Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who is sometimes associated with Third Order Franciscans just emerging in her lifetime. To be a princess in an order whose founder was famously devoted to “Lady Poverty” may seem odd at first. However, what she had she took lightly and gave freely. Conrad of Marburg, her spiritual director, attested in a letter that “she ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital,” which was hardly the only material benefit she gave to the poor.
More importantly, twice a day “she personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive,” giving care to people based upon their particular needs. The poor were not simply an anonymous group she loved in a general way, but flesh and blood humans who she cared for in concrete ways. She was married at 14, widowed at 20, and died at 24. In that brief time, she threw herself wholeheartedly into loving God and neighbor.