Saint Elizabeth was born on July 7th, 1207 as the daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary and Gertrude, his wife. In the times she was born it was common that parents arrange the marriage of their children.
This happened to Elizabeth also. She was to become the wife of Ludwig, the son of Hermann, the Landgrave of Thuringia, Germany. The arrangement of her marriage took place when she was only 4 years old! Her marriage would reinforce political alliance between the two families.
When she was still a teenager, she learned about the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi and started to live these ideals. When she grew up, she married Ludwig, who people also considered a saint.
They had a happy marriage, but he died at a young age. During his life her husband Ludwig did not put any obstacles in his wife's way while she distributed his wealth to the poor. On the contrary, he believed this would bring eternal reward to them.
Elizabeth was 20 years when her husband died. She never married again, but dedicated the rest of her life to help the poor and the homeless people.
Although she admired St Francis of Assissi very much, she did not live in poverty like him. Instead she remained in her castle, surrounded by the most incredible wealth we can imagine. But in contrast to other wealthy people, she would give everything away to the poor.
She became affiliated with the Third order of St. Francis, but did not become an official Tertiary. She built a hospital in the city of Marburg for the poor and the sick with the money from her dowry.
Can we imagine, this was really a princess, born in wealth and highness, whose life was totally dedicated in serving our Lord Jesus in the poor and neglected people of her time!
In the Vision Books series of saints for 9 - 15 year olds we can read more about the incredible life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
Her life shows many young people, caught under the influences of this materialistic world, that if you love Jesus nothing else matters, only Him!
She died in 1231 in Marburg, Germany. This wonderful child of God died at a very young age. She was only 24 years old when the Lord called her to a lasting union with Him in His Glory.
Saint Elizabeth was the patroness of widows, young girls and the poor. But the list is longer. She was also patroness of beggars, charitable societies, parents who have lost their children to death and nursing homes. Indeed a very popular and loved saint!
Her feast day is November 17th.