Mother Elizabeth Brent
Some brief remarks of the Reverend Mother Elizabeth Brent, one of our first Beginners, departed this life 1st April in the year of our Lord 1660.
The Reverend Mother Elizabeth Brent de Sancta Maria was born in Gloucestershire in England, of Catholic and English parents of good quality. Her father was Mr. William Brent, and she, leaving the world, went over to the English Benedictine Dames of our blessed Lady of Consolation (our mother-house in Cambrai), where she espoused herself to God by the vows of religion and made her holy profession on 15th August 1629, in the time of the first Lady Abbess of that house, namely, Dame Francis Gawen, the very Reverend Father Rudisind Barlow being also then President of the English Benedictine Congregation.
This Reverend Mother was so exemplar a practiser of all regular and religious duties that in the year 1652 she was by order of obedience sent to Paris with the Reverend Mother Bridget More and Mother Justina Gascoigne, with a lay sister, Sister Gertrude Hodson, to assist Mother Clementia Cary in the beginning of this our Monastery here in Paris.
She was of a serene and equal temper and an intern spirit, much relishing venerable Father Baker's divine instructions, as may be seen by her Collections, and his Books, which she wrote out and faithfully practised with Custodia Cordis that he so much recommends.
She was also endowed with great natural parts, as a solid judgment, and a deep reach into things, which caused her to proceed with much prudence and discretion in her actions. Her humility was admirable, which she made appear in her sweet and humble comportment to all, particularly to those that were under her charge and education, to whose dispositions she so accomodated herself, that she became all to all, that she might gain all to Christ. She knew well how to temper sweetness with rigour, that she was both loved and feared by those that had the happiness to be under her conduct. And though she was much employed in the offices of Mistress of Novices, Celleraria and many other affairs, which necessarily occur in new-beginning houses, yet it was never known that she absented herself from the Choir, although she had but a small voice, nor mental prayer, or other conventual act, except upon urgent or extraordinary occasion. Thus she by her virtuous example, pains and endeavours for the space of eight years helped the promoting and happy beginning of this our Monastery, partaking all that time of the poverty and other inconveniences our community was then in.
And it pleased Almighty God, for her greater merit, a year before death to send her a grievous infirmity, namely a cancer in one of her breasts, which she supported with great patience and resignation. And seeing that remedies availed nothing, and that her infirmity increased, she entirely abandoned herself to God. Conforming her will to his divine pleasure, and having most devoutly received all the holy sacraments of the Catholic Church, she happily departed this life, to go to enjoy eternal repose in the next, as we have good reason to hope, on 1st April 1660, about the 60th of her age, and 30th of her holy profession. And we living then in a hired house, where we had no cemetery, she lieth buried in the Royal Abbey Val de Grace, here in Paris. Yet lest through human frailty anything should hinder her speedier attaining to the beatifical vision of God, let us offer up prayers for her, reciting the De Profundis, this being her anniversary day. Requiescat in pace. Amen.