‘The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur’ book review
The Women Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband From Atheist to Priest’
Marriage can be challenging. No doubt about that! I can relate so much to Elisabeth’s life as a wife because my husband is also not Catholic.
Elisabeth’s husband was actually brought up as Catholic but after attending college abandon his faith and became a Atheist. Not only was Elisabeth’s husband, Felix, a Atheist but he also teased and belittled her for her faith.
Reading Elisabeth’s story encouraged me so much in my vocation as a wife. She loved God and despite how at times Felix treated her, she loved and served her husband.
The book starts with Felix telling the story of how after Elisabeth’s death, he found her journals. As he poured over her writings, his heart changed. He saw how much he had hurt her and how their life style caused her so much suffering. In her writings, he could see just how much she loved him and her great faith. Not only did her love and sacrifice convert Felix but he goes on to become a priest!
The book continues with her diary, daily thoughts, and monthly retreats. She left us with many life giving thoughts to help us be more successful in our vocation and spiritual life.
Four things we can learn from Elisabeth to help us be more successful:
1. Meet people where they are at
Elisabeth’s life style required her to entertain often. Felix enjoyed having his Atheist friends over and they discuses Atheism at length. Elisabeth focused on loving the people that she came in contact with. She kept her thought to herself but when alone with one of of her friends she would speak to them about spiritual things. She also wrote letters as well.
2. Love your spouse
Elisabeth offered the hurts from Felix up to God for the salvation of his soul. She kept her suffering hidden even at times pretending to be a social butterfly when she would rather be left alone. This is one that I find challenging! In this day and age, people will say if everything isn’t going so well, just leave. Elisabeth, redirected all her hurt to God as a sacrifice. She demonstrates that even if we don’t see the immediate effect of our sacrifices, they are important and not wasted.
3. Practice detachment
She loved God no matter what was happening. In her diary, she writes about the illness and death of her beloved sister. It was a painful and challenging time for her but she trusted God and abandon her sister to God. I couldn’t help noticing that for a time after her sister died she did not journal. It is okay to take time to grieve.
4. Start the day with prayer and meditation
Elisabeth focused on performing her family, home duties and serving the poor. Before embarking on these activities she took time to pray. She loved solitude with God. It strengthened her for the tasks of the day. Elisabeth said, “…meditation…transforms and perfumes the whole day…”. Wow, does your morning prayer transform your day?
Which of these activities would you like to grow in?