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The Consolation of Christ Fraternity, Secular Franciscan Order

Franciscan Saints

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St.  Elizabeth of Hungary    

Representation: woman wearing a crown and tending to beggars; woman wearing a crown, carrying a load of roses in her apron or mantle

Married Prince Louis of Thuringa @ age 13. Built a hospital at the foot of the mountain on which her castle stood; tended to the sick herself. Her family and the people of the castle opposed this, but she insisted she could only follow Christ's teachings. Once when she was taking food to the poor and sick, Louis stopped her and looked under her mantle - but instead of food, he found only roses. Upon Louis' death, Elizabeth sold all that she had and worked to support her 4 children. Great-aunt of Saint of Portugal. Her gifts of bread to the poor, and of a large gift of grain to a famine stricken Germany, led to her patronage of bakers and related fields.       

On Good Friday, 1228, in the Franciscan house at Eisenach Elizabeth formally renounced the world; then going to Master Conrad at Marburg, she and her maids received from him the dress of the Third Order of St. Francis, thus being among the first tertiaries of Germany. Elizabeth's strength was consumed by her charitable labours, and she passed away at the age of twenty-four, a time when life to most human beings is just opening. 

Reading

Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castle should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband's empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband's four principalities, and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.

Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave good, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders, and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. Finally, when her husband died, she sought the highest perfection; filled with tears, she implored me to let her beg for alms from door to door.

On Good Friday of that year, when the altars had been stripped, she laid her hands on the altar in a chapel in her own town, where she had established the Friars Minor, and before witnesses she voluntarily renounced all worldly display and everything that our Savior in the gospel advises us to abandon. Even then she saw that she could still be distracted by the cares and worldly glory which had surrounded her while her husband was alive. Against my will she followed me to Marburg. Here in the town she built a hospice where she gathered together the weak and the feeble. There she attended the most wretched and contemptible at her own table.

Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman.

Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything that seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn-out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died.

from a letter by Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

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 Saint Louis IX, King of France (1251-1270)

Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Gal. 6:14

This personal confession of Paul applies to this Saint too.

Born on
April 25, 1215, Louis was the son of King Louis VIII. He was religiously brought up by his mother, Blanche of Castile. Since his father died when he was only eleven years old, Queen Blanche was his regent. She instilled in him a desire for holiness and a horror of sin. She would often say to him, "Louis my son, sin is the only great evil in the world. Though I love you very much, I would rather see you dead at my feet than see you commit one mortal sin!" The boy promised Our Lord that he would never commit a mortal sin.

Louis was educated also by the Friars Minor and became a Franciscan Tertiary. He never forgot the teachings of his mother nor did he fail throughout the whole of his life to pray the Divine Office daily, to fast and perform other acts of penance and self-denial, and to follow the Rule of life he had adopted as a Franciscan Tertiary. Even though he had so many affairs to look after, he attended two Masses and said the Divine Office every day. It is also
St. Louis who started the custom of genuflecting during the Creed when the priest said the words, “Et homo factus est”.

St. Louis gave a wonderful example when he received Holy Communion. He would walk toward the sanctuary with great humility, in deep thought, and then crawl on his knees to the altar. After saying the Confiteor with groans and tears, Louis would receive Holy Communion with great love and devotion.

One day, during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the palace chapel,
St. Louis was working in his study when suddenly one of his servants excitedly burst into the room exclaiming, "Your Majesty, a beautiful miracle is taking place in the chapel. The Infant Jesus is appearing in the Host upon the altar!" But St. Louis calmly continued his writing replying gently, "I could not believe more firmly in Christ's presence in the Eucharist if I were to see a miracle! Miracles are not needed for those who already believe!"

When he was nineteen, he married Margaret of Provence, who was only 12 years old. They had 10 or 11 children. Louis was a good husband and father, and loved Margaret, but insisted that they abstain from marital relations between Advent and Lent. He also tended to dress very plainly, which his wife didn't care for.

When he was 21 years old, he took over the rule of his kingdom from Queen Blanche. As a king,
St. Louis gave to all the example of a life overflowing with wisdom, charity and justice. It was with fear and trembling that he had taken up the role of monarch. He did not take his obligations lightly. He continually fought against abuses, not hesitating to punish nobles as well as those less powerful. He forbade lay investiture, simony, and usury, and punished lords who oppressed people. He listened to the poor and the needy. He had time for everybody, not only for rich and important people.

 

Louis should not, however, be portrayed as a stained-glass figure. Like all men he had faults. He was quick-tempered and sometimes violent, and had to struggle against his gluttony in order to be faithful to the Rule.

In 1239, Baldwin II, the emperor of
Constantinople, sent him as a gift the Crown of Thorns of Jesus found in Jerusalem. Louis fervently received the precious gift and built in Paris the beautiful Sainte Chapelle to enshrine the relic.

In December of the year 1244, Louis became ill, and it was thought that he would die. After a suddenrecovery, Louis vowed he would lead a crusade to the
Holy Land. King Louis lived in the days of the crusades; and for him there was no nobler quest than to wrest from the hands of unbelievers the Holy Land sanctified by Jesus' death.

Preparations for the Crusade required three years. After entrusting the regency to his mother, Louis embarked from Aigues-Mortes on
August 25, 1248. He took his wife and children with him, since he preferred not to leave the mother and daughter-in-law alone together. His fleet comprised about 100 ships carrying 35,000 men. Louis' destination was Egypt, whose sultan had captured Palestine. The city of Damietta on the Nile was easily captured, and Louis made a solemn entry into the city. He came, not with pomp, but with the humility of a truly Christian prince, walking barefoot, in religious procession.

But the crusade turned into a fiasco. Louis' army advanced across the river to attack the Saracens. Six months of fighting followed, in which the French army was captured and Louis was imprisoned. Captive in chains, Louis showed himself ever the same, the first, the best, and the bravest of Christian knights. He was offered his liberty on terms lawful in themselves, but enforced by an oath which implied a blasphemy, and though the infidels held their swords’ points at his throat, and threatened a massacre of the Christians, Louis inflexibly refused. After much mistreatment, and even torture, Louis obtained the release of the army by paying a huge ransom. Louis remained in Palestin, visiting the Holy Places. In four years he was to transform a military defeat into a diplomatic success, conclude alliances, and fortify the Christian cities of
Syria, until 1254 when news arrived of the death of his beloved mother, the queen regent.

Returning to
Paris, Louis ruled with justice and wisdom. He was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis, caring even for people with leprosy.

St. Louis fully intended to undertake another crusade. Baybars, the Sultan of Egypt, had conquered Galilee, Haifa and Cesarea. Most of his conquests were followed by massacre of the native Christians.

On
July 1, 1270, Louis sailed to Tunis with his three sons. While awaiting the arrival of his brother, the king of Sicily, typhus struck the French army and one of Louis' sons died. On the same day Louis and his eldest son, Philip, were stricken with the disease.

On Sunday, August 24, the king received the last sacraments and prayed, "Lord, I will enter into your house, worship in your holy temple, and give glory to your name." He asked to be laid on a bed of ashes.

He died the following afternoon, uttering with his last breath the words of our Lord on the cross: "Into Your hands I commend my spirit." He had really been "In the world, but not of it, for Christ".

The crusade dissolved, and Louis's body was brought back to
France. All along the way, through Italy and France, crowds gathered and knelt as the procession passed. It reached Paris on the eve of Pentecost in 1271. The funeral rites were solemnly performed at Notre-Dame de Paris, and the coffin went to rest in the abbey of Saint-Denis, the tomb of the kings of France.

As we struggle with failure in our lives, let us remember King Louis. We have to understand the whole plan of God, His modus operandi -- how He operates -- and we have to put things together.
Saint Louis failed the Crusades, but won a heavenly crown by his life of detachment, justice and charity.

January

3
Holy Name of Jesus (Memorial)
5
Bl. Diego José of Cádiz, priest (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
7
Bl. Angela of Foligno, religious, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)
12
Bernard of Corleone, religious, 1st Order (Optional Memorial) (For Capuchins: Memorial)
14
Bl. Odoric of Pordenone, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
16
Berard, priest, and companions, Protomartyrs of the Order, 1st Order (Memorial)
30
Hyacinith of Mariscotti, virgin, 3rd Order (for the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)

February

4
Joseph of Leonissa, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial) (For Capuchins: Memorial)
6
Peter Baptist, Paul Miki and companions, martyrs, 1st & 3rd Orders (Memorial)
7
Colette of Corbie, virgin, 2nd Order (Optional Memorial) (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Memorial) (For the Colettines: Feast)
10
Conrad of Piacenza, hermit, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)

March

2
Agnes of Prague, virgin, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
4
Bl. Didacus Joseph of Gadiz, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)

April

3
Benedict the Black, religious, 1st Order (Memorial)
21
Conrad of Parzham, religious, 1st Order (Memorial)
23
Bl. Giles of Assisi, religious, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
24
Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest & protomartyr of the "Propaganda Fide", 1st Order (Feast)
28
Bl. Luchesius, 3rd Order (For Capuchins & the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)

May

8
Bl. Jeremiah of Valacchia, religious (Optional Memorial)
9
Catherine of Bologna, virgin, 2nd Order (Optional Memorial) (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Memorial)
11
Ignacius of Làconi, religious, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
12
Leopold Mandic of Herzegovina, priest (Optional Memorial)
16
Margaret of Cortona, 3rd Order (Memorial)
17
Pascal Baylon, religious, 1st Order (Memorial)
18
Felix of Cantalice, religious, 1st Order (Feast)
19
Crispin of Viterbo, religious (Optional Memorial)
20
Bernardine of Sienna, priest, 1st Order (Feast)
24
Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Feast)
28
Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes, virgin, 3rd Order (Optional Memorial)
30
Bl. Baptista Varano, virgin, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)

June

2
Bl. Felix of Nicosia, religious (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
8
Bl. Nicholas of Gèsturi, religious (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
12
Bl. Jolenta, religious, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
Bl. Florida Cevoli, virgin (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
13
Anthony of Padua, priest & doctor, 1st Order (Feast)
16
Bls. Anizet Koplin, priest, and companions, martyrs of the Nazi persecution in Poland (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
30
Bl. Raymond Lull, martyr, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)

July

1
Bl. Junipero Serra, priest, 1st Order. (Optional Memorial)
8
Gregory Grassi, bishop, Augustin Zhao Rong and companions, martyrs, 1st & 3rd Orders (Optional Memorial)
9
Nicholas Pick, priest, and companions, martyrs, 1st Order (Memorial)
10
Veronica Giuliani, virgin, 2nd Order (Memorial) (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Feast)
12
John Jones & John Wall, priests & martyrs, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
13
Bl. Angeline of Marsciano, religious, 3rd Order (Optional Memorial) (For 3rd Order nuns: Memorial)
14
Francisco Solano, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
15
Bonaventure, bishop & doctor, 1st Order (Feast)
21
Lawrence of Brindisi, priest & doctor, 1st Order (Feast)
23
Cunegunda, religious, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
24
Bl. Louise of Savoy, religious, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
27
Bl. Mary Magdalene of Martinengo, virgin, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
28
Bl. Mary Teresa Kowalska, martyr of Nazi persecution in Poland (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)

August

2
Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula (Feast)
7
Bls. Agathangelus & Cassian, priests & martyrs, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
8
Holy Father Dominic, priest & founder of the Order of Preachers (Feast)
11
Clare of Assisi, virgin, 2nd Order (Feast) (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Solemnity)
14
Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest & martyr, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
18
Bls. John Louis Loir, Protase Bourdon, Sabastian François, priests, martyrs of Rochefort (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
19
Louis of Toulouse, bishop, 1st Order (Memorial)
23
Bl. Bernard of Offida, religious (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
25
Louis IX, king & patron of the 3rd Order (Memorial)

September

1
Beatrice of Silva, virgin, 2nd Order (Optional Memorial) (For the Conceptionists: Feast)
2
Bls. John Francis Burté, Severin Girault & companions, martyrs, 1st & 3rd Orders (Optional Memorial)
Bl. Apollinaris of Posat, priest & martyr (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
4
Rose of Viterbo, virgin, 3rd Order (For 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)
17
Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis (Feast)
18
Joseph of Cupertino, priest, 1st Order (Feast)
19
Francis Mary of Camporosso, religious, 1st Order (Memorial)
22
Ignatius of Santhià, priest (For Capuchins: Memorial)
23
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, priest, 1st Order (Memorial)
24
Finding of the body of St. Clare (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
26
Elzear of Sabran & Bl. Delphina, husband & wife, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)
Bls. Aurelio of Vinalesa, priest, & companions, martyrs of Valencia (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
28
Bl. Innocent of Berzo, priest (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)

October

3
Transitus of Our Holy Father Francis of Assisi
4
Our Holy Father Francis of Asisi, deacon & founder of the three Orders (Solemnity)
6
Mary Francis of the Five Wounds, virgin, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)
10
Daniel, priest, & companions, martyrs, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
12
Seraphin of Montegranaro, religious, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
13
Bl. Honrat Kozminski of Biala, priest (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
20
Bl. James of Strepar, bishop, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
Bl. Contardo Ferrini, 3rd Order (For 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)
21
Bl. Josephine Leroux, virgin & martyr, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
22
Peter of Alcantara, priest, 1st Order (Memorial)
23
John of Capistrano, priest, 1st Order (Memorial)
26
Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
30
Anniversary of Dedication in Consecrated Churches of the Order (Solemnity)
31
Bl. Angelo of Acri, priest (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)

November

7
Didacus of Alcala, religious, 1st Order (Optional Memorial)
14
Nicholas Tavelic, priest, & companions, martyrs, 1st Order (Memorial)
17
Elizabeth of Hungary, Patroness of the 3rd Order (Feast)
18
Bl. Salome, virgin, 2nd Order (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Optional Memorial)
19
Agnes of Assisi, virgin, 2nd Order (Optional Memorial) (For 2nd & 3rd Order nuns: Memorial)
24
Commemoration of all the Deceased of the Seraphic Order (Memorial)
26
Leonard of Port Maurice, priest, 1st Order (Memorial)
27
Francis Anthony Fasani, priest, 1st Order (Optional Memorial) (For Capuchins: Memorial)
28
James of the March, priest, 1st Order (Memorial)
29
All Saints of the Seraphic Order (Feast)

December

2
Bl. Mary Angela Astorch, virgin (For Capuchins: Optional Memorial)
12
Finding of the body of Our Holy Father Francis (Optional Memorial)
15
Bl. Mary Frances Schervier, virgin, 3rd Order (For the 3rd Order: Optional Memorial)

The Consolation of Christ Fraternity, Secular Franciscan Order

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