Repost from November 19th, 2008
(Check out how little the girls look in the photo below. Goodness how time flies!)
One of my patron saint Elizabeths, this dear saint is one of the examples of sanctity within a happy marriage. Though betrothed to Ludwig of Thuringia when she was only four years old, and married at the tender age of fourteen, she and her husband were well matched and loved one another deeply. They had three children and were the model of wedded bliss and harmony, while being always true children of the Church, patrons of the poor, and examples of piety to all.
But, a tragedy of crosses interupts this happily-ever-after story at a heart-achingly early chapter. When Elizabeth and Ludwig's youngest child was still an infant, Ludwig was killed while fighting in the crusades, leaving Elizabeth to cruel treatment by the royal court. She was dispossessed of everything she owned, and forced to beg for herself and her children. At one time she was resigned to shelter in an abandoned pigstye, shunned by everyone. But, Elizabeth suffered all these crosses with perfect patience. She became a third order Franciscan, devoting herself to those poorer than herself, and supporting herself by hiring out her skill in spinning. Her constant goal through her troubles remained always her eternal reward ~ and the promise of resting in Christ, reunited with her beloved husband in heaven.
She died at the age of 24, in the year 1231.
She is the patron saint of: bakers; beggars; brides; Catholic charities; charitable societies; charitable workers; charities; countesses; death of children; exiles; falsely accused people; Franciscan Third Order; hoboes; homeless people; hospitals; in-law problems; lacemakers; lace workers; nursing homes; nursing services; people in exile; people ridiculed for their piety; Sisters of Mercy; tertiaries; Teutonic Knights; toothache; tramps; widows.
Celebrating the day:
One of the legends of St. Elizabeth is that of the miraculous roses. Most of us are familiar with this image in St. Elizabeth's iconography. The story goes that Elizabeth was bringing bread to the poor and was surprised by her husband, who (for some reason) disapproved of this practice. When he commanded her to show him what she carried in her basket, the bread she had baked for the poor was miraculously transformed to roses, and at this obvious proof of his wife's sanctity, Ludwig was converted. This is not likely to be a true story, as Ludwig is known to have been a pious Catholic, supportive of his wife's openly giving to the poor. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful legend, and one that inspires the tradition of baking bread on this day.
Here is a great picture-filled bread making tutorial we found for beginners.
But, today at our house, I think we'll make Theresa and Cathy's Easy Breadsticks.
**Since St. Elizabeth spun for a living, it would also be appropriate to practice any of the "yarn arts" today in her honor.
Knitting and crocheting, besides being practical and fun womanly arts, can be applied to the corporal works of mercy.
You can find details about crocheting for preemies at the Crochet Cabana or the Preemie Project. Or you can contact your local children's hospital for details on specifics there. We are personally grateful to the sweet ladies who crocheted the teeny tiny hats donated to the NICUs where four of our children spent their first days of life!
If knitting and crocheting are not your thing (we're really not very good at it at our house), here is a wonderful, simple pattern for making soft little blankets for preemies. No sewing involved! We made these for all or our babies in the NICU, and noted that many were donated to the other children there. The skin of preemies is so very tender, that all but the softest knitted or crocheted things irritate, so these soft fleece blankets are ideal.
Crafting for a Cause is a site directory for all things charitable ~ from making blankets for the elderly in nursing homes to knitting teddy bears for policemen to carry in their cars for emergencies involving children.
And, last but not least...
Prayers for widows and widowers are very appropriate for the day, as are prayers for the homeless. And here is a Litany of St. Elizabeth.
PS~ I almost forgot! Run over to Charlotte's at Waltzing Matilda for a coloring page!