Monday, May 29, 2017
Born in Bari, Italy on January 17, 1901 to deeply devout parents; the third of nine children, four of which died in infancy. At her baptism four days later, she was given the name Theodora, ‘gift of God’.
On May 11, 1911 at the age of 10, she received her First Communion. The night before she dreamt of St. Therese of the Child Jesus who predicted to her: “you will be a nun like me”. She eventually entered the Association of the Blessed Imelda Lambertini, a Dominican nun, and afterwards joined the ‘Angelic Army’ of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Her spiritual director, Fr. Peter Fiorillo, O.P. introduced her to the Third Order Dominicans who accepted her as a Novice on April 20, 1914, and she made her profession on May 14, 1915. At the end of 1917 Theodora sought advice from a Jesuit priest, Fr. Sergio Di Gioia who became her new confessor. About a year later, he directed her and her friend Clare Bellomi to the Carmel of St. Joseph, Via De Rosi, in Bari.
Theodora entered the Carmelite Community of St. Joseph in Bari on April 8, 1920 (then the feast day of St. Albert, author of the Carmelite Rule) and was clothed in the Habit on November 14th – The Feast of St. John of the Cross, of the same year taking the name of Sister Elisha of St. Clement. She made her simple vows on December 4, 1921 and her solemn profession on February 11, 1925. In 1927 she was appointed sacristan. In January 1927 she was greatly weakened by a bad influenza and started to suffer from frequent headaches but suffered with them without taking any medication.
On December 21 of the same year, she began to have a high fever and on the 24th the doctor was summoned who diagnosed her with possible meningitis or encephalitis, but did not consider it to be serious. The next morning however, on Christmas day two other doctors were called to her bedside, and who declared her condition irreversible. Sister Elisha of St. Clement died at noon on December 25, 1927. She was proclaimed Blessed on March 18, 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.