St. Teresa’s near-death experience

Then the feast of our Lady in August came.

The torment had been going on since April, but it was worse during the latter three months. I hastened to go to confession, for I always liked to confess frequently. They thought I was afraid of dying, and so that I would not become troubled my father would not allow me to confess. Oh, love, too excessive, springing from flesh and blood; even though from so Catholic and prudent a father (for he was every bit of this, and his action did not arise from ignorance), it could have done me great harm!

That night I suffered a paroxysm in which I remained for four days, [15-19 August 1539] or a little less, without any feeling.


Concha Velasco anointing
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appears in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús.


At this time they gave me the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and from hour to hour or moment to moment they thought I was going to die; they did nothing but recite the Creed to me, as if I were able to understand them. At times they were so certain I was dead that afterward I even found the wax on my eyes.

The sorrow my father felt for not having let me confess was great — many outcries and prayers to God. Blessed be He who desired to hear them! For after the grave in my convent was open for a day and a half awaiting arrival of the body, and the funeral rites were already celebrated at a monastery of our friars outside the city, the Lord allowed me to return to consciousness.


Concha Velasco comes back to life
Concha Velasco is surrounded by her co-stars as she portrays Saint Teresa ‘returning to life’ after four days in a near-death experience.


Immediately I desired to confess. I received Communion with many tears, though it seems to me these tears were not caused by sorrow for having offended God, which would have been sufficient for salvation, but for the mistake I made on account of those who told me certain things were not mortal sins, which I afterward clearly saw were.

The pains that remained were unsupportable — the contrition imperfect, although the confession was integral, including, in my opinion, everything I understood to have been an offense against God. For among other favors His Majesty has given me since my first Communion, there is this one: that I never fail to confess what I think is a sin even though venial.

But without a doubt it seems to me that my salvation would have been in jeopardy if I should have then died since on the one hand my confessors were so poorly educated and on the other hand I was wretched, and for many other reasons.

Truly and certainly it seems to me that I am so startled in arriving at this part of my life and in seeing how apparently the Lord raised me from the dead that I am almost trembling within myself.

I think it was good, O my soul, that you beheld the danger from which the Lord delivered you. And if out of love you do not give up offending Him, may you do so out of fear lest on any other of a thousand occasions He might let you die in a more dangerous state.

I don’t believe I’m adding much by saying “any other of a thousand,” although I may be scolded by the one who commanded me to be moderate in telling about my sins; and they are being really beautified.

For the love of God I beg him not to cut out anything having to do with my faults, for this is where the magnificence of God and what He endures from a soul is seen more clearly.

May He be blessed forever. May it please His Majesty that I die rather than ever cease to love Him.


Teresa-de-Jesus_statue museo Santa Clara Borja
Santa Teresa de Jesús, José Ramírez de Arellano and studio, Polychrome wood, ca. 1850-1900, Museo Santa Clara, Borja Spain | E. Lacleta /


Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa, 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Friar Jean Thierry Ebogo, O.C.D.

On 9 September 2014 another Discalced Carmelite advanced toward the honors of the altar. The closing of the last public session of the diocesan process of beatification and canonization of Friar Jean Thierry Ebogo of the Child Jesus and the Passion took place in Legnano, Italy.

Brother Jean Thierry was a Discalced Carmelite friar from Cameroon. Born in 1982, he entered Carmel in July 2003. A year later, he entered the novitiate and was supposed to continue his formation in Burkina Faso. Shortly thereafter, a tumor was discovered on his right knee, which threatened to end his novitiate. The friars sought treatment for him, and he was sent from hospital to hospital. Remedies exhausted, in November 2004 he was sent to the capital of Yaoundé, where his right leg was amputated at the general hospital. Throughout his course of treatment and in the face of this amputation, he was completely serene and sought to encourage others.

The OCD mission in Cameroon was established in 1984 by the Italian province of Lombardy (Milan), so it was a mixed blessing when in August 2005 the Father Provincial from Milan came to Cameroon to take Friar Jean Thierry to Italy to pursue rehab, prosthesis, and formation. It was a blessing to receive better care, but there was the sorrow of leaving his family, his brothers, and his friends. Once again, he abandoned himself to the divine will.

When he completed his first examination at the hospital in Legnano, the diagnosis was much more serious than ever imagined: a recurrence of the malignant bone tumor with cancer now throughout his body. He spent two months at a famous cancer institute in Turin, but the best care still could not provide the hoped-for cure. He returned to the hospital in Legnano, where the staff kept him as comfortable as possible.

On December 8, 2005, with special permission from Father General Luis Aróstegui Gamboa and the Sacred Congregation for Religious, Brother Jean Thierry of the Child Jesus and the Passion professed his solemn vows in the intimacy of his hospital room. His mother, Marie Thérèse Ebogo was present for the blessed occasion. Hundreds of people were drawn to him: youth, priests, religious, the sick, his friends. He hid his sufferings and focused on the other person.

On January 5, 2006, Br. Jean Thierry went home to God. A few hours before, he received the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist that was celebrated in his hospital room. His greatest sacrifice was the departure of his mother on December 26, because, despite all efforts, her visa could not be renewed. Her consolation was to assist at Jean Thierry’s religious profession and when he received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for the final time.

His last words were spoken to a very dear friend whom he called “Mamma Anna.” A few hours before he slipped into a coma, he pointed out the image of Divine Mercy on the wall across from his bed, saying, «comme il est beau Jésus!» How beautiful Jesus is!

To see photos of Brother Jean Thierry, to read some of his inspiring quotes, and to read a more detailed biography, visit:

Brother Jean Thierry and his mother, Marie Thérèse

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