I’ll never forget the day our oldest, who at the time was in Kindergarten, said with excitement, “I know who our family’s patron saint is!!! Saint Elizabeth of Hungary!!” Pause.
At this point, I had NO clue who this beloved saint was, but I was ready to be educated by my enthusiastic five-year old who went on to explain that St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of bakers (as well as widows, Catholic Charities and the homeless), and because our family loves to bake, that SHE should be our patron saint. Brilliant idea, little one.
Daughter of the king of Hungary, through an arranged marriage, St. Elizabeth was betrothed at the age of 14 to Louis Ludwig, whom she deeply loved.
Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan Friar who taught her about St. Francis of Assisi’s life and ideas, she began to lead an austerely simple life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. When disease and flood struck her country, she took to caring for the victims and even built a hospital next to the castle to care for the poor and sick.
Daily, St. Elizabeth would take bread to the poorest in the land.
It is said that during one of her many trips to deliver bread to the poor in secret, that her husband asked her to reveal the contents under her cloak, and as she did a vision of red and white roses was seen.
After becoming a widow with three small children, her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse and threw her out of the palace. She later joined the Secular Franciscan Order and devoted her life to God and charitable labor. St. Elizabeth passed away at twenty-four, and only four years later, she was canonized due to the numerous miracles at her grave.
We see in St. Elizabeth a woman who was more concerned with the nobility of her soul than her noble status of the world.
She was more intent with wearing a heavenly crown than wearing her earthly crown. When she met the Cross, she saw this as coming from the hands of God and conforming herself to our Lord and our Lady.
The book of Proverbs describes the holy and virtuous woman as industrious and intent on doing good works and to live life with purpose, which is exactly what St. Elizabeth of Hungary did in her life.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.