Specializzazione in Teologia Spirituale
Ciclo per la licenza

SS1055 “Oh Trinity! You are Prisoner of my Love!…”: A Comparison of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Professor: Prof. JOSEPH SPENCE



Although Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) and Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906) never met, they shared many characteristics: the same native land, the same time period, and the same vocation to Carmel. A comparison of their spiritual experience and writings comes naturally and provides for “pleasant surprises and unexpected fruits”, as Balthasar wrote.


Offer a method for the critical analysis of theological texts, in particular those of the two Saints; increase the students’ capacity of dialoguing in theological terms, as well as their reasoning abilities and group-working skills as an “academic community”.


After two introductory lectures on St. Thérèse and St. Elizabeth, the students will be guided in analyzing and discussing various writings of the two saints (Lessons 3-11). The last lesson will be dedicated to brief presentations done by the students regarding the topics discussed during the Seminar.


Each week, the students will receive a PDF with 15-20 selected pages of the two Saints’ writings, together with a questionnaire to guide their personal study. The selected writings will then be read, analyzed, and discussed together in the classroom each week.

Criteria for evaluation

The final grade will be based on two factors: each student’s active participation in the classroom discussions, as well as the one-page final summary (which form 50% of the final grade), and a paper from 8-10 pages in length (which is also worth 50% of the final grade).

Time distribution

24 hours of classroom discussion; about 25 hours of personal study; about 26 hours of personal study for the final paper, for a sum total of 75 hours of study time.

Essential bibliography

  • Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Story of a Soul: Study Edition; Letters of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. General Correspondence, Volume I (1877-1890) and Volume II (1890-1897);  The Poetry of St. Thérèse of Lisieux; The Plays of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. “Pious Recreations”; The Prayers of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Act of Oblation; Her Last Conversations, (M. Foley – J. Clarke et al.), ICS Publications, Washington, D.C. 1977-2014.
  • Gaucher, G., Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Life, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA 20202.
  • O’Mahony, C., St. Thérèse of Lisieux by those who knew her. Testimonies from the Process of Beatification, Veritas Publications 1989.
  • Elizabeth of the Trinity, I Have Found God. Complete Works (Volumes I and II) – General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings; Letters from Carmel, ICS Publications, Washington, D.C. 1984 and 20142.
  • Joanne Mosley, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Unfolding of her Message (Volumes I and II) – In the World and In Community; In the Infirmary and After her Death, Teresian Press, Oxford 2012.
  • Elizabeth of the Trinity, The Praise of Glory. Reminiscences of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite Nun of Dijon, 1901-1906, (Scholar Select), Wentworth Press, London 2019.