Elizabeth of Hungary
Feast Day: November 17
Canonized: May 27, 1235
Every person faces good times and bad. We see this truth in the life of Elizabeth of Hungary. Born in 1207, Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary. She grew up a very religious child and married Ludwig, the king of Thuringia (in Germany), when she was only 14. The two worked at their marriage. They respected one another. They loved their three children.
As king, Ludwig ruled fairly. As queen, Elizabeth built two hospitals to help her people. She washed and bandaged the sores of lepers. Each day, she gave thick crusty bread—warm from the oven—to hundreds of poor people.
Then Ludwig marched off to fight in the Crusades. (The Catholic Church fought these wars to win back the Holy Land.) While away, he died of the plague. Elizabeth, who was only 20, was heartbroken.
Then the new king thought she had given too much of the kingdom’s money to the poor, so he forced her to leave her castle and enter a convent. She had to leave her children behind.
When Ludwig’s friends returned from the Crusades, they made the new king change his mind. Elizabeth got to come home to the castle and her children. Her uncle tried to force her to marry again, but she had vowed that if anything happened to her husband, she would only serve God.
She helped build a hospital and devoted herself to caring for the sick. Elizabeth wore herself out with her good works and in 1231, at the age of only 23, she died. Money and fame had never been important to her. She treasured her husband, her children, and God. That is why the Church honors her as a saint. Because she gave so much life-giving bread to the hungry, Elizabeth is the patron saint of bakers.
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