> St. Elizabeth of Hungary – Lent Through a Franciscan Lens

St. Elizabeth of Hungary – Lent Through a Franciscan Lens

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St. Elizabeth of Hungary    1221AD 

For this week’s Lent Through a Franciscan Lens, S. Marianne Ferguson gives us the story of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. 

Poverty in Spirit 

St. Elizabeth of Hungary was the first Saint whom artists portray accompanied by roses. The connection began when Elizabeth’s husband, King Ludwig of Thuringia, suspected her of taking castle treasures to contribute to her charity work. Once, seeing Elizabeth leaving the castle with a bulging cloak, his first impulse was to misjudge her as selling the castle riches to feed the poor. When the king asked her to open her cloak, white and red roses fell to the floor. It is said that this miracle was a sign from God. Realizing his mistake, the king then accompanied his beloved young wife in their charitable endeavors. 

After Ludwig’s early death on a crusade, Elizabeth’s brother-in-law became king and expelled her from the castle. Like St. Francis, she accepted her degradation and continued her work with the poor as a member of the third order of St. Francis. She used her dowry money to fund a hospital in Francis’ honor. Modern artists replaced the roses with loaves of bread to be distributed to the poor and hungry. 

Elizabeth became a saint in 1235; we celebrate her feast on November 17.