Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun from Dijon, died 94 years ago today in 1906 at age 26. Yesterday, 8th November, was her memorial day. Together with two other Carmelite nuns, Teresa of Avila and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, she is the patron saint against the death of parents.
Fr. Gregory Ross, O.C.D. gives us an account of her life:
Blessed Elizabeth was born in July of 1880 into a military environment. Her father, Joseph, had been raised in a poor, agricultural family. […] From her earliest years. Elizabeth’s personality was also marked by a determined, energetic disposition. The strong-willed, exuberant child’s energy, however, often became violent, resulting in fits of rage. She could not support being opposed, seeming “to think that all must give way before her.” Nevertheless, this child who was once described mischievously as “pure devil” simultaneously demonstrated and developed a great attraction to prayer.
The year 1887 marked a great change in seven-year-old Elizabeth’s life.The year began with the death of her maternal grandfather in January. In October of that same year, her father, Joseph, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of fifty-five. Madame Catez and her two children (Elizabeth’s sister, Marguerite, who had been born in 1883) soon moved from their former house to an apartment in what could be called the suburbs of Dijon. From the window of her room in her new home, Elizabeth could see the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns.
After the death of her father, Elizabeth’s outbursts of anger increased both in number and in violence. During the course of the same year, though, the child experienced for the first time the sacrament of Penance, “which brought about what she styled her ‘conversion’.” She henceforth began to struggle noticeably against her violent temper, promising her mother that she would strive to be the very model of a “sweet, patient, and obedient” daughter.
However, it was only four years later that the future Blessed would manage finally to conquer her difficult temperament. In the spring of 1891, when she was almost eleven years old. Elizabeth made her First Communion. Sensitive by nature, especially to things sacred, she was profoundly affected by her first reception of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Tears of joy were seen to run down the young girl’s face after her Communion. Upon leaving the church, she said to a close friend, “I’m no longer hungry. Jesus has fed me.”
On the afternoon of her First Communion, Elizabeth also encountered the prioress of the Carmel of Dijon for the first time. The prioress, upon learning the name of the child, explained to her that “Elizabeth” means “house of God.” A few days later, she would send this same message to Elizabeth, writing on the back of a holy card: “Your blessed name hides a mystery, accomplished on this great day. Child, your heart is the House of God on earth, of the God of love.” […]
Elizabeth first discerned her vocation to Carmel after having received Communion one day when she was fourteen years old, but her mother was opposed to the idea. Eventually, when Elizabeth was nineteen years old, Madame Catez agreed to her daughter’s entry into Carmel, but required her to wait until her twenty-first birthday. In the years before she entered the cloister, Elizabeth studied St. Teresa of Jesus’ Way of Perfection. She also read the first edition of Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, and quickly became an enthusiastic follower of the “Little Way.” The soon-to-be Carmelite was also greatly enamored of “Little Therese”‘s “Act of Offering to Merciful Love.” […] Finally, in 1901, Elizabeth entered her beloved Carmel, receiving the name “Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity.” (For the full text of this excellent introduction to her life click here)
She is also the patron saint against bodily ills and sickness, and for sick people.
The Apostleship of Prayers provides the following video:
Her prayer to the Trinity (Source: Flos Carmeli):
Prayer to the Trinity
O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You…even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to “clothe me with Yourself,” to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.
O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, “come upon me,” and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; “cover her with Your shadow,” seeing in her only the “Beloved in whom You are well pleased.”
O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.
I need to let my granddaughter know about this excellent article. Also called Elizabeth, she likewise struggles against a passionate temper.
“The strong-willed, exuberant child’s energy, however, often became violent, resulting in fits of rage. She could not support being opposed, seeming “to think that all must give way before her.”
Elizabeth clearly missed her calling. She would have enjoyed a glittering career in womens’ magazine publishing.
Joyful’s granddaughter, Elizabeth, might think about that, as well…
At the moment, she intends to be a rock star, and make music videos. The fondest grandmother could not detect any talent for either singing or dancing. However, I have seen music videos, and deduce that a lack of talent is no bar to success.
True, the young Blessed Elizabeth does seem to resemble the Venerable Mick Jagger more than somewhat. At least, according to the Equally Venerable Keith Richards, whose autobiography might very well make a cool Christmas prezzie for your own Elizabeth.
And, on the other hand, it might very well not.
(What the heck. Just get the guitar for her, and a set of ear plugs for you.)
Oh yes, a very cool prezzie indeed! I know at least two people who are planning to buy it for me for Christmas, so I’ll probably have a spare copy to give away. 😉