As Chesterton said, the existence of every human being is a testimony to the courage of women. There is so much bad news about the failings of Catholic priests and religious, it is good to remember the examples that shed a light of divine light on our troubled existence.


Women and women religious in France during the Nazi occupation were active in the Resistance. They faced a heavy penalty if caught. Here is how one nun responded: 


Women, religious and laity alike, were particularly remarkable for their bravery not only in hiding wanted persons and weapons, but also for gathering intelligence, and producing forged documents, from identity documents to ration cards. Even more remarkable was their fortitude when caught. Mother Elisabeth de l’Eucharistie, for example, was arrested in Lyons in March 1944 for concealing arms in her convent. Sent to a concentration camp, in order to fortify the courage of women singled out for extermination because unable to work, she voluntarily joined their number. On Good Friday 1945 she mounted with them the lorry that was to take her to the gas chambers of Ravensbrück, saying, ‘I am leaving for Heaven’ (‘Je pars pour le Ciel‘), adding almost casually, ‘Let them know in Lyons.’ (Politics, Society and Christianity in Vichy France.  W. D. Halls, p. 217)

Another witness said she volunteered to take the place of a mother who was being sent to the gas chamber.

She was born Élise Rivet in Algeria, and died at the age of 46 on March 30, 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war. If the Catholic Church wants to canonize anyone, it could find few better candidates.

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