And so I brought with me Father Nicolás de Jesús María, a man of great perfection and discretion, a native of Genoa.
Saint Teresa describes the discalced friar she brought with her when she made the foundation at Soria:
He was over forty when he received the habit, I think—at least he’s forty now, and it’s only a short while since he took the habit—but he has advanced so far in a short time that it seems clear our Lord chose him so he might help the order during these very troublesome times of persecution.
He has done a good deal. With respect to the others who could have helped, some were exiled, others imprisoned. Since he had no office, little attention was paid to him. For as I mentioned, it was only a short time that he was in the order. Or, God allowed this that there might be some help left for me.
He is so discreet that while he was staying in the monastery of the calced Carmelites in Madrid, as though for other business reasons, he dealt with the affairs of the discalced friars in such a disguised manner that the calced friars never knew about it, and so they didn’t bother him.
We corresponded frequently, for I was in the monastery of St. Joseph’s in Avila, and we dealt with a suitable course of action, for this consultation gave him satisfaction. Hence it can be seen what need the order was in since so much attention was paid to me for want, as they say, of good men. [Spanish proverb: For lack of good men, they made my father mayor.]
It was during this time that I had experience of his perfection and discretion. Thus he is among those in this order whom I love much in the Lord and esteem highly.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Foundations: Chapter 30
In June 1593 the Carmelite Order held its general chapter at Cremona (Italy), to elect a successor to the Fr. Caffardo who had died in office on 3 April 1592. Fr. Nicholas Doria, in his capacity as vicar general, was present at that chapter and brought with him three provincials and ten socii to represent the Discalced Congregation. The Discalced took advantage of so solemn an occasion to reveal, in the form of a petition to the definitor general and general chapter, their intention of requesting the Pope to grant them complete separation from the Order, so that henceforth the Discalced would not attend the general chapter nor would the Order have any jurisdiction over them. The chapter reacted favorably to the idea, and Pope Clement VIII, in the Brief Pastoralis Officii dated 20 December, separated “The Discalced Brethren of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel” definitively from the prior general’s jurisdiction. So, Fr. Nicholas Doria had the honor of being the Order’s first general.
Father Ildefonso Moriones
El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia
Discalced Carmelite historian Father Ildefonso Moriones has written much on the history of the Teresian Carmel. His 1978 volume, El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia, has been translated into English and uploaded to the Order’s online archives. Chapter X, “Change of Superior, Change of Direction: Father Nicholas of Jesus and Mary, Doria” is devoted completely to this larger-than-life figure in the history of the Discalced Carmelite Order.
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.