First Blessed of Bari a Discalced Carmelite

Sister Elias of St. Clement (1901-1927)

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BARI, Italy, MARCH 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Abandonment to love and total self-giving to God was the path that led Discalced Carmelite Sister Elias of St. Clement to be beatified.



Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes, on Saturday presided over the beatification ceremony in Bari for the nun (1901-1927) on behalf of the Pope. The nun is the first person from this city to be beatified.

Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto presided over the Mass.

The archbishop quoted the Carmelite in his homily: "I understood that to lead souls to God, it is not necessary to do great deeds; rather, it was the immolation of my whole being that the good Jesus was asking of me."

"It is not possible to change the world without the Love offered on the cross," said the prelate.

This wisdom was the gift the religious left to the Church, the archbishop said. He described the newly beatified religious as a "small Host, white and pure, consumed by love, dedicated to listening to and contemplating God," nourished "by beauty and poetry."

Archbishop Cacucci addressed a prayer to Blessed Elias of St. Clement: "We thank you for your holiness, help us to run to heaven, like the prophet Elias, in a chariot inflamed by true love."

Speaking to Vatican Radio, the archbishop said of the blessed: "Lost in God, Sister Elias always lived, also as a lay woman, the primacy of God in her life, in the contemplation of the beautiful, in listening to the Word, in love for the Eucharist.

"In the Carmel, she followed the 'little way' of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, in hiddenness, 'crucified' with Christ, in the total immolation of herself for the salvation of souls.

"The first blessed of the history of our Church in Bari, Sister Elias exhorts us to 'look on high,' but in humility, in sacrifice. Above all, she teaches that holiness is also possible for us, no matter what our state in life. We must 'know how to bloom,' she said, 'where God has planted us.'"