Saint of the Day November 17: St. Elizabeth of Hungary
St. Elizabeth of Hungary: A Life of Service and Compassion
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
1207, Presburg (Bratislava), Slovakia
November 17, 1231, Marburg, Germany
May 27, 1235, Perugia, Pope Gregory IX
O Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Patroness of the Secular Franciscan Order and model of evangelical life, hear our prayer. Unjustly banished from the Castle, you were an example of rare human and spiritual fortitude, not yielding to flattery, political reasons and human privileges. Following the example of St. Francis, you preferred the Kingdom of God to the honors of an earthly kingdom. Fascinated by the evangelical life of Father St. Francis and the early Friars Minor, you wished to live the Franciscan charism with radicality, whereby you consecrated yourself and became a bride of the poor and crucified Christ. O St. Elizabeth, obtain also for the brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order to rediscover and live with renewed commitment and fidelity, the evangelical values of prayer, humanity, poverty and charity that becomes service to the poorest and most needy, so that they may follow you more quickly on the path of evangelical perfection. Amen.
Patron saint of
Bakers, nurses, Secular Franciscan order, charitable societies
Memory of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who, while still a girl, was given in marriage to Ludwig, Count of Thuringia, to whom she bore three children; having been widowed, after enduring severe tribulations with fortitude of mind, having devoted herself for some time to meditation on heavenly realities, she retired to Marburg in Germany to a hospital she founded, embracing poverty and working in the care of the sick and the poor until her last breath exhaled at the age of twenty-five.
The Saint and Mission
St. Elizabeth of Hungary represents an extraordinary figure in the context of Christian mission, embodying dedication to the service of others as a tangible expression of Christ’s love. Her life is a shining example of how mission can be lived out not only through words and preaching, but also through concrete actions of charity and compassion.
Born into a royal family and destined for a life of privilege, Elizabeth chose instead a path of humility and service. Her mission manifested itself in her constant commitment to the poor, the sick and the needy. Not content to delegate these activities to others, she became personally involved in caring for the sick, distributing food and providing support to those who needed it most. This life choice was rooted in a deep faith and unconditional love for God, which she saw reflected in the face of every suffering person.
Elizabeth’s approach to mission was characterized by a special attention to individual needs. She did not simply offer material aid, but sought to understand and respond to the spiritual and emotional needs of each person she met. This aspect of his mission is particularly significant, as it shows that caring for one’s neighbor goes beyond mere physical relief, embracing the whole person.
Moreover, the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is a powerful example of how Christian mission can be integrated into daily life. Her witness teaches us that it is not necessary to travel to distant lands or make striking gestures to live a missionary life; mission can be lived out in every gesture of love and service made in the context of everyday life.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary reminds us that Christian mission is realized in loving God with all our hearts and serving Christ in our brothers and sisters, especially in the smallest and weakest. Her life is a continuous inspiration to live the faith in an active and concrete way, showing that every act of love and mercy is an important step in building the Kingdom of God.
The Saint and Mercy
St. Elizabeth of Hungary is an emblematic figure in the panorama of saints for her deep dedication to mercy. Her life, though short, was a powerful testimony of unconditional love and service to those most in need. Born into a royal family, Elizabeth chose a path of humility and dedication to others, embodying the Gospel values of charity and compassion.
Her story is particularly poignant because of the contrast between her aristocratic background and her choice to live a life of simplicity and service. Elizabeth showed special concern for the poor and the sick, devoting time, resources and energy to alleviating their suffering. Her action was motivated not only by a sense of duty or an ethic of nobility, but by a deep feeling of identification with the suffering Christ in the weakest and marginalized.
His mercy was manifested in tangible and concrete ways. Elizabeth did not limit herself to donating material goods, but also offered her presence, listening, consoling and personally caring for those in need. This direct and personal approach to charity was revolutionary for her time and continues to be a powerful model of active mercy.
Moreover, Elizabeth’s life is an example of how mercy can transform not only the lives of those who receive it, but also those who practice it. Through her service, Elizabeth found deep joy and personal fulfillment, demonstrating that in giving oneself to others one discovers the true meaning of one’s life. Her existence, so radically centered on others and service, is a clear manifestation of how mercy is at the heart of Christianity.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary teaches us that mercy is not an isolated action or a task to be performed; it is a way of life, a way of being that reflects God’s love in the world. Her legacy is an invitation to see in the face of the poor and suffering the face of Christ and to respond with a love that goes beyond words, a love that becomes action.
S. Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew king of Hungary and Gertrude, was born in Presburg, then kingdom of Hungary, in the year 1207. At the age of four, according to the custom of the times, she was already betrothed to the prince Louis, with whom she was educated and grew up amid the pomp and bad examples of the court. But the Lord prevented her with his blessings and…