Quote of the day: 21 October

My dear Anne-Marie,

I am so weak I can hardly hold a pencil and yet I need to thank you from my heart, which was so deeply touched by your thoughtfulness. I award you a diploma in candy making: your Kalougas are so good! How pretty they are in their little box! I have quite a supply of chocolates of every kind; everything makes me suffer, but yours, on the contrary, soothe me; it is surely your heart that has placed a special essence in these pretty candies. A thousand thanks. I am not forgetting you on my cross, where I taste unknown joys, and when I am in Heaven, your names and your memories, which are so well engraved in the depths of my heart, will be constantly present there before God. I am very happy, little Anne-Marie!… If you saw how my dear Mother takes care of me…. For a Carmelite used to mortification, I am ashamed of my comfort, but where I am concerned, the only consideration is one of charity, of goodness that is so maternal! A Dieu, little one, I love you and your family a lot, and I kiss you all. Thanks again.

S. E. of the Trinity r.c.i.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 328a to Anne-Marie d’Avout
around October 21, 1906 

 

kalougas letter 328a ricardo flickr 4046238181_f2b67ae0a9_o
Kalougas from Bernachon Chocolates in Lyon, France | ricardo / Flickr

 

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 2014, I have found God, Complete Works II - Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 6 October

I do not know what is happening. My Master caught hold of me and made me understand that today the Mother and child are beginning a new life, “wholly present to Love, wholly within pure Love.”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 321 to Mother Germaine of Jesus
October (4th or 9th), 1906

 

animals birds dawn giraffe
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 1995, I Have Found God : Complete Works. II, Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, E, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 2 October

Capt Catez 04_deuils_portrait
Capt. Joseph Catez (1832-1887)

 

Oh father, ten years ago
You were stricken by cruel death!
You left your grief-stricken widow,
Your children, still quite young;
And your soul left the earth,
The place of exile and of misery,
To return to the bosom of God
In the beautiful city of Heaven.

It was in my weak arms as a child,
These arms that caressed you so much,
That your brief agony lasted,
The last battle of your life!
And I tried to hold on
To that last, long breath!

Protector of my childhood,
Who knew how to watch over
His dear little children with constancy,
I truly promise you that the years
Will not erase from my memory
The souvenir of a beloved father
Who was called by Jesus,
Still quite young, to eternal glory!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Poem 37, 2 October 1897

 

7 years old 04_deuils_e06
Elizabeth, age 7 (1887)

 

The year 1887 was difficult for St. Elizabeth’s family. When she was two years old, her maternal grandmother died, leaving her grandfather, Raymond Rolland as a widower to fend for himself. Eventually, he moved in with his daughter Marie and son-in-law Capt. Joseph Catez.

But 24 January 1887, Grandfather Rolland died in the Catez home.  It was a rude shock for the family.

Eight months later, Joseph Catez, the proud army captain, was knocked down by serious health problems. It’s his heart, the doctor says. Besides, he can feel it himself, says biographer Conrad de Meester (2017). Several times during the summer of 1887 he has serious heart attacks, “but the courageous captain, a committed Christian, doesn’t complain easily.”

Nobody expected his condition to deteriorate so quickly, however. The veritable unraveling of the strong fabric of his existence was so rapid and so tragic for the Catez family.

Sunday morning 2 October 1887, Captain Catez fought his last battle and died, borne away in one single night by a massive heart attack. He died in the arms of Elizabeth, who literally felt him draw his last breath.

Elizabeth was always a daddy’s girl; the profound event, which engraved an indelible image upon her memory, inspired her to compose a poem on the anniversary of Captain Catez’s death 10 years later.

The French website of the Carmel of Dijon provides more detail here. Images of Capt. Catez and Elizabeth at age seven are courtesy of the Carmel of Dijon.

 

de Meester C 2017, Rien moins que Dieu: Sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité biographie, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris.

Quote of the day: 9 September

The Greatness of Our Vocation (excerpt)
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

It seems to me that the soul that is aware of its greatness enters into the “holy freedom of the children of God” of which the Apostle speaks (Rom 8:21), that is, it transcends all things, including self.

The freest soul, I think, is the one most forgetful of self.

If anyone were to ask me the secret of happiness, I would say it is to no longer think of ourselves; well, love of God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love.

 

Augustine writing De Civitate Dei British Museum AN00045163_001_l (2)
St Augustine writing; the city of God and the city of Satan; Abel and Cain; cutting from “Augustinus de Ciutate dei cum commento”, printed by Johannes von Amorbach, Basle. 1489-90 Woodcut
© The Trustees of the British Museum / Creative Commons License

 

St. Augustine says we have two cities within us, the city of God and the city of SELF (cf. De Civitate 14:28). To the extent that the first increases, the second will be destroyed.

A soul that lives by faith in God’s presence that has this “single eye” that Christ speaks of in the Gospel (Matt 6:22), that is, a purity of “intention” that seeks only God (Rusbrock l’Admirable 34); this soul, it seems to me, would also live in humility: it would recognize his gifts to it—for “humility is truth” (Interior Castle VI:10)—but it would attribute nothing to itself, referring all to God as the Blessed Virgin did.

 

white doves waikato new zealand peter_from_wellington flickr 16289388796_b778a4e0eb_o
Two white doves pause for a moment in the serene stillness of the Japanese Garden of Contemplation in Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand | Peter Kurdulija / Flickr

 

Catez, E 2014, I Have Found God: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

 

Interior_Castle_1205 LIBRIVOX cover art

Listen to the LibriVox recording of The Interior Castle read by Ann Boulais below

Quote of the day: 7 September

Here, at last, comes Sabeth to sit down by her dearest Framboise and visitwith her pencil! I say pencil, for the heart-to-heart communion was established long ago, and we are now as one.

How I love our evening rendezvous; it is like the prelude of that communion from Heaven to earth that will be established between our souls. It seems to me that I am like a mother bending attentively over her favorite child: I raise my eyes and look at God, and then I lower them on you, exposing you to the rays of His Love.

Framboise, I do not use words when I speak to Him of you but He understands me even better for He prefers my silence. My dearest child, I wish I were a saint so I could help you here below while waiting to do it from Heaven. What I would not endure to obtain for you the graces of strength that you need!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 310 to Françoise de Sourdon 

 

golden gate bridge sunset thomas hawk flickr 102270031_eb1423eba4_o
My Love She Speaks Like Silence | Thomas Hawk / Flickr

 

Catez, E 2014, Letters From Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 21 August

The Master has done all things well.

He has chosen a very beautiful part for your daughter by calling her to Carmel. Know that she is happy, with a happiness no one can take away from her, for it is wholly divine…

On the 15th, I entrusted my best wishes to the Blessed Virgin and asked her, in going up to Heaven, to draw the very best from God’s treasures for my Mama.

I also asked her to reveal that sweet secret of union with God that makes us remain with Him through everything: it’s the intimacy of a child with its mother, of the bride with the Bridegroom; that is the life of your Carmelite; union is her brilliant sun, she sees infinite horizons unfold!

When you go to that dear little church, say a prayer for me, remember the time when we came and knelt together before the poor Tabernacle, remember that I am the prisoner of the divine Prisoner and that, close to Him, there is no distance at all. One day in Heaven, we shall be even closer still, since we are separated now for love of Him! 

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 209 to her mother (excerpts)
21 August 1904

 

Atmosphère Spirituelle Antony Pinto Flickr
Atmosphère Spirituelle
D’après “Rosée” d’Hélène Mugot
Musée d’arts sacrés à Dijon
Exposition temporaire ” Une spiritualité au féminin”
Antony Pinto/Flickr

 

Nash, A, and Elizabeth of the Trinity, 1995, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Quote of the day: 23 June

With the Virgin, you can sing your “Magnificat” and leap with joy in God your Savior, for the Almighty is doing great things in you, and His mercy is eternal. . . . Then, like Mary, “keep all that in your heart,” draw your heart very close to hers, for this priestly Virgin is also the “Mother of Divine Grace,” and in her love she wants to prepare you to become “that faithful priest who is entirely according to God’s heart” of whom He speaks in Holy Scripture.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt)
Around 25 June 1905

 

ND de Palestine Holy Land Franciscans Wash DC monastery
Notre-Dame de Palestine | paullew / Flickr

 

Excerpt from Letter 232, 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

Quote of the day: 18 July

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 300 to her mother

[ July 18, 1906]

J. M. + J. T.

Darling little Mama,

I’m expecting you on Saturday at the time we arranged; I will go to receive you on foot, without a cane. I’m delighted about it! I was expecting you today, and here I see my Master wants to unite mother and child in suffering, since your dear health is the reason for the delay of your visit; I love you too much to be sad about it, for I understand better than ever how much God loves us when He tries us. What a relief for me to think of you looked after by our dear Guite; let yourself be cared for by her, obey her completely, won’t you, little Mama.

The Blessed Virgin has not performed the miracle you desired. When, as you tell me in your dear, kind letter, you’re afraid that I might be a victim marked out for suffering, I beg you not to be sad about it, that would be so beautiful; I don’t feel worthy of it; think now, to have a share in the sufferings of my crucified Bridegroom, and to go with Him to my passion to be a redemptrix with Him. . . . Saint Paul says that those whom God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Rejoice in your mother’s heart when you think that God has predestined me and has marked me with the seal of the Cross of His Christ.

My legs, however, are getting better; I can walk without a cane. I’ve been given a very light robe, and this is what I wear when I make my little comings and goings, which consist in going out on the terrace and to the little tribune [small second-story prayer chapel overlooking the tabernacle]; can you imagine what a joy this is for my soul? Several times a day I make long visits to my Master, and I thank Him for having given me the use of my legs to go to Him. I am reading your dear book,  which is magnificent; you’ve made me a very precious gift, my dear Mama; I have it beside me on the little table that is so useful to me.  If you knew how well set up I am. . . . I think up something new every day, and my dear Mother smiles at my “comforts.” How she cares for me and anticipates my every need; I had told her I had a bad taste in my mouth and she got some new candy for me to bring me more relief, and it’s like that with everything; she has the intuitions of a mother. If you knew how she loves you; it was she who told me to write you right away, and I didn’t have to be begged, as you can imagine. We’ve had a very beautiful feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,  I’ll tell you all about it on Saturday. I’m giving you all my best wishes for my Guite; tell little Sabeth to give her this holy card and to kiss her for Tata. A Dieu, darling Mama, I gather all of you together to kiss you as I love you. Be very reasonable, listen well to your Guite to please me. Your daughter who loves you more than she can say.

M.E. of the Trinity r.c.i.
26 years old today.


This would be the last birthday letter that Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity would write to her dear mother, Madame Catez. Less than four months later, she would die of acute adrenal failure, directly attributable to her years-long battle with Addison’s Disease.

 

bl-e-of-t-very-ill-near-death
One of the last photos taken of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

Letter 300 to her mother, on 18 July 1906 The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 309-310)
ICS Publications, Washington DC © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

Quote of the day: 10 July

I believe love does not allow us to pause for long here on earth, and besides Saint John of the Cross says so definitively; he has a wonderful chapter in which he describes the death of souls who are victims of love, the last assaults He gives them, then all the rivers of the soul, which are so immense they already resemble seas, go to lose themselves in the Ocean of divine love. Little sister, Saint Paul says that “our God is a consuming Fire.” If we remain always united to Him by a simple, loving gaze of faith; if, like our adored Master, we can say at the end of every day: “Because I love my Father, I always do what pleases Him,” He will really be able to consume us, and like two little sparks we will lose ourselves in the immense Furnace, free to burn there for all eternity.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 293 to Clémence Blanc (excerpt)
Beginning of July, 1906

 

ash blaze bonfire burn
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

Excerpt from Letter 293, 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

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

Quote of the day: 11 June

Let us go to the Father

Yes, dear Sister, like that great passionate, illuminated Magdalene, let us pass through everything, lost in His Infinity! “Many sins will be forgiven her because she has loved much!” (Lk 7:47) That is what He asks of us: Love that no longer looks at self, but leaves itself and ascends higher than its own feelings, its own impressions; Love that gives itself, surrenders itself, Love “that establishes Unity.” Let us live like Mary Magdalene through everything, day [and] night, in light or darkness, always beneath the eyes of Unchanging Beauty that wishes to fascinate us, to captivate us, more than that, to deify us!

Oh, my Sister, “to be Him,” that is my whole dream; then, do you believe that the Father, who contemplates His adored Word in us, can resist the powerful prayer that one glance, one desire can become? Oh yes, let us be Him, and “let us go to the Father” in the movement of His divine soul.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 121 to Sister Agnès of Jésus-Marie
11 June 1902

 

Mary-Magdalene-reading_Corot_Louvre
Mary Magdalene Reading
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796 – 1875)
Oil on canvas, 1854
Musée du Louvre

 

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

Quote of the day: 31 May

 

When I read in the Gospel “that Mary went in haste to the hill country of Judea” (Lk 1:39) to perform her loving service for her cousin Elizabeth, I imagine her passing by so beautiful, so calm and so majestic, so absorbed in recollection of the Word of God within her. Like Him, her prayer was always this: “Ecce, here I am!” Who? “The servant of the Lord,” (Lk 1:38) the lowliest of His creatures: she, His Mother! Her humility was so real for she was always forgetful, unaware, freed from self. And she could sing: “The Almighty has done great things for me, henceforth all peoples will call me blessed.” (Lk 1:49, 48)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day

 

Magnificat-Siby-Flickr
Magnificat | Siby / Flickr

 

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

Marie du jour: 11 May

After Jesus Christ, doubtless at the distance that there is between the Infinite and the finite, there is one who was also the great praise of glory of the Holy Trinity. She responded fully to the divine election of which the Apostle speaks: she was always “pure, immaculate, and without reproach” in the eyes of the thrice-holy God.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day

Annunciation_WATERHOUSE John William_Tate Britain
The Annunciation (Ecce Ancilla Domini)
John William Waterhouse (English, 1849 – 1917)
Oil on canvas, 1914 
Private collection
Andreagrossman / Wikimedia Commons

 

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: 
I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.160)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

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.

Marie du jour 2019: May 2

I would like to respond by living on earth as the Blessed Virgin did

At the moment I am reading some very beautiful pages in our blessed Father Saint John of the Cross on the transformation of the soul in the three Divine Persons. Monsieur l’Abbé, to what an abyss of glory we are called! Oh! I understand the silence, the recollection of the saints who could no longer leave their contemplation; thus God could lead them to the divine summits where union is made perfect between Him and the soul who has become His bride, in the mystical sense of the word. Our blessed Father says that then the Holy Spirit raises it to so wonderful a height that He makes it capable of producing in God the same spiration of love that the Father produces in the Son and the Son in the Father, the spiration that is the Holy Spirit Himself!

To think that God calls us by our vocation to live in this holy light! What an adorable mystery of charity! I would like to respond to it by living on earth as the Blessed Virgin did, “keeping all these things in my heart,” burying myself, so to speak, in the depths of my soul to lose myself in the Trinity who dwells in it in order to transform me into itself. Then my motto, “my luminous ideal,” as you said, will be accomplished: it will really be Elizabeth of the Trinity! . . .

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 185 to Abbé Chevignard
28 November 1903

MESTROVIC-Ivan_Contemplation_kontemplacija-fotozoranalajbeg
Kontemplacija (Contemplation)
Ivan Mestrovic
Marble sculpture, 1923
Detroit Institute of Arts
Excerpt from Letter 185, 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

Quote of the day: 19 April

“I will never forget the emotions of 19 April: I saw my child so recollected, so earnest, her tears did not cease to flow and I understood that God had taken possession of that heart so pure, so loving, which no longer would beat except for him.”

Madame Catez
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity’s mother recalls her daughter’s first Holy Communion, 1891
Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité

19 April 1891 taken on communion day sepia large
19 April 1891 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity First Holy Communion, St. Michael Parish, Dijon | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

Quote of the day: 1 April

Let us lift the veil through faith and rest in those regions of peace and light.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 237 to Madame de Sourdon (excerpt)
August 11 or 12, 1905

afterglow avian backlit birds
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

On April 1, 1883, St. Elizabeth’s great-uncle Raymond Rolland, priest of the Diocese of Carcassonne, died; Elizabeth was two years and eight months old.

Quote of the day: 23 March

Thursday morning, 6:00 a.m. [23 March 1899]

Devotion to Mary

93. There are three principal devotions to Mary: the scapular, pictures, the rosary.

A) The scapular is the livery of Mary. A soul who wears it and who, of course, makes every effort to work out his own salvation cannot be cast into hell, it is impossible. Never take off your scapular.

B) Pictures. We love to have pictures of our loved ones in our homes, a portrait of those whom we love. Why not have one everywhere of our heavenly Mother?

C) The rosary. It is the chain that unites us to Mary. Through the practice of this pious recitation, we accumulate a number of graces and Mary takes us by the hand, Mary directs our frail skiff on the fury of the waves and, with her as our guide, we are sure of our eternal salvation; she cannot let us perish, that is impossible!…


From the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

On 23 March 1899 in every parish in St. Elizabeth’s hometown of Dijon, France, there was a great celebration in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of a city-wide preached retreat. [Source: De Meester] 

Ego_Sum_Immaculata_Conceptio
I am the Immaculate Conception!

See this image and more in A K M Adam’s photo album, Holy Cards on Flickr

This translation from the diary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity is the blogger's own work and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 15 March

We’re going to have a big mission for the end of Lent. I’m already praying for the success of this mission. Oh, I desire so much to gather souls to my Jesus! I would give my life only to contribute to the redemption of one of these souls that Jesus has loved so much. Ah, I would like to make him known, to make him loved in all the earth.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Excerpt from her diary, 2 February 1899

Elisabeth_a_18_ans
Elizabeth Catez, age eighteen
At the end of Lent 1899, every parish in Dijon participated in one big mission with preachers in every parish. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity participated with fervor in her home parish, St. Michael’s. For her, it was a grace-filled moment. On 15 March she made a general confession to the mission preacher, Father Lion. “I met a confessor like I had never found before.” [Source: Conrad de Meester, O.C.D., Rien moins que Dieu: sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité, Chap. 8] | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

 

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