Quote of the day: 11 August

The God of mercy does not cease coming to the aid of his weak creature. The life of human beings and their most ambitious desires have limits, while God’s love has none. This love accompanies us along our way, surprises us in our erring wayward paths, and reminds us of what we have forgotten; it repeats in our hearts the promises made on a day, long ago, and speaks to us at length of our first faith, of that first charity, of that incomparable innocence regained with holy baptism. A stream of tears floods one’s conscience at the sight of the loss of those treasures, and to this the Spirit of God bears witness. Christ’s mercy endures everything, and does not think evil but rejoices in the good; it intercedes for us, and knocks on the door of our heart, it lowers itself until it conquers the soul with its love full of humility.

What Christ accomplished in Judea during the thirty-three years of his earthly life is reproduced in every human heart.

Even still today, right up until death, his love continues to struggle with our egoism. And we see today what results: conquered by eternal love and awakened from a deep sleep, we remember the promises made at holy baptism, raise our eyes to heaven, and present ourselves again before the Lord’s face, now no longer as infants who speak through the mouth of others spiritually substituting for them, but as persons mature in their own reason and will. And along with the prodigal son, we say: “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread in abundance, while here I die of hunger! I shall arise and go to my father” (Lk 15:17-18).

Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Baptism and Religious Vows


Parable of Prodigal Son Master of St Christopher 1530 Netherlands Getty Museum
Scenes from the Life of the Prodigal Son (detail) 
Master of Saint Christopher (Flemish, active first half of 16th century)
Pen and brown ink and gray wash, over traces of black chalk, 1530
J. Paul Getty Museum


Praskiewicz OCD, S 1998, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 4 April

You, my soul’s Good, do not fail those who desire You

O, my powerful God! Since even though we may not so desire, You must judge us, why don’t we consider how important it is to please You before that hour comes? But who, who will not want so just a Judge? Blessed will they be who in that fearful moment rejoice with You, my God and Lord! The soul You have raised up has known how miserably lost it was for the sake of gaining a very brief satisfaction, and it is determined to please You always. Since You, my soul’s Good, do not fail those who desire You or cease to respond to those who call upon You, what remedy, through Your favor, Lord, will You provide that the soul may be able to live afterward and not be dying over the remembrance of having lost the great good it once possessed through the innocence that came from baptism?

Saint Teresa of Avila
Soliloquies No. 3, Merciful Redeemer and just Judge

Baptism font of Teresa of Jesus
Baptismal font in the parish of Saint John the Baptist, where Saint Teresa of Avila was baptized | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Seremban, Malaysia 

On Holy Wednesday 4 April 1515, Saint Teresa of Avila was baptized in the parish of St. John the Baptist in Avila, Spain. Her godfather was Francisco Núñez Vela, the brother of Blasco Núñez Vela y Villalba (c. 1490 – January 18, 1546), the first Spanish viceroy of Peru; her godmother was María del Aguila.

Baptismal font, parish of St. John the Baptist, Avila | Photo: Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma blog
Soliloquies: 3, Merciful Redeemer and just Judge; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

To make the celebration complete

“She will be baptized this Saturday, all we need is you to make the celebration complete. Marie will be her godmother along with a young boy, about her age, as godfather.”

St. Zelie Martin
Letter to Madame Guérin, 3 January 1873



The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption at Alençon, France is famous as the location of the marriage of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; their nuptials were celebrated in the church on Tuesday, 13 July 1858 at midnight.
St. Thérèse was baptized in this same church on Saturday, 4 January 1873, two days after her birth. The 1925 window in the baptistry, designed by executed by the native Alençon stained glass artist Louis Barillet, represents the baptismal rite. On 17 July 1944, the Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption suffered enormously in the Allied bombardment of the city. Miraculously, the Barillet window in the baptistry chapel survived undamaged.
Above the baptismal font hangs St. Thérèse’s baptismal gown, which had been handed down from her sister Léonie. The godfather of whom Saint Zélie writes was Paul-Albert Boul, age 9,  the son of a friend of Saint Louis Martin. Barillet indicated the presence of the godparents Marie Martin and Paul-Albert Boul by the baptismal candle, which they both hold.
On the Second Sunday of Advent, 6 December 2009, this church of the Diocese of Séez celebrated the decree of Pope Benedict XVI, issued 6 June 2009, which elevated the historic Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption to the rank of a minor basilica.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption is one of the most famous pilgrimage locations in France and in the Diocese of Séez. To make your own pilgrimage to Alençon, France visit the English language website of the Shrine of Alençon. When you visit the basilica, the baptistry chapel is the first chapel on the left as you enter the church.
To view the baptistry window in expanded detail and to see more stained glass windows in the Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption, visit the Flickr basilica photo album of Patrick Berthou
alenÇon - portail assomption de la ste vierge
Notre-Dame of the Assumption over the portal of the basilica in Alençon

Quote of the day: 4 January

O Jesus, my divine spouse! May I never lose the sec­ond robe of my Baptism! Take me before I can commit the slightest voluntary fault. May I never seek nor find anything but yourself alone.

St Therese of the Child Jesus
Prayer 2 — profession note

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 3

Mark everything with the seal of love! It alone endures


For a heart overflowing with love: “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love,” St. Paul writes, “I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” [I Cor 13:1] For Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, God is present in a wholly loving way in the souls of those who cry out to Him and believe in Him by faith.  This is because baptism transforms the soul into His temple, His beloved dwelling place. Through this presence in our hearts, He is always ready to communicate the immensity of His love whenever we welcome Him.  To welcome God’s overflowing presence, she recommends that we seek to recollect ourselves and to constantly call to mind the immensity of His love – it is always more than we can imagine or hope for.  St. Paul writes, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” [Rom 5:5]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

“Mark everything with the seal of love! It alone endures.”


In silent prayer, reflect upon St. Elizabeth’s words, “mark everything with the seal of love.” Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire your reflection.


O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Tronhiems Byes Tolv Mænds Seiel (1772) | Municipal Archives of Trondheim
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace

July 23
(In Europe: July 19)



‘The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the Incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, His associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented Him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with Him in His suffering as He died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she cooperated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’ (Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, 61).

From the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, except the following:

Office of Readings


Hom. 4

From the homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria preached at the Council of Ephesus

Our access to the fountainhead of grace is through Mary

Hail Mary, Mother of God, august treasury of the whole world, unquenchable torch, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, temple indestructible, and place of the uncontainable, mother and virgin. Through you is named blessed in the holy gospel He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail Mary! You contained the uncontainable in your holy virginal womb. Through you the Trinity is glorified; through you is the cross named precious, and adored throughout the whole world; through you heaven exults; through you angels and archangels rejoice; through you demons are put to flight; through you the devil, the tempter, fell from heaven; through you the fallen creature is taken up to heaven; through you the whole created world, gripped in the madness of idolatry, come to a recognition of the truth; through you comes about holy baptism for believers; through you the oil of gladness; through you churches have been founded through the whole world; through you nations are led to repentance.

What need is there to speak at length? Through you the only Son of God shone His light for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; through you prophets foretold what was to come; through you apostles preach salvation to the nations; through you the dead are raised to life; through you kings reign, through the Holy Trinity.

What man can sing adequately the praise of Mary? She is both virgin and mother! The wonder astounds me. Shall the Builder be forbidden to inhabit the temple He has built? Shall He be despised who chose His handmaid for His mother?

See then, all things rejoice. May it be ours to fear and bow before the unity of the Trinity, to worship and tremble in awe before the indivisible Trinity, as we sing praises of the ever-virgin Mary, that is the holy Church, and of her Son and immaculate spouse; for to Him is glory for ever and ever. Amen.


R/. With confidence let us draw near to the throne of grace, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
V/. To you do we cry, blessed Virgin, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. It is I who give birth to all noble loving and the holy gift of hope. From me comes every grace of faithful observance; from me all promise of life and vigor.


God of eternal wisdom,
in your providence, you willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary
should bring forth the Author of Grace,
and take part with him
in the mystery of man’s redemption.
May she obtain for us grace in abundance
and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Evening Prayer


Ant. Our salvation is in your hands, O Mother; smile upon us, and we shall be happy in our service of the Lord our King.

“She is Mother to us all in the order of grace” (LG 61)

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 7

I could feel she was much stronger than my other children


January 3, 1873

My little girl [Thérèse] was born last night, Thursday, at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet.

I’m very happy. However, at first, I was surprised. I was so sure I was having a boy. I’d been imagining this for two months because I could feel she was much stronger than my other children.

I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday. The only thing missing to make the celebration complete is all of you. Marie is going to be the godmother, and a little boy close to her age will be the godfather (Paul-Albert Boul, 9 years old; son of a friend of Louis).

I received your letter, as well as the box containing the New Year’s gifts. I don’t know if I should scold you. I want to very much, and yet I also want to thank you, but everything is too beautiful and too expensive. Céline wore her beautiful fur and muff for the first time on the first day of the year.

I wish all of you a happy New Year. Please remember me to Monsieur and Madame Fournet and Monsieur and Madame Maudelonde.

I look forward to sending you a longer letter. I can’t write a long one today.

Marie and Pauline have been on vacation since Tuesday evening. They’ll stay with me until Monday or Tuesday.

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 84 – January 3, 1873

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

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