Also known as: The Peacemaker; Isabel of
Portugal; Isabella of Portugal
Memorial: 4 July; formerly 8 July
Princess Elizabeth was born in 1271 at
Aragon, Spain. She was the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Constantia,
great-granddaughter of Emperor Frederick II. When she was twelve, she was given
in marriage to Dennis, King of Portugal and thus Queen of Portugal before she
was a teenager. Even though her husband was unfaithful, she prayed that he would
have a change of heart. Elizabeth became a saintly wife. She heard Mass and
recited the Divine Office daily, but her devotions were arranged with such
prudence that they interfered with none of her duties of state. Elizabeth gave
her King two children, a daughter, Constance, who married Ferdinand IV of
Castile, and a son Afonso (later Afonso IV of Portugal).
Like her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of
Hungary, for whom she was named, Saint Elizabeth of Portugal dedicated her life
to the poor. Her charitable works were outstanding. She founded institutions for
the sick, for travelers, for wayward women, for abandoned infants. She
established a convent for nuns and provided dowries for poor brides. This gentle
woman was also a peacemaker between members of her own family and between
nations. Elizabeth managed to end a long standing feud between her husband and
her son and managed to bring about a change in her husband's disposition before
his death in 1324.
Her husband Dennis died in 1325. Elizabeth then retired to a convent of Poor Clares,
which she had founded at Coimbra. She took the Franciscan Tertiary habit, wishing
to devote the rest of her life to the poor and sick in obscurity.
Elizabeth lived eleven more years and died on July 4, 1336. She died at the age
of sixty-five, while in the act of making peace between her children. She was
buried at Coimbra, Portugal, and after her death, many miracles took place at
Elizabeth was canonized: May 25, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII.
Representation: beggar; rose.
Patron Saint: of charitable societies,
charitable workers, charities, difficult marriages, falsely accused people,
invoked in time of war, peace, queens, tertiaries, victims of adultery, victims
of jealousy, victims of unfaithfulness, widows, against jealousy, brides.
Father of peace and love,
you gave Saint Elizabeth the gift of reconciling enemies.
By the help of her prayers
give us the courage to work for peace among men,
that we may be called the sons of God.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
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