I remember that when my mother died I was twelve years old or a little less. When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. For I have found favor with this sovereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life, Chap. 1
On 24 November 1528 Doña Beatriz Dávila Ahumada y de las Cuevas—better known as Doña Beatriz de Ahumada—made her last will and testament. Scholars such as Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Joseph Pérez indicate that it is believed she expired soon after she made and signed her will, dying in her palace at Gotarrendura, Avila. From there, her body was taken to the city with all due ceremony where she received a burial with honors in the Church of San Juan in Avila.
Spanish Wikipedia editor CrisDC has done a fine job creating and editing a small biography for Doña Beatriz drawing upon the research of Pérez and others, as well as consulting the Cepeda genealogy.
Father Kavanaugh discusses the “image of our Lady” in his notes to St. Teresa’s Life:
According to an old tradition, she is referring to a statue of Our Lady of Charity that was venerated in the hermitage of St. Lazarus, outside the walls of the city, near the river Adaja. After the destruction of the hermitage in the nineteenth century, the statue was moved to the cathedral where it is venerated today.
This statue of Our Lady of Charity is found in the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows (Capilla de la virgen de la piedad o de los dolores) in the Cathedral of Avila. You can learn more about the chapel here on the cathedral website and see a better photo of the chapel here on Wikimedia Commons, which includes the statue of Our Lady of Charity.
Finally, thanks to Flickr members javiolano for sharing his photo of the stunning autumn colors along Camino Río Arbillas in Avila in November 2016 and to juanobe for his photo of the famous “image of our Lady” who received the tears of a grief-stricken child named Teresa.
Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
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 simplicity and purity of our hearts.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God. (Spiritual Maxims, p. 38; Chapter 2) Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that never had I seen anything so beautiful; her face radiated an ineffable tenderness and goodness, but what penetrated to the depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.” Then all of my pains faded away, and two large tears flowed from my eyelids and rolled silently down my cheeks, but they were tears of pure joy. Ah! I thought, the Blessed Virgin smiled at me, how happy I am…
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript A, Folio 30 recto
Describing her miraculous healing 13 May 1883
Letter from Sr. Agnès de Jésus, O.C.D. (Pauline Martin) to St. Thérèse
May 14-15 (?), 1883
J. M. J. T.
Long live Jesus!
What a joy to see you well! How good the Blessed Virgin really is! I offered her your beautiful bouquet, and she seemed to be all radiant with her little daughter’s flowers. . . . Along with the flowers, I expressed a big “thanks,” which was as tender as it was big, and I begged her to continue her work and to complete it soon.
Poor darling, how eager I am to see your little face so dear to my heart. I can see it from here, that’s true, but for some time my telescope is no longer any good; when you were so sick, I let a tear fall on the lens and suddenly it became blurred.
Well, the Blessed Virgin keeps us together under her mantle; she is watching over us in her heart, blessing us, loving us and caressing us with the same hand!
How can you say that Thérésita is far from Agnes, and Agnes far from Thérésita?
How beautiful the weather is today! Look, how blue the sky is! From time to time, I see little swallows passing by, gay and light, just like a little girl in good health, and I think of my Benjamin, and I pray to the dwellers of this very blue heaven to have a little pair of wings fall down from on high for my own swallow. With this pair of wings she would run through the fields, she would play in the beautiful sun, she would come and rest from time to time in her Agnes’ very sweet nest, up there high on the mount of Carmel where the weather is so good, so good! and where one breathes in heaven’s air and is always able to see, even during the winter, the sun and flowers….
Little child, let us ask our dear Mother not to allow her month to pass by without reuniting us.
Adieu! Let us love the Blessed Virgin, let us love her; she is a Mother, and beneath her glance, beneath her hand, the little [ship] of her heart is safe and is sailing peacefully toward heaven.
I kiss your little [ship], my cherub; always keep at the bottom of its hold the love I know you have for me. I need it just as a little mother needs to be paid in return for the love she has for her child,
Letter from Sr. Agnes of Jesus translation © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Manuscript A translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission
It was shortly after the 1906 earthquake that Jesus began to claim my heart for himself.
Saint Teresa of the Andes
Diary n. 3, p. 26
St. Teresa of the Andes died 12 April 1920 in the Carmel of Los Andes, Chile
Monday, 9 April 1888
Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord
Thérèse enters the Carmel of Lisieux
From Marie Martin (Marie of the Sacred Heart) to her father, Saint Louis Martin
9th April 1888
What Céline tells us is worthy of you! Ah! What a remarkable father we have! He truly is unique… Also, I’m not surprised that God is taking all the children away from this incomparable father! He is too dear to his Heart for Him not to look upon him and his family with a very special love. How our dear mother must be smiling down upon you, she must be rejoicing to see her darling boat being so well directed by you towards Heaven.
O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints, and if we didn’t follow in the footsteps of your generosity… Ah! How Jesus will have to repay you a hundredfold for the lily barely in bloom, the lily, filled with freshness, that you are offering him today. Oh, your crown in heaven! Darling Father, how radiant and beautiful it will be. Ah! Pray that your diamond may not be too pale beside so many beauties.
I can’t continue any longer, my heart is too full of affection for you and is all yours.
Our Mother couldn’t help crying as she read Céline’s account. Ah! What a remarkable father you are!!
M. of the S. H.
O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints
N.B. — St. Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was deferred to Monday, April 9 in the year 1888 because March 25 was Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. “Our Mother” refers to the prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague. You can read a brief biographical sketch of Mother Marie here; as Sr. Geneviève (Céline) remarked at the end of her life to another younger member of the community, “But we loved her! But you would have loved her! Only…” she continued with an appropriate facial expression “she was feared as a storm is feared when you have no umbrella … “
Read an outstanding essay concerning Thérèse’s entry to the Carmel of Lisieux on April 9, written by St. Thérèse expert Maureen O’Riordan and illustrated with 19th-century photos, published on her blog Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.
The letter from Marie of the Sacred Heart to her father, Saint Louis Martin, all correspondence by family and friends, and other texts and sources concerning St. Thérèse are found on the official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux
St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:
She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate…
In order that God might give His grace to those who do not or cannot ask it, or who do not wish to ask it, He enjoined us to pray for one another, so that we might be saved (Jas 5:16f). If God gave the grace of conversion to St. Augustine, it was due to the prayers of St. Monica; nor would the church have St. Paul, according to one of the fathers, were it not for the prayers of St. Stephen.
Blessed Francis Palau y Quer
(29 December 1811 — 20 March 1872)
From the spiritual writings of Blessed Francis Palau
Read more from the spiritual writings of Blessed Francis Palau y Quer here
Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.
1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called — that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For
“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
The Gospels summarize the life of St. Joseph in a single statement — Joseph was a just man. Being just meant living an upright, integrated, and authentic life.
Am I transparent in my dealings, accounts, rules, etc.?
Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.
Hymn to St. Joseph
So let your Church, thus mentored
By faithful, humble life,
See Joseph as a model
For all in daily strife:
To trust your Word whenever
We seem to be distressed,
To do our work with gladness,
To know our love is blessed.
Recently, in my travels throughout NYC, something occurred in a subway car. I was returning to the Bronx from Manhattan when early in my travels five men entered the same car as me. A car, mind you, that was already becoming pretty filled with people. The smell of these gentlemen filled the car quickly. Within minutes of the subway training moving along to the next stop, it became clear that all these men were on something. That something might’ve been alcohol, drugs, or a mixture of the two. They were loud and rude, causing a situation where those around them began to move away, causing the five to push and shove each other to claim one of the newly vacated seats. Much of their conversation between themselves was about their currently ‘wasted state’ or previously ‘wasted states.’ Of course, they were using language that I dare not type for you all. As I listened and watched these men my heart had only one response to them: pity.
I pitied them, why?
Learn why on The Frank Friar blog
Join my daughter, Roise, and me, for a short prayer break with Carmelite St. Elizabeth of the Trinity on her feast day today (November 8) or any day. 🙂