Who was Elizabeth?
A brief biography
Elizabeth Catez – prophetess of the presence of God – young, beautiful, talented, a gifted musician, with a keen eye for fashion and noted for her glamorous hats!
She was born on 18 July 1880 as Élisabeth Catez in the Avord Air Base in Cher as the first child of Captain Joseph Catez and Marie Rolland. She was baptized at the camp’s chapel on the following 22 July. Elizabeth’s father died unexpectedly on 2 October 1887 and as a result the family then moved to Dijon after this. During that same year she had her first confession heard. Her First Communion was on 19 April 1891 held at Saint-Michel, and her Confirmation was held at Notre-Dame on the following 8 June.
Élisabeth Catez as a girl
Born on July 18th 1880 at Avor, a military camp near Bourges, France, as a teenager she was fully involved in the social life of her time and in the apostolic activities of her parish, especially youth work. The “terrible rages” of her baby years were transformed by the love of Christ at the time of her First Communion. Under the influence of that love those potentially destructive forces served to mold the balanced, loving, outgoing person she became, equally at home on dance floor, tennis court or travelling in the Alps. Always, however, Elizabeth’s true home was in the depths of her own being, where, from an early age, she experienced the indwelling presence of the Most Holy Trinity. This was the core truth from which she lived her entire life.
Elizabeth had a terrible temper as a child. After receiving her First Communion in 1891 she became more controlled and had a deeper understanding of God and the world. She also gained a profound understanding of the Most Holy Trinity to which she cultivated an ardent devotion. Elizabeth visited the sick and sang in the church choir and also taught religion to children who worked in factories.
As she grew older Elizabeth became interested in entering the Discalced Carmelite Order, although her mother strongly advised against it. Men had asked for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage, but she declined such offers because her dream was to enter the Discalced Carmelite monastery that was located 200 meters from her home. Elizabeth entered the Dijon Carmel on 2 August 1901. She said: “I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying”. Her time in the convent amongst other Carmelites had some high times as well as some very low times. She wrote of when she felt she needed a richer understanding of God’s great love.
At the end of her life, she began to call herself “Laudem Gloriae”. Elizabeth wanted that to be her appellation in Heaven because it means “praise of glory”. She said: “I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself”. Her spirituality is considered to be remarkably similar to that of her contemporary and a compatriot Discalced Carmelite sister, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who was cloistered at the Carmel in Lisieux; the two saints share a zeal for contemplation and the salvation of souls.
Vividly convinced of God’s personal love for her, she longed to become a Carmelite nun so as to respond fully to that love in a life of adoration, praise, thanksgiving and intercession for the world. In deference to her widowed mother’s wishes, she postponed this step until she was 21 when she entered the Carmelite monastery in Dijon, receiving the name Elizabeth of the Trinity. There, after a painful illness, she died on 9th November 1906, aged 26. Her last words were “I go to Light, to Love, to Life”. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 25th November 1984. Elizabeth did not have to wait for her entry into religious life to find God within her own being at every moment and in every occupation. This is the grace of our Baptism, when the Father, Son and Spirit come and make Their home within us (cf. Jn 14:23). Elizabeth lived in the presence of the indwelling God Who is Love, through all the activities of her happy, adventurous teenage years and young womanhood. Her message to us today is surely to encourage us also to try to be ever-present to Him in the intimacy of that hidden place.
Elizabeth died at the age of 26 from Addison’s disease, which in the early 20th century had no treatment with which to cure its victims. Even though her death was painful, Elizabeth gratefully accepted her suffering as a gift from God. Her last words were: “I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!”
Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity’s prayer:
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery ! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you – even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm. me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.
O my `Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendour! Amen.