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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1231.

Being born wealthy does not assure security in life, and one's own generosity to others does not guarantee repayment in kind by others. Elizabeth was the daughter of the king of Hungary. She married Louis the Fourth, Landgrave of Thuringia, Germany. She was a loving and exemplary wife and mother. However, when she was only twenty years old, her husband was killed and she and her children became the wards of her husband's cruel and selfish brother, Henry Raspe. Eventually he expelled Elizabeth and her children from the family home, Wartburg Castle.

Elizabeth sought refuge in the church in Marburg, but even there she was not kindly treated. The stern, powerful, and insensitive priest, Conrad, called "the Master of Marburg," had her children taken from her and placed her in a convent of women Franciscans, known as Poor Clares. There she was treated with almost sadistic severity. "Like grass beaten by a thunderstorm," to use her own phrase, she revived to become the most beloved "sister of the poor" of Marburg. She often sewed garments for poor children until her fingers bled, or went days without sleep while caring for the sick. She died in 1231, at the age of twenty-four.

In all our struggles, give us strength to cling to you, O God, our only true and lasting hope. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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