Quote of the day: 28 November

The Foundation of the

Discalced Carmelite Friars

 

Having the permission of these two provincials, I now figured that nothing was lacking. We arranged that Father Fray John of the Cross would go to the house and get it ready so that, in spite of all, it could be lived in. For me, what was most urgent was that the friars begin, for I was very fearful lest some obstacle would come along our path. And this they did. Father Fray Antonio had already gathered some of the things necessary. Insofar as we could, we helped him; although our help amounted to little. He came to Valladolid with great happiness to speak to me and told me what he had collected, which was very little. It was only with clocks that he was well provided, for he had five of them; this greatly amused me. He told me they were meant as a help to follow the daily schedule, which he wanted well fixed; I don’t think he even had any bed yet to sleep in.

Although they had wanted to do a great deal with the house, not much time was required to prepare it because there was no money. When it was ready, Father Fray Antonio happily renounced his priorship and promised to observe the primitive rule. Although he was told to try the new way of life first, he did not want to. He went to his little house with the greatest happiness in the world. Fray John was already there.

Father Fray Antonio has told me that when he first came near the little place he felt a great inner joy, and it seemed to him that he was now through with the world by leaving it all and placing himself in that solitude. Neither of the two found the house unfit; rather, it seemed to them they were living in the midst of great pleasures.

On the First or Second Sunday of Advent (I don’t remember which of these Sundays it was), in the year 1568, the first Mass was said in that little stable of Bethlehem, for it doesn’t seem to me the house was any better.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of the Foundations
Chapter 14, excerpts


It was, in fact, the First Sunday of Advent, 28 November 1568 that the first Mass was offered in the new foundation of Discalced Carmelite friars. When St. Teresa obtained the formal permission from the Carmelite Prior General Giovanni Battista Rossi (Rubeo) in Rome, she exclaimed, ¡Bendito sea Dios que tengo para la fundación de mis descalzos fraile y medio!  (Blessed be God that I have for the foundation of my discalced friars a friar-and-a-half!)

 

Founding Duruelo
St. Teresa visits the foundation at Duruelo | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Online Retreat 2019 — Advent

Online Retreat 2019

Advent

With François de Sainte-Marie

Communing in the life of grace with Mary


Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to live this Advent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you are already registered and have received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again and it is not too late to register even though Advent has begun.

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website www.retreat-online.karmel.at

We suggest that you download the A4 poster and distribute it to your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media.

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith.

This Advent we will be guided by the writings of Father François de Sainte-Marie, a Discalced Carmelite friar from the Paris province who consecrated his brief life (1910-1961) to pass on the treasures of the Carmelite heritage. His best-known project was the publication of the autograph manuscripts of Thérèse of Lisieux, under the title Autobiographical Manuscripts, which today is published under the title Story of a Soul. It brings to light his knowledge of the doctrine of little Thérèse, his scientific mind, and at the same time a great human sensitivity.

At the end of November, you will receive the first introductory text of this Advent retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 4 weeks of Advent, with the following themes:

– 1st Sunday: Return to the Gospel

– 2nd Sunday: Outstanding educator

– 3rd Sunday: Delight of the little ones

– 4th Sunday: Abyss of grace

Christmas: “True Marian devotion”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America.

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.  

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to: webretiro@karmel.at

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Advent!

Carmelite Quotes on behalf of

fr. Roberto Maria OCD
and the Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Quote of the day: 11 November

The Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers

Mount Carmel, 1919 – 1931

excerpts from Father Elias Friedman’s transcription of a memoir by Francis Lamb O.C.D.
in the archives of the monastery

 


Francis Stuart Lamb was born, 3rd July 1867, into a family connected to the British aristocracy, in particular, to the family of Lord Melbourne, Prime Minister of England under Queen Victoria. Professed in the Anglo-Irish Province of the OCD, 14th October 1886, he was ordained priest, 31st January 1892. After terms as Prior at Wincanton and Gerard’s Cross, he was appointed Vicar Provincial of his province, 15th June 1915. On the 16th December 1918, he received patents as Vicar of Mount Carmel and Vicar Provincial of the Palestine Province of the Order, «ad instar». He arrived in Haifa, 30th January 1919. On the 4th of September 1919, he was named Vicar of the Carmelite Nuns in Haifa, then in Zaourah (Bat-Galim). A year later he offered the General his resignation because his confrères wanted a Superior who could speak Italian; but the General (Luke), refused to accept it. On 19th March 1934, he left for Rome to attend the canonization of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 1935, Fr. Lamb handed over the Vicariate to Fr Edmund O’Callaghan and went to live in Cairo, 1935-1938. From 1938, he resided in the new OCD foundation in Jerusalem. Together with other religious, he was the object of a death-warrant issued against him by Abu Muhamad, leader of the Northern District of the Arab Palestine Revolt (dated 24 Rabi’a al-Thani, 1358 of the Hegira: mid-June 1939). On the 31stof August 1945, Fr. Lamb became conventual again on Mount Carmel. While in residence at El Muhraqah [the Carmelite monastery at the place of Elijah’s sacrifice], he took ill and was rushed back to [Stella Maris] monastery, where he passed away, 27th April 1950, aged 83, after some months of illness.


 

One day, at the end of the month of October, or the beginning of November 1918, I received a telegram from the Fr. General of the Order, Clement, saying: «Come to Rome. You must go to Mount Carmel for a few months». I replied: «Will come as soon as passport can be obtained».

Over and over again I applied for the necessary passport and permission to go to Rome and from there to Mount Carmel, Palestine. I received many promises that permission would be granted, but nothing more.

Losing all hope, I applied to the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who promised to do all in his power to help me.

Another telegram came from Rome, saying: «When are you coming?» My reply was: «As soon as the passport can be arranged».

After a still further delay, I appealed again to the Cardinal, who, on seeing me, said: «Hav’nt you gone, yet?»

His Eminence, there and then, telephoned to the Hon. M. Long, Member of Parliament. All doors flew open and I was sent for by the Foreign Office. The Foreign Minister endorsed my passport, the Italian authorities were advised and on December the 8th 1918, I left London and by 11 o’clock that night, I found myself wandering around, lost, so to speak, in the darkened streets of the great city of Paris…

I received a hearty welcome at the General’s House, but FFir. General expressed his disappointment when he learned that I did not know a word of Italian. He had received a mistaken impression because I had replied to two letters in Italian — translated for me by a friend. The next day, Fr. General sent for me and suggested, that, since this was my first visit to Rome, he would ask Fr. Florence, my future companion to Mount Carmel, to show me St. Peter’s and all the other beautiful churches and buildings in the Eternal City. Fr. Florence very kindly went out of his way to show me all that there was to be seen: the Vatican museum, the Colosseum, the Catacombs, the Prison of St. Peter, besides many beautiful works of art by the great masters.

After Chrismas, Fr. General called me to his room and asked me whom he should nominate as Vicar Provincial of the Anglo-Irish province, a post I wished to resign while I was on Mount Carmel. I recommended Fr. Ambrose, but the Fathers in England pressed for my return, only to receive the answer from the General: «Not for the present». He forthwith gave me a patent as Vicar of Mount Carmel with the power of  Provincial «ad instar». He then graciously took me to meet His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV, in a private audience, introducing me as the new Vicar of Mount Carmel. I kissed the feet of His Holiness, who was standing at his desk, and received his special blessing.

 

Stella Maris State of Israel Bit of Haifa Flickr Blogfeatimage
In December 2010 the State of Israel featured this photo of Stella Maris Monastery and Pilgrim’s Hostel in their Flickr photo album, calling the image, “A Bit of Haifa”

 

Read more of the history of the reconstruction and restoration of the Carmelite shrines on Mount Carmel following the First World War as recorded in Father Francis Lamb’s memoirs here.

Quote of the day: 4 November

Celebration of the Word
in Honor of St. John of the Cross
Homily of St. John Paul II (excerpts)

 


Brothers and sisters: in my own words I wanted to pay a tribute of gratitude to Saint John of the Cross, theologian and mystic, poet and artist, a “heavenly and divine man”— as Saint Teresa of Jesus called him—a friend of the poor and a wise spiritual director of souls. He is the father and spiritual teacher of the entire Teresian Carmel, the forger of that living faith that shines in the most eminent children of Carmel: Thérèse of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Rafael Kalinowski, Edith Stein.

I ask the daughters of John of the Cross, the Discalced Carmelite nuns: may you know how to live the contemplative essence of that pure love that is eminently fruitful for the Church (cf. Spiritual Canticle, 29, 2-3). I recommend to his sons, the Discalced Carmelite friars, faithful guardians of this convent, who operate the Spirituality Center dedicated to the Saint, fidelity to his doctrine and dedication to the spiritual direction of souls, as well as to the study and deepening of spiritual theology.

For all the children of Spain and this noble land of Segovia, as a guarantee of ecclesial revitalization, I leave these beautiful slogans of Saint John of the Cross that have universal appeal: clairvoyance in intelligence to live the faith: “One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.”(Sayings of light and love, 35). Courage in the will to exercise charity: “where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love” (Letter 26, to M. María de la Encarnación). A solid and enthusiastic faith, that constantly moves us truly to love God and man; because at the end of life, “when evening comes, you will be examined in love” (Sayings of light and love, 60).

 

Segovia_-_Convento_de_los_Carmelitas_Descalzos,_Capilla_de_San_Juan_de_la_Cruz,_Sepulcro_del_santo_1
Tomb of St. John of the Cross | Zarateman / Wikimedia Commons

 

Read the original text of Saint John Paul II’s homily here

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 2 November

To King Don Philip II, Madrid
Seville, 19 July 1575
Jesus.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be always with your majesty. While much afflicted and praying to our Lord about the affairs of this holy order of our Lady and considering the great need there is that these initiatives God has taken in its regard not crumble, it occurred to me that the best safeguard for us would be that you realize what giving a solid foundation to this edifice entails; even the calced friars would benefit from the increase in numbers.

I have lived among them for 40 years

and, considering everything, I know clearly that if a separate province is not made for the discalced friarsand soongreat harm will be done, and I think it will be impossible for them to move ahead. Since this lies in your hands and I see that the Blessed Virgin, our Lady, has chosen you to support and protect her order, I have dared to write and beg you that for the love of our Lord and his glorious Mother you give orders that this separate province be formed…

Your majesty’s unworthy servant and subject,

Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite

 


 

Teresa Enters the Convent MetMuseum DP310147
Vita B. Virginis Teresiae 
Plate 4: Teresa Enters the Convent 
Adriaen Collaert (Netherlandish, 1560-1618) Engraving, 1613 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

On the 2nd of November 1535, Saint Teresa entered the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila when she was twenty years old. The Lord had been preparing her for that moment by a long and circuitous route; even after she said “yes” to Him, there was no straight path to her goal:

My fondness for good books was my salvation. Reading the Letters of St. Jerome so encouraged me that I decided to tell my father about my decision to take the habit, for I was so persistent in points of honor that I don’t think I would have turned back for anything once I told him. So great was his love for me that in no way was I able to obtain his permission or achieve anything through persons I asked to intercede for me. The most we could get from him was that after his death I could do whatever I wanted. I was afraid of myself and my frailty and of backing down; and since I could not wait so long, I tried to do it by another way… (Book of Her Life, 3)

Her “other way” was so secretive, one would think that St. John of the Cross had her story in mind when he wrote the first stanza of his poem, ‘The Dark Night’:

One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

Indeed, Teresa went out unseen from her house, or rather, from her father’s house:

I remember, clearly and truly, that when I left my father’s house I felt that separation so keenly that the feeling will not be greater, I think, when I die. For it seemed that every bone in my body was being sundered. Since there was no love of God to take away my love for my father and relatives, everything so constrained me that if the Lord hadn’t helped me, my reflections would not have been enough for me to continue on. In this situation, He gave me such courage against myself that I carried out the task. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Teresian scholar Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes that her father did, in fact, come to “accept it all with resignation, gave her a dowry that was more than substantial, and acquired for his daughter a private room of her own in the monastery.” (Book of Her Life, Introduction)

Exactly one year later, on the 2nd of November 1536, Saint Teresa received the habit of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father Kavanaugh notes that the prioress was Doña Mencía Cimbrón, “a distant relative of Teresa’s”.

The lessons that Saint Teresa learned on November 2 can serve us well:

As soon as I took the habit, the Lord gave me an understanding of how He favors those who use force with themselves to serve Him (…) When I recall this, there is no task that could be presented to me, no matter how hard, that I would hesitate to undertake. For I have already experienced in many ways that if I strive at the outset with determination to do it, even in this life His Majesty pays the soul in such ways that only one who has this joy understands it. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Saint Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.

 

TERESA signature Blogfeatureimage
Signature of St. Teresa conserved in the general archives of the City of Burgos

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 4 October

The Death of St Teresa

As told by Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

 

The day of her death she was unable to speak from early morning; in the evening, the Father who was attending her (Father Anthony of Jesus, one of the two first Discalced Carmelites) told me to go take some nourishment.

But scarcely had I left than the Saint became restless; with an anxious air she looked from one side to the other. The Father asked her if she wished me near her. She answered yes, by signs.

They called me; I hastened back.

As soon as she saw me, she smiled at me, showed me such condescension and affection that she caught me with her two hands and rested her head in my arms. I held her thus in my embrace until she expired, being more dead than the Saint herself; for, as for her, she was so inflamed with love for her Spouse that she sighed for the moment of parting from her body in order to be with Him.

As our Lord is so good and saw how little patience I had to bear this cross, He appeared to me at the foot of the Saint’s bed in all His Majesty, accompanied by His blessed ones who came to seek her soul.

This glorious vision lasted the space of a Credo, giving me time to exchange my pain and grief for a great resignation, to ask pardon of our Lord and say to Him:

“My Lord, even should Your Majesty wish to leave her for my consolation, I would ask you, now that I have witnessed your glory, not to leave her one moment in this exile.”

Scarcely had I uttered these words than she expired, and this blessed soul soared like a dove to enjoy the possession of her God.

 

Death of St Teresa - Madrid San Jorge
Death of St. Teresa
Polychrome wood
Church of San Jorge, Madrid

 


Saint Teresa of Avila died in the arms of her nurse and companion, Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, at 9:00 in the evening on the 4th of October in the year 1582 in the Carmel of Alba de Tormes.

But why was St. Teresa in Alba de Tormesnot in Avila? Translator and editor Fr. Kieran Kavanagh explains:

Antonio de Jesús [Heredia], who was acting as vicar provincial while Gracián was in Andalusia, came to Medina with the news that the Mother Foundress must go to Alba de Tormes because of the election of a prioress that was to take place there and because the Duchess of Alba wanted to see her. Still weak from her lingering illness, longing to get back to Avila, Teresa fell into a deep sadness. The vicar provincial’s orders and their effect on the Madre remained fixed in mind. This incident became for the devoted infirmarian a key example of Teresa’s virtue.

In our quote of the day for 3 October, we had read Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew’s testimony of the exhaustion of Teresa at their arrival in Alba de Tormes. Blessed Anne’s own words provide a resume of the situation: “from Burgos to Alba the route was one chain of sufferings for the saint.”

Father Kavanagh continues the account:

As for the election of a prioress in Alba, it seems there was little that was edifying in the community. No doubt Father Antonio thought Teresa’s presence would inspire better behavior and change some attitudes. In a previous letter, dated August 6, to the founding benefactress, Teresa Layz, Madre Teresa indicated some of the problems of the Alba community and bluntly states her displeasure over the conduct of some of the nuns. She worries that no prioress will want to stay there very long since so many are trying to get out of the office. “If the nuns are what they ought to be,” the Madre writes, “what will it matter to them who the prioress is? But these are childish ways and reveal attachments that are far from being appropriate for discalced nuns, nor are they found in other houses.” This is the community in which Teresa was to end her days.

Father Kavanagh also mentions that another visitor to Our Holy Mother, “perhaps on September 28, was her sister Doña Juana de Ahumada to whom Teresa manifested her desire to move on to Avila. But on September 29 the Madre went to bed never to rise again. She had suffered a hemorrhaging from which it was understood that she would die. Doctors who have studied the remaining descriptions of her last illness believe that the actual cause of Teresa’s death was cancer of the uterus.”

Another medical detail mentioned by Kavanagh:

On October 3, in the morning, the barber-surgeon put the Mother Foundress through the painful ordeal of cupping, a remedy that was prevalent in those times and meant to facilitate the excretion of certain liquids and humors.

For centuries, we have heard the story that her last words were en fin soy hija de la Iglesia… “Finally, I am a daughter of the Church.” But there are more details to share that Carmelite scholars like Father Kieran Kavanaugh can reveal. We will let him tell the rest of the story:

In the testimony given by witnesses, there is a general agreement concerning the themes of the prayers spoken aloud by Teresa on the eve of her death before and after receiving the Eucharist and after receiving the Sacrament of the Sick. On the one hand, she revealed her intense feelings of sorrow at being a sinner, repeating pleas for mercy from God. This she did through verses taken from a psalm and spoken in Latin as she had learned them through choral recitation of the prayer of the Church. On the other hand she revealed her awareness of approaching union with Christ her Bridegroom and her urgent longings for that moment. The words denote an active surge of loving energy and searching rather than an attitude of passive waiting. “Now the hour has struck.”

Further, in her thankfulness for being a daughter of the Church, she rejoiced in the thought of her Mother the Church, where she found the deposit of revelation, the norm of faith, the administration of the sacraments, the Christian family; this Church was now to offer her the Blood of Christ, the grace of redemption.

The following day, the feast of St. Francis (the little poor man of Assisi), her face was aglow, and with a crucifix, in her hands, she remained in prayer, in deep quiet and peace, without speaking or stirring throughout the whole day. In the evening, a couple of hours before she died, Padre Antonio told Blessed Ana [Anne of St. Bartholomew] who had been continually at her foundress’s side to go and get something to eat. But Teresa began looking about, and when Antonio asked her if she was looking for Sister Ana, she gestured affirmatively.

When Ana returned, Teresa smiled and with tender love took the humble Sister’s arms and placed her head in them. In this manner, the saintly Madre remained until she died between nine and ten that evening. She was surrounded by all the nuns in the community. Her niece Teresita, Blessed Ana, Padre Antonio de Jesús, and Padre Tomás de la Asención were also present.

After her death, her countenance turned as white as alabaster and being freed of every wrinkle took on an extraordinary beauty. A powerful and pleasing fragrance began to flow from her body and spread through the entire house, indeed as the truths of her profound writings would one day spread through the world. Hers had been a life unexplainable without God and without the grace that comes through Jesus Christ.

When Pope Gregory XIII issued the papal bull Inter Gravissimas in February 1582 to reform the Julian calendar, King Philip II decreed that Spain and all Spanish territories would observe the change in the calendar specified by the Vatican. Therefore, Thursday 4 October on the Julian calendar was followed by Friday 15 October on the newly reformed Gregorian calendar.

 

Death of St Teresa - Cathedral of Almudena
Death of Saint Teresa
Sr. Isabel Guerra, O.Cist. (Spanish, 1947 – )
Oil on canvas
Almudena Cathedral, Madrid 

 

Images of the death of St. Teresa from the churches of Madrid are courtesy of the Iconografía Teresiana pages on the website of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Alba de Tormes.

 

Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917,  Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by anonymous, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Quote of the day: 23 September

Your “sequela Christi”, as consecrated persons, thus acquires biblical and historical connotations, which make it particularly alive and up-to-date. I hope, dearly beloved, that the intense work your general chapter these days will favor an in-depth reflection on how to implement your specific charism on the threshold of the third millennium. This will lead you to continue with renewed enthusiasm in the witness of spirituality offered by you in the context of the present age, deeply in need of God but too often lost along the difficult paths of history.

Saint John Paul II
Address to the Carmelite General Chapter (excerpt)
23 September 1995

 

unpaved road with sunlight through the trees
Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 20 September

Map_of_Spain,_1685__(another_view)
Map of Spain by Alain Manesson Mallet, Paris, 1683
View more maps in his collection, Description de l’Univers

 

From the Autobiography of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

Third Book, Chapter 1

Deputation Sent From France

 

Some years before our departure for France, M. de Bretigny made a journey to Spain. He begged most earnestly of the Superiors of the Order permission to take some Spanish Carmelites to France; but he could not then succeed in his design.

Not having been able to get the Carmelites, he took home the writings of the Saint and had them translated into French. As in these works there is so much said in favor of France, the French servants of God who had devotion to our holy Foundress loved her more and more, and took new courage.

In several cities they gathered together some very virtuous high-born ladies to initiate them little by little into the spirit of this new Order. These reunions once well established, they asked permission of the king to found a monastery in Paris, desiring for this purpose to have Spanish Carmelites brought there; but in case the Carmelites were not willing, their plan was to have our Constitutions brought from Spain and be taught to these young ladies whom they had gathered together, with the intention of giving them the habit and making them daughters of the Order of our Holy Mother, St. Teresa.

 

NATTIER_Jean-Marc_Madame Louise de France
Madame Louise-Marie of France (1737-1787)
Jean-Marc Nattier (French, 1685-1766)
Oil on canvas, 1748
Venerable Thérèse of Saint-Augustine, better known as Madame Louise, like the French novices who helped to found the Teresian Carmel in France, was “a very virtuous high-born” lady. The youngest of the ten children of King Louis XV and Maria Leszczyńska, she entered the Carmel of Saint-Denis (now a museum) in 1770. The martyred prioress of the Carmel of Compiègne, Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine, was named for Madame Louise. | Palais de Versailles / Wikimedia Commons, Joconde

 

This first foundation having been arranged, the servant of God whom I mentioned above, M. de Bretigny, returned to Spain, bringing with him three noble French ladies. They intended, if their enterprise was successful, to take Spanish religious with them to France. Besides, during their stay in Spain, they were to learn the language of the country.

Messrs. Rene Gauthier and de Berulle also went to Spain, not without meeting great dangers at sea, as they themselves narrated. For our Lord tried their courage in every way and on all sorts of occasions. But they were so faithful to God and so firm in their design, that nothing terrified them.

They were several months in Spain without succeeding in obtaining religious from the Order. Seeing this, M. de Berulle and the others did their utmost and labored for a whole year before obtaining from the Superiors of the Order what they asked.

The deputation sent from France had to endure much labor and many affronts; this, because it was not known what great servants of God they were; for they certainly were such—their works and the zeal they showed for the glory of God proved their great fervor. But in order that their virtue might be more purified, God permitted that they should not be esteemed at their proper worth. Some said that they were heretics, and other things of a similar nature. They suffered with much patience and humility, and, persevering in this way, their enterprise was crowned with success.

At last our Father General, Francis of the Mother of God, came to Avila with several Fathers of the Order to arrange for our departure. We left on the morning of the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. [1604] Our Father General accompanied us a great part of the day. When he was obliged to leave us we begged his blessing. He gave it with an emotion that was shared by all the religious. In parting, both Fathers and daughters made a great sacrifice to God.

Two friars of our Order, great servants of God, two French priests, one of whom was M. de Berulle, and the other, M. Rene Gauthier, together with three Frenchmen on horseback, and several Spaniards, accompanied us on this journey. The three French ladies were alone in one carriage and the six religious in another. We were together in the inns.

 

Pierre de Bérulle LaRochelle
Cardinal Bérulle at the Foot of the Cross
Lagrenée the Younger (French, 1739-1821)
Oil on canvas, 1784
Saint-Sauveur Parish, La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)

 

The French ladies taught us their language; it must be acknowledged we did not make great progress in it; we learned sufficient, however, to understand most of what was said to us. But we did not speak fluently; we could, with difficulty, say only a few sentences. Our Lord wished to humble us in this, and I think it was best for us, for by speaking little we did not give disedification. Every nation has its own customs.

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

“Every nation has its own customs,” wrote Blessed Anne. Truer words were never spoken. The influence of “Monsieur de Bérulle” upon the Carmelites in France grew and expanded as his authority expanded not only in the Church but also in government.

Considered by many as the founder of the French School of Spirituality, he collaborated with Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, better known as Madame Acarie, in the foundation of the first Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris, the original destination of Blessed Anne and her traveling companions in 1604.

 

marieoftheincarnationblogfeatimage
Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, Madame Acarie

 

As a priest, Pierre de Bérulle was passionate in his ministry. Educated by the Jesuits, he had only been ordained five years earlier when he set out on his great adventure in Spain in the year 1604. In 1611, he undertakes another great project: the foundation of an Oratory in France similar to the Oratory founded by Philip Neri in Italy.

In the space of 18 years, Bérulle founded 40 Carmels and 60 houses for his Oratorians in France.

 As his fame spread in the Church in France, he naturally attracted the attention of the royal family, as well. In 1625, he became a personal chaplain to Queen Consort Henrietta Maria of France, the wife of England’s King Charles I.

In 1627, Pope Urban VIII insisted upon creating him a Cardinal. And his influence in affairs of state continued to develop when he was named head of the queen’s council, then councilor of state. Through all of this, Bérulle’s influence on the French Carmelites remained firm.

But there was dissension. The Venerable Anne of Jesus, Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew’s companion in making the original foundation, believed that Bérulle was leaving an imprint upon the Carmels in France that decidedly was not in keeping with the Teresian ideal. Further, she desired for the nuns to be directed by Discalced Carmelite friars. Frustrated, in 1607, she accepted an offer from the Archduke of Belgium to transfer to Flanders, where she founded Carmels in Brussels, Louvain, and Mons.

 

Ana-de-Jesus_Teresa-de-Jesus_Ana-de-SBart
The holy foundresses: Anne of Jesus, Teresa of Avila, and Anne of Saint Bartholomew

 

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew had moved from Paris to Pontoise where she was elected prioress (1605) and then assumed the same office in the Carmel of Tours (1608). But in 1611, she too was called to make the journey north. She left on 5 October, “the day following the anniversary of the death of the Saint.” She wrote that she “had no desire to go to Flanders,” but Anne of Jesus needed her in Mons, and she would go on to found the Carmel of Antwerp.

Meanwhile, in France, the spirituality of le Carmel Bérullien that so concerned Venerable Anne of Jesus continued to thrive without the Spanish foundresses. Cardinal de Bérulle died suddenly while he was celebrating Mass 2 October 1629, making the greatest ecclesiastical figure in France seem larger than life. His legacy did not fade.

Discalced Carmelite theologian François-Marie Léthel points out that the Bérullien influence is seen in the writings of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. For example, Christocentrism is one of the hallmarks of his French School of spirituality. Father Léthel indicates that Thérèse refers to the name of Jesus twice as much as she mentions “God”: more precisely, she writes the name of Jesus more than 1600 times, but she only makes roughly 800 references to “God” (Léthel 2011).

Antoinette Guise Castelnuovo has carefully documented the history of the Bérullien crisis in the 20th century. In response to the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law in 1917, all religious orders were obliged to revise their constitutions, including the Discalced Carmelites. In France, disorder reigned supreme; every Carmel’s superior was the local bishop, and none of the local superiors consulted with one another. Thus, the nuns of the Carmel of Clamartthe post-revolutionary re-foundation of the original Carmel of Paris in Faubourg Saint Jacquesundertook the task to issue a set of constitutions in 1924 that might unify the Discalced Carmelites of the so-called “French Observance”. Getting Vatican approval for their text was another matter completely. (Castelnuovo 2015)

Every other Discalced Carmelite monastery worldwide turned to the general curia of the Discalced Carmelite friars for their care and direction. In short order, the friars’ revised constitutions for the nuns were approved in 1926. In France, no word of approval had been received yet.

At this point, St. Thérèse’s own sister, Mother Agnès of Jesus—then the prioress in Lisieuxsaw an opportunity to restore a true Teresian spirit in France and make Venerable Anne of Jesus’ dream a reality, that the nuns in France might once again submit to the governance of the Discalced Carmelite friars in Rome.

 

Mutter_Agnes_von_Jesus
Mother Agnes of Jesus (Pauline Martin), photo circa 1900

 

Although Mother Agnès herself enjoyed an office that was hardly Teresian, having been named prioress-for-life by Pope Pius XI in 1923, she had gained a level of influence, unlike no other prioress, due to her tireless efforts to make Thérèse known, loved, and canonized. She set forth to use that influence to seek the imposition of the friars’ constitutions in France.

Castelnuovo describes the conflict between Mother Agnès and the Carmel of Clamart as degenerating from a struggle for influence into an all-out fratricidal war. Letters to the apostolic nuncio, the Sacred Congregation for Religious, even to the pope were flying fast and furious. Mother Agnès wrote in 1925 to the nuncio, Archbishop Cerretti, that she was confident that 12 to 15 monasteries would pass to the Teresian observance with Lisieux; she said the “Bérullien Carmels” who would stick with Clamart were blind.

In 1927, Mother Agnès sent a confidential report to the new nuncio, Archbishop Maglione, outlining why this or that Carmel—although desirous to adopt the friars’ constitutions—could not do so. In every case, although the nuns were in favor of the change, the superior (either the bishop or his delegate) prevented such a transition. Nevertheless, a handful of monasteries joined Lisieux and adopted the friars’ constitutions of 1926.

Sadly, Mother Agnès learned in 1931 that the prioress of the Carmel of Agen circulated a letter among her fellow prioresses in the circle of Bérullien Carmels, accusing those who followed the 1926 Constitutions like Lisieux of being “lax” and “mitigated”. In her historical study, Castelnuovo draws a distinct correlation at this point between the Lisieux-Clamart conflict in the 1920s and the constitutional crisis between the followers of Saint Maria Maravillas and the Discalced Carmelite friars in the 1980 and ’90s. The similarities are striking.

To resolve the conflict in France, the Sacred Congregation for Religious issued a decree on 20 September 1936 to impose the adoption worldwide of the 1926 Constitutions revised by the Discalced Carmelite friars’ general curia in Rome.

This was an unprecedented action that proved unsuccessful; the Bérullien Carmelites refused to accept the decree of the Sacred Congregation and continued to follow their French Observance.

Divine intervention finally came with the nomination of an apostolic visitator in 1948: the vicar general of the Discalced Carmelite friars who was himself a native of France, Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus. It was a stroke of genius. Castelnuovo notes that  Bérulle in his day had placed great importance in the role of a visitator. St. Teresa, for her part, had great recourse to the visitators to save her reform.

 

 

Marie-Eugene-de-l'Enfant-Jesus
Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus

 

Marie-Eugène was known and respected by all, thanks to his preaching during the canonization of Thérèse. Now, he had 130 Carmels to visit; he began in September 1948 and completed his visits in March 1951, delivering his report at the end of the month. In the meantime, Pope Pius XII published Sponsa Christi and an Instruction concerning the cloister.

No longer was there simply a matter of constitutional conformity in France to deal with; Blessed Marie-Eugène also realized that the Carmelites needed guidance in the implementation of Sponsa Christi, as well. He set to work as an invaluable courier between the Holy See and the nuns, helping the pope to safeguard the contemplative vocation and helping the nuns to broaden their horizons.

In a final, grand effort to assure that his hard work would not be wasted and that the new-found unity of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in France might be preserved, Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus took the bold step of assisting the nuns to organize themselves into four federations according to geographic location. Two federations in the north, conforming to the friars’ Paris Province, and two federations in the south under the care of the Province of Avignon-Aquitaine were established, and Marie-Eugène himself was the assistant to all four federations.

 

Marie-Eugene-of-the-Infant-Jesus_with-2-nuns
Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus, Apostolic Visitator

 


Sources

Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917,  Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by anonymous, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.

Guise Castelnuovo, A 2015, ‘Femmes en réseau et centralisation romaine : le gouvernement des carmélites de France au XXe siècle’, Les Carnets du LARHRA,  Gouverner l’Eglise au XXe siècle, pp.109-131, ffhalshs-01404512

Léthel, F-M 2011, La Lumière du Christ Dans le Coeur de l’Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints, Éditions Parole et Silence, Les Plans-sur-Bex.

 

Quote of the day: 10 September

The Resolutions

Excerpts from the resolutions in captivity
drawn up by Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
and his companions

 

They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

If God permits them to recover totally or in part, this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer and their love for recollection and piety.

Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
The Resolutions


Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude (Jacques Gagnot) was one of three Discalced Carmelite martyrs imprisoned on the slave ship Les Deux Associés in the bay of Rochefort, France in 1794. His companions died on board in July, but Blessed Hubert survived the summer. When the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on Île Madame, where Blessed Hubert died and was buried on 10 September 1794. Learn more here from Catholic News Service about the conditions on the slave ship and at Île Madame. “Compared to the hell of the ships, the island seemed a veritable paradise.”

 

Rochefort_martyrs grave marker fosse commune Île Madame Jacques Gagnot
This simple marker is the only engraved monument on the island to the 254 priests buried on Île Madame in 1794. | View more photos of the island of Île Madame here | thierry llansades / Flickr 

 

pelerinage ile madame emmanuel bethoux flickr
Every August, the Diocese of La Rochelle et Saintes in the Department of Charente-Maritime, France organizes a pilgrimage to the tiny island of Île Madame. View photos of the 2015 pilgrimage here. | Emmanuel Bethoux / Flickr

 

Quote of the day: 18 August

They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

The Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort
Resolutions of the martyrs, (excerpt)

 

sea nature sunset water
Photo by Joey Kyber on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 25 July

The Discalced Carmelite Friars dedicated their church and monastery in the Holy Land in homage to the “great miracle worker”, the Blessed Virgin of Carmel on the promontory of Mount Carmel in 1836.

 

Stella Maris State of Israel Bit of Haifa Flickr Blogfeatimage
In December 2010 the State of Israel featured this photo of Stella Maris Monastery and Pilgrim’s Hostel in their Flickr photo album, calling the image, “A Bit of Haifa”

 

Before the blessing of the church, the statue of the Blessed Virgin made a grand tour of Europe. Pope Pius VII received her in his private chapel for his personal veneration on 4th March 1823. His Holiness, seeing the image for the first time, exclaimed:

Bella, bella, bella! Such a devout image! Her virtues are carved in her face! That sculptor could not do what he has done except by revelation from heaven.

 

NCMC Stella Maris closeup (2)
Her virtues are carved in her face | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Friars (used by permission)

 

In 1932 the statue returned to Italy. The previous year, to commemorate the tercentenary of the Discalced Carmelites’ return to Mount Carmel, the monastery had hosted the General Chapter. Because it was felt that the statue’s garments were not in accord with its ornate surroundings, it was decided to have them carved in wood. Brother Luigi Poggi, conventual on Mount Carmel, carved a copy to be enthroned temporarily, while the head and hands were sent off to Rome.

The body was carved in Lebanese cedar, with instructions to keep the same proportions and pose as the original. In Europe, the work of restoration was entrusted to Emanuele Rieda, who finished it in less than a year.

The statue’s return to Mount Carmel was accompanied by great celebrations. In July and August the image was displayed in the Discalced Carmelites’ Roman churches and was blessed by Pius XI on the 25th of July, 1933.

At the end of August it was brought to Naples where three days’ solemn feast was kept. Finally on the 1st of September it was loaded onto the steamer Helouan bound for Haifa. On the journey the statue was accompanied by Discalced Carmelite students from the International College, bound for Mount Carmel where they were to study philosophy.

The steamer made port at Alexandria in Egypt and Port Said and reached Haifa on 8th of September. The statue was escorted by a long procession made up of civic and religious leaders, all Catholic groups in Haifa and a group of pilgrims who had come specially from Europe. In the evening it was solemnly enthroned above the high altar in the basilica.

 

DSC_0951
The annual procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel—with a type of special processional statue—proceeds from the Discalced Carmelite friars parish of Saint Joseph and winds through the streets of the city of Haifa, then slowly climbs up Stella Maris Road to Stella Maris church and monastery on the promontory of Mount Carmel. | Photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Used by permission)

 

CARMEL IN THE HOLY LAND: From its beginnings to the present day [edited for clarity] (pp. 119-120)
Edited by Silvano Giordano, OCD; photography by Girolamo Salvatico, OCD
Copyright © 1995 by Il Messaggero di Gesu Bambino – Arenzano

 

 

Quote of the day: 12 June

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO POLAND
EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

In a particular way, I wish to greet the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Górka in Wadowice. We are meeting on an exceptional occasion: 27 August this year marks the centenary of the consecration of the Church of Saint Joseph, at the Convent founded by Saint Raphael Kalinowski. As I did as a young man, I now return in spirit to that place of particular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which had such a great influence on the spirituality of the Wadowice area. I myself received many graces there, and today I wish to thank the Lord for them.

 

St Joseph Convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars Wadowice
A statue of St. Raphael Kalinowski stands in front of St. Joseph Convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Wadowice, Poland | Tulio Bertorini / Flickr

 

I am pleased that I was able to beatify, together with one hundred and eight martyrs, Blessed Father Alfons Maria Mazurek, a pupil and later a worthy teacher in the minor seminary attached to the Convent. I had the opportunity to meet personally this witness of Christ who in 1944, as prior of the convent of Czerna, confirmed his fidelity to God by a martyr’s death.

 

Alphonsus Mary Mazurek-870x1024 (2)
Detail of a portrait of Blessed Alphonsus Mary Mazurek displayed in the Basilica of St. Anne in Lubartów, Poland, where Blessed Alphonsus Mary was born. See the complete portrait here.

 

I kneel in veneration before his relics, which rest in the Church of Saint Joseph, and I give thanks to God for the gift of the life, martyrdom and holiness of this great Religious.

Saint John Paul II
Wadowice, 16 June 1999
Homily excerpts

 

Quote of the day: 2 June

God is eternal silence

 

nature water flowers lake
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God dwells in silence

 


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-Jésusdied 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.

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques 
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Quote of the day: 30 May

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 — 1 Kings 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.


Commentary

The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God because God does not want anyone to be afraid and remain asleep. Precisely at the time of greater darkness and weariness is when the prophet listens once again to the word of the Lord — two different times — speaking through an angel, saying: “Get up and eat.”

After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep.

 

Sometimes crisis in our lives is so great and there is so much discouragement, that it is difficult to get up and walk; but God is not overcome by our weakness.

 

God insists for the second time in feeding Elijah: “Get up and eat, because the road before you is very long, it is greater than your strength”.

God does not want us to feel fearful; neither does he want us to sleep. That is why he feeds the prophet, just like he feeds all of us when we feel deflated, frustrated, and hopeless.

 

God takes what seems like the end of the road and turns it into a new horizon;  what we experience as death is transformed into the beginning of a new life.

 

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Homily, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (excerpt)
Mount Tabor Parish, Managua — 12 August 2018

 

PalmSunday2019_Esquipulas_CARLOSHERRERA-04
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. | Carlos Herrera / Confidencial (Used by permission)

 

Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. is one of eighteen living bishops who are affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite order; he is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua. He began his Discalced Carmelite formation in the General Delegation of Central America in 1979 and was ordained a priest 15 January 1985. He pursued advanced studies in Sacred Scripture and biblical geography and archeology in Rome and Jerusalem. In 1999 he defended his doctoral thesis in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on the subject, Tiempo de callar y tiempo de hablar: el silencio en la Biblia Hebrea (A time to keep silence, and a time to speak: silence in the Hebrew Bible). Serving as a seminary professor, he authored numerous articles and books, speaking at conferences and retreats, and served on the council of the general delegation. In 2006 he was appointed Vice-President of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Teresianum in Rome, where he was Professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Theology and Spirituality; in addition, he was the editor of the theology journal Teresianum. On 9 April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Managua and Titular Bishop of Zica.

On 30 May 2009 Silvio José Báez, O.C.D, was ordained bishop in the Cathedral of Managua. The principal consecrator was Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua; the principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Henryk Józef Nowacki, Titular Archbishop of Blera and Bishop César Bosco Vivas Robelo, Bishop of León en Nicaragua.

You may view his episcopal lineage / apostolic succession here.

 

#BAEZ BLAZON
The coat of arms of Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. reflects his background as a native of Nicaragua — seen in the image of the volcano and the lake on the left — and as a Discalced Carmelite friar, exemplified by the emblem of the Order on the right. At the base of the shield is the scripture with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13). The bishop’s motto is, “For Your Word.” | SajoR / Wikimedia Commons

 

Scripture commentary translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission

.

Quote of the day: 28 May

We have the duty to assist the pope

 

In the Church, the Holy Father is infallible in matters of faith and morals. The Holy Father appoints bishops who ordain priests, and approves and establishes religious congregations. Through the pastors of the Church, all of us receive the truth of the faith, and thus there is created a unity between us here present and the Holy Father. And if we obey the pope, we obey the Lord Jesus, according to his own words addressed to Peter and the other apostles: “Whoever hears you, hears me” [Lk 10:16].

Therefore, we have the duty to assist the pope, and if we are unable to do it in other ways, let us help with prayers and good works.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski
The Church is Our Home
Conference to the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Wadowice
Wednesday, 29 March 1893

 

Paten_of_Płock
Chalice and paten of Konrad of Masovia | Maksymilian Fajans / Wikimedia Commons

 

Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality (p. 41)
Szczepan T. Praskiewicz: translated by Thomas Coonan, Michael Griffin, and Lawrence Sullivan.
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. 1998, 2016

Quote of the day: 21 May

His name is Fray Juan Bautista Rubeo de Ravenna

Our generals always reside in Rome and none ever came to Spain. So it seemed impossible that one should come now. But since nothing is impossible when our Lord wants it, His Majesty ordained that what had never happened before should come about now. When I came to know of it, I felt grieved. For as was already mentioned concerning the foundation of St. Joseph’s, that house was not subject to the friars for the reason given [the provincial refused to accept jurisdiction]. I feared two things: one, that our Father General would be displeased with me (and rightly so since he was unaware of how the things had come to pass); the other, that he would order me to return to the monastery of the Incarnation, where the mitigated rule is observed, which for me would have been an affliction for many reasons — there would be no point in going into them. One reason should be enough: that in the Incarnation I wouldn’t be able to observe the austerity of the primitive rule, that the community numbers more than 150, and that where there are few there is more harmony and quiet. Our Lord did better than I had imagined. For the general is such a servant of the Lord, and so discreet and learned, that he regarded the work as good; moreover he showed no displeasure toward me. His name is Fray Juan Bautista Rubeo de Ravenna, a person very distinguished in the order, and rightly so.

Well then, when he arrived in Avila, I arranged that he come to St. Joseph’s. And the bishop thought it well that he be given all the welcome that the bishop himself would receive. I gave our Father General an account in all truth and openness, for it is my inclination to speak thus with my superiors, whatever might happen, since they stand in the place of God — and with confessors, the same. If I didn’t do this, it wouldn’t seem to me that my soul was secure. And so I gave him an account of my soul and of almost my whole life, although it is very wretched. He consoled me much and assured me that he wouldn’t order me to leave St. Joseph’s.

He rejoiced to see our manner of life, a portrait, although an imperfect one, of the beginnings of our order, and how the primitive rule was being kept in all its rigor, for it wasn’t being observed in any monastery in the entire order; only the mitigated rule was observed. And with the desire he had that this beginning go forward, he gave me very extensive patent letters, so that more monasteries could be founded, along with censures to prevent any provincial from restraining me. I did not ask for these, but he understood from my way of prayer that my desires to help some soul come closer to God were great.

I was not seeking these means; rather the thought seemed to me foolish because a useless little woman as helpless as I well understood that she couldn’t do anything. But when these desires come to a soul, it is not in its power to put them aside. Faith and the love of pleasing God make possible what to natural reason is not possible. And thus in seeing the strong desire of our Most Reverend General that more monasteries be founded, it seemed to me I saw them founded.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 2 (excerpt)

 

ROSSI-Giovanni-Battista_aka-Juan-Bautista-Rubeo
Giovanni Battista Rossi
Elected Carmelite Prior General 21 May 1564

Juan Bautista Rubeo (Giovanni Battista Rossi, 1507-1578) was an untiring apostle born in Ravenna who entered the Carmelites at the age of ten. He received his doctorate in Padua. In 1546 he was named procurator general of the order and began lecturing at the Sapienza in Rome. The Carmelite general chapter, under the presidency of St. Charles Borromeo, unanimously elected him general of the order on 21 May 1564. He lost no time in obtaining faculties from the Holy See to visit, reform, and correct the houses of the order. His cherished desires were to bring the order back to its origins, to stress solitude, affective prayer, devotion to Mary, and the apostolate. This appealed to him much more than merely promoting fulfillment of the laws newly set forth by the Council of Trent. In 1564 he began his visit to Spain, and on 10 June 1566, he had an audience with Philip II. Proceeding to Andalusia, where the Carmelites were torn by rival factions and resistance to reform, he convoked a provincial chapter for 22 September at which over 200 Carmelites took part. His efforts to correct abuses angered the guilty parties and caused them to make appeals to the king, complaining of Rossi and calling on the king himself to set up a visitation. As a result, Philip II lost confidence in Rossi and initiated his own plans for the reform of religious orders in Spain. Unaware of the king’s attitude, Rossi began his visitation of Castile and on 27 April 1567 authorized Teresa to found other houses for her nuns, provided they be under the jurisdiction of the order, and the number in each community be restricted to no more than twenty-five nuns. A month later he limited the region where the new houses could be founded to Castile, but later he extended this to all parts. Because of the troubles among the friars in Andalusia, he did not want to grant permission for new foundations of discalced friars. But at Teresa’s request on 10 August 1567, he wrote from Barcelona giving her permission to found two houses of “contemplative Carmelite friars” in Castile. In 1569 in a letter to the prioress of Medina, Rossi wrote: “She [Teresa of Jesus] does more good for the order than all the Carmelite friars in Spain together.” And Teresa esteemed him just as highly. But later because of the many jurisdictional complexities that arose from the king’s desire to reform the Carmelites in Spain, passions were aroused and Rossi was so misinformed that he approved measures harmful to what Teresa was trying to bring about. She never lost her high esteem for Rossi and explained and appealed to him through her letters. Rossi died unexpectedly on 4 September 1578 as a consequence of an accident in which he fell from his mule and broke his leg. Teresa was deeply saddened when she received the news and always lamented the pain she thought she had caused the general because of the misunderstandings that had arisen and her inability to explain things to him personally or get her letters through to him.

 

Rubeo biography and The Book of Her Foundations: 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.

 

Marie du jour: 18 May

 

SALVE, Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

V./ Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
R./ Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante, praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


Note: This solemn tone of the Salve Regina is sung by Discalced Carmelites in every convent of friars and monastery of nuns on every Saturday throughout the year.

Quote of the day: 18 May

The Lord gives us so much to do these days that we can hardly keep up with it all.

At the time I left Granada for the foundation in Córdoba, I wrote to you in haste. And afterward, while in Córdoba, I received your letters and those of the gentlemen who were going to Madrid and who must have thought they would meet me while I was at the meeting of definitors. But you know this meeting never took place because we were waiting for the completion of these foundations and visitations. The Lord gives us so much to do these days that we can hardly keep up with it all. The foundation for the friars in Córdoba was completed with greater applause and solemnity throughout the entire city than was ever given there to any other religious order. All the clergy and confraternities of Córdoba gathered, and the Most Blessed Sacrament was brought with great solemnity from the Cathedral. All the streets were beautifully decorated, and the people acted as though it were the feast of Corpus Christi. This took place on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday. The Bishop came and preached, praising us highly. The house is situated in the best district of the city, in the neighborhood of the Cathedral.

Saint John of the Cross
Letter 5 to Madre Ana de San Alberto, prioress of Caravaca
Sevilla, June 1586

Cordoba walls
The old walls of Cordoba are reflected in the water | Ilmarel / Flickr

On 18 May 1586 St. John of the Cross founded the convent of Córdoba of the Discalced Carmelite friars. Although St. John founded the convent “in the neighborhood of the Cathedral” in 1586, a few years later the community transferred to a convent near the Puerta del Colodro just north of the old city wall called the Muralla de la Axerquía.  [Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas]

Letters: Letter 5 to Madre Ana de San Alberto
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.

Marie du jour: 15 May

During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The scholarly journal Teresianum in 1990 published an account by noted Discalced Carmelite historian Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. concerning the Discalced Carmelite friars’ charitable efforts to shelter refugees at Stella Maris monastery during the armed conflict in Haifa in the year 1948.

A bit of background: Fr. Elias reminds his readers that at the end of 1947 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution “recommending the partition of Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and a corpus separatum for Jerusalem,” Jews and Arabs in the region “jostled for position in view of the approaching termination of the British Mandate.” Bloody violence ensued.

Injured Palestinians lying on cots waiting to be evacuated in Haifa_LIFE 1948
Injured Palestinians lying on cots waiting to be evacuated in Haifa | The Palestine Project / Medium

Photos from the LIFE magazine archives illustrate Fr. Elias Friedman’s documentation. Father Elias carefully noted that in 1944 the population of Haifa was 128,000, with a fair balance of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (52% Jewish); the Discalced Carmelite Fathers’ parish in the city of Haifa, Saint Joseph Church, had a membership of roughly 4000 families. After the violence broke out in 1948, “of a total population of 98,284, Jews numbered 94,718.” Saint Joseph’s parish experienced a dramatic drop in membership: in 1948, there were only about 500 families that remained. When Fr. Elias published his article in 1990, he noted that the membership had “risen slowly, so that at the time of writing, the number of parishioners stands at +/-1,500.” Haifa’s Christian population suffered immensely in 1948.

Beginning in January 1948, Catholics in Haifa began to seek secure shelter at the Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, now known as Stella Maris, on the promontory of Mount Carmel at Haifa.

THE_STELLA_MARIS_MONASTERY_ON_THE_FRENCH_CARMEL_IN_HAIFA._מנזר__סטלה_מאריס__על_הכרמל_הצרפתי_בחיפה.D397-105_1934
THE STELLA MARIS MONASTERY ON THE FRENCH CARMEL IN HAIFA. 
מנזר “סטלה מאריס” על הכרמל הצרפתי בחיפה.
Date: 01/07/1934
Source National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography Dept. Government Press Office,
under the digital ID D397-105
Photographer: Zoltan Kluger (1896-1977)

Four religious from the Christian Brothers school were the first Catholics who came to the friars asking for a place to stay. “Soon they were followed by Arab families, desperately in search of shelter.” At one point, the number of refugees at the Carmelite monastery across from the lighthouse reached a total of 521.

British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop Haifa_Dmitri Kessel_LIFE 1948
British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop, Port of Haifa, 1948. | Dmitri Kessel, photographer | The Palestine Project / Medium

Father Clemente Casinelli, O.C.D. transferred to Haifa from the friars’ monastery at El-Muhraqa the place of Elijah’s sacrifice in April 1948 and assumed the office of Procurator. When he arrived, he found “the first floor of the monastery to be filled with men, women, and children.  They were mostly Catholics, some three or four families were Greek-Orthodox, and one family was Muslim (the Sabas). The overflow spilled into the grounds of the monastery.”

The refugees were very resourceful and contributed to one another’s well-being given the circumstances. Fr. Clemente took charge of the refugee program. He was an Italian Discalced Carmelite friar who had spent six years in a British prison camp in Lebanon during World War II for no other reason than his nationality; his own harsh experiences there gave him a unique sense of initiative and compassion.

Palestinian child refugee waiting on the dock to leave Haifa
Palestinian child refugee waiting on the dock to leave Haifa | The Palestine Project / Medium

 

Fr. Elias notes that “the refugees assisted regularly at Sunday Mass.” A local family who were benefactors to the friars and their refugees “set a good example by first putting their contributions into the plate and taking it around the congregation at the Offertory.”

“During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 7 o’clock each evening to recite the Rosary together and attend the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.”

 

NCMC Stella Maris closeup
The centerpiece of Stella Maris Church on the promontory of Mount Carmel is the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel. The statue of the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus enthroned, placed at the center of the main altar, standing on a pedestal carved from a cedar of Lebanon, is devoutly venerated by the local Christians. | Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi / Facebook

Friedman, Elias. “Internal Arab refugees at the monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, Mount Carmel, Haifa (Israel).” Teresianum: Ephemerides Carmeliticae, vol. 41, no. 1, 1990, pp. 261-274.

Project, The Palestine. LIFE Magazine: Palestine 1948 — rare photo collection. medium.com, 16 May 2018, https://medium.com/@thepalestineproject/life-magazine-rare-photos-of-palestine-1948-d80e83d4929. Accessed 15 May 2019.

Wikimedia Commons has photo collections concerning historical images of Haifa, the statue of Our Lady of Chile that stands across from the monastery, and several historic images in the Stella Maris Monastery collection.

 

Quote of the day: 29 April

Let us now fix our gaze on the bosom of God and the mystery of the Trinity, to the degree that revelation permits. I maintain that the Word of God is total, absolute virginity. Here is the reason why. As you are well aware, there is in the inner life of the Trinity a stupendous cycle, which overwhelms our poor, little minds. The pure intelligence of God conceives the being itself of God. The divine intelligence grasps and sees itself; it speaks and expresses itself. It grasps and expresses itself in a word, which equals the intelligence that sets it forth. With infinite simplicity, the divine nature eternally expresses the Word of God. In this one word is the infinite activity of the divine intelligence. The Word of God, begotten by the Father, is the infinite, equal, and divine expression of the very Being of God. The Word possesses the fullness of the divine nature, just as does the Father, and thus is truly God. In the infinite simplicity of God’s being, this unfathomable, living expression shines forth so brilliantly that a third person, an outpouring of love, unites in a single nature this Word and the One who begets him from all eternity.

These three persons: the Father, the Son begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit, whose infinite breath of love unites the three, constitute the perfect purity of God. That divine purity is what I term the fullness of virginity. Such is God himself!

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Conference 6: Virginity in God and in Mary
Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Pere Jacques

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
Photo by Ben Cheung on Pexels.com
Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 40)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

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