Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - Getting Ready for Winter

"Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every individual, without exception, and to take positive steps to help a neighbor whom we encounter, whether that neighbor be an elderly person, abandoned by everyone, a foreign worker who suffers the injustice of being despised, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin of which the child is innocent, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: 'As long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me' (Matthew 25:40)" (Gaudium et Spes, The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #27).

In her short life, Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order.

The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children.

Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.

After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.

In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.

"O God, who enabled Saint Elizabeth of Hungary to recognize and honour Christ in the poor, grant us through her intercession to serve with unfailing charity the needy and afflicted. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ..."

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Despite the mild weather over the weekend, cooler air arrived yesterday under a bright sunny sky.

But already there are signs that preparations are being made for the arrival of snow and cold: the Rideau Canal, soon to be an elongated skating rink, is getting ready for the sale of beaver tales, skate rentals, etc. These cabins are across from the new Ottawa Convention Centre construction site:

Other signs are the stick poles on Ottawa's streets to guide snow plows and cars with snow tires and hub caps stashed away for the winter. My trusty black Toyota looked like a stealth police car, so the maintenance department secured a set of hub caps that fit the snow tires. We can't have the archbishop travelling under false pretenses....

Let it snow! We're ready in the Capital!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Bishop and Friend,

    It was wonderful for me to serve you over the weekend and I was very proud to have been asked to assist you.

    Since about the age of five and as an very young altar boy, I have been most comfortable in the midst of priests. I have befriended hundreds of priests throughout my travels around the world.
    Down through the years I can say they have been good men and an inspiration to my faith.

    Again, thank you for the opportunity of helping you. We want our Bishop to be around for many years and I welcome opportunities to lighten your load.

    Yours truly,
    Driver and Assistant to
    our Jesuit Bishop