Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (Part 2 of 2)

When Elizabeth Catez entered the Carmel in Dijon, France in 1901 at the age of twenty-one, she was required to complete the “Postulant’s Questionnaire”.  Her responses are striking:

What is your ideal for sanctity?
To live from love.

What is the quickest way to attain it?
To make oneself as small as possible, to surrender oneself without reserve.

Which saint do you love most?
The disciple Jesus loved, who rested his head on Jesus’ breast.

Which part of the Rule speaks most directly to you?

What is the dominant trait of your character?

Your favorite virtue?
Purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The fault you most abhor?
Egoism in general.

Give a basic definition of prayer.
The union of one who is not with the One who Is.

What is your favorite book?
The soul of Christ – it reveals to me all the secrets of the heavenly Father.

Do you have a powerful yearning for heaven?
I often long for that, but, apart from the beatific vision, I already possess heaven in my innermost soul.

In what disposition would you like to die?
I would like to die loving and thus collapse into the arms of the one I love.

What form of martyrdom would you desire most?
I love them all, especially the martyrdom of love.

What name would you like to bear in heaven?
The Will of God.

What is your motto?
God in me and I in Him.


I have found a beautiful site called Le Jour du Seigneur (The Day of the Lord), where you can watch an excellent video about Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.  Even if you do not understand French, you may enjoy seeing Elizabeth’s bedroom at the Carmel in Dijon, her handwritten letters and listening to the Carmelite nuns reading excerpts from her books.  (Once the video starts playing, you can click on the lower right-hand side to enlarge the screen). 


29 thoughts on “Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (Part 2 of 2)

  1. Girl, you’re on fire! Wonderful! These videos are a challenge to figure out, but there is something there about folks of the ressourcement, and Edith Stein and Charbel and Inigo and Francis and Clare and little Marthe Robin…did I not see one also about Teresa of Avila? whew!!

    Teresa_Anawim will be beside herself with joy to see what you’ve found of Elizabeth of the Trinity! Awesome.

  2. To be just 21 and to have already travelled so far…the answers lead me to believe she was well prepared through years of prayer for her entrance into the order.

  3. Justme: I think (in my humble opinion, and just off the top of my head), that she means, to give oneself up utterly, to love. I read this from Galatians 5:6, just this morning: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”. To be martyred in love, I think, is to selflessly & humbly & whole-heartedly sacrifice yourself for the sake of love. We have been given much – and forgiven much…and so we have no excuse, but to give ourselves back to God, by expressing our love to Him, and to our fellow man. I agree with Ann….to have so much pure faith, at such a young age. Incredible. Profound. And it gives me hope, to keep running the race that is before me. Thank you, Gabrielle, for sharing this.

  4. Gabrielle: the message posted at 4:56 yesterday was from me (kristin), not from “Anonymous”….can you correct this from your end? Don’t ask me how that happened! I can barely even SPELL “anonymous”, without thinking really hard. In my own defence, since I’m not terribly “computer literate”, I don’t know how that happened! Lastly, to “Anonymous”, my apologies for inadvertently posting a comment in your name (I can’t even call it a “Freudian slip”….) 🙂

    When I checked into your blogsite, and saw this comment, my first thought was, “wow, that sounds a lot like what I wrote, just yesterday….” 🙂

    Anyway, Gabrielle, can you “fix” this, somehow? Please?

    Thank you, and God bless you, dear lady!


  5. Yes, I thought the site was a “real find”, too. I wish they had subtitles for English-speaking viewers though (although I think I watched at least a couple of videos that did have subtitles, if I remember correctly). Twenty-eight minutes was just too much to translate, although I was sorely tempted.

    Ann, that is what struck me too – the depth of her spirituality, at age twenty-one. I was particularly touched by her response to the definition of prayer, and to what she would like her name to be in heaven. Here is one area where we can see her spirituality developing in the few short years she lived after entering the Carmel, for her desired name changed from “The Will of God” to Laudem Gloriae (Praise of Glory).

    What is the martyrdom of love? I think we have to remember how greatly she was affected by Thérèse de Lisieux as she was exploring her own spirituality. As von Balthasar and others have pointed out, Elizabeth was seven years younger than Thérèse and lived nine years longer, and so she was able to read Thérèse’s autobiography and make her teachings a part of her own life, and I believe she completely understood Thérèse’s Oblation to Merciful Love. von Balthasar and others see Elizabeth’s mission as a sort of continuation of Thérèse’s, in that she was immediately able to grasp “what was essential” in Thérèse’s spirituality, and then move on to allow her own to be developed by the Lord, as she came to a deeper and deeper understanding of the Holy Trinity.

    But I think Kristin expresses the heart of it, and very spiritually-intuitively so, if I may put it that way, for Elizabeth of the Trinity was, and I quote from the back cover of Volume One of her Complete Works, “imbued with a biblical spirituality, especially that of the epistles of her dear St. Paul…” When we read the sixteen days of entries in her “Last Retreat”, we see this so clearly.

  6. Hi, Kristin! I had a feeling it was you! 🙂 My Scripture gal!  I posted my comment above before yours came through for some reason (crazy system) even though you wrote yours before I wrote mine!

  7. Thank you, ladies. Oh gosh, at 21.. At 21 I was trying to be gorgeous and acceptable.. and a mother of two, wife of one, and my thoughts did not run to God. Oh hardly.. it was about then that I dabbled a bit in witchcraft candles. To make my first husband actually love me. Ow.

    Yes, love. What point is life, if not to love Love? But an oblation, whew… that is a whole other kettle of wonderful fish.

    Keep talkin’… keep talkin’, all… we’re hearin’…

  8. “von Balthasar and others see Elizabeth’s mission as a sort of continuation of Thérèse’s”
    This reminds me of how in science, discoveries rarely come from out of the blue. They are built upon the work of others, and a brick is added, one at a time.

    I worked in a biomedical research center for 12 years, and I really experienced how everything is interconnected, and the discoveries made help humanity progress. Spiritually we progress by delving into the lives of the saints. N’est-ce pas?

  9. I hear ‘ya, JustMe. Isn’t it a glorious mercy for those such as ourselves, who show up at the last (or next-to-last) hour and get paid the same wages as those who were in the field since before dawn?

    That’s a great analogy, Pia. We can see this over and over again, the Lord starting something with a particular saint, for instance, and then building on it until the fullness of the message is revealed. I think, just for example, of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque building on St. John Eudes, or centuries of the divine mercy message culminating with St. Faustina. Ton français est trés bon – les études de ton jeune homme, ça va?

  10. Je regrette que mon français n’est plus trés bon…j’ai oublié tout! Quelle dommage! did I spell that right?
    mais…. ya ochen xoroshò gavariù po ruskii!! Sort of…

  11. Pia
    Toza! Only know Cyrillic though. хорошо

    “I worked in a biomedical research center for 12 years, and I really experienced how everything is interconnected, and the discoveries made help humanity progress. Spiritually we progress by delving into the lives of the saints. N’est-ce pas?”

    You are so right about this. Not only their lives but the dialog that we have. Blogs are a great thing.

  12. No, I meant how did you write the words in cyrillic print in your message?
    I took russian for 3 years in college, and I’m reviewing it right now because it’s useful for my job. I realize that I learned it very well, because everything I’ve reviewed so far is clear as a bell.
    I love it!

    I’ll visit the site you posted asap.

    btw, how are you and mrs. Mystic doing? We miss you on the web!

  13. пиа
    добрый утро или я говорит добрый вечер?


    BTW, for anyone who is interested, I learned the alphabet by making flashcards and going through them one afternoon after class, saying the sounds. Then I wrote the alphabet over and over. You can knock out the Greek alphabet on a rainy afternoon if you are an aspiring bible scholar.

    Mrs. Mystic is fine thank you. So are the young ones. Her Dad is not well. Just had surgery. He longs deeply to return to the Shire. He wants to buy some land and build a Hobbit hole and walk among his fellow Hobbits again. I hope all is well with you.

  14. Seriously, Pia, you must have a very high aptitude for second languages, and JohnT also, it seems. Is Russian not one of the most difficult languages to learn, along with Japanese? And JohnT, Greek as well? I was debating about re-learning Latin; maybe I could get a part-time job teaching seminarians…

    JohnT, I went to Matthew Lickona’s site and read about Chris’ wife’s upcoming surgery. She and the family will be in my prayers. Also for your father-in-law, and a rapid recovery from his surgery.

  15. Gabrielle, that’s an urban legend…
    Russian is not as difficult as it looks, and the alphabet is the easiest and quickest thing to learn! It’s got the nominative, accusative, genitive, etc, like latin. I think you’d be an ace!

    John, thanks for the news. I can understand your father in law’s desires, but believe me, with the dollar so low, he will be living on a pittance if he wants to live off his US pension!

  16. пиа
    Да, поистине. Russian is phonetic, unlike French, 😉 it is easy to spell. In most cases it is spelled just like it sounds. I have not practiced in nearly 20 years. So it is fading. I think English would be hard to learn.

    Gab, thanks for your prayers. Please keep that woman in prayer. Pray also that my father-in-law is healed of marchegiantitis too. It is far worse than his surgery. Pia would understand. Pia please pray that God heals my father-in-law from marchegiantitis. As Pia knows it is a debilitating mental disorder only effecting the people of the Le Marche region of Italy. My wife has it, and my children are starting to show early signs. It is much more acute than their abruzziphrenia which they get from my mother-in-law. 😉

    I think he is good in the pittance department. He’s old school. He’ll go farm like a good hobbit. I picked figs with him when we were there. Figs as big as the palm of your hand, and sweet like candy. Then the vegetables are so good that you have know concept of flavor until you’ve eaten them in Italy. You don’t even want meat, maybe some fish. His cousins still have farms too. Pia can you even remember how marginal the food is in the states?

  17. Yeah, I remember John. We have two tangerine and a navel orange tree plus a pomegranate tree in our back yard. You just have to stand under them, reach up, pick one and eat it…and then another, and another…
    We also have a little citrus orchard next to the olive grove, so we NEVER buy fruit in the autumn and winter, when these fruits ripen. Plus my father in law planted fennel, lettuce, broccoli rapa, arucola, and cabbage.

    They keep talking about economic crisis here, and how Italy will soon become like Argentina a few years ago. It may be, but I know we’d survive because we have everything we need. God is so good. 🙂

  18. I’m confused. John’s father-in-law wants to come back here, or is it rather that he wants to go live out his days in Italy? Don’t hobbits occupy middle earth? Am I mixing creatures, or is it apt to say there are delightful munchings and crunchings in Italy?

    As for languages, I always just wanted to learn the Pater Noster in many of them. (Guess one couldn’t ask about the next bus with that, but it’s ok.) I can speak a little conversational French (“Hello, how are you? I’m very well, thank you — and you?”), and I practised “Je’taime” until it was terribly believable. I can communicate a little in sign language–I particularly excel at simple phrases like, “My cat is white” — which haven’t come in awfully handy so far). Actually, I have spoken with deaf people, and probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, except for Caravaggio paintings and Ireland’s quilt, and a newborn, is the Our Father signed. Learning it was my “answer” to yoga’s way of greeting the day. You know?

  19. JM

    He wants to go back home. Italy is a garden, it reminds me of the shire. Italians are food fanatics, more so than the Brits. Tolkien had the whole food thing dialed, but it seems to me that the Italians actually live the Shire experience as best it can be lived in reality. We’d walk down the road and stuff was just growing wild, plums, figs, peaches. You eat dinner and go for a walk and pick fruit, get to town and have gelato, and walk back and have glass of wine. Plus the father-in-law is only a slightly taller than most Hobbits. I figure it is a good analogy. Not to mention all the delightful munchings and crunchings.

    French have a great food culture too. But I don’t know much about the people. They invented Cognac. That was a gift to civilization. Thanks Gab, please pass that on to the French. I’d like to have dinner with St. Therese and find out more about French culture some time. I hope that is a reality. Christ alludes to it I’d really like to have dinner with St. Teresa, that would be a feast. Spanish have a huge food culture too.

    “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Mt 26:29

    A little Lectio. Consider how powerful a ritual is eating that the Lord would mention it. He knew what was going to happen the next day, but he still thought it important to mention it in this context. He could of said we will all play a game or sing or walk or work in health and joy, but he thought that it was significant enough to mention that someday we will have a glass of wine together.

    So yeah, dinner with St. Teresa is a likely possibility. I would avail myself to it as much as possible.

  20. Thanks for elaborating, John. Oh, hey, I tried cognac once. It took out a tonsil, I think. Whew! Italy sounds nice.. I think I’d trip over luscious fruit along the road while looking for food for the eyes and mind. Whenever I exit my cave, my eyes constantly roam for lush open spaces, even if they “belong” to another.

    I’m thinking about the phrase “martyrdom of love” again. By what means did Therese and Elizabeth effect this? Suffering and prayer?

  21. Thank you, I’m beginning to understand about martyrdom of love. One of those links speaks of the chambers of His Heart.. I am beginning to understand That, too. I keep forgetting This is where the sword went directly into..

    And thank you for the Our Fathers!! I’ll go listen to both postings, now.

  22. Thank you for these 2 wonderful bloggings on this Saint.
    What do I appreciate most about her? The call every now and again to ‘Come to the Silence’.

    I agree with the other dear commenter who, in commenting on another post, said that this is truly a Contemplative ‘Heaven’….perhaps not so much the typo at all!

  23. Thank you, teresa. I’m so happy you had time to drop by. I was going to email the link to Jour du Seigneur to you in a few days if you didn’t have time to come over and see it here.

    Hope all is going well on the home-front. We miss you alot. Hoping your silence is golden, to match the golden retirement years you are just starting to enjoy. (well, when the workers aren’t tearing out walls and ripping out pipes, I mean). 🙂

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