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Blessed Elizabeth of Reute

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Member of the Third Order of St. Francis, born 25 November, 1386, at Waldsee in Swabia, of John and Anne Acheer; died 25 November, 1420. From her earliest days "the good Betha", as she was called, showed a rare piety, and under the learned and devout Conrad Kugelin, her confessor, provost of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine at St. Peter's in Waldsee, she made extraordinary progress towards perfection. When fourteen she received the habit of the third order, but continued to live at home. Finding the life uncongenial, she secured the consent of her parents after long entreaties to leave home. Receiving no support from them she remained at the house of a pious tertiary, and the two worked at weaving; but the remuneration was small and they frequently suffered from hunger and other privations. After three years Conrad Kugelin established a house for tertiaries at Reute on the outskirts of Waldsee and Elizabeth entered it together with some others.

Here she took up her work in the kitchen, and now began her wonderful life of seclusion, fasting, and prayer. There was no clausura at the convent, still she led so retired a life that she was called "the Recluse." She spent many hours in a little garden, kneeling on a stone or prostrate on the ground in contemplation. So pure was her life that her confessor could scarcely find matter for absolution. She had much to suffer from attacks of the evil spirit, from suspicions of her sisters in religion, from leprosy, and other sicknesses, but in all her trials she showed a heavenly patience. This she learned from the Passion of Christ , which she made the continual subject of meditation, the object of her love, and the rule of her life. In consequence God permitted her to bear the marks of the Passion on her body; her head often showed the marks of the Thorns, and her body those of the Scourging. The stigmata appeared only now and then, but her pains never ceased. She was shown the happiness of the blessed and the souls in the state of purgation ; the secrets of hearts and of the future were unveiled to her. She foretold the election of Martin V and the end of the Western Schism. Though so much favoured by Divine Providence she always preserved a great humility. After her death she was buried in the church of Reute. Her life was written by her confessor and sent to the Bishop of Constance, but it was only after 1623, when her tomb was opened by the provost of Waldsee, that her popular veneration spread in Swabia. After several miracles had been wrought through her intercession the Holy See was asked to ratify her cult. This was done 19 June, 1766, by Clement XIII. The Franciscans celebrate her feast on 25 November.


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