Who was St Elizabeth of Hungary ?


Elizabeth (born in 1207, to Andrew II of Hungary and his wife, Gertrude  of Andechs-Meran) was promised in marriage to Louis (Ludwig), eldest son of Landgrave Herman of Thuringia and Hesse (now Germany). At four years of age she was taken to the Thuringian Castle of the Wartburg, near Eisenach, to be groomed as the wife of the future Landgrave.

She became an attractive woman, serious in her ways, modest, fervent in prayer and always full of goodness and divine love. Yet she did not meet with the approval or affection from her new family.

When Louis succeeded his father in 1221, he and Elizabeth were married.  They had three or four children (accounts vary). But their life together was short. In 1227, Louis died of the plague on his way to the 6th Crusade.


Louis’ relatives had never liked Elizabeth because she had given so much food to the poor. While Louis lived they had been unable to curb her generosity. After Louis’ death, Elizabeth and her children were sent away from the castle. They were hungry and cold. Yet Elizabeth did not complain, she blessed God and prayed fervently, accepting the sorrows as she had accepted the joys. Her own relatives rescued her and, although her uncle wanted her to remarry, she determinedly gave herself to God.

In 1228, imitating the poverty of St Francis, Elizabeth arranged for her children’s care, renounced the world and became a tertiary of St Francis. She lived in a cottage and spent the last few years of her life serving the sick and the poor. She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick. St Elizabeth died aged twenty-four, on November 17, 1231.

Our Patronal Festival is celebrated on the third Sunday in November.