Quote of the day: 22 April

It’s not easy to let yourself  be surprised by God

We must accept that God surprises us, that he intervenes in our lives producing unexpected changes, opening unprecedented horizons, removing insurmountable obstacles. They are changes that surprise us and the newness is disconcerting and makes us afraid, as well as the changes that God brings us and the innovation that God asks of us. Sometimes they are such drastic changes in life that we feel disoriented; sometimes they are risks that we have to take – and from which we would like to flee. They are God’s surprises. Although we cannot explain some situations that we experience – and with our limited understanding, we don’t find any logical explanation – we always trust in the God who surprises us by acting unexpectedly. It’s not easy to let yourself be surprised by God. It requires a high dose of trust in his love. But it is better to abandon ourselves into his hands, even without understanding, than to be paralyzed by fear or enslaved to security and nostalgia that deceive us.

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Homily for the Easter Vigil
21 April 2019

EasterVigil2019_01_withkiddies
Vigilia Pascual | Esquipula, Managua | Easter Vigil
Photo: @sj.baez

No es fácil dejarse sorprender por Dios

Hay que aceptar que Dios nos sorprende, que interviene en nuestra vida produciendo cambios inesperados, abriendo horizontes inéditos, quitando obstáculos insalvables. Son cosas nuevas que nos sorprenden y la novedad disconcierta y nos da miedo, también la novedad que Dios nos trae, la novedad que Dios nos pide. A veces son cambios tan drásticos en la vida que nos sentimos como desorientados, a veces son riesgos que hay que correr de los que quisiéramos huir. Son las sorpresas de Dios. Aunque no logremos explicar algunas situaciones que vivimos y con nuestra limitada razón no le encontremos lógica alguna, tengamos confianza siempre en el Dios que nos sorprende actuando inesperadamente. No es fácil dejarse sorprender por Dios. Se requiere una alta dosis de confianza en su amor. Pero es mejor abandonarnos en sus manos, aun sin comprender, que quedarnos paralizados por el miedo o esclavizados a seguridades y nostalgias engañosas.

Monseñor Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Homilía de la Vigilia Pascual
20 de abril de 2019


On Easter Sunday 21 April 2019, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., who is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, said goodbye to the faithful as he moves to Rome at the request of Pope Francis to assume a new ministry. The Discalced Carmelite friar explained that he knows from personal experience in this transition that it is better to choose the path of abandonment than to cling to false security and nostalgia that does nothing but deceive and disappoint. He does not know yet what his new post will be, nor for how long he will be away from the archdiocese.

The blogger serves as the English translator for Bishop Báez in social media. This translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission. 

Quote of the day: 21 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, April 25, 1935

Pax Christi!

Very Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

The Bridegroom sends you the little wreath of myrtle with which your love decorated him, him as well as the bridal candle, the candles on the table, the napkin, cutlery, etc. The Bride wore a wreath of white roses. I was very happy to hear where the adornments came from. Heartfelt thanks for them. We have not yet finished discussing what else I am to receive from you. I thought of an emblem and lining for a vestment since the silk of the bridal dress has not yet been used and has been waiting for the necessary accessories since the Clothing Day. But perhaps our dear Mother [Mother Josepha, the prioress] will think of something more urgent.

When you visit us again — after all, we’ve been anticipating it with joy all winter — we will recount everything that happened from the first hours of the morning until night on this beautiful Easter Sunday. One cannot write about it in such detail. The Veiling ceremony will come only three years from now, after perpetual profession. For us, the preparation consists primarily of a ten-day retreat made in total silence and solitude. During that time we are allowed to live like hermits. I will tell you about the daily schedule when I see you.

The Bride wore a wreath of white roses

For my meditation, I had our Holy Father John’s Dark Night and the Gospel of John. Usually, on the day before Profession, before dinner, one makes a public admission of one’s faults. I was allowed to do that at noon on the Wednesday of Holy Week so that it would not interrupt the silence of the Holy Triduum. I found it especially good [to comply with that custom] before the first of the Tenebrae offices — once they begin one wants to leave off all occupation with oneself. On Saturday evening I was called [to come for a few minutes to see the community] during recreation time; I received from each Sister the promise of a spiritual bouquet and a commendation of intentions.

Richly laden I then returned to the choir. Of course, out of the great riches of grace on this Easter day, I let all those have a share who have given me something of their heart to take along into Carmel.

Once more, sincere thanks for all your goodness and love. In caritate Christi, your Sister

Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Saint Edith Stein’s Letter 198 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU
Self-Portrait In Letters, 1916-1942 (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)


Notes:

  • It was customary to place a small statue of the Infant Jesus on the head table in the refectory where the newly-professed is seated next to the prioress. Myrtle is used to create a small wreath for the statue of the Infant, the “Bridegroom”, who faces his “Bride”, wearing a garland of white roses. Edith sent the myrtle wreath that had been used on the statue to Mother Petra, who had provided it and all the flowers and decorations for the celebration.
  • Edith refers to the Chapter of Faults, where even to this day in many Discalced Carmelite monasteries, nuns will gather in the Chapter Room of the monastery to listen to the prioress give a brief spiritual reflection on an aspect of community life and how it applies to the Carmelite Rule and their Constitutions. The nuns then take a spiritual and moral inventory, reviewing their life together; each one admits her public faults and begs forgiveness of her sisters. On occasions like religious profession, a nun will individually and publicly admit her faults and ask for forgiveness outside of the community Chapter of Faults. Since her profession rite took place on Easter Sunday, Edith made her public admission on Holy Wednesday; she gives the reasons why.
  • During the retreat days prior to her profession on Easter Sunday, Edith would have assisted at the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours in the nuns’ choir. However, she would have veiled her face with her great veil (grand Voile) when in the presence of the community so as to maintain the spirit of solitude where the Discalced Carmelites “are allowed to live like hermits,” as Edith describes above. In the photo below, the veil that you see extending over her shoulders is the great veil, while the small veil (petit Voile) tucks inside her scapular. In her hermit days while on retreat, we see that Edith preferred to spend extra hours of solitary prayer in the choir near Christ in the tabernacle while the rest of the community was occupied at recreation.

[Sources: Leuven, Stinissen & Gelber; Carmel of Haifa]

First Profession_Easter 21 April 1935

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 18 April

Marie-of-the-Incarnation_with-Notre-Dame CROP

“I do not trouble myself at all about the money needed for the material building, but solely about the living stones which will build up the spiritual edifice.”

Blessed Mary of the Incarnation (Madame Acarie)
The Beautiful Acarie

Learn more about Blessed Mary of the Incarnation in the biographic essay, The Beautiful Acarie by Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M., the 23rd Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission. He wrote the essay “in an attempt to revive her memory for the members of the family of Vincent de Paul. He knew and admired her, as did Louise de Marillac, whose uncle was one of Madame Acarie’s greatest devotees.”

18 April: Blessed Mary of the Incarnation

April 18
BLESSED MARY OF THE INCARNATION
Religious

Optional Memorial

Barbe Avrillot was born in Paris in 1566. At the age of sixteen, she married Pierre Acarie, by whom she had seven children. In spite of her household duties and many hardships, she attained the heights of the mystical life. Under the influence of St. Teresa’s writings, and after mystical contact with the Saint herself, she spared no effort in introducing the Discalced Carmelite nuns into France. After her husband’s death, she asked to be admitted among them as a lay sister, taking the name of Mary of the Incarnation; she was professed at the Carmel of Amiens in 1615. She was esteemed by some of the greatest men of her time, including St. Francis de Sales; and she was distinguished by her spirit of prayer and her zeal for the propagation of the Catholic faith. She died at Pontoise on April 18th, 1618.

From the Common of Holy Women (Religious)

Office of Readings

Hymn

Proud Heresy, with fur’ous, flame-like glance,
Hath gazed exulting on the Western nations;
And fired, as by a torch, unhappy France
is prey to cruel wars and devastations.

A noble woman, brave, of lion heart,
Now giveth rescue, home and faith defending,
With courage to repel the poison-dart,
And spurn the peril with a will unbending.

The exile of her lord is bravely borne,
Her scattered heritage and ruined dwelling;
She nobly conquers insult, pride, and scorn,
With joyful heart to lowly deeds compelling.

She faltereth not tho’ trial presseth sore,
Though cares abound, tho’ lamed in torture lying;
Nay, for her Lord’s sweet sake she craveth more,
To suffer all with Him her soul is sighing.

And when misfortune giveth place to peace,
She resteth not, her zeal o’erpasseth measure;
To spread the faith her ardors never cease,
And gentle service is her life and pleasure.

From Spain she seeketh help for her loved land,
For Carmel there, a noble vine hath flourished,
Transplanting thence a sacred virgin band,
By blest Theresa’s strength of spirit nourished.

All honor to the Father and the Son!
Be equal glory to the Spirit given!
O great Divinity, Thou, Three in One,
May ages praise Thee with the songs of Heaven!

10.11.10.11.

The Second Reading
From the Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila
(C. 1, no. 1ff.: ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1980, pp. 41-43, 50)

The apostolic aim of the Teresian Carmel

When I began to take the first steps toward founding this monastery, it was not my intention that there be so much external austerity.

At that time news reached me of the harm being done in France and of the havoc the Lutherans had caused and how much this miserable sect was growing. The news distressed me greatly, and, as though I could do something or were something, I cried to the Lord and begged him that I might remedy so much evil. It seemed to me that I would have given a thousand lives to save one soul out of the many that were being lost there.

I realized I was a woman and wretched and incapable of doing any of the useful things I desired to do in the service of the Lord. All my longing was and still is that since he has so many enemies and so few friends that these few friends be good ones. As a result I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same.

I did this trusting in the great goodness of God, who never fails to help anone who is determined to give up everything for him. My trust was that if these sisters matched the ideal my desires had set for them, my faults would not have much strength in the midst of so many virtues; and I could thereby please the Lord in some way. Since we would all be occupied in prayer for those who are the defenders of the Church and for preachers and for learned men who protect her from attack, we could help as much as possible this Lord of mine who is roughly treated by those for whom he has done so much good; it seems these traitors would want him to be crucified again and that he have no place to lay his head. Still, my heart breaks to see how many souls are lost. Though I can’t grieve so much over the evil already done—that is irreparable—I would not want to see more of them lost each day.

O my Sisters in Christ, help me beg these things of the Lord. This is why he has gathered you together here. This is your vocation. These must be the things you desire, the things you weep about; these must be the objects of your petitions. The world is all in flames, they want to sentence Christ again, so to speak, since they raise a thousand false witnesses against him; they want to ravage his Church.

So, then, I beg you for the love of the Lord to ask His Majesty to hear us in this matter. Miserable though I am, I ask His Majesty this, since it is for his glory and the good of the Church; this glory and good is the object of my desires.

Responsory

R/. Let petitions and prayers of thanksgiving be offered to God for everyone:
for it is His will that all should be saved and come to know the truth (alleluia).

V/. Prayer of this kind is good, and pleasing to God our Savior,
for it is His will that all should be saved and come to know the truth (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Freed at length from marriage tie,
Winged with joy her soul doth fly
To the fortress of Teresa, led by Spirit’s call;
Choosing there the lowest place,
She, who with a mother’s grace
Well might rule and govern, now is subject unto all.

O’er her sisters rising far,
As a bright and glorious star,
Guide of all who seek the path of life to God above,
She all honor doth despise,
And with great Teresa vies
In the tortures of her heart consumed with flames of love.

Mount thee to the heavenly height,
In the grace of love and light,
Harken to thy suppliants then, who pleading cry to thee.
Cast a love-enkindled glance
On thine own, thy native France,
That all minds and hearts be one in faith and charity.

Hasten all ye right of heart,
Sing ye loud with joyful art
Praise to our Redeemer Christ, and humbly Him adore;
Praise with all the heavenly host
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
One in Blessed Trinity of Persons ever more.

77.76.D.

Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. Whatever you ask of the Father in my name, says the Lord, He will give you (alleluia).

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
You gave Blessed Mary of the Incarnation
heroic strength in the face of the adversities
she met along life’s road,
and zeal for the extension of the Carmelite family.
May we your children
courageously endure every trial
and persevere to the end in Your love.

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

Hymn

Let angels hymn sweet harmony unending,
Let Carmel gladly join her ardent prayer,
While temples echo with the songs ascending
Upon the joyful air.

The glorious life of Mary now inspires
The chanting of her praises, fitly due;
She dwelleth high amid celestial choirs,
In bliss serene and true.

Her mind reposed in God from earliest dawning;
Her ready heart was swift to prompting grace;
All empty pomp and sinful pleasures scorning,
She fled the world’s embrace.

To dwell with Christ a virgin, was her choosing;
She fondly sought Him for her Lord and Spouse,
But wishes of her parents ne’er refusing,
‘Neath wedded yoke she bows.

So hath God willed that this exalted matron
With brightest luster of her state might shine,
To them that wed a noble type and patron
Of virtues all divine.

As wife and mother strong her love and tender,
Meek to obey her husband’s every call,
To children and to servants prompt to render,
A prudent care in all.

All honor to the Father, Son, and Spirit,
O glorious Trinity enthroned above.
The blessed faith whose teachings we inherit,
Proclaims Thee One in love.

11.10.11.6

Canticle of Mary
Ant. I have not labored for myself alone, but for all who seek wisdom (alleluia).

Quote of the day: 16 April

Love is the queen and soul of all the virtues, giving them of necessity their value and worth. We must not be surprised that the virtues possessed by Brother Lawrence were perfect, because the love of God reigned so perfectly in his heart, which, as St. Bernard said, he had turned toward this divine object in all his affections. If faith enabled him to see God as sovereign truth, and if hope enabled him to contemplate God as his last end and ultimate happiness, love enabled him to recognize God as the most perfect of all beings or, more accurately, as perfection itself. Far from loving God for his own profit, his love was so disinterested that he loved God even when there was no suffering to avoid or any reward to gain, wanting only the good and glory of God and making the accomplishment of God’s holy will his paradise. We will see this again during the last moments of his illness when his spirit was so free, even until the last sigh, that he expressed the dispositions of his heart as if he were in perfect health.

Monsignor Joseph de Beaufort
Eulogy for Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God

Brother-Lawrence1
Contemporary sketch of Brother Lawrence | Photo: Carmes de Paris

Monsignor Joseph de Beaufort was a priest of the Archdiocese of Paris who knew Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. He was the confessor and counselor of Louis-Antoine de Noailles, the Archbishop of Paris; de Beaufort had served as the Vicar General with de Noailles in Châlons-sur-Marne before de Noailles was nominated to the archdiocesan see.

Excerpt from Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God 
Edited by Conrad De Meester, OCD, Translated by Salvatore Sciurba, OCD 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 13 April

It was shortly after the 1906 earthquake that Jesus began to claim my heart for himself.

Saint Teresa of the Andes 

Óleo_conmemorativo_de_la_Beatificación_de_Santa_Teresa_de_Los_Andes,_Parque_O'Higgins_de_Santiago
Commemorative oil painting of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes that was used to create the banner for the Mass of Beatification in Santiago, 3 April 1987 during Saint John Paul II’s apostolic journey to Chile

Diary n. 3, p. 26 

St. Teresa of the Andes died 12 April 1920 in the Carmel of Los Andes, Chile

Quote of the day: 11 April

There was a lady in Toledo,

Luisa de la Cerda-cuadro

a sister of the Duke of Medinaceli, in whose home I had stayed by order of my superiors, as I mentioned more at length in writing about the foundation of St. Joseph’s. [Avila] While I was in her home, she got to like me in a special way, which in turn must have been a means by which this lady was stirred to do what she did. For His Majesty often makes use of means like these that seem fruitless to us who don’t know the future.

Since this lady knew that I had permission to found monasteries, she began to urge me very much to make a foundation in her town of Malagón.

 

Church of Saint Joseph (Malagón) | Charlititosmix3 / Wikimedia Commons

Malagón is a small town, still today, in the province of Ciudad Real. In feudal times it belonged to the duchy of Medinaceli.


I in no way wanted to accept since the town was so small that we would be forced to have an income in order to support ourselves — something to which I was very much opposed.

Both my confessor [Domingo Báñez, O.P.] and other learned men with whom I discussed the matter told me that I was doing wrong, that since the holy Council had given permission to have an income, I shouldn’t, because of my own opinion, fail to found a monastery where God could be so much served. To this were added the many urgings of this lady which I could not resist. She provided a sufficient income, for I am always in favor of monasteries being either completely poor or maintained in such a way that the nuns will not need to beg from anyone for their needs.

I made every effort I could so that none of the nuns would possess anything, but that they would observe the constitutions in their entirety as in our other monasteries founded in poverty. Having completed all the paperwork, I sent for some Sisters to make the foundation, and along with that lady we went to Malagón. When we got there, the house was not yet ready for us to move in. And so we were detained for more than eight days in an apartment of this lady’s castle.

On Palm Sunday, [April 11] in the year 1568, with the people of the town, we went in procession to the church, in our white mantles and with veils covering our faces. A sermon was preached there, and from that church, the Blessed Sacrament was brought to our monastery. This inspired great devotion in everybody. I stayed there for some days. On one of those days, while in prayer after having received Communion, I understood from our Lord that He would be served in that house.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 9

Malagon-chapel_closeview

Saint Teresa urged Doña Luisa to build her nuns in Malagón a new monastery, the construction of which she supervised carefully. Inaugurated December 8, 1579, this building remains today, an exceptional relic still housing Teresa’s daughters.

The Book of Her Foundations: Chapter 9; 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.

Son of the Church: Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. says, “Yes” when called

Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”

Wednesday 10 April at the archdiocesan chancery offices in Managua, Cardinal  Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua met with members of the press along with his Auxiliary Bishop, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Cardinal Brenes, speaking off the cuff to open the press conference, explained that Bishop Báez would be leaving Nicaragua after Holy Week and Easter to go to Rome for an undetermined period. Báez, a Discalced Carmelite who was teaching in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI nominated him to return to his native Nicaragua as Auxiliary Bishop 9 April 2009, is no stranger to the Holy City. In October 2018 we published the exclusive translation of Bishop Silvio’s tribute to former Nicaraguan president Violetta Chamorro, Meeting With a Mother in Rome.

Readers of this Carmelite blog will recognize from our many publications that Bishop Silvio José is a passionate, prophetic voice in Nicaragua who embodies the spirit of the Holy Prophet Elijah, the Guide and Father of Carmelites.

Bishop Báez prefaced his remarks by reading at length from the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, where Saint Paul speaks of “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.” [Acts 20:19] A subtle reference is made here by the bishop to a June 2018 plot to assassinate him, along with the United States ambassador Laura Dogù — a foiled plot that recently was revealed by Ambassador Dogù in a university lecture.

Bishop Silvio José continued, explaining the reason for this announcement of his departure, which comes on the heels of a seemingly unforeseen trip to the Vatican April 1 – 8, including a private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace April 4.

As Bishop Báez explained, Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”

Our thanks to the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa for bringing us these 15 most memorable quotes — truly, Carmelite quotes — from Bishop Báez’s press conference.

 

Baez-Presser-10Apr19
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. prefaces his remarks to the press conference with scripture

 

  • “I haven’t asked to leave — I’ve been called by the Holy Father”.
  • “I am not going to ignore Nicaragua from this moment on. I’ll continue faithfully living my vocation as bishop enlightened by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • “Wherever I go I’ll also fly the blue and white flag of our country with pride and hope.”

“This decision of the Holy Father, which I have accepted with complete, loving obedience, has made my heart weep.”

  • “How can you forget the farmers, the mothers of the victims of repression, the youth who are persecuted and suffering, and those who are in prisons — I carry all of this in my heart.”

 

BAEZ - Mtg with grieving families 13oct18_01
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. meets with members of grieving families in Managua, 13 October 2018

 

  • “The joy of having carried out this mission fills my heart with profound peace, although now I’m weeping with great sadness deep inside, to have to leave my native country and my people.”
  • “We’re not an army where we obey out of fear, where there are authorities above us who command in drastic and sometimes irrational ways. We are a fraternity united in faith.”
  • “The pope did not make one single reproof, not a single reproach, not one single correction. For me, it was Peter’s confirmation of his brother.”
  • “I was able to share many things; you all know how I see the reality of Nicaragua. I’ve given my opinion, my constructive criticism, and I made this point to the Holy Father about this year of pain and suffering — this people’s Via Crucis — whose anniversary we are about to mark on April 18.”

 

BAEZ - a pastor has to be next to his people copy (2)
You’ll find this and more quotes and articles by and about Bishop Silvio José Báez here

“In summary, I reminded him that this is a crucified people, that this is a country that has been hijacked, and that here there are de facto powers dominated by lies, injustice, repression, and ambition.”

 

  • “It’s not about saving the economy, it’s not about throwing a life jacket to the financial market, please — today’s golden calf, which is money, cannot take the place of the people.”
  • “I dream of a Church that is less diplomatic and fearful, and more prophetic and courageous in order to be a Church on the side of the discarded, of the last in line, of the voiceless, of the victims.”
  • “I dream of a church that doesn’t have worldly privileges, that is free in the face of power.”

 

Baez_I dream of a Nicaragua
Since July 2018, Carmelite Quotes blog has been pleased and privileged to serve Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. as his English translator in social media

 

  • “In Nicaragua, there aren’t confrontations between two groups: what we have is an idolatrous group that sacrifices human beings and a crucified people.”
  • “Unfortunately, they worship the god of wealth, the god of money, and they sacrifice human beings for it. This is the reality of Nicaragua.”

 

Bishops Apt 02 (2)
The Holy Spirit inspired Saint Teresa, who watches over the bishop in his personal study

 

We invite our readers to join us in prayer for the success of Bishop Silvio José’s new mission with our Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome. Bishop Báez, thank you for being a faithful son of Our Holy Mother Saint Teresa whose parting words were, “I am a daughter of the Church.”

 

You inspire me

Since, O my God, You inspire me to make myself like you in everything, as much as I can, I want particularly to imitate You in those virtues that are so pleasing to Your most loving Heart, namely: humility, meekness, and obedience.

St. Teresa Margaret Redi

Quote of the day: 10 April

I convened a chapter in Lisbon; I sent friars to the Congo to convert the Blacks, they made great gains. The first group was drowned; the second group was denuded, robbed by the Lutherans;  until the arrival of the third group and they have borne much fruit.

Servant of God Jerome Gracián
Efemérides Carmelitanas

Carrack_1565_(cropped)
Portuguese carrack, as depicted in a map by cartographer Sebastião Lópes (15??–1596) made in 1565 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On 10 April 1582, the third expedition of Discalced Carmelite friars departed from Lisbon bound for the Congo, where they safely landed and converted many people. The missionary friars were Fathers Diego of the Blessed Sacrament, Diego of the Incarnation, and Francisco of Jesus the Unworthy; they baptized thousands of Congolese.

St. Thérèse, son entrée au Carmel le 9 avril 1888

 

Comme la veille toute la famille se trouva réunie pour entendre la Ste Messe et y communier. Aussitôt que Jésus fut descendu dans le coeur de mes parents chéris, je n’entendis autour de moi que des sanglots, il n’y eut que moi qui ne versai pas de larmes, mais je sentis mon coeur battre avec une telle violence qu’il me sembla impossible d’avancer lorsqu’on vint nous faire signe de venir à la porte conventuelle ; j’avançai cependant tout en me demandant si je n’allais pas mourir par la force des battements de mon coeur… Ah ! quel moment que celui-là ! Il faut y avoir passé pour savoir ce qu’il est…

Mon émotion ne se traduisit pas au dehors : après avoir embrassé tous les membres de ma famille chérie, je me mis à genoux devant mon incomparable Père, lui demandant sa bénédiction ; pour me la donner il se mit lui-même à genoux et me bénit en pleurant… C’était un spectacle qui devait faire sourire les anges que celui de ce vieillard présentant au Seigneur son enfant encore au printemps de la vie !…Quelques instants après, les portes de l’arche sainte se fermaient sur moi et là je recevais les embrassements des soeurs chéries qui m’avaient servi de mères et que j’allais désormais prendre pour modèles de mes actions… Enfin mes désirs étaient accomplis, mon âme ressentait une paix si douce et si profonde qu’il me serait impossible de l’exprimer et depuis 7 ans et demi cette paix intime est restée mon partage, elle ne m’a pas abandonnée au milieu des plus grandes épreuves.

Extraits du Manuscript A, folio 69 recto et verso
Archives du Carmel de Lisieux

 

Quote of the day: 9 April

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

Incomparable Father,

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.

 

Entrée aqua-entree-1
St. Thérèse crosses the threshold of the cloister, a later watercolor | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux | Visit the Archives site to see the annotated sketch for this watercolor and all of the artworks associated with the life of St. Thérèse, her “Life in Pictures

 

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

Quote of the day: 8 April

Altare1
Apse and altar, Carmel of St Joseph, Bari | Tarantini / Carmelo San Giuseppe Bari

Goodbye, my house, nest of peace and love, sweet sanctuary of faith and virtue, goodbye forever, I’m leaving you for my God. Lord, I’ve heard your voice, I’m flying to Carmel.

Blessed Elia of San Clemente
Scritti, sez. I, A. Scritti Autobiografici, 1.

Elia-di-San-Clemente_closeup
On 8 April 1920 Blessed Elia of St. Clement (Teodora Fracasso) entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of St. Joseph in Bari, Italy

Learn more about Blessed Elia here

Quote of the day: 7 April

At another time while I was at prayer, my spirit was carried off to where it seemed to be in a large field in which many were in combat, and those belonging to this order were fighting with great fervor. Their faces were beautiful and very much aglow. They conquered many, throwing them to the ground; others, they killed. It seemed to me this battle was against the heretics.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40

Cole, George Vicat, 1833-1893; The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada)
The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada) | George Vicat Cole (1833–1893) | Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery

 

The second expedition of Discalced Carmelite missionary friars, composed of Fathers Pedro de los Angeles, Sebastián de S. Andrés, Bartolomé de S. Miguel, Luis de S. Pablo, and a lay-friar left Lisbon on this date in the fleet that went to the Portuguese colony of Angola. Off the Cape Verde coast, the ship on which the missionaries were sailing was left behind, which was then trapped by four English galleons captained by privateers. Father Pedro de los Apóstoles, the superior of the friars, exhorted the Portuguese to fight and die for the Catholic faith against the anti-papist English; while he was carrying on, an English sailor slashed his neck with a knife to make all the captive Spaniards and Portuguese fear for their lives; thank God, the wound was not deadly. Thus began the dispossession of the missionaries. The English took everything the priests had brought of value — books, chalices, vestments, etc. — and they roundly mocked the friars; the privateers locked the Carmelites in the galleon’s dungeon, which was a veritable portrait of hell. They continued like this for three days in the virtual belly of the whale, eating but a few crusts of hard bread dipped in seawater. The English were going to torment everyone. But seeing the so-called Spanish “heretics” — the Discalced Carmelites — singing for joy at the opportunity to suffer for Christ, the English galleon abandoned them on one of Cape Verde’s secluded islands. Fr. Sebastián de S. Andrés died on the island. The other four friars took advantage of a Spanish ship to return to Seville. So, the second expedition to Africa failed. [Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas]

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40; 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.

 

Quote of the day: 5 April

Just as the grain that dies in the earth is the beginning and origin of many others, in the same way the death of the first missionaries to the Congo in the ocean was the cause of many religious who offered themselves to the Father Provincial, with letters full of urgent pleading to go and take their places in the Congo.

Anonymous Portuguese historian

Chronicle of the disastrous end of the first Discalced Carmelite mission
Efemérides Carmelitanas 

FIRST CARMELITE MISSIONARY EXCURSION SHIPS Portuguese_Carracks_off_a_Rocky_Coast
Portuguese Carracks Off a Rocky Coast
Joachim Patinir (circle of) circa 1540

Six months before her death, Saint Teresa of Avila sent the first Discalced Carmelite friars on a mission to a foreign shore. On 5 April 1582 King Philip II of Spain went to the port of Lisbon to personally bid farewell to the missionaries on board the Portuguese carrack (não) San Antonio headed to the Congo. The king himself gave the signal to the ships to cut the moorings and hoist the anchors at 6:00 in the morning. Tragically, the San Antonio sank and all on board perished.

Quote of the day: 3 April

Óleo_conmemorativo_de_la_Beatificación_de_Santa_Teresa_de_Los_Andes,_Parque_O'Higgins_de_Santiago
Commemorative oil painting of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes that was used to create the banner for the Mass of Beatification in Santiago, 3 April 1987 during Saint John Paul II’s apostolic journey to Chile | Philippus2011 / WikimediaCommons

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

Beatification Teresa de los Andes 1987 Blessing
Saint John Paul II waves farewell to the faithful at the conclusion of the Mass of Beatification of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes in Parque O’Higgins, Santiago, Chile, 3 April 1987 | Photo: Santuario Teresa de los Andes

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.

Quote of the day: 29 March

So far we still live in deep peace, entirely unmolested within our cloister walls. But the fate of our Spanish sisters tells us, all the same, what we must be prepared for. And when such profound upheaval takes place in such close proximity, it is a salutary warning.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 283 to Sister Callista Kopf, O.P. (excerpt)
Cologne-Lindenthal, 7 May 1937

Guadalajara_portrait
The Discalced Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara

“The fate of our Spanish sisters” refers to the assassination on 24 July 1936 at Guadalajara, Spain, of three Discalced Carmelite nuns who were killed for their fidelity to the faith. Sisters María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja, María Ángeles de San José, and Teresa del Niño Jesús y de San Juan de la Cruz were beatified by Saint John Paul II on 29 March 1987, 33 days before he beatified Edith Stein.

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

 

Quote of the day: 26 March

Be careful that you do not stop going to confession, and tell the same to your sisters. May you all recommend me to God, for I will never forget to do so for you.

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 2 (excerpt)
[To María de Soto, in Baeza
Granada, March 1582]

Haifa-icon
St. John of the Cross (Carmel of Haifa)

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