Meet The Princess Saint Who Loved To ServeThe Princess of Aragon
St. Elizabeth of Portugal, also known as Isabel, was the daughter of Pedro III, King of Aragon, and the granddaughter of Emperor Frederick II, Constantia. She was born in 1271 and died in 1336. She was the daughter of a king. She was a princess. She was also the great niece of the amazing St. Elizabeth of Hungary. As a young child, Elizabeth lived a very strict life. She said the full Liturgy of the Hours every day. Even as a young child, she fasted and did penances daily.
The Queen of Portugal
Elizabeth married Diniz, the King of Portugal. Diniz was a hard worker and cared greatly for his country. However, he was not a moral man. The people which surrounded him in his court were likewise moral corrupt.
Despite her new home, Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, did not abandon the pious religious exercises of her childhood. She was very gentle with her immoral husband and practiced saintly patience with him. She was also devoted to the poor, the sick, and the needy.
A Servant Queen
Whenever she had time, Elizabeth served the poor. She even tasked her own servants with serving the needy. This servant queen did not fit into the immoral court of Diniz. Elizabeth was not treated in a way befitting the saint that she was. Yet, her prayers and her sweetness and gentleness won her husband. Diniz reformed his ways late in life, through the intercession and example of his wife.
In 1323, Elizabeth’s son Alfonso declared war on his father because he felt slighted by the attention given to Diniz’s illegitimate children. St. Elizabeth rode out in between the two opposing armies. She was able to do the unlikely, by God’s grace, and reconciled the two and averted war. Alfonso even went on to succeed Diniz, after his death in 1325.
Elizabeth’s granddaughter Maria was being mistreated by the King of Castile to whom she had been married. Alfonso marched off to war once more. The elderly queen again rode off to Estremoz where the two kings were facing off. She was able, through her mediation, to arrange peace and stop the fighting. Unfortunately, these exertions brought about illness, fever, and death.
A Heavenly End
In her final moments, with great joy, she told her son to follow the path of holiness and peace. She was ready to be received into heaven. She was in relationship with God and knew Him. She was ready to be received by Him. Many miracles were ascribed to her following her death and she was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII. Her feast is celebrated on the 4th of July.
Image credit: By José Gil de Castro – http://www.puc.cl/faba/ARTE/OBRAS/GildeCastro20.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5047484