Thursday, October 27, 2016

Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God (Sophia Institute Press)

Pop quiz! Who was the Elizabeth of the Trinity? What is her Feast Day? What pope considered her influential on his spiritual life? Time's up! Elizabeth of the Trinity was a French Discalced Carmelite religious, mystic, and saint as of October 16, 2016. Her Feast Day is November 8th, and Pope John Paul II (the pope who beatified her) was the Pope who drew spiritual inspiration from her. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity is what I like to refer to as a forgotten saint. Given the thousands of saints in the Roman Catholic Church, she is not alone in being "forgotten." Fortunately, we live in an age where we can readily learn about these lesser-known saints. Today, I would like to tell you about a book published by Sophia Institute Press and entitled Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God.

Elizabeth of the Trinity is a short 100-page book that begins with a brief introduction on the world and culture she grew up in. It was 1880 and merely ten years after the fall of Napoleon's empire. At the same time that France was secularizing their schools, French Catholicism was experiencing a rebirth. The first chapter discusses her simple life and childhood. In addition to learning about her parents, we learn about her personality, which described as a strong character with an iron will. It is also said that she lived like most girls from a good, middle-class family. She went on vacations to places like the Alps, Switzerland, Lourdes, and Paris. She first encountered the sisters of Carmel at the age of 11, on the day of her First Communion. Her mother consented to enter Carmel when she turned 21. The remaining first chapter takes all the way through her life up to her beatification.

The next two chapters highlight the themes of her spirituality, such as "the presence of the Trinity within her being, conformity to Christ, and the making of her existence into a praise of the glory of God. We also learn about her contemplative mysticism which too was rooted in the Trinity. The final chapter provides us with examples on how her life and spirituality is still relevant today. Elizabeth of the Trinity is a quick read, but a vital introduction to a great saint. After reading through this book, I encourage you to find some of her works and read them for yourself. If her works were good enough to inspire Pope John Paul II, then they are certainly good enough for you.

This book was provided to me for free by Sophia Institute Press in exchange for an honest review.