Benedictine Nun and Mystic: 1126-1164/5
+ Elizabeth entered the Benedictine abbey at Schönau, Bonn, Germany, when she was 12 years old.
+ Shortly after making her religious vows, she began experiencing mystical visions and ecstasies and she was said to have the gift of prophecy. The account of her visions provide rich insights into religious life in the 12th century.
+ Her writings contributed to the spread of devotion to the virgin and martyr Saint Ursula and her visions of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin led many German dioceses to create an alternate date for the feast which they celebrated on September 23.
+ An honored magistra and spiritual teacher for her religious sisters, Elizabeth died in 1164 or 1165. Although never formally beatified or canonized, she is honored with the title “Saint” in the Roman Martyrology.
Devotion to Saint Ursula was quite popular among religious women in the late Middle Ages, particularly in Germany. A contemporary of Saint Elizabeth of Schönau was Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who was also greatly devoted to Saint Ursula and her Companions and Saint Hildegard composed a Mass in their honor.
“Do not delay in serving your God. Walk in the way of His contemplation, like beloved daughters, with every humility and love and obedience, without murmuring, without detraction, without envy and similar things, but like young lambs pleasing to the living God.”—from a letter of Saint Elizabeth of Schönau to the nuns at Andernach
O God, who called your handmaid blessed Elizabeth to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. 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 a Nun)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.