17 September: St. Albert of Jerusalem

September 17
Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel


Albert Avogadro was born about the middle of the twelfth century in Castel Gualtieri in Italy. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior in 1180. Named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli in 1185, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. There, in word and example, he was the model of a good pastor and peace-maker. While he was Patriarch (1206-1214) he formed the hermit brothers of Mount Carmel into a collegium and wrote a Rule for them. He was murdered at Acre on September 14, 1214, by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom he had rebuked and deposed for immorality.


Ant. Come let us worship the Lord, the source of all just law.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings


Albert, as you shine before us
Legislator, Shepherd true,
Hear in love the hymns of homage
Which your children sing to you.

Messenger of peace and concord,
Careful to foresee all need,
You instructed all your faithful
Zealously by word and deed.

From your virtues this whole country
Shines with many a precious gem;
Most of all your mem’ry’s fragrance
Clings about Jerusalem.

So renowned that Church, so honored
When you worked as pastor there,
Carmel’s hermits asked for precepts
To define a life of prayer.

We are grateful to you, Father,
For the Rule which we profess,
Apt to guide each one in Carmel
To the heights of holiness.

With your Rule to give us increase,
Fruit abundant may we see
When with you we praise in heaven
God eternal, One in Three.

Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.


Ant. 1 The righteous one delights in the law of the Lord and ponders it day and night.

Psalm 21:2-8, 14

O Lord, your strength gives joy to the King; *
how your saving help makes him glad!
You have granted him his heart’s desire; *
you have not refused the prayer of his lips.

You came to meet him with the blessings of success, *
you have set on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked you for life and this you have given, *
days that will last from age to age.

Your saving help has given him glory. *
You have laid upon him majesty and splendor,
you have granted your blessings to him forever. *
You have made him rejoice with the joy of your presence.

The king has put his trust in the Lord: *
through the mercy of the Most High he shall stand firm.
O Lord, arise in your strength; *
we shall sing and praise your power.

Ant. The righteous one delights in the law of the Lord and ponders it day and night.

Ant. 2 Let the law of the Lord be ever on your lips.

Psalm 92 – I

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, *
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning *
and your truth in the watches of the night,
on the ten-stringed lyre and the lute, *
with the murmuring sound of the harp.

Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad; *
for the work of your hands I shout with joy.
O Lord, how great are your works! *
How deep are your designs!
The foolish man cannot know this *
and the fool cannot understand.

Though the wicked spring up like grass *
and all who do evil thrive,
they are doomed to be eternally destroyed. *
But you, Lord, are eternally on high.

Ant. Let the law of the Lord be ever on your lips.

Ant. 3 All who ponder the law of the Lord will yield fruit in due season.

Psalm 92 – II

See how your enemies perish; *
all doers of evil are scattered.

To me you give the wild ox’s strength; *
you anoint me with the purest oil.
My eyes looked in triumph on my foes; *
my ears heard gladly of their fall.
The just will flourish like the palm tree *
and grow like a Lebanon cedar.

Planted in the house of the Lord *
they will flourish in the courts of our God,
still bearing fruit when they are old, *
still full of sap, still green,
to proclaim that the Lord is just. *
In him, my rock, there is no wrong.

Ant. All who ponder the law of the Lord will yield fruit in due season.

Receive instruction from his mouth.
And lay up his words in your heart.

First Reading

Eph. 6:5-8, 10-18, 23-24

From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians

Put on all the armor that God gives you

Slaves, obey your human masters with the reverence, the awe, and the sincerity you owe to Christ. Do not render service for appearance only and to please men, but do God’s will with your whole heart as slaves of Christ. Give your service willingly, doing it for the Lord rather than men. You know that each one, whether slave or free, will be repaid by the Lord for whatever good he does.

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground. Stand fast, with the truth as the belt around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and zeal to propagate the gospel of peace as your footgear. In all circumstances hold faith up before you as your shield; it will help you extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, the word of God.

At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company.

May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ grant the brothers peace and love and faith. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with unfailing love.


Lead a life worthy of your vocation,
living in allegiance to Jesus Christ.

Ponder the Lord’s law day and night, and keep watch at your prayers,
living in allegiance to Jesus Christ.

Second Reading

(Chs. 14, 16; ed. Edwards-Clarke 1973, 1973, pp 87-89, 91-93)

From the rule delivered to the Brothers of Mount Carmel by Saint Albert of Jerusalem

Spiritual exhortations

Since man’s life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil, your foe, is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God’s armor, so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy’s ambush.

Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one. There can be no pleasing God without faith. On your head, set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Savior, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.

The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us, silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says, your strength will lie in silence and hope. Be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for as Scripture has it—and experience teaches us no less—sin will not be wanting where there is much talk, and he who is careless in speech will come to harm, and elsewhere, the use of many words brings harm to the speaker’s soul. And Our Lord says in the Gospel, every rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on Judgment Day. Make a balance, then, each of you, to weigh your words in, keep a tight rein on your mouths lest you should stumble and fail in speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offense, and employ every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness.


My children, be courageous and grow strong in the law,
for it is your way to glory.

The Lord’s law is perfect and strengthens the soul; it gives wisdom to the humble
for it is your way to glory.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:


Ant. Let your belts be fastened round your waists, and have your lamps burning ready.

Canticle I

Jer 17:7-8

Blessed are those who hope in the Lord

Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11:28)

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, *
whose hope is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water, *
that sends out its roots by the stream:
and does not fear when heat comes, *
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, *
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Canticle II

Sir 14:20; 15:3-5a, 6b

The happiness of the wise

Wisdom has been proved right by all her children (Lk 7:35)

Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, *
and reason with good sense.
She will give him the bread of understanding to eat, *
and the water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her and will not fall, *
he will rely on her and not be put to shame.
She will raise him high above his neighbors, *
and he will inherit an everlasting name.

Canticle III

Sir 31:8-11

Happy are those who do not go chasing after riches

Get yourselves treasure that will not fail you in heaven (Lk 12:33)

Blessed is the rich man who is found blameless, *
and who does not go after gold.

Who is he? And we will call him blessed, *
for he has done wonderful things among his people.
Who has been tested by it and been found perfect? *
Let it be for him a ground for boasting.

Who has had the power to transgress and did not transgress, *
and to do evil and did not do it?
His prosperity will be established, *
and the assembly will relate his acts of charity.

Ant. Let your belts be fastened round your waists, and have your lamps burning ready.


Mt 20:25-28

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. †
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
— Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
— We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
— Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
— for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
— And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer as at Morning Prayer


Ivy border media

Morning Prayer


Glorious Saint Albert, we would hymn your praises,
Splendid in virtue, victor in the combat,
All hearts and voices joyously united
Here to acclaim you.

High-priest devoted, lover of the people,
Watchman unwearied; though your death was bloodstained;
Stainless your honor, when for God and duty
You fell a victim.

True to the wisdom of our ancient Fathers,
Your Rule for Carmel still preserves among us
Solitude, silence, spirit of the desert
Timeless, unfading.

Get us the courage needed in these last days,
Faithful transmitter of the Spirit’s message;
Make Carmel’s garden fruitful for God’s glory
Yielding new increase.

Splendor and empire to our Lord God only
Who willed to give us such a Friend and Father,
Praying at all times that we may in safety
Gain heaven’s kingdom.
Sr. Mary Paula, O.C.D.


Ant. 1 You are the light of the world; a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father.

Ant. 3 God’s word is alive; it strikes to the heart. It pierces more surely than a two-edged sword.


Hebrews 13:7-9a

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you; consider how their lives ended, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.


On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set my sentinels to guard you.
On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set my sentinels to guard you.

Day or night, they will not cease to proclaim the name of the Lord.
I have set my sentinels to guard you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set my sentinels to guard you.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Let everyone who is zealous for the law follow me: then many who were seeking righteousness and justice went out into the desert.


Let us worship Christ, the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls, who loves his people; full of hope in him let us pray:

R/. Lord, protect your people.

Lord, accept our vows and intentions, as the first-fruits of this day. R/.

Lord, may we be inspired by our Rule, and so proclaim your love to all. R/.

May we so love you, who are Love itself, that we may come to possess you; and so live that our lives may be a continual hymn of praise to you. R/.

Help us, who are your servants, to keep your word faithfully; and to seek it with all our hearts. R/.

Lord, be our teacher and guide, leading the way for us to the height of Carmel; may we be bound to your service with a pure heart and a clean conscience. R/.

Our Father…


Lord God,
through Saint Albert of Jerusalem
you have given us a Rule of life according to your Gospel,
to help us attain perfect love.
Through his prayers may we always live
in allegiance to Jesus Christ,
and serve faithfully until death
him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Angel_British Library_small

Daytime Prayer

Antiphons and psalms from the current weekday.

Before Noon


Leviticus 20:7-8

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes, and do them; I am the Lord who sanctify you.

Let all that you do
have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.



Cf. 2 Timothy 3:12, 14-15

You are well aware that anyone who tries to live in devotion to Christ is certain to be attacked. You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how, ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scripturesfrom these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Follow the sound advice you have heard from me,
in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.



Philippians 4:8-9

And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and gracious, whatever is excellent and admirable—fill all your thoughts with these things. The lessons I taught you, the tradition I have passed on, all that you heard me say or saw me do, put into practice; and the God of peace will be with you.

Blessed are the peacemakers.
They shall be called God’s children.



Evening Prayer

Hymn, as at Morning Prayer


Ant. 1 My life is at the service of the Gospel; God has given me this gift of his grace.

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent *
and dwell on your holy mountain?

He who walks without fault; *
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; *
he who does not slander with his tongue;

he who does no wrong to his brother, *
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
who holds the godless in disdain, *
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may; *
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent. *
Such a man will stand firm for ever.

Ant. My life is at the service of the Gospel; God has given me this gift of his grace.

Ant. 2 This servant proved himself faithful and wise; the Lord entrusted the care of his household to him.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm for ever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear; *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; †
his justice stands firm for ever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, †
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. This servant proved himself faithful and wise; the Lord entrusted the care of his household to him.

Ant. 3 My sheep will hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

Canticle: Rev 15:3-4

Great and wonderful are your deeds, *
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways, *
O King of the ages!

Who shall not fear and glorify your name, O Lord? *
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship you, *
for your judgments have been revealed.

Ant. My sheep will hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd


James 1:22-25

Act on this word. If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves. A man who listens to God’s word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks into a mirror at the face he was born with: he looks at himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. There is, on the other hand, the man who peers into freedom’s ideal law and abides by it. He is no forgetful listener, but one who carries out the law in practice. Blessed will this man be in whatever he does.


This is a man who loved his brethren and ever prayed for them.
This is a man who loved his brethren and ever prayed for them.

He spent himself in their service,
and ever prayed for them.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
This is a man who loved his brethren and ever prayed for them.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Let the word of Christ in its richness live within you; sing gratefully in your hearts to God.


Praise and honor to Christ, who has reconciled the world to God. It was as his representative that Albert came among us, and God was encouraging us through him. Filled with faith, let us implore Christ:

R/. Remember your family, Lord.

Lord, it is in your service that we have embraced the religious life; may we serve you faithfully with a pure heart and a clean conscience. R/.

To some of us you give special authority so that they may be at the service of the community; may we hear your voice in their word and example. R/.

You call us to ponder your law day and night; come and dwell with us: be on our lips and in our hearts. R/.

You commend to us that silence which is filled with your presence; convince us that our strength is found in silence and in hope. R/.

You have said that our life on earth is a time of trial; strengthen the faint-hearted, lift the fallen, and fill us all with your Holy Spirit. R/.

We commend to you all those who were our companions while they lived; may they rejoice with you forever in the heavenly kingdom. R/.

Our Father…


Lord God,
through Saint Albert of Jerusalem
you have given us a Rule of life according to your Gospel,
to help us attain perfect love.
Through his prayers may we always live
in allegiance to Jesus Christ,
and serve faithfully until death
him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


St. Albert of Jerusalem gives the Rule of the Order of Carmel to B. and the hermits with him who sought the guidance of the Patriarch of Jerusalem at the beginning of the 13th c. (marble tableau in the cloister of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, Haifa, Israel)


Quote of the day: 16 September

We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Spiritual Maxims, 7


woman sitting fallen tree trunk in front of a waterfalls
Photo by Stevanus Praska on Pexels.com



Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 15 September

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
« There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! _ »
O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Why I Love You, O Mary (PN 54, excerpt)


Calvaire_Rochefort-en-Terre_Bretagne (2)
This detail from a streetside Calvary shrine in the village of Rochefort-en-Terre is typical of many found scattered throughout Bretagne, France | Source: Flickr creative commons

Choosing the difficult and distasteful

You should take care always to be inclined to the difficult more than to the easy, to the rugged more than to the soft, to the hard and distasteful in a work more than to its delightful and pleasant aspects; and do not go about choosing what is less of a cross, for the cross is a light burden (Matt. 11:30). The heavier a burden is, the lighter it becomes when borne for Christ.

St John of the Cross
Counsels to a Religious, 6


adventure backlit dark dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


John of the Cross, St 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 14 September

September 14, 1939

Ave Crux, Spes Unica

“Hail, Cross, our only hope!”—this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious song of the cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greets us through the heart of the Savior. And now, as the church year draws toward an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spellbound until the Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb.

Our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And it leads us to the foot of the cross to renew our holy vows. The Crucified One looks down on us and asks us whether we are still willing to honor what we promised in an hour of grace. And he certainly has reason to ask.

More than ever the cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the Antichrist show it far more dishonor than did the Persians who stole it. They desecrate the images of the cross, and they make every effort to tear the cross out of the hearts of Christians. All too often they have succeeded even with those who, like us, once vowed to bear Christ’s cross after him.

Therefore, the Savior today looks at us, solemnly probing us, and asks each one of us: Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open.

If you decide for Christ,
it could cost you your life.
Carefully consider
what you promise.

Taking and renewing vows is a dreadfully serious business. You make a promise to the Lord of heaven and earth. If you are not deadly serious about your will to fulfill it, you fall into the hands of the living God…

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all flames towers the cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell.

Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth. Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them. Do you hear the anguish of the dying? You would like to be a priest and comfort them. Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them.

Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross. Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart. Its precious blood is poured everywhere—soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you—asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spes unica!


Jesus on the Cross
Jesus on the Cross, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver Colorado | Thomas Hawk / Flickr


We present excerpts from the meditation for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a fervorino that Saint Teresa Benedicta wrote for the prioress to deliver to the nuns of the Carmel of Echt, Holland on 14 September 1939, her first opportunity to renew her vows as a Discalced Carmelite in her new community.

Edith mentions that “our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.” Here she makes a direct reference to the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, No. 16:

You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

For centuries, Discalced Carmelite nuns have renewed their vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity—the order in which Edith presented the vows in her meditation—on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Although the Discalced Carmelite friars renew their vows and the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order members renew their Promise at Easter or during the Octave of Easter, the 1991 Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite nuns indicate that they shall renew their profession twice each year:

“In order to give common witness to religious consecration in following Christ, every year the sisters will renew their religious profession during the Easter Vigil or the octave of Easter, and on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, using the formula given in the Ritual. The communities may repeat this renewal on other occasions in order to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

No matter what legislation Discalced Carmelites may observe, the essential purpose is clear: “to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”


Thicket Priory 10th anniv GBCarmelites Flickr 48393091826_a41a057804_o
The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Thicket Priory | © Johan Bergström-Allen, British Province of Carmelites / Flickr


Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 13 September

13 September 1936

Pax Christi!
Dear Reverend Mother Petra,

Your kind words did me a lot of good, I know what faithful sisterly love lies behind them. Every bulletin from Breslau reports a worsening. I must be prepared to hear the worst any day. The “Scimus, quoniam diligentibus Deum…” [cf. Rom 8:28] will surely apply to my dear mother too since she truly loved “her” God (as she often said with emphasis). And, with confidence in him, she bore much that was painful and did much that was good. I also think these last months when her life was constantly in peril were particularly grace-filled days—above all, the days since she no longer troubles herself about anything in her external life. And no one but the Lord himself knows what is happening in her soul.

That phrase I quoted from the Letter to the Romans afforded me the greatest comfort and joy during the summer of 1933, in Münster, when my future was still shrouded in total darkness. Never have I prayed the Divine Office of the Martyrs, which recurs so frequently during the Easter cycle, with greater fervor than I did at that time. Now it must be my support again. My mother was the strong bond that cemented the family togetherfour generations by now—for the common concern about her keeps us all bound to her, even the grandsons who are in far-off corners of the world. What will follow will be all the more difficult for those she will leave behind. For my whole life long I shall have to substitute for her [before God], together with my sister Rosa, who is one with me in faith…

In the love of Christ, your grateful

Sister Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Letter 225 to Mother Petra Bruning, OSU
Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten (excerpt)

Sr. Teresa Renata Posselt, OCD—Edith Stein’s novice mistress, later prioress, and first biographer—tells us how Frau Stein’s final illness and death affected the saint. 

On 1 September 1936, Sr. Benedicta was able to put the finishing touch to the huge philosophical work that she had begun at her Provincial’s request immediately after her Clothing Ceremony. He gave the work his approval and Sr. Benedicta sought to arrange for its publication.

Meanwhile, her ailing mother’s condition became more and more serious. The year drew on to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, a very important day in Carmel, since it marks the beginning of the fast that lasts until the day of Our Lord’s Resurrection. Also, in accordance with the seraphic Teresa’s instructions, all the members of the Order renew their vows. This was the third time that Sr. Benedicta took part in the ceremony, held at a silent early morning hour. Afterward, she said to one of her sisters who was especially intimate with her, “When it was my turn to renew my vows my mother was beside me. I felt her presence quite distinctly.” On that same day, a telegram came from Breslau with the news that Frau Stein had died—at the very time when her daughter was renewing her vows. This circumstance greatly consoled Sr. Benedicta, who bore up nobly even when the first waves of sorrow were sweeping over her.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
Chapter 16, Joys and Sorrow of the Bride of Christ (excerpt)


Frau Stein cameo
Auguste Courant Stein
Born 4 Oct 1849 in Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany
Died 14 Sept 1936 in Breslau, Germany


Auguste Stein, known as Gustel, was born at Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany on 4 October 1849. She was the fourth of the twelve children born to Solomon Courant and Adelheid Burchard. Her favorite brother was Eugen. Auguste married Siegfried Stein on 2 August 1871 and they had eleven children, four of whom died in infancy. For the first ten years of their marriage they lived in Gleiwitz, Prussia and Sigfried worked in the lumber business with his mother. In 1881 they moved to Lublinitz, Prussia where Sigfried established his own business in lumber and coal. In 1890 they moved to Breslau, Germany. Gustel was widowed in 1893 when Sigfried died very suddenly, her youngest child was not quite two. Gustel took on the lumber business and made a great success of it. She became much respected in the Breslau area. She was distressed in old age when her youngest daughter became a Carmelite nun and other children and grandchildren made plans to emigrate to escape the Nazi persecution. She died on 14 September 1936, two years before the import of the terror became clear to all on Kristallnacht (18 October 1938).  [Source: Wikitree]

Visit Auguste Stein’s Wikitree page to see more genealogy details, family photos, and a photo of her gravestone.


Posselt, T 2005, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, translated from the German by Batzdorff S, Koeppel J, and Sullivan J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.


Stein, E 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters 1916-1942, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 12 September

Saint Teresa treats of the foundation of the monastery of the glorious St. Joseph made in the city of Toledo in 1569
The Book of the Foundations, Chapter 15

For some days we had no more than the straw mattresses and the blanket, and even that day we didn’t have so much as a stick of wood to make a fire to cook a sardine. And I don’t know who it was the Lord moved to leave a little bundle of wood in the church to help us.

The nights were quite cold; but with the blanket and the woolen mantles we wore, we kept ourselves warm, for these mantles often help us. It will seem impossible that though we had stayed in the house of that lady who loved me so much, [Doña Luisa de la Cerda] we had to enter the new foundation in so much poverty. I don’t know the reason, except that God wanted us to experience the good that lies in this virtue. I did not ask for help, because I don’t like to be a bother; and she perhaps wasn’t aware. Moreover, I am indebted for what she was able to give us.

The experience was very good for us; the interior consolation and happiness we felt were so great that I often think about what the Lord keeps stored up within the virtues. It seems to me this lack we experienced was the cause of a sweet contemplation.

But this poverty did not last long, for soon [the principal benefactor] Alonso Alvarez himself, as well as others, were providing us with more than we needed. And, true to say, my sadness was such that it resembled that of discovering that many gold jewels in my possession were taken away and I left poor.

Thus I felt sorry that they were bringing our poverty to an end, and my companions felt the same. Since I saw they were sad, I asked them what troubled them, and they answered: “What else could it be, Mother, for it no longer seems we are poor.”

From then on my desire to be very poor increased. And I felt freedom in having so little esteem for temporal goods, for the lack of these goods brings an increase of interior good. Certainly, such a lack carries in its wake another kind of fullness and tranquility.


The famous statue of the ‘vagabond’ Saint Teresa in front of the Monastery of the Incarnation in Avila, Spain | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites



Teresa of Avila 1976 The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.



Doña Luisa de la Cerda, «mi señora y amiga» (II)

Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

casa de la mesaDurante la primera estancia en el palacio de doña Luisa, en 1562, Teresa pudo contactar con personas destacadas del ambiente espiritual castellano, como Pedro de Alcántara, franciscano reformador o la beata carmelita María de Jesús Yepes, fundadora del convento de la Imagen en Alcalá, según la regla primitiva. Un encuentro providencial fue también el que vivió con María de Salazar, futura carmelita descalza, y entonces dama de doña Luisa. La joven quedó cautivada por la personalidad de Teresa y comenzó a fraguarse en ella una auténtica vocación al Carmelo. Más adelante, se convertirá en una de las más destacadas figuras del teresianismo primitivo. Tomará el hábito en 1570 en Malagón.

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12 September: Blessed Mary of Jesus

September 12


Born in 1560 at Tartanedo (Spain) Maria Lopez de Rivas took the Discalced Carmelite habit at Toledo in 1577 and made her profession the following year. She spent the rest of her life serving God in that Carmel, except for a brief period in 1585 when she helped with a foundation at Cuerva. She died at Toledo on September 13, 1640. Saint Teresa of Jesus thought extremely highly of her. She was a great contemplative, intensely devoted to our Lord, and often drawing inspiration from the liturgy.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the Interior Castle of Saint Teresa of Avila

(Dwell. VI, 7, 10-15; II, 1, 11)

No one comes to the Father except through me

What I mean by meditation is to busy one’s understanding in the following way. We begin to think about God’s goodness to us in giving us his only Son, but we don’t stop there: we go on to all the other mysteries of his glorious life. Or we begin with his prayer in the garden, and our understanding doesn’t stop until we picture him nailed to the cross. Or we take a single scene from the passion, and go on thinking about that one mystery, working out in detail everything that can be thought or felt about it. It is a very admirable and meritorious kind of prayer.

No soul that has received so much from God, such precious proofs of his love, can forget them. They are live sparks that can only intensify what we feel for our Lord. Anyone who says he can’t dwell on these mysteries is quite mistaken. He will often have them in mind, especially when they are being celebrated by the Catholic Church.

The company of our beloved Jesus, and his blessed Mother, is far too good to be given up. For my own part I could not wish for any blessing that had not been won for us by him, through whom every good thing comes to us.

Our Lord said himself, No one can come to the Father except through me, and Whoever sees me, sees my Father. So if we never look at him, or think about what we owe him and the death he underwent for our sake, I don’t see how we can hope to know him or do anything to serve him. (Without such good works, what good is faith? And what good are works unless they are joined to the merits of Jesus Christ, our only good, which alone have any worth?) And how can anyone persuade us to love our Lord?


Let your hearts be comforted in the knowledge of Christ, God’s mystery:
in him lies hidden every treasure of wisdom and knowledge.

You must live in him, be rooted in him, built upon him;
in him lies hidden every treasure of wisdom and knowledge.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed be God, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.


you enabled Blessed Mary of Jesus
to contemplate the mysteries of your Son
and become a living image of his love.
Give us through her prayers
the burning faith to seek Jesus in all things
and the love to prove by our actions
the presence within us of him
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. If you gladly share Christ’s sufferings, you will have far greater joy when his glory is revealed.


Image of Blessed Mary commissioned by the church of Tartanedo after her beatification | Source: santosocd.blogspot.com

Quote of the day: 11 September

It is impossible to describe what took place between my soul and Jesus. I asked Jesus a thousand times that He would take me, and I experienced His dear voice for the first time. “Oh Jesus I love You, I adore You!” I prayed to Him for everybody. I felt the Virgin near me. Oh, how my heart expanded! For the first time, I experienced a delicious peace.

From that time, the dear Jesus spoke to me, and I spent entire hours conversing with Him.

That is the reason I enjoyed being alone. He went on teaching me how I should suffer and not complain and about intimate union with Him. Then He told me that He wanted me for Himself, that He would like me to become a Carmelite. Ah! Mother, you cannot imagine what Jesus was doing in my soul. At that time, I did not live in myself. It was Jesus who was living in me.

Saint Teresa of the Andes
From her autobiographical writings at age 15


Saint Teresa’s First Communion Portrait, 11 September 1910


Explore our blog posts concerning Saint Teresa of the Andes here.


of the Andes, T 2003, The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement, translated from the Spanish by Father Michael D. Griffin, OCD, New Life Publishing Company,


Quote of the day: 10 September

The Resolutions

Excerpts from the resolutions in captivity
drawn up by Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
and his companions


They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

If God permits them to recover totally or in part, this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer and their love for recollection and piety.

Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
The Resolutions

Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude (Jacques Gagnot) was one of three Discalced Carmelite martyrs imprisoned on the slave ship Les Deux Associés in the bay of Rochefort, France in 1794. His companions died on board in July, but Blessed Hubert survived the summer. When the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on Île Madame, where Blessed Hubert died and was buried on 10 September 1794. Learn more here from Catholic News Service about the conditions on the slave ship and at Île Madame. “Compared to the hell of the ships, the island seemed a veritable paradise.”


Rochefort_martyrs grave marker fosse commune Île Madame Jacques Gagnot
This simple marker is the only engraved monument on the island to the 254 priests buried on Île Madame in 1794. | View more photos of the island of Île Madame here | thierry llansades / Flickr 


pelerinage ile madame emmanuel bethoux flickr
Every August, the Diocese of La Rochelle et Saintes in the Department of Charente-Maritime, France organizes a pilgrimage to the tiny island of Île Madame. View photos of the 2015 pilgrimage here. | Emmanuel Bethoux / Flickr


Quote of the day: 9 September

The Greatness of Our Vocation (excerpt)
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity


It seems to me that the soul that is aware of its greatness enters into the “holy freedom of the children of God” of which the Apostle speaks (Rom 8:21), that is, it transcends all things, including self.

The freest soul, I think, is the one most forgetful of self.

If anyone were to ask me the secret of happiness, I would say it is to no longer think of ourselves; well, love of God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love.


Augustine writing De Civitate Dei British Museum AN00045163_001_l (2)
St Augustine writing; the city of God and the city of Satan; Abel and Cain; cutting from “Augustinus de Ciutate dei cum commento”, printed by Johannes von Amorbach, Basle. 1489-90 Woodcut
© The Trustees of the British Museum / Creative Commons License


St. Augustine says we have two cities within us, the city of God and the city of SELF (cf. De Civitate 14:28). To the extent that the first increases, the second will be destroyed.

A soul that lives by faith in God’s presence that has this “single eye” that Christ speaks of in the Gospel (Matt 6:22), that is, a purity of “intention” that seeks only God (Rusbrock l’Admirable 34); this soul, it seems to me, would also live in humility: it would recognize his gifts to it—for “humility is truth” (Interior Castle VI:10)—but it would attribute nothing to itself, referring all to God as the Blessed Virgin did.


white doves waikato new zealand peter_from_wellington flickr 16289388796_b778a4e0eb_o
Two white doves pause for a moment in the serene stillness of the Japanese Garden of Contemplation in Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand | Peter Kurdulija / Flickr


Catez, E 2014, I Have Found God: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.



Interior_Castle_1205 LIBRIVOX cover art

Listen to the LibriVox recording of The Interior Castle read by Ann Boulais below

Day Two of Camino — carmelitevocationsocd

Camino Santiago hostel bedroom Rufus Gefangenen flickr 28929843411_5d05c9ed4c_o
Photographer Rufus Gefangenen relaxes in his pilgrim’s hostel bedroom along the Camino Santiago between León and Sarria, 9 August 2016 | rufo_83 / Flickr


Shared a room with two women: Yuko from Japan & Robyn from USA. This was not envisaged when I was a novice! Up at 6.30 and on the road at 7.15. I found my socks I thought I’d lost; I’d rolled them up with my sleeping-bag, also no discomfort in my back; a good start […]

via Day Two of Camino — carmelitevocationsocd

Camino Day One — carmelitevocationsocd

Our good friend from the Discalced Carmelite friars’ Anglo-Irish Province, Father John McGowan, OCD, is making the pilgrimage along the Way of St. James (Camino Santiago) beginning this month. We follow his Camino journal and join him in prayer.


Camino de Santiago_red 2 hikers


Arrived in the small town of Castrojeriz yesterday; it’s just an hour’s bus ride from Burgos. I got to Castrojeriz last year where I had to abandon the Camino; I just ran out of time. It’s so good to be back. I went straight to the place where I had left a stone and a […]

via Camino Day One — carmelitevocationsocd

Quote of the day: 8 September

From the Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus
September 8

A little robin came and landed on her bed.

Léonie sent her the little music box we have preserved, and the tunes were so sweet, even though they were popular music, that she listened to them with pleasure.

Finally, someone brought her a bouquet of wildflowers for the an­niversary of her Profession. Seeing herself so loaded with gifts, she wept with gratitude and said:

“It’s all God’s tenderness towards me: exteriorly, I’m loaded with gifts; interiorly, I’m always in my trial (of faith) . . . but also in peace.”


European Robin 8291616@N08 Flickr 6406283467_c6bfe20050_o
Robin Redbreast lives in Lancaster, England | carol / Flickr
PopeFrancis in Madagascar 7Sep19_09
Pope Francis laughs with cloistered nuns in Madagascar | Photo credit: Vatican Media


Pope Francis visited the Discalced Carmelite Monastery dedicated to St Joseph in Antananarivo on Saturday morning. After praying Midday Prayer with a group of 100 sisters from all over Madagascar, Pope Francis decided to leave his prepared text with them in order to speak to them from his heart.

Pope Francis began by recounting a story from the life of St Therese the Little Flower that many religious and contemplatives can relate to. While St Therese helps an elderly sister to get from one place in the convent to the other, helps to feed her, etc., the older sister repays her with continual complaints. The Pope repeated several times that, notwithstanding how St Therese was being treated by the older sister…

Via Pope to nuns in Madagascar: Little acts of love save the world


Quote of the day: 7 September

Here, at last, comes Sabeth to sit down by her dearest Framboise and visitwith her pencil! I say pencil, for the heart-to-heart communion was established long ago, and we are now as one.

How I love our evening rendezvous; it is like the prelude of that communion from Heaven to earth that will be established between our souls. It seems to me that I am like a mother bending attentively over her favorite child: I raise my eyes and look at God, and then I lower them on you, exposing you to the rays of His Love.

Framboise, I do not use words when I speak to Him of you but He understands me even better for He prefers my silence. My dearest child, I wish I were a saint so I could help you here below while waiting to do it from Heaven. What I would not endure to obtain for you the graces of strength that you need!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 310 to Françoise de Sourdon 


golden gate bridge sunset thomas hawk flickr 102270031_eb1423eba4_o
My Love She Speaks Like Silence | Thomas Hawk / Flickr


Catez, E 2014, Letters From Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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