Friday, July 07, 2006

Do not touch the sisters and the children (Elise Rivet)

Elise Rivet, or Mother Elisabeth of the Eucharist in religion, was the superior general of the Sisters of Saint Elisabeth congregation in France. When France was defeated in the war, Mother Elisabeth engaged in the actions of the resistance movement in France. She agreed to hide the weapons of the resistance fighters in their convent. She also sheltered Jewish women and children with the help of Cardinal Gerlier. The Jewish women were given religious habits to conceal their Jewish identities.
In 1944, she was denounced to the Gestapo under suspicion of hiding weapons. When the Gestapo came to the convent to conduct a search, Mother Elisabeth only said to them, “Do not touch the sisters and the children.” The Gestapo found the hidden arms quickly. Fortunately, the other nuns hid Mother Elisabeth’s notebook, where her contacts with the resistance fighters are written.
Mother Elisabeth, together with another nun, Mother Marie of Jesus, were arrested and imprisoned in Fort Montluc in Lyons. From there she was taken to Ravensbrück on July 28, 1944. Mother Elisabeth, who was too weak for heavy labor, was sent to work with the knitting machines. She protected her fellow prisoners from abuse and maintained their dignity. She recited the rosary everyday and prays every Sunday prayers said during Mass. Once, a nurse gave her good food. Mother Elisabeth shared the food together with her fellow prisoners.
On March 26, 1945, Mother Elisabeth was sent to Uckermark, a place where those who were marked for death were sent. On March 30, on Good Friday, she volunteered to go to the gas chamber in the place of a mother.


Blogger Unknown said...

I am a historical fiction writer looking to research the life of Elise Rivet. Do you have any sources you would recommend? Any help you can give is much appreciated. Email: nicole (dot) evelina (at) att (dot) net.

11:14 AM  

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