Quote of the day: 2 August

“We went to Mass, and she didnt come back.”

Madame Catez

 

Dijon_Monastere_Carmel_de_Dijon
The former Carmel of Dijon | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

On 2 August 1901, the cloister door of the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Dijon opened wide to admit 21-year-old Elizabeth Catez as a postulant. Mother Marie of Jesus, the prioress of Dijon who was also the foundress of the new Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, had desired to take the young postulant with her to the new foundation. Mother Marie had discussed it with Madame Catez toward the end of June, who promised the prioress that she would make the supreme sacrifice and permit her daughter to enter a Carmel in another diocese. Elizabeth, in an attitude of total abandonment to the will of God, was ready to accept all.

Biographer Conrad de Meester, O.C.D. notes that at the beginning of July, Mother Marie of Jesus began to prepare for the new postulant in Paray-le-Monial. Elizabeth would enter on the First Friday in August—August 2nd. The entire month of July was spent with a sense of certitude in the Catez household that Sabeth would be over 100 kilometers from home, not a mere stone’s throw away, not even within earshot as the nuns would sing the Sanctus after Madame Catez would take a brisk walk to morning Mass at the Carmelite monastery.

The postulant’s trousseau was already prepared in Paray-le-Monial when Madame Catez was overcome with regret. She confided in a friend. The friend advised her that she should take up the matter with someone of authority. God writes straight with crooked lines, they say; in this case, the line of authority ran directly from the Sister who was the monastery Portress and an old friend of the Catez family: Sr. Marie of the Trinity.

When Sister Marie learned how distraught Madame Catez had become at the prospect of losing her daughter to the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, Sister had an idea: to have her own spiritual director, the esteemed Dominican friar Père Vallée, intervene with Mother Marie of Jesus. But first, Sister Marie needed to ascertain Elizabeths own sentiments in the matter. That was simple.

During the Diocesan Inquiry for the process of beatification, Sister Marie of the Trinity explained under oath that when Elizabeth next stopped by the monastery, Sister Marie quizzed her concerning her upcoming postulancy in the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.

Do you have a special attraction for the city of the Sacred Heart?

No.

Does a foundation there attract you?

I rather doubt it. The peace and silence of an established monastery like Dijon would attract me much more. And the distance would cost my mother. 

Have you talked to Père Vallée about this?

No, I prefer to abandon myself and let the good God guide everything according to his good wishes.

Would you permit me to talk to Father about it?

Oh, yes!

Father de Meester writes that without the intervention of Sister Marie of the Trinity, the portress of Dijon, we would not even be speaking of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity from the Carmel of Dijon; she would be known as Elizabeth from the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.

De Meester also indicates that when the Dominican Père Vallée learned of the great emotional toll it would take upon Elizabeth’s mother, he urged Madame Catez to speak honestly with Mother Marie about her misgivings and her sincere desire to remain near her beloved daughter. That distance of 140 kilometers between Dijon and Paray-le-Monial could make visits to the monastery difficult and rare.

 

Paray-le-Monial basilique
The 12th c. basilica of Paray-le-Monial. Photo taken from a glass plate negative | Gilles Péris y Saborit / Flickr

 

It was all a last-minute decision. On the 28th or the 29th of July, Madame Catez wrote to Mother Marie of Jesus, who was away at Paray-le-Monial. Father De Meester indicates that the prioress responded immediately and “with humanity and serenity.”

 

Dear Madame,

May the good God give you peace and joy in your great sacrifice. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to be able to contribute by leaving our dear child to [the Carmel of] Dijon and you can consider it as having taken place. I am writing to Dijon that they should prepare her little cell for the 2nd of Augustif I am not there to receive her, our dear Mother sub-prioress Germaine of Jesus and Sister Marie of the Trinityher guardian angelwill be there and I will find her when I return; I am really held back here. So console yourself right now, as well as my dear little Marguerite, Elizabeth will stay in Dijon. I really love Elizabeth because I feel that she loves Our Lord very much and that she will make a true daughter of Saint Teresa; if it is a sacrifice for me to lose her, it is a joy to give her to Dijon, of which I am still a mother and of which I will always be a daughter, the two convents will never be but one. I would like to write to Elizabeth, but I cannot do it tonight and I want to reassure you right away because it is painful for me to sense that you are in such anguish. Fear no moreI believe, dear Madame, that we are doing God’s will, and that’s all there is in this world.

 

MEESTER, Conrad de. Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité (French Edition) . edi8. Kindle Edition.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Dedicated to Cristhian, sine qua non.

 

Quote of the day: 5 June

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

 

Eglise_NDDC_XVIIè_siècle
Priory of Notre-Dame-des-Champs in Paris, c. 1650
Jean Marot (1619-1679)
Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art

Quote of the day: 3 June

Pocock, Nicholas, 1740-1821; The Frigate 'Triton'
The Frigate ‘Triton’
Nicholas Pocock (British, 1740–1821)
Oil on canvas, 1797
National Maritime Museum, London
Photo credit: National Maritime Museum / ArtUK

 

we had the happiness of going to com[muni]on, the Same hour as before. mr neale receiv’d it from mr P. after having given it to us. the weather fine wind fair, some part of the day was almost a calm. I was dressed in a fine Silk petticoat and a chince jacket th[a]t had been given me in alms w[hi]ch was So becoming & made me look So Extraordinarily fine th[a]t all my companions were jealous of me.

Mother Clare Joseph of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.
(Frances Dickinson, 1755-1830)
Journal of a Trip to America, 3rd June 1790

 

Mother-Frances-Dickinson_Port-Tobacco
Mother Clare Joseph of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.
(Frances Dickinson, 1755-1830)

 

Mother Clare Joseph of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. was one of four foundresses of the Teresian Carmel in the United States of America in the summer of 1790. To her fell the task of keeping a daily journal of their ocean voyage aboard the three-masted, square-sailed, merchant frigate Brothers from Texel, Netherlands — departing 25 April — to New York, where they arrived on “friday Morning the 2d of July”. Although she makes no mention of it in her diary entry on the third of June, Mother Clare Joseph was quietly celebrating the anniversary of her profession in the Carmel of Antwerp on 3 June 1773. As for the mention of the petticoat and jacket: the nuns traveled in civilian attire.

 

The Carmelite Adventure: Clare Joseph Dickinson's Journal of a Trip to America and Other Documents 
Edited by Constance FitzGerald, O.C.D.
© 1990 Constance FitzGerald and the Carmelite Sisters of Baltimore

22 May: St. Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

May 22
SAINT JOACHINA DE VEDRUNA DE MAS
Religious

Optional Memorial

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826, she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility, and love. She died at Vich in 1854.

From the Common of Holy Women (Religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the Letters of St. Joachina
Epist. pp. 275, 246, 260, 297, 254, 297, 31

Charity above all things

If only we were all on fire with love for God! If we were, we should preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire. We must have great desires: then God will give us whatever is best for us.

We must be careful to free our hearts from everything that might get in the way of the pure love of our beloved Jesus. He is love itself, and wants to give himself to us through love. Jesus is calling us all the time — how long are we going to remain deaf to His voice? No, let us keep our hearts ready, our wills completely for Jesus, our faculties and our senses for our Lord.

There must be no undue attachment in our hearts for created things: they must burn with love alone, love ever more fervent; for love never says ‘enough,’ never rests until it is completely on fire. When our hearts are completely on fire with pure love for Jesus, everything that might hinder love from taking complete possession will be cast out.

We must not give in to weariness: we must spend every minute in loving God.

God alone, the maker of heaven and earth, must be our rest and our consolation. The love of God is the only thing we can possess for ever: everything else will pass away.

Love, love, and yet more love — love that is never satisfied! The more we love God, the more we shall long to love him. And when we have Jesus in our hearts, we shall have everything else in him and with him.

Responsory

R/. Remain in my love.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

V/. Follow the way of love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. By this all will know that you are my disciples: that you have love for one another (alleluia).

Prayer

Lord God,
you gave St. Joachina de Vedruna to your Church
for the Christian education of youth
and the care of the sick.
May we follow her example,
and lovingly devote our lives
to serving you in our brother and sisters.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Whatsoever you do for one of the least of my brethren, you do for me, says the Lord (alleluia).

 

Joaquima_de_V,_Morell,_1903
Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

Marie du jour: 17 May

Oh! but, the Blessed Virgin was the strong woman, the Virgin pure; Jesus filled her heart completely, which overflowed with fire and flames, she had Heaven within her… But this is the strong woman par excellence, and she hid all this in her heart, and nothing showed on the outside. Me, I am weak…

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy)
Cahiers Réservés, Cahier 5

Holy_Land_2016_P0613_Bethlehem_Carmel_st._Joseph_chapel_side_altar (2)
Reine du Carmel, Side altar in St. Joseph Chapel at Bethlehem Carmel (detail) | fallaner / Wikimedia Commons

Saint Mariam was canonized by Pope  Francis on 17 May 2015 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A native Palestinian from Galilee, she was a foundress of the Discalced Carmelite monasteries of Nazareth and Bethlehem in the 19th century. Learn more about the Saint of the Bethlehem Carmel here

Quote of the day: 4 March

THE SPIRITUAL CANTICLE

This commentary on the stanzas that deal with the exchange of love between the soul and Christ, its Bridegroom, explains certain matters about prayer and its effects. It was written at the request of Mother Ana de Jesús, prioress of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of St. Joseph’s in Granada, in the year 1584.

PROLOGUE

1. These stanzas, Reverend Mother, were obviously composed with a certain burning love of God. The wisdom and charity of God is so vast, as the Book of Wisdom states, that it reaches from end to end [Wis. 8:1], and the soul informed and moved by it bears in some way this very abundance and impulsiveness in her words. As a result, I do not plan to expound these stanzas in all the breadth and fullness that the fruitful spirit of love conveys to them. It would be foolish to think that expressions of love arising from mystical understanding, like these stanzas, are fully explainable. The Spirit of the Lord, who abides in us and aids our weakness, as St. Paul says [Rom. 8:26], pleads for us with unspeakable groanings in order to manifest what we can neither fully understand nor comprehend.

Who can describe in writing the understanding he gives to loving souls in whom he dwells? And who can express with words the experience he imparts to them? Who, finally, can explain the desires he gives them? Certainly, no one can! Not even they who receive these communications. As a result, these persons let something of their experience overflow in figures, comparisons, and similitudes, and from the abundance of their spirit pour out secrets and mysteries rather than rational explanations.

If these similitudes are not read with the simplicity of the spirit of knowledge and love they contain, they will seem to be absurdities rather than reasonable utterances, as will those comparisons of the divine Song of Solomon and other books of Sacred Scripture where the Holy Spirit, unable to express the fullness of his meaning in ordinary words, utters mysteries in strange figures and likenesses. The saintly doctors, no matter how much they have said or will say, can never furnish an exhaustive explanation of these figures and comparisons, since the abundant meanings of the Holy Spirit cannot be caught in words. Thus the explanation of these expressions usually contains less than what they embody in themselves.

2. Since these stanzas, then, were composed in a love flowing from abundant mystical understanding, I cannot explain them adequately, nor is it my intention to do so. I only wish to shed some general light on them, since Your Reverence has desired this of me…

Ana_de_Jesús
Mother Ana de Jesús (Lobera) was born in Medina del Campo on November 25, 1545, and entered the Teresian Carmel on August 1, 1570. In 1575 she went to Beas as prioress, where she became an intimate friend of St. John of the Cross. She later served as prioress also in Granada and Madrid. In 1604 she went to France and Belgium where she made numerous foundations. She died in Brussels on March 4, 1621. The cause for her beatification is in process. | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

Read the official biography of the Servant of God on the website of the Discalced Carmelite General Postulation of the Causes of the Saints 

The Spiritual Canticle and biographic sketch of Ana de Jesús from
The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 21 February

We arrived in Villanueva de la Jara on the first Sunday of Lent, the feast of St. Barbaciani, [21 February] the vigil of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, in the year 1580. On this same day at the time of the high Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the church of the glorious St. Anne.

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

The city council and some others along with Doctor Ervías came out to receive us, and we got down from our wagons at the church in the town, which was quite far from St. Anne’s. The joy of the whole town was so great.

It gave me much consolation to see the happiness with which they received the order of the Blessed Virgin, our Lady.

We had heard from afar the peal of the church bells. Once we were inside the church, they began the Te Deum, one verse sung by the choir and the other played by the organ.

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

When it was finished, they carried the Blessed Sacrament on one portable platform and a statue of our Lady on another, and crosses and banners. The procession proceeded with much pomp.

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

We were in the middle near the Blessed Sacrament with our white mantles and our veils covering our faces, and next to us were many of our discalced friars from their monastery and Franciscans from the monastery of St. Francis that was located there, and one Dominican who happened to be present (even though he was alone it made me happy to see that habit there).

Since the distance was great, there were many altars set up along the way. From time to time the procession stopped and some verses were recited in honor of our order which moved us to great devotion. So did the sight of all of them praising the great God present in our midst and the fact that because of Him they paid so much honor to us seven poor, little discalced nuns who were there.

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

While I was engaged in all these reflections, I became very ashamed in recalling that I was among them and that if they were to do what I deserved they would all turn against me.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 28

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA


We are grateful to photographer José-María Moreno García for making his photo-documentary of the Fifth Centenary visit to Saint Teresa’s foundation of Villanueva de la Jara available for download under a Creative Commons license. To see the complete photo album from this foundation, click here.

Quote of the day: 9 February

SAINT TERESA OF AVILA
Spiritual Testimonies, No. 6
(Malagón, Feb. 9, 1570)

Our Lord encourages her to make more foundations and to write their history

Right after I received Communion, on the second day of Lent, in St. Joseph’s at Malagón, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me in an imaginative vision, as He usually does.

While I was gazing upon Him, I saw in place of the crown of thorns a crown of great brilliance on His head, there where the wounds must have been made.

Since I am devoted to this episode of the Passion, I was very much consoled and began to think how great the torment must have been since there were so many wounds; and I became afflicted. The Lord told me that I shouldn’t grieve over those wounds, but over the many that were now inflicted upon Him. I asked Him what I could do as a remedy for this because I was determined to do everything I could.

He told me that now was not the time for rest, but that I should hurry to establish these houses

He told me that now was not the time for rest, but that I should hurry to establish these houses; that He found his rest with the souls living in them; that I should accept as many houses as given me since there were many persons who did not serve Him because they had no place for it; that those houses I founded in small towns should be like this one, for, by desire, as much could be merited as in the other houses; that I should strive to put all the houses under the government of a superior; that I should insist that the interior peace not be lost through a concern for bodily sustenance; that He would help us so nothing would be lacking; that the sick especially should be cared for; that a prioress who did not provide for and favor the sick was like Job’s friends; that He made use of the scourge for the good of souls, and that in such an event they should practice patience;

and that I should write about the foundation of these houses.

I thought of how in regard to the house at Medina I never understood anything in a way that I could write of its foundation. He told me that that was all the more reason to write of it since He wanted it to be seen that the Medina foundation had been miraculous. He meant that He alone founded that house since it had seemed absolutely impossible to found.

And as a result I decided to write about the founding of these houses.

Convento de la Imagen (Alcalá de Henares) Lintel
Convento de la Imagen (Alcalá de Henares)
Llamado oficialmente como convento de Carmelitas Descalzas de la Concepción, se asienta sobre el renacentista palacio del marqués de Lanzarote, con portada obra de Covarrubias del siglo XVI.
Photo: santiago lopez-pastor

With profound gratitude to the translator, Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., who with his Spanish collaborator Father Otilio Rodriguez is the sine qua non of all of the texts of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross that we publish on this blog. Father Kieran died 2 February 2019, just days shy of his 91st birthday. His funeral Mass is celebrated today, 9 February in the monastery chapel in Washington DC and his interment will be at the provincial cemetery in Holy Hill, Wisconsin, 14 February. To learn more about Father Kieran and his remarkable career as a translator and Discalced Carmelite, visit the Washington Province blog.

11 December: St. Maria Maravillas of Jesus

December 11
SAINT MARIA MARAVILLAS OF JESUS
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Maria Maravillas was born at Madrid in 1891. She entered the El Escorial Carmel, Madrid on 12th October 1919. In 1924 she was inspired to found a Carmel at Cerro de los Angeles, alongside the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this foundation followed nine others in Spain and one in India. She always gave first place to prayer and self-sacrifice. She had a true, passionate zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Even while living a life of poverty in the cloister she helped those who were in need, initiating apostolic, social and charitable works. In a particular way, she helped those of her own order, priests, and other religious congregations. She died in the monastery of La Aldehuela, Madrid, on 11th December 1974. She was canonized on 4th May 2003 in Madrid.

From the common of virgins or of holy women (religious)

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From the letters of Saint Maravillas of Jesus, Virgin

(Letters to her spiritual directors: 305, 254, 101, 458b)

My delight is to be with the children of men

Yesterday, Sunday, on climbing the stairs to go to the upper choir for the sung Mass, I was quite recollected, yet without any particular thought, when I heard clearly within me, My delight is to be with the children of men. These words which made a strong impression on me, I understood were not for me this time, but rather in the nature of a request the Lord was making me to offer the whole of myself to give him these souls he so much desires. It is hard to explain, but I saw clearly, that a soul which sanctifies itself becomes fruitful in attracting souls to God. This so deeply moved me that I offered with my whole heart to the Lord all my sufferings of body and soul for this purpose, despite my poverty. It then seemed to me that this offering was right, but what was strictly important was to surrender myself, wholly and completely to the divine will, so that he could do what he desired in me, and likewise I would accept the pain along with the pleasure. I seemed to understand that what pleased him was not the greatest sacrifice but rather the exact and loving fulfillment in the least detail of that will. In this I understood many things I find hard to explain, and how he wished me to be very sensitive in this fulfillment, which would carry me a long way in self-sacrifice and love.

I offered myself in such a way that nothing would excuse me, not even hell (if there you can love the Lord), but then I am so cowardly. The Lord will remedy that, since I can do no more than commit myself to Him in all my misery. I began experiencing this as a desire to commit myself for souls and to be faithful for this purpose: thinking about what he had done for them, it seemed he was saying to me I could not do much, but he could, with my help. On feeling this immense desire of the Lord for the salvation of souls, it seemed so amazing that nothing remained but to be committed to God so that He could carry out all his work in the soul and thus make it, despite its poverty, capable of giving him what he desires. Each time it became clearer to my soul so that nothing of my own remained important, except that the Lord alone be glorified.

What a treasure the Lord has given me in allowing me to live in Carmel! Here, everything is arranged with such simplicity, yet in such a way that, living it to the full, you can do everything. How can we live in the House of the Virgin, pleasing the Lord with her, yet not imitating her, as the Holy Mother desired? I felt that this is the Carmelite’s way, imitating Mary, how we must grow less, to be truly poor, self-sacrificing, humble, nothing. I felt quite deeply how Jesus gives us in his own life continual examples of sacrifice, of humiliation, of making ourselves small, yet we do not understand. I felt his mercy and zeal for souls in this way, that here is the strength that can take hold of our life through his mercy. By his grace, may I, who am so absolutely poor in everything, be well able to imitate him in this with more ease than other creatures. I seemed also to understand that these lights were not given only for myself, but also for guiding my sisters. The sole thing I do, many times in the day, is to say to the Lord that I wish to live only to love him and to please him, that I desire all that he wishes in the way that he wills.

RESPONSORY 
Cf Mt 25:1, 2, 10; Ps 119:16; 40:10

Prudent virgin whom the Bridegroom found watching with her lamp alight,
enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.
I find my delight in your will,
your saving justice in the depths of my heart.
Enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.

PRAYER

Lord God,
who drew Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
into the secrets of the heart of your Son,
grant through her intercession and example,
that we may work together for the salvation of souls,
experiencing the delights of your love.

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

Maravillas de Jesus portrait with rule

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