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St. Elizabeth of Hungary

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia, was born in Hungary in 1207 to the Hungarian King Andrew II and Gertrude of Merania. At the age of four, Elizabeth was betrothed to Ludwig IV of Thuringia, a German nobleman.

In 1221, Elizabeth and Ludwig were married. Together the couple had three children. At around the same time period, Franciscan friars arrived in Thuringia and taught 16-year-old Elizabeth all about Francis of Assisi's ideals. She made a decision to live her life mirroring his. Ludwig, who was now one of the rulers of Thuringia, supported and encouraged Elizabeth's religious endeavors even though she was a part of the royal court.  The couple lived with a remarkable generosity toward the poor.

Tragedy struck when Ludwig died in 1227.  After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world, joining the Third Order of St. Francis. Having received her dowry, Elizabeth founded a hospital in honor of St. Francis, where she personally devoted herself to the care of the sick.

Elizabeth died at the age of 24 on November 17, 1231 in Marburg, Hesse. She was canonized in 1235 by Pope Gregory IX.

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