Elizabeth Szántò was born in Budapest, a city of about 1.6 million people. Really, it is two cities, Buda and Pest, with the Danube River in the middle. She was the thirteenth child (preceded by six pairs of twins). She, alone, survived into adulthood.
Elizabeth was orphaned at a young age. Her father died when she was about five. Because of her poor health, she lived for a time with her grandparents in the countryside. From ages 6 to 10, she attended elementary school. Then, she went to Switzerland, returned to Budapest, and later was supposed to be adopted by a Swiss family. However, she was late for the train and a young couple took her back to Budapest.
In Budapest began the struggle of a 13-year-old orphan who needed to find work so she did not starve. As a lonely orphan who was often taken advantage of, she had many different jobs. Twice she tried to enter religious congregations, but was rejected. Fortunately, she discovered a Father Motray who became her confessor for many years.
The turning point came in August 1929 when she was accepted for the parish choir. There she met Karoly Kindlemann, a chimneysweeper instructor (a good paying position). She was married at 16 (May 25, 1930). They had six children (1931 – 1942). In 1946, her husband died.
In 1948, the Communist Nationalization of Hungary was harsh. She was fired for political reasons (having a statue of the Blessed Mother in her home). By May 1951, she was in a humanly hopeless situation. Fortunately, she became a technical supervisor at a foundry (alluded to in the diary). This saved her family from starvation. She worked at a number of factories. Her children married and, with their grandchildren, moved back in with Elizabeth.
Her diary begins on July 13, 1960, when she wrote about the beginning religious experience that introduced her to God’s presence. It speaks of three years of spiritual darkness (1958 – 1961) that prepared her for the locutions. The decisive moment came on July 16, 1961, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Elizabeth was a lay Carmelite). This leads us into her diary, where she herself tells the story.