BLESSED ANNE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW
Protector of Antwerp in Wartime
Regarding these matters of the war, some things have occurred in my soul which are undeniable. The day on which Maurice Nassau, Prince of Orange, marched at the head of a great army with the fixed resolution of taking Antwerp, he placed most of his troops in many ships. The night was very serene and tranquil; he said to his followers with the most joyous air in the world: “We will see that there is no one but God or the devil who can cause the failure of my undertaking.” He assured them that they would take Antwerp, and that they would return rich.
But suddenly a great tempest arose and a very violent cold wind, which froze the water; and the ships with those aboard were instantly sunk. Maurice alone saved himself and with much difficulty, running the risk several times of drowning, struggling against the tempest, the water and the ice, in such wise that he was sorely wounded. From that day he had no health, and finally died in consequence of this mishap.
That very night, knowing nothing of the treachery of our enemies, I was seized about midnight with a great fear and I commenced to pray, my arms extended towards heaven, with great impetuosity of fervor. My arms becoming fatigued from being thus uplifted, I let them fall; it seemed to me that someone raised them again towards heaven and an unknown voice said: “‘Tis not yet time to stop, keep them raised towards heaven.” And I remained thus until near daybreak. I felt then that what I asked had been granted. And really, it was so.
For my part, I can do nothing
On another occasion, having gone to bed and being already asleep, I was awakened by cries coming from the dormitory of the religious. These cries continued after my awakening; I called out and, two Sisters coming, I said to them: “Go through the cells, and see which of the religious is sick, for I hear cries.”
The two Sisters, after having made the visit, returned to say to me: “All the Sisters are sleeping, and there is no one sick.”
I then said: “Tell all to dress, and we will go before the Blessed Sacrament, for there must have been some treachery. It was our holy Mother herself, it seems, who wakened us.” And we all went before the Most Holy Sacrament.
I then said to our Lord: “I bring Thy servants to Thee here. May they ask Thee what I desire; for my part, I can do nothing”; and I meant what I said; for it is the truth that I felt confused in our Lord’s presence.
We remained a little time in prayer, and soon I felt, without seeing or hearing anyone, that we could retire. I forgot to say that at the same time I heard the cries, I also heard the signal calling to arms in the citadel. I looked through the windows to see if there were any lights in the fortress, for we could see it from our house. I did not perceive any light, all was dark. In spite of that, I felt that some danger threatened us.
A few days ago I awoke at two o’clock in the morning. A powerful emotion in my soul told me it was necessary to pray, which I did. But after some time, as I was weary, I went to bed again. It was useless. I had become the prey of an anxiety which would allow me no repose. I recognized by this that our Lord willed that I should pray. I began then to pray, my hands raised towards heaven, experiencing a strong emotion which told me to plead for mercy.
For two entire hours, from two o’clock to four, without consciousness of myself, and powerless to resist, I remained with hands raised to heaven and interiorly urged to ask for mercy. All the following day I was like one dead, my body bruised as if it had been beaten with a stick. I knew not then what had happened, but they told me later that the heretics had attempted to take possession of the city by surprise, and that they had not been able to succeed.
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew
Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew
May Blessed Anne inspire all Carmelites to raise our hands to heaven and plead for mercy as she did.
Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917, Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by Michael, M A, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.
Well, there’s an encouragement to pray for peace, as our Holy Father has asked yesterday. It is chastening to me to realize that, years later, my country was bombing Antwerp… This is an great encouragement that God does indeed listen to prayers for peace, even when all seems on the face of it to be hopeless. Thank you, I needed this.
Oh yes, definitely pray! 🙏🏽