Saint Elizabeth of Schönau was a German Benedictine nun and visionary who lived in the 12th century. She is known for her mystical experiences, writings, and her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her feast day is celebrated on November 19th.
Elizabeth was born in 1129 in a small village near the Rhine River, in what is now Germany. She was the daughter of a noble family and was raised in a religious household. At a young age, she felt a strong calling to the religious life and eventually entered the Benedictine convent of Schönau, located near the city of Bonn.
During her time at the convent, Elizabeth began to experience mystical visions and revelations. She claimed to receive messages from God, the Virgin Mary, and various saints. She recorded these experiences in a series of letters and writings, which were compiled into a book titled "The Book of Divine Works".
Elizabeth's mystical experiences made her a revered figure among her fellow nuns and the local community. Her writings were read widely and attracted the attention of church officials. However, her visions were also controversial, and some accused her of being possessed by demons. Despite these criticisms, Elizabeth continued to write and pray fervently. She remained in the convent until her death in 1164 at the age of 35.
In 1584, Saint Elizabeth was beatified by Pope Gregory XIII, and in 1740, she was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV. She is the patron saint of Schönau, Germany, and is also venerated as a protector against fever and sickness.
Saint Elizabeth was one of several female mystics who lived in the Rhineland during the 12th century. Others included Saint Hildegard of Bingen and Saint Mechthild of Magdeburg. These women were all known for their profound spiritual experiences and their contributions to the religious and cultural life of their time.
Saint Elizabeth's life and writings continue to inspire many people today, particularly those who seek a deeper spiritual connection with God. Her devotion to the Virgin Mary and her commitment to the religious life serve as a powerful example of faith and dedication.