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By Fr. Vincent McNabb, O.P.
Today, people are fond of the saying, “Wherever you find a great man you find a great woman.” Regardless of how true that may be in modern politics, it is certainly true in the case of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. This saintly Queen and mother, worked tirelessly for the good of her subjects and her kingdom. The Author, Fr. Vincent McNabb, has the following to say:
“Gradually as the writer re-read his own story of the Saint’s life, this story of a Wife, a Mother, a Queen in the flagrant setting of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries seemed worth telling not only to the twentieth century but to all time. In the telling of it a thousand things worth man’s thought and scholars’ investigation would be suggested.
There would be the great problem of wedded love and wedded lawlessness which the modern world thinks it is meeting scientifically by a Decree Nisi of a Divorce Court. St. Elizabeth’s manner of dealing with her husband’s infidelities was evidence that the men of those days had no monopoly of heroism and that the home, no less than the Holy Places, could be fit for heroes. It is agreed by historians of King Diniz, her husband, that his public acts were wise enough to earn for him the title of the Portuguese Justinian. Unfortunately, historians of kings, especially of kings renowned for bravery or wisdom, have little to say of the queens who so often have had no little share in their husband’s triumphs if not on the battle-field at least in the council chamber.
It is our opinion—which our readers can reject as they will—that King Diniz’s chief claim to wisdom is that he knew a good wife when he wed her and that he recognized wisdom even when it came from the mouth of a woman whom not love but international politics had given
him as a wife.”
Though a short work, Fr. McNabb beautifully elucidates the life of this saint, and makes her life a testament not only of peace in the affairs of the world, but even in the home, by prayer and self sacrifice.
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