Today is her feast day. A French Carmelite nun in Dijon, she was only a few years younger than the much better-known St Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897). Elizabeth was a very talented pianist, and in that respect she reminds me of the German Carmelite Hermann Cohen (1820-1871), who was an even more brilliant pianist and a regular public performer on the instrument. Both of them had to surrender a special talent to God in order to follow the call to Carmel and it must have been a testing sacrifice. Even more testing was the painful experience of arousing conflict with their nearest and dearest in pursuit of their vocation. In Hermann's case it was particularly painful because he came from a Jewish family, and it was some time before he could even tell his mother that he had become a Catholic. Elizabeth's mother - a devout Catholic - did not want her to enter an enclosed Order and desperately resisted the idea for quite a while. It is hard enough for us to make a profound personal sacrifice for the sake of Jesus, but even harder when we know we are causing pain to others in so doing.
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