Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
With these words, these three daughters of Carmel could address the Good Shepherd when it was time for them to give their lives for the faith in the divine Spouse of their souls. Yes, “I fear no evil.” Not even death. Love is greater than death and “You are with me.” You, the crucified Spouse! You, Christ, my strength!
Saint John Paul II Homily, Rite of Beatification
Sr. María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja
Sr. María Ángeles de San José
Sr. Teresa del Niño Jesús 29 March 1987
They could not sufficiently admire the genius of Madame Acarie
The people came in crowds to Notre Dame des Champs to see the Carmelites take possession of their monastery; distinguished persons also assisted in great numbers at this touching ceremony. All praised God for the new Order of religious that had been established, returned thanks to Spain for the present she had made to France in giving Saints for foundresses. After the Spanish religious had taken possession of the [priory], they examined the interior arrangements. They could not sufficiently admire the genius of Mme. Acarie, who had known how, in so small a space, to make all the proper arrangements, together with all that was necessary for a community. They then visited the new buildings which were on the other side of the church, and the way in which this intelligent woman had grouped them seemed to them equally admirable.
Marcel Bouix, S.J., editor (1806-1889) Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew
Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D. Silence Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Eight Thursday evening, 9 September 1943
The Servant of God Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., who was a professed friar of the Province of Paris-Avon, an ordained priest, and the headmaster of the Discalced Carmelite friars’ boys’ preparatory school at Avon, the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus, died on this date, 2 June 1945 in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Linz, Austria following 70 weeks in Nazi prison camps. Père Jacques was weakened by a year of hard labor and harsh conditions at Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps in Austria; when the Allied Forces liberated the camps on 5 May 1945, he summoned the strength to help restore order and organize relief efforts. But 15 days later the Allied camp commanders transferred him to St. Elizabeth Hospital so that he could be close to the community of the Discalced Carmelite friars at Linz. It was there that he succumbed to illness and exhaustion at 45 years of age.
The diocesan process of his cause for beatification was opened in 1990. You can find the prayer for his beatification here and the website for his cause here.
The World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem has a featured story dedicated to Père Jacques. It includes a description of his heroic acts to shelter Jewish students at the preparatory school, for which he was arrested. It also quotes the testimony of witnesses to his arrest and imprisonment and provides links to read full accounts of witnesses’ testimonies. On 17 January 1985 Yad Vashem recognized Père Jacques as Righteous Among the Nations. You can read the Yad Vashem featured story, find the links, and see the Yad Vashem photos here.
Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Père Jacques, is available for purchase from the publisher, ICS Publications.
I ardently desire to live in God’s will, I know that this is this way saints are made, and I want to become a saint to give glory to God.
Blessed Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified (Giuseppina Catanea) From her diary
Maria Giuseppina of Jesus Crucified, a professed nun of the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Saints Teresa and Joseph at Ponti Rossi in Naples, Italy, was beatified 1 June 2008 in the Cathedral of Naples, Italy. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe presided at the Eucharist and Rite of Beatification, to whom Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, sent a message as the representative of Pope Benedict XVI.
BLESSED ANNE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW Protectress of Antwerp
Regarding these matters of the war, some things have occurred in my soul which are undeniable. The day on which Maurice Nassau, Prince of Orange, marched at the head of a great army with the fixed resolution of taking Antwerp, he placed most of his troops in many ships. The night was very serene and tranquil; he said to his followers with the most joyous air in the world: “We will see that there is no one but God or the devil who can cause the failure of my undertaking.” He assured them that they would take Antwerp, and that they would return rich.
But suddenly a great tempest arose and a very violent cold wind, which froze the water; and the ships with those aboard were instantly sunk. Maurice alone saved himself and with much difficulty, running the risk several times of drowning, struggling against the tempest, the water and the ice, in such wise that he was sorely wounded. From that day he had no health, and finally died in consequence of this mishap.
That very night, knowing nothing of the treachery of our enemies, I was seized about midnight with a great fear and I commenced to pray, my arms extended towards heaven, with great impetuosity of fervor. My arms becoming fatigued from being thus uplifted, I let them fall; it seemed to me that someone raised them again towards heaven and an unknown voice said: “‘Tis not yet time to stop, keep them raised towards heaven.” And I remained thus until near daybreak. I felt then that what I asked had been granted. And really, it was so.
For my part, I can do nothing
On another occasion, having gone to bed and being already asleep, I was awakened by cries coming from the dormitory of the religious. These cries continued after my awakening; I called out and, two Sisters coming, I said to them: “Go through the cells, and see which of the religious is sick, for I hear cries.”
The two Sisters, after having made the visit, returned to say to me: “All the Sisters are sleeping, and there is no one sick.”
I then said: “Tell all to dress, and we will go before the Blessed Sacrament, for there must have been some treachery. It was our holy Mother herself, it seems, who wakened us.” And we all went before the Most Holy Sacrament.
I then said to our Lord: “I bring Thy servants to Thee here. May they ask Thee what I desire; for my part, I can do nothing”; and I meant what I said; for it is the truth that I felt confused in our Lord’s presence.
We remained a little time in prayer, and soon I felt, without seeing or hearing anyone, that we could retire. I forgot to say that at the same time I heard the cries, I also heard the signal calling to arms in the citadel. I looked through the windows to see if there were any lights in the fortress, for we could see it from our house. I did not perceive any light, all was dark. In spite of that, I felt that some danger threatened us.
A few days ago I awoke at two o’clock in the morning. A powerful emotion in my soul told me it was necessary to pray, which I did. But after some time, as I was weary, I went to bed again. It was useless. I had become the prey of an anxiety which would allow me no repose. I recognized by this that our Lord willed that I should pray. I began then to pray, my hands raised towards heaven, experiencing a strong emotion which told me to plead for mercy.
For two entire hours, from two o’clock to four, without consciousness of myself, and powerless to resist, I remained with hands raised to heaven and interiorly urged to ask for mercy. All the following day I was like one dead, my body bruised as if it had been beaten with a stick. I knew not then what had happened, but they told me later that the heretics had attempted to take possession of the city by surprise, and that they had not been able to succeed.
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew
Pope Benedict XV beatified Anne of Saint Bartholomew on 6 May 1917
Wherefore it is imperative for you to strip yourselves completely of every earthly convenience and of all human respect, even though there are but few [who rank] above you. It is imperative, further, that you follow the Vicar of Christ, who holds the place of the glorious apostle Peter; and that you be most obedient to him, just as the other apostles were to Peter, though they were not less anxious for the salvation of peoples and of the human race than was the glorious Peter.
Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi Letter No. 7 to “the most illustrious Cardinals who are assisting the Apostolic See”
On 24 April 1614 Teresa of Avila was beatified in Rome by Pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese). On that day, the pope signed the Brief of Beatification of Our Holy Mother Teresa. We lift up this passage from the Brief:
So, We, having carefully examined this cause, through our venerable brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, deputies for the sacred Rites, to whom we entrust their study and having heard their favorable counsel to these requests: grant that from now on all the monasteries and churches of the Discalced Carmelite Order and all the religious of both sexes may celebrate the office and the Mass of Blessed Teresa as Virgin, the day of her glorious transitus; that is, the 5th of October and in the town of Alba, the diocese of Salamanca, in the monastery and in the church where the body of the Blessed Teresa is kept, all priests, both secular and regular, may pray and celebrate the office and the Mass respectively in honor of the blessed Blessed Teresa, according to the rubrics of the Roman Breviary and Missal, a grace which, by virtue of Our apostolic authority and by the present letters, we grant in perpetuity, the Constitutions and apostolic Ordinations, or anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
This is her message: happiness is in God alone; only God is infinite joy.
The Church today proclaims Sister Teresa de los Andes to be Blessed and, as of this day, she venerates her and invokes her with this title.
Blessed, blissful, happy, is the person who has made the Gospel’s beatitudes the center of her life; that she has lived them with heroic intensity.
In this way, our Blessed, having put into practice the beatitudes, incarnated in her life the most perfect example of holiness that is Christ. Indeed, Teresa of the Andes radiates the happiness of poverty of spirit, the goodness and meekness of her heart, the hidden suffering with which God purifies and sanctifies his chosen ones. She hungers and thirsts for justice, loves God intensely and wants God to be loved and known by all. God made her merciful in her total immolation for priests and for the conversion of sinners; peaceful and conciliatory, she sowed understanding and dialogue all around her. She reflects, above all, the bliss of purity of heart. Indeed, she gave herself totally to Christ and Jesus opened her eyes to the contemplation of his mysteries.
God also permitted her in advance to taste the sublime joy of living beforehand on earth the bliss and joyfulness of communion with God in the service of others.
This is her message: happiness is in God alone; only God is infinite joy. Young people of Chile, youth of Latin America, discover in Sister Teresa the joy of living the Christian faith to its very extreme! Take her as a model!
Saint John Paul II
Homily, Mass of Beatification of Sister Teresa of the Andes (excerpts)
Parque O’Higgins, Santiago de Chile
Friday 3 April 1987
Explore Saint John Paul II’s 1987 Apostolic Journey to Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina here
English translation of St. John Paul II's homily is the blogger's own work; do not reproduce without permission.
“Munire digneris me, Domine Iesu Christe…, signo sacratissimae Crucis tuae: ac concedere digneris mihi… ut, sicut hanc Crucem, Sanctorum tuorum reliquiis refertam, ante pectus meum teneo, sic semper mente retineam et memoriam passionis, et sanctorum victorias Martyrum: this is the prayer recited by the Bishop as he puts on the pectoral cross. Today I make of this invocation the prayer of the entire Church in Poland which, bearing for a thousand years the marks of the Passion of Christ, is constantly regenerated by the seed of the blood of the martyrs and draws life from the memory of their victory on earth.
Saint John Paul II Homily for the Beatification of the 108 Polish Martyrs Warsaw, Sunday, 13 June 1999
“Deign Thou, O Lord Jesus Christ, to guard me from all the snares of every enemy, by the sign of Thy most holy Cross: and deign Thou to grant to me, Thy unworthy servant, that as I hold before my breast this Cross with the relics of Thy Saints within it, so may I ever keep in mind the memory of the Passion, and the holy victorious Martyrs.”
But no apostolic cause was dearer to the heart of this great man of faith than that of the unity and harmony within the Church. It was as if he had always before his mind the prayer of Jesus, on the night before his Sacrifice on the Cross: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us”.
Today the Church solemnly recalls with love and gratitude all his efforts to resist threats of disunity and to encourage the clergy and faithful to maintain unity with the See of Peter and the universal Church. His success in this, as in all his many undertakings, was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which characterized his daily life, his close communion with Christ and his love for the Church as the visible Body of Christ on earth.
Saint John Paul II Homily for the Beatification of Kuriakose Elias Chavara 8 February 1986, Kottayam
Did you know that Archbishop Oscar Romero died while celebrating the Eucharist in a Carmelite chapel? As the Church prepares to celebrate the canonization of this martyr from El Salvador, it is enlightening to review his many connections to the Carmelites. Thanks to the Order of Carmelites – British Province for this helpful and informative link!
Born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Blessed Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed the ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists. Both before and during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic press. For this, he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors. In 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau. He was beatified by Saint John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985.
From the Common of One Martyr, except the following:
Office of Readings
THE SECOND READING (Alternative 1)
Introduction to Het lijden vergoddelijkt
From the writings of Blessed Titus Brandsma
The mysticism of the Passion
Jesus called Himself the head of the Mystical Body, of which we are the members. He is the vine, we are the branches. He laid Himself in the winepress and Himself trod it. He handed us the wine so that, drinking it, we might lead His life, might share His suffering. Whoever wishes to do My Will, let him daily take up his cross. Whoever follows me has the light of life. I am the way, He said. I have given you an example, so that as I have done so you may do also. And when His disciples did not understand that His way would be a way of suffering, He explained this to them and said, “Should not the Christ so suffer, in order to enter into His glory?”
Then the hearts of the disciples burned within them. God’s word had set them on fire. And when the Holy Spirit had descended on them to fan that divine fire into flame, then they were glad to suffer scorn and persecution, whereby they resembled Him Who had preceded them on the way of suffering.
The prophets had already marked His way of suffering; the disciples now understood that He had not avoided that way. From the crib to the cross, suffering, poverty and lack of appreciation were His lot. He had directed His whole life to teaching people how different is God’s view of suffering, poverty and lack of human appreciation from the foolish wisdom of the world. After sin, suffering had to follow so that, through the cross, man’s lost glory and life with God might be regained. Suffering is the way to heaven. In the cross is salvation, in the cross is victory. God willed it so. He Himself assumed the obligation of suffering in view of the glory of redemption. St. Paul makes it clear to us how all the disasters of this earthly life are insignificant, how they must be considered as nothing and passing, in comparison with the glory that will be revealed to us when the time of suffering is past, and we come to share in God’s glory.
Mary, who kept all God’s words in her heart, in the fullness of grace granted her, understood the great value of suffering. While the apostles fled, she went out to meet the Savior on the way to Calvary and stood beneath the cross, in order to share His grief and shame to the end. And she carried Him to the grave, firmly trusting that He would rise.
We object when He hands us the chalice of His suffering. It is so difficult for us to resign ourselves to suffering. To rejoice in it strikes us as heroic. What is the value of our offering of self if we unite ourselves each morning only in word and gesture, rather than in thought and will, to that offering which we, together with the Church, make of Him with whom we are in the one body?
Jesus once wept over Jerusalem.
Oh, that this day you had known the gift of God!
Oh, that this day we might realize the value God has placed on the suffering He sends: He, the All-Good.
R/. God forbid that I glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, * by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. V/. We preach Christ crucified, to others a stumbling block and a folly, but to us the power and the wisdom of God, * by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Lord our God, source and giver of life,
you gave to Blessed Titus the Spirit of courage
to proclaim human dignity and the freedom of the Church,
even in the throes of degrading persecution and death.
Grant us that same Spirit
so that in the coming of your kingdom of justice and peace
we might never be ashamed of the Gospel
but be enabled to recognize your loving-kindness
in all the events of our lives.
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.
Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)
Resolution: To forgive whoever has offended me this day.
Maria Felicia, inspire thoughts of forgiveness in us for those who have offended us that we may be able to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Most Holy Trinity:
Father Son and Holy Spirit,
you who are pleased to place your abode
in the heart of men:
we thank you for having lit the fire of your love
in Blessed Maria Felicia of the Blessed Sacrament,
urging her to spend her youth
in the lay apostolate
and to sacrifice herself for all
in the contemplative life.
We praise and bless you
because through an exemplary life
you show us your kindness as Father and Friend
and the total exigencies of true love.
We ask you to grant us, through her intercession,
the graces that we now ask of you,
if it is for your greater glory and good for souls.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
We are grateful to Heidi Cooper, OCDS for preparing a helpful fact sheet to aid you and your friends, family, and parish to learn more about the life and sanctity of Sister Maria Felicia of Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament, best known by her nickname, Chiquitunga.
This PDF document permits you to download the trifold fact sheet in a format suitable for printing and distribution:
On 7 May 1919, Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of the Holy Spirit in the township of Los Andes, roughly 90 kilometers from her family in the capital of Santiago, Chile.
Years later, her brother Luis testified for her process of beatification and canonization:
“Juanita chose the poorest Monastery of Los Andes out of the spirit of poverty. She could have entered a Carmelite cloister in Santiago which, while austere, had more comforts and a better appearance. Nevertheless, Juanita preferred the poorest one.
“Juanita entered religious life at the age of eighteen. The whole family traveled with her to Los Andes and was present when she entered the convent. Juanita bade farewell to each of us in the midst of a huge electrical storm. The rain was exceedingly heavy. She said goodbye to me last, hugged me and whispered in my ear, ‘God exists, brother, and never forget that.’ At this point, my sister, Rebecca, was so upset that she fainted.”
The Writings of Saint Teresa Of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement
Edited by Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS
Translated by Reverend Michael D. Griffin, OCD
Published by New Life Publishing Company, 2003
Featured photo: Peregrinación de Santa Teresa de Los Andes
Km 19, Cerro Chacabuco
Benjamín Mejías / Flickr