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from The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)

We have always loved this saint because she was so lovable, so beautiful, young, holy, and so much in love with her husband.

It is refreshing to find a saint who made a fool of herself over her husband, and St. Elizabeth surely did (or so the court thought, at any rate).

The legend that the bread in her basket turned to roses is probably not authentic, but it could have happened; so we like to tell it each year.

Elizabeth is supposed to have been taking bread to the poor and met her husband, King Ludwig, on the way. He asked what was in her basket, lifted the napkin, and there underneath he found roses.

Elizabeth, full of humility, was not exposed as the great benefactress of the poor. This is not consistent with her reputation for openly giving away to the poor everything thing she could get her hands on, but it is a charming story and gives us the cue for our St. Elizabeth’s Day custom.

We bake bread that afternoon so that it will be done by nightfall. It is shaped into large buns – or small loaves (if you prefer), wrapped carefully in linen napkins, and put into baskets.

The children bundle up, get their flashlights, take notes explaining the day and the custom, and go off down the lane to the neighbors with hot bread for their suppers.

It is given away for the love of Christ. Then, when you return home, the bread for your own supper tastes that much sweeter.

St. Gomer (October 11)

He is the patron of the unhappily married, and since everyone who ever gets married thinks sooner or later that he is unhappily married, it is high time we stirred up devotion to this saint.

He is probably an expert at showing up for what they are all hurt feelings, self-pity, piggishness, and all the other things we suffer or perpetrate but don’t admit.

For those truly unhappily married, I am sure that he will show them that eternal happiness is bought with such sufferings as theirs.

Omer Engelbert writes of him: “Courageous soldier and relative of Pepin the Short, who thought to reward him by making him marry Gwin Marie; he suffered terribly from the frightful disposition of this incorrigible woman.

He ended by leaving her and withdrawing to a solitary place which became after his death a place of pilgrimage and the site of the town of Lierre (Belgium).”

So this saint knows what an unhappy marriage is all about.

He is also the patron of woodcutters, turners, glove-makers, and cowherds, and is invoked against hernia.

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“Show an interest in your child’s welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, How to Be a Good Father, Catholic Family Handbook

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Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

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