In the year 1207, a baby girl was born to Andrew II, King of Hungary and his wife Gertrude, of the Counts of Andechs-Meran. They named her Elizabeth. She was a precious bundle of joy not only to her parents, but to her brother as well.
At her birth, it was predicted to Hermann, the Landgrave of Thuringia (Germany) that a child was born to the King and Queen of Hungary. It was told to him that she would be a very holy girl, and should become the wife of Hermann’s son, of the same name. Elizabeth was born into a time where it was not uncommon for marriages to be arranged between royal families of different principalities. This was usually done in an effort to solidify their lands, and by a coalition to add new lands to their domains. In addition, it was a form of protection against other powers who would like to take over by force, these little principalities. In this case, the tyrant they were trying to steel up their forces against was a German emperor, Otto IV, who was not on good terms with the Church, and belonged to another clan, the Guelphs, who were not friendly with the families of Elizabeth and Landgrave Hermann of Thuringia.
By the time Saint Elizabeth was four years old, her marriage was sealed with the young Prince Hermann of Thuringia. She was even taken to the court of her future husband to be brought up with him and to learn the customs and niceties of his people. You must remember that although she was a very spiritual girl, she was only a little person. She was obedient, some would say to a fault, but not in those days. While our women of today would think that a match made by the heads of two families for the sole purpose of power and politics would be unthinkable, and we’re not suggesting they’re wrong, it’s the way things were done at that time. And so whatever her parents or the parents of her betrothed felt was to be, had to be.
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Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth married her childhood sweetheart, also considered a Saint, who died when she was very young. She spent the rest of her life taking care of the sick and homeless in Germany.
She died at
24 years of age. With Pictures of scenes from her life.
This is the story of a precious child of God, who was born into royalty, yet never used or abused it. It is the story of a great woman, a daughter, a wife, a widow, a benefactress of the poor, a glowing example of a soul endeavoring to love her Lord more purely, yet faithful to her calling as wife and mother.
As the story of her life unfolds, you will see, in addition to the titles attributed to her above, we could add these below to the number: Patroness of bakers, beggars, charitable societies, charitable workers, countesses, parents who have lost children to death, the innocent who are falsely accused, homeless people, hospitals, those having problems with in-laws, nursing homes, people in exile, the faithful persecuted for their love of Mother Church, Sisters of Mercy, Tertiaries (Third Order), and on and on. Quite a rich list for one whose life would be snuffed out at the young age of twenty-four!
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The Lives of the Saints often seem very romantic and idyllic. However, many of our brothers and sisters who have reached the Communion of Saints have paid dearly for the glory the Lord has bestowed on them. Join us as we share in the lives of just some of our Heavenly Family who have suffered greatly, sometimes at the hands of their own families or communities.
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