A sign of contradiction may be “the distinctive
definition of Christ and his Church in the
This is perhaps why when Elisabeth
Mora was beatified in 1994, a number
feminists reacted viciously. Toronto’s
Joanna Manning wrote a book Is the
in which she denounced the Church for
this woman as a model when it is obvious
that ‘she jeopardized her own life
children’s in what moral theology would
as an over scrupulous interpretation
sacrament of marriage’.
It is true. Family abuse is a very
problem and in certain extreme situations,
the Church recognizes that the best
is temporary separation. However there
another way out.
Coming from a well off family and having
received a good education, Elisabeth
everything going in her favor. She
in Rome not far from the Coliseum.
her own fling of wild life in her young
as she herself admits, “I allowed myself
to be captivated by the vanities of
When she was 22, she married a young
The cross – thanks be to God - always
us. Her husband turned out to have
problems. Excessive jealousy led him
suspicious of everything and everyone.
controlling attitude became more and
dominant. Even the visits of relatives
vexing to him. He became rude and touchy.
During these tumultuous years, Elisabeth
had two miscarriages one after the
Then, two daughters, Marianna and Lucina.
Then as it happens many times, his
for Elisabeth started shifting to resentment
and indifference. From extreme distrust
attitude changed to coldness. Obviously
all the blame on her!
It is amazing how blind we can be.
believe the problem is the other. I
seen it happening over and over again
relationships. Instead of looking squarely
at ourselves, we shift our deep psychological
issues to others. It is always the
He started an adulterous relationship.
wounded the sensibility of Elisabeth
Adultery is always an injustice. He
his wife and children and spent all
on this woman, reducing his own family
destitution. The family fell into extreme
poverty. To pay creditors and safeguard
good name of her husband, Elisabeth
to sell her jewelry, her wedding garments
and many of her assets. She had to
her fancy home and go to live a smaller
The in-laws condemned Elisabeth claiming
that ‘with another woman, Christopher
be much better off’!
To all this physical and psychological
Elisabeth responded with unqualified
Meekness and patience became her driving
forces, as she wrote in her diary.
the will of God in all things’. Friends,
even her confessor, advised Elisabeth
separate, but she believed in the power
the Sacrament of Matrimony. “A woman
is determined to be consistent with
often feels deeply alone”, Pope John
remarked in her beatification homily.
In her vision, a vision of faith, her
had been entrusted to her. Through
believed, God will save his soul! A
of Christopher hung in a prominent
in their apartment, to remind herself
her daughters that this was his home.
is reality and to be a Christian is
synchronized with reality!
Amazingly, she never spoke ill of her
to her daughters. How much harm we
disparaging our spouses in front of
She started making a living out of
Instead of closing herself in self
she opened her heart and her home to
who needed assistance. Remarkable how
people manage to transform a curse
The only response that she got from
was ridicule. He made fun of her for
‘pious’ behavior, but she continued
well of him. She never lost heart.
come back’ she kept telling her daughters.
He did, but only after her death. On
1825, while being cared for by her
Elisabeth passed on to the other side.
was only fifty one years old.
The miracle happened shortly afterwards.
Her husband not only realized his mistake
and came back to faith but he even,
years later, became a Conventual Franciscan
‘To educate a woman is to educate a
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
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