Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friends and Friendships

Elizabeth with her friends (St. Elizabeth first on right)

Elizabeth was endowed with a rare combination of gaiety and contemplative spirit. She could be very engaged in earthly friendships and still was very conscious of the Presence of God within her. Her gregarious and charming personality won for her intimate friends who testified to her unique spirituality. "Elizabeth had a rare and delightful talent as a pianist; she felt music deeply. It seems to me that I can still hear her playing "Le chant du nautonier." She was very lively and endowed with great charm, not a trace of austerity; she enthusiastically took part in the diversions of our age..." testified a friend named Manitin Auburtin. Listen to this letter Elizabeth wrote in the Spring of 1901 to a friend: "We went to buy the material for Marie-Louise at the new shirtmaker's on the Rue de la Liberte; there was a nice choice. Afterwards, Mme. Hallo took us for a snack at the pastry shop. After dinner Charles gave us a concert; we ran through The Barber of Seville. I will wait until you return to see about the hats. Besides, they can be made so quickly in the Parisian styles that it won't take me long. Have a good time! The horse show is going on now; it seems that it is outstanding this year... Nothing new to relate except for MAdeleine Eugster's marriage to M. Marchal, the handsome lieutenant of the Dragoons.. Do you remember Cauvel, that accessory shop in Paris? One of his daughters, who married the Brother's cook a few days ago, lives there; her husband, the famous chef, is dreadfully fat: poor boy, it is sad at his age!"

It is interesting to read this part of her letter without being struck with how human she was! Her language and interests were that of a young woman tackling the current interests of her days. What made Elizabeth live in the everyday and still remain at the feet of the Master, like Mary, listening to his words? Elizabeth herself gave us the answer: "I think nothing can distract us from Him when we act only for Him, always in His holy presence, under that divine gaze which penetrates the inmost depths of the soul. Even in the midst of the world we can listen to Him in the silence of a heart which wants to belong only to Him!"

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