Thursday, May 16, 2013

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - St. Elizabeth of Thueringia - St. Elizabeth of May Term

As of today, we have visited all four of the three places where St. Elizabeth lived.  Yes, you read that right.

We've followed Elizabeth's life backwards.  Elizabeth stop #1 was Marburg, where St. E died and is buried.  Elizabeth stop #2 was Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle, where St. E lived most of her life and developed her reputation for charity work, feeding the hungry and building a hospital to tend to the sick.  Elizabeth stops #3 and #4 were Bratislava (yesterday) and Sarospatak (today), where St. E was born (depending on whether you believe the Slovaks or the Hungarians - so take your pick).

I love this statue of St. Elizabeth near the castle in Bratislava.  One of the best known legends associated with Elizabeth is "the miracle of the roses."  According to legend, Elizabeth was taking bread from the castle kitchen to distribute to the poor and, when confronted about what she had in her basket, she said, "Roses," and when she uncovered her basket, God had turned the bread into roses.  St. Elizabeth is often depicted with an armful or a basketful for roses.  What's so cool about this statue, though, is that you can see those miraculous roses in her arm and you can also see a small loaf of bread in her right hand as she offers it to the poor, hungry man lying at her feet.  Both/and!  I love the fact that the roses don't replace the real gift of bread.

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