A while ago I began intentionally collecting European coins with images of saints, because it resonated with interests in medieval/Renaissance art, and the history of Christianity in the late middle ages and early modern era.
As background to this post, the first Christian saints (1st to 4th centuries A.D.) were martyrs who died because their belief system was seen to be a political threat to Roman authority. Later, in the middle ages, the threat was expanded to the authority of places that were being "Christianized."
But, by the beginning of Christianity's 2d millenium, most of western and central Europe was nominally Christian, so few new martyrs were being created. But since the cult of saints had become a vital part of both spiritual and economic life, new sources of saints were needed. And so, the church hierarchy began acknowledging as saints especially effective clerics ("confessor saints" who were usually bishops, archbishops), and people from other walks of life (hermits, abbots, and even royals!) who had led exemplary Christian lives.
First up: Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim Germany (960-1022), canonized 1193, shown on this recently acquired Hildesheim sechsling dated 1494 (Roman numerals XCIIII obverse from 9:00 to 12:00). Noted for his architectural, artistic, and civil engineering accomplishments (and perhaps political connections?).
Next, Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia. ELizabeth was raised in a noble family in Hungary, and betrothed to Louis IV, landgrave of Thuringia, who she married at 14. Louis died in southern Italy en route to the 6th crusade in 1227, while ELizabeth, at age 20, was pregnant with their third child. SHortly after the birth, Eizabeth renounced her association with the Thuringian court, and took up residence in Marburg, where she founded and ran a hospital for the poor. She died in Marburg in 1231 at the age of 24, and was canonized just 4 years later.
On this undated einseitiger (one sided) pfennig of Hessen (Wilhelm II, 1485-1509) she is shown holding a model of a church which is unmistakably the St. Elizabeth Church of Marburg Germany in which her remains resided at the time. An interesting twist is that her maternal aunt was Saint Hedwig, the wife of Henry II (the Pious) of Silesia, who appears on coins of the Duchy of Legnica-Brzeg around the same time http://goccf.com/t/362080&SearchTerms=silesia)