St. Elizabeth Bichier
Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand. Many years later, this holy French woman had to take charge of building convents for the order of nuns she founded. "I guess building was meant to be my business," she joked, "since I started it so young!" In fact, by 1830, eight years before her death, Elizabeth had already opened over sixty convents.
During the time of the French Revolution, Elizabeth's family lost everything they owned. This was because the republicans were taking property from the nobility. But this intelligent young woman of nineteen studied law so she could fight her family's case in court. When she won and saved her family from ruin, the village shoemaker exclaimed: "All you have to do now is marry a good republican!" Elizabeth, however, had no intention of marrying anyone republican or noble. On the back of a picture of Our Lady, she had written: "I dedicate and consecrate myself to Jesus and Mary forever."
With the help of St. Andrew Fournet, Elizabeth started a new religious order called the Daughters of the Cross. We celebrate St. Andrew Fournet's feast on May 13. This new order taught children and cared for the sick. Elizabeth would face any danger to help people. Once she found a tramp lying sick in a barn. She brought him to the convent hospital and did all she could for him until he died. The next morning the police chief came to tell her she could be arrested for sheltering a man believed to be a criminal. Elizabeth was unafraid. "I only did what you yourself would have done, sir," she said. "I found this poor sick man, and took care of him until he died. I am ready to tell the judge just what happened." Of course, the saint's honesty and charity won her great respect. People admired her straight, clear answers.
The order's co-founder, St. Andrew Fournet, died in 1834. St. Elizabeth wrote to the sisters, "This is our greatest and most sad loss." St. Elizabeth died on August 26, 1838. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1947.
How do I respond when others challenge my actions?