Gospel: Lk 19:41-44
When Jesus had come in sight of the city, he wept over it, and said, “If only today you knew the ways of peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Yet days will come upon you, when your enemies will surround you with barricades, and shut you in, and press on you from every side. And they will dash you to the ground and your children with you, and not leave stone upon stone within you, for you did not recognize the time and the visitation of your God.”
The woman we are remembering today so loved the poor that she could be compared to any other saint—even St. Vincent de Paul, who was made patron of all charitable societies by Pope Leo XIII—because, in fact, she was declared the Patroness of Catholic charities.
Born in Hungary in 1207, Elizabeth at 14 was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she dearly loved. She bore three children. After 6 years of marriage her husband died in the Crusades, and Elizabeth was grief-stricken.
Despite her royal rank, Elizabeth wore simple clothes and daily took bread to hundreds of beggars who came to her gate. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan Friar, she led a life of prayer and mortification. In 1228, after the death of her husband, Elizabeth joined the Third Order of St. Francis, spending the three remaining years of her short life caring for the poor in a hospital which she had founded in honor of St. Francis of Assisi (who had died two years earlier). Eventually her health deteriorated, and she died at 23 years old in 1234. She was canonized barely 4 years later.