St Elizabeth of Hungary

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November 19, 2013 by lucieromarin

Today, in the Old Calendar, is the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary, and, for the life of me, I cannot think a single thing to say about her that hasn’t been said already! So, I’ll just say that I love her to bits, and if you don’t know about her already, but you’re interested in saints young, or female, or married, or widowed, or dedicated to the ill and the poor, or persecuted by spiteful in-laws, or homeless, or Franciscan, then start here, especially if you’d like to know a saint who was all of the above.

Actually, I will add something about her husband: not only did he love her, and defend her to his relatives when they taunted him about her piety, he was also completely faithful to her, even though his contemporaries were relatively tolerant of male adultery. In fact, once, when he was away from home, and a subordinate suggested he avail himself of one of the local women, his reply was, “Speak like that again, and I’ll have you hung from the middle of the town square.”

I bet it sounded splendid in medieval Hungarian.

I love that she got distracted during Mass thinking about how handsome her husband was, and when he returned from war, she flew into his arms and kissed him 99 times on the lips (I don’t know who was counting!). When the news arrived that he’d died on campaign, she screamed, and beat her head against the wall. Then, too, she wasn’t in the cool group. She gave away money, food, and time, not because it made her popular with the poor, but despite that it made her unpopular with her relatives – and when they finally drove her from her home, none of the poor she’d served would take her in for fear of them.

Also, her spiritual director was grim and forbidding, and told her she smiled too much.


And here she is, in an image which I know is not historically accurate, but which I love anyway, because it reminds me of how young she was.


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