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January 27 , 2009

He is My Heaven

The Life of Elizabeth of the Trinity


Elizabeth of the Trinity (Elizabeth Catez) was a young French woman who became a Discalced Carmelite in the Carmel of Dijon. She was just twenty-one when she died in 1906. But those few years were enough for her to develop and deepen a distinctive approach to God, one that has since inspired countless people in their quest for a deeper relationship with the indwelling God.

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Although influenced by St. Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth’s spirituality is distinctive, highly biblical, simple to understand and to practice. Her perennial theme is the Blessed Trinity’s indwelling within the human person—a reality promised in the Gospel, discovered in the silence of prayer and adoration, and then lived out in love for God and neighbor. 

In He Is My Heaven, Jennifer Moorcroft draws on Elizabeth’s own writings and other sources to give us a short, readable portrait of this fascinating young woman who fell in love with God.  Elizabeth’s entrance into the Carmelites was delayed for several years. But this didn’t stop her from deepening her personal relationship with God through prayer. All the while, she had an active social life, cultivated warm friendships, and was active in her parish teaching catechism classes and hosting summer camps for underprivileged children. 

This example of a deep, contemplative spirit practiced in the midst of a full, busy life as a layperson makes Elizabeth of the Trinity appealing to contemporary God-seekers. She found God not only in the cloister, but in her everyday world with its joys and challenges. 

As the author notes, our contemporary world is far more cluttered, noisy, and distracting than Elizabeth’s ever was, inside the cloister or out. In our frenetic 21st century lives, her message is more valuable than ever: We, too, can acquire the habit of going into that quiet place within ourselves where God dwells, and live in God’s presence wherever we are.

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