Elizabeth of Hungary

Saint
Elizabeth of Hungary
T.O.S.F.
Francisco de Zurbarán - Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia - Google Art Project.jpg
Elizabeth of Hungary by Francisco de Zurbarán
Widow and religious
Born7 July 1207
Pozsony, Kingdom of Hungary (modern-day Bratislava, Slovakia)
Died17 November 1231(1231-11-17) (aged 24)
Marburg, Landgraviate of Thuringia, Holy Roman Empire (modern-day Hesse, Germany)
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Anglican Church
Lutheran Church
Canonized27 May 1235[1][2][3], Perugia, Italy by Pope Gregory IX
Major shrineSt. Elizabeth Church, Marburg, Germany
Feast17 November
19 November (General Roman Calendar 1670-1969)[4]
AttributesRoses, crown, food basket
Patronagehospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lace-makers, widows, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro and the Third Order of Saint Francis

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F. (German: Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen, Hungarian: Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet; 7 July 1207 – 17 November 1231),[5] also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia or Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia, was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, Germany, and a greatly venerated Catholic saint who was an early member of the Third Order of St. Francis, by which she is honored as its patroness.[6]

Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. After her husband's death she sent her children away and regained her dowry, using the money to build a hospital where she herself served the sick. She became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was canonized on 25 May 1235.

Early life and marriage

Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania. Her mother's sister was Hedwig of Andechs, wife of Duke Heinrich I of Silesia.[5] Her ancestry included many notable figures of European royalty, going back as far as Vladimir the Great of the Kievan Rus. According to tradition, she was born in Hungary, possibly in the castle of Sárospatak (discussed below), on 7 July 1207.[7][8][9]

A sermon printed in 1497 by the Franciscan friar Osvaldus de Lasco, a church official in Hungary, is the first to name Sárospatak as the saint's birthplace, perhaps building on local tradition. The veracity of this account is not without reproach: Osvaldus also translates the miracle of the roses (see below) to Elizabeth's childhood in Sárospatak and has her leave Hungary at the age of five.[10]

According to a different tradition she was born in Pozsony, Hungary, (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia), where she lived in the Castle of Posonium until the age of four.[citation needed]

Elizabeth was brought to the court of the rulers of Thuringia in central Germany, to be betrothed to Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (also known as Ludwig IV), a future union which would reinforce political alliances between the families.[a] She was raised by the Thuringian court and would have been familiar with the local language and culture.

St. Elizabeth washing a sick man
a scene from the main altar of St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Kassa, 15th century

In 1221, at the age of fourteen, Elizabeth married Louis; the same year he was enthroned as Landgrave, and the marriage appears to have been happy.[citation needed]

Religious inclinations, influences

In 1223, Franciscan friars arrived, and the teenage Elizabeth not only learned about the ideals of Francis of Assisi, but started to live them.[12] Louis was not upset by his wife's charitable efforts, believing that the distribution of his wealth to the poor would bring eternal reward; he is venerated in Thuringia as a saint, though he was never canonized by the Church.[citation needed]

It was also about this time that the priest and later inquisitor Konrad von Marburg gained considerable influence over Elizabeth when he was appointed as her confessor. In the spring of 1226, when floods, famine, and plague wrought havoc in Thuringia, Louis, a staunch supporter of the Hohenstaufen Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, represented Frederick II at the Imperial Diet held in Cremona.

Elizabeth assumed control of affairs at home and distributed alms in all parts of their territory, even giving away state robes and ornaments to the poor. Below Wartburg Castle, she built a hospital with twenty-eight beds and visited the inmates daily to attend to them.

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Elesbed Hungaria
Bahasa Indonesia: Erzsébet dari Hongaria
Lëtzebuergesch: Elisabeth vun Thüringen
slovenščina: Elizabeta Ogrska