Death of Mother Elisabetta
The death of a saint is always noteworthy, not only when it is caused by martyrdom. Usually, the radical choice of God and the mystical experience of Him brings one to see the end of life in a way that is completely different from what we are used to experiencing.
The saints to not fear death like most people do, because they approach that moment fully aware that they are about to enter into eternal happiness. For them, life is the “waiting room of paradise”, and death opens the mysterious door described in the parable of the Foolish Virgins. Beyond that door, there is celebration and an encounter with the Spouse. Death is the end of the “here and now” and the immersion into the “always”, into the infinite.
Elisabetta lived in the eschatological dimension, with neither anguish nor anxiety. A biographer states that Elisabetta as speaking of heaven as if she had been there and of the vanities of this world with such sweet irony that one could not refrain from smiling. Moreover, whoever met with her would say, “What happiness there must be in heaven if already her on earth the company of the saints is so enjoyable, and their conversation so delightful and full of kindness!”
This attitude is confirmed by her writings. In writing to the sisters in Cotignola she said, “I wish you a successful battle and unconquerable courage until death, so that in heaven you many place the crowns you have earned at the feet of Jesus.” And to other sisters said, “Sanctity is the fruit of sacrifice – it is the death and resurrection.” In 1857, she wrote, “A feast requires preparations. We prepare for Easter with Lent; we prepare for eternal life with the present life… it will be an eternal feast, unending glory!.”
In July 1859, Elisabetta suddenly felt a loss of strength; the doctors diagnosed a progressive weakening , along with other problems such as a stomach ache and a sore throat, which was so severe that she could not even swallow the host for communion. On August 14, 1859, Elisabetta received communion for the last time. Upon hearing the sound of the bell announcing the arrival of the priest, she whispered, “I ask pardon of everyone of all my faults and omissions. Pray for me! Goodbye, beloved daughters; be generous with the Lord. I carry you all in my heart and bless you… We will see each other up there in heaven… up there… and from up there I will tell you again to be grateful to the Lord. Let your faithfulness be your thanksgiving, since the more you receive, the more God will ask of you, my daughters.”
At 8:00 a.m., Elisabetta seemed to be dozing off, and then she opened her eyes and whispered, “I see!…I see!… I see!”, then she passed.
Goodbye, beloved daughters; be generous with the Lord. I carry you all in my heart and bless you… We will see each other up there in heaven… up there… and from up there I will tell you again to be grateful to the Lord. Let your faithfulness be your thanksgiving, since the more you receive, the more God will ask of you, my daughters.
Blessed Elisabetta Renzi