Feast day: November 5
Most everything we know about Saint Elizabeth comes from the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. Elizabeth is the wife of Zechariah, a priest of the Temple in Jerusalem. She is also the cousin of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. One day, as Zechariah is in the Temple, the Archangel Gabriel appears to him and says Elizabeth will have a son. Their child will grow up to become John the Baptist. Elizabeth is old, so Zechariah doesn’t believe Gabriel. As punishment, Gabriel takes away his voice.
Sure enough, Elizabeth becomes pregnant, and poor Zechariah is mute the whole time. After John’s birth, Zechariah gets his voice back. Elizabeth is best known for being the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, even before his birth. While they were both pregnant, Mary visited Elizabeth, and John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary arrived. Elizabeth announced that Mary and her unborn child were blessed. She also called Mary blessed for having believed God’s promise.
Elizabeth’s proclamation has become part of the Hail Mary. Elizabeth’s name means “God is faithful.” (From The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers [Saint Mary’s Press])
(Image © Vicki Shuck/Saint Mary's Press)