Quote of the day: 30 January

Dijon Carmel, November 9 [1902]

J. M. + J. T.

Very dear Madame,

I imagine you have seen Guite these past few days and that she has given you all the messages my heart had entrusted to her; but above all, it is from “soul to soul” that I love to come to you beneath the gaze of Him we love and whom alone we seek. Thank you for your good prayers; we have had so beautiful, so profound, so divine a retreat. Père Vallée spoke to us the whole time on Jesus Christ and I wish I could have had you very close to me so that your soul could have been carried away with mine. Dear Madame, through everything, let us constantly live in communion with this Incarnate Word, with Jesus who dwells in us and who wishes to tell us the whole Mystery. On the eve of His Passion, He said to His Father in speaking of those who were His own: “The words which you gave me, I have given to them; the brightness that I had in you before the world began, I have given to them.” He is always living, always at work in our souls; let us allow ourselves to be formed by Him; may He be the Soul of our soul, the Life of our life, so that we may say with Saint Paul: “For me, to live is Christ.” Dear Madame, He does not want any sadness in your soul about what was not done solely for Him. He is the Savior, His mission is to pardon; and Father told us during his retreat: “There is only one impulse in the Heart of Christ: to wipe out sin and to lead the soul to God.” I am praying fervently for you, for I feel that the Master loves you so much, and I ask Him to take you, to draw you more and more to Himself, so that through everything you will enjoy His presence. May your soul be another Bethany where Jesus may come to rest, and where you serve Him the banquet of love. Dear Madame, let us love as Magdalene loved; then, for your little friend, thank Him who chose the better part for her! . . .

Yesterday I saw my good Mama, who is looking forward to Guite’s return. She is very tired, but God is at work in the midst of all that, and when this dear Mama opens her soul to me, I am overjoyed to see all that is being done by Him for whom I left her. A Dieu, dear Madame, I am leaving you to go to Matins, or rather I am going to meet you in Him who unites our souls. Continue always to pray with me, that Jesus may absorb and possess us.

Your very affectionate little friend,

Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 145 to Madame Angles


Jesus Maja Ruszpel Flickr 11538722434
Maja Ruszpel / Flickr



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

Quote of the day: 14 December

John’s entire work is tensed towards eternity, towards the ‘other, better Indies’. As the friars at his bedside began the prayers for the dying, John checked them. “That is not necessary: read me something from the Song of Songs.” He was interpreting his death as a mystery of love.

He had written of death like this:

“The rivers of love which have long been flowing in the soul swell, bank up, like seas of love, as they press to pour into the ocean.”

Eternity meant to him love set free. That is where night is leading.

Iain Matthew, O.C.D.

The Impact of God, Chap. 10


At midnight on the night of 13-14 December 1591, Saint John of the Cross died in the discalced friar’s convent at Úbeda and entered fully into the mystery of love.



Ubeda_-_112_(30738110375) memorial plaque
Memorial plaque at the Discalced Carmelite friars’ convent in Úbeda, Spain | Luis Rogelio HM / Flickr



Matthew, I 1995,  The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross,  Hodder & Stoughton, London.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 3

He wants to be my peace so that nothing can distract me or draw me out of “the invincible fortress of holy recollection.”


For an increase in the fruit of peace

St. Paul speaks

For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Eph 2:14-18)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

Here I am in the presence “of a mystery hidden from ages and generations,” the mystery “which is Christ”: “your hope of glory,” says St. Paul! And he adds that “the understanding of this mystery” was given to him. So it is from the great Apostle that I am going to learn how I may possess this knowledge which, in his expression, “surpasses all other knowledge: the knowledge of the love of Christ Jesus.”

First of all he tells me that He is “my peace,” that it is “through Him that I have access to the Father,” for it has pleased this “father of lights” that “in Him all fullness should dwell, and that through Him He should reconcile to Himself all things, whether on the earth or in the heavens, making peace through the Blood of His Cross….

He wants to be my peace so that nothing can distract me or draw me out of “the invincible fortress of holy recollection.” It is there that He will give me “access to the Father” and will keep me as still and as peaceful in His presence as if my soul were already in eternity. It is by the Blood of His Cross that He will make peace in my little heaven, so that it may truly be the repose of the Three. (Last Retreat, Twelfth Day)


Just imagine more than two weeks on retreat! From 14-31 August 1906, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity spends each day in prayer as if it is her “novitiate for Heaven.” Those days are not totally peaceful, though—there are doctors and infirmarians coming and going, trips to the monastery terrace to enjoy the good weather, another aged nun in the infirmary with her, and a visit with her mother in the parlor. So the peace that Elizabeth seeks is definitely the peace of which St. Paul writes: it surpasses all other knowledge. It is a peace rooted in the knowledge of Christ’s love. He is our peace! So even without two weeks on retreat, how can we seek him and know his love?


O Saint Elisabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.

(Make your request)

Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.

Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)

Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)


leaf peace Martin Gommel Flickr 403867182_562fe4a0ae_o
Martin Gommel / Flickr



of the Trinity, E 2014, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: General Introduction Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 15 June

Let us live with God as with a friend, let us make our faith a living faith in order to be in communion with Him through everything, for that is what makes saints.

We possess our Heaven within us

Since He who satisfies the hunger of the glorified in the light of vision gives Himself to us in faith and mystery, it is the Same One! It seems to me that I have found my Heaven on earth since Heaven is God and God is in my soul.

The day I understood that,
everything became clear to me.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 122 to Madame de Sourdon (excerpt)
Shortly after 15 June 1902


Sabeth and Guite
Marguerite and Elisabeth Catez (c. 1899) | Photo: Discalced Carmelites


The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Marie du jour: 10 May

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum Madonna_DavidOhmer
Cincinnati – Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum | David Ohmer / Flickr

“No one has seen the Father,” St. John tells us, “except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” It seems to me that we can also say, “No one has penetrated the depths of the mystery of Christ except the Blessed Virgin.” John and Mary Magdalene penetrated deeply this mystery; St. Paul often speaks of “the understanding of it which was given to him”; and yet, how all the saints remain in the shadows when we look at the Blessed Virgin’s light!

This is the unspeakable “secret” that she kept in mind and pondered in her heart which no tongue can tell or pen describe! This Mother of grace will form my soul so that her little child will be a living, “striking” image of her first-born,  the Son of the Eternal, He who was the perfect praise of His Father’s glory.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
The Last Retreat, First Day

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.111)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation | “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog

Annunciation_SOLARIO Andrea 1506_Louvre
The Annunciation, Andrea Solario (1506), Musée du Louvre, Paris

St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:

She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate…

Read more via March 25, 2019: St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation – “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog – Saint Therese of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 25 March

Why I Love You, O Mary!

When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
Of the God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery!
The ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love!…

Oh! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called: Jesus, your first-born!…

O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness:
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you!…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Why I Love You, O Mary!
Stanzas 3, 4, and 5


Pourquoi je t'aime O Marie
Date: May, 1897 | Written for: St. Thérèse herself, at the encouragement of Marie of the Sacred Heart. “I’ve always dreamed of writing a song to the Blessed Virgin to express everything that I think about her,” Thérèse confided to Céline. (Testimonies for the Diocesan Process of Beatification and Canonization, PO 667) | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

See the complete text of the poem in English here and photos of St. Therese’s rough drafts, complete with corrections, here

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 1

In the light of eternity the soul sees things as they really are.


For the gift of God’s sight: we often hear the expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” We can become so engrossed in the concerns and anxieties of life that we lose the “the big picture.” This big picture includes the reality that God is always at work among us. God sees everything. St. Paul often refers to God’s sight; to St. Timothy he writes, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone… This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” [I Tim 2:1, 3]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

“In the light of eternity the soul sees things as they really are.”


What dark ways of thinking or preoccupations do I need to renounce in order to welcome the light of eternity in my life?  Who in particular should I pray and give thanks for?  How and where can I expand my spiritual vision to see as God sees?


O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Arabian Sea | Photo by Lucas Myers on Unsplash
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
BAEZ - The death and resurrection of Jesus is the apex
Let us in spirit make our way
to Carmel’s mountain height;
our Virgin Mother calls us there
to gather flowers of light.
BAEZ - Today too we need a mysterious, efficacious bread
Elijah got up, ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to walk forty days to Sinai, the holy mountain. (1 Kings 19:8)

Virgo Fidelis

Virgo fidelis”:  that is, Faithful Virgin, [Litany of Loretto] “who kept all these things in her heart.” [Cf. Lk 2:19, 51] She remained so little, so recollected in God’s presence, in the seclusion of the temple, that she drew down upon herself the delight of the Holy Trinity: “Because He has looked upon the lowliness of His servant, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!” [Lk 1:48] The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother in time of Him whose Father He is in eternity. Then the Spirit of love who presides over all of God’s works came upon her; the Virgin said her fiat: “Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done to me according to Your word,” and the greatest of mysteries was accomplished. By the descent of the Word in her, Mary became forever God’s prey.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

SABETH - Virgo Fidelis - paquerette


Heaven in Faith: Tenth Day, First Prayer
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.111)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.


The Marie du jour – May 26

In the solitude of our little cell, which I call my “little paradise” because it is entirely filled with Him for whom all live in Heaven, I will look very often at this precious picture and will unite myself to the soul of the Virgin at the time when the Father was overshadowing her, while the Word was becoming incarnate within her, and the Holy Spirit was coming upon her to bring about the great mystery. It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves; and the life of the Carmelite must be lived within this divine embrace.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Burne-Jones, Edward, 1833-1898; The Annunciation
The Annunciation
Edward Burne-Jones (British, 1833–1898)
Oil on canvas, 1879
Lady Lever Art Gallery
It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt), around 25 June 1905
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 226)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

The Marie du jour – May 20

The Incarnation is likewise a work of love. The Holy Spirit knew the Virgin Mary in advance, for he taught her the rich lessons of prayer. Consider Mary’s long hours immersed in prayer concerning her community and the drama of divine love for all humanity; concerning the fall of the human race and the mighty power of God. In those silent hours of prayer, the Holy Spirit inflamed Mary’s heart and swept her up into the bosom of the triune God. There, Mary was immersed in the ocean of God’s being. Mary’s hours of prayer! Therein, God’s presence attains a new and unprecedented level. God is going to ask Mary to allow her body to bring about his Incarnation. He is going to embody himself in a mysterious way in the offspring to be born of her pure blood, divinely preserved from every stain of sin. The Holy Spirit is the author of this wondrous work of love. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” [Luke 1:35].

Père Jacques of Jesus, OCD


Les Festes du mois de Juin (June: The Pentecost)
Léonard Gaultier (French, 1561 – 1641) Jean Leclerc (French, c. 1587 – 1633)
Engraving on laid paper, 1603
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC


Mary was immersed in the ocean of God’s being

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 89)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Soul of silence

A praise of glory is a soul of silence that remains like a lyre under the mysterious touch of the Holy Spirit so that He may draw from it divine harmonies; it knows that suffering is a string that produces still more beautiful sounds; so it loves to see this string on its instrument that it may more delightfully move the Heart of its God.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity


William Bouguereau ((French, 1825 – 1905)
Oil on canvas, 1873
Private collection



Heaven in Faith, Day 10, Second Prayer (excerpt)
Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Works, Volume I: I Have Found God
General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p. 112)
Edition produced, presented, and annotated by Conrad De Meester, O.C.D.
Translated by Sr. Aletheia Kane, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. 1984, 2014

Consuming Fire

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

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity


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