Balm of Life
We listened delightedly as Stevie and Cathy told us about their day trip to Eureka Springs.
October 17th, they’d seen our son, William, perform with a band at the Balm of Life community center so they wanted us to experience the place for ourselves.
We walked the streets, entered some shops, ate at the local pizza place, and finally inquired about the old town’s church. We were advised to drive there since the evening was quite chilly, the church was on the opposite side of town, and darkness was quickly approaching.
Once there, we realized we had just twenty minutes to look around and take photos before the church closed at five.
When Stevie and Cathy first told us about St. Elizabeth’s Church, I asked if the saint’s feast day was November 17th. Is she the saint from Hungary? I wondered.
“I don’t know,” Stevie told us. “We haven’t yet visited the church.” So our curiosity was piqued.
Just days before our trip to Arkansas, I’d searched for feast day links to post on our church website and learned that St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the patroness of acts of charity, bakers, beggars, brides, children who have died, exiles, falsely accused people, the homeless, hospitals, in-law problems, lace makers, nursing home services, people ridiculed for their piety, the Secular Franciscan Order, toothache, widows, and more.
During her twenty-four years, St. Elizabeth of Hungary gave her all to assist the needy. She was canonized four years after her death.
St. Elizabeth’s Church
Entering St. Elizabeth’s Church, I felt warmly enveloped within its subtle elegance. Its size reminded me of the chapel at the Dominican Sisters’ House adjacent to St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi, TX), so I easily immersed myself in prayer as we took photos in silence.
Not long after, Fr. John walked in on us. He hadn’t expected to see anyone in church at that time of the evening, so he was visibly annoyed. Nevertheless, he chatted with us a bit before locking up for the night.
Our November 18th visit to St. Elizabeth’s Church left me feeling like a cup of hot cocoa topped with miniature marshmallows. I was tickled pink to have come closerthanthis to celebrating St. Elizabeth’s feast day at her very own church. To have visited a sacred space named after a saint I’d discovered just days before was as memorable as show-and-tell at school— a lasting, real world connection between what I’d read online and what I’d experienced in the quaint little town of Eureka Springs.
Dear St. Elizabeth, you were always poor in spirit, most generous toward the poor, faithful to your husband, and fully consecrated to your Divine Bridegroom. Grant your help to widows and keep them faithful to their heavenly Lord. Teach them how to cope with their loss and to make use of their time in the service of God. Amen.
November 17, 2014
How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me! (St. Elizabeth of Hungary).
Links of interest… Eureka Springs, AR… St. Cecilia: The saint & the song… St. Elizabeth of Hungary: about (more) / devotions / example / feast / for the poor / prayers (chaplet – litany) / profile / religious / widow… St. Elizabeth’s Church…