Foundress of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth (1817-1872)
+ Maria Luise was born in Neisse, Prussia (now Nysa, Poland). She attended the local school for girls and took care of her mother as she was dying of tuberculosis.
+ Her experience of caring for her mother inspired Maria Luise to care for the poor, sick, and those who have been abandoned.
+ In 1842, she joined with other women in serving the poor and sick in their homes and they called this new movement the “Association of Sisters of the Abandoned Sick under the Protection of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.” On September 27 of that year, she and her companions took a vow before an image of the Sacred Heart to care for all who were in need.
+ After years of continuing discernment and formation, as well as mourning the deaths of two of the original “sisters,” Maria Luise officially established the Sisters of St. Elizabeth on November 19, 1850, although it would be nine more years before the congregation would receive approval from the diocesan bishop.
+ Blessed Maria Luise dedicated the remainder of her life to her community and their work of caring for the sick and poor. She died from typhus on November 14, 1872, and she was beatified in 2007.
For prayer and reflection
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:35
On this day we also remember Saint Nicolas Tavelic and three other Franciscan priests who were martyred near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem for the “crime” of preaching the Christian Faith on November 14, 1391. These martyrs were canonized in 1970.
O God, who have taught your Church to keep all the heavenly commandments by love of you as God and love of neighbor; grant that, practicing the works of charity after the example of blessed Maria Luise, we may be worthy to be numbered among the blessed in your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Those Who Practiced Works of Mercy)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.