Saint Elizabeth, the patron saint of our parish, was a princess, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary. When she was fourteen, she was given in marriage to Louis II who was the count of an area of Germany called Thuringia. Louis and Elizabeth had three children from their marriage.
Elizabeth was a truly Christian woman who spent her time visiting and nursing the sick and taking food and clothing to the poor. She turned one of the large homes near her castle into a hospital for children and other sick people. She could often be found there distributing small gifts to the patients and helping to care for the children.
Legend has it that during the winter, Elizabeth’s husband and some of his retinue were returning from a hunting trip when they came upon her walking along the road. Under her cloak Elizabeth was carrying loaves of bread for a poor family; she tried to hurry along and avoid the group because it was not the custom for the rich to associate with the poor. Elizabeth had already been the butt of jokes because of her aid to the poor; she did not want to cause her husband any further embarrassment because he always defended her kindness and generosity. Louis asked her what she was carrying, and, on an impulse, Elizabeth said “Roses.” At that moment the wind blew Elizabeth’s cape open and, to everyone’s amazement, out fell beautiful, fragrant roses. The people told this story often to highlight the kindness and generosity which characterized Elizabeth’s life.
Louis went off to the Crusades like most noblemen of that period and he died en route to the Holy Land. Louis’ brothers who were to care for Elizabeth were not as understanding toward her charity and eventually forced her and her daughters out of their ancestral castle. Legend has it that Elizabeth and her children had to sleep in sheds and barns, and beg for their food.
After the Crusades, Louis’ friends returned and forced his brothers to take care of Elizabeth. Elizabeth settled in the town of Marburg where she again resumed nursing the sick and helping the poor until her death. A beautiful cathedral was constructed in Marburg after her death and many of the fresoes on the walls recall the story of her life.
How well our patron saint characterizes the love and service which has been the mark of our parish.
For more information click here