This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18 -- Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Schonau

     Elizabeth of Schonau is among those saints who were never formally canonized but who were entered in the Roman Martyrology die to their popular veneration.  A twelfth century Benedictine who lived only thirty-six years, Elizabeth was rigorous and vigorous in her approach to monastic life.  Even Hildegard Von Bingen, Doctor of the Church and no slouch when it comes to the life religious, urged Elizabeth to be prudent with her mortifications.

     Like her friend and correspondent Hildegard, Elizabeth was a mystic and a visionary.  Her collected visions were written down in three volumes, edited by her brother Egbert.  These include her conversations with saints, her torments at the hands of the Devil, and her ecstatic visions of Mary.   Apparently, Jesus was still losing his temper with the sinners in the twelfth century, but Mary was interceding on the side of mercy.

    At some point, Elizabeth waded into the controversy between Victor IV and Alexaner III, both claimants to St. Peter's Chair.  She backed Victor, which was diplomatic, since Schonau was within the Holy Roman Empire, and its emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, was Vic's man.  But here's the problem.  The declaration that Victor was Gos's chosen vicar on earth was mixed in with her visions and revelations, yet Alexander ultimately prevailed as the recognized pope and Vic goes down among the antipopes.  That means one of two things must be true.  Either her recorded visions at (at least partially) corrupt or the Church broke the apostolic line back there and doesn't admit it.

     The Church has never examined Elizabeth's revelations in an official way.  The range of reader reaction runs from pure prophecy to fundamentally fraudulent.  Elizabeth is not canonized, but but she does have a date on the calendar.  For a Church that is entangled in its own doctrine and canon laws, the ambiguity of Elizabeth and her writings is refreshing.  If you are feeling neither fish nor foul today, light a candle (or some incense or sage) and reflect on the advantages of an uncertain status.

I regret that I may not have illustrations for a time.  My technology has once again raced ahead of my knowledge and skills.  Soon... Soon...

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