St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Once upon a time there was a princess. It was the 13th century, so she was only 14 when she did what you would expect a princess to do, and she married a prince.
The two were happily married and had three children. Even before she was married this princess showed a concern for the poor. After she was widowed at the age of 20 she went all in on helping the less fortunate. She took her dowry and established a hospital, and then she personally tended to the patients in the hospital. She also came into contact with the newly forming Franciscan community, receiving spiritual guidance from them. She became one of the first of Third Order Franciscans.
The princess was Elizabeth of Hungary, born in 1207. She married the Landgrave (Prince) of Thuringia, Ludwig VI . She is especially important to us here at St. Luke’s and in the Diocese of Maine because she is the Elizabeth of St. Elizabeth’s Jubilee Center (Essentials Pantry), which runs out of our lower parish hall every single Tuesday morning.
The term “Jubilee” comes from Leviticus, where there was a complete forgiveness of debt every 50 years–known as the great year of social justice. In St. Elizabeth’s Jubilee Center there is no charge for anything, and it is a non-barrier pantry—meaning that no one has to prove how poor they are to be able to be served there. The essentials that are available are soap, shampoo, diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, pots and pans and dishes. There is no food at this pantry, just the other items that are essential to living. They also help people apply for jobs, direct people to social service agencies in the area for other needs, and offer donated winter jackets and boots during our cold
Here is the Collect for the Feast day of Elizabeth:
Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Reprinted with the permission of
The Reverend Eleanor Prior, Canon Pastor
The Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland, Maine