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Saint of the Day – St. Elizabeth of Portugal

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Feast Day: July 4
Patronage: Coimbra, Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Cathedral of La Laguna
Birth: 1271 Aljafería Palace, Zaragoza, Kingdom of Aragon
Death: 4 July 1336 Estremoz Castle in Estremoz, Alentejo, Kingdom of Portugal
Canonized: 25 May 1625, Rome by Pope Urban VIII

Life: Elizabeth of Aragon, also known as Elizabeth of Portugal, T.O.S.F. (1271 – 4 July 1336; Elisabet in Catalan, Isabel in Aragonese, Portuguese and Spanish), was queen consort of Portugal, a tertiary of the Franciscan Order and is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church.

Born in 1271 into the royal house of Aragon, Elizabeth was the daughter of Infante Peter (later King King Peter III) and his wife Constance of Sicily and the sister of three kings: Alfonso II and James II of Aragon and Frederick III of Sicily.

Elizabeth showed an early enthusiasm for her faith. She said the full Divine Office daily, fasted and did other penance, as well as attended twice-daily choral Masses. Religious fervor was common in her family, as she could count several members of her family who were already venerated as saints. The most notable example is her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, after whom she was named.

She was beatified in 1526 and canonized by Pope Urban VIII on 25 May 1625. Her feast was inserted in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 4 July. In the year 1694 Pope Innocent XII moved her feast to 8 July, so it would not conflict with the celebration of the Octave of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. In 1955, Pope Pius XII abolished this octave. The 1962 Roman Missal changed the rank of the feast from “Double” to “Third-Class Feast”. The 1969 revision of the Calendar classified the celebration as an optional memorial and restored it to 4 July. Her feast is also kept on the Franciscan Calendar of Saints. Since the establishment in 1819 of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Saint Elizabeth is the co-patron of the diocese and of its cathedral pursuant to the papal bull issued by Pope Pius VII. In the United States her memorial has been transferred to 5 July since 4 July is the date of the independence of that nation, a national holiday.

– Christi Simus Non Nostri

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