A Garner of Saints – Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

detail of a stained glass window, left window, first bay, west aisle, Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Clonmel, County Tiggerary, Ireland, date and artist unknown; photographed on 7 September 2012 by Andreas F Borchert; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, born in 1207. Betrothed early to Louis, son of Herman, Landgrave of Thuringia, she was brought up at that court. She early proved her exceptional devotion, and when no more than five years of age her attendants could with difliculty persuade her to leave the church when she was praying. A few years later she married Louis, who had succeeded his father. With the desire to please God she undertook the vilest employments, and allowed a sick man to be laid in her lap, whose head emitted a disagreeable stench, while she washed his head with her own hands. After her purification she gave to a poor woman the clothes which she had wom at the church. She observed strict temperance in eating and drinking, and caused herself to be beaten with rods by her servants. She desired to imitate the poverty of Christ, and in the. presence of her servants used to wear coarse garments. In works of mercy she was unremitting, and gave clothes to the naked poor. During a famine she fed the starving people with corn from her granaries. At the foot of her castle she built an enormous establishment in which the sick should be tended, and here she caused the children of poor women to be brought up. She induced her husband to go to the Holy Land on a crusade, but while there the Landgrave died. When his death became “known, Elizabeth was driven out of her domains by her vassals, who considered her wasteful and extravagant. Taking refuge with an innkeeper, she was forced to spend the night in a pig-sty. Finally, she was rescued by her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg. The bishop wished to marry her again, and on her refusal shut her up in a strong castle. But at this time her husband’s remains were brought back, and she was liberated in order to take part in the burial. She lived in great poverty, clothed in poor garments and spinning wool, to the great scandal of her father, but she refused to return to him, preferring her present mode of life. In all things she lived under the direction of Conrad of Marburg, her confessor, and obeyed him punctiliously. One day she entered a nunnery at the request of the nuns without asking his permission, for which he caused her to be beaten so severely that traces of the blows might be seen three weeks afterwards. She devoted all her attention to a poor woman who was a leper, washing her and dressing her sores. When she was not tending the poor she spun wool, which was sent to her from a monastery, and gave the proceeds to the needy. Finally, she obtained admission into the Franciscan order, to which her confessor belonged. She died in the year 1231 at the age of twenty-four, and was buried at Marburg in the chapel near the hospital which she had founded. Her canonisation took place in 1235. 19th November.

Attributes

  • A lapful of red and white roses, sometimes there is a beggar or cripple at her feet. She wears a crown and sometimes the Franciscan habit.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Elizabeth of Hungary”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 April 2017. Web. 21 October 2017. <>