Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity OCD

Feast: 9 November

Discalced Carmelite, mystic and biblical spiritual writer, French born Elizabeth Catez was the eldest of two daughters who upon the sudden death of their father, moved with their mother into a second story apartment overlooking the Carmel of Dijon.

The young Elizabeth was a brilliant pianist and a very good student. It is said that she would have been a most delightful child were it not for an instinctive stubbornness, a naturally noisy nature, and a fiery temper. Confessing to one particularly bad fit of temper, her parish priest declared that she would either die a saint or a demon for there could be no other possibilities. St Elizabeth clearly elected to work for sainthood over the alternative.

On the occasion of her First Holy Communion, aged 11, Elizabeth visited the Carmel for the first time whereupon the Prioress shared with her the meaning of her Christian name – “House of God.” The young Elizabeth was inspired by this to a more godly and disciplined life. She reasoned that a House of God could have no standing with an agent of mischief and chaos in residence.

Honouring a promise made to her mother, Elizabeth delayed entering the Carmel until aged twenty-one, but died there just five years later. However, in that short time, consumed by the knowledge and experience of the loving God who dwelt within her she wrote a short series of manuscripts which together with her published letters to friends and family explore the great themes of her spirituality: Forgetfulness of self, a life of intense prayer, and interior and exterior silence.

Consistent with her Biblical spirituality, when asked for prayers St Elizabeth would employ the words of scripture as spoken by the beloved sisters of Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus: “Lord, the one you love is sick…”.

St Elizabeth prompts us that every line of scripture is there for a purpose and she offers us seven very powerful and instructive words from scripture, reminding us that those for whom we intercede in prayer are very much “the one Christ loves” and He will not deny the one He loves. “Believe that He loves you. He wants to help you Himself in the struggles which you must undergo. Believe in His Love, His exceeding Love” the Saint instructs.

May we take the Saint’s instruction to our own prayers when praying for those in need: “Lord, the one you love is anxious… Lord, the one you love is lost… Lord, the one you love is hurting… Lord, the one you love needs you!”

Tags: Northern Deanery, Saints, Southern Deanery