The process of canonization is traditionally overseen by the Vatican. In addition to witnesses attesting to the fact that the person led a life of kindness, love and charity, the Pope must find that the individual performed miracles. Healing, either during the saint’s life or at his tomb, is one of many accepted miracles. Several saints were named Elizabeth, from the church’s beginnings to modern times.
The First Saint Elizabeth
The first Saint Elizabeth was a kinswoman of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Though their relationship is often characterized as that of cousins, this is not known with certainty. Saint Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. Her pregnancy was a miraculous event because she conceived when she was past her child-bearing years. Her pregnancy was prophesied to her husband, Zachary, by the Angel Gabriel. She is also credited with being the first human to recognize the miraculous nature of Mary’s pregnancy, which prompted Mary’s oration of the famous “Magnificat” prayer.
Saint Elizabeth of Schonau
Saint Elizabeth of Schonau lived in Germany in the mid-12th century. She was a Benedictine nun from humble beginnings who eventually become the superioress of her order. She had many visions, which were published in three volumes with the assistance of her brother, Egbert, a Benedictine abbot. She reported that her visions were guided by saints, angels and even the Virgin Mary. She was never officially canonized by the Vatican; at some point her published visions began appearing with the title “Saint.” This designation was never challenged.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, lived from 1207 to 1231. She was the daughter of King and Queen of Hungary and the wife of Ludwig of Thuringia. Her husband was devoted to encouraging and protecting her acts of charity, such as helping the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi found a monastery in 1225. From that time forward she led a life of prayer and service. She died at the age of 24. Miraculous healings have been reported at the site of her grave. It is also said that bread she was hiding to give to the poor miraculously transformed into roses.
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal was born in 1271 and died in 1336. She was the daughter of the King and Queen of Aragon, and was married to King Diniz of Portugal at the age of twelve. She was named for Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who was her great aunt. There are many stories concerning her kindness and generosity. One such story is the miracle of the roses. When her husband, the king, asked to see the contents of her apron to verify that she was not concealing money to give to the poor, the gold coins therein miraculously turned to roses. She is also credited with miraculously healing the wounds of an injured leper.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, born in 1774, was the first American woman to be canonized. She was raised Anglican and converted to Catholicism in 1805. She founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809. Though she was born into privilege, she suffered many setbacks, including becoming a young widow with five small children. Nonetheless, she dedicated her life to scriptural learning and charitable work. When she was canonized in 1975, the Vatican credited her with miraculously curing three desperately ill individuals: Carl Kalin -- who had encephalitis, Ann Theresa O’Neil -- who had leukemia; and Sister Gertrude Korzendorfer -- who had cancer.