Wednesday, November 17, 2010
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
St. Elizabeth is one of those saints who found herself the victim of a certain amount of abuse or mistreatment at the hands of over-zealous and insensitive churchmen. Her confessor, the Franciscan Konrad of Marburg was especially severe and brutal in his spiritual direction of the young saint, who died at the tender age of 24 in 1231.
"Following her husband's death, Elisabeth made solemn vows to Konrad similar to those of a nun. These vows included celibacy, as well as complete obedience to Konrad as her confessor and spiritual adviser. Konrad's treatment of Elisabeth was extremely harsh, and he held her to standards of behavior which were almost impossible to meet. Among the punishments he is alleged to have ordered were physical beatings; he also ordered her to send away her three children. Her pledge to celibacy proved a hindrance to her family's political ambitions. In fact, Elisabeth was more or less held hostage at Pottenstein, Bavaria, the castle of her uncle, Bishop Ekbert of Bamberg, in an effort to force her to remarry. Elisabeth, however, held fast to her vow, even threatening to cut off her own nose so that no man would find her attractive enough to marry." - Source
Alas, "If indeed there had been anything better and more beneficial to man's salvation than suffering, Christ certainly would have shown it by word and example." - Imitation, Bk II: Chp. 12, 15
Art: Calderon Philip Hermogenes: St Elizabeth of Hungary's Great Act of Renunciation. Such an odd painting - the severe looking friar in the scene has to be Konrad. Creepy.