Thursday, November 17, 2022

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

A powerful  woman of the poor gazes on passersby, perched as she is from one of the four stained glass windows embedded in the northern wall of St. Teresa of Avila church. She is Elizabeth of Hungary, a Saint so important to the German immigrants who founded this parish in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Armitage Ave, the urban pathway of shops, boutiques, storefronts, and, of course, Starbucks, is blessed to have Elizabeth beckoning those  walking by to be kind to the poor. Today, November 17th is her Feast day.

Elizabeth was a part of royalty in the time of St. Francis of Assisi and she fell in love with Francis and his witness to the poor. Many around her did not appreciate her deep desire to help the poor, accusing her of “stealing” bread from the castle to feed the poor. On one occasion, legend has it that as Elizabeth was on her way bringing bread to the poor, she met her rather belligerent husband. She was carrying many loaves of bread in the finds of her garment…. hidden; she knew he would be upset, embarrassed as he was by her associating with the poor. When he asked what she was carrying, she let go of the gathered apron and out flowed ROSES!

             Legends are meant to be believed because                  they speak the Truth.

Elizabeth is a sentinel on Armitage Ave, of and for the poor, watching and praying that some of her passion runs off on us. The image, in muted color, depicts her carrying bread in her garments, beckoning us to do the same: to carry within the folds of our heart, the nourishing love to ACT on that love,  and  not just pray. Empty stomachs beg to be fed, first by food, then by prayer.