A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet (St Elizabeth of Hungary TOSF, St Elisabeth of Thuringia, Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen) (1207-31). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, a religious and Abbess of Altenberg who had married at fourteen and been widowed at twenty. Following her husband’s death, as an early member of the new and primarily lay Third Order of St Francis Elizabeth made solemn vows similar to those of a nun, including celibacy and complete obedience to her confessor and spiritual director. Elizabeth built a hospital where she herself served the sick, becoming a symbol of Christian charity and even giving away to the poor the state robes and ornaments. Elizabeth is best-known for her miracle of the roses when she was secretly taking bread to the poor but was suspected of stealing treasure from the castle and under her cloak a vision of white and red roses could be seen, rather than the bread. She also laid a leper on the marital bed, but: “Almighty God opened the eyes of her husband’s soul and instead of a leper he saw the figure of Christ crucified stretched upon the bed.” Elizabeth died in Marburg, Landgraviate of Thuringia (present-day Hesse, Germany) on 17 November 1231. In the years after her death, healing miracles were reported at her grave. Venerated in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism. Major shrines St Elizabeth Church, Marburg, St Elisabeth Cathedral, Košice, Slovakia. Patron of hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lacemakers, widows, Roman Catholic Jaro Archdiocese, Teutonic Order, Third Order of Saint Francis and the city of Košice. Image: slideplayer.hu.
St Hilda of Whitby (Hild) (614-80). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Northumbrian Christian daughter of a nephew of Edwin, King of Deira. Hilda served as Abbess of Herterpol (Hartlepool) before founding and becoming Abbess of the 657 Streanæshalch (Whitby) Abbey, a double Gaulish-style Celtic monastery. She championed the Irish system for the dating of Easter but the 664 Synod of Whitby was summoned at Streanæshalch and King Oswiu of Northumbria ruled that his kingdom would calculate Easter and observe the monastic tonsure according to the customs of Rome rather than the customs practised by Irish monks at Iona and its satellite institutions. In her last year, Hilda set up another nunnery, fourteen miles from Whitby at Hackness, Scarborough. Having suffered from a fever for many years, Hilda died at Hackness on 17 November 680 and legend holds that at the moment of her death the bells there tolled, one of the nuns claiming to have witnessed Hilda’s soul being borne to heaven by angels. Monks resided at Hackness when the 1078 Benedictine Abbey was re-founded but there were only four left at Hackness at the 1538 dissolution and destruction of the Abbey. The 2004 St Athanasius’ Monastery in Scarborough is now the first Coptic monastery in Great Britain, the monks being self-sufficient as they grow their own vegetables, keep a range of animals and produce fresh cheese and honey. The monks lead lives of celibacy, contemplation and prayer, with strict fasting and a daily routine consisting of morning praises at 5 am, followed by a Holy Mass and Vespers in the evening, with the monks’ own holy bread for the daily Eucharist. St Hilda is venerated in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion. Alternative Feast Days 18, 19 November and in the Anglican Use of Rome 23 June. Image: youtube.com.
St Hugh of Lincoln (Hugh of Avalon ) (c1137-1200). Church of England and Episcopal Church (USA) Feast Day for Burgundian French nobleman, a Benedictine and Carthusian monk who was the Abbot of first Carthusian monastery in England. At the time of the Reformation, he was the best-known English saint after Thomas Becket. The fifteen-year-old Hugh had become a religious novice and he was ordained a deacon at nineteen, and at twenty-two a priest, being appointed Prior of the Benedictine Saint-Maximin monastery (Reichsabtei St Maximin) at Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Hugh left the Benedictine Order and at forty-two became Prior of the 1179 Witham Priory, six miles south of Frome, the earliest of the ten medieval Carthusian houses (Charterhouses) in England. Witham was established by Henry II as part of his penance for the 1170 murder of Thomas Becket and was dissolved in 1539. At forty-nine, Hugh was elected Bishop of Lincoln and was exemplary, constantly in residence or travelling within his diocese, generous with his charity and scrupulous in the appointments he made. He raised the quality of education at the cathedral school and was prominent in trying to protect the Jews, great numbers of whom lived in Lincoln, during the 1189 anti-Jewish pogroms at the beginning of Richard I’s reign. Hugh‘s constant companion at Lincoln was a wild swan and he loved all the animals in the monastery gardens. Hugh died in London on 16 November 1200. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion. Major shrines St Mary’s Cathedral, Lincoln, Parkminster Charterhouse, West Sussex. Feast Day 16 November in Catholic Church. Patron of sick children, sick people, shoemakers and swans. Image: salisburycatholics.org.
Prayer O holy God, You endowed Your servant and bishop Hugh of Lincoln with wise and cheerful boldness and taught him to commend the discipline of holy life to kings and princes. Grant that we also, rejoicing in the Good News of Your mercy and fearing nought but Your loss may speak boldly. Amen