Ordinary Time: July 8th
Princess Elizabeth was born in 1271 at Aragon, Spain. She was the
daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Constantia,
great-granddaughter of Emperor Frederick II. When she was twelve,
she was given in marriage to Dennis, King of Portugal, and thus
became Queen of Portugal before she was a teenager. Even though her
husband was unfaithful, she prayed that he would have a change of
heart. Elizabeth became a saintly wife. She heard Mass and recited
the Divine Office daily, but her devotions were arranged with such
prudence that they interfered with none of her duties of state.
Elizabeth gave her King two children, a daughter, Constance, and a
son Afonso (later Afonso IV of Portugal).
Like her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, for whom she was
named, Saint Elizabeth of Portugal dedicated her life to the poor.
Her charitable works were outstanding. She founded institutions for
the sick, for travelers, for wayward women, for abandoned infants.
She established a convent for nuns and provided dowries for poor
brides. This gentle woman was also a peacemaker between members of
her own family and between nations. Elizabeth managed to end a long
standing feud between her husband and her son, and managed to bring
about a change in her husband's disposition before his death in
Her husband Dennis died in 1325. Elizabeth then retired to a convent
of Poor Clares, which she had founded at Coimbra. She took the
Franciscan Tertiary habit, wishing to devote the rest of her life to
the poor and sick in obscurity.
Elizabeth lived eleven more years and died on July 4, 1336. She died
at the age of sixty-five, while in the act of making peace between
her children. She was buried at Coimbra, Portugal, and after her
death, many miracles took place at her tomb.
Saint Elizabeth was canonized: May 25, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII.