Quote of the day: 12 February

As St. Paul says: love is patient, it triumphs over all difficulties, and it suffers everything for the sake of the beloved. Therefore we cannot doubt Brother Lawrence’s patience in his infirmities, he who loved God so perfectly. In fact, in keeping with the thought of the same apostle, patience has this fine rapport with love… we will see that he practiced these two virtues during the [three] very painful illnesses with which it pleased God to afflict him.

In the first case, he gave evidence of a desire for death, for when speaking with the physician after his fever went down, he told him, “Ah, Doctor, your remedies have worked too well for me, you only delay my happiness!”

In the second, he seemed to have no preference whatsoever. He remained completely indifferent regarding life and death, perfectly resigned to God’s orders.

I can testify that he gave signs of altogether extraordinary constancy, resignation, and joy during the third illness, the one that separated his soul from his body, uniting it with his Beloved in heaven. He received much consolation from this blessed moment when it finally arrived, because he had longed for it for so long. 

The sight of death that frightens and dismays the most hardy did not intimidate him at all. He regarded it with complete confidence, and you could even say he defied it. When he saw the poor bed prepared for him, having overheard one of his friends say, “It’s for you, Brother Lawrence. It’s time to depart,” he replied, “It is true. There is my deathbed, but someone who does not expect it at all will follow me immediately.”

This is exactly what happened, just as he had predicted. Although this friar [Frère Philibert des Anges, a fellow lay brother] was in perfect health, he became ill the next day and died the same day Brother Lawrence was buried, and the following Wednesday he was buried in the same grave. It seems that love united these two fine brothers in life and did not want them separated at death, for there was no other place [for burial] but the common grave.

Father Joseph de Beaufort

Eulogy

 


Father Beaufort leaves us this simple record of the death of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection: Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.

 

lily jez-timms-Z0AZuN4pjGE-unsplash
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

 

You can explore our blog posts by and about Brother Lawrence here.

 

 

Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 2 October

Capt Catez 04_deuils_portrait
Capt. Joseph Catez (1832-1887)

 

Oh father, ten years ago
You were stricken by cruel death!
You left your grief-stricken widow,
Your children, still quite young;
And your soul left the earth,
The place of exile and of misery,
To return to the bosom of God
In the beautiful city of Heaven.

It was in my weak arms as a child,
These arms that caressed you so much,
That your brief agony lasted,
The last battle of your life!
And I tried to hold on
To that last, long breath!

Protector of my childhood,
Who knew how to watch over
His dear little children with constancy,
I truly promise you that the years
Will not erase from my memory
The souvenir of a beloved father
Who was called by Jesus,
Still quite young, to eternal glory!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Poem 37, 2 October 1897

 

7 years old 04_deuils_e06
Elizabeth, age 7 (1887)

 

The year 1887 was difficult for St. Elizabeth’s family. When she was two years old, her maternal grandmother died, leaving her grandfather, Raymond Rolland as a widower to fend for himself. Eventually, he moved in with his daughter Marie and son-in-law Capt. Joseph Catez.

But 24 January 1887, Grandfather Rolland died in the Catez home.  It was a rude shock for the family.

Eight months later, Joseph Catez, the proud army captain, was knocked down by serious health problems. It’s his heart, the doctor says. Besides, he can feel it himself, says biographer Conrad de Meester (2017). Several times during the summer of 1887 he has serious heart attacks, “but the courageous captain, a committed Christian, doesn’t complain easily.”

Nobody expected his condition to deteriorate so quickly, however. The veritable unraveling of the strong fabric of his existence was so rapid and so tragic for the Catez family.

Sunday morning 2 October 1887, Captain Catez fought his last battle and died, borne away in one single night by a massive heart attack. He died in the arms of Elizabeth, who literally felt him draw his last breath.

Elizabeth was always a daddy’s girl; the profound event, which engraved an indelible image upon her memory, inspired her to compose a poem on the anniversary of Captain Catez’s death 10 years later.

The French website of the Carmel of Dijon provides more detail here. Images of Capt. Catez and Elizabeth at age seven are courtesy of the Carmel of Dijon.

 

de Meester C 2017, Rien moins que Dieu: Sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité biographie, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris.

Quote of the day: 13 September

Cologne-Lindenthal
13 September 1936

Pax Christi!
Dear Reverend Mother Petra,

Your kind words did me a lot of good, I know what faithful sisterly love lies behind them. Every bulletin from Breslau reports a worsening. I must be prepared to hear the worst any day. The “Scimus, quoniam diligentibus Deum…” [cf. Rom 8:28] will surely apply to my dear mother too since she truly loved “her” God (as she often said with emphasis). And, with confidence in him, she bore much that was painful and did much that was good. I also think these last months when her life was constantly in peril were particularly grace-filled days—above all, the days since she no longer troubles herself about anything in her external life. And no one but the Lord himself knows what is happening in her soul.

That phrase I quoted from the Letter to the Romans afforded me the greatest comfort and joy during the summer of 1933, in Münster, when my future was still shrouded in total darkness. Never have I prayed the Divine Office of the Martyrs, which recurs so frequently during the Easter cycle, with greater fervor than I did at that time. Now it must be my support again. My mother was the strong bond that cemented the family togetherfour generations by now—for the common concern about her keeps us all bound to her, even the grandsons who are in far-off corners of the world. What will follow will be all the more difficult for those she will leave behind. For my whole life long I shall have to substitute for her [before God], together with my sister Rosa, who is one with me in faith…

In the love of Christ, your grateful

Sister Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Letter 225 to Mother Petra Bruning, OSU
Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten (excerpt)


Sr. Teresa Renata Posselt, OCD—Edith Stein’s novice mistress, later prioress, and first biographer—tells us how Frau Stein’s final illness and death affected the saint. 

On 1 September 1936, Sr. Benedicta was able to put the finishing touch to the huge philosophical work that she had begun at her Provincial’s request immediately after her Clothing Ceremony. He gave the work his approval and Sr. Benedicta sought to arrange for its publication.

Meanwhile, her ailing mother’s condition became more and more serious. The year drew on to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, a very important day in Carmel, since it marks the beginning of the fast that lasts until the day of Our Lord’s Resurrection. Also, in accordance with the seraphic Teresa’s instructions, all the members of the Order renew their vows. This was the third time that Sr. Benedicta took part in the ceremony, held at a silent early morning hour. Afterward, she said to one of her sisters who was especially intimate with her, “When it was my turn to renew my vows my mother was beside me. I felt her presence quite distinctly.” On that same day, a telegram came from Breslau with the news that Frau Stein had died—at the very time when her daughter was renewing her vows. This circumstance greatly consoled Sr. Benedicta, who bore up nobly even when the first waves of sorrow were sweeping over her.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
Chapter 16, Joys and Sorrow of the Bride of Christ (excerpt)

 

Frau Stein cameo
Auguste Courant Stein
Born 4 Oct 1849 in Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany
Died 14 Sept 1936 in Breslau, Germany

 

Auguste Stein, known as Gustel, was born at Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany on 4 October 1849. She was the fourth of the twelve children born to Solomon Courant and Adelheid Burchard. Her favorite brother was Eugen. Auguste married Siegfried Stein on 2 August 1871 and they had eleven children, four of whom died in infancy. For the first ten years of their marriage they lived in Gleiwitz, Prussia and Sigfried worked in the lumber business with his mother. In 1881 they moved to Lublinitz, Prussia where Sigfried established his own business in lumber and coal. In 1890 they moved to Breslau, Germany. Gustel was widowed in 1893 when Sigfried died very suddenly, her youngest child was not quite two. Gustel took on the lumber business and made a great success of it. She became much respected in the Breslau area. She was distressed in old age when her youngest daughter became a Carmelite nun and other children and grandchildren made plans to emigrate to escape the Nazi persecution. She died on 14 September 1936, two years before the import of the terror became clear to all on Kristallnacht (18 October 1938).  [Source: Wikitree]

Visit Auguste Stein’s Wikitree page to see more genealogy details, family photos, and a photo of her gravestone.

 

Posselt, T 2005, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, translated from the German by Batzdorff S, Koeppel J, and Sullivan J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Stein, E 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters 1916-1942, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

St. Teresa’s near-death experience

Then the feast of our Lady in August came.

The torment had been going on since April, but it was worse during the latter three months. I hastened to go to confession, for I always liked to confess frequently. They thought I was afraid of dying, and so that I would not become troubled my father would not allow me to confess. Oh, love, too excessive, springing from flesh and blood; even though from so Catholic and prudent a father (for he was every bit of this, and his action did not arise from ignorance), it could have done me great harm!

That night I suffered a paroxysm in which I remained for four days, [15-19 August 1539] or a little less, without any feeling.

 

Concha Velasco anointing
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appears in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús.

 

At this time they gave me the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and from hour to hour or moment to moment they thought I was going to die; they did nothing but recite the Creed to me, as if I were able to understand them. At times they were so certain I was dead that afterward I even found the wax on my eyes.

The sorrow my father felt for not having let me confess was great — many outcries and prayers to God. Blessed be He who desired to hear them! For after the grave in my convent was open for a day and a half awaiting arrival of the body, and the funeral rites were already celebrated at a monastery of our friars outside the city, the Lord allowed me to return to consciousness.

 

Concha Velasco comes back to life
Concha Velasco is surrounded by her co-stars as she portrays Saint Teresa ‘returning to life’ after four days in a near-death experience.

 

Immediately I desired to confess. I received Communion with many tears, though it seems to me these tears were not caused by sorrow for having offended God, which would have been sufficient for salvation, but for the mistake I made on account of those who told me certain things were not mortal sins, which I afterward clearly saw were.

The pains that remained were unsupportable — the contrition imperfect, although the confession was integral, including, in my opinion, everything I understood to have been an offense against God. For among other favors His Majesty has given me since my first Communion, there is this one: that I never fail to confess what I think is a sin even though venial.

But without a doubt it seems to me that my salvation would have been in jeopardy if I should have then died since on the one hand my confessors were so poorly educated and on the other hand I was wretched, and for many other reasons.

Truly and certainly it seems to me that I am so startled in arriving at this part of my life and in seeing how apparently the Lord raised me from the dead that I am almost trembling within myself.

I think it was good, O my soul, that you beheld the danger from which the Lord delivered you. And if out of love you do not give up offending Him, may you do so out of fear lest on any other of a thousand occasions He might let you die in a more dangerous state.

I don’t believe I’m adding much by saying “any other of a thousand,” although I may be scolded by the one who commanded me to be moderate in telling about my sins; and they are being really beautified.

For the love of God I beg him not to cut out anything having to do with my faults, for this is where the magnificence of God and what He endures from a soul is seen more clearly.

May He be blessed forever. May it please His Majesty that I die rather than ever cease to love Him.

 

Teresa-de-Jesus_statue museo Santa Clara Borja
Santa Teresa de Jesús, José Ramírez de Arellano and studio, Polychrome wood, ca. 1850-1900, Museo Santa Clara, Borja Spain | E. Lacleta / museodesantaclaraborja.blogspot.com

 

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

Quote of the day: 14 August

When the time came for the cure to begin, for I had been waiting at my sister’s house, I was brought there with much solicitude for my comfort by my father and sister, and my friend, the nun, who had come with me, for she loved me very dearly.

At this point, the devil began to upset my soul, although God drew out very much good from this. There was a cleric of excellent intelligence and social status who lived in that place where I went to be cured…

 

Concha Velasco dying in fathers house
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appears in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús.

 

In our Quote of the Day blog post for August 13, Saint Teresa begins to tell the story of her great illness, which lasted for three years. She was sent to Becedas to see a woman who was not a physician by current standards of practice but rather was more of a folk healer, a curandera.

It was in Becedas that Saint Teresa became involved with a priest who was having an affair with a woman. As she went to confess to the priest, he became enamored of her. She writes:


When I began then to confess with this cleric I mentioned, it happened that he became extremely fond of me… His affection for me was not bad; but since it was too great, it came to no good… 

…for about seven years he had been living in a dangerous state on account of his affection and dealings with a woman in that same place; and, despite this, he was saying Mass. The association was so public that he had lost his honor and reputation, and no one dared to admonish him about this. To me it was a great pity for I loved him deeply. I was so frivolous and blind that it seemed to me a virtue to be grateful and loyal to anyone who loved me.

Damned be such loyalty that goes against the law of God!

Saint Teresa’s experiences in Becedas impart gems of wisdom for our crises of sexual sin in our Church today. We invite you to explore more of Teresa’s story and more wisdom from our Carmelite saints in our exclusive blog post

A Carmelite response to the sexual abuse crisis

 

Concha Velasco vision in Becedas church
María Massip and Concha Velasco appear in the classic television mini-series drama Teresa de Jesús. In this scene, Juana Suarez and Teresa are in the parish church of Becedas when Teresa has a mystical experience.

 

Read about Saint Teresa’s near-death experience here

 

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

Quote of the day: 13 August

I was fond of everything about religious life, but I didn’t like to suffer anything that seemed to be scorn. I enjoy being esteemed. I was meticulous about everything I did. It all seemed to me virtue, although this will be no reason for pardon, because I knew in everything, what seeking my own happiness was, and thus ignorance is no excuse. The only real excuse could be that the convent was not founded on a strict observance. I, miserable creature that I was, followed after what I saw wrong and left aside the good.

There was a nun at that time afflicted with the most serious and painful illness because there were some holes in her abdomen which caused obstructions in such a way that she had to eject through them what she ate. She soon died from this. I observed that all feared that affliction. As for myself, I envied her patience. I asked God that, dealing with me in like manner, He would give me the illness by which He would be served. It seemed to me that I feared nothing, for I was so set on gaining eternal goods that I determined to gain them by any means whatever. And I am amazed because I had not yet, in my opinion, any love of God as I did afterward, it seems to me, when I began to practice prayer. But I had the light that made everything coming to an end seem of little value to me, and it made those goods that can be gained by the love of God seem of great value since they are eternal.

So well did His Majesty hear my prayer that within two years I was so sick that, although this sickness was not the same as the nun’s, I don’t think it was any less painful or laborious during the three year period that it lasted, as I shall now tell . . .

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life, Chapter 5

To be continued 14 August . . .

 

Concha Velasco dying in fathers house
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appeared in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús. In Episode 2 “Cuentas de Consciencia” (Accounts of Conscience), broadcast Monday night 19 March 1984, the episode begins with the grave illness of St. Teresa and her near-death experience in her father’s house in Avila. Learn more about this episode from IMDb or watch the episode for free in Spanish on the RTE website.

 

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

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: 20 April

Zelie Guerin Martin Blogfeatimage
St. Zélie Guérin Martin before her death

April 20, 1873

Since Wednesday, there’s a noticeable improvement. Marie is no longer delirious. However, she still has a fever. She’s still eating nothing but broth. She’s very weak and sleeps a lot. We hope that soon her convalescence will start. I’m waiting for it very impatiently.

The wet nurse brought our little Thérèse today, who’s in good health and very strong.

I thought I wouldn’t have time to write you. I’m taking advantage of a moment of rest. I hope to hear from you soon, and I’ll write to you again as soon as Marie is a little better.

Saint Zélie Martin
Letter CF94 to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin

Normandy old rose
Antique rose growing in Normandy | leniners / Flickr

At the birth of St. Thérèse, her mother St. Zélie was unable to nurse the baby due to lifelong breast health problems. A wet nurse in the nearby farming village of Semallé had assisted Zélie in the past with feeding her babies. However, in January 1873 the wet nurse, Rose Taillé, had a newborn of her own and hesitated to make the trip from the farm to the town of Alençon. At the crack of dawn after Thérèse’s late-night birth, Zélie traveled to the farm and pleaded with Rose to come with her into town to feed Thérèse. Her persistence paid off: Rose Taillé, with her own baby in her arms, traveled to the Martin home with St. Zélie. After much drama — Rose solemnly pronounced that it was “too late” — Thérèse began to take nourishment. She spent roughly one year on the farm with Rose and her family in Semallé.

Learn more about her difficult birth and infancy from Discalced Carmelite Father James Geoghegan here. See photos from and learn about a 2013 pilgrimage to Alençon here. View a video of the farmhouse with an English explanation here. Discover more about St. Therese from expert and speaker Maureen O’Riordan here.

Explore the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

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