Saint Elizabeth of Portugal (1271-1336)
for July 4
Saint Elizabeth, born in 1271, is usually pictured with a dove or an olive branch in her hand, both symbols of peace. Elizabeth was the daughter of the king of Aragon. As a young person, she learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. At only 12, she was married to the Denis, the king of Portugal. She was a devoted wife, attended daily Mass, and looked for any and every opportunity to serve and help strangers, immigrants, the poor, and the sick. Her virtue served her well during her adult years, when she became a peacemaker in her family and among the royal leaders of her day. She brought about peace between her son and her husband; between the king and his cousin who claimed the crown; and between her son, when he became the king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile. She was canonized in 1625.
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Saint Elizabeth sought always to create peace. She did not want feuds or wars. She wanted friendship and cooperation between individuals and nations. She reminds Christians that, regardless of their particular theological and political beliefs, it is their responsibility to love and seek friendship with all those with whom they disagree. Our primary goal, as Christians, is not to convert or overcome those with whom we disagree, but to simply love and accept them.
Think of the many harmonious and nourishing relationships in your life. Thank God for these relationships, since they are a reflection of his desires for us, and pray that others too will have such blessings in their lives.