Elizabeth of Hungary

1207-1231. Ascetic. The daughter of King Andrew of Hungary, she was betrothed to Louis IV of Thuringia at the age of four and married him ten years later when he was twenty-one. During her husband's short lifetime she gained a reputation for prayer and charitable works; on one occasion in 1225 she gave away food and money despite her officials' protests. In 1227 Louis died of plague while on crusade, leaving her widowed with three children. Louis's body was brought home in 1228 and buried at Reinhardsbrunn. That same year she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. From then until her premature death she led a life of rigorous self- mortification and service to Marburg's poor and sick. Her spiritual adviser, and renowned Franciscan inquisitor Conrad of Marburg,* exercised some restraint over her enthusiasm, but in other ways his methods were very extreme. Germany's first Gothic cathedral, the Elizabethskirche, was built for her body by her brother-in-law Conrad, and it was translated there in 1236 with Emperor Frederick II in the audience. In 1539 the Protestant Philip of Hesse moved her body, and its subsequent fate is unknown.