Sainte Elisabeth de Thuringe
Élisabeth de Hongrie, duchesse (✝ 1231)
Princesse de Hongrie, elle est fiancée à l'âge de quatre ans et mariée à quatorze au Landgrave de Thuringe. Ce sera une épouse aimante pour ce mari qu'elle n'a pas choisi, se parant pour lui faire honneur, alors qu'elle n'aime que la simplicité.Des franciscains venus d'Allemagne lui font connaître l'esprit de saint François et elle se met au service des pauvres et des familles éprouvées par la guerre. En 1227, son époux tant aimé meurt au moment de s'embarquer pour la croisade. Élisabeth se retrouve veuve à 20 ans, enceinte d'un troisième enfant. Comme on veut la remarier, elle refuse et, pour cette raison, connaît l'injustice de sa famille qui la chasse avec ses trois enfants et l'héberge dans une porcherie. Son oncle l'évêque de Bamberg calme le jeu. Elle peut revêtir l'habit du Tiers-ordre franciscain. La famille ducale se charge des enfants. Elle ne garde pour elle qu'une pauvre demeure et met alors tous ses revenus au service des pauvres. Elle leur fait construire un hôpital. Joyeuse de tout ce qu'elle devait endurer, elle disait: "Je ne veux pas faire peur à Dieu par une mine sinistre. Ne préfère-t-il pas me voir joyeuse puisque je l'aime et qu'il m'aime?" Elle meurt à 24 ans ayant voué sa vie et sa santé à rendre heureux les misérables.
A lire aussi: Sainte Élisabeth de Hongrie et de Thuringe (1207-1231) est la première patronne de notre paroisse (Paris IIIe)
La catéchèse du 20 octobre 2010 a été consacrée à sainte Élisabeth de Hongrie, dite aussi de Thuringe. Benoît XVI a tout d'abord rappelé qu'elle naquit en 1207 à la cour de Hongrie, où elle vécut quatre ans avant d'être donnée en mariage à Louis de Thuringe. "Bien que leur union ait été décidée pour raison politique, un amour sincère naquit entre les deux promis, animé par la foi et la volonté d'accomplir la volonté divine". Puis le Pape a raconté comment, devenue princesse, "elle agissait envers ses sujets comme envers Dieu... étant ainsi un exemple pour tous ceux qui revêtent des responsabilités de gouvernement. A chaque niveau, l'exercice de l'autorité doit être vécu un service à la justice et à la charité, dans la recherche permanente du bien public".
Rappelant ensuite que la sainte "pratiquait assidûment les œuvres de miséricorde", le Saint-Père a dit que son mariage fut très heureux. "Élisabeth aida son mari à élever ses qualités humaines vers le surnaturel, tandis qu'il la soutenait dans son action en faveur des pauvres et dans ses dévotions... Ce fut un témoignage clair de ce que la foi et l'amour envers Dieu et le prochain renforcent la vie familiale et le lien matrimonial". Élisabeth fut aidée aussi par les frères mineurs, qui accrurent son désir de suivre le Christ pauvre et crucifié présent parmi les pauvres. Puis le Pape a parlé de son veuvage, survenu en 1227. "Une nouvelle épreuve l'attendait, car son beau-frère usurpa le gouvernement de la Thuringe... accusant Élisabeth d'être pieuse mais incapable de gouverner. Chassée de la Wartburg avec ses trois enfants, la jeune veuve se mit à la recherche d'un refuge... Durant un calvaire supporté avec grande foi, patience et soumission à Dieu, des parents restés fidèles à sa légitimité la défendirent. En 1228, elle reçut une dotation suffisante pour se retirer au château familial de Marburg".
Élisabeth passa ses trois dernières années à l'hôpital qu'elle avait fondé, au service des malades et des moribonds. Elle chercha sans cesse de se consacrer aux plus humbles, assumant les travaux les plus répugnants. Elle devint une femme consacrée au milieu du monde et fonda avec ses amies, vêtues de gris, une communauté religieuse. Elle devint ainsi la patronne du tiers ordre régulier de St.François et de l'ordre franciscain séculier". En novembre 1231 elle mourut des suite d'une fièvre. "Les témoignages de sa sainteté -a conclu Benoît XVI- furent tels et si nombreux que quatre ans plus tard Grégoire IX la proclama sainte. Cette même année 1235 fut consacrée en son honneur la belle église de Marburg. Puisse cette grande sainte de la charité inspirer en nous un amour intense de Dieu et du prochain, du pauvre et du malade, de tout homme ayant besoin d'une assistance matérielle et spirituelle. En eux, nous sommes appelés à voir le Christ crucifié, pauvre et humble". (source: VIS 20101020 490)
Mémoire de sainte Élisabeth de Hongrie. Mariée toute jeune à Louis, comte de Thuringe, elle lui donna trois enfants; devenue veuve, elle supporta avec courage de lourdes épreuves. Portée depuis longtemps à la méditation des réalités du ciel, elle se retira à Marbourg en Hesse, dans un hôpital qu'elle avait fondé, embrassant la pauvreté et se dépensant au soin des malades et des pauvres, jusqu'à son dernier souffle de vie, à l'âge de vingt-quatre ans, en 1231.
Sainte Élisabeth de Hongrie
Sainte Elisabeth, naquit à Presbourg1 en 1207 ; elle était le troisième enfant du roi André II de Hongrie, descendant du saint roi Etienne, et de Gertrude, fille du duc Berthold IV de Méranie. Elle quitta la Hongrie à quatre ans, promise en mariage au fils du landgrave Hermann I° de Thuringe (mort en 1217), Louis (né en 1200) qu'elle épousa en 1221.
Elisabeth avait une âme de feu : « Elisabeth, dit sa dame de compagnie, Guta, rappelle fréquemment la présence de Dieu, dans toutes ses actions elle invoque le Seigneur et rapporte tout à lui. » L'influence de son mari, qu'elle aima d'un grand amour, lui apporta un équilibre humain et spirituel durant les années heureuses de leur vie commune dont naquirent deux enfants (Hermann en 1222 et Sophie en 1224) : « Seigneur Jésus-Christ, je vous offre, ainsi qu'à votre chère mère Marie, ce nouveau né, fruit chéri de mon sein. Je vous le rends de tout coeur, tel que vous me l'avez donné. Recevez ce bébé, tout baigné de mes larmes, au nombre de vos serviteurs et amis. Bénissez-le à jamais. » Une lumière éclatante brillait alors dans l'Eglise, celle de François d'Assise. Elisabeth rêvait de vivre en foyer l'idéal franciscain et Louis était apte à partager les aspirations de sa femme. Mais, le 24 juin 1227, Louis de Thuringe dut partir pour la cinquième croisade. Au bout de trois mois, il mourait sur un bateau, en rade d'Otrante, en s'écriant : « Voyez donc toutes ces colombes blanches ! Je vais partir avec elles vers mon Dieu ! »
Encore qu'elle l'avait pressenti (« Malheur à moi, pauvre femme, sur terre je ne reverrai plus mon bien-aimé ! »), le coup fut terrible pour Elisabeth, qui attendait son troisième enfant, Gertrude (née vingt-sept jours après la mort de son père) : « Désormais, j'ai tout perdu sur la terre. O cher ami de mon coeur, mon excellent et pieux époux, tu es mort et tu me laisses dans la misère. Comment vais-je vivre sans toi ? Pauvre veuve abandonnée, faible femme ! Que le Dieu d'amour, celui qui n'abandonne pas la veuve et l'orphelin, me console ! O Mon Dieu ! O mon Jésus, fortifiez-moi dans ma faiblesse ! »
Elle aurait eu besoin alors d'un François de Sales à ses côtés ; or elle avait pour directeur un maître qui la terrorisait et n'hésitait même pas à la frapper. Spoliée de ses biens, elle enfermée par son oncle, l'évêque de Bamberg qui la veut remarier, jusqu'au retour de la dépouille de son mari (1228) : « Mon Dieu, merci de me consoler miséricordieusement par ces restes mortuaires de mon mari. Si grand que soit mon amour envers Louis, vous savez, Seigneur, que je ne me repens nullement de notre commun sacrifice pour le secours de la Terre-Sainte. Si je pouvais ramener à la vie mon cher époux, je donnerais le monde en échange. Pourtant, contre votre volonté sainte, je ne saurais racheter sa vie, ne serait-ce que pour un seul de mes cheveux ! Que la volonté du Seigneur soit faite ! »
Cédant à une recherche fiévreuse de l'abjection et de la pénitence, elle rompit avec sa famille, qui la prenait pour folle, et elle confia à d'autres le soin de ses enfants, tandis qu'elle revêtait l'habit du Tiers-Ordre, à Marburg sur le Lahn, pour se donner au service des pauvres et des malades les plus abandonnés, en qui elle reconnaissait le Christ : « Quelle joie pour moi de servir Notre-Seigneur en ses membres souffrants les plus éprouvés ! » Sa santé ne put résister à toutes ces austérités. Elle mourut le 16 novembre 1231, à minuit, âgée de vingt-quatre ans : « C'est l'heure où Jésus vient racheter le monde. il me rachètera aussi. Quelle faiblesse j'éprouve donc ! Pourtant, je ne ressens pas de douleur. O Marie, venez à mon secours ! Le moment arrive où Dieu m'appelle à l'éternelle noce. L'époux vient chercher son épouse ... Silence ! Silence ! »
Grégoire IX canonisa Elisabeth en 1235 ; elle est, avec saint Louis, patronne du Tiers-Ordre franciscain et, en 1885, Léon XIII la proclama patronne des femmes et des jeunes filles allemandes.
1 Presbourg est le nom allemand de Bratislava. Il se peut que saint Elisabeth soit née à Etzelborg ou à Saros-Patak.
Svätá Alžbeta umýva žobráka, scéna z hlavného oltára Dómu svätej Alžbety v Košiciach, 2. polovica 15. storočia
St Elisabeht washing a beggar, a scene from the main altar of St Elisabeth Cathedral in Košice, Slovakia, 2nd half of the 15th century
The St Elisabeth Church in Budapest
Élisabeth de Hongrie, une princesse au service des pauvres
Margot Giraud | 16 novembre 2018
Les Journées Mondiales des pauvres auront lieu du 16 au 18 novembre à Paris. Elles commenceront fort à propos le jour de la sainte Élisabeth de Thuringe, princesse de Hongrie et contemporaine de saint François d'Assise qui offre un royal exemple de miséricorde et de charité.
En la cour hongroise du XIIIe siècle naquit Élisabeth, pieuse princesse qui dès sa plus tendre enfance récitait ses prières et manifestait sa tendresse envers les pauvres. Mais âgée seulement de quatre ans, elle part vivre à Thuringe, en Allemagne, où elle doit devenir duchesse. C’est là qu’elle fait la rencontre des franciscains et se met entièrement au service des pauvres.
Un mariage dans la charité
Alors que le parti régnant veut la chasser de la cour de Thuringe suite aux erreurs politiques de son père, son promis ne s’en laisse pas conter : Louis de Thuringe épouse Élisabeth, à laquelle il était lié aussi bien par une alliance diplomatique qu’un amour sincère. Ceux qui devinrent respectivement bienheureux et sainte s’élevèrent l’un l’autre dans la foi : la femme offrait à son mari un exemple de dévotion et de charité, le mari protégeait et soutenait sa femme dans ses œuvres de générosité.
Lire aussi :
Car l’abnégation de la princesse avait de quoi surprendre et faisait jaser autour d’elle, comme le montrent les anecdotes rappelées par Benoît XVI dans son audience générale du 20 octobre 2010. Comme elle donnait à boire et à manger aux pauvres, vendant ses parures et le blé du château pour subvenir à leurs besoins, les conseillers du roi l’alertèrent sur ces excessives prodigualités : «Tant qu’elle ne vend pas le château, j’en suis content !», répondit-il, en réalité admiratif de la générosité de sa femme. Il aurait même été témoin d’un miracle en présence d’Élisabeth : alors que celle-ci marchait sur la route avec son tablier rempli de pain pour les pauvres, le roi croisa sa route et lui demanda ce qu’elle portait. En ouvrant son tablier, les pains ne s’étaient non pas multipliés mais changés en de magnifiques roses, symbole de charité.
Un jour encore, en entrant dans une église le jour de l’Assomption, elle retira sa couronne et la déposa devant la croix, se prostrant sur le sol. Aux reproches que lui fit sa belle-mère, elle répondit: « Comment moi, misérable créature, puis-je continuer de porter une couronne de dignité terrestre, lorsque je vois mon Roi Jésus Christ couronné d’épines ? »
Un veuvage dans la pauvreté et la sainteté
Les époux qui avaient trouvé un soutien spirituel chez les frères mineurs furent séparé par la mort de Louis, parti en croisade. La jeune veuve de 20 ans est alors chassée du château par son beau-frère qui, voyant en sa piété le signe de son incompétence, s’arroge le trône de Thuringe. Les perles furent jetées aux pourceaux : forcée de dormir dans une porcherie, la princesse déchue mena une vie précaire avec ses trois enfants jusqu’à ce que certains parents les réhabilitent à la cour. Refusant de se remarier, elle se pare de la robe grise des franciscains et offre la totalité de ses biens aux pauvres et leur resta dévouée jusqu’à sa mort, à l’âge de 24 ans.
Lire aussi :
Les témoignages de sa charité abondèrent tant qu’elle fut canonisée seulement quatre ans après sa mort par le pape Grégoire IX. La même année se dressa en son honneur l’église Sainte-Élisabeth à Marburg. Depuis, Élisabeth est la sainte patronne du Tiers Ordre franciscain, incarnant avec majesté l’idéal de pauvreté prônée par saint François dont elle était l’illustre contemporaine.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
St.Elizabeth of Hungary and Ludwig IV of Thuringia. Stained glass window in St Patrick's Basilica, Ottawa. Author: Mayer Co of Munich 1898. Window: workshop of Franz Borgias Mayer (1848–1926); Photo: Wojciech Dittwald
Elizabeth of Thuringia
Princess, the daughter of King Andrew of Hungary. Great-aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. She married Prince Louis of Thuringa at age 13. Built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood; tended to the sick herself. Her family and courtiers opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ’s teachings, not theirs. Once when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Prince Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle to see what she was carrying; the food had been miraculously changed to roses. Upon the death of Louis, Elizabeth sold all that she had, and worked to support her four children. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields.
Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castle should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities, and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.
Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave good, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders, and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. Finally, when her husband died, she sought the highest perfection; filled with tears, she implored me to let her beg for alms from door to door.
On Good Friday of that year, when the altars had been stripped, she laid her hands on the altar in a chapel in her own town, where she had established the Friars Minor, and before witnesses she voluntarily renounced all worldly display and everything that our Savior in the gospel advises us to abandon. Even then she saw that she could still be distracted by the cares and worldly glory which had surrounded her while her husband was alive. Against my will she followed me to Marburg. Here in the town she built a hospice where she gathered together the weak and the feeble. There she attended the most wretched and contemptible at her own table.
Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman.
Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything which seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn-out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died. – from a letter by Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Relief Élisabeth de Hongrie - Grave - Pays Bas
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today I would like to speak to you about one of the women of the Middle Ages who inspired the greatest admiration; she is St Elizabeth of Hungary, also called St Elizabeth of Thuringia.
Elizabeth was born in 1207; historians dispute her birthplace. Her father was Andrew ii, the rich and powerful King of Hungary. To reinforce political ties he had married the German Countess Gertrude of Andechs-Meran, sister of St Hedwig who was wife to the Duke of Silesia. Elizabeth, together with her sister and three brothers, spent only the first four years of her childhood at the Hungarian court. She liked playing, music and dancing; she recited her prayers faithfully and already showed special attention to the poor, whom she helped with a kind word or an affectionate gesture.
Her happy childhood was suddenly interrupted when some knights arrived from distant Thuringia to escort her to her new residence in Central Germany. In fact, complying with the customs of that time, Elizabeth's father had arranged for her to become a Princess of Thuringia. The Landgrave or Count of this region was one of the richest and most influential sovereigns in Europe at the beginning of the 13th century and his castle was a centre of magnificence and culture.
However, the festivities and apparent glory concealed the ambition of feudal princes who were frequently warring with each other and in conflict with the royal and imperial authorities.
In this context the Landgrave Hermann very willingly accepted the betrothal of his son Ludwig to the Hungarian Princess. Elizabeth left her homeland with a rich dowry and a large entourage, including her personal ladies-in-waiting, two of whom were to remain faithful friends to the very end. It is they who left us the precious information on the childhood and life of the Saint.
They reached Eisenach after a long journey and made the ascent to the Fortress of Wartburg, the strong castle towering over the city. It was here that the betrothal of Ludwig and Elizabeth was celebrated. In the ensuing years, while Ludwig learned the knightly profession, Elizabeth and her companions studied German, French, Latin, music, literature and embroidery. Despite the fact that political reasons had determined their betrothal, a sincere love developed between the two young people, enlivened by faith and by the desire to do God’s will. On his father's death when Ludwig was 18 years old, he began to reign over Thuringia.
Elizabeth, however, became the object of critical whispers because her behaviour was incongruous with court life. Hence their marriage celebrations were far from sumptuous and a part of the funds destined for the banquet was donated to the poor.
With her profound sensitivity, Elizabeth saw the contradictions between the faith professed and Christian practice. She could not bear compromise. Once, on entering a church on the Feast of the Assumption, she took off her crown, laid it before the Crucifix and, covering her face, lay prostrate on the ground. When her mother-in-law reprimanded her for this gesture, Elizabeth answered: "How can I, a wretched creature, continue to wear a crown of earthly dignity, when I see my King Jesus Christ crowned with thorns?”.
She behaved to her subjects in the same way that she behaved to God. Among the Sayings of the four maids we find this testimony: “She did not eat any food before ascertaining that it came from her husband's property or legitimate possessions. While she abstained from goods procured illegally, she also did her utmost to provide compensation to those who had suffered violence” (nn. 25 and 37).
She is a true example for all who have roles of leadership: the exercise of authority, at every level, must be lived as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good.
Elizabeth diligently practiced works of mercy: she would give food and drink to those who knocked at her door, she procured clothing, paid debts, cared for the sick and buried the dead. Coming down from her castle, she often visited the homes of the poor with her ladies-in-waiting, bringing them bread, meat, flour and other food. She distributed the food personally and attentively checked the clothing and mattresses of the poor.
This behaviour was reported to her husband, who not only was not displeased but answered her accusers, “So long as she does not sell the castle, I am happy with her!”.
The miracle of the loaves that were changed into roses fits into this context: while Elizabeth was on her way with her apron filled with bread for the poor, she met her husband who asked her what she was carrying. She opened her apron to show him and, instead of bread, it was full of magnificent roses. This symbol of charity often features in depictions of St Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's marriage was profoundly happy: she helped her husband to raise his human qualities to a supernatural level and he, in exchange, stood up for his wife's generosity to the poor and for her religious practices. Increasingly admired for his wife's great faith, Ludwig said to her, referring to her attention to the poor: “Dear Elizabeth, it is Christ whom you have cleansed, nourished and cared for”. A clear witness to how faith and love of God and neighbour strengthen family life and deepen ever more the matrimonial union.
The young couple found spiritual support in the Friars Minor who began to spread through Thuringia in 1222. Elizabeth chose from among them Friar Rodeger (Rüdiger) as her spiritual director. When he told her about the event of the conversion of Francis of Assisi, a rich young merchant, Elizabeth was even more enthusiastic in the journey of her Christian life.
From that time she became even more determined to follow the poor and Crucified Christ, present in poor people. Even when her first son was born, followed by two other children, our Saint never neglected her charitable works. She also helped the Friars Minor to build a convent at Halberstadt, of which Friar Rodeger became superior. For this reason Elizabeth’s spiritual direction was taken on by Conrad of Marburg.
The farewell to her husband was a hard trial, when, at the end of June in 1227 when Ludwig iv joined the Crusade of the Emperor Frederick ii. He reminded his wife that this was traditional for the sovereigns of Thuringia. Elizabeth answered him: “Far be it from me to detain you. I have given my whole self to God and now I must also give you”.
However, fever decimated the troops and Ludwig himself fell ill and died in Otranto, before embarking, in September 1227. He was 27 years old. When Elizabeth learned the news, she was so sorrowful that she withdrew in solitude; but then, strengthened by prayer and comforted by the hope of seeing him again in Heaven, she began to attend to the affairs of the Kingdom.
However, another trial was lying in wait for Elizabeth. Her brother-in-law usurped the government of Thuringia, declaring himself to be the true heir of Ludwig and accusing Elizabeth of being a pious woman incapable of ruling. The young widow, with three children, was banished from the Castle of Wartburg and went in search of a place of refuge. Only two of her ladies remained close to her. They accompanied her and entrusted the three children to the care of Ludwig’s friends. Wandering through the villages, Elizabeth worked wherever she was welcomed, looked after the sick, spun thread and cooked.
During this calvary which she bore with great faith, with patience and with dedication to God, a few relatives who had stayed faithful to her and viewed her brother-in-law's rule as illegal, restored her reputation. So it was that at the beginning of 1228, Elizabeth received sufficient income to withdraw to the family’s castle in Marburg, where her spiritual director, Fra Conrad, also lived.
It was he who reported the following event to Pope Gregory ix: “On Good Friday in 1228, having placed her hands on the altar in the chapel of her city, Eisenach, to which she had welcomed the Friars Minor, in the presence of several friars and relatives Elizabeth renounced her own will and all the vanities of the world. She also wanted to resign all her possessions, but I dissuaded her out of love for the poor. Shortly afterwards she built a hospital, gathered the sick and invalids and served at her own table the most wretched and deprived. When I reprimanded her for these things, Elizabeth answered that she received from the poor special grace and humility” (Epistula magistri Conradi, 14-17).
We can discern in this affirmation a certain mystical experience similar to that of St Francis: the Poverello of Assisi declared in his testament, in fact, that serving lepers, which he at first found repugnant, was transformed into sweetness of the soul and of the body (Testamentum, 1-3).
Elizabeth spent her last three years in the hospital she founded, serving the sick and keeping wake over the dying. She always tried to carry out the most humble services and repugnant tasks. She became what we might call a consecrated woman in the world (soror in saeculo) and, with other friends clothed in grey habits, formed a religious community. It is not by chance that she is the Patroness of the Third Order Regular of St Francis and of the Franciscan Secular Order.
In November 1231 she was stricken with a high fever. When the news of her illness spread, may people flocked to see her. After about 10 days, she asked for the doors to be closed so that she might be alone with God. In the night of 17 November, she fell asleep gently in the Lord. The testimonies of her holiness were so many and such that after only four years Pope Gregory ix canonized her and, that same year, the beautiful church built in her honour at Marburg was consecrated.
Dear brothers and sisters, in St Elizabeth we see how faith and friendship with Christ create a sense of justice, of the equality of all, of the rights of others and how they create love, charity. And from this charity is born hope too, the certainty that we are loved by Christ and that the love of Christ awaits us thereby rendering us capable of imitating Christ and of seeing Christ in others.
St Elizabeth invites us to rediscover Christ, to love him and to have faith; and thereby to find true justice and love, as well as the joy that one day we shall be immersed in divine love, in the joy of eternity with God. Thank you.
To special groups:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today. In particular, I extend greetings to members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and to the Sisters of St Joseph and the Sacred Heart, along with their students, friends and benefactors here for the canonization of Saint André Bessette and Saint Mary MacKillop. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.
Lastly, I turn my thoughts to the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Dear friends, the month of October invites us to renew our active cooperation in the mission of the Church. With the fresh energies of youth, with the force of prayer and of sacrifice, and with the potentials of married life, may you know how to be missionaries of the Gospel, offering your practical support to all those who are toiling to bring it to those who do not yet know it.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONSISTORY
FOR THE CREATION OF NEW CARDINALS
And now I joyfully announce that next 20 November I will hold a Consistory at which I will name new Members of the College of Cardinals. It is the duty of Cardinals to help the Successor of the Apostle Peter to carry out his mission as the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion” in the Church (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 18).
These are the names of the new Cardinals:
1. Archbishop Angelo Amato, sdb, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints;
2. H.B. Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria for Copts, Egypt;
3. Archbishop Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum";
4. Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls;
5. Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, Major Penitentiary;
6. Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunale of the Apostolic Signatura;
7. Archbishop Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;
8. Archbishop Paolo Sardi, Vice-Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church;
9. Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy;
10. Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, cs, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See;
11. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture;
12. Archbishop emeritus Medardo Joseph Mazombwe of Lusaka, Zambia;
13. Archbishop emeritus Raúl Eduardo Vela Chiriboga of Quito, Ecuador;
14. Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo;
15. Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy;
16. Archbishop Donald William Wuerl of Washington, United States of America;
17. Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, of Aparecida, Brazil;
18. Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Poland;
19. Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, of Colombo, Sri Lanka;
20. Archbishop Reinhard Marx, of Munich and Freising, Germany.
I have also decided to raise to the dignity of Cardinal two Prelates and two Clerics who are distinguished for their generosity and dedication to the service of the Church.
1. Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, Military Ordinary emeritus, Spain;
2. Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Italy;
3. Mons. Walter Brandmüller, former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Germany;
4. Mons. Domenico Bartolucci, former Choir Master of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir, Italy.
The list of new Cardinals reflects the universality of the Church; indeed they come from various parts of the world and carry out different tasks at the service of the Holy See or in direct contact with the People of God as Fathers and Pastors of particular Churches.
I invite you to pray for the new Cardinals, asking for the special intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God, so that they may exercise their ministry in the Church fruitfully.
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Relief Élisabeth de Hongrie - Grave - Pays Bas
Daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, born in 1207. Betrothed early to Louis, son of Herman, Landgrave of Thuringia, she was brought up at that court. She early proved her exceptional devotion, and when no more than five years of age her attendants could with difliculty persuade her to leave the church when she was praying. A few years later she married Louis, who had succeeded his father. With the desire to please God she undertook the vilest employments, and allowed a sick man to be laid in her lap, whose head emitted a disagreeable stench, while she washed his head with her own hands. After her purification she gave to a poor woman the clothes which she had wom at the church. She observed strict temperance in eating and drinking, and caused herself to be beaten with rods by her servants. She desired to imitate the poverty of Christ, and in the. presence of her servants used to wear coarse garments. In works of mercy she was unremitting, and gave clothes to the naked poor. During a famine she fed the starving people with corn from her granaries. At the foot of her castle she built an enormous establishment in which the sick should be tended, and here she caused the children of poor women to be brought up. She induced her husband to go to the Holy Land on a crusade, but while there the Landgrave died. When his death became “known, Elizabeth was driven out of her domains by her vassals, who considered her wasteful and extravagant. Taking refuge with an innkeeper, she was forced to spend the night in a pig-sty. Finally, she was rescued by her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg. The bishop wished to marry her again, and on her refusal shut her up in a strong castle. But at this time her husband’s remains were brought back, and she was liberated in order to take part in the burial. She lived in great poverty, clothed in poor garments and spinning wool, to the great scandal of her father, but she refused to return to him, preferring her present mode of life. In all things she lived under the direction of Conrad of Marburg, her confessor, and obeyed him punctiliously. One day she entered a nunnery at the request of the nuns without asking his permission, for which he caused her to be beaten so severely that traces of the blows might be seen three weeks afterwards. She devoted all her attention to a poor woman who was a leper, washing her and dressing her sores. When she was not tending the poor she spun wool, which was sent to her from a monastery, and gave the proceeds to the needy. Finally, she obtained admission into the Franciscan order, to which her confessor belonged. She died in the year 1231 at the age of twenty-four, and was buried at Marburg in the chapel near the hospital which she had founded. Her canonisation took place in 1235. 19th November.
- A lapful of red and white roses, sometimes there is a beggar or cripple at her feet. She wears a crown and sometimes the Franciscan habit.
- Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Elizabeth of Hungary”. , 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 April 2017. Web. 20 November 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/a-garner-of-saints-saint-elizabeth-of-hungary/>
Statue of Saint Elizabeth in St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Superior, Wisconsin
Died A.D. 1231.
Saint Elizabeth was born at Presburg, Hungary, in the year 1207. Her father, Alexander II of Hungary, was a brave, religious monarch, and her mother, Queen Gertrude, was a woman of lofty soul, great piety, and a lineal descendant of Charlemagne.
From the very cradle Elizabeth gave proofs of her sublime destiny. At three years of age she expressed her compassion for the poor and sought by gifts to soothe their misery. Thus the virtues of her future life were foreshadowed in infancy. Her first act was an alms-deed; her first word was a prayer.
Some years before our Saint’s birth, Herman, Duke of Thuringia, had a son born, whom he named Louis. The duke obtained a promise from the King of Hungary that the little Elizabeth should be given in marriage to his son; and to confirm the engagement, it was agreed, at Herman’s earnest request, that the princess, when four years of age, should be sent to his court, and there brought up under the care of a virtuous lady.
The day arrived; a brilliant cavalcade of lords and noble ladies came for Elizabeth. The child was clothed in a silk robe embroidered with gold. King Alexander said to Lord de Varila: “To your knightly honor I confide my sweetest consolation.” The good queen, with tears streaming down her face, also commended her dear little one to his care. “I willingly take charge of her,” said the noble knight; “I shall always be her faithful servant. “He kept his word.
Great rejoicing greeted the child in her new home, and at four years of age, she was solemnly affianced to Louis, who was then eleven. Ever after they were companions. She called him brother and he called her sister. This was in the good old Catholic times, when simplicity was still honored as a virtue.
Elizabeth was a sweet and lovely child; even in her sports she thought of God. When successful in games of chance, all her winnings were distributed among poor girls, of whom she imposed the duty of saying a certain number of Paters and Aves.
As she grew up she increased in piety and virtue. She loved prayer, and often stole into the palace chapel to offer up her soul to heaven. She was very devout to her guardian angel, and had a special love for Saint John the Evangelist.
This noble girl practised many self-denials. “As the lily among thorns,” says one of her ancient biographers, “the innocent Elizabeth budded and bloomed in the midst of bitterness, and spread all around her the sweet and fragrant perfume of patience and humility.”
She was educated with Agnes, sister to the young duke. On their first appearing together at church the two were dressed alike, and wore golden crowns set with jewels. There was a majestic crucifix in the house of God, and on seeing the sacred image Elizabeth took off her crown and laid it on a bench, at the same time bowing down her graceful person to adore the Almighty.
The vain, worldly Duchess Sophia, who accompanied the young ladies, was offended. “What ails you, Lady Elizabeth?” she said rudely. “What new whim is this? Do you wish that every one should laugh at you? Young ladies should hold themselves erect, and not throw themselves on the ground like fools or old women. Is your crown too heavy? Why do you remain stooped like a peasant?”
“Dear lady,” answered the gentle Saint, “do not blame me. See before my eyes the image of my sweet and merciful Jesus, who was crowned with thorns. I am but a vile creature. My crown would be a mockery of His thorny wreath.” And the lovely girl wept as she uttered those earnest words.
She then knelt humbly as before, and continued her devotions, leaving the dutchess and Agnes to speak just as they pleased. Having placed a fold of her mantle before her face, it was soon wet with tears. The other two, in order to avoid a contrast that would be far from elevating them in the eyes of the people, were obliged to follow her example, and to draw their veils over their faces, “which it would have been much more pleasing to them not to do,” adds the old chronicler.
Elizabeth had now many enemies and few friends in the lordly home of her betrothed. The good Duke Herman, who loved her tenderly, had passed away to a better world. The duchess-mother, who governed during her son’s minority, despised her, and used every effort to oblige her to take the veil in some convent.
From the unamiable Agnes she suffered daily insult. “My Lady Elizabeth,” said she to her on one occasion, “if you imagine that my brother Louis will marry you, it is a great mistake; or, if he does, you must become quite a different person from what you are now!” Thus, in the midst of luxury and boundless wealth, this sweet, simple girl bore her heavy cross in silence and patience.
She had, however, one true friend. Louis was yet young; but, in spite of the hostile feelings of his mother and sister, his affection for Elizabeth grew day by day. He loved her with “a love that was more than love.” He loved her beauty, her innocence, her piety, her modesty, her simplicity. He consoled her in moments of sadness. At such times he whispered his pure, undying affection. When he returned from journeys or hunting-parties, he always brought her some little love-gift – a pair of beads, a crucifix, a purse, a gold chain, or something else. She called him “my dear brother,” and he addressed her as “my sweet sister.”
When eighteen years of age, Louis proclaimed his intention of marrying his betrothed, and, at the same time, imposed silence on her enemies. He did this with such manly decision that no one dared to make any opposition.
The marriage was celebrated in 1220, with great rejoicing, at the castle of Wartburg. The young duke was twenty years of age, the dear Saint Elizabeth but thirteen.
Louis was not unworthy of his bride so holy and beautiful. The purity and greatness of his soul were reflected in his manly, graceful person. Though modest as a girl, he was as brave as a lion. In short, his whole character was summed up in the motto which he had happily chosen from boyhood: “Piety, purity, justice towards all.”
As to Elizabeth, she recompensed her husband with the love of all that was good and lovely. The old biographers picture her great personal attractions – her black hair, her sweet-looking countenance, her bright eyes, which beamed with tenderness, her figure of unrivalled grace, and her simple, winning ways.
Louis and Elizabeth were never so happy as when in each other’s company. Even after marriage they preserved the custom of calling each other brother and sister. “So entire was the union of their souls,” says Montalembert, “that they could ill endure being separated even for the shortest time. Thus when the duke’s hunting excursions were not too distant, he always took his dear Elizabeth with him, and she was happy to accompany him, even though she had to travel over rugged roads and dangerous paths, and to brave storms; but neither hail, nor snow, nor floods, nor excessive heats could hinder her from going, so anxious was she to be near him who never kept her from God.”
Nothing, in truth, could be more imposing even to worldly souls than the sight of so much virtue in these young persons. United by a holy concord, full of purity and humility before God, full of charity and good will towards men, loving each other with a love that drew them both to God, they offered to heaven and earth a sight the most edifying.
Elizabeth chose for her confessor a holy and very learned priest named Conrad; and under the direction of this wise spiritual guide, she walked the narrow way of virtue, and even reached the lofty summits of sanctity.
She went on this earthly pilgrimage with her eyes ever fixed on heaven. Her mortifications were many and rigorous. She wore a hair-shirt next her skin. Every Friday and every day in Lent she used the discipline in memory of Christ’s sufferings.
But piety did not make her sad or gloomy. She was the most cheerful at festivals. “She played and danced sometimes,” says Saint Francis de Sales, “and was present at assemblies of recreation without prejudice to her devotion, which was so deeply rooted in her soul that, like the rocks about the Lake of Rietta, which grew greater by the beating of the waves, her devotion increased amid the pomps and vanities to which she was exposed by her condition.”
The pure heart of this holy princess overflowed with love and mercy for her unhappy fellow creatures. Her generosity was boundless, for she saw Christ in every poor person. She delighted in paying secret visits to various abodes of misery, the bearer of money, provisions, and words of cheer; and her fair, graceful form might often be seen on such missions of charity, as she glided along the winding, rugged paths that led from the ducal castle to the cabins scattered over the surrounding valleys.
One day, accompanied by a favorite maid of honor, she was descending a narrow pathway, carrying under her mantle bread, meat, eggs, and other food for the poor, when suddenly she was met by her husband, Duke Louis, who was returning from a hunting-party. He was astonished to see his dear Elizabeth toiling along such a rough road under the weight of a burden.
“Let us see what you carry,” said he, at the same time drawing aside the mantle which she held closely clasped to her bosom.
Only red and white roses – the most beautiful he had ever seen – met his eye, and this astonished him, as it was no longer the season of flowers. Seeing that Elizabeth was troubled, he sought to console her by his caresses, but he ceased at once on seeing over her head a luminous appearance in the form of a crucifix. The good duke then desired her to continue her route without being disturbed by him, and he returned to Wartburg, reflecting on what God did for her, and carrying with him one of those wonderful roses, which he preserved all his life.
As the castle of Wartburg was built on a steep rock which the weak and infirm poor were unable to climb, our Saint erected a hospital at the foot of the elevation for their reception and entertainment. Here she daily often fed them with her own hands, made their beds, and attended them in the heat of summer, when the air of the place seemed unsupportable to all who were strangers to her heroic charity.
During a frightful famine that desolated the country, she extended her generous aid to every part of her husband’s dominions. Sometimes a miracle smiled on her holy toil. One day as she carried a quantity of food to a group of mendicants, she saw with uneasiness that she had not a sufficiency to give some to each, and that every moment more applicants arrived. The sweet Saint, however, began to pray interiorly, as she handed around the food, and found that, according as she gave pieces away, they were replaced by others, so that after giving each of the multitude a share there was still some left!
Through motives of religion, Duke Louis took the cross to accompany the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa on the Sixth Crusade. The news of this step overwhelmed Saint Elizabeth with sorrow, for her attachment to her husband was something inexpressibly tender and beautiful.
“Dear brother,” she said, as the pearly tears rolled down her lovely cheeks, “if it be not against God’s will, remain with me.”
“Allow me to set out,” said Louis, “for I have made a vow to God.”
All at once the spirit of heroic self-denial shone out, and she said earnestly: “May He in His goodness watch over you. May all happiness attend you for ever. Go, then, in the name of God!”
But the moment of parting was extremely painful. All trembling with emotion, the princess clung to her husband; and it was only after a desperate effort in conquering his heart that his tongue could find expression. “Elizabeth,” said the noble Crusader, “look at this ring that I take with me. On the sapphire is engraven the Lamb of God with His banner. Let it be to your eyes a sure and certain token of all that concerns me. He who brings you this ring, dearest and most faithful sister, and tells you that I am still alive, or that I have died, believe all that he shall say. May God bless you, my sweetest treasure! Adieu; remember our happy life, our fond and holy love, and forget me not in your prayers.”
And Duke Louis rode away, leaving his wife bathed in tears, for she had a gloomy foreboding that she would never see him again.
A few months passed by, and, alas! the faithful ring was on its way back to the castle of Wartburg. Duke Louis was no more. A fatal fever had carried him away, and at the early age of twenty-seven he died like a saint and hero.
When the sad news reached the youthful princess, she murmured a prayer and fell to the floor, stricken with grief. Truly the shadow of the cross had fallen along the pathway of that bright and beautiful spirit! For the first time Elizabeth really saw the frown of adversity, for the first time perhaps, she felt with sensible vividness that in the day of trial virtue is the only solid comfort. Heaven was about to complete her many good works and sacrifices, and to give a rounded loveliness to a life so precious and sublime.
Envy, jealousy, and malignity – all welled up and concealed during her husband’s lifetime – now broke loose against the virtuous princess. Calumny grew loud and barefaced. It was asserted, among other things, that she had squandered the public revenue on the poor, and that as she was u nf it to govern during the minority of her little son Herman, the reins of power should be handed over to her brother-in-law, Henry. Justice and honor fled from the heart of this ambitious man. The wild passions of the mob were appealed to by fiery speeches, and Elizabeth was brutally turned out of the castle of Wartburg. Not a voice was raised in her favor.
It was midwinter, and the cold was very severe. This daughter of a royal race descended on foot – her eyes wet with tears – along the rugged, narrow pathway that led to the city. She herself carried her new-born babe, and the three other children followed with her two faithful companions.
This incident, so shocking to human nature, restored the Saint’s tranquillity. She sought shelter at a poor inn, and was not rejected – though the hard-hearted Duke Henry had issued a proclamation forbidding any one to receive herself or her children. When she heard the midnight bell ringing for Matins at the Franciscan monastery which she had founded not many years before, she immediately arose and went to church. After assisting at the office, she desired the Fathers to sing a solemn Te Deum to thank God for His mercies in visiting her with such afflictions.
For some time after this the troubles of the princess were countless. She could find no place to lodge. A poor priest offered her a room in his little house; but her enemies were on hand and drove her forth. At length she found a refuge from her uncle the Bishop of Bamberg.
A change, however, soon came about. The voice of justice was heard. A spirited remonstrance from some of the chief nobles of Thuringia brought the usurping Henry to his senses, and he even promised to restore Elizabeth her rights and all her possessions. She returned for a short time to the castle of Wartburg, but the piety of her life was not pleasing to her worldly relations.
The Saint left the lordly residence where she had spent so many years, and retired to Marburg, in Hesse. The revenues of this city were granted to her to provide for her maintenance. Here she retired to a house of her own, and, under the guidance of her director, Conrad, she labored only for heaven. She was a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Tattlers she detested. She spoke little, and her words were marked by modesty and reserve. She gave her rich dowry to the poor, and supported herself by spinning.
Her father, the King of Hungary, sent an ambassador to invite her home. “Say to my dearest father,” she remarked, “that I am more happy in this contemptible life than he is in his regal pomp, and that, far from sorrowing over me, he ought to rejoice that he has a child in the service of the King of Heaven. All that I ask of him is to pray and to have prayers offered for me, and I will ceaselessly pray for him as long as life is left me.”
It pleased the Almighty that a halo of glory and majesty should surround the close of this noble lady’s earthly pilgrimage. One day she met a deaf and dumb boy, and asked him a question. He at once got the use of speech. On another occasion she saw a blind man walking near a church. She questioned the poor fellow, and learned that he would like to see the sunlight and the house of God. The sweet Saint told him to kneel and pray, and she prayed with him. Immediately he saw. The light of this world dawned on his eyes for the first time as he exclaimed: “May God be ever blessed!”
Three days before she died she was warned to prepare for her departure. Elizabeth put all her affairs in order, and devoutly received the last sacraments from Conrad, her faithful friend and confessor. “O Mary! come to my assistance,” she exclaimed, and falling into a gentle slumber, her pure and beautiful spirit passed away, on the 19th of November, 1231. She was only twenty-four years of age.
- John O’Kane Murray, M.A., M.D. “Saint Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary”. , 1879. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 September 2018. Web. 20 November 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/little-lives-of-the-great-saints-saint-elizabeth-princess-of-hungary/>
Berg near Rohrbach ( Upper Austria ). Maria-Trost church: Altar of Saint Erasmus - Painting of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary.
Berg bei Rohrbach ( Oberösterreich ). Wallfahrtskirche Maria-Trost: Erasmusaltar - Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen.
Photographie : Wolfgang Sauber
Saint Elizabeth, a model of devotion and purity to those who live singly, a mirror of love and retirement for married people, a most perfect example of patience for widows, and whose virtues deserve to be followed by all, high and low, was born in Hungary. She was a daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary, and of Gertrude, daughter of the Duke of Carinthia. According to the Roman Breviary, Elizabeth began in early childhood to fear God, and increased in piety with age. The walk she loved best of all was going to church, where she prayed with angelic devotion, and whence it was a difficult task to bring her home, as her greatest delight consisted in praying. At the door of the church, she always took off the jewelled coronet which she wore, and when asked why she did this, she replied: “God forbid that I should ever appear with such a crown before the face of Him who was crowned with thorns, and who, out of love for me, was nailed to the cross.” She called Mary, the divine Mother, her mother, and entertained great devotion towards Saint John, the Apostle and Evangelist, whom she chose as the special protector of her chastity. She never refused what was asked of her in the name of the Blessed Virgin or in that of Saint John. The money allotted to her for her recreation, she gave to the poor, requesting them to say the Ave Maria. She was an enemy to luxury, vain adornments and idleness. Nature had not only bestowed upon her unusual personal beauty, but had also endowed her with great qualities of mind.
In obedience to her parents, she gave her hand to Louis, Landgrave of Hesse and Thuringia, and lived with him in continual harmony, her conduct being as blameless in the married state as it had been during her maidenhood. She gave one hour every night to prayer, and spent the day in attendance at the divine service in the church, in devout reading and in working for the poor. She always treated her husband with love and respect, and was a model of all virtues to her subjects. She watched over her domestics with a most careful eye, in order that they might lead a Christian life; but took always a mother’s interest in seeing that their wages were punctually paid. She herself carried to the church the princes and princesses to whom she gave birth; and it was her custom, on these occasions to lay a rich offering on the Altar, and to give abundant alms to the poor. Under her royal robes, she continually wore a garment of hair-cloth. For the sick and the forsaken she had more than a mother’s care and solicitude. She erected a hospital in which she nursed the sick and sheltered orphans; besides feeding nine hundred poor people, every day, at the palace, and sending alms to the dwellings of those who were ashamed to beg. She also visited the sick in their houses, and served them most tenderly even when they were leprous. She kissed their hands and feet, and encouraged them to patience. Never did a poor person leave her without receiving alms, and more than once, when she had no money with her, she gave away the veil from her head. She did not hesitate even to mend the clothes of the needy, and during a severe famine, gave all her corn to the sufferers. In one word, she did not neglect anything that Christian charity could do; so that she was universally called the mother of the poor.
There were at court many who, on account of her great charity, laughed at and derided her; some even accused her of extravagance. Elizabeth, however, did not allow herself to be diverted from her deeds of kindness, and the Landgrave dismissed her accusers with indignation, probably because he perceived that the more charitable his spouse was, the more he was blessed with temporal goods. Hence he not only abstained from disturbing her in her kind deeds, but assisted her in them as long as he lived. He ended his life in a crusade, in which he joined with several other Christian princes in order to conquer the Holy Land from the infidels. Elizabeth grieved deeply when the news of his death reached her, but submitted to the will of the Almighty, saying: “It is known to Thee, O my God, that I loved no one on this earth more than my husband; not only because he was my husband, but also because he loved Thee with his whole heart. But as it has pleased Thee to call him, I am well contented with Thy holy will; and if I could, against Thy decree, raise him from the dead by reciting one Pater Noster, I would not do it. I only beg of Thee to give him eternal peace, and bestow upon me the grace to serve Thee faithfully until the end of my days.” After this heroic submission to the will of God, she caused many masses and prayers to be said for the deceased, gave large alms to the poor, divested herself of her royal robes, and, though but twenty years old, she vowed to live in chaste widowhood for the rest of her days. It pleased the Almighty to try His zealous handmaid most painfully. The nobility made the brother of the deceased Landgrave regent, and accused the holy princess of having impoverished the state by her charity to the poor. Under this pretext, they deprived her of all her possessions, and banished her from the Court, with three children, a son and two daughters. Her former vassals, fearing to draw upon themselves the disfavor of the new government, durst not give her lodgings. Even the hospitals, which she herself had founded, were closed against her. Hence she had to lodge mostly in a stable and to live on the bread she begged. In such unexpected and more than painful circumstances, Saint Elizabeth showed a truly heroic, and, to the children of the world, incomprehensible strength and patience. She complained to no one of the injustice of the nobility, not even to her royal father, who was still living; but rejoiced that she could suffer for the love of God. After the first night of her banishment, she went to the Church of the Franciscans and requested them to sing the “Te Deum,” or “Great God! we praise thee,” to give thanks to God for the sorrows with which He had visited her. The wrongs and outrages which the holy princess suffered, besides her banishment, can hardly be described. An old woman, who had formerly received clothing and nourishment from Saint Elizabeth, dared to push her into a pool of stagnant water, in the street, abusing her at the same time most shamefully, for not having immediately made way for her. This outrage aroused not in the least the wrath of the holy princess; she quietly raised herself out of the pool, cleansed her garments, and offered herself to the Almighty for more suffering. God did not fail to comfort His handmaid in her adversity. Christ appeared to her, during her prayers, encouraged her, and promised never to abandon her. After some time, through her father’s influence, a dwelling, suitable to her rank, was conceded to her, and her dowry was refunded. The Saint immediately used one part of the building for a hospital, made her home in the same, and nursed the sick, as if she had been a servant, hired to wait upon them. All her spare time was employed in prayer and other devout exercises. She also chastised her body by fasting and other penances. At the age of twenty-four years, she learned by revelation, that her end was approaching, for which she prepared herself by most devoutly receiving the holy sacraments. She exhorted all those who were around her death-bed, to love God with their whole heart and to assist the poor to the best of their ability. After this, she continued in prayer, until her soul, richly adorned with virtues and merits, went to her Creator, in the year of Our Lord 1231. The funeral took place at Marburg, in Hesse, where her holy remains still rest, honored not only by Catholics, but also by many Protestants. Luther himself, though a declared enemy of the Saints, believed our Elizabeth to have been one, and called her so, thereby acknowledging that one can be saved and become a saint in the Catholic faith. The miracles that have taken place at the shrine of the holy princess, have made her celebrated throughout the whole world. Sixteen dead persons are known to have been restored to life, through her intercessions, and the number of the sick, who were restored to health, is incomparably greater.
Karl von Blaas (1815–1894). Das Rosenwunder der Hl. Elisabeth.1839
• The life of Saint Elizabeth may serve as a model to persons of every age and station. Children may learn to fear God from their earliest years, and to increase their devotion with their age; single persons, how to live chastely in their state; married people, how husband and wife ought to live together; and the widowed how to sanctify their solitude. Masters and mistresses may learn how to take care of their domestics, and pay their wages regularly. Those of a higher station may learn to set a good example to others, and not to be ashamed to appear at public worship. All Christians can find instruction in it, for employing their time well, helping the needy, and bearing crosses and trials sent by heaven. God permitted a Landgravine, a royal princess, to be banished unjustly from court, to beg her bread, and, besides other ignominies, to be refused a shelter among her own subjects. Still she complained not; but, submissive to the decrees ot Providence, gave humble thanks to the Almighty for all that He, in His wisdom, had sent her. Even at the death of her husband, what fortitude, what submission to the divine will she manifested! Oh! that all would endeavor, in trials of much less severity, to unite their will with that of God, and patiently bear the cross that He has laid upon them.
• The favorite walk of Saint Elizabeth, when she was still a child, was to go to church, where she manifested most angelic devotion, and was so happy, that she could hardly be persuaded to leave. What is your favorite walk? Where do you like to remain? And when you do go to church, why are you in such haste to leave it again? Why do you much oftener go to theatres, frivolous societies, vain amusements, bar-rooms and ball-rooms, than to Church, to prayers, to sermons, or to public worship? Why does the sermon, the mass, or conversation with God in prayer so soon become wearisome to you, when many hours, nay, even half the day or night seem not long, when you occupy them in gaming, dancing, or silly conversation? Answer these questions if you can; and then tell me, do you expect to justify yourself before God, and to enter the same heaven into which Saint Elizabeth entered? “Ah! truly, heaven becomes not the dwelling of those who sleep and are idle, but of those who earnestly endeavor to gain it.” Thus speaks the holy pope, Saint Leo.
- Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Landgravine of Hesse and Thuringia”. , 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 May 2018. Web. 20 November 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-elizabeth-of-hungary-landgravine-of-hesse-and-thuringia/>
St. Elisabeth of Hungary, stained glass, 18th century, City Museum of Ljubljana
(A.D. 1251) Elizabeth was the daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary. Her mother was Queen Gertrude, daughter of the Duke of Carinthia. Elizabeth was born in the year 1207. Her august parents were distinguished for their great piety, and great was their joy on seeing their child, even in her infantile years, giving herself, as it were naturally, to the things of God, preferring them to every other engagement, and centering all her delights in prayer, almsgiving, retirement, and recollectedness. Such was the precocious piety that stamped the character of the child, and, as it were, presaged the future glory of the young Hungarian princess.
The Landgrave or Duke of Thuringia, one of the most powerful of the princes of Germany, having heard of Elizabeth, and having learned how heavenly was the character of this child, then only four years old, determined that she should, one day, be the spouse of his young son, Louis.
Ambassadors were sent to the Court of Hungary, and the marriage of the young princess, Elizabeth, and the youthful Louis, was arranged. In order to give more solidity to this engagement, the contracting parties agreed that little Elizabeth should be sent immediately to the Court of Thuringia.
She was consigned to the ambassadors in a massive silver cradle; and as soon as they reached the Landgrave’s Court, they proceeded to celebrate the espousals of Elizabeth and Louis, who had then completed his eleventh year. From this moment Elizabeth never quitted her betrothed, whom she called her brother – young Louis called her his sister; even after their marriage they were accustomed to address each other in these endearing appellations.
The care of Elizabeth’s education was entrusted to a noble lady, eminently qualified for this responsible undertaking.
Two years after her arrival in the Court of Thuringia, Elizabeth was informed of the death of Queen Gertrude, her mother, the remembrance of whom caused her to shed many and many a tear. Three years afterwards, Elizabeth witnessed the death of Landgrave Hermann, the father of her betrothed. This, indeed, was a serious loss to her, for this prince, who was a truly religious man, always smiled complacently on the holy acts of his daughter-in-law, and never opposed any of the devotional practices in which she was wont to indulge. After his death, she was wholly at the mercy of Agnes, her sister-in-law, who annoyed her very much. Sophia, her mother-in-law, a woman singularly attached to pageantries and wordly amusements, encouraged Aglles to thwart and cross young Elizabeth. The great devotion of the latter, and her profound contempt for all the vanities so much loved by people of her rank, excited their extremest displeasure. Agnes, in fact, blushed to think that she should be educated with a person who, acCording to her uncharitable remarks, was fitter to be a tire-woman than a princess.
Duke Louis had succeeded his father, but he was still dependent on the Duchess Sophia, his mother. Furthermore, he was very often absent from the court, and this period was employed by Sophia and Aglles in tormenting poor Elizabeth.
One day – it was the festival of the Assumption – Agnes and Elizabeth received orders to dress themselves in their most sumptuous robes, and to wear their golden crowns, as the Duchess required them to accompany her to the Church of Eisenach, where she was going to hear Mass. Elizabeth obeyed; but on entering the house of God, she removed her crown. The princess Sophia, observing this act, reproached her, and asked her imperiously why she did so?
“Madam,” replied Elizabeth, with profound humility, “ought I wear a golden diadem in a place where I behold Jesus Christ crowned with thorns ?”
Agnes and Sophia were struck dumb with indignation, for so much humility condemned their pride. Elizabeth, however, gave herself no uneasiness, but prostrating herself, prayed with her wonted fervor.
This event served only to augment Elizabeth’s torments. “Do not imagine that Duke Louis will ever marry you;” such was the insulting language habitually employed by Agnes; “Go and become a waiting-woman, for you are not fit to be the wife of a prince.” Nevertheless, poor Elizabeth bore all these injuries and outrages with patience, and when Louis returned to the Court, he did not fail to evince the sincerest love and respect for the virtues of his betrothed, despite the sarcasms of his mother and sister. He consoled her in secret, he encouraged her in the practices of humility and evangelical mortification, and, at the same time, left no doubt on her mind as to his unshaken constancy and eternal attachment.
All their persecutions tended to make Elizabeth entertain, if possible, a still more profound contempt fox: the pomps and pleasures of earth. All these trials she had to encounter on the road wherein Jesus Christ destined her to walk, taught her to entertain patience, humility, gentleness, and charity. She never failed to evince all these heavenly dispositions of soul and body for her cruel persecutors. Consoled by the benedictions of heaven, she almost disregarded all the thorns wherewith her path was strewn. Her chief happiness was to remain within her chapel or oratory, and there to pass many and many an hour in prayer. Her delight was to minister comfort to the poor and to dress the wounds of the suffering, no matter how loathsome they might be. Even in her leisure moments, in the time usually allotted to recreation, any one might have perceived how sedulous she proved herself in cultivating and practising evangelical humility and mortification.
A life like this, so totally opposed to luxury and the fatal etiquette attached to the high place which she was destined one day to occupy, excited the deadliest contempt and aversion of Sophia, and her daughter Agnes. The very courtiers labored with all their ingenuity to heap contempt on Elizabeth. Thus spake they: “She is not worthy of an alliance with the Land- grave: moreover, the prince does not love her. She ought, therefore, return into Hungary, and there marry some civilian of gentle blood.”
But, at length, after long and continual absence, occasioned by his education, Duke Louis returned to the Court of his royal ancestors. He was an accomplished prince, and in every way prepared to act a great part in the theatre of the world; but that which rendered him still more estimable and worthy of Elizabeth was his great purity of morals, and his heart-felt love of piety. The wonderful virtues of Elizabeth, then only fourteen years of age, had made a deep and lasting impression on his soul. He took good care to put an end to the persecutions she had to endure for such a lenghtened period, and, at the same time, declared his determination to marry the blessed girl whom he called his sister. Her persecutors were now obliged to mask their rage, and the marriage of Louis and Elizabeth was solemnized with all regal magnificence.
Even after the marriage, the new Duchess did not, in the least degree, diminish her pious austerities; and the devout prince, her husband, far from finding fault with them, seemed rather disposed to encourage them. All the time which Elizabeth did not spend in prayer was devoted to works of charity, or manual labor, and this labor was to spin wool for the clothing of the poor.
Always united to God, she seemed to perform every act as though she was the only object of His watchfulness. Furthermore, Elizabeth possessed the grand gift of being able to pray almost incessantly.
Her austerities surpassed those of the ancient solitaries. Her aversion to the pomps, pride, and pageants of Court-life, was almost incredible. Many of her ladies of honor imitated her virtues, but they followed her at a considerable distance. In fact, she was inimitable, above all, in the practice of humility, and in her zeal to seek out whatever was of the most revolting nature to the generality of women in her elevated position.
Wishing to bestow her greatest attention on the sick, who labored under the most loathsome maladies, she made it her study to find them, that she might have the exclusive charge of their infirmities.
Her favorite virtue was to alleviate the sufferings of the poor; this was her habitual thought, and the holy passion that consumed her soul. Elizabeth justly deserved to be called the Mother of the Poor, and, to this day, the Church proposes her to us as the patroness of the poor. Such is one of the titles that she has on our veneration. In the persons of the poor, Elizabeth beheld Jesus Christ himself; and this was one of the reasons which caused her to act as their most menial servant. One day – it was on Holy Thursday – she gathered together a vast number of the unfortunates who had been stricken with leprosy, and nowise deterred by this horrid malady, so contagious, and so seldom yielding to human remedies, she washed the hands and feet of this loathsome assemblage, in imitation of our Lord, who, upon the eve of his crucifixion, washed the feet of His Apostles.
Being nowise restricted by her pious husband, there was no end to Elizabeth’s alms-giving. In the year 1225, all Germany was affiicted by a terrible famine, and, at this period, Elizabeth seemed like an angel sent down from heaven to arrest this most direful scourge. The prince, her husband, was at this time in Italy, sustaining the Emperor, Frederick, the Second, with his army. On his return, his principal officers, and the treasurers of his household, were loud in their protestations against the lavish profusion which they said Elizabeth had shown to the poor. But nothing could exceed their astonishment when the prince coldly asked them, if she had not carefully preserved the strong places of Thuringia?
“Yes,” replied the officers.
“Well,” observed the prince, “I will not dare to censure her charities; for they will bring down the benedictions of heaven on us; and I am certain I never shall want means as long as my wife continues to employ them so usefully, and so like a Christian woman, who, in her high position, does not forget herself or her God!”
Meanwhile, a crusade had been proclaimed against the Turks, the enemies of Christ, and the enemies of civilization. Duke Louis, therefore, deemed it his bounden duty to respond to the summons of the Sovereign Pontiff, who was exhorting all the chivalry of Christendom to march to the succor of their oppressed brethren in the East.
Duke Louis, therefore, took the cross, and set out for Naples, where he was to join the Emperor Frederick, with whom he meant to pass into Palestine. Sad and painful was the parting from his holy wife. Bitter were the tears they shed, but religion resumed its empire, and at last triumphed over the feelings of nature.
The Landgrave having marched into Italy, proceeded to Otranto, where he was to have embarked with the Emperor Frederick. In that city he was attacked by an epidemic malady, then raging amongst his troops. In fact, he was its first victim. He immediately demanded the sacraments of the church, which were administered by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and he soon afterwards expired in the most pious sentiments of a true Catholic. He was only twenty-seven years of age, and his loss was sincerely lamented by all his companions in arms.
The announcement of his decease filled Elizabeth’s Court with grief and gloom. Her husband, her pious friend, he who called himself her brother; he with whom she had hoped to pass many a happy year, her Louis had departed to heaven from her, and she was never to see him again till God summoned her to His mansions of glory! “Ah !” she exclaimed, “since my brother is no longer here on this earth with me, I pray God that I may die to all things: henceforth I can live only to weep and mourn.”
That envy and hatred, which did not dare to show itself during Louis’ lifetime, now joined in a league to ruin her. It was then alleged that Elizabeth had embarrassed the treasury by her almsgiving, that it was necessary to re-establish the exhausted finances, that Prince Hermann, son of the deceased Landgrave, was too young to take the reins of government, that some one capable of protecting the domains of the State should be selected, and they finally concluded that the only one fit for this important duty, was Henry, the uncle of Hermann.
The aristocracy succeeded in winning the sympathies of the populace, and Henry, therefore, seized the reins of government.
His first act was to expel Elizabeth from her palace, and his cruelty was so excessive, that he refused her the very necessaries of life. Furthermore, he forbade all persons inhabiting his cities, to receive or succor her.
The princess suffered all this outrages and cruelties with admirable patience, and not a word of murmuring or repining ever fell from her lips.
Full of confidence in God, she departed tranquilly from her palace with her female servants, and took up her abode in a poor cottage. At midnight, she repaired to the church of the Franciscans, just as they were chanting matins, and then and there she invited them to join her in the Te Deum, for she desired to give thanks to God for the affiictions with which it pleased Him to visit her.
Next day she employed
all intelligence in seeking for some place where she might lodge, but no one
dared to harbor her, as all were in dread of the usurper and his supporters.
She, therefore, had to spend the whole day in the church of the Franciscan friars. In the night-time her
children were brought to her, for Henry drove them out of the palace. On
beholding the poor babes, now deprived of all maintenance, she could not check
the current of her tears. Oh I how she then lamented the decease of their
father. The caresses of the poor little creatures were not sufficient to
console that afflicted mother; but she lifted up her eyes to heaven, and she,
the daughter of kings, she whose alms, a few days ago, had succored the
indigence and sufferings of so many, now humbly implored the King of heaven to
look down compassionately on her and her tender charge. At all times full of
confidence in God, Elizabeth offered all her sufferings and humilitations to
Him, and her most fervent prayer was that He would give her grace to live for
Him alone, to fervently desire Him only, and God did come to her aid. An
abbess, who was her kinswoman, offered her an asylum in her monastery. The
Bishop of Bamberg, her uncle, presented her with a mansion situated near his
palace. The prelate, thinking that a new alliance was the only means by which
she might be enabled to recover her own and children’s rights, counselled her
to marry again; but the Saint informed him, that after her husband’s decease
she had made a vow to remain a widow for the rest of her life, and that her
only desire was to consecrate the remainder of her days to God alone.
During her sojourn in the states of the Bishop of Bamberg, the mortal remains of her husband were brought home from Italy. Elizabeth then related to the knights who had accompanied her husband’s mortal remains, the sad story of her sufferings. She besought them to plead her cause and that of her children, and to obtain justice for them and her from her brother-in-law.
She never accused him as the cause of the disgraceful treatment she had experienced, but attributed it all to the evil counsels to which he had given ear. The knights were deeply affected by the story of her misfortunes, and bound themselves by an oath to see her restored to all her rights and privileges. Such was the ardor they evinced in this matter, that Elizabeth felt herself bound to moderate their zeal.
On their arrival in Thuringia, the nobles energetically reproached Prince Henry with the disloyalty of his conduct. “Remember,” said they to him, “that there is a God who sees all things. What crime has this woman committed? Is not the weakness of her sex quite enough to prevent her undertaking any emprise injurious to the State? Know you not that she is distinguished for her wonderful piety and many inestimable virtues? What have her children, your own blood, done to you? Ought not their age plead in their favor? You, who should have been their protector, have proved yourself their unrelenting enemy. Have you not violated all laws, human and divine?”
Henry’s heart could not withstand such well-deserved reproaches. Sorrowful for his past conduct, and softened by the tears shed by the princesses themselves, he consented that Elizabeth should return to the palace, promised to make restitution of all her property, and swore that he would resign the reins of government to her son as soon as he had attained his majority.
The knights being fully satisfied with these promises, brought back Elizabeth to her palace. Henry then caused her to be treated with all the honors due to her rank, and put her in possession of all her property.
After so many painful vicissitudes Sophia, her mother-in-law, flattered herself that Elizabeth would renounce that manner of life which had brought so many afflictions on her; but Elizabeth’s hatred of vanities became more intense, and she proved still more devoted to that God, who consoled her in all her afflictions – to that God who never deserted her when she was abandoned by all those who fawned on her in the days of her prosperity.
Now that she had experience of bitter poverty, she became more attached to the poor, and to them she gave all the revenues arising from her dowry. For them she subjected herself to all manner of humiliations, such as mendings their clothes, and ministering to them with her own hands.
In vain did the King of Hungary, her father, strive to induce her to return to his Court. She refused to re-enter that world, which she had quitted for ever. She continued to live in the most perfect poverty, eating nothing but bread and herbs, and living only to pray. She, with her own hands, dressed the ulcers of the poor, and made herself an entire sacrifice to the suffering members of Jesus Christ.
At last the moment came in which the holy Duchess of Thuringia was to go to receive the glorious reward of all her sufferings and sorrows. Knowing that her end was approaching, although her malady was very slight, she redoubled her devout exercises, and the fire of her holy fervor grew stronger. Before receiving the sacraments, she desired to make a general confession of her whole life; and even to her last gasp, she ceased not to meditate on the mysteries of the life and sufferings of her divine Redeemer.
At length, after addressing many words, replete with piety and edification, to those who surrounded her, she expired in the night of the 19th of November, 1231, aged only twenty-four years. A great many miracles were wrought at her tomb. Four years after her death (A.D. 1235), she was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.
Gruppo scultoreo di Santa Elisabetta di Ungheria scolpito nel legno da Rudolf Moroder, policromia di Christian Delago del 1900
There is a little golden blossom growing on many of the heaths and mountain sides of Germany, which the peasants call “Elizabeth’s Flower,” in memory of the Saint who dwelt in their land long ago, the child of Andrew, the pious King of Hungary, and his Queen Gertrude.
These parents had been happy when God gave them this little daughter, but their joy increased as they heard her baby tongue first lisp the Names of Jesus and Mary, because they believed she would grow up to be a very holy servant of Christ.
Before Elizabeth was four years old, a rich prince asked her parents to promise her to his son Louis when she was of an age to marry, and, though they grieved to part with her, they granted this request, because they thought it was for her good, giving her into the care of this German landgrave, who, with many nobles and ladies in attendance journeyed with her into Thuringia, which was to be her home. The young Prince Louis was then eleven years of age, and from that time they were brought up together, calling each other by the names of brother and sister.
The good landgrave tried to make the little stranger child happy, and chose out some of the noblest girls of her own age belonging to his court for her companions, one of whom stayed with her nearly all her life. This friend was named “Guta,” and she has told a great deal about the Saint’s early days in Thuringia.
The little Elizabeth was very merry and fond of play, but she loved God so much that in the midst of her amusements she thought of Him, and often she would hop on one foot to the castle chapel with her young friends hopping after her, and even if she found the door fastened she would kiss it, and kiss the lock and the walls, for love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Who dwelt there.
Before she was old enough to read, she would go to the altar steps, and putting a great, open psalter before her, folded her tiny hands reverently, thinking of God, and praying to Him. At other times she would persuade the children to go with her to the cemetery, and offer up prayers for the souls of those persons who had been buried there. If a child loves Jesus so much she becomes very sweet and gentle, and thus Elizabeth’s companions delighted to be with her, and they declared that the Holy Child Himself came frequently to play with her. She fixed upon certain prayers to say every day, but if anything kept her from finishing all, she would pray quietly to God, as she lay in bed, while others supposed her to be sleeping.
Elizabeth began, even as a young child, to practise giving up her will every day in little trifling things, so that she might be imitating Jesus, and getting ready to make larger sacrifices for Him when she grew older. In the midst of a game, when she was enjoying herself the most, she would atop, saying, “Now I am quite full of happiness – I will leave off for the love of God.”
And in dancing, which she liked so much, she would cease when she had made one turn, exclaiming, “That will do for the world; the rest I will give up for Jesus Christ.”
This gentle little Elizabeth had placed herself particularly under the protection of the Blessed Virgin; but she had so great a love for Saint John the Evangelist that she chose him for her patron saint, and remained faithful in her devotion to him until the end of her life. From her infancy, Elizabeth had felt an intense love for the poor, and a great desire to relieve them, and, as she grew older, she gave away all the money which was allowed her, and would go through the passages and kitchens of the castle, seeking the scraps of meat and bread which were cast aside by the servants, but received so gratefully by the half-starved beggars who came to ask alms at the gate.
Thus, in prayers, and amusements, and good works, the time passed, until Elizabeth was nine years old, and then a great sorrow happened to her. Since she had been in Thuringia she had heard of the death of her own mother – now the good landgrave, the father of her future husband, was taken from her to her very great grief, for he had loved her as dearly as if she had been his own child, snd after he died the landgravine and the other ladies of the court turned against the little Elizabeth, and treated her unkindly. All they complained of was the manner of life she led, her love of the poor, her desire for prayer; and they said she was unfit for a princess, and ought not to be the wife of Louis. But through all this, we are told that no angry or impatient words escaped her; the more harsh they were, so much the more did she fix her heart on God, whose love made up for all she suffered.
One year, upon the Feast of the Assumption, the landgravine desired Elizabeth and her own daughter Agnes to put on their richest dresses, and crowns of gold, and go with her to the large church in Eisenach to hear Mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin. They obeyed, and accompanied her to the city, and into the church, where places had been specially prepared for them; but at the sight of the crucifix Elizabeth forgot the landgravine’s presence, and, taking off her golden crown, lay prostrate on the ground.
“What is this for, my Lady Elizabeth?” said the landgravine, angrily. “Cannot you behave better than an ill-brought-up child? Do you find your crown too heavy that you lie crouching there like a peasant girl?”
Then Elizabeth rose, and with great humility and sweetness answered, “Be not angry, dear lady. How can I wear gold and jewels when I see before me God my King adorned with sharp thorns? My crown would be a mockery of His!”
And she wept so bitterly, covering her eyes with the folds of her mantle, that the princesses could not help doing the same, and hiding their faces also, although in their hearts they were more than ever displeased with her.
But the dislike to Elizabeth grew with her growth, and some of the greatest counsellors urged the young landgrave to send her back to her father, while his mother would have wished to place her in a convent, so that she could never be his wife.
Elizabeth was often very sad when she heard such things said of her; she felt lonely in that foreign land away from her home, and without any father’s care; but God her Father in heaven had her in His keeping, and when she was most sorrowful she would kneel before her crucifix, and pour out her heart in prayer, and then, with fresh peace of mind, would return to her companions without a shadow upon her sweet face.
Although so much was done to make Louis dislike his future wife, he never ceased to love her, and when he returned home after his short absences he would bring her some little gift as a proof of his affection. Once, however, he omitted doing this, which caused Elizabeth some pain, and one of the young nobles who had come with her from Hungary spoke to Louis, asking him if he meant to break his word, and let her return home to her father. The landgrave sprang to his feet, declaring he would never give her up, that he loved her more because of the piety which all condemned, and very soon afterwards his marriage with Elizabeth took place at the Castle of Wartburg, when he was twenty, and she about thirteen years old.
Louis of Thuringia was worthy to be the husband of the Saint, for he also loved God above all things, and they lived very happily together; but her affection for him never caused her to neglect her prayer, or the works of charity she ha# practised before. Constantly in the cold winter nights she would rise to meditate upon the birth of Jesus in the chilly ^darkness of the stable at Bethlehem; she would go away from rich banquets having eaten nothing but dry bread, and yet, though she was hard with herself, she was so happy and had such a bright joyous countenance, that every one felt peace and comfort in her presence.
It pleased God in return for her faithful love to show some wonderful signs of His grace upon her. Once she was sitting down alone to a meal of bread and water, when Louis happened to come in quite unexpectedly, and raising his wife’s cup to his lips, he found it full of a richer wine than he had ever before tasted. He asked the steward from whence he had drawn it, but when he heard that Elizabeth’s cup was never filled with anything but water, Louis said no more, for he saw now that it was the work of Almighty God in blessing for the love she gave to Him and His poor.
Although the dear Saint’s gifts to the flick and suffering were so constant, she also waited upon them and visited them herself, no matter how keen the wind, or how rough and steep the road which led to their dwellings. She also obtained the landgrave’s permission to build a hospital half-way upon the rock where the castle stood, so * that about twenty-eight sick people might be received there who were too weak to climb up the hill to the gate for relief. These she visited every day, carrying them food with her own hands, washing their sores and kissing their feet in the greatness of her charity.
It happened once that as Elizabeth, with her servant, was coming down a very steep path, she suddenly met her husband and a company of nobles returning from a day’s hunting. She was almost bending beneath the weight of bread, meat, and eggs she was carrying to the poor, and folding her cloak tightly round her, stood aside to let them pass by; but Louis insisted on knowing what she had with her, and opening her mantle, he saw with surprise that it was filled with the most beautiful red and white roses he had ever beheld, and it was the more astonishing because the season for such flowers was long since passed. But the dear Saint was so troubled by God’s favours to her being thus made public, that Louis tried to soothe her, but he drew back with reverence as he saw the light of a glowing silvery crucifix appearing above her head, and bidding her farewell, he rode homeward musing over God’s wonders, carrying with him one of the miraculous roses, which he wore near his heart to the day of his death. Meantime Elizabeth, with great simplicity, went on her way, and when she reached the homes of the sick and destitute, the roses had vanished, and the food for their relief was again visible.
As time passed on the landgrave and his young wife had several children given them by God, and soon after the birth of each one the mother would take the newly-born baby up the steep path to the church of Saint Catherine, and there offer it upon the altar, beseeching God with many tears to make the little one grow up His friend and servant.
While the life of Elizabeth was passed in these lovely deeds of charity and holiness, Germany was calling upon all her princely knights to gather together in a fresh crusade to wrest the holy sepulchre of Christ from the power of the infidel Turks. Douis of Thuringia joined the number, and received the cross worn by crusaders from the hands of. the Bishop of Hildesheim. It was a terrible sorrow to the Saint when she heard that he was leaving her, and at first she cried bitterly, begging him to remain at home; but when he told her that he felt called by the love of Jesus Christ to undertake this holy cause, she ceased weeping, and, begging God to watch over him, bade him farewell. They never met on earth again, for the brave Louis was one of the first to be slain; he had gone for the love of God, and he died for that love willingly, without a murmur or regret.
Poor Elizabeth! Now, indeed, she was solitary. “I have lost everything,” she said. “Oh! my Jesus, strengthen my weakness.” Just at first everyone pitied her, but very soon the old dislike to her returned, all manner of evil things were spoken of her, and at last her cruel relations drove her from the castle with her little fatherless children, and not even those whom she had fed in their hunger would shelter her. From door to door she went, only to be turned away. Like Jesus, her Master, she ” had not where to lay her head but at length she was admitted into a miserable little inn, and put to sleep in an outhouse where pigs were usually kept. While resting there she heard the bell of the Franciscan church close by, and hastening to the friars, she begged that the “Te Deum” might be sung, in thanksgiving for the humiliation and suffering God had sent her; and as the music rose up to heaven, peace and joy filled her sad heart, and never again left it. But though dear Saint Elizabeth was glad to suffer so as to be more like Christ when He was on earth, she could not bear to hear her little children crying with cold and hunger, therefore she resolved to bear the pain of sending them away from her, and some friend took them to places of safety.
But though every one forsook Elizabeth, God took care of her, and gave her more and more wonderful proofs of His great love, allowing her many times to have beautiful visions of Christ and the Blessed Virgin, which comforted her in her great sufferings.
After a time the Landgravine Sophia and her sons were sorry for their treatment of the Saint, and restored to her a great part of her property, so that her children were provided for, but Elizabeth chose for herself a life of continual poverty and hardship. Her coarse dress was patched with all shades and colours; she worked for her bread by preparing wool for spinning, and took part with her two companions, Isentrude and Guta, in the labour of their home.
It was God’s Will that Elizabeth should become quite perfect in suffering, so He even allowed the priest, who was her confessor and a very holy man, to be often severe and harsh with her, giving her difficult commands to obey, and humbling her by great penances which needed much patience and gentleness to bear; but through every trial the Saint drew nearer to God, setting all her love upon Him, never failing in obedience to her confessor, whom she regarded in the place of Jesus Christ. Even when he sent away her two early friends, and put in their places coarse, rough women, who were very unkind to her, she behaved with perfect sweetness and submission, although at first the parting with her beloved companions made her shed many tears.
Soon she was to receive her reward, for one night, at the close of the year 1231, as Elizabeth lay praying in her bed, she had a vision of our Lord in the midst of a golden brightness, Who bade her prepare for her approaching death. She arose, and began very gladly to arrange for her burial, visit her poor friends, and divide the few things she possessed between them and her two companions; and after four days she felt the beginning of illness. For a fortnight she suffered from violent fever, but she was almost continually engaged in prayer, and was quite calm and happy. One evening, when Elizabeth seemed to be sleeping, the woman who watched her heard a sweet soft song coming from her lips, and afterwards she exclaimed, “Oh, madam, how beautifully you have been singing.”
“Did you hear it V said the Saint. “I will tell you how it was. A little bird came and sang so sweetly to me that I could but sing with him, and he revealed to me that I shall die in three days.”
From that moment she refused to see any visitors, desiring to keep herself alone with God; she made her confession to the Blessed Conrad, and afterwards talked with him of God and the joys of heaven; then, having heard Mass, she received the last sacraments with a love only known to Jesus, and on the night of the 19th November she died, having just reached the age of twenty-four years.
Those who came to look at her in death said that never before had she appeared so beautiful, for the glory of her wonderful holiness rested upon her sweet calm face, a fragrant perfume was observed in the room where her body was lying, and angel voices were heard singing above her.
Four years afterwards, when all the accounts of her life had been made known, the Pope declared Elizabeth a Saint in heaven, whose name was to be honoured in the Church on earth; and the tidings spread far and wide, so that pilgrims from all countries began to visit her shrine, to make prayers and offerings there.
And now, in closing this story of Elizabeth’s childish days, and the sweet suffering life she led when she grew older, we will put here a little prayer which has been addressed to the Saint, begging her to get us grace to love and serve God as she did.
“Oh, dear Saint Elizabeth, I honour thy pious childhood, I grieve for thy sufferings and persecutions. Why have I not passed my first years in holiness? why have I not borne my little sorrows patiently? I entreat thee, by thy. blessed childhood, crush my childish wilfulness and sin, and by thy great patience obtain for me the pardon of all my faults. Amen.”
– from , by Mary F Seymour
Elizabeth of Hungary, Queen, OFM Tert. (RM)
Born in Pressburg (Bratislava) or Saros-Patak, Hungary, 1207; died in Marburg, Hesse, Germany, November 17, 1231; canonized by Gregory IX in 1235; feast day formerly on November 19.
SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/1117.shtml
Nel 1217 muore il langravio di Turingia, Ermanno I. Muore scomunicato per i contrasti politici con l’arcivescovo di Magonza, che è anche signore laico, principe dell’Impero. Gli succede il figlio Ludovico, che nel 1221 sposa solennemente la quattordicenne Elisabetta. Ora i sovrani sono loro due. Lei viene chiamata “Elisabetta di Turingia”. Nel 1222 nasce il loro primo figlio, Ermanno. Seguono due bambine: nel 1224 Sofia e nel 1227 Gertrude. Ma quest’ultima viene al mondo già orfana di padre.
Ludovico di Turingia si è adoperato per organizzare la sesta crociata in Terrasanta, perché papa Onorio III gli ha promesso di liberarlo dalle intromissioni dell’arcivescovo di Magonza. Parte al comando dell’imperatore Federico II. Ma non vedrà la Palestina: lo uccide un male contagioso a Otranto.
Vedova a vent’anni con tre figli, Elisabetta riceve indietro la dote, e c’è chi fa progetti per lei: può risposarsi, a quell’età, oppure entrare in un monastero come altre regine , per viverci da regina, o anche da penitente in preghiera , a scelta. Questo le suggerisce il confessore. Ma lei dà retta a voci francescane che si fanno sentire in Turingia, per dire da che parte si può trovare la “perfetta letizia”. E per i poveri offre il denaro della sua dote (si costruirà un ospedale). Ma soprattutto ai poveri offre l’intera sua vita. Questo per lei è realizzarsi: facendosi come loro. Visita gli ammalati due volte al giorno, e poi raccoglie aiuti facendosi mendicante. E tutto questo rimanendo nella sua condizione di vedova, di laica.
Dopo la sua morte, il confessore rivelerà che, ancora vivente il marito, lei si dedicava ai malati, anche a quelli ripugnanti:” Nutrì alcuni, ad altri procurò un letto, altri portò sulle proprie spalle, prodigandosi sempre, senza mettersi tuttavia in contrasto con suo marito“. Collocava la sua dedizione in una cornice di normalità, che includeva anche piccoli gesti “esteriori”, ispirati non a semplice benevolenza, ma a rispetto vero per gli “inferiori”: come il farsi dare del tu dalle donne di servizio. Ed era poi attenta a non eccedere con le penitenze personali, che potessero indebolirla e renderla meno pronta all’aiuto. Vive da povera e da povera si ammala, rinunciando pure al ritorno in Ungheria, come vorrebbero i suoi genitori, re e regina.
Muore in Marburgo a 24 anni, subito “gridata santa” da molte voci, che inducono papa Gregorio IX a ordinare l’inchiesta sui prodigi che le si attribuiscono. Un lavoro reso difficile da complicazioni anche tragiche: muore assassinato il confessore di lei; l’arcivescovo di Magonza cerca di sabotare le indagini. Ma Roma le fa riprendere. E si arriva alla canonizzazione nel 1235 sempre a opera di papa Gregorio. I suoi resti, trafugati da Marburgo durante i conflitti al tempo della Riforma protestante, sono ora custoditi in parte a Vienna. E’ compatrona dell’Ordine Francescano secolare assieme a S. Ludovico.
Autore: Domenico Agasso
A. Houatt. Portrait de Sainte Elizabeth Duchesse de Turinge avec un mendiant, XVIIe siècle, National Library of Wales
Santa Elisabetta d’Ungheria
Cari fratelli e sorelle,
oggi vorrei parlarvi di una delle donne del Medioevo che ha suscitato maggiore ammirazione; si tratta di santa Elisabetta d’Ungheria, chiamata anche Elisabetta di Turingia.
Nacque nel 1207; gli storici discutono sul luogo. Suo padre era Andrea II, ricco e potente re di Ungheria, il quale, per rafforzare i legami politici, aveva sposato la contessa tedesca Gertrude di Andechs-Merania, sorella di santa Edvige, la quale era moglie del duca di Slesia. Elisabetta visse nella Corte ungherese solo i primi quattro anni della sua infanzia, assieme a una sorella e tre fratelli. Amava il gioco, la musica e la danza; recitava con fedeltà le sue preghiere e mostrava già particolare attenzione verso i poveri, che aiutava con una buona parola o con un gesto affettuoso.
La sua fanciullezza felice fu bruscamente interrotta quando, dalla lontana Turingia, giunsero dei cavalieri per portarla nella sua nuova sede in Germania centrale. Secondo i costumi di quel tempo, infatti, suo padre aveva stabilito che Elisabetta diventasse principessa di Turingia. Il langravio o conte di quella regione era uno dei sovrani più ricchi ed influenti d’Europa all’inizio del XIII secolo, e il suo castello era centro di magnificenza e di cultura. Ma dietro le feste e l’apparente gloria si nascondevano le ambizioni dei principi feudali, spesso in guerra tra di loro e in conflitto con le autorità reali ed imperiali. In questo contesto, il langravio Hermann accolse ben volentieri il fidanzamento tra suo figlio Ludovico e la principessa ungherese. Elisabetta partì dalla sua patria con una ricca dote e un grande seguito, comprese le sue ancelle personali, due delle quali le rimarranno amiche fedeli fino alla fine. Sono loro che ci hanno lasciato preziose informazioni sull’infanzia e sulla vita della Santa.
Dopo un lungo viaggio giunsero ad Eisenach, per salire poi alla fortezza di Wartburg, il massiccio castello sopra la città. Qui si celebrò il fidanzamento tra Ludovico ed Elisabetta. Negli anni successivi, mentre Ludovico imparava il mestiere di cavaliere, Elisabetta e le sue compagne studiavano tedesco, francese, latino, musica, letteratura e ricamo. Nonostante il fatto che il fidanzamento fosse stato deciso per motivi politici, tra i due giovani nacque un amore sincero, animato dalla fede e dal desiderio di compiere la volontà di Dio. All’età di 18 anni, Ludovico, dopo la morte del padre, iniziò a regnare sulla Turingia. Elisabetta divenne però oggetto di sommesse critiche, perché il suo modo di comportarsi non corrispondeva alla vita di corte. Così anche la celebrazione del matrimonio non fu sfarzosa e le spese per il banchetto furono in parte devolute ai poveri. Nella sua profonda sensibilità Elisabetta vedeva le contraddizioni tra la fede professata e la pratica cristiana. Non sopportava i compromessi. Una volta, entrando in chiesa nella festa dell’Assunzione, si tolse la corona, la depose dinanzi alla croce e rimase prostrata al suolo con il viso coperto. Quando la suocera la rimproverò per quel gesto, ella rispose: “Come posso io, creatura miserabile, continuare ad indossare una corona di dignità terrena, quando vedo il mio Re Gesù Cristo coronato di spine?”. Come si comportava davanti a Dio, allo stesso modo si comportava verso i sudditi. Tra i Detti delle quattro ancelle troviamo questa testimonianza: “Non consumava cibi se prima non era sicura che provenissero dalle proprietà e dai legittimi beni del marito. Mentre si asteneva dai beni procurati illecitamente, si adoperava anche per dare risarcimento a coloro che avevano subito violenza” (nn. 25 e 37). Un vero esempio per tutti coloro che ricoprono ruoli di guida: l’esercizio dell’autorità, ad ogni livello, dev’essere vissuto come servizio alla giustizia e alla carità, nella costante ricerca del bene comune.
Elisabetta praticava assiduamente le opere di misericordia: dava da bere e da mangiare a chi bussava alla sua porta, procurava vestiti, pagava i debiti, si prendeva cura degli infermi e seppelliva i morti. Scendendo dal suo castello, si recava spesso con le sue ancelle nelle case dei poveri, portando pane, carne, farina e altri alimenti. Consegnava i cibi personalmente e controllava con attenzione gli abiti e i giacigli dei poveri. Questo comportamento fu riferito al marito, il quale non solo non ne fu dispiaciuto, ma rispose agli accusatori: “Fin quando non mi vende il castello, ne sono contento!”. In questo contesto si colloca il miracolo del pane trasformato in rose: mentre Elisabetta andava per la strada con il suo grembiule pieno di pane per i poveri, incontrò il marito che le chiese cosa stesse portando. Lei aprì il grembiule e, invece del pane, comparvero magnifiche rose. Questo simbolo di carità è presente molte volte nelle raffigurazioni di santa Elisabetta.
Il suo fu un matrimonio profondamente felice: Elisabetta aiutava il coniuge ad elevare le sue qualità umane a livello soprannaturale, ed egli, in cambio, proteggeva la moglie nella sua generosità verso i poveri e nelle sue pratiche religiose. Sempre più ammirato per la grande fede della sposa, Ludovico, riferendosi alla sua attenzione verso i poveri, le disse: “Cara Elisabetta, è Cristo che hai lavato, cibato e di cui ti sei presa cura”. Una chiara testimonianza di come la fede e l’amore verso Dio e verso il prossimo rafforzino la vita familiare e rendano ancora più profonda l’unione matrimoniale.
La giovane coppia trovò appoggio spirituale nei Frati Minori, che, dal 1222, si diffusero in Turingia. Tra di essi Elisabetta scelse frate Ruggero (Rüdiger) come direttore spirituale. Quando egli le raccontò la vicenda della conversione del giovane e ricco mercante Francesco d’Assisi, Elisabetta si entusiasmò ulteriormente nel suo cammino di vita cristiana. Da quel momento, fu ancora più decisa nel seguire Cristo povero e crocifisso, presente nei poveri. Anche quando nacque il primo figlio, seguito poi da altri due, la nostra Santa non tralasciò mai le sue opere di carità. Aiutò inoltre i Frati Minori a costruire ad Halberstadt un convento, di cui frate Ruggero divenne il superiore. La direzione spirituale di Elisabetta passò, così, a Corrado di Marburgo.
Una dura prova fu l’addio al marito, a fine giugno del 1227 quando Ludovico IV si associò alla crociata dell’imperatore Federico II, ricordando alla sposa che quella era una tradizione per i sovrani di Turingia. Elisabetta rispose: “Non ti tratterrò. Ho dato tutta me stessa a Dio ed ora devo dare anche te”. La febbre, però, decimò le truppe e Ludovico stesso cadde malato e morì ad Otranto, prima di imbarcarsi, nel settembre 1227, all’età di ventisette anni. Elisabetta, appresa la notizia, ne fu così addolorata che si ritirò in solitudine, ma poi, fortificata dalla preghiera e consolata dalla speranza di rivederlo in Cielo, ricominciò ad interessarsi degli affari del regno. La attendeva, tuttavia, un’altra prova: suo cognato usurpò il governo della Turingia, dichiarandosi vero erede di Ludovico e accusando Elisabetta di essere una pia donna incompetente nel governare. La giovane vedova, con i tre figli, fu cacciata dal castello di Wartburg e si mise alla ricerca di un luogo dove rifugiarsi. Solo due delle sue ancelle le rimasero vicino, la accompagnarono e affidarono i tre bambini alle cure degli amici di Ludovico. Peregrinando per i villaggi, Elisabetta lavorava dove veniva accolta, assisteva i malati, filava e cuciva. Durante questo calvario sopportato con grande fede, con pazienza e dedizione a Dio, alcuni parenti, che le erano rimasti fedeli e consideravano illegittimo il governo del cognato, riabilitarono il suo nome. Così Elisabetta, all’inizio del 1228, poté ricevere un reddito appropriato per ritirarsi nel castello di famiglia a Marburgo, dove abitava anche il suo direttore spirituale Corrado. Fu lui a riferire al Papa Gregorio IX il seguente fatto: “Il venerdì santo del 1228, poste le mani sull’altare nella cappella della sua città Eisenach, dove aveva accolto i Frati Minori, alla presenza di alcuni frati e familiari, Elisabetta rinunziò alla propria volontà e a tutte le vanità del mondo. Ella voleva rinunziare anche a tutti i possedimenti, ma io la dissuasi per amore dei poveri. Poco dopo costruì un ospedale, raccolse malati e invalidi e servì alla propria mensa i più miserabili e i più derelitti. Avendola io rimproverata su queste cose, Elisabetta rispose che dai poveri riceveva una speciale grazia ed umiltà” (Epistula magistri Conradi, 14-17).
Possiamo scorgere in quest’affermazione una certa esperienza mistica simile a quella vissuta da san Francesco: il Poverello di Assisi dichiarò, infatti, nel suo testamento, che, servendo i lebbrosi, quello che prima gli era amaro fu tramutato in dolcezza dell’anima e del corpo (Testamentum, 1-3). Elisabetta trascorse gli ultimi tre anni nell’ospedale da lei fondato, servendo i malati, vegliando con i moribondi. Cercava sempre di svolgere i servizi più umili e lavori ripugnanti. Ella divenne quella che potremmo chiamare una donna consacrata in mezzo al mondo (soror in saeculo) e formò, con altre sue amiche, vestite in abiti grigi, una comunità religiosa. Non a caso è patrona del Terzo Ordine Regolare di San Francesco e dell’Ordine Francescano Secolare.
Nel novembre del 1231 fu colpita da forti febbri. Quando la notizia della sua malattia si propagò, moltissima gente accorse a vederla. Dopo una decina di giorni, chiese che le porte fossero chiuse, per rimanere da sola con Dio. Nella notte del 17 novembre si addormentò dolcemente nel Signore. Le testimonianze sulla sua santità furono tante e tali che, solo quattro anni più tardi, il Papa Gregorio IX la proclamò Santa e, nello stesso anno, fu consacrata la bella chiesa costruita in suo onore a Marburgo.
Cari fratelli e sorelle, nella figura di santa Elisabetta vediamo come la fede, l'amicizia con Cristo creino il senso della giustizia, dell'uguaglianza di tutti, dei diritti degli altri e creino l'amore, la carità. E da questa carità nasce anche la speranza, la certezza che siamo amati da Cristo e che l'amore di Cristo ci aspetta e così ci rende capaci di imitare Cristo e di vedere Cristo negli altri. Santa Elisabetta ci invita a riscoprire Cristo, ad amarLo, ad avere la fede e così trovare la vera giustizia e l'amore, come pure la gioia che un giorno saremo immersi nell'amore divino, nella gioia dell'eternità con Dio. Grazie.
Je salue les pèlerins francophones, en particulier, les jeunes, les collégiens et les étudiants présents venus d’Alsace, de Bretagne, du Languedoc et de Paris. Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venus de loin, de l’Île de la Réunion et du Canada qui vient de célébrer la canonisation de l’admirable Frère André, plein de foi et de simplicité. Je n’oublie pas les confirmés de Fribourg en Suisse. Que Dieu vous bénisse et bon pèlerinage à tous!
I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today. In particular, I extend greetings to members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and to the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Sacred Heart, along with their students, friends and benefactors here for the canonization of Saint André Bessette and Saint Mary MacKillop. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.
Ganz herzlich grüße ich die deutschsprachigen Pilger
und Besucher. Liebe Brüder und Schwestern, die Gestalt der heiligen Elisabeth
zeigt uns, daß eine große Liebe zu Gott und zum Nächsten, besonders zu den
materiell und auch geistlich Bedürftigen, dem Leben einen tiefen Sinn schenkt.
Diese große heilige Frau soll uns eine Fürsprecherin sein, in der Nachfolge
Euch allen wünsche ich schöne Tage in Rom und Gottes reichen Segen.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los miembros de la Cofradía escolapia del Santísimo Cristo de la Expiración y María Santísima del mayor dolor, de Granada; a los fieles de Alcobendas, a los Oficiales del curso de Estado Mayor de la Academia Aérea de Ecuador, así como a los demás grupos provenientes de España, México y otros países latinoamericanos. Que la figura de Santa Isabel de Hungría, modelo de caridad, nos inspire también a nosotros a un amor intenso hacia Dios y hacia el prójimo. Muchas gracias.
Amados fiéis brasileiros da paróquia São Pedro Apóstolo de Pato Bravo e todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, agradeço a vossa visita e de coração vos saúdo, desejando que esta peregrinação a Roma deixe a vida de cada um iluminada pelo sentido e pelo amor de Deus e do próximo. Sobre as vossas famílias e comunidades cristãs, desçam abundantes favores divinos, que sobre todos invoco ao abençoar-vos em nome do Senhor.
Saluto in lingua polacca:
Witam uczestniczących w tej audiencji pielgrzymów polskich. Dzisiaj w Polsce przypada liturgiczne wspomnienie świętego Jana z Kęt: filozofa, teologa na Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim, patrona archidiecezji krakowskiej. Był pracowity, wytrwały, pobożny. Wyróżniał się duchem miłosierdzia i troską o ubogich. Uczmy się od niego wierności Chrystusowi i Ewangelii. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
Saluto i pellegrini polacchi partecipanti a quest’udienza. Oggi in Polonia ricorre la memoria liturgica di San Giovanni da Kęty, filosofo, teologo dell’Università Jagellonica, patrono dell’Arcidiocesi di Cracovia. Era laborioso, perseverante, pio. Si distinse per lo spirito di misericordia e per la sollecitudine verso i poveri. Impariamo da lui la fedeltà a Cristo e al Vangelo. Sia lodato Gesù Cristo.
Saluto in lingua croata:
Srdačan pozdrav upućujem hrvatskim hodočasnicima pristiglima iz Šibenika i Makarske, kao i vjernike Hrvatske katoličke misije iz Ludwigshafena.
Osnaženi u vjeri na grobovima apostola, svjedočite Božju ljubav u vašem narodu svojim životom, ustrajnom molitvom te marljivim i poštenim radom. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!
Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini croati, provenienti da Šibenik e da Makarska, come pure ai fedeli della Missione cattolica Croata di Ludwigshafen. Rafforzati nella fede sulle tombe degli apostoli, testimoniate l’amore di Dio nel vostro popolo con la vita, la preghiera perseverante, il lavoro diligente ed onesto. Siano lodati Gesù e Maria!
Saluto in lingua slovacca:
S láskou pozdravujem pútnikov zo Slovenska, osobitne z Bratislavy a z Kostolnej pri Dunaji.
Bratia a sestry, dnešná katechéza nám predstavuje postavu svätej Alžbety Uhorskej, aj vám takej blízkej. Táto mimoriadna svedkyňa lásky k biednym, nech vás povzbudí k stálemu konaniu skutkov milosrdenstva.
Zo srdca žehnám vás i vašich drahých.
Pochválený buď Ježiš Kristus!
Traduzione italiana :
Saluto con affetto i pellegrini provenienti dalla Slovacchia, particolarmente quelli da Bratislava e da Kostolná pri Dunaji.
Fratelli e sorelle, l’odierna catechesi ci presenta la figura di S. Elisabetta d’Ungheria, anche a voi cosi vicina. Questa straordinaria testimone di amore verso i poveri susciti in voi un rinnovato impegno nelle opere di misericordia.
Di cuore benedico voi ed i vostri cari.
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!
Saluto in lingua ungherese:
Isten hozta a magyar zarándokokat. Első helyen köszöntöm a tarjáni híveket és a csíksomlyói csoport tagjait. Mai katekézisemben Árpádházi Szent Erzsébetről, a felebaráti szeretet védőszentjéről elmélkedtem. Az ő közbenjárását és pártfogását kérve szívesen adom apostoli áldásomat Kedves Mindannyiotokra.
Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!
Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini ungheresi, specialmente i fedeli di Tarján e di Sumuleu Ciuc. Nella mia catechesi di oggi mi sono soffermato sulla figura di Santa Elisabetta d'Ungheria, su questa grande Santa della carità verso il prossimo. Chiedendo la sua intercessione e protezione, volentieri imparto a tutti voi la Benedizione Apostolica.
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!
* * *
Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto i partecipanti al pellegrinaggio promosso dalle Suore Catechiste del Sacro Cuore, in occasione della canonizzazione di santa Giulia Salzano, ed auguro che il suo esempio vi sia di incoraggiamento, i suoi insegnamenti vi orientino, e la sua intercessione vi sostenga nelle fatiche quotidiane. Saluto i cresimati della diocesi di Faenza-Modigliana, accompagnati dal loro Vescovo Mons. Claudio Stagni, ed assicuro la mia preghiera affinché ciascuno possa testimoniare, con il buon esempio e l’assidua pratica delle virtù cristiane, gli insegnamenti del Vangelo. Saluto i fedeli della parrocchia Sacro Cuore di Gesù, in Viterbo, augurando di partecipare con crescente generosità alla vita della comunità cristiana.
Rivolgo, infine, il mio pensiero ai giovani, ai malati ed agli sposi novelli. Cari amici, il mese di ottobre ci invita a rinnovare la nostra attiva cooperazione alla missione della Chiesa. Con le fresche energie della giovinezza, con la forza della preghiera e del sacrificio e con le potenzialità della vita coniugale, sappiate essere missionari del Vangelo, offrendo il vostro concreto sostegno a quanti faticano per portarlo a chi ancora non lo conosce.
* * *
ANNUNCIO DI CONCISTORO
PER LA CREAZIONE DI NUOVI CARDINALI
E adesso con gioia annuncio che il prossimo 20 novembre terrò un Concistoro nel quale nominerò nuovi Membri del Collegio Cardinalizio. I Cardinali hanno il compito di aiutare il Successore dell’Apostolo Pietro nell’adempimento della sua missione di principio e fondamento perpetuo e visibile dell’unità della fede e della comunione nella Chiesa (cfr Lumen gentium, n. 18).
Ecco i nomi dei nuovi Porporati:
1. Mons. Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefetto della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi;
2. S.B. Antonios Naguib, Patriarca di Alessandria dei Copti (Egitto);
3. Mons. Robert Sarah, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio "Cor Unum";
4. Mons. Francesco Monterisi, Arciprete della Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura;
5. Mons. Fortunato Baldelli, Penitenziere Maggiore;
6. Mons. Raymond Leo Burke, Prefetto del Supremo Tribunale della Segnatura Apostolica;
7. Mons. Kurt Koch, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione dell'Unità dei Cristiani;
8. Mons. Paolo Sardi, Vice Camerlengo di Santa Romana Chiesa;
9. Mons. Mauro Piacenza, Prefetto della Congregazione per il Clero;
10. Mons. Velasio De Paolis, C.S., Presidente della Prefettura degli Affari Economici della Santa Sede;
11. Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio della Cultura;
12. Mons. Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, Arcivescovo emerito di Lusaka (Zambia);
13. Mons. Raúl Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Arcivescovo emerito di Quito (Ecuador);
14. Mons. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Arcivescovo di Kinshasa (Rep. Democratica del Congo);
15. Mons. Paolo Romeo, Arcivescovo di Palermo (Italia);
16. Mons. Donald William Wuerl, Arcivescovo di Washington (Stati Uniti d'America);
17. Mons. Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Arcivescovo di Aparecida (Brasile);
18. Mons. Kazimierz Nycz, Arcivescovo di Warszawa (Polonia);
19. Mons. Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, Arcivescovo di Colombo (Sri Lanka);
20. Mons. Reinhard Marx, Arcivescovo di München und Freising (Germania).
Ho deciso, inoltre, di elevare alla dignità cardinalizia due Presuli e due Ecclesiastici, che si sono distinti per la loro generosità e dedizione nel servizio alla Chiesa.
1. Mons. José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, Arcivescovo Ordinario Militare emerito (Spagna);
2. Mons. Elio Sgreccia, già Presidente della Pontificia Accademia per la Vita (Italia);
3. Mons. Walter Brandmüller, già Presidente del Pontificio Comitato di Scienze Storiche (Germania);
4. Mons. Domenico Bartolucci, già Maestro Direttore della Cappella Musicale Pontificia (Italia).
Nella lista dei nuovi Porporati si riflette l’universalità della Chiesa; essi, infatti, provengono da varie parti del mondo e svolgono differenti compiti a servizio della Santa Sede o a contatto diretto con il Popolo di Dio quali Padri e Pastori di Chiese particolari.
Vi invito a pregare per i nuovi Cardinali, chiedendo la particolare intercessione della Santissima Madre di Dio, affinché svolgano con frutto il loro ministero nella Chiesa.
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