Carmelite Conversations
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity:  Beginning the Journey of Sainthood

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity: Beginning the Journey of Sainthood

October 17, 2016

It is not everyday that we get a new Carmelite Saint, but it happened again on 16 October of 2016 when the Church Canonized Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the importance of St. Elizabeth's Canonization, her primary message of Silence, Solitude and Prayer, and what this message might mean for the Church and the world at this time in history. It is always helpful to place a Saint in the context of both their individual experiences in life, and also the time in which they lived. This conversation then begins by identifying some of the earliest stories of young Elizabeth's life, and also by looking at the political and social forces which were influencing her native France during the later part of the 19th and early part of the 20th Century. One of the most important theme's in Elizabeth's spirituality is her own understanding of her role as Co-Redemptrix, one who would willingly participate in the Redemptive work of her Spouse Jesus Christ. Indeed, one of Elizabeth's favorite descriptions of herself was as the Bride of Christ. Her explanation of this title, and its impact on her understanding of her mission serve as important lenses into our understanding of her pursuit of sanctity and her path toward Union with Christ. Finally, as with all Saints, we want to view their lives so that we can gain some deeper understanding for ourselves how we might be guided and directed along our own spiritual journey. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity's life then provides us with some very practical and valuable lessons. She is a wonderful example especially for those of us who are trying to live out our call to holiness in the midst of the world, as that was precisely what she did even before she entered Carmel.


Books:“Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God” by Sr. Giovanna Della Croce, OCD; Translated by Julie Enzler; Sophia Institute Press.

“The Complete Works: Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. One,” by Elizabeth of the Trinity; Translated by Sister Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Your Presence is My Joy: Life and Message of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Conrad De Meester, OCD; Translated and Printed at Darlington Carmel.

Scripture:  Romans 12:1

Articles:“The Life and Ministry of Carmelite Mystic Elizabeth of the Trinity” by Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction;

“Who is Elisabeth of the Trinity – Our Newest Saints?” by Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction;

Intimate Friendship with Jesus Christ—from the Perspective of St. Teresa of Avila

Intimate Friendship with Jesus Christ—from the Perspective of St. Teresa of Avila

October 10, 2016

It was through the lens of intimate friendship with Jesus Christ that the many foundations of St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) were begun. In her book, “The Way of Perfection,” she wrote: “All my longing was and still is that since He {Jesus} has so many enemies and so few friends that these few friends be good ones. As a result, I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same.” Her life was a witness and testimony to this intimate friendship with Jesus. We must be diligent in seeking the Lord and answering “His Call.” St. Teresa counsels us on how to develop this relationship: “Represent the Lord Himself as close to you and behold how lovingly and humbly He is teaching you. Believe me, you should remain with so good a friend as long as you can. If you grow accustomed to having Him present at your side, and He sees that you do so with love and that you go about striving to please Him, He will never fail you. He will help you in all your trials; you will find Him everywhere.” (“The Way of Perfection 23.2; 26.1). It is through a frequent, intimate conversation in prayer and in the sacraments, that we can more easily grown in our union with Jesus. In this program, Mark and Frances discuss the importance of developing this friendship with Christ through the life and counsel of our Mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila).

Scripture:  1 Jn 4:17-19; Jn 15:13; Jn 14-15

Articles:“Springtime of Faith Conference: The Toolbox of Pope Benedict,” Nashville.

“Christ in the Mysticism of St. Teresa” by Father Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD.

“Teresa of Avila and Friendship” by Susan B. Cordsen;

Books:“Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1,2 and 3, ‘ The Book of Her Life,’ ‘The Way of Perfection,’ and ‘Interior Castle’” trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

“15 Days of Prayer with Saint Teresa of Aivla” by Jean Abiven; Liguori.

“Let Nothing Trouble You: 60 Reflections from the Writings of St. Teresa of Avila,” Compiled by Heidi S. Hess; Servant Publications.

“Friendship with Christ: Love and Service” by Sister Mary of Jesus and St. Joseph, OCD; Carmel, Schenectady, New York, 1972.

Joy in Suffering

Joy in Suffering

October 4, 2016

There is perhaps no greater challenge for those of us who are pursuing the spiritual life then that apparent dichotomy of pain and joy. St. Paul tells us that we must, like him, be a person of joy, and in fact, we should expect to experience joy even in our most difficult times. In this compelling conversation on the top of suffering and joy, Mark and Frances share some insights from one of the most well known and popular Saints of the 20th Century, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In her journals, which were only published after her death, the Church was provided a very unique view into the inner life of a future Saint. What was both remarkable and perhaps surprising for many people, was how Mother Teresa's life was a challenging combination of both suffering and joy. Through her wisdom and also the wisdom and insight of our Carmelite Saints, Frances and Mark share important insights on how all of us can deal with this apparent contradictory experiences of suffering and joy along the spiritual journey. In addition, they support these insights with very specific verses from sacred scripture, which point out that these two opposites are in fact very much a part of the Christian process of growing in the likeness of Christ.


“Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” Edited and with Commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC; Doubleday.
“I Thirst: Saint Theres of Lisieux and Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” by Jacques Gauthier; St. Pauls.
“Love of the Cross: A Meditation” from the book, “The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts” from the Collected Works of Edith Stein, Ed.ted by Dr. L. Gelber and Michael Linssen, OCD and Translated by Waltraut Stein, PhD; ICS Publications.
“Science of the Cross” by Edith Stein; ICS Publications.

“Joy in Suffering According to St. Therese of the Child Jesus: A Novena,” by Bishop A. A. Noser, S.V.D., D.D.; Tan Books and Publishers.

Apostolic Letter:
“Salvifici Doloris” (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering”) by Pope John Paul II; Pauline Books and Media.
Scripture: Col. 1:24, Jn 15: 10-11; Mt. 22:37, 39-40; 1 Pt 1:8; 1 Jn 3:16-18; Jas 2:14-18.

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