Elizabeth was a Spanish princess and the daughter of Constantia and King Pedro III of Aragon. She was named after her great-aunt St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Elizabeth was beautiful and very lovable. She was well brought up and went to Mass every day.
When she was just twelve, she married King Denis of Portugal. So she became Queen Elizabeth of Portugal when she was not even a teenager. She was a charming wife and her husband was fond of her at first, but soon he began to cause her great suffering.
Though a good ruler, he did not have his wife's love of prayer and virtue. In fact, his sins of impurity were a disgrace and well-known throughout his kingdom.
St. Elizabeth tried to be a loving mother to her children, Prince Alphonso and Princess Constance. She was also generous and loving with the people of Portugal and spent time helping the sick and the poor.
Even though her husband was unfaithful, she prayed that God would change his heart. Elizabeth trusted God and refused to become bitter and angry. She strengthened her own prayer life and followed the Franciscan spirituality.
A little by little, the king was moved by her patience and good example. He began to live better. He apologized to his wife and showed her greater respect. In his last sickness the queen never left his side, except for Mass. King Denis died on January 6, 1325.
He was very sorry for his sins and his death was peaceful. This gentle woman was also a peacemaker between members of her own family and between nations. She rode out into the battlefield and was able to prevent war on two occasions.
After the king died Elizabeth gave her wealth to the poor and joined the lay Franciscan order. There she started the monastery of the Poor Clares, living a life of poverty, performing loving acts of charity and penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor.
St. Elizabeth of Portugal died on July 4, 1336 of a fever. After her death, many miracles took place at her tomb.
"If you love peace, all will be well."- St. Elizabeth