EIGHTH CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF ST ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY AND OF THURINGIA - Special Stamp Issue

EIGHTH CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF ST ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY AND OF THURINGIA - Special Stamp Issue  

Born in 1207, Elizabeth was the daughter of Andrew, King of Hungary, and Gertrude, a noblewoman from Meran. Following a royal tradition at the time, she was betrothed at a very young age to Ludwig, the son and heir to the ruler of Thuringia. Elizabeth lived a short and intense life. At age 14 she married, at 15 she was a mother, and until age 20 she was a widow. Her husband Ludwig IV died in Otranto while waiting to depart with Frederick II on the crusade to the Holy Land. Elizabeth had three children, her first being Hermann, followed by two girls, Sophia and Gertrude, the latter born after her father’s death. When Elizabeth was widowed, she withdrew to Eisenach, then to the castle of Pottenstein, and finally to a modest home in Marburg, Germany. She had a hospital built in Marburg at her own expense, an effort which forced her into poverty. She later joined the Third Order of St. Francis and dedicated all her time to helping the poor, visiting the sick twice a day, living by alms and taking on the most humble duties. Her choice to live in poverty and to help the poor provoked the anger of her brother and sister in-laws who came to take away her children. She died in Marburg on 17 November 1231. Pope Gregory IX canonized her in 1235. The image depicted on the postage stamp is taken from a 13th century stained glass window in the gothic Basilica of Marburg, Germany.