Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Changing the World, One Sacrifice at a Time

October 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club INTERNAL IMAGE (internal to post) 600x214
The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur (Week 13 of 13)


“…if, after reading this book, you have greater love for your human brethren and can make a more earnest act of faith and love, then, whether I am still in this world or in everlasting bliss (provided that I attain to it), I shall be able to raise a song of thanksgiving and say with boundless gratitude: “O Lord, Thou hast tried me by suffering; Thou hast withheld or withdrawn from me many of the joys of earth, but Thou has compensated me a hundredfold, inasmuch as Thou has revealed to me, in addition to Thy love, the sweetness of human affections, and hast allowed me to do a little good…” – The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, p. 282-283 (Last paragraph of the book)

Yes, I took this quote a bit out of context, considering Elisabeth is actually writing to her niece; but, I have a feeling she would have written this paragraph for all of us, had she an inkling in this life of the vast number of souls her words would transform upon her death. As she basks in the glory of eternity, I imagine her speechless and humbled by the amazing harvest God has garnered from the trials she suffered in this life. From where she stands, I’ve no doubt her sacrifices seem minuscule compared to the mountains of grace that have been lavished upon the world in their wake.

I have little else to say this week, other than repeating yet again that I am completely in awe of Elisabeth Leseur. If our Lord were to bless me with but an infinitesimal drop of the grace he lovingly showered upon her, I would be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better friend. I would just be better.

As a result of Elisabeth's example, it is my prayer that I recognize every trial as a gift that will allow me the opportunity to suffer as Christ's true friend.  To know in those difficult moments that if I only unite my will to His, He can use my pain to build up His Kingdom.  I pray that Elisabeth’s words might find a home in my heart, filling me with the wisdom which poured from her own through God’s grace. Finally, having witnessed the absolute passion of God to touch the world through a heart that completely entrusts it to His grace, I pray that I, too, might learn to trust more and speak less, knowing that only God can stir a soul.

Please share any special lessons you’ve learned over these twelve weeks. Particularly, how this book has impacted your life in a practical way. Has it helped you to approach anything in your life from a different perspective, whether your spouse, your children, strangers, suffering, or your faith in general?




NOTE FOR NEW AND ESTABLISHED BOOK CLUB MEMBERS: If this will be your first time joining us for a book, you need take no special steps per se to join us, other than acquiring a copy of the book. If you’ve subscribed to the site, you should receive a daily digest of posts. Often the book club post does not show up in the subject line, so please make sure you open your email from Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction every TUESDAY.  Scroll down the list of posts until you find the red banner that says CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION BOOK CLUB to participate in our book club discussion and to find the next reading assignment. Please remember that the more people we have participating in the discussion, the more we can all grow from this experience.

Comment, Comment, Comment – We Really Do Want Your Perspective!!!!  I think of this book club as an intimate gathering in someone’s living room. The discussion is always personal, uplifting and heart-felt. Whether you can keep up with the reading or not, please feel free to comment on the quotes, posts, or comments by other members. Discussion is the life-blood of a book club – the difference between a vibrant conversation and one that is dull and lifeless.

If you don’t care to comment on the quote I’ve selected or post I’ve written, you are always welcome to comment on some other part of the reading that moved you that week. In fact, we encourage it!


Reading Assignment: NONE

Discussion Questions:

1. Has this book made an impact on your life? If so, How? Would you recommend it to others?


Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club:

Read more about our Current Book:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • Jeanette

    The Secret Diary of Elizabeth Leseur bares many resemblances to my own life. I have learned much from her: how to love someone more who doesn’t respect your faith, by respect, prayer, sacrifice and fasting. I started to ask for Elizabeth Leseur’s intercession for my husband and I have noticed a difference in him. He doesn’t get upset now when I want to go to a prayer group; he wasn’t upset when I was picked for the Parish Council (I discussed this with him beforehand); he visited my priest spiritual director in hospital with me and was very entertaining and pleasant. The best was when in September he agreed to go on a pilgrimage with me to the Martyr’s Shrine in Midland on the Feast of the Martyrs. And he’s an atheist! I bought tickets for us to see the Triumph. I know that I was one of the ones who asked for this book to be read in the Book Club and I’m very glad that we did so. I will continue to ask for Elizabeth Leseur’s intercession for the conversion of my husband in calmness and serenity…waiting for God’s good timing. Thank you Vicki! God bless you!

    • Vicki

      Jeanette, I read her book as a wife (this is the second time I’ve read it), but I think it’s really shown me how to be a better mother. The fact that prayers and sacrifices are so much more productive than words has been a great lesson for me. Congratulations on your pilgrimage! I can’t imagine how exciting that had to be. I’ll keep your husband in my prayers – I’m going to try to add Elisabeth’s prayer for conversion to my daily prayers.

      • Jeanette

        Thank you Vicki!

      • Barb

        Vicki, it’s funny that you added Elizabeth’s prayer for conversion to your daily prayers. I did the same. It’s very beautiful asking that litany of divine and saintly persons for mercy, forgiveness, and prayers.

  • DianeVa

    Yes, Prayers and sacrifices are more productive than words. Jeanette, I am with you in that my life is similar. Everytime I go to church or a Bible study, etc…my husband has a negative comment. It still bothers me but now I must remember to offer it up for his soul and place it in God’s hands. How hard it is to evangelize in our own family. It is a cross we must all bear and offer to God. I loved the book and all the comments and articles. Thank you Vicki and all!

  • Patti Knudsen

    I was in complete awe of the wisdom of this woman. Initially, I wasn’t going to read this book, not for any particular reason. But when started, I could not put it down. So much to learn from her life, and so many ways to become a better woman by emulating her. This is the 4th or 5th book I’ve read along with the club. I very seldom ever post anything, but I get so much from the readings and the comments. Bless you, Vicki, for your dedication and devotion to the rest of us. I hope to keep up with the books. I’ve learned I don’t want to miss any of them.

    • LizEst

      …and God bless you, Patti! It’s great to see you posting, my friend!

      • Patti Knudsen

        Liz, now I just need to figure out how to add a photo! Once I get more familiar with this process, I’m sure you’ll hear more from me. I am reading the St. Francis deSales book along with the club, and am enjoying it so much. So glad we’ve found each other! God bless you, too.

        • LizEst

          Thank you. Hey, great picture, Patti! Thanks for doing that! You haven’t changed a bit! I used to post under a non-identifiable name and no picture. Then, one day Dan said to me, “There are no anonymous Christians!” By the time I put the picture on, my posting name was established already so I didn’t change that…and now it can be fully seen elsewhere on this site anyway. I’ve read the de Sales book at least twice, perhaps three times.

Skip to toolbar