Homesick For Heaven

In the long history of our Holy Catholic Church, the Carmelite Order is the only group of religious that can trace its beginnings back to Old Testament times. From the age of the prophet Samuel, there existed in the Holy Land a body of men who called themselves Sons of the Prophets, who, though not of the Hebrew priestly class, in some respects resembled religious institutes of later times in that they lived in solitude under the direction of a holy leader. Some Catholic scholars believe that St. John the Baptist was a member of this band of pious solitaries.

Many of them took refuge on Mount Carmel, which eventually came to symbolize the contemplative life. The prophet Elias, considered the founder of the Carmelites, was one of these. More than eight centuries before the time of Our Lord, he celebrated his triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings, 19) on the summit of the holy mount. Elias’ successor, Eliseus, took up residence there, too. We know that in the third and fourth century of Christianity’s flowering Mount Carmel was a place of Christian pilgrimage, and some of the early Fathers — St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Jerome and St. Gregory Nazianzen — held up Elias and Eliseus as models of religious perfection, calling them the patrons of hermits and monks.

Whatever the actual situation in the years intervening the death of Eliseus and the time that written records began to be kept, the tradition of the Order of Mount Carmel has been that there is at the very least a moral succession of hermits on Carmel, first under the Old Dispensation, afterwards in the full light of Christianity. During the time of the Crusades, about the year 1150 A. D., the holy hermits on the Mount organized themselves under St. Berthold after the fashion of religious orders of the Western Church. In the thirteenth century, they became known as the Friars of Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel. During this same century some of the monks migrated to European countries, notably England and France. Eventually, from these bases in Europe, the Carmelite thinking and mode of spirituality spread to other European countries. When the Holy Land ultimately fell to the Infidels, many of the remaining hermits were martyred and others fled to the safety of Catholic Europe.

The Rules Change

From the very beginning, the hermits of Carmel had a very strict rule: permanent abstinence from meat, silence, except at community prayer and some recreation time, many days of complete fasting, and arising during the night for Divine Office. Their primary occupation was prayer, meditation, reading the Scriptures (for those who were literate), in other words, cultivating the “interior life.” During the centuries they spent spreading through Europe and until about the mid-1500’s, their rule was mitigated, in some cases to accommodate to the harsher climate of the northern countries, in others because many of the austere practices of the medieval religious simply were very extreme, and in still others because they became pastors and teachers of the faithful. An example of the first situation would be that it was common to go about barefoot or in sandals in the warm desert climates of the Middle East, but the same would not be prudent in England and Northern Europe. In the second case, many religious, not just Carmelites, became lax in their practices. As for the third situation, the interior life became subjugated to the needs of the population; therefore, many began to function “in the world”, as it were. Broadly stated, by the sixteenth century most of the Carmelite religious had actually moved away — at least to some degree — from the primitive rule.

The Great Reform

In the year 1535 the greatest light of the Carmelite Order entered the convent of the Incarnation at Avila, Spain. A saintly child, Teresa was destined by God to engender great reforms in her beloved order and to sanctify and purify it according to the directions of Our Lord Himself. Because of ill health, she was allowed by her prioress to remain in her cell and engage in mental prayer. Her superiors feared that the visions and ecstasies that Teresa experienced were diabolical in nature and moved to suppress her desired reform. However, with the approval of the Carmelite superior general, in 1562 she began a convent of thirteen nuns in her native town which kept the primitive rule and cultivated mental prayer and the interior life. They returned to the old austerities, not without the opposition of the older groups of Carmelites, who preferred the mitigated rule. Teresa, not one to shrink in the face of adversity, founded sixteen additional convents of nuns in the ensuing fifteen years, as well as two convents for reformed friars, all of them in Spain.

Providentially, one of the chaplains of the convent of the Incarnation at Avila was a humble and holy priest — a true mystic — Juan Yepes, known to history as St. John of the Cross. Many times the nuns there witnessed St. John’s levitations during ecstatic prayer. St. Teresa called him “one of the purest souls in the Church of God.” She convinced him not to enter the Carthusians, as he had planned, but to help her reform the Carmelite Order to its primitive rule. Between these two sainted mystics, the Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelites became a strong movement, eventually forming a separate branch of the order. We are indebted to St. Teresa and St. John for providing a compendium of Catholic mystical theology in their writings and reforms. Spurred on by the upsurge of religious fervor in Catholic Europe following the Protestant Revolt and the Council of Trent, the Discalced Carmelites spread rapidly all over Catholic Europe. Many fled the newly Protestantized countries and started anew in friendlier climates.

Mystics and Saints

Aside from the above-mentioned St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, the Carmelites have produced a wealth of saints. Because of their emphasis on the contemplative life and mental prayer, they opened up fresh ground in the study of theology. Their “system”, if it can be called that, derived from their own personal experiences as seen in the light of Scholastic Theology and with constant reference to Holy Scripture. These two saints paved the way for the many Carmelite mystics and saints who followed them.

A Lesser Known Compatriot

Every Catholic knows and loves ThérE8se Martin, known in America as the Little Flower. Her autobiography has been translated into many languages, causing her to be beloved even by non-Catholics, for whose conversion she no doubt prays. Her early entrance into the Lisieux Carmel, her charming encounter with the Holy Father, her lovely and heartbreaking writings and her early and painful death have moved generations to love her and to attempt to emulate her consuming love for Our Lord.

Another young woman, also French, a contemporary of St. ThérE8se, deserves to be as well known and loved as her compatriot. She is Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, born Elizabeth Catez in 1880, just seven years after St. Thérèse. Blessed Elizabeth was beatified by the current Holy Father in 1984, in part, like St. Thérèse, because of her own writings and also because of the biography written by her beloved prioress in Carmel, Mother Germaine. This work, Laudem Gloriam , the name that Elizabeth gave to herself while in the convent, is the first of several biographies of our Blessed that brought her to the attention of the Catholic world.

Elizabeth was born into a military family; Her Father, Joseph Catez, being a captain in the French army. As a result of her father’s frequent changes of assignment, she traveled much of France. Joseph’s religious wife, Marie, was thirteen years his junior and came from a better educated family; but these differences were no hindrance to Elizabeth’s pious, and attentive upbringing, for both Joseph and Marie had a deep love of their Catholic Faith and imbued it into their two daughters.

They also doted on the girls, providing, among other things, for their extensive travels around Europe. And when Elizabeth and her younger sister, Marguerite (“Guite” as she was known) both showed talent for the piano, they were given intensive music instruction. Marie envisioned a concert music career for her older daughter.

“A Real Little Devil”

Early on Madam Catez’s first-born exhibited a strong personality. She displayed her displeasure with extreme fits of temper — stomping her little feet and slamming doors until her anger subsided. On the other hand, she was as loving as she was fiery. By the age of two she had developed a deep love for her crucified Lord, and, kneeling at her bedside to pray, she “showed” her favorite doll, Jeannette, how to kneel alongside her. Fortunately for their parents, the sisters’ personalities were vastly different, Guite being a more passive and placid child. It was Guite who in later years remembered her older sister as “a real little devil.”

Sadness came upon the Catez family when Elizabeth was very young. Marie’s mother died in 1882, and her father came to live with them. Captain Catez was forced to retire from the army because of heart problems, and they settled down in Dijon, their last posting. The year 1887 was a particularly unhappy one, for in January their beloved grandfather died and in October, Captain Catez died suddenly of a heart attack. The sisters were very young and missed their father and grandfather immensely.

“An Angel or a Devil”

At seven years of age — the time of her first Confession — Elizabeth realized for the first time what a terrible fault her fits of temper betrayed. She called it her “conversion.” She began to realize that her tantrums were only adding to her mother’s grief, and resolved to control them. One day, Elizabeth whispered to an old family friend, Canon Angles, a parish priest, that she wanted to be a nun. Her childish whisper was overheard by her mother who became alarmed at the prospect of losing her beautiful, talented first-born. When Marie inquired of the priest if he thought her daughter had a vocation, he replied, “With her temperament, she will either be an angel or a devil!”

As Elizabeth matured, her “angel” won out over her “devil”, but it was not without a struggle. The real turning point seemed to be at the time of her First Communion. Since she now “had God within her”, as she put it, she knew that she had to subdue the fiery side of her nature. She took as her model St. Catherine of Siena who “created a cell within herself” where she could hold Our Lord in her soul even in the midst of her daily activities. Elizabeth was able to do this even as early as the age of ten while still managing to be the life of every party. Meanwhile, her progress at the piano continued to advance. At the age of thirteen she was awarded First Prize for Excellence at the Conservatory. Years later she gave a young budding musician friend who suffered from stage fright her secret: “to forget her audience and imagine she is alone with her Divine Master; then she will play for Him with all her heart and bring out of her instrument full, yet strong and sweet, sound. How I used to love doing this!”

At the age of fourteen, Elizabeth made a vow of virginity to her Divine Savior. Her prayer life and devotion to the Holy Eucharist increased. Her friends observed tears streaming down her face when she received her Lord in Holy Communion, and she spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Initially drawn to the Trappistine Order because of their strict observance of silence, one day while making her thanksgiving after receiving Our Lord, she heard the word “Carmel” deep within herself. From that time on, her only desire was to be behind Carmel’s grilles. Her mother and close family friends were very much against her wishes, convinced that she owed it to her unwell mother to remain in the world and take care of her as she aged. During her later teen years, Elizabeth had several marriage proposals as well. Her suitors, however, knew that there was only one spouse for her: Christ.

The age of fourteen also marks the beginning of her writing, which she continued almost until her death. Poetry, prayers and letters to her many aunts, cousins and friends were among her offerings. Her love of Jesus was so intense that she began to pray that she could join Him in Heaven through earthly suffering and an early death. Here is an example of her poetry written at that tender age:

Jesus, for you my soul is jealous,
I want soon to be your spouse.
With you I want to suffer,
And, to find you, die.

It is obvious that she knew of St. Teresa of Avila’s motto “to suffer or to die”, for she was living the life of Carmel before entering its walls.

Now she was truly dying to the world, even in her early teens. Elizabeth confided in her confessor that she felt that she was being “dwelt in” and asked him what it meant. Abb Vellée told her that she was being dwelled in, by the Most Holy Trinity. He quoted St. Paul to illustrate his point: “Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). As he went on to explain what this meant, he noticed that she was no longer listening; the concept had so seized her that she immediately began to dwell on the mystery and wish the good Abbé would be silent.

In her later teen years she continued her prayers for suffering and death at a young age. She also began to practice terrible austerities, along with their accompanying health problems: synovitis of the knee from kneeling in prayer for so long each day; sleep deprivation caused by wearing a hair shirt; and two years of headaches from praying to suffer Our Lord’s crowning with thorns. The Prioress of the Dijon Carmel instructed her to end these austerities so that her health would not be so poor as to prevent entrance into the convent. It was only under obedience that Elizabeth ceased her penances, and that, because she wanted to be united to her Jesus in Carmel, a dream which it now seemed would soon come true.

Marie, however, had other ideas. Although it was her mother who had introduced her to the lovely writings of St. ThérE8se, her contemporary in Carmel, she still hoped for a concert career and a good marriage for Elizabeth and could not bear the thought of her talented and vivacious daughter behind the grilles of Carmel. At one point, she even forbade Elizabeth to attend morning Mass at the Carmelite convent just around the corner from their home. Elizabeth had made it clear to her mother and sister early on that her only happiness would be found in the Dijon Carmel. She had befriended the sisters there who were the contacts with the outside world, and the Mother Superior knew of her intentions. It was not until she was almost twenty-one that Marie finally relented and gave her daughter her blessing to leave the family home.

A Fitting Name

Even before she entered the convent, Elizabeth’s name in religion had been chosen for her, so sure was the prioress of her vocation. Although at first disappointed at being given the name Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity — she had longed to be called Sister Elizabeth of Jesus — she came to realize that is was the perfect one for her, for from an early age she had been given an understanding of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity and was able to commune with “her Three” in that little cell in her soul. Silence was the rule in Carmel, but at recreation time, when the sisters were allowed to converse while they mended their garments, polished the silver and brass, and had a little social time, Elizabeth was often observed with an ecstatic smile on her glowing face and a faraway look in her eyes. Her sisters knew that she was communicating with “her Three.” She had so perfectly controlled the impetuous side of her personality for so many years that she could retreat into her “little cell” at will. Indeed, there were times that she tried very hard to have a more active prayer life, but it was almost impossible for her to prevent retreating into deep silence and inward prayer.

Although there were several dark periods of her life — a dryness in prayer and a distance from her Beloved — both before and after entrance into Carmel, Elizabeth was never unsure of what God wanted of her. After the period of postulancy and novitiate and after she took her vows, she was given the responsibility of helping to form some of the incoming candidates. She took it upon herself to become spiritual director for her many friends and relatives, including her mother and sister, and kept up a lively correspondence with all of them.

One of the duties set down by St. Teresa of the cloistered Carmelite was to pray for a particular priest or priests — that they would remain steadfast in their vocation and not be subject to the temptations of the world. Sister Elizabeth was charged with two such clerics, who were still as yet seminarians. One was Abbe Beaubis, a student in the Dijon seminary who was to go to China as a missionary. Another was the brother of Guite’s husband, Georges, Andre Chevignard who was also studying in the Dijon seminary. Her desire in her prayers and letters to them was to make of herself an apostle so that their apostolic fervor would not diminish. In one of her letters to Andre she wrote “85 The contemplative is a being who lives in the radiance of the Face of Christ, who enters into the mystery of God, not in the light that flows from human thought, but in that created by the word of the Incarnate Word. Don’t you have this passion to listen to Him? Sometimes it is so strong, this need to be silent, that one would like to know how to do nothing but remain like Magdalene, that beautiful model for the contemplative soul, at the feet of the Master, eager to hear everything, to penetrate ever deeper into this mystery of Charity that He came to reveal to us85”

In the early days of her enclosure, one of the older nuns, Sister Marie of the Cross, died after a lengthy illness. It was the tradition in Carmel to rejoice at the death of a beloved sister, for one of their own had “made it” — the earthly journey now being completed. In a short verse at the occasion of Sister’s death, Elizabeth expressed her desire to die of love:

My Beloved, when will my turn come?
When will you take one who hungers for you?
She pines, wounded by your love.
To die, yes, to die of love!

It was this idea that she developed more fully in the ensuing months — that her own life is Heaven in anticipation, that only a thin veil separated her from her Beloved, that she yearned so deeply for her true home where she would see “her Three” face-to-face, that her heart, her soul, her body and her whole spirit were “homesick for Heaven.” In a letter to her former Mother Superior, Mother Marie of Jesus, she wrote just before Lent began:

Oh, my good Mother, offer a few prayers that the little “house of God” might be wholly filled, wholly invaded by the Three! I have set off into the soul of my Christ, and there I am gong to spend my Lent. Ask Him that I might live no longer, but that He might live in me, that the “One” might be consumed more every day, that I might always remain beneath the great vision! It seems to me that this is the secret to sanctity, and it is so simple! O, my good Mother, to think that we have our Heaven within us, that Heaven for which I am sometimes homesick85 How good it will be when the veil is lifted at last, and we have the joy of being face to face with Him whom alone we love! In the meantime I live in love, and am immersed in it, I am lost in it. It is the Infinite, that infinity, for which my soul is starving.

As her interior life deepened, Elizabeth learned to love reading Holy Scripture. She was particularly drawn to St. Paul, her “beloved Paul”, as she referred to him. More and more she found in the writings of the Apostle passages that she wished to build her prayer life upon. She wanted “to be hidden with Christ in God.” It was from St. Paul that she derived the name she called herself — “the praise of His glory.” Sometimes the other sisters found her profound silence and interior prayer somewhat tedious. It was difficult for them to comprehend how truly filled up with God she was. Her beloved superior, Mother Germaine, understood this special young soul, and knew that she was a saint among them.

Her Own Calvary

As a young girl, Elizabeth had prayed “to suffer and to die” — to die an early death so that the veil would finally be lifted and she could see “her Three” face-to-face. Little did she know at that time how her prayer would be answered! She could say with St. Paul that while her spiritual being was renewed day after day, her physical being was wearing away. In 1903, at the age of twenty-three, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. At that time, it was little understood, having been identified only in 1849. It is a wasting disease in which the cortex of the adrenal glands progressively ceases the production of steroid hormones. The body can compensate for all of the hormones except for one, and that one is vital — hydrocortisone. The resulting situation is low levels of glucose, with other symptoms developing gradually — loss of appetite and weight, increasing fatigue and weakness, anemia, stomach disorders, burning fevers and eventually, death due to a complete breakdown of the immune system. Today, of course, the condition can be treated and kept under control with hydrocortisone medication, but in Elizabeth’s time, no treatment existed. 1

By Lent of 1905, Elizabeth’s condition was obviously worsening. She struggled valiantly to keep up with the strenuous routine of daily life in Carmel. Winter was particularly difficult for her as the convent was not heated and there was no running water. She felt the bone-chilling cold desperately. Her beloved Guite was allowed to make her a woolen skirt to wear under her brown habit to help her keep warm. Mother Germaine allowed her many liberties because of her illness, but Elizabeth was determined to keep the Lenten fast, participate in community prayer, and to attend to her assigned duties as long as she could. There were times that she could barely struggle to the choir, so painful was each movement, and she made herself complete her task through her strong will and her prayer.

Summer with its warmth was better, and Mother Germaine insisted she spend much time outdoors in the garden to soak up God’s fresh air and to enjoy the flowers and the sunny skies. Elizabeth kept up her voluminous correspondence and continued her mending duties. Mother Germaine allowed her to have more contact with her mother, also not well, and with Guite and Georges, now the parents of two little girls. They sent her chocolates and ice, since now almost anything else sent her stomach into agonizing spasms. Some of her most poignant writing is from the year before her death; she, who was dying, was consoling those she would leave behind. There were periods of remission, when she seemed to rally, and her doctors became optimistic, but Elizabeth knew that her union with her beloved Three was not far away.

On Christmas Eve, 1905, the sisters were preparing the crib in the chapel. One of them heard her murmuring to the Infant Babe, “My little King of Love; we’ll be very much closer to each other next year!” It was their custom to draw tickets with saints’ names on them on New Year’s Day. The saint they drew would be their patron for the year. Elizabeth was delighted when her patron for 1906 was St. Joseph, patron of a happy death. “He’s coming to take me to the Father”, she exclaimed excitedly.

“He’s Coming to Take me to the Father”

A few days after the feast of her patron for that year, 1906, Elizabeth’s condition became so grave that Mother Germaine decided to transfer her from her beloved cell to the infirmary where she could be looked after by the infirmarian sisters. Elizabethcomment on this change was, “I knew St. Joseph would come for me this year!” Mother Germaine herself spent as much time with Elizabeth as her duties allowed, often sleeping in the chair next to her daughter’s bed. She took such loving and tender care of her patient that Elizabeth was able to write to her own mother in her now-shaky and weak hand to reassure her that she was being cared for by Mother Germaine as she — Marie — would care for her daughter. There were times that her stomach was so rebellious that she could not swallow water or ice. As a consequence, she became terribly dehydrated, her fever often burning her body so greatly that her mouth and tongue became fiery red. She came to say that this was the result of her burning love for the Trinity. In all this, her greatest trial was not being able to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. At times, the severity of this cross was mitigated and she became well enough that her loving nurses in the infirmary would carry her now-wasted body to the Communion grille so that she could receive during Holy Mass.

During Lent of this year, her sisters in Carmel became so alarmed that they would lose the saint among them that they began a novena to Margaret of Beaune, a Carmelite nun of the sixteenth century whose process of beatification had begun in Rome. Off and on Elizabeth would improve, some times to the point of even walking a few steps. Her sisters and Mother Germaine always encouraged her to try at least a little. She herself prayed to Sister Margaret for a cure, but heard a voice deep within her say, “Earthly offices are no longer for you.” So she gave up praying for a cure and set her sights once more on the Heaven for which she was so homesick.

As Elizabeth already knew, a cure was not to be, and their parish priest, Abbe Donin came to give her the last Sacraments. After Elizabeth’s death, the Abbe wrote to Marie Catez, “I consider this brief meeting with her to have been one of the greatest graces of my priestly life.85 I went to your dear daughter’s cell to give the last Sacraments. Despite her intense suffering she was calm and smiling, her hands joined in prayer.” Later he confided to Mother Germaine, “Dying is so beautiful in Carmel.”

Summer again brought relief from the cold, but Elizabeth’s suffering grew more intense. She continued to have low periods with a bit of improvement here and there. Her sisters in Carmel spent as much time with her as their busy schedule would allow. Her correspondence was as voluminous as always, but now her handwriting was shaky and sometimes almost illegible because she was so weak. Now her letters became farewells to all she loved. She wrote to her beloved Guite and to her mother. Her many friends and cousins were not forgotten and her special priests, Abbe Andre and Abbe Beaubis, received farewells with promises that she would be praying for them in Heaven. Her thought for all of them was for the hurt they would feel upon losing her, but she consoled them with her own happiness at her impending face-to-face union with “her Three.”

Last Days

Again in the fall, the cold penetrated her emaciated body, but she was able to compose a beautiful poem for the anniversary of Mother Germaine’s profession on September twenty-fourth:

Peaceful was the night and deep the silence
When my boat set sail on the open sea,
Gliding over the boundless ocean on the loveliest of journeys.
All was hushed beneath the vault of heaven
As if listening to the voice of the Eternal.
Suddenly the waves arose,
Engulfing my light barque —
It was the Trinity opening out to me:
In that divine abyss I found my deepest center.
No more will you find me at the water’s edge;
I have plunged into infinity, where I belong.
With my Three I live at peace,
In the wide freedom of eternity.

She began to call her infirmary cell “The Palace of Pain and Bliss”, and confided on one occasion to Mother Germaine that she could understand someone in terrible pain contemplating suicide. Mother Germaine, ever her true loving mother in Carmel, told Elizabeth that she should think of her present condition as her “novitiate for Heaven.” Elizabeth loved this thought and held it close.

On October twenty-ninth, she saw her family for the last time. Guite and Marie brought the girls, Elizabeth and Odile, to visit with their aunt through the grilles of the infirmary. Sister Elizabeth gathered enough strength to hold her profession crucifix up to the grille for the children to kiss. She was strong enough to spend some time with them, and, as they were saying good-bye, Elizabeth said quietly to her mother, “Mother when the turn sister comes to tell you that my sufferings are over, kneel down and say, ‘My God, you gave her to me, I give her back to you; your holy name be blessed!'”

On All Saint’s Day, November first, our precious Sister Elizabeth received her Blessed Lord in Holy Communion for the last time. One of the sisters asked her to describe her pain, and with an uncharacteristic grimace, she said it was as if wild beasts were tearing at her entrails. Then her face resumed her usual serene expression. Her fever was so high that only constant applications of ice prevented meningitis. Through all of this, she never lost consciousness or her concern for others. She thanked her doctors and the infirmary sisters for their constant care, and most of all, she expressed her thanks and love to Mother Germaine, who had never left her child in Carmel.

Several days before the end came, one of her sisters, Agnes of Jesus, seeing her in agony, said, “My poor little sister, you can’t bear any more, can you?”

“No, I can’t bear any more.”

“You long for heaven, don’t you?”

“Yes, until now I have surrendered myself to him, but I’m his bride and I have the right to say to him, ‘Let us go!’ We love each other so much, I’m longing to see him. Oh, I love him so much!”

On November eighth, her doctor told her that her end was near. She could hardly contain her joy at this news. She was now so weak that she could not speak and retreated into the silence that she loved so much. From time to time the sisters keeping watch at her bedside heard her say in a kind of chant, “I am going to Light, to Life, to Love!” These were her last words. Her final moments were spent in ecstasy rather than agony, as she seemed to see through her beloved sisters to greet the Bridegroom Who was coming for her. She had died so peacefully that they couldn’t be sure of the exact moment.

Loved Also in Death

Elizabeth’s funeral was a triumphal occasion. Her wasted body lay in the Carmel choir for three days, surrounded by flowers and attended by her loving sisters. As the news of her death spread throughout Dijon, the townspeople flocked to the chapel to pay their respects to the little saint who had lived among them. Twenty-four priests attended at her funeral Mass; her family both in and out of Carmel accompanied the town folk to the cemetery for burial.

One of her great legacies to her order and to the Catholic world was a letter she wrote to Mother Germaine just before her death. Mother did not see the letter until it was found among Elizabeth’s few effects afterward. The prioress treasured this letter of her daughter’s so much that, when discovered in her grace book at her own death in 1924, it was worn and tattered from being read so many times. In it, Elizabeth switches roles, so to speak, and advises her mother in Carmel to ” Let yourself be loved more than these!” — to allow God to love her as she was loved, to become another Praise of Glory, as was Elizabeth.

“Let yourself be loved!” As Elizabeth would have put it: “It’s so simple.”

1 Although it was not widely known when he lived, President John F. Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease. By that time, of course, there was a treatment, and he was able to function normally with medication. Another victim of the disease was the novelist Jane Austen, although she did not seem to have suffered as terribly as did Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity.