St. Elizabeth of Hungary is one of my favorite saints. She was born in the Middle Ages, a princess betrothed to a prince by the time she was four years old. In spite of the fact that she had a sweet and cheerful disposition, she was very humble. Elizabeth always took off her crown and set it aside before she entered the chapel at her castle in Thuringia (part of modern-day Germany), saying that she could not wear a crown of gold in the Blessed Presence of the savior Who had worn a crown of thorns.
Her husband, Louis, was tragically killed while on Crusade, leaving Elizabeth a widow with three young children while she herself was barely more than a teenager. Louis' brother forced her to leave the royal palace after he caught her in the kitchens giving bread to the poor and hungry. Homeless, she wandered the streets with her children until the Bishop of Bamberg, her uncle, forced the cruel prince to allow her to return to her home in the castle.
She thanked him, but chose to instead go and live in a small house she purchased in the town of Marburgh. Eventually she received the inheritance she was due from her husband's estate and she generously dispensed that wealth among the poor, nursing them in illness both from her small home and from the hospital she opened. Elizabeth preferred to live an austere life and is known still today as a happy and joyful saint who loved the life she was given.
Elizabeth died in 1231 at the age of twenty-four. She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in the year 1235.
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