St Elizabeth of Portugal

Amos 7.10-17; Psalm 18; Matthew 9.1-8

Born in 1271 into the Royal House of Aragon, Elizabeth was the daughter of King Peter III and sister of three kings: Alfonso II and James II of Aragon and Frederick III of Sicily.  She was also the great-niece of St Elizabeth of Hungary, for whom she was named.  She was educated piously; as a child she said the Daily Office and submitted herself to fasting and other penances.  A marriage to King Denis of Portugal was arranged when she was 10; they were married some seven years later.   He reputedly abused her and committed adultery against her, but her prayer and patience were said to have brought about his repentance.  He died, leaving her a widow, in 1325.  She retired to a monastery of the Poor Clares at Coimbra (which she had earlier played a part in founding) and joined the Third Order of St Francis, dedicating the remainder of her life to the care of the sick and to living in obscurity.  Accustomed to riding out into battlefields to settle disputes between kingdoms, on a peacekeeping mission on 4th July 1336 she died, probably as a result of her age and the oppressive summer heat.  She was beatified in 1516 and canonised in 1626.  

Posted in Daily Reflection.