11 November 2010


This reliquary contains the remains of Bd. Elizabeth of the Trinity. They are kept within the wall of the Lady Chapel in Église St-Michel, in the heart of Dijon, France. I have knelt here many a time.

09 November 2010

Whither goest thou, Notre Dame?


Notre Dame in better days--cassocked priests holding rosary beads stand and kneel next to students at the campus grotto, publicly reciting the Rosary


My alma mater continues to embarrass itself. Back when Notre Dame University made the egregious decision not only to invite President Obama to give the commencement address, but also to award him with an honorary law degree (the law school itself had little say in the matter), it arrested 88 peaceful demonstrators who had walked onto campus reciting prayers and charged them with trespass. Although the university has dropped trespass charges in the past against pro-gay and anti-military protesters, it continues with the prosecution of the "ND 88," as they've come to be known. When pressed to justify their disparate treatment, Fr. Jenkins shut down any further discussion. It goes from bad to worse.

At football games, I've locked arms with fellow Domers and heartily sung the Notre Dame song along with the band. May Our Lady lead this school consecrated to her back to the way of truth, because at this point, She is the only one who can do it.
Notre Dame, our Mother
Tender, strong and true
Proudly in the heavens,
Gleams thy gold and blue.
Glory's mantle cloaks thee
Golden is thy fame,
And our hearts forever,
Praise thee, Notre Dame.
And our hearts forever,
Love thee, Notre Dame.

The Contradictions of Silence

By Noreen Mackey
My Beloved, the mountains, the solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands, the sonorous rivers,
The whisper of the amorous breezes.

The tranquil night, at the time of the rising of the dawn,
The silent music, the sounding solitude, the supper that recreates and enkindles love.
--St John of the Cross
In the verses above, John of the Cross speaks – seemingly in contradiction – of a solitude that is full of echoes, of a music that cannot be heard. Silence is itself a contradiction. It is at once absence and presence; the path to a place, and the place itself. It is the absence of noise, but it is never empty. The strange fullness of silence alarms us, and it is because its fullness is at times so unbearable that we fill it with noise instead.
The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread,
said Pascal. Yet it is in silence that we hear the things that really matter. Deep silence allows us to listen to our own heart, the place where God speaks to us, the place where God dwells.

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08 November 2010

[W]e cannot comprehend the extent to which He loves us, above all when He sends us trials. --Bd. Elizabeth of the Trinity, 1906

07 November 2010

The Death of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

November 8th is the feast day of one of the saints closest to my heart, responsible for a number of graces in my life. I post this again in her honor.

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Elizabeth Catez was born in 1880 in a French military camp. Twenty-six years later, she lay dead in a Carmelite convent in Dijon, her body so ravaged by Addison’s disease it seemed a skeleton. Most remarkable about this girl was not so much that she had invited such suffering into her life by asking that Christ “fulfill a second humanity” in her; or that she accepted her internal devouring with equanimity (“God is a consuming fire, it is to His action that I submit.”); or that in the midst of her torments she asked, not that her pains would cease, but that God would increase her capacity for suffering. What was most remarkable about Elizabeth of the Trinity is that she was a most ordinary girl from a most ordinary background. Although an intelligent and popular child, she was burdened with a strong will and a fierce temperament. She would go into fits when she did not get her way. In one case, a favorite doll had been borrowed (unbeknownst to her) for use in the parish mission. When she spotted it, she stood up in the middle of the theatre and shouted, “You wicked priest! Give me back my Jeanette!” Other such instances prompted the curate to tell her mother, “With such a temperament, she will be either a demon or an angel.”

She enjoyed clothes and the latest fashions, dressing up to go dancing, and excelled at classical piano. At one point she was nearly engaged to be married. She gave it all up at twenty-one, however, to become the spouse of Christ in the Carmel of Dijon. Three days after entry, a sister wrote a letter to Sr. Geneviève of Lisieux (sibling of St. Thérèse): “a postulant of three days but one who has desired Carmel since the age of seven, Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity, who will turn out to be a Saint, for she already has remarkable dispositions for that.”

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