Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elizabeth Catez

Élisabeth Catez better known as Elizabeth of the Trinity was born into a Military family. At age 7 her father Captain Joseph Catez died unexpectedly.

Growing up she had a terribly uncotollable temper . After receiving her First Communion in 1891 Elizabeth became calmer and for her age had deep into God and the world. She began developing a profound sense and understanding of the Trinity. Elizabeth visited the sick at every chance she had. A number of young men asked for her hand in marriage, she declined them all.

Elizabeth aquired an interest in the Discalced Carmelites and although her mother strongly opposed it, Elizabeth entered the Dijon Convent on August 2, 1901.

From the very beginning Elizabeth’s favorite point of the Rule was not poverty, chastity or obedience, but silence. She identified from the start with the Order’s motto: Alone with the Alone.

Elizabeth put her thoughts and prayers to paper, as a result we have a pretty good window into her relationship with God. She wrote" I find Him everywhere, while doing the wash as well as while praying. Other entries contained such things as: "Every happening, every event, every suffering as also every joy, is a sacrament that gives God to the soul." "Prayer is a rest, a relaxation, . . . We must look at Him all the time; we must keep silent; it is so simple." "I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is God, and God is in my soul. " "We shall not be purified by looking at our miseries, but by gazing on Him who is all purity and holiness."

In November 1904, her community renewed their vows. While reciting them, Elizabeth felt the magnetic pull of grace. Returning to her cell, she erratic penned one of the most insightful prayers in Carmelite history. She called it her Act of Oblation.

"O my God, Trinity whom I adore! Help me to become utterly forgetful of self, that I may bury myself in Thee, as changeless and as calm as though my soul were already in eternity . . . O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, Infinite Solitude, Immensity wherein I lose myself! I yield myself to Thee as Thy prey. Bury Thyself in me that I may be buried in Thee, until I depart to contemplate in Thy light the abyss of Thy greatness!"

Elizabeth died at the age of 26 of Addison's disease. Even though her illness was unbearable, She experienced a deep peace and intamacy with God. In a letter written just a few weeks before her death in the year 1906, she declared to a friend: "My beloved Antoinette, I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls. I confide to you: it is this intimacy with Him 'within' that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven: it is what sustains me today in my suffering.'

Her last words were, "I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!"

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