St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Feast Day: November 17
Life dates: 1207-1231
Princess Elizabeth was betrothed at birth, and at age four, sent to her future husband’s home. Though her short marriage was happy, most of her life was marked by loss and unacceptance. Her strong faith and charitable actions brought disdain and even cruelty from her husband’s family. She never wavered in her faith and trust in God, nor altered her actions based on her faith.
Help children understand that often Christianity is counter-cultural. Together, find ways that might apply to your family (e.g. not participating in a Sunday morning ball game to go to church, not buying something so that money could be given to someone in need). Discuss how these decisions are made, how it feels to stick to a belief when others may disapprove, etc.
PRINCESS WITHOUT A CROWN
The princess stood in the middle of the crowd. Elizabeth looked just like one of the group as she gave food to the people around her.
Though she could go to parties wearing a crown and gown, she chose to wear simple clothing and work with hungry people. Looking into the eyes of a child accepting her bread, Elizabeth thought how he was like her own little boy. Why should one child have food and not another?
Walking home with her empty basket, she wondered how she could get more food for tomorrow. There were many hungry people, but Elizabeth had used all the money she had right now for food and medicine. She had used much of her husband’s money to start a hospital.
How she loved her good husband, Ludwig! And he loved her. He said he would rather give up a mountain of gold than give up Elizabeth!
But his family felt no such love. They were embarrassed by Elizabeth’s work, clothing and even her prayers. And how angry they got when she took extra food from the castle. Still, she needed bread for tomorrow.
The next morning, she went into the quiet kitchen. Quickly grabbing several loaves of bread, she tucked them under her cloak and snuck outside.
She saw a man coming towards her. Was it her brother-in-law? No! It was Ludwig! His face lit up when he saw her.
“What are you hiding under your cloak?”
Suddenly Elizabeth thought, “Maybe he has started to feel angry at me like his family does!”
“I know you are hiding something!” Ludwig laughed, playfully tugging at her cloak.
The cloak opened and roses tumbled out!
Not bread, but beautiful roses! Elizabeth stared at the flowers. So did Ludwig. They looked at each other, knowing a miracle had happened.
Like Ludwig, God loved Elizabeth very much!
To celebrate St. Elizabeth:
Feasting: Provide crusty Italian or French bread, butter and jam.
Decorating/Activities: A centerpiece created with one real rose, or a bouquet of silk roses, a loaf of bread and some canned food symbolizes St. Elizabeth’s generosity, her work to alleviate hunger, and God’s love for her. Encircle the centerpiece with some beautiful fabric. Hang streamers in the color of the roses. Children could use fabrics, towels and small blankets to wear “Elizabeth cloaks” to the feast—but nothing fancy in keeping with Elizabeth’s choice of simplicity.
Dear Saint Elizabeth,
We ask you to pray with us for all the hungry children in the world.
We ask you to pray with us to become willing to share with others.