St. Joseph Novena 2022, Day 3: St. Joseph’s Work


Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

Luke 1:57-58


My darling Guite,

We gave your little Sabeth a real ovation this morning at recreation. Our Reverend Mother, who is so good, was overjoyed at showing us her photograph, and you can guess how hard Aunt Elizabeth’s heart was beating! . . . Oh, my Guite, I think I love this little angel as much as her little mama, and that’s saying a lot.

And then, you know, I feel completely filled with reverence before this little temple of the Holy Trinity; her soul seems to me like a crystal that radiates God, and if I were near her, I would kneel down to adore Him who dwells within her. My Guite, would you kiss her for her Carmelite aunt, and then take my soul along with yours to recollect yourself close to your little Sabeth.

If I were still with you, how I would love to cuddle her, to rock her . . . goodness knows what else! But the good God has called me to the mountain [of Carmel] so I can be her angel and envelop her in prayer, and I very joyfully sacrifice everything else to Him for her sake; and then, there is no distance for my heart, and I am so close to you, you do feel that, don’t you?

I see that God does grant the prayers of His Carmelites since baby and mama are doing so well. Our Reverend Mother was very happy at the news my good Mama sent her today; I’m sure Saint Joseph will finish his work and you’ll be able to nurse your little darling.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 197 to her sister Guite
probably 12 March 1904

We know that Guite’s daughter Elizabeth (her nickname, like that of her aunt, was “Sabeth”) was born on 11 March 1904. Editor and Discalced Carmelite scholar Conrad de Meester, O.C.D. wrote that Guite’s husband, “Georges Chevignard took and developed the photographs himself, so we can guess that the first ‘photograph’ of his daughter did not take long to reach Carmel” [Footnote 1, Letter 197].

Georges, Elizabeth, Marguerite (Guite) and Odette Chevignard
Photo taken ca. the birth of Odette, 19 April 1905
Photo credit: Carmel de Dijon

Holy Joseph, 
Man according to the Heart of God 
you whose heart was afire with ardent charity 
and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, 
direct us in the way of perfection. 
Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need,

(mention your request)

in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called 
particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, 
and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.

Joseph, fili David, noli timere accipere Mariam conjugem tuam: quod enim in ea natum est, de Spiritu Sancto est. | “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). “Joseph Fili David” is a motet composed by Gail Gillispie for the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter’s in the Loop, Chicago; J. Michael Thompson, director.

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

All scripture references in this novena are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.

Don’t become discouraged and give up prayer, says St. John of the Cross. We offer varying novenas to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as novenas to St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Edith Stein.

Let us unite in prayer

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