St. Elisabeth of Lusitania

Also "Elizabeth of Portugal."

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1894:
ELIZABETH was born in 1271. She was daughter of Pedro III. of Arragon, being named after her aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. At twelve years of age she was given in marriage to Denis, King of Portugal, and from a holy child 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 no duty of her state. She prepared for her frequent communions by severe austerities, fasting thrice a week, and by heroic works of charity. She was several times called on to make peace between her husband and her son Alphonso, who had taken up arms against him. Her husband tried her much, both by his unfounded jealousy and by his infidelity to herself. A slander affecting Elizabeth and one of her pages made the king determine to slay the youth, and he told a lime-burner to cast into his kiln the first page who should arrive with a royal message. On the day fixed the page was sent; but the boy, who was in the habit of hearing Mass daily, stopped on his way to do so. The king, in suspense, sent a second page, the very originator of the calumny, who, coming first to the kiln, was at once cast into the furnace and burned. Shortly after, the first page arrived from the church, and took back to the king the lime-burner's reply that his orders had been fulfilled. Thus hearing Mass saved the page's life and proved the queen's innocence. Her patience, and the wonderful sweetness with which she even cherished the children of her rivals, completely won the king from his evil ways, and he became a devoted husband and a truly Christian king. She built many charitable institutions and religious houses, among others a convent of Poor Clares. After her husband's death, she wished to enter their Order; but being dissuaded by her people, who could not do without her, she took the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis, and spent the rest of her life in redoubled austerities and almsgiving. She died at the age of sixty-five, while in the act of making peace between her children.

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1903:

Prom her Authentic Life, written by a Franciscan friar ; Mariana, and other Spanish historians So*
Janning the Bollandist, Julij, t. 2, ad diein 4, p. 1G9.

A. D 1336

St. Elizabeth was daughter of Peter III. king of Arragon, and grand-daugh.
ler of James I. who had been educated under the care of St. Peter Nolasco,
*nd was surnamed the Saint, and from the taking of Majorca and Valentia,
fixpugnator or the Conqueror. Her mother, Constantia. was daughter of
Manfred king of Sicily, and grandchild to the Emperor Frederic II. Out
saint was born in 1271, and received at the baptismal font by the name of
Elizabeth, from her aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who had been cano-
nized by Gregory IX. in 1235. Her birth established a good understanding
between her grandfather James, who was then on the throne, and her father,
whose quarrel had divided the whole kingdom. The former took upon him-
self the care of her education, inspired her with an ardor for piety above
her age, though he died in 1276 (having reigned sixty-three years), before
she had completed the sixth year of her age.

Her father succeeded to the crown, and was careful to place most virtuous
persons about his daughter, whose example might be to her a constant spui
lo all virtue. The young princess was of a most sweet and mild disposition,
and from her tender years had no relish for anything but what was conducive
to piety and devotion. It was doing her the most sensible pleasure if any
one promised to lead her to some chapel to say a prayer. At eight years of
age she began to fast on vigils, and to practise great self-denials ; nor could
she bear to hear the tenderness of her years and constitution alleged as a
reason that she ought not to fast or macerate her tender body. Her fervor
made her eagerly to desire that she might have a share in every exercise of
virtue which she saw practised by others, and she had been already taught
that the frequent mortification of the senses, and still more of the will, is to
be joined with prayer to obtain the grace which restrains the passions, and
prevents their revolt. How little is this most important maxim considered
by those parents who excite and fortify the passions of children, by teaching
them a love of vanities, and indulging them in gratifications of sense ! If
rigorous fasts suit not their tender age, a submission of the will, perfect
obedience, and humble modesty, are in no time of life more indispensably to
be inculcated ; nor is any abstinence more necessary than that by which
children are taught never to drink or eat out of meals, to bear several little
denials in them without uneasiness, and never eagerly to crave anything.
The easy and happy victory of Elizabeth over herself was owing to this
early and perfect temperance, submissiveness, and sincere humility. Es-
teeming virtue her only advantage and delight, she abhorred romances and
idle entertainments, shunned the usual amusements of children, and was an
enemy to all the vanities of the world. She could bear no other songs than
sacred hymns and psalms ; and from her childhood said every day the whole
office of the breviary, in which no priest could be more scrupulously exact.
Her tenderness and compassion for the poor made her, even in that tender
age, to be styled their mother.

At twelve years of age she was given in marriage to Dionysius, king of
Portugal. That prince had considered in her, birth, beauty, riches, and
sprightliness of genius, more than virtue ; yet he allowed her an entire liberty
in her devotions, and exceedingly esteemed and admired her extraordinary
piety. She found no temptation to pride in the dazzling splendor of a crown,
and could say with Esther, that her heart never found any delight in thf
glory, riches, and grandeur with which she was surrounded. She was
sensible that regularity in our actions is necessary to virtue, this being in
itself most agreeable to God, who shows in all his works how much he is the
lover of order ; also a prudent distribution of time fixes the fickleness of
the human mind, hinders frequent omissions of pious exercises, and is a means
to prevent our being ever idle and being governed by humor and caprice in
what we do, by which motives a disguised self-love easily insinuates i self
into our ordinary actions. Our saint therefore planned for herself a regular
distribution of her whole time, and of her religious exercises, which she
never interrupted, unless extraordinary occasions of dutv or charity obliged

tier to change the order of her daily practices. She rose very early every
morning, and after a long morning exercise, and a pious meditation, she re-
cited matins, lauds and prime of the Church office. Then she heard mass,
at which she communicated frequently every week. She said every day
also the little office of our Lady, and that of the dead : and in the afternoon
had other regular devotions after even-song or vespers. She retired often
into her oratory to her pious books, and allotted certain hours to attend her
domestic affairs, public business, or what she owed to others. All her spare
time she employed in pious reading, or in working for the altar, or the poor,
and she made her ladies of honor do the like. She found no time to spend
in vain sports and recreations, or in idle discourse or entertainments. She
vas most abstemious in her diet, mean in her attire, humble, meek, and
affable in conversation, and wholly bent upon the service of God in all her
actions. Admirable was her spirit of compunction, and of holy prayer ;
and she poured forth her heart before God with most feeling sentiments of
divine love, and often watered her cheeks and the very ground with abundant
tears of sweet devotion. Frequent attempts were made to prevail with her
to moderate her austerities, but she alwavs answered that if Christ assures
us that his spirit cannot rind place in a life of softness and pleasure, mortifi-
cation is nowhere more necessary than on the throne, where the passions
find more dangerous incentives. She fasted three days a week, many vigils
besides those prescribed by the Church ; all Advent ; a Lent of devotion,
from the feast of St. John Baptist to the feast of the Assumption ; and soon
after this she began another Lent, which she continued to St. Michael's day.
On all Fridays and Saturdays, on the eves of all festivals of the Blessed
Virgin and the apostles, and on many other days, her fast was on bread and
water. She often visited churches and places of devotion on foot.


Follow us:

Check out Catholic News Agency Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome