Nov. 17 - Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) was born in Hungary, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and his wife Gertrude. As a child she was sent to Thuringa (now Germany) to be brought up with Prince Ludwig of Thuringa, whom she was to marry at the age of 14 in order to solidify a political alliance between the two nations. Their marriage was a very happy one, and they had three children together. Although Elizabeth was a princess surrounded by a magnificent court, she lived a humble life serving the sick and poor outside her castle walls. No amount of disapproval from those who considered this behavior beneath her royal status could dissuade her from her faithfulness to this task. One day, on her way to feed the poor, her husband stopped her and asked to see what she concealed beneath her mantle. The food she carried was miraculously replaced by roses, signifying God's approval of her charity. When her husband, after six years of marriage, tragically died on his way to join the crusade in Jerusalem, Elizabeth was grief-stricken. She vowed to never remarry, and eventually left her life of nobility to join the Secular Franciscans as a penitent. She continued her charitable works to an even greater degree, and helped Thuringa recover from a famine by giving them a huge gift of grain. It was this act, along with her habit of distributing bread to the poor, that made her the patron saint of bakers. She is also the patron of hospitals, the homeless, widows, charities, and nursing homes. St. Elizabeth of Hungary's feast day is November 17th.

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