Quote of the day: 29 December

Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D.

Pastoral Letter for Holy Week 2014 (excerpts)


The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ obtained for us the beautiful gift of New Life, personally and as a community. New Life means a new way of looking at the totality of life, a new manner of relationship with those around us, a new pattern of actions and a new impetus and direction for our day to day living. New Life proclaims the Sacredness of Life from its conception. The newness of this life is the person of Jesus Christ Himself who through His death and Resurrection made all things new and restored them to the Father. We are made new by the self-offering and sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary and by His glorious Resurrection (cf. Col. 3:1-4).

As believers of Jesus Christ, we joyfully welcome this gift of New Life through the sacrament of Baptism. We are vivified in this New Life through the Sacrament of Confirmation, and this New Life is nourished through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We are forgiven and healed through the Sacraments of Penance and of the Sick. This New Life drives our prophetic vocation to fight what is evil and unjust and to promote what is noble, true and just in our society. Whatever our status, profession and situations in this present life, we are all marked with the sign of Jesus Christ who has given up His life for our salvation.

My brother and sisters in Christ, it is up to us to benefit from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It is up to us to allow the Risen Christ to influence our person. It is up to us to follow the way to the New Life. Jesus proclaims:  I am the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6).

May our INA, the Mother who endured most of the sufferings of her Son, strengthen us always and lead us to the experience of the joy of her Son’s glorious Resurrection.

Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D.

Archbishop of Caceres, Philippines





The coat of arms of Archbishop Rolando Octavus Joven Tria Tirana consists of his personal arms joined to that of the Diocese of Malolos, the Prelature of Infanta, and the Archdiocese of Caceres.

The upper portion of the coat of arms is the rising sun against a white background. The sun represents Jesus, the Sun of justice, who dispels the darkness of sin and bondage by His Resurrection. The sun’s yellow color, together with its rays, symbolizes the vigor and enthusiasm with which a servant-leader is called to serve his flock. Taken together, the white and yellow colors represent the Papal flag which suggests the bishop’s sharing in the office of the Apostles as well as the universal scope to which he gives himself without reserve.

The lower portion of the coat of arms has two sections.

The right section bears three cotton flowers, Bulak in Filipino, which stand for the province of Bulacan where the Archbishop has served as the third residential Bishop of the Diocese of Malolos, and the image of the Infant Jesus of Prague, a devotion spread by the Carmelites and to which the Archbishop has a special devotion, and representing the Prelature of Infanta where the Archbishop served as the third residential Bishop as well.

The left section bears the shield of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, of which the new Archbishop is a member.

It features a mountain crowned with the Cross and flanked with three stars of David. The mountain represents the privileged place of encounter between God and His people. The mountain is Carmel home to the prophets and mystics and all who strive the interior life. Mary stands out as Queen and Beauty of this mystical mountain.

The Cross symbolizes the centrality of Jesus for Carmel and for the new Archbishop’s ministry. The three stars symbolize the priorities the Archbishop has outlined: the star at the base represents intimacy and union with God; the star on the left represents collaborative ministry for the Church of the Poor, and finally for the right represents a concern for the gift of creation.

The mountain is colored brown, symbolizing deep solidarity for all that is human. The stars are colored gold indicating the nobility and dignity of Christian vocation. All these are set against a cream background to symbolize simplicity and single-heartedness.

At the base of the mountain is the word INA (Mother) the endearing term used to express singular devotion and love for Our Lady of Penafrancia, the Patroness and Mother of the Archdiocese of Caceres. The word INA calls to mind the Carmelite Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of the Child Jesus who exclaimed: For me, Mary is more Mother than Queen! The letters that make up the word INA are Pili nuts typical and well known in the Bicol Region.

The motto is Christi Sumus which means We belong to the Lord or in Filipino Tayo’y kay Kristo and in Bicolano:  ‘Kita ki Kristo. This is the constant reminder of St. Paul: Whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord (Rom 14:8) expressing our belongingness to Jesus Christ and the communitarian thrust which must imbue every pastor’s mission in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.


Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D. celebrates the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination on 29 December 2019 in Saint John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral, Naga City, Philippines, the second Discalced Carmelite from the Philippines to serve in the episcopal ministry. We wish to congratulate him on his anniversary and thank him for his many years of service to God’s people.

You may view the significant dates in his episcopal ministry and the principal consecrators at his episcopal ordination here. You can view a full-sized image of his episcopal coat of arms here. His biography on the website of the Archdiocese of Caceres is found here. More information about his anniversary is found on the Facebook page of the Archdiocese of Caceres here.

Quote of the day: 14 November

Let us remember this one thing. Throughout his life, Christ was unsparing of himself in his zeal to save souls. Our saints have likewise been zealous to save souls. Consider Saint Thérèse, as she offered her walk in the garden for a missionary. All our saints have been passionate apostles. So, too, must we be. This morning, we are going to make an examination of conscience in this regard. Are we other Christs and other Apostles? Are we true Carmelites? Or, are we not merely living smugly? Are we completely committed to the apostolate and eager to give our all to the souls who await our help?

Do we live in such a way that Christ is not deeply disappointed in us? We want to take care not to shy away from suffering, not to speak impulsively, and not to seek a life of comfort. We want to take care to follow our Rule in its demanding details and not just in its broad outline. In a word, we want to avoid pretending to be Carmelites, and instead to be genuine Carmelites. A pseudo-Carmelite is a pseudo-apostle. In ten, fifteen or thirty more years, you will come before God to render an account of your life. Then, Christ will show you all the souls you should have saved. You will have no valid excuse and will have to reply: “I could not spare my sleep or I was tired…”

True Carmelites are committed to saving the world. Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.

Père Jacques of Jesus

Excerpt from a retreat conference
Saturday evening 11 September 1943


Servant of God Père Jacques of Jesus, OCD (Lucien Bunel) | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites
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Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French  and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.



Who was Blessed Maria Teresa Tauscher?

The newest ‘star’ to shine in Carmel’s galaxy, that is to say, the liturgical calendar of the Carmelite saints whose holiness we celebrate from year to year is Blessed Maria Teresa of Saint Joseph Tauscher, the foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus.

The Sisters say that their spirit “comes from the faith experience of Mother Maria Teresa of St. Joseph. Anna Maria Tauscher, as she was known then, was born on June 19, 1855, in Sandow, Germany (now in Poland), and grew up in a deeply religious family. Her father, a Lutheran pastor, disowned her when she converted to the Catholic faith on October 30, 1888. Through meditating upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded and bleeding, yet burning with love for mankind, a desire was born in her to love the Sacred Heart with her whole being and make Him loved in every heart He had created. She desired to place her life in the service of God.”

The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in the Central Province (U.S.A.) share two web links that can help us to learn more about their Blessed foundress.

You can read a brief overview of the life of Blessed Maria Teresa Tauscher and find the prayer to ask for favors through her intercession here. In addition, you can learn more about obtaining a prayer card and relic.

If you would like to read more in-depth about Blessed Maria Teresa of St. Joseph and her work in founding the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, visit this link. You will find several photographs of Blessed Maria Teresa and the Sisters.

In 2013, the oldest continuously serving home established in North America by Blessed Maria Teresa Tauscher—in East Chicago, Indiana—celebrated its centenary. The facility provides family and child residential treatment services. The Times of Northwest Indiana published an article about the centenary here. You can learn about the Sisters’ ministry to youth and families in need here.


Carmel DCJ St Louis 2011
Our Lady of Fatima International Pilgrim Statue visits the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus at St. Agnes Home in St. Louis, Missouri during the Christmas season, 2010 | pilgrimfatima / Flickr


Quote of the day: 29 July

The Lord walks among
the pots and pans
Saint Teresa of Avila


First, I want to treat, according to my poor understanding, of the substance of perfect prayer. For I have run into some for whom it seems the whole business lies in thinking. If they can keep their minds much occupied in God, even though great effort is exerted, they at once think they are spiritual. If, on the contrary, without being able to avoid it, they become distracted, even if for the sake of good things, they then become disconsolate and think they are lost….

And so I am not treating of this now. But I should like to explain that the soul is not the mind, nor is the will directed by thinking, for this would be very unfortunate.

Hence, the soul’s progress does not lie in thinking much but in loving much.

How does one acquire this love? By being determined to work and to suffer, and to do so when the occasion arises.

It is indeed true that by thinking of what we owe the Lord, of who He is, and what we are, a soul’s determination grows, and that this thinking is very meritorious and appropriate for beginners. But it must be understood that this is true provided that nothing interferes with obedience or benefit to one’s neighbor.


boy wearing black hat sitting on case near flowers
Thinking | Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com


When either of these two things presents itself, time is demanded, and also the abandonment of what we so much desire to give God, which, in our opinion, is to be alone thinking of Him and delighting in the delights that He gives us.

To leave aside these delights for either of these other two things is to give delight to Him and do the work for Him, as He Himself said: What you did for one of these little ones you did for Me (Matt 25:45). And in matters touching on obedience, He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem (Phil 2:8).


The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila_Alonso Cano_Museo del Prado
And in matters touching on obedience, He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem (Phil 2:8).


There was a person to whom I spoke a few days ago who for about fifteen years was kept so busy through obedience with work in occupations and government that in all those years he didn’t remember having had one day for himself, although he tried the best he could to keep a pure conscience and have some periods each day for prayer. His soul in its inclination is one of the most obedient I have seen, and so he communicates this spirit of obedience to all those with whom he deals.

The Lord has repaid him well; for he has found that he has, without knowing how, that same precious and desirable liberty of spirit that the perfect have. In it, they find all the happiness that could be wanted in this life, for in desiring nothing they possess all.

Nothing on earth do they fear or desire, neither do trials disturb them, nor do consolations move them. In sum, nothing can take away their peace because these souls depend only on God.

And since no one can take Him away from them, only the fear of losing Him can cause them pain. Everything else in this world, in their opinion, is as though it were not; it neither contributes anything nor removes anything from their happiness. Oh, happy obedience and happy the resulting distraction that could obtain so much!

This is not the only person, for I have known others of the same sort, whom I had not seen for some, or many, years. In asking them about how they had spent these years, I learned that the years were all spent in the fulfillment of the duties of obedience and charity. On the other hand, I saw such improvement in spiritual things that I was amazed.

Well, come now, my daughters, don’t be sad when obedience draws you to involvement in exterior matters. Know that if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans helping you both interiorly and exteriorly.


child washing dishes ukraine Alexey Novitsky Flickr
Alina plays at washing the dishes; just give her a basin, a sponge, and some soap and water. | Alexey Novitsky / Flickr


The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

“We would like to give a voice” — An open letter from Discalced Carmelite and Poor Clare nuns in Italy

Dear Editor of Avvenire, 

We wish to share with you and all the readers of ‘Avvenire’ the open letter which, inspired by the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 23:8): ‘You are all brothers’, we decided to send to President Mattarella and to Prime Minister Conte on 11 July 2019, on the feast of St Benedict.

Dear President of the Italian Republic, 
Dear Prime Minister, 

We are sisters of Poor Clare and Discalced Carmelite monasteries, united by the sole desire to express concern about the spread in Italy of feelings of intolerance, rejection, and violent discrimination against migrants and refugees who are seeking welcome and protection in our lands. It was not possible for us to contact all Italian monastic houses, but we know that we are in communion with those who share our concerns and our own desire for a more humane society. 

With this open letter we would like to give a voice to our migrant brothers and sisters who flee from wars, persecution, and famines, those who face endless and inhumane journeys, suffer humiliation and violence of every kind that no one can possibly deny. The stories of survivors and rescuers, the statistics of international institutions who observe migration, and reports from journalists all clearly demonstrate the increasingly dramatic situation we face. 

We repeat the appeal contained in the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and by the Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb calling upon ‘leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace’. In particular ‘in the name of orphans, widows, refugees, and exiles from their homes and their countries; of all the victims of wars, persecutions, and injustice; of the weak, of those who live in fear, of prisoners of war and those tortured in any part of the world’. We too, therefore, dare to beg you: please protect the lives of migrants! 

Through you, we ask that government institutions guarantee their dignity, care for their integration, and protect them from racism and from a mentality that considers them only as an obstacle to national well-being. Please remember that alongside the many problems and difficulties, there are countless examples of migrants who build friendships, enter the world of work and university, create businesses, engage in trade unions and volunteer work. These riches must not be devalued and we should acknowledge and promote their great potential. 

Our simple life as sisters testifies that staying together is challenging and sometimes tiring, but achievable and always constructive. Only the patient art of mutual acceptance can keep us humane and allow us to accept ourselves as we really are.

We are also deeply convinced that it is not naive to believe that developing a strong relationship with everyone who is called to live in our society, can only enrich our history and, in the long term, also develop our economic and social situation. It is actually naive to believe that a civilization that closes its doors is destined for a long and happy future. A society that among other things closes the ports for migrants, which as Pope Francis pointed out, actually ‘opens the doors to the boats that prefer to load sophisticated and expensive weapons’. What seems to be lacking today in many political decisions is a wise reading of the past made up of peoples who have themselves migrated and a foresight capable of perceiving for tomorrow the consequences of today’s choices. 

Many Italian monasteries, belonging to various orders, are questioning how to contribute tangibly to the reception of refugees, alongside diocesan institutions. Some are already offering space and help. And at the same time, we are trying to listen to their experience to understand their suffering and fear. We wish to place ourselves next to all the poor of our country and, now more than ever, to those who come to Italy and see themselves denied the right of every man and every woman: peace and dignity. Many of us have also intimately experienced their tragedies at first hand.

We wish to support those who dedicate time, energy and heart to the defense of refugees and to the fight against all forms of racism, even by simply declaring their opinion. We thank all those who, because of this, are mocked, hindered, and accused. An article of our Italian Constitution (Art. 21) says that everyone has ‘the right to freely express their thoughts with speech, writing and any other means of communication’.

We wish to dissociate ourselves from every form of the Christian faith that does not translate itself into charity and service.

Finally, in communion with the teaching of Pope Francis, and his call for fraternity and solidarity, we wish to follow our consciences as women; we are daughters of God and the sisters of every woman and man on earth, and we wish to publicly express our concern. 

We thank you for the attention with which you have read our appeal. We thank you, President Mattarella, for your continuous calls for peace and your confidence in the dialogue that allows, as you said when we celebrated ‘Republic Day’ on the 2nd of June 2019, ‘to overcome conflicts and promote mutual interest in the international community’.

We thank you, Prime Minister Conte, for your difficult role as mediator and institutional guarantor within the Government. We sincerely thank you for what you are already doing to support peaceful coexistence and a more welcoming society. We assure you of our prayers for you, for those who work in government institutions, for our country, and for Europe, because together we wish to promote what is good for everyone.


Discalced Carmelite Nuns: Sassuolo, Crotone, Parma, Cividino, Venice, Savona, Monte S. Quirico, Arezzo, Bologna, Piacenza, Legnano, Nuoro. 

Poor Clares: Lovere, Milan, Fanano, Grottaglie, Padua, Montagnana, Mantua, Urbania, Montone, S. Severino Marche, S. Benedetto del Tronto, Vicoforte, Bra, Sant’Agata Feltria, Roasio, Verona, S. Lucia di Serino, Altamura, Otranto, Capri, Leivi, Alcamo, Bologna, Boves, Sassoferrato, Termini Imerese, Chieti, Pollenza, Osimo, Castelbuono, Porto Viro, Bergamo, Rimini, Manduria, Urbino, Bienno, Scigliano, Sarzana, Caltanissetta, Ferrara, San Marino. 

Capuchin Poor Clares: Fiera di Primiero, Naples, Mercatello sul Metauro, Brescia, Citta di Castello. 


Original Italian text: https://www.avvenire.it/opinioni/pagine/lettera-claustrali-preghiamo-per-i-migranti-senza-voce


Translated by Christian Kendall-Daw, edited for style by the blogger.

Quote of the day: 9 July

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, thou who hast been rightly proclaimed the Patroness of Catholic missions throughout the world, remember the burning desire which thou didst manifest here on earth to plant the Cross of Christ on every shore and to preach the Gospel even to the consummation of the world; we implore thee, according to thy promise, to assist all priests and missionaries and the whole Church of God.


Therese-patroness-missions (DETAIL)
Thérèse patroness of the missions (detail)
Sr. Marie of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Oil on canvas or panel, 1928; 85 x 132 cm.
Carmel of Lisieux
Painting executed by Sr. Marie of the Holy Spirit, Discalced Carmelite nun of Lisieux  (1892-1982), to illustrate the nomination of Thérèse as Patroness of the Missions by Pope Pius XI on 14 December 1927. Sister Marie followed a pencil on paper sketch by artist Charles Jouvenot


Pope Pius XI through an Apostolic Brief issued 9 July 1928 accorded a partial indulgence of 300 days once a day and a plenary indulgence, on the usual conditions, if this prayer is devoutly said every day for a month.

Sources: Efemerides Carmelitana, Raccolta

Quote of the day: 25 June

A Christian must distinguish himself by a very clear stance in favor of human dignity. Let’s not forget: God became man and died to save us. That’s why for Christians this commitment in favor of humanity is decisive, their ability to create relationships based on a sense of community, working to build more peaceful societies, more just, more human… taking care of the planet, because the faith has an ecological dimension.


March in support of CEN 28jul2018
A sign at the procession to the Cathedral of Managua, Nicaragua 28 July 2018 reads, “Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be consoled.” (Cf Mt 5:4) | Jorge Mejía Peralta / Flickr


In a nutshell: the Christian fights so that human beings may live with greater dignity, and it is in this relationship with others that we express our faith in a concrete way. We also must work in social media so that this option for the human being may be rediscovered, which is summarized in this simple message of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Faith that cuts deep: An interview with Bishop Silvio Báez


Quote of the day: 23 June

photo of woman smiling while siting on stairs and using white smartphone
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This virtual presence in social media is as real as physical existence. One is as present in the digital world as one is in the physical world. It isn’t an isolated world: there are also people there, there are feelings, there are sorrows …  In social media, I introduce myself just as I do in person. My presence in social media reflects my convictions, just as I am in life. In social media, in addition, communication is given equal to equal, never from top to bottom. I speak as a friend.

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Read more: Faith that cuts deep: An interview with Bishop Silvio Báez

BAEZ - A persons world is as big IGsize SPANISH
Roberto Clemente Walker (Carolina; 18 de agosto de 1934 – San Juan; 31 de diciembre de 1972) fue un beisbolista puertorriqueño de las Grandes Ligas de los Estados Unidos. Ganó dos Series Mundiales con el equipo para el que jugó su vida profesional: los Pittsburgh Pirates. Ha sido considerado uno de los mejores jardineros derechos de la historia, opinión que se consolida con los doce Guantes de Oro de los que se hizo acreedor en su carrera. También fue un notable bateador que obtuvo cuatro títulos individuales y que llegó además a la cifra de 3,000 hits. Clemente fue quizá el jugador más dominante de la década de los años 1960 en la gran carpa, a pesar de ser elegido solamente una vez como Jugador Más Valioso de la Liga Nacional en el año de 1966. Aparte de su labor en el campo de juego, este pelotero tuvo una meritoria labor en la defensa de la imagen de los jugadores latinoamericanos y la educación deportiva de la juventud de su país. Y fue, debido a este interés en el prójimo, lo que provocó su muerte al llevar un cargamento de ayuda para las víctimas del Terremoto de Managua de 1972. [Fuente: Wikipedia] | ‘Roberto Clemente’ (2017) by Reynerio Tamayo | Ron Cogswell/Flickr

European Parliament Delegates Visit Nicaragua: A Story in Tweets and Videos (Part 1) — Dr. Minúscula

Members of the European Parliament visit La Esperanza Women’s Prison, Tipitapa, Nicaragua (Jan 2019) When a delegation from the European Parliament approached Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo (OrMu) for permission to visit Nicaragua, the two co-dictators said no because some of the members of the delegation had said uttered “threatening or disrespectful statements” against OrMu.…

via European Parliament Delegates Visit Nicaragua: A Story in Tweets and Videos (Part 1) — Dr. Minúscula

The eyes of our Lady

It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul; the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven. Jesus himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22): the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!”


POPE FRANCIS - The eyes of our lady

God Knows

God Knows
Minnie Louise Haskins

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills
and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.


God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Photo credits: 
Contemplation - Dartmoor, Devon | Jan Faborsky | Flickr
. | Senjiu | Flickr

Está claro que esta Navidad será muy triste para muchas familias en Nicaragua. Para los más de 600 presos políticos, para las madres que han perdido a sus hijos, para las familias que han sido divididas por el exilio o la cárcel o el asesinato, para los médicos, periodistas y maestros que han quedado sin trabajo por no pensar como el régimen, para los empresarios cuyas gasolineras han sido cerradas, y también para mí porque todos ellos son mi gente mis amigos y mi país. Hoy nos ha tocado vivir algo de lo que en muchas partes del mundo llevan años sufriendo. Déjame contarte algo.

Leer más…


How do translators translate?

As we prepare for the 2018 Online Advent Retreat presented by the Discalced Carmelite Friars, perhaps you might like to see the work in progress. It is not too late to register to receive the weekly meditation emails!

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