Take care, padre, to be on your guard, and don’t grow careless about anything, for the friendships shown to you could be feigned. The true friend to whom we must pay heed is God, and if we try always to do his will there is nothing to fear.
There is no lack of the cross in this life, however much we may do to escape it, if we belong to the party of the Crucified One.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 194 to Padre Ambrosio Mariano (excerpt)
9 May 1577
Blessed Denis of the Nativity (Pierre Berthelot) and Blessed Redemptus of the Cross (Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha) were Discalced Carmelite friars who joined the Discalced Carmelite East Indian missions in Goa, India in the early 17th century.
Father Denis (left) had been a French cartographer and naval commander in the service of France and Portugal; he left everything to join the Teresian Carmel at Goa in 1635 and was ordained a priest 24 August 1638. Brother Redemptus from Portugal (right) made his profession with the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1615, when he was 17 years old.
In September 1638 Denis and Redemptus accompanied Francesco de Souza de Castro, the Portuguese ambassador on a voyage to the Sultan of Achen (Aceh), Indonesia. The new ambassador desired to have Father Denis with him as a spiritual director, maritime advisor, and translator. Denis of the Nativity chose the wise and experienced lay brother, Redemptus of the Cross as his own Carmelite companion.
The courteous welcome at the delegation’s arrival was feigned, just as St. Teresa described in her letter from 1577; Denis and Redemptus were quickly imprisoned after disembarking from the ship.
Blesseds Denis and Redemptus were tortured more than the other prisoners in an attempt to convert them to Islam. Denis’ heroic charity was notable during his imprisonment as he deprived himself of necessities to aid the other prisoners; he sought to encourage them in every way. When they were condemned to death, he desired to be executed last so as to strengthen all of the others.
Blessed Denis is depicted in martyrology with a sword above his head to indicate the sword blow that split his head in two. Denis and Redemptus were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 10 June 1900.
[Source: Discalced Carmelites]
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.
Translation from the Italian text is the blogger’s own work product.
Featured image: This is only a detail of the massive painting (30 x 60 in. / 787 x 1447 mm.) Portuguese Carracks Off a Rocky Coast, from the Circle of Joachim Patinir, executed by an anonymous Flemish or Flemish-trained artist around 1540. The Portuguese ambassador’s delegation possibly traveled in a carrack similar to what is seen here. This particular artwork is the oldest painting of the sea by a Flemish or Flemish-trained artist in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Image credit: © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.