Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Meet the Woman Who Inspired Ludovico of Casoria, the Church's Newest Saint for the Poor

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

November 18, 2014 - 3:41 PST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY

New York, NY (November 18, 2014) Ludovico da Casoria, a 19th-century Franciscan friar, founded dozens of institutions for the poor: for black children redeemed from slavery, orphans, the deaf, the blind and the elderly. This "St. Francis of the nineteenth century," who Pope Francis will raise to sainthood on November 23, was inspired in one of his greatest efforts by a woman who lived 600 years before him. When he decided to found a women's congregation to care for orphaned children, he named it after St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Born in 1207, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary, and wife of a German prince, Ludwig, Landgraf of Thuringia, St. Elizabeth, inspired by Francis of Asissi and his followers, was renowned for her charity to the poor. After her husband's death, she cared for needy sick people in a hospital she founded in Marburg, along with some companions, who along with her became the first Franciscan sisters of the active life.

Lori Pieper, OFS, a medieval historian and a secular Franciscan, has detailed Elizabeth's work for the poor and its significance in her biography, "The Greatest of These is Love: The Life of St Elizabeth of Hungary," just released in a new, revised print edition from Tau Cross Books and Media.

Dr. Pieper, who also wrote and directed the documentary "A Woman for Our Time: St. Elizabeth of Hungary" (Tau Cross Books and Media 2011), notes that the future saint was a young wife and mother of barely eighteen when she met the first Franciscans who came to Germany, and helped them establish a friary in Eisenach, on her husband's domains. She was inspired by them in her love for the poor, whom she began to visit in their homes with food, clothing and other aid. Later she built a hospital at the foot of her home, Wartburg castle, and nursed the poor with her own hands, including children with the most disfiguring diseases.

The book and film describe how Elizabeth was deeply struck by the friars' love of poverty, and told her ladies-in-waiting that she too wanted to live in rags begging like them someday. Of course, they thought she was joking. But later, her fortunes turned; her husband died of a fever on his way to take part in the Crusades, and his brother, who now ruled Thuringia in his place, didn't look as kindly on her work for the marginalized as her husband had. Nor did those of her husband's vassals whose exorbitant taxes levied on the peasants she had criticized; they soon expelled her and her children from her lands.

Elizabeth never looked back. She chose to give herself entirely to God and to the needy. After she was able to make sure her children would be cared for, she established a hospital in Marburg, where she and her ladies-in-waiting cared for the sick in old patched habits like St. Francis. They lived on exactly the same footing as the other sisters of peasant birth.

Both the book and the documentary give up-to-now unknown details about Elizabeth's novel religious foundation, her relationship with the Franciscans, and her difficulties in religious life as a "sister in the world," at a time when women like her were looked on with suspicion by many because they didn't stay behind convent walls. Many of the startling new details come from new research and previously overlooked sources.

Dr. Pieper says: "Elizabeth and her companions were among the first of the Third Order Sisters anywhere. Up until that time, women religious had to live in the cloister. St. Clare, Francis' first female follower, was also cloistered. My research reveals that as an experiment, Pope Gregory IX allowed St. Elizabeth and her companions to live outside the cloister, so they were free to engage in charitable work in the world. They were the foundation for all the hospital sisters, Sisters of Charity and orders like Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in later centuries. In the Middle Ages, a number of groups of women who cared for the poor adopted her name along with the Franciscan habit. Elizabeth was a natural patron for Fr. Ludovico Casoria to turn when he founded the Suore Elisabettiane Bigie (Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth)."

In 1862, Fr. Casoria was engaged in rescuing African children from slavery, and founding homes in which to educate them. He was also gathering in the "attacconcelli," or orphaned street children of Naples and Casoria, who made their living by begging, and founding group homes for them to live in. To help in his work, he had already formed a men's religious congregation, known as the Grey Brothers. To undertake the care and education of the girls, he founded the Gray Sisters in 1864, giving them the name of St. Elizabeth, whom he tenderly called "the Seraphic Mother," just as St. Francis is known as the Seraphic Father.

The sisters are still active today and have houses and institutions in the United States, Ethiopia, India, Panama and the Philippines.

Elizabeth died in 1231, at the age of just 24, and already renowned as a saint. She was canonized in 1235. On Sunday, November 24, 2014, Fr. Ludovico da Casoria will join her in the ranks of those the Church most honors for their holiness. Both will continue to inspire their successors in the work of charity.

"The Greatest of These is Love" is available in both print and e-book format on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Both the biography and the documentary on St. Elizabeth are available from https://taucrossbooks.com. Dr. Pieper is happy to give interviews. To contact her or to request review copies, send an e-mail to editor@taucrossbooks.com.

About the Author

Lori Pieper received her BA in the Humanities and MA in History from the University of Northern Iowa and her PhD in Medieval History from Fordham University, where she specialized in hagiography, Italian medieval history and women's religious history. Her other historical books include "St. Elizabeth of Hungary: The Voice of a Medieval Woman and Franciscan Penitent in the Sources for her Life" (2007). She has had articles published in many periodicals, including Our Sunday Visitor, The Catholic Digest and L'Osservatore Romano. She has also worked for some years as a professional translator. Since 1990, she has contributed translations of Pope John Paul I's writings to the journal Humilitas; some of these have appeared in "The Smiling Pope: The Life and Teaching of Pope John Paul I" (Our Sunday Visitor, 2004) and "A Passionate Adventure: Living the Catholic Faith Today" (Tau Cross Books and Media 2014). A member of the Secular Franciscan Order, she lives and works in the Bronx, New York.

What others have said about "The Greatest of these is Love":

"It's been many years since a scholarly work on St. Elizabeth has been published. The book is easy to read and presents this 800-year-old saint as a dynamic woman who is an example to wives, mothers, teens and all people of prayer and service to the poor. Dr. Pieper combines cutting-edge research, new material never before released with a style of writing that anyone can understand and absorb. I can't recommend the book highly enough." -- Fr. Frank Schneider, St. Elizabeth's Church, Melville, NY.

Contact

Tau Cross Books and Media
http://taucrossbooks.com
NY, 10468 US
Lori Pieper - Editor,

Keywords

saints, poor, poverty, charity, Elizabeth of Hungary, Ludovico da Casoria, Franiscans

Category

Saints

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 7,181

When Pope Francis Arrives in North America, There is Only One Network to Watch: EWTN Global Catholic
EWTN Global Catholic Network
September 16, 2015 - 5:17 PDT

GHIRELLI'S WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES ROSARIES NOW AVAILABLE
The Word Out | Marketing For Catholics
September 11, 2015 - 11:44 PDT

The Synod on the Family: Addressing the Instrumentum Laboris
Franciscan University of Steubenville
September 11, 2015 - 10:26 PDT

OCP Artist, Pedro Rubalcava, Writes Song for Pope Francis' Visit
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
September 10, 2015 - 2:50 PDT

Pre-Synod Conference unites Cardinals and men and women living with homosexual tendencies
September 09, 2015 - 2:58 PDT

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod
September 02, 2015 - 3:44 PDT

17 Cardinals and Counting
August 31, 2015 - 3:38 PDT

19th Annual Carnival Announced for St. Ann's Parish
August 28, 2015 - 9:20 PDT

The John Paul II International Film Festival Marks Its Five-Year Anniversary
August 27, 2015 - 6:09 PDT

OCP Pledges to Support the V Encuentro
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
August 27, 2015 - 2:51 PDT

Thu, Sept 24, 2015- Mass & Healing Service with Fr. Angelos Sebastian Our Lady of Grace Catholic Chu
August 26, 2015 - 4:03 PDT

Grief, Death, Eternal Life Explored in New Catholic Title by PBM
Pauline Books & Media
August 25, 2015 - 3:55 PDT

How do we live the truth in love when the culture says we're haters?
August 25, 2015 - 9:52 PDT

Right Next to Disneyland: Theater Meets Faith
Saint Luke Productions
August 19, 2015 - 1:29 PDT

OCP Parish Grant Program to Distribute $200,000 to U.S. Parishes
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
August 18, 2015 - 1:23 PDT

Franciscan University Joins With UK School to Offer Online Master of Catechetics Degree
Franciscan University of Steubenville
August 05, 2015 - 2:20 PDT

CONOR GALLAGHER NAMED PUBLISHER OF TAN BOOKS AND SAINT BENEDICT PRESS
Saint Benedict Press & TAN Books
July 20, 2015 - 12:49 PDT

Thérčse Drama Surprises Audiences
Saint Luke Productions
July 16, 2015 - 12:35 PDT

Catholic Press Association Honors Liguori
Liguori Publications
July 10, 2015 - 8:29 PDT

Crosier Order elects master general and councilors
June 26, 2015 - 2:06 PDT

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

World Library Publications Honored With Three Paul Revere Awards
World Library Publications
June 23, 2015 - 4:11 PDT

Indie Catholic Authors June Ebook Sale Offers the Faithful 17 Books Outside the Mainstream
Four Waters press
June 23, 2015 - 12:10 PDT

Limitless Love in Action: First Steubenville Youth Conference Inspires Teens to Bring the Fire Home
Franciscan University of Steubenville
June 18, 2015 - 2:03 PDT

Franciscan University of Steubenville Athletic Director Enshrined in Sports Faith Hall of Fame
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 29, 2015 - 1:53 PDT

AWARD-WINNING CATHOLIC AUTHORS TEAM-UP TO PROMOTE HEALING THROUGH FORGIVENESS
Pauline Books & Media
May 27, 2015 - 12:32 PDT

NY CONCERT FOR NEPAL 5/31
May 27, 2015 - 1:22 PDT

Who's responsible for designing the designer?
May 19, 2015 - 11:12 PDT

Thu, Jun 11, 2015- Mass & Healing Service with Fr. Bill Adams at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
May 13, 2015 - 4:21 PDT

Your search for true happiness is over
May 05, 2015 - 1:22 PDT

ValLimar Jansen's latest album "a soulful experience"
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
April 30, 2015 - 1:33 PDT

Uncovering the roots (and branches) of the greatest revolution in the American Catholic Church
April 28, 2015 - 9:45 PDT

NYC May 8, 2015 Spring Fling Catholic Singles Mingle Fundraiser
The Catholic Fellowship
April 18, 2015 - 9:07 PDT

Thank A Nun Day
Image Books/Random House
April 15, 2015 - 12:32 PDT

#TweetingwGod dares young people to believe
April 14, 2015 - 9:54 PDT

Experience Beloved: Finding happiness in marriage
April 13, 2015 - 1:27 PDT

Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Edward Sri and other experts to participate in 'Beloved' telepress conference
April 07, 2015 - 4:51 PDT

Nobis Media, Marketing & Web Development Company
April 01, 2015 - 5:49 PDT

Catholic toymaker puts Faith in hands and mouths of babies: Pope Francis doll added to line of toys
The Word Out | Marketing For Catholics
April 01, 2015 - 3:48 PDT

Concert Series Concludes with Winthrop University World Percussion Ensemble
April 01, 2015 - 2:48 PDT

Birth Choice Health Clinics Announces Transition to Obria Medical Clinics and Plans for Expansion
March 28, 2015 - 10:43 PDT

OCP releases expanded edition of Mass of the Sacred Heart
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
March 24, 2015 - 4:43 PDT

Archbishop Aquila, Dr. Edward Sri and other experts participate in 'Beloved' tele-press conference
March 21, 2015 - 11:57 PDT

Priest and Seminarian Join National Three-Point Contest to Benefit Marriage Ministry
Paradisus Dei
March 13, 2015 - 10:20 PDT

Shroud of Turin Exhibit At Holy Spirit Brighton
Holy Spirit Catholic Church and School
March 12, 2015 - 3:58 PDT

Flor y Canto campaign invites the Hispanic community to share their stories
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press)
March 11, 2015 - 4:40 PDT

Crisis Pregnancy Center Dream Becoming Reality
TRFC Inc.
March 10, 2015 - 6:36 PDT

Crisis Pregnancy Center Dream Becoming Reality
TRFC Inc.
March 09, 2015 - 7:04 PDT

Join RealOptions 2015 Walk for Life and 5K Run!
RealOptions Pregnancy Medical Clinics
March 09, 2015 - 2:40 PDT

New Orchestra Comes to Mary's Nativity Church
March 09, 2015 - 12:06 PDT

Paradisus Dei Offers New Marriage Program to Churches at No Cost
Paradisus Dei
March 05, 2015 - 6:25 PST

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.