Elizabeth of Portugal (1271-1336)
Feast Day: July 4
Canonized: May 25, 1625
From a young age, Elizabeth displayed a willingness for self-discipline and a strong enthusiasm for the Catholic faith. She recited the Divine Office, fasted, did works of penance and attended daily Mass. In 1288, she married King Denis of Portugal when she was 17 and he was 26. Her religious example, including her devotion to the poor and sick, helped to convert her husband from his sinful ways and together they had two children.
When Denis died in 1325, Elizabeth retired to a monastery run by the Poor Clare nuns in Coimbra. She joined the Third Order of St. Francis and became a benefactor of various hospitals and religious projects in Portugal. She helped alleviate hunger during a famine in 1293 by donating flour from her cellars. She also helped reconcile warring monarchs shortly before she died from a fever on July 4, 1336.
Elizabeth earned the title of “peacemaker.” Miracles were said to have followed quickly after her death. Several members of her family are venerated as saints, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, after whom Elizabeth of Portugal was named. She is buried in a sarcophagus of silver and crystal in the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova in Coimbra.