Lesser known Saints

Elizabeth of Schönau (1126 – 18 June 1165)
Elizabeth was a German mystic and visionary who was friends with Hildegard. She is an interesting individual among the Saints as Elizabeth has never officially been canonized nor has the Church really said anything about her. Elizabeth was most likely born of nobility in 1126 and that helped lead her down her path in life. In 1147 she joined the Benedictine order in Schonau and a decade later she became the abbess. During her first five years as a sister she was sick, depressed, and anxious due to her strictness with the ascetic life. In 1152,  Elizabeth began having vision it is said that  Christ, Mary, an angel, or the saint of the day would appear and instruct her,  or she would see in great detail the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, or other events from the Bible. Elizabeth told the abbot about her vision and he told her to write it down and send them to her brother. I haven’t read any of her visions but from what the internet says her first book, Liber viarum Dei, is similar to Hildegard’s Scivias and talks about the ‘ways of God’ followed by looking at men and women. Her second book Revelatio de sacro exercitu virginum Coloniensium, tells of the martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions. The final book Visio de resurrectione Beate Virginis Marie, tries to answer whether Mary’s body had gone to heaven with her soul at her death. The works are up for debate if they are really vision or merely as Eusebius Amort points out “nothing more than what Elizabeth’s own imagination could produce, or illusions of the devil, since in some things they disagree with history and with other revelations.”

Adalbert sometimes Albert (c. 901- 20 June 981), sometimes known as the Apostle of the Slavs:
Adalbert was the first Bishop of Magdeburg and was a successful missionary to the Slavic people. Adalbert was a German Benedictine monk who sent to Kievan Rus in 961 to help Princess Olga convert the Slavic people. However when Adalbert arrived Olga’s son Sivatosklav, a staunch pagan had become ruler and when Adalbert arrived his companions were slain and he barely escaped. Adalbert would eventually become the first archbishop of Magdeburg which would be used as a base for missionaries for the Slavic peoples

Albert Chmielowski, CFAPU (1845–1916)
Albert is a Polish Brother who founded his own religious order, the Albertine and the Albertine Sisters as well. Albert is from Krakow and as a young boy he lost both of his parents and was raised by some relatives. At 18 he lost a leg in the Polish Uprising as he opposed the Czarist Russian government which controlled Poland at the time. So Albert left the country and went to Ghent where he found a talent for painting.  Albert’s most famous work is Ecce homo and is below I found an image on wikipedia. In 1874 he was able to return home to Poland where he discovered the problems that faced the poor. Albert felt the need to help so he served at a homeless shelter, over time he decided abandon his career, as an artist, to live among the poor and needy and to accept a beggar’s life and lifestyle. In 1887, Albert became a Third Order Franciscian and began calling himself Brother Albert. A year later he decided to profess religious vows and he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor. A short while later he helped form a parallel women’s congregation with Maria Jablonska (Blessed Bernadina, CSAPU). Brother Albert believed that the biggest problem of our time is that we refuse to see and relieve the suffering of others. The so-called “haves” live away from the “have-nots”, ignoring them and leaving their care to society. Although we live almost a century later it seems that this sentiment still rings true. Pope John Paul II was a big fan of Brother Albert, as he wrote a play about him called Our God’s Brother and even Brother Albert gave him the spiritual support to become a priest and give up the foolish world of theater and literature.

 

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