Not as well known as her contemporary St. Therese, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity was another heroic soul of the Order of Carmel. She is most known for her writings and practice of devotion to the "Indewlling of the Trinity," constantly living with and in the presence of "The Three."
Elizabeth Catez was born on 18 July 1880 on a military base (France), her father being a military captain. As a child, she had a dreadful temper, subject to fits of angry upset when she didn’t get her way. But she was also a loving child and close to both her parents and her sister, Marguerite. When Elizabeth’s father died suddenly in 1887, her mother moved the family from the military base to Dijon, where their home overlooked the Carmelite Monastery there. In 1891, she received her First Holy Communion, and later that day, visited the Carmel with her family. The Prioress told her that her name meant “house of God”. Impressed with this beautiful thought and truly valuing the sacrament she received that day, from that time on, she made great efforts to control her temper and moods, always sincerely contrite when she failed.
Elizabeth studied music and became a gifted pianist – some who knew her talent said that she could have become quite famous pursuing this musical bent. She and her family were involved in charitable works and shared beautiful friendships among their acquaintances. As she matured, her spiritual life also grew and matured. She felt a singular attraction to the doctrine of the Divine Indwelling – the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in the soul. She also felt the call of God to the religious life and Carmel. Her mother’s opposition made her wait some years, but in the end, her mother relented and Elizabeth entered the Dijon Carmel, being clothed in the holy habit on December 8, 1901, at the age of 21, and receiving the name Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity. She made her Profession on January 11, 1903. After reading the autobiography of St. Therese who had died only two years earlier, Elizabeth made her own offering to Divine Love: “Make me a martyr of your love… Take from me the freedom to displease you…I want to always do your will, to respond always to your grace. My Master, I want to be a saint for your sake, be you my sanctity, for I know my weakness… May my every heartbeat be a cry of gratitude and love.” Her health began to deteriorate in 1905 and, after spending eight months in the infirmary, she died of Addison's disease in 1906 at the age of 26. Though her death was painful, Elizabeth gratefully accepted her suffering as a gift from God and offered herself for the Church and for souls. Her last words were: "I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!"
More can be read about Blessed Elizabeth and her spirituality in our past newsletters.
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