Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Aragon, was born in 1271, in Sarria, Spain. She is the patron saint of the peace, charity and brides and was known for her great piety, her devotion to the poor and the sick, and her strong moral character.
Elizabeth was the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Queen Constantia, and she was married at the young age of 12 to King Dinis of Portugal. Despite her arranged marriage, Elizabeth and Dinis developed a loving and mutually respectful relationship. Together they had two children. During her time as queen, Elizabeth used her position to advocate for peace, resolve disputes, and care for the less fortunate. She often gave away her own belongings to those in need and established hospitals and orphanages.
One interesting story about Elizabeth involves her resolving a dispute between her husband and son. When they were at odds over a political matter, Elizabeth intervened and convinced them to reconcile. This act of peacemaking is one of the reasons she is considered a patron saint of peace.
After her husband's death, Elizabeth retired to a convent where she continued to live a life of prayer and service to others. She died on July 4th, 1336, and was buried in the convent. She was a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, which meant that she followed a rule of life based on the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, but did not take formal religious vows.
It is believed that she was related to several other saints, including Saint Louis IX of France, Saint Ferdinand III of Castile, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She is also sometimes confused with Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who lived a century earlier and was also known for her devotion to the poor.
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1625, and her feast day is celebrated on July 4th.
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal is remembered as a devoted wife and mother, as well as one of the most charitable and pious women of her time. She was a great example of Christian virtue and self-sacrifice and is honored today for her service to the poor and her devotion to the Catholic faith.