St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Feast Day – November 17, 2021
By S. Alicia Damien Lau
Why St. Elizabeth of Hungary was so special to Mother Marianne
Did you know that:
- in 1838 – Elizabeth Luley was her godmother in baptism?
- in 1841 – St. Marianne’s sister Elizabeth was born?
- on Nov 19, 1862, the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Marianne entered the convent in St. Francis Convent in Syracuse?
- on Nov 19, 1863, on the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Marianne was invested in the Franciscan Habit?
- in December 1866, St. Marianne was assigned to her hometown of Utica, reuniting with her mother and her sister Elizabeth. She ministered at St. Elizabeth home for the sick – the first privately owned hospital in Oneida County, New York?
- on November 14, 1888, Mother Marianne and the sisters arrived in Kalaupapa?
- on November 19, 1888, Mother Marianne said in a letter to Mother Bernardina: “… here it was that I spent the 19th, the twenty-fifth anniversary of my profession. On that day, the house we live in was blessed and placed under the patronage and protection of St. Elizabeth.”
As a child, St. Marianne was taught to fix her faith upon the hope of heaven. Her father and mother Koob provided religious instruction for their children. I am sure that St. Marianne knew about St. Elizabeth of Hungary. To recap from our Franciscan office book, Elizabeth, daughter of the King of Hungary, was born in 1207. She was given in marriage to Louis of Thuringia and bore him three children. She built a hospital, served the sick, and cared for those with leprosy. After her husband’s death, she embraced a life of poverty. She died in Margurg in 1231 and is recognized as the patroness of the Third Order.
Like St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Marianne received God-given gifts, gave up worldly comforts to help the poor, was a Franciscan living the life of poverty and had unconditional love for neighbor. St. Francis, St. Elizabeth, and St. Marianne all cared for those with leprosy and had a deep trust in God who helped them live the gospels to the fullest. It was their deep sense of humility that brought them closer to those who were outcasts.
We all were given gifts, we all are stewards of these gifts, and we all are called to use those gifts. To use our gifts is not just an obligation, it is a way of life that shows people who we are… it is a joyful response to a call.
(Note: in 1960, the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary was changed from November 19 to November 17)