over the reins of power. The family despised Elizabeth as an extravagant person and threw her out on the streets with her children but after her husband’s allies came back from the crusade she was helped to return back to the family’s royal courts.

After a protracted battle over the return of her dowry, she was finally given what was due to her and moved to Marburg in Hesse.

St Elizabeth of Hungary made a solemn vow of celibacy before Konrad von Marburg, her confessor, and also pledged her obedience to him. Konrad was very thorough in his management of Elizabeth where he gave her very high and unrealistic standards to live her life. On several occasions, he would recommend that she be punished by caning. 

Her vow of celibacy became a hindrance to the political ambitions of her family which even made her uncle hold her hostage in his castle to lure her into remarriage. Elizabeth on her part adamantly refused to go against her celibacy vow and even threatened to cut off her nose to repulse away any potential suitors. 

With the money she got from her dowry, St Elizabeth of Hungary built a hospital at Marburg where she and her companions cared for the sick and the poor.

There are several miracles that are attributed to St Elizabeth of Hungary. One of them is the Miracle of the Roses. This miracle occurred when one day as she was secretly taking bread to the poor and the hungry, she bumped into her husband Ludwig who asked her if she was stealing the treasures from the castle. He demanded that she reveal whatever she was hiding under her cloak and when she opened her cloak only white and red roses were seen.

Another miracle occurred when Elizabeth laid in their matrimonial bed, a leper named Helias of Eisenach. Her mother-in-law found out and told Ludwig. When Ludwig went to the bedroom and removed the bedding, he saw the image of Jesus on the Cross lying there on the bed.

Death

St Elizabeth of Hungary’s health deteriorated and died in 1231 in Marburg at the age of twenty-four. 

Relics

St Elizabeth of Hungary was buried on the grounds of her hospital. After her canonization, her body was preserved in the shrine in the St Elizabeth’s Church in Marburg. Many years later her relics were dispersed to many places of the world.

Canonization

Immediately after the death of St Elizabeth of Hungary, many people reported that they had received healing when they sought her intercessions at her grave.

After examinations and investigations were concluded on the reported healings, the results were proved sufficient to warrant her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 24 1235.

Legacy

After St Elizabeth of Hungary was canonized, the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly known as the Teutonic Order built the Elisabethkirche in Marburg and adopted St. Elizabeth as their secondary patroness. After Napoleon Bonaparte dissolve the Teutonic Order in 1803, the Church was converted into a Protestant church with special spaces reserved for Catholics to Worship.

St Elizabeth of Hungary Feast Day

We celebrate her feast day on November 17 every year in the Catholic Church.

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