Saint November 8 : St. Elizabeth of the Trinity a Carmelite who “wanted to give her life and to return a little of His great love.”
Elizabeth Catez was born in 1880 in Avor, France. Her father was an army captain and died when she was seven. She had a younger sister, Guite, and they were very close to each other and their mother. At the age of seven, Elizabeth told a friend of the family, Canon Angles, that she would be a religious. She was a precocious child with a flashing temper until she made her First Communion. From that time on she was noticeably calm in temperament. She was an accomplished pianist. Her family was middle class, and they enjoyed parties and other social activities.
From the time of her First Communion in 1891, she “wanted to give her life and to return a little of His great love.” At the age of thirteen she bound herself to Jesus was a vow of virginity. Elizabeth’s heart had been captured, and now she could think only of Him. On her twenty-first birthday she had her mother’s blessing at last to enter the Carmel in Dijon, close to her home. Elizabeth expresses in her letters a deep joy at being in Carmel. Everything led her to her “Three,” the Trinity. She offered herself unconditionally to “Him”; He accepted.
Elizabeth became ill shortly after entering Carmel and suffered for five years from a stomach ailment, now thought to have been Addison’s disease. Her suffering was intense both spiritually and physically; this caused her love for Jesus to increase, and also her desire to offer these sufferings to Him.
In her writings Elizabeth refers often to the words of Saint Paul. She speaks of her vocation: “To be a bride, a bride of Carmel,” means to have the flaming heart of Elijah, the transpierced heart of Teresa, to be His “true bride,” because she was ”zealous for His honor.” St. Elizabeth of the Trinity had true depth of prayer, was a mystic, a great lover of Jesus, and a real friend to her sisters in Carmel and her family. She referred to herself as Laudem Gloriae, Praise of Glory. She died November 9, 1906. Her last words were: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!” Her canonization took place in Rome on October 16, 2016.
“O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery ! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you - even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Savior.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.
O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendor!”
(excerpt from Drink of the Stream: Prayers of Carmelites compiled by Penny Hickey)