St. Elizabeth of Hungary
To all our Secular Franciscans out there, Happy Saint Elizabeth Day! Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is the patroness of the Secular Franciscan Order and Catholic Charities! The Secular Franciscan Order is the third branch of the Franciscans, consisting of women and men who seek to observe the Gospel by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was established over 800 years ago by Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint John XXIII, Saint Joan of Arc, Dante Alighieri, Saint Thomas More, and John Michael Talbot are some of the other well known Secular Franciscans. There are two Secular Franciscan Fraternities nearby. There is Saint Jude Fraternity in Gates Mills. Also, there is the Body of Christ Fraternity on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. These Secular Franciscan fraternities are in the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Region.
Now back to Saint Elizabeth... She was born near the beginning of the 13th Century. As the daughter of the King of Hungary, Saint Elizabeth chose to live a life of Gospel simplicity and penance instead of a life of luxury. She wore very simple clothing and led a life of prayer and service to the poor. This lifestyle choice endeared her to many throughout Europe. Saint Elizabeth did get married at a young age. At the age of 14, she married Louis of Thuringia. Together they had three children. After six years of marriage, Saint Elizabeth’s husband died during the Crusades. Eventually, Louis’ family had Saint Elizabeth thrown out of the palace. They accused her of spending too much of the royal purse. If she did, mostly likely it was given to the poor. However, once the allies of her husband returned from the Crusades, they were able to reinstate her because her son was heir to the throne. In 1228, Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order. The remaining years of her life were spent caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Elizabeth died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Saint Elizabeth is also the patroness of bakers. So as you bake your pumpkin pie, potica and other baked goods for the holidays, be sure to ask her for prayers. God bless and stay safe!
Fr. Steve Breck
Pastor, St. Mary Magdalene