Article in the “Guide pratique de l’Auxerrois”

Text of the article

“Those who were at the party at Saint Germain Abbey in Auxerre on October 4, heard of one of our compatriots, who died this year exactly fifty years ago. It is Élise Bisschop of the parish of Mailly-le-Château, where she spent all her life.

From her birth in 1925 until the age of six, Élise lived in the village of Trucy-sur-Yonne which, by the Roman road, is close to that of Mailly-le-Château. A small hill, intersected by a valley, separates the two villages. It was in Trucy, on an isolated farm, that she forged her first links with nature: a friendship that will forever be deeply rooted in her heart. From childhood another friendship very quickly illuminated the first: the love of God.

Arriving at Mailly-le-Château, her interior life filled with the mysteries of God and of creation, will not stop growing. Still a teenager, Élise felt the need to write down her feelings and her intimate thoughts, all tended towards the purity of God. At the end of her life, Élise entrusted a collection to nuns, the Dominicaines des Campagnes, who, helped by the Father chaplain, would ensure a first broadcast of her "Poems and Songs".

Élise also wrote in hearts, especially with her smile. Her smile had something extraordinary about it, that her whole life was marked by illness and surgical procedures. Élise was never able to run or sing well because her respiratory tract was damaged by the disease.

Many people have known Elise as a catechism teacher, as a sacristine, as the leader of female youth. If a parishioner of Mailly-le-Château, ten years ago, felt the need to take the collection out of her oblivion, the cause is to be found in the living and beautiful image that Elise left in her heart . It was the "revenge" of Elise, sustained by divine grace.

Élise died at just 38 years old in 1964; his body is still in the family vault, in the cemetery of Mailly-le-Château, leaning against the wall of the Saint Siméon chapel. In the church of Mailly-le-Château, precisely in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, there is also the beautiful painting of the Annunciation painted by his father, René Bisschop.

The edition of Elise's "Poems and Songs" is accompanied by a short DVD slideshow that traces Elise's history and spiritual heritage. Those who wish to know it, or have the film, can contact the presbytery of Mailly-le-Château directly or at the reception of Saint Etienne cathedral.

Towards the end of her life Élise testified:

My motto since the age of 13 (I think): smile to everyone and everyone, out of love for Jesus.”