The daughter of the German Emperor Maximilian II, Elizabeth was only 15 years old when she was married to King Charles IX of France. Widowed just four years later, she returned to Vienna, resolving not to marry again.
Elizabeth was an example to all. She lived a simple, prayer-filled life, visited churches, attended devotions. While avoiding the public eye as much as possible, she openly joined the Third Order of St. Francis, served the sick in the hospitals and in their homes, supplying medicine for those in need. On some Thursdays she would invite the poor to her table in remembrance of the Last Supper.
She was drawn to perform the menial tasks in the convent of the Poor Clares that she had founded, frequently cooking meals for the poor there. As her patron St. Francis before her, she was concerned with the upkeep of churches. She also saw to the education of young men for the priesthood to serve those churches.
Elizabeth died at about age 38, having accomplished so much for the glory of God and the good of her fellow citizens in a short time. As the imperial city of Vienna mourned the loss of its humble queen, miracles occurred at her tomb.