Franciscan Feasts 17th – 19th November

Secular Franciscan

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary   17th November   Born in July 1207,Elizabeth was the daughter of Andrew II of Hungary ,aunt of Saint Cunegunda and cousin of Saint Agnes  of Prague.In 1211 she was sent to Thuringa to be brought up with her future husband landgraf LudwigIV ,whom she loved deeply and married when she was fourteen. When she was twenty ,he caught the plague on the Crusades and died,leaving her with two children and one on the way.        The Friars had come to Thuringa in 1224 and preached the Franciscan life of penance and prayer as Francis described in the “Letter to all the faithful”.  Brother Rudiger introduced Elizabeth to Franciscan life and when she was turned out of the castle,she turned to the Friars and asked them to give thanks that she was now truly poor. In 1228 she took the habit of penance with four of her handmaids. She also put her hospital in Marburg under the protection of Saint Francis,giving away all her possessions and living by what she received from begging.She and all the sisters who had joined her visited the poor and came together to pray. This was an un-cloistered religious life for women,though not to be recognised by the Church for some centuries.  Today there are over 400 congregations and 100,00-women who look to Elizabeth as their patron .She died in 1231 and was canonised by Gregory IX in 1235.  She is the patroness of Secular Franciscans, of the Third Order Regular and of young brides and widows.

II   Saint Agnes of Assisi; 19th November;  About two weeks after Clare had left home on that Palm Sunday night to join Francis and his brothers ,her younger sister,

sister of Saint Clare

sister of Saint Clare

Catherine, then about 15 years old ,also left home, drawn to follow Christ with Clare, who was then at San Angelo di Panzo.  The family outraged at this departure from the home set out determined to bring Catherine home.  They were carrying her bodily away;  Clare was meantime praying for her sister and beseeching the Lord to help her and Catherine. Catherine’s body became so heavy, that even all those men were unable to lift her. Her uncle in fury went to strike her ,but his arm was paralysed in mid air, assailed with unexpected pain. Reluctantly the family withdrew and left Catherine with her sister Clare. Francis received her into the Order and she received the name Agnes. Francis then directed them both in the gospel way of living,even though he was a layman,and very soon after took them to San Damiano,the building he had repaired. Sister Agnes  lived at San Damiano for some time ,until she was sent to be Abbess in Florence, where she stayed until Clare was in her last illness,in 1253,  Sister Agnes herself died later that same year.




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