Boldog névnapot!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Boldog névnapot Szent Erzsébet Árpád-házi! Happy belated name (feast) day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary of the House of Arpad!! The feast day of my patroness was celebrated last week on November 17 in the US and on November 19 in Hungary. In Hungary name days are celebrated just as much, if not more than, birthdays. I'm still waiting for all my name day presents... ;)

I didn't know anything about St. E of Hungary until last November, shortly before I packed up and moved to Budapest. As a kid I had a medal that I now recognize is St. E of Hungary (someone on the school bus asked me if it was supposed to be a joke...yeah I totally struck my own medal out of silver to call myself a saint. Not.) but I did not realize there was more than one St. Elizabeth. I always considered St. Elizabeth Ann Seton my patroness since my full name is Elizabeth Ann, but I never had a real connection or devotion to her. However, for obvious reasons Elizabeth of Hungary is totally my homegirl now and has made her presence known in my life. For example, on my flight to Hungary last January the man sitting next to me randomly struck up a conversation about her. I hadn't mentioned that I was Catholic or anything but I had been praying the Liturgy of the Hours throughout our flight and had mentioned that I was moving to Hungary. He must have put 2 and 2 together because he started telling me about a saint from Hungary...who turned out to be Elizabeth! :) He wasn't a practicing Catholic, but from our conversation I deduced that he had probably been baptized and raised Catholic. After that encounter I knew that St. E would be interceding for me throughout my semester abroad!

Elizabeth was born a princess in Hungary (a part which is now present day Slovakia) in 1207, the daughter of King Alexander II. When she was 13 she married Louis of Thuringia. Despite her position in the court, Elizabeth and her husband led a virtuous life and Elizabeth especially devoted herself to works of charity. Elizabeth and Louis had 3 children when Louis was killed - she was only 20 years old. After being thrown out of the royal court by her husband's family. She was later reinstated to the court but eventually Elizabeth left the royal court, made arrangements for her children to be taken care of, and renounced the world to become a tertiary (third order member) of St. Francis. She built a hospital and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death in 1231 at the age of 24.

Holiness obviously ran in the family because St. Hedwig was her aunt, St. Kinga/Cunegunda was her niece, and St. Elizabeth of Portugal was her great-niece! Elizabeth of Hungary is frequently depicted with bread and roses. One day she left the palace to take bread (she is the patron of bakers) to the poor and along the way she was stopped and demanded to reveal what she was carrying. As she opened up her cloak, the bread she had been carrying turned into roses! May we, like St. Elizabeth of Hungary, be devoted to serving the poor and desire a life of poverty and detachment from the world. 

Statues and images of St. Elizabeth are hard to come by in US churches (with the exception of the St. Elizabeth Hospital and Chapel in Lafayette!!) here's some of the pictures of St. E related things I spotted in Europe! Szent Erszebet, ora pro nobis! Hungarian and  Latin in once sentence...reminds me of a few of the Extraordinary Form Masses I attended in Budapest that were half in Latin and half in Hungarian!

St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Lafayette, IN - before I left for Budapest
Chapel of St. Stephen's Hand in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest 
St. Elizabeth Pharmacy/Clinic in Bratislava, Slovakia
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Bratislava...smurf church?
Love this mosaic - note that she's always shown with roses!!
Castle perched above Brastislava, where St. E lived until she was 4
Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic (St. E on the right and Margaret of Hungary on the left)
Primatial Basilica in Esztergom, Hungary
No telling which church this was in BP...they are all yellow!
RELICS of Elizabeth!!! Inner City Parish Church in Budapest
High altar in Szent Erszebet Church in Budapest 
Szent Erszebet Church - Rose Square in Budapest :)
And yes there are actually roses in the square!


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