“May my life be a continual prayer, a long act of love.”
Born in the Septaine district of France, she was the eldest of two daughters. Upon the sudden death of her father, the girls and their mother moved into to a second-story apartment that overlooked the Carmel of Dijon.
Her name was Elizabeth Catez, and her family’s fond nickname for her was not Lizzie or Beth, but Sabeth. In her childhood, she was regarded as a brilliant pianist and a very good student overall. She would have been a most delightful child, in fact, were it not for an instinctive stubbornness, a naturally noisy nature, and a fiery temper. Although she eventually became a Sister-in-Carmel to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a comparison of their early biographies would never suggest it, because Sabeth was what one might kindly call a little ball of fury. So disruptive, obstreperous, and bossy was she—another nickname given her was “The Little Captain”—that her harassed mother declared her intention to send her daughter to a “School for Corrections” run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, and went so far as to pack her daughter’s bags with her own hands.