Elizabeth Catez (Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity) was born on 18 July, 1880. She was a lively child with a fierce temper and a strong will. When she was seven, her father, a retired army captain, had a heart attack and died in her arms. The family then moved to Dijon in an apartment overlooking the garden of the nearby Carmel. Attuned to music with all her soul and able to read music and play the piano from sight, Elizabeth was a much desired asset at parties, but her heart went out more and more to the garden of the Carmel she could see from her house.
For her mother, this was not a happy thought and she forbade Elizabeth to visit the Carmel, saying she would only countenance her entry at the age of twenty-one, not before. It was during this period that Elizabeth realized that living with God could be practiced also in secular life. She finally entered the convent on 2 August, 1901. The life she had wanted and longed for was now hers, and she was extremely happy in those early days.
But darkness descended on her spirit and she struggled to go to prayer, to be faithful, to continue the way she had chosen. Through this experience she was able to become a model for those of us who walk in dark faith.
During 1903 Elizabeth fell ill, lost all her energy and was unable to digest her food. Addison’s disease had taken over her body and gradually she lost weight until she looked like a skeleton, and died on 9 November 1906. Towards the end of her life she wrote two retreats. They have been chosen here, together with her famous prayer to the Trinity, in the hope that they will help the reader to be led into Elizabeth’s silence, and into sharing her secret of total surrender in love to the One she called ‘her Three’.
Elizabeth Ruth Obbard was born into an army family and educated in England and Germany. After completing her schooling, she entered the Carmelite Order where she has been a contemplative nun for many years and is currently living in the Carmelite monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk. She has written and illustrated many books, particularly on the lives of saints.