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St Thérèse of Lisieux’s ‘spiritual sister’ to be canonised

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Pope Francis has authorised the canonisation of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a writer and Carmelite nun described as the “sister in the Spirit” of St Thérèse of Lisieux.

The Vatican announced that a second miracle attributed to the prayers of Blessed Elizabeth had been approved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The miracle relates to a Belgian woman, Mary-Paul Stevens, who had been suffering from an untreatable disease, Sjögren syndrome.

Stevens was suddenly cured in 2002 after making a pilgrimage to the Carmel at Flaverignot-Dijon in order to give thanks to Blessed Elizabeth for help.

The cure was studied by the archdiocese, as is the norm, with the help of 40 witnesses, including a number of doctors, according to the British Province of Carmelite Friars. It was then submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Elizabeth was born in 1880 and died of Addison’s disease in 1906, five years after entering the Dijon Carmel. She was declared Blessed by Pope St John Paul II in 1984.

She said: “I find Him everywhere, while doing the washing as well as while praying.”

Her everyday spirituality led to frequent comparisons to her fellow Carmelite St Thérèse of Lisieux. The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote a book-length comparison of the two, Two Sisters in the Spirit: Thérèse of Lisieux and Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Blessed Elizabeth is well-known for her writings on the Trinity and for her prayer “Holy Trinity, Whom I Adore”.

Her spirituality is profoundly contemplative. She wrote: “We shall not be purified by looking at our miseries, but by gazing on him who is all purity and holiness.”

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints also approved a second miracle attributed to Blessed Emmanuel González García, Bishop of Palencia (1877-1940).

The Congregation approved miracles linked to the intercession by two Venerables, Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus (1894-1967), also a Carmelite, and Antonia Maria of St Joseph (1730-99), paving the way to beatification.

Eight Servants of God were declared to have “heroic virtues”, meaning that they will gain the title Venerable.

Blessed Elizabeth is likely to be canonised later in the year. A date is expected to be announced on March 15.