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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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]
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.
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
She is there at the foot of the Cross, standing, full of strength and courage, and here my Master says to me: “Ecce Mater tua.” He gives her to me for my Mother. . . . And now that He has returned to the Father and has substituted me for Himself on the Cross so that “I may suffer in my body what is lacking in His passion for the sake of His body, which is the Church,” the Blessed Virgin is again there to teach me to suffer as He did, to tell me, to make me hear those last songs of His soul which no one else but she, His Mother, could overhear.
When I shall have said my “consummatum est,” it is again she, “Janua coeli,” who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: “Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi; in domum Domini ibimus!”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love
L 106 To Madame de Bobet
[February 10, 1902] Dijon Carmel, February 10
J. M. + J. T.
Very dear Madame,
I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?
Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.
A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.
Elizabeth of the Trinity
A kiss to dear little Simone.
*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.” Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel