St. Elizabeth honoured


Members of a health-care group is celebrating the life and miracles of the patron saint is is named after by performing charitable work.
Saturday was the international feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a 13th-century noblewoman and saint known for her charity toward the sick and poor.
To celebrate, St. Elizabeth Health Care in Thunder Bay will honour her legacy by performing charitable deeds. On Thursday, staff are collecting food at their office at 920 Tungsten St. to fill a hamper for local charities. The public is welcome to bring donations.
“Our vision is to honour human faith in health care, and talk and treat others with respect,” said Jennifer Berry, regional director for Saint Elizabeth Health Care.
“We want to emphasize the theme of giving, and St. Elizabeth was known for distributing food to the poor and caring for the sick. Staff at the Thunder Bay office are celebrating later because they (were) out in the community serving clients on the actual feast day.”
Berry said St. Elizabeth Health Care is a national agency that offers nursing and personal support services for people ranging from the elderly to those with disabilities in nursing homes or private homes.
The program Smooth Transition helps people recently discharged from hospitals readjust to their homes.
The organization was founded in 1908, and the Thunder Bay office opened in the 1990s, Berry said.
St. Elizabeth lived during the 13th century in the village of Eisenach, Hungary. Berry said she was famous for her charitable works, despite her family’s objections.
“She would go out to help those in need, even sneaking food out of Wartburg Castle where she lived, and try to help heal the sick,” she said.
Her most famous act is known as the Miracle of the Rose. Legend has it St. Elizabeth and a few serving women took food from the family’s dining table and hid it under their cloaks to smuggle it out of the castle to give to the poor. St. Elizabeth was confronted by her husband, Ludwig IV of Thuringia, who noticed the bulge under her cloak and asked to see what it was. Ludwig opened her cloak and the food had turned into a bouquet of roses. Some versions say this happened in the middle of winter.
After her husband died, Elizabeth joined the Third Order of Franciscans and built a hospital. She died on Nov. 17, 1231.
To this day, roses are used to symbolize St. Elizabeth to commemorate her miracle.
Berry said St. Elizabeth Health Care’s logo includes folded rose petals.