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The Life & Legacy of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Articles | November 16, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

On November 17, the Catholic Church honors St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a medieval noblewoman who lived a life of poverty and service. Born in 1207, Elizabeth was the daughter of the Hungarian King Andrew II, and was married off to German nobleman Ludwig of Thuringia at a young age. Elizabeth’s mother was killed in 1213, and this tragedy led Elizabeth to focus on prayer and a serious view of life and death.

In 1221, Elizabeth married Ludwig, who supported her efforts to live out the principles of the Gospel and work with the Franciscan order. The couple had three children, and they embraced a life of remarkable generosity towards the poor. Elizabeth took charge of distributing aid to victims of disease and flooding in Thuringia in 1226, and provided for nearly a thousand poor people on a daily basis. After Ludwig’s death in 1227, Elizabeth vowed never to remarry and joined the Third Order of St. Francis.

Elizabeth dedicated herself to caring for the sick, even when this meant giving up her own clothes and possessions. She became sick herself and died in November of 1231. Only four years later, she was declared a saint. Pope Benedict XVI praised her as a “model for those in authority” and noted the continuity between her personal faith and her public work on behalf of the poor and sick.

Elizabeth is a patron of various groups, including bakers, beggars, nursing homes, and widows. She is often represented in art as a queen distributing alms or carrying a load of roses in her apron or mantle.

For the original article click here.


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