Differing from St. Teresa and St. Thérèse, whose spiritual paths and message were largely developed during the course of their religious life, Elizabeth lived her “discovery” of the Trinity’s life within us early on, even before her teenage years. This offers a powerful example to young people today: You don’t have to be a priest or sister to have a deep spiritual life (although those vocations can certainly deepen it!), or even wait to be an adult to love God ardently.
Elizabeth was a typical young woman of her day. She loved the latest fashions and a good time with friends. She enjoyed camping trips in the mountains and lake regions with friends and family. An award-winning pianist, she was passionate about music. Her letters, especially as a teenager, reflect the the typical interests of young women her age. She writes to friends about favorite dresses and blouses, the latest hairstyles (and asks her sister to bring her favorite rhinestone comb for their next trip), and even describes how to make a correct “do.” She sends thank- you notes for “scrumptious” desserts, for “marvelous” scarves, and “exquisite” earrings.
In a word, Elizabeth was a typical young person. But beneath her everyday interests she reveals her rich interior life, her perennial laser-focus on loving her beloved Three in the depths of her soul. Elizabeth’s secret? Heaven is not something just in the future, but instead a wonderful reality already beginning now in faith. A real saint for our time, Elizabeth of the Trinity is the great teacher of the interior life, a practical apostle of the indwelling Trinity. She helps us to know that we are never, ever alone: the eternal God lives in the center of our being, just waiting for us, loving us!
Photos copyright by and courtesy of the Carmel of Dijon (Flavignerot), used with permission