Pastor Pierre Van Ede was parish priest of Châtel-Censoir, a neighboring parish. When Father Générat was appointed to Saint-Florentin in 1957, Pastor Van Ede came from Châtel-Censoir to help the parish in difficulty. Élise is happy to know him:
For a month, things had been better, because the priest of Châtel had come… When the priest now says something, everything is said.
It was he who put Elise’s funeral homily on the front page of his parish journal the following month, in May 1964 under the title “A sainte from among us”.
A sainte from among us
Here is the text of the article :
A priest who knew Mlle Elise Bisschop well (Died 9 April this year) for many years, quotes from several of her letters. The quotations illuminate the greatness of her soul. She often astonished those who had the joy of knowing her personally. We include them in our journal for the edification of everyone.
On the death of a friend she writes : “Now we have one friend less here on earth ; but, at the same time, another friend in heaven. There are occasions when our friends in Heaven are so much closer to us than those we have here below.”
January 1950 or 1960 she writes : “I consecrated my life to Our Lord when I was 11 years old, accepting at the same time to be an invalide for a life-time, and, in consequence never to marry. I confess Our Lord seems to have taken that offering of a young girl seriously.”
7 january 1963. A testimony to a friend, a priest : “It is always difficult to say «yes» to the will of God without asking where He will lead us.”
In St Anthony Hospital : “I am happy, for one is happy, when one seeks to sow the Love of God and His joy around oneself.”
She understood both the small and the great, especially the marginalised: “All young people deserve to be taken seriously. So Jean not repreach the Teddy. Boy gangs for being too loud and boisterous. They are so « lost », scomed, and, turned in on themselves.”
Her self-knowledge was thorough and deep : “I am not courageous at all, even if I appear to be…”
After her last visit to Lourdes she confesses : “I have simply tried to say « yes », « yes » for everything, « yes » for the future, « yes » for whatever Our Lord may ask from me, including what I would not choose to happen. Now, perhaps, Our Lord does not ask anything more from me, other than to say : « yes » always, and, to be very close to other folk.”
Her deep humility speaks out in another letter : “I will be very happy if my absence gives someone else the chance and opportunity to replace me. Perhaps my absence is very necessary, because whilst I am « present » no one thinks to put oneself forward. Things do not go as they should if affairs are awry because of me.”
During the course of her first hospitalisation at Auxerre she writes : “Here I am in retreat , in the School of Suffering, exile from home, and under obedience. They compliment me for my smile, and so I ask myself if I shall have the heart to go on smiling to the end ? I hold my peace and grip my rosary like a lifebouy. I pray for my Mailly and my little ones in the catechism group.”
Her last letter 28, March 1964 : “I believe that I am well and truly an offering , abandoned.”
Lesson from Lourdes
The following year, in 1965, he wrote an article in which he shared his strong impression of Lourdes. He had gone there and had been given the task of holding the prayers of the pilgrims who were waiting their turn to be immersed in the swimming pools:
As I made the pilgrims pray for hours in front of the swimming pools, who were waiting their turn, I was amazed at the fervor of their prayer. I thought that the reason is this: in this place so many souls prayed so well, starting with the Virgin and Bernadette and also Élise Bisschop, saint from among us, who was in Lourdes in 1962. I will share with you. give this poem to meditate on, which evokes Lourdes so well, and which makes us tell the Virgin Mary to put a little Peace and Goodness on earth with us.
Follows Elise’s song The Rosary’s Pilgrimage to Lourdes