Noble Behavior in Holy Week

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The following is an account of the Holy Week piety of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Try this on for size, ladies:

Nothing can express the fervor, love, and pious veneration, with which she celebrated those holy days, on which the Church, by ceremonies so touching, and so expressive, recalls to the mind of the faithful, the sorrowful and unspeakable mystery your redemption. On Holy Thursday, imitating the King of Kings, who, on this day, rising from table, laid aside his garments, the daughter of the king of Hungary, putting off whatever could remind her of worldly pomps, dressed herself in poor clothes, and, with only sandals on her feet, went to visit different churches. On this day, she washed the feet of twelve poor men, sometimes lepers, and gave to each twelve pieces, a white dress, and a loaf.

All the next night she passed in prayer and meditation upon our Lord’s passion. In the morning, it being the day on which the divine sacrifice was accomplished, she said to her attendants, “This day is a day humiliation for all: I desire that none of you do show me any mark of respect.” Then she would put on the same dress as before, and go barefoot to the churches, taking with her certain little packets of linen, incense, and small tapers; and, kneeling before one altar, would place thereon of these, and, prostrating herself would pray awhile most devoutly, and so pass to another altar, till she had visited all. At the door of the church she gave large alms, but was pushed about by the crowd, who did not know her. Some courtiers reproached her for the meanness of her gifts as unworthy of a sovereign. But though, at other times, her alms-deeds were most abundant, so that few ever were more splendidly liberal to the poor, yet a certain divine instinct in her heart taught her, how, in such days, she should not play the queen, but the poor sinner, for whom Christ died.

3 thoughts on “Noble Behavior in Holy Week

  1. I started to read about Saint Elizabeth a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t had a chance to finish the book. From what I’ve read so far, she was an amazing woman. Its wonderful to be able to read about these woman and to learn by their examples. Thank you Father!

  2. Thank you so much father for the account of st Elizabeth’s life. I’ve seen pictures and statues of her growing up and heard little of her. This information you have provided has given me greater respect for this great sister of ours, and inspires me to practice lent with greater fervor. May Mary the Spotless One and St Michael walk with you always.

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