Feastday: 5 November
The name Elizabeth, which has been borne by several saints, means in Hebrew "worshiper of God." This Elizabeth was the wife of Zachary, the mother of John the Baptist and the niece of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All we know about them is found in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel.
Having reached middle age without the blessing of children, Zachary, while officiating in the temple, had a vision of an angel who told him that his prayers for a son would be answered. Three months after the angel's annunciation, Mary visited her relative Elizabeth, the elderly wife of Zachary who served as a priest in the temple at Jerusalem. Mary had been told that this couple advanced in age was to have a child, too, "for nothing is impossible with God."
When the Virgin Mary, also with child, visited her kinswoman Saint Elizabeth, the child in her womb leapt in joy at the presence of the Savior and Saint Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and greeted the Virgin as blessed among women. Saint Elizabeth has the distinction of being one of the first to know about Mary's great blessing as the Mother of God. Her greeting elicited from Mary another classic prayer, the Magnificat: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. He looks on his servant in his lowliness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then went back home. Finally, six months later, her own Son was born.
Patronage: expectant mothers; diocese of Fulda, Germany; pregnant women
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