She Prevented a Literal Civil War Between Family, and She’s Praying for Your Family Rifts

Queen Elizabeth, mounted on a mule, prevents a civil war in 1323, on the field of Alvalade (“Saint Elizabeth of Aragon in the Alvalade battlefield“, by Roque Gameiro, in Quadros da História de Portugal (“Pictures of the History of Portugal”, 1917) (Public Domain)).

If you’re dreading the holiday season because of family drama, this reflection is for you. It’s excerpted from our book, “The Prayer Book for Tired Parents: Practical Ways to Grow in Love of God and Get Your Family to Heaven,” which you can get at

If you love peace, all will be well.
— St. Elizabeth of Portugal

It’s safe to say that every family has its share of drama, from waywardness to personality clashes to sibling rivalry, and so on. Some families experience deep wounds that cause seemingly irreconcilable conflict. Some hurts seem unforgivable.

Even the saints had family drama. That’s why we can look to holy examples such as St. Elizabeth of Portugal, who, as queen, on two known occasions, prevented her kingdom from entering a civil war. She literally stood between the two armies of her quarreling husband and son and was able to assist them in making peace.

Have any of our family feuds resulted in the assembling of literal armies? No, I don’t think so!

But that doesn’t mean that our personal battles aren’t legitimate. After all, we know that the devil loves seeing the destruction of the family, the domestic church. If the family breaks down, it’s easier for him to win souls for Hell.

St. Elizabeth was familiar with this. While other members of her family and the royal court were engaging in immoral activities, she kept her eyes laser-focused on the Gospel and on her commitment to serving the poor. Not only was she a peacemaker in her family, but she also modeled virtue for those around her.

The prayer below would be wonderful to adopt during family strife. How can we continue fighting among ourselves when we take a moment to stop and pray? That’s easier said than done, I know.

But if we truly want to heal family rifts and end “civil wars” in our families, the best way to initiate “peace talks” is through prayer.

Let us pray:
St. Elizabeth, you know all too well the pain of family rifts.
You worked for peace within your family. We ask you to
come to our aid as we pray for (state your need). Help us to
seek peace as you did, to speak with kindness, and to work
toward reconciliation; and above all, help us to love God
through loving one another more. Amen.

Image: Saint Elizabeth of Aragon in the Alvalade battlefield“, by Roque Gameiro, in Quadros da História de Portugal (“Pictures of the History of Portugal”, 1917). (Public Domain)

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