Saint Elisabeth of Schonau




“Do not delay in serving your God. Walk in the way of His contemplation, like beloved daughters, with every humility and love and obedience, without murmuring, without detraction, without envy and similar things, but like young lambs pleasing to the living God.”


Saint Elisabeth was an abbess of the Schonau Abbey run by the Benedictines and experienced numerous miraculous visions.






Saint Elisabeth was born to a not well known family in the year 1129 in Germany and attended the double monastery of Schonau in Nassau for her early schooling. After graduating, she made her vows as a Benedictine (1147) and was made abbess of the nuns under Abbot Hildelin in 1157. She was very well known for both her piety and her zealous observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict, including practices of mortification.


Her miraculous visions first began in 1152 and usually occurred on Sundays, Holy Days, or after hearing stories of the saints. She began to write them on wax tablets and described them to her abbot, Hildelin. Abbot Hldelin told her to begin describing them to her brother, a cleric at Saint Cassius in Bonn by the name of Eckebert. Eckebert served as editor for these writings and then began to help arrange them for publishing under Saint Elisabeth's name. In total there were three books written.


  • The first book was a simple book describing her original and first versions

  • The second, Liber viarum Dei contains admonitions to classes throughout society including both the laity and clergy. She describes threats of judgement against priests who do not protect the flock of Christ, against monks who outwardly take vows of poverty but internally seek out great greed, against the vices of the laity, against the heresy of the Cathari and declares the antipope Victor IV as the one chosen by Christ.

  • The third, the revelation on the martyrdom of Saint Ursula and her companions describes in great detail regarding her martyrdom. It also contains conversations between Saint Elisabeth and different saints and angels.


Once after Mass Saint Elisabeth described seeing the Virgin Mary -


"I saw my Lady standing beside the altar, in a garment like a priestly chasuble and she had on her head a glorious crown".

The sheer volume of letters Saint Elisabeth received from those looking for advice should not be understated. Saint Elisabeth also sent out letters of advice to those in higher positions, including a famous letter to the Archbishop Hillin of Trier for not telling her divine message to the people of Rome.



Saint Elisabeth died on June 18th, 1164 and was first buried in the abbey church of Saint Florin. Almost immediately the locals venerated her as a saint and the bones were reburied sometime between 1420 and 1430 in a new chapel that would be destroyed during the great fire of the Schonau Abbey in 1723. Her skull was the only remaining relic saved after Swedish and Hessian soldiers attacked the Monastery and scattered the bones. Her feast day is celebrated each year on June 18th.

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