Quote of the day: 31 December

The hour is past when there can’t be any turning back by the Catholic press. They would be disobedient to their archbishop and to their conscience, should they give their support to these ideas and to this movement. This instruction is not yet official. Perhaps it will not become so . . . But if that order is given, even under the threat of grave penalties such as the suspension or the suppression of a paper, the publishers and editors must categorically refuse the articles imposed. It is not possible to act otherwise. The bounds have been passed . . . The more we are united in this refusal, the stronger we shall be. ( . . . . ) I only write this declaration after mature reflection, after discussion with various people in authority, and with his excellency the Archbishop . . . It will be very hard for many of you who will be losing your daily bread. Only those who try and force your consciences will bear the responsibility . . . I do not yet dare to think that they will go as far as that, but if they do, God will have the last word and will reward the faithful servant.

Blessed Titus Brandsma

31 December 1941
Message to the Catholic Press

 

Brandsma working at desk Blogfeatimage
Blessed Titus Brandsma | Credit: the Carmelites

 

On 31 December 1941 Blessed Titus Brandsma issued a message to all Catholic journalists and periodicals in the Netherlands urging and instructing them to resist the National Socialists’ efforts to impose the publication of party advertisements or articles in Catholic newspapers or periodicals—to openly resist “these ideas” and “this movement”. It was effective and carried a great price: on Monday 19 January 1942, Titus Brandsma was arrested.

Surrounded by martyrs

the Crib of the Child is surrounded by martyrs

There are the innocent children, the babes of Bethlehem and Juda, who were cruelly slaughtered by the hands of brutal hangmen. What does this mean? Where is now the rejoicing of the heavenly hosts, the silent bliss of the Holy Night? Where is the peace on earth? Peace on earth to those of goodwill. But not all are of goodwill. For the Son of the eternal Father descended from the glory of heaven, because the mystery of iniquity had shrouded the earth in the darkness of night.

Saint Edith Stein

The Mystery of Christmas

 

Holy Innocents_COGNIET_MBA Rennes
Scène du Massacre des Innocents
Léon Cogniet (French, 1794 – 1880)
Oil on canvas, 1824
Musée des Beaux Arts, Rennes

 

29 November: Blesseds Denis and Redemptus

November 29
BLESSEDS DENIS OF THE NATIVITY, PRIEST,
AND REDEMPTUS OF THE CROSS, RELIGIOUS

Martyrs

Optional Memorial
in the provinces of India: Memorial

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), where, in the town of Achen (Aceh), they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

From the common of several martyrs

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

(Bk 2, Ch 7:5—ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 122-24)

True self-denial means carrying Christ’s Cross

If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his soul shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it. Oh, who can make this counsel of Our Savior understandable and practicable and attractive, that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in traveling this road! They are of the opinion that any kind of withdrawal from the world or reformation of life suffices. Some are content with a certain degree of virtue, perseverance in prayer, and mortification, but never achieve the nakedness, poverty, selflessness, or spiritual purity (which are all the same) that the Lord counsels us here. For they still feed and clothe their natural selves with spiritual feelings and consolations rather than divesting and denying themselves of these for God’s sake.

Through this kind of conduct, they became, spiritually speaking, enemies of the cross of Christ. A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God rather than toward possession. It prefers dryness and affliction to sweet consolation. It knows that this is the significance of following Christ and denying self, that the other method is perhaps a seeking of self in God—something entirely contrary to love.

If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God, he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father but through him. This way is nothing other than a death to our natural selves.

Responsory

If anyone wishes to follow my way,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
They have persecuted me, and they will persecute you.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are you when you are persecuted on my account: rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Prayer

Father,
we celebrate the memory of Blesseds Denis and Redemptus
who died for their faithful witnessing to Christ.
Give us the strength to follow their example,
loyal and faithful to the end.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. They loved Christ in their lives and imitated Him in their death: and so they reign with Him forever.

 

 

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Photos from the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Banda Aceh, Indonesia courtesy of the Discalced Carmelite General Curia (used by permission) 

Quote of the day: 24 September

Angelus Address

24 September 1978 (excerpt)

 

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Georges Bernanos, a great Catholic writer. One of his best-known works is “Dialogues of the Carmelites”. It was published year after his death. He had prepared it working on a story of the German authoress, Gertrud von Le Fort. He had prepared it for the theatre.

It went on the stage. It was set to music and then shown on the screens of the whole world. It became extremely well known. The fact, however, was a historical one. Pius X, in 1906, right here in Rome, had beatified the sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne, martyrs during the French revolution. During the trial they were condemned “to death for fanaticism”. And one of them asked in her simplicity: “Your Honour, what does fanaticism mean?” And the judge: “It is your foolish membership of religion.” “Oh, Sisters, she then said, did you hear, we are condemned for our attachment to faith. What happiness to die for Jesus Christ!”

They were brought out of the prison of the Conciergerie, and made to climb into the fatal cart. On the way they sang hymns; when they reached the guillotine, one after the other knelt before the Prioress and renewed the vow of obedience. Then they struck up “Veni Creator”; the song, however, became weaker and weaker, as the heads of the poor Sisters fell, one by one, under the guillotine. The Prioress, Sister Theresa of St Augustine, was the last, and her last words were the following: “Love will always be victorious, love can do everything.” That was the right word, not violence, but love, can do everything. Let us ask the Lord for the grace that a new wave of love for our neighbour may sweep over this poor world.

Pope John Paul I

 

John Paul 1
Pope John Paul I | Collection SRE (used by permission)

 


Nota Bene: Since the publication of Gertrud Von le Fort’s The Song at the Scaffold and George Bernanos’ Dialogues of the Carmelites, scholars have since determined that the actual chant sung by the Discalced Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne was begun by the novice, Sr. Constance as she climbed the steps. She chanted Psalm 117, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, which was the chant intoned by Mother Anne of Jesus when she founded the first Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris in 1603.

Read the full text of the pope’s Angelus address here.

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

18 August: Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort

August 18
BLESSED JOHN-BAPTIST DUVERNEUIL,
MICHAEL-ALOYSIUS BRULARD AND JAMES GAGNOT
Priests and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michel-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois), in religion Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude, were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result, they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay, waiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation, and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.

From the common of martyrs

The Second Reading

Resolutions drawn up by the Priests imprisoned on the ship Les Deux Associés

They bore in silence the cross that was placed on them

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.

If there is question of receiving back their personal effects they will show no eagerness in asking for them; rather they will make the declaration that may be required of them with modesty and strict truth; they will receive without lament what is given to them, accustoming themselves, as is their duty, to despise the things of the earth and to be content with little, after the example of the apostles.

They are not to satisfy curious people they might come across; they will not reply to superficial questions about what happened to them; they will let people glimpse that they have patiently supported their sufferings, without descending into detail, and without showing any resentment against those who have authored and been instrumental in their suffering.

They will sentence themselves to the severest and most absolute silence about the faults of their brothers and the weaknesses into which they happened to fall due to their unfortunate situation, their bad health and the length of their punishment. They will preserve the same charity towards those whose religious opinion is different from their own. They will avoid all bitter feeling or animosity, being content to feel sorry about them interiorly and making the effort to stay on the way of truth by their gentleness and moderation.

They will not show grief over the loss of their goods, no haste to recover them, no resentment against those who possess them…

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.

Responsory

God and his angels look down upon us;
Christ, too, looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith.
What great dignity and glory are ours,
what happiness to struggle in the presence of God,
and to be crowned by Christ our judge.

Let us be armed with a great determination and,
pure in heart, sound in faith, and full of courage,
be prepared to face the combat.
What great dignity and glory are ours,
what happiness to struggle in the presence of God,
and to be crowned by Christ our judge.

Prayer

Lord God,
to the martyrs Blessed John-Baptist, Michael Aloysius,
James, and their companions,
you gave the grace to remain faithful and to pardon
while suffering dismaying hardship.
Through their intercession grant also to us,
to be always willing to remain faithful to your Church
and to be reconciled
with one another.

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

 

Martyrs-Rochefort-oil-on-canvas
Blessed John-Baptist Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard, and James Gagnot | Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Quote of the day: 16 August

It is clear that if someone is a true religious or a true person of prayer and aims to enjoy the delights of God, he must not turn his back upon the desire to die for God and suffer martyrdom.

For don’t you know yet, Sisters, that the life of a good religious who desires to be one of God’s close friends is a long martyrdom?

A long martyrdom because in comparison with the martyrdom of those who are quickly beheaded, it can be called long; but all life is short, and the life of some extremely short. And how do we know if ours won’t be so short that at the very hour or moment we determine to serve God completely it will come to an end? This is possible.

In sum, there is no reason to give importance to anything that will come to an end. And who will not work hard if he thinks that each hour is the last? Well, believe me, thinking this is the safest course.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 12

 

 

Maria-Sagrario_palma y frascos
Blessed Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast day we celebrate on 16 August, was martyred 15 August 1936 in Madrid. She was beatified 10 May 1998 by St. John Paul II in Rome.

 

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

Quote of the day: 27 July

For that religious confession of faith in the social life, the Dutch people, in many large parts, have made great sacrifices out of respect for God, out of love for God and in faithful trust in God. That respect for God makes them view this as a duty, that love for God confers on them zeal and a spirit of sacrifice for that purpose, that faithful trust in God makes them strong, able to go on doing this despite everything. Both the Christians as well as the Catholics venerate numerous martyrs from their history, who they themselves hold up as an example, even when it means giving their life for the sake of confessing their faith, where people seek to oppress that confession of faith. In this respect the Catholics in particular have traditions which are their glory and honour. Through centuries of oppression, countless have zealously given up their position, their property and even their life. In this time, when the religious life of the majority of the Dutch people is surely no less conscious, it will be no different.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? (excerpt)

 

Brandsma_Nazis Imprison Priest 26Feb42 NYDailyNews

 

 

Blessed Titus Brandsma wrote the essay Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? in the prison of Scheveningen by order of the Gestapo, January 1942, not long after his arrest. Read the complete translation of his brief essay here.

 

English translation of the written defence ‘Waarom verzet zich het Nederlandsche volk, met name het Katholieke volksdeel, tegen de N.S.B.?’ by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos

24 July: Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara

July 24
BLESSEDS MARIA PILAR, TERESA, AND MARIA ANGELES
Virgins and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on Dec. 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5,1990), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936, after having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and having offered their lives for the Church. The first fruits of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, they were beatified by Saint John Paul II on March 29, 1987.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

Strophe 30,7-8

From the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross

The flowers of virginity and martyrdom

“We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.”

This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses Him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands, all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together form a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The loving garlands can refer to what we call aureoles; these are also woven by Christ and the Church and are of three kinds:

The first kind is made from the beautiful flowers of all the virgins. Each virgin possesses her own aureole of virginity, and all these aureoles together will be joined into one and placed on the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The second aureole contains the resplendent flowers of the holy doctors. All these aureoles will be entwined into one and set upon the head of Christ over that of the virgins.

The third is fashioned from the crimson carnations of the martyrs. Every martyr has an aureole of martyrdom, and these red aureoles woven together will add the final touch to the aureole of Christ the Bridegroom.

So beautiful and fair will Christ the Bridegroom be with these three garlands when He is seen in heaven.

Therefore, we shall weave these garlands, the soul says, flowering in your love.

The flower of these works and virtues is the grace and power they possess from the love of God. Without love these works will not only fail to flower, but they will all wither and become valueless in God’s sight, even though they may be perfect from a human standpoint. Yet, because God bestows His grace and love, they are works that have blossomed in His love.

“And bound with one hair of mine.” This hair is her will and the love she has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task of the thread in a garland. As the thread binds the flowers together, so love fastens and sustains the virtues in the soul. As St. Paul remarks: “Charity is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).

Responsory

R/. Even if you should have to suffer for justice’s sake, happy will you be.
Do not be afraid and do not stand in awe of them, but adore the Lord Christ in your hearts * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
V/. It is better, if God so wills it, to suffer and do good deeds than to do evil, * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

Prayer

Father, strength of the humble,
you sustained in martyrdom the virgins
Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angeles.
As they willingly shed their blood for Christ the King,
may we, through their intercession,
be faithful to You and to your Church until death.

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

 

Spanish Civil War - Arrests at Guadarrama
A sad reminder of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War
Francoist troops taking away Republican militiamen from a mountain, probably to take them to a firing block, in Somosierra, during the Battle of Guadarrama, July-August 1936. These men most likely were farmers or workers.
Source: Cassowary Colorizations

 

17 July: Blessed Teresa of Saint Augustine and Companions

July 17
BLESSED TERESA OF SAINT AUGUSTINE AND COMPANIONS

Virgins and Martyrs

Memorial

As the French Revolution entered its worst days, sixteen Discalced Carmelites from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Compiègne offered their lives as a sacrifice to God, making reparation to him and imploring peace for the Church. On June 24th, 1794, they were arrested and thrown into prison. Their happiness and resignation were so evident that those around them were also encouraged to draw strength from God’s love. They were condemned to death for their fidelity to the Church and their religious life and for their devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Singing hymns, and having renewed their vows before the superior, Teresa of St. Augustine, they were put to death in Paris on July 17th, 1794. They were beatified by Pope St. Pius X on May 13, 1906.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except the following:

Office of Readings

HYMN

Let Carmel echo joyfully
The dying hymns that soared above
When Compiègne so gladly gave
Its greatest witness to God’s love.

These virgin-martyrs gave their lives.
For sin’s atonement, like their Lord;
They died to bring a troubled Church
The peace of Christ as love’s reward.

May we like them serve Holy Church
And build it up in unity,
Until at last in heav’n’s pure light
We gaze on God the Trinity.

Our Queen and Mother, Carmel’s joy,
Look down with love on us who sing
The praise of those who died for love
Of Jesus Christ, your Son, our King.

Bless God the Father, source of love,
Bless God the Word, his only Son,
Bless God the Spirit, Dove of peace,
One God, while endless ages run.

L.M.
Fr. James Quinn, S.J.

The Second Reading

Ch. 12, 1-3

From the Way of Perfection of St. Teresa of Jesus

The life of a good religious and a close friend of God is a long martyrdom

It all seems very hard work, this business of perfection — and so it is: we are waging war on ourselves! But as soon as we get down to it God becomes so active in our souls and showers so many mercies on them that whatever has got to be done in this life seems insignificant. And as we nuns do so much already, giving up our freedom for love of God and subjecting it to someone else, what excuse have we got for holding back when it comes to interior mortification?

That is where the secret lies of making all the rest so much more meritorious and perfect, not to mention doing it more easily and peacefully. The way to acquire it, as I have said, is to persevere bit by bit in not doing our own will or fancy, even in tiny things, till the body has been mastered by the spirit.

Let me repeat that it is all — or nearly all — a matter of getting rid of self-interest and our preoccupation with our own comfort. If you have started serving God seriously, the least you can offer Him is your life! If you have given Him your will, what are you afraid of? If you are a real religious, a real ‘pray-er,’ and want to enjoy God’s favors, you obviously can’t afford to shy away from wanting to die for Him, and undergo martyrdom. Don’t you realize, sisters that the life of a good religious — a person who wants to be one of God’s really close friends — is one long martyrdom? I say ‘long’ because in comparison with those whose heads have been chopped off in a trice we can call it long, but all our lives are short, very short in some cases. And we don’t even know whether our own won’t be so short that it will come to an end an hour, or even a second, after we have made up our mind to serve God fully. That could happen.

We have just got to take no account of anything that will come to an end, least of all life, for we can’t count on a single day. If we remember that every hour might be our last, is there a single one of us who will feel inclined to shirk?

Well, there is nothing you can be more certain of, believe me! So we must train ourselves to thwart our own wills in every way; then, if you try hard, as I have said, though you won’t get there all of a sudden, you will gradually arrive, without realizing it, at the peak of perfection.

Responsory

R/. Rejoice that you share the sufferings of Christ, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.
V/. Blessed are you when you are persecuted for Christ’s sake, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Voice of the Bridegroom: now is winter passing,
Rain falls no longer, gardens yield their fragrance,
Spring blooms appearing, trees resound with birdsong —
Rise, my beloved.

Go out to meet him, virgins all exulting,
See he approaches, crowns you for your nuptials —
Rapture and gladness, when he leads you homeward
Sharing his kingdom.

Love for the Bridegroom filled your whole horizon,
Making you fearless in the face of danger;
Like him, your Master, life itself you offered,
Sacrificed for him.

Joyfully faithful to your holy calling,
Nothing could daunt you, or your lamps extinguish;
Shining and glowing you would bear them to him
Through cloud and tempest.

11.11.11.5
Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Prepare your lamps, you wise virgins, for behold, the Bridegroom is coming: go out and meet Him.

Prayer

Lord God,
you called Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and her companions
to go on in the strength of the Holy Spirit
from the heights of Carmel to receive a martyr’s crown.
May our love too be so steadfast
that it will bring us
to the everlasting vision of your glory.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. You virgins of the Lord, who have endured the great ordeal, come and rejoice with God forever.

 

Compiegne_Plaque_à_l'entrée_du_cimetière_de_Picpus
Plaque in Picpus Cemetery marking the two common graves where the martyrs are buried | Wikimedia Commons
La_Véritable_guillotine_ordinaere_BNFimage
La Véritable guillotine ordinaere, ha, le bon soutien pour la liberté !
Engraving, Paris c. 1791-1795
Vinck Collection, Bibliothèque nationale de France

 

Let thy blade cut, completing all my offering!

For nothing but thy will for me is sweet!

My one desire is that thy hand be hov’ring

O’er me, thy bride, the sacrifice complete!

~  ~  ~

Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine
Christmas Carol, c. 1792


The beatification ceremony of Mother Teresa of St. Augustine and the Martyrs of Compiègne took place in Rome on Sunday, 27 May 1906.

 

Excerpt from William Bush, To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 
Copyright © 1999, 2013 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Marie du jour: 14 May

O loving Queen, Mother of might most holy,
O deign to place us all within thy breast!
For in thy power, thy children all, though lowly,
Do set their hope, trusting in thy behest.

Blessed Teresa of Saint-Augustine
Excerpt from a Christmas carol


Blessed Teresa of Saint-Augustine, the prioress of the martyred Discalced Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, France, was born Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine in Paris, 22 September 1752.  When she introduced herself as a candidate for formation in the Carmel of Compiègne, she was unable to raise the funds for the necessary dowry that postulants were expected to bring with them to support the financial needs of the community. The prioress of the Carmel of Saint-Denis, Venerable Mother Teresa of Saint-Augustine — lovingly remembered by her baptismal name, Madame Louise — was the daughter of King Louis XV. When she learned of the difficulty the promising candidate faced in acquiring the francs needed for her dowry, Madame Louise supplied the balance of the funds required for the young Madame Lidoine’s admission to formation. In recognition of her benefactor’s great generosity, the Discalced Carmelite novice took the same religious name as her benefactor: Teresa of Saint-Augustine. Madame Louise’s generosity was well repaid when her protégée, now prioress of the Carmel of Compiègne, led her nuns bravely and joyfully to the scaffold in revolutionary Paris on 17 July 1794.

 

Virgin and Child with a Rose - BOUCHER Francois - Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Legion of Honor
Virgin and Child with a Rose
François Boucher (French, 1703 – 1770)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1765-1770
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – Legion of Honor

François Boucher was the court painter to King Louis XV

Excerpt from William Bush, To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 
Copyright © 1999, 2013 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
TERESA AVILA - Once while I was praying near the Bl Sacr
Once while I was praying near the Blessed Sacrament, a saint appeared to me whose order was somewhat fallen. He held in his hands a great book. He opened it and told me to read some large and very legible letters. This is what they said. “In the time to come this order will flourish; it will have many martyrs.” (The Book of Her Life, Chap. 40)

Quote of the day: 29 March

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

Saint Edith Stein

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

Guadalajara_portrait
The Discalced Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara

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

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

 

 

Quote of the day: 14 March

They have declared to us to be determined and very resolute to undergo and suffer whatever bitterness, rather than withdrawing from their vocation

Meanwhile, the nuns, who in France are now in the greatest desolation, arouse in our hearts affections of the most tender piety, to the maximum that a great part among them from all these provinces have indicated their anxiety in letters, because they are prevented from persevering in their own institutes and observing solemn vows; together they have declared to us to be determined and very resolute to undergo and suffer whatever bitterness, rather than withdrawing from their vocationTherefore, O our Beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, we cannot help but testify in the greatest possible manner to their constancy and their strength, and to pray with the most fervent petitions to want to encourage them with your exhortations and to offer them also, insofar as possible, every help.

Pope Pius VI
Quod aliquantum (excerpt)
Papal brief condemning the Civil Constitution of the Clergy
10 March 1791

12-13-07-MC-D-1634
On March 10, 1791, Rome, in Pius VI’s brief, Quod aliquantum, finally condemned the civil constitution of the clergy. The pope issued two further briefs on March 19, both aimed at sustaining the non-juring church in France. The first lauded priests who did not take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, while the second conferred upon former bishops, or the vicars left administering their dioceses, the power to absolve cases normally reserved for Rome. Should contact with the Holy See be broken, they might now proceed with dates for ordinations without reference to Rome. [Source: Bush, Willilam. To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 (p. 86)] | Photo: Trial scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites, 2013 | Michael Cooper, Canadian Opera Company / Flickr

Quote of the day: 7 January

The one thing that I have is desire; but, I have a great desire to be a saint, to be totally Jesus’… to pay him love for love.

Blessed Teresa of the Child Jesus and St. John of the Cross (Martyr of Guadalajara)
From the Carmelitas Descalzas de San José

29 November: Blessed Denis and Redemptus

November 29
BLESSED DENIS AND REDEMPTUS
Martyrs

Memorial

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), where, in the town of Achen (Aceh), they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

From the common of several martyrs

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

(Bk 2, Ch 7:5—ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 122-24)

True self-denial means carrying Christ’s Cross

If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his soul shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it. Oh, who can make this counsel of Our Savior understandable and practicable and attractive, that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in traveling this road! They are of the opinion that any kind of withdrawal from the world or reformation of life suffices. Some are content with a certain degree of virtue, perseverance in prayer, and mortification, but never achieve the nakedness, poverty, selflessness, or spiritual purity (which are all the same) that the Lord counsels us here. For they still feed and clothe their natural selves with spiritual feelings and consolations rather than divesting and denying themselves of these for God’s sake.

Through this kind of conduct, they became, spiritually speaking, enemies of the cross of Christ. A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God rather than toward possession. It prefers dryness and affliction to sweet consolation. It knows that this is the significance of following Christ and denying self, that the other method is perhaps a seeking of self in God—something entirely contrary to love.

If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God, he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father but through him. This way is nothing other than a death to our natural selves.

RESPONSORY

If anyone wishes to follow my way,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
They have persecuted me, and they will persecute you.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Morning Prayer

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. Blessed are you when you are persecuted on my account: rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

PRAYER

Father,
we celebrate the memory of Blesseds Denis and Redemptus
who died for their faithful witnessing to Christ.
Give us the strength to follow their example,
loyal and faithful to the end.

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

Evening Prayer

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. They loved Christ in their lives and imitated Him in their death: and so they reign with Him forever.

Denis-Redemptus

The execution of the nuns of Compiègne: Prof. Colin Jones

Colin Jones, Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London wrote an excellent and informative article on the true story behind Francis Poulenc’s dramatic opera, Dialogue des Carmélites,  for publication in the program booklet of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden’s 2014 production of the famous work.

Although written for opera-lovers, it is an excellent, brief, “deep-dive” article for friends of Carmel and Carmelites that is noteworthy for its historical rigor.

‘Today, 40 individuals had their heads cut off, including 16 Carmelite nuns from Compiègne.’
Célestin Guittard de Floriban
17 July 1794

Of this quote, Professor Jones writes, “This fragment, dated 17 July 1794, from the diary of 69-year-old Célestin Guittard de Floriban (who took a particular interest in the public guillotinings) serves to remind us that Dialogues des Carmélites had at its centre a real event.”

The article that appears on the Royal Opera House website is but an extract of his full article that appeared in the printed program. Nevertheless, it merits attention. You can read the online version here.

Learn more about the Royal Opera House’s 2014 production of Dialogue des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc, produced by Robert Carsen, here.

Dialogues des Carmélites Royal Opera House 2014
Photo from the Flickr photo album Dialogues des Carmélites 2013/14 from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; view the complete photo album from the award-winning production here

#OigamosARomero, the digital initiative of Bishop Báez in homage to Saint Óscar Romero of America

 

#OigamosARomero, the digital initiative of Bishop Báez in homage to Saint Óscar Romero of America originally appeared 11 October 2018 on the digital media outlet Articulo 66 under the title, #OigamosARomero, la iniciativa digital de Monseñor Báez en homenaje a San Romero de América.

Nicaraguan religion and culture reporter Israel González Espinoza interviewed Managua’s Auxiliary Bishop, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., concerning the social media campaign he launched to make Romero’s work and thought better known in Nicaragua and beyond, through use of the hashtag #OigamosARomero on multiple social media platforms. The hashtag is used to share everything alluding to the martyred Salvadorean archbishop.

We are grateful to Israel González Espinoza for his kind permission to translate and publish his marvelous article highlighting the media blitz campaign that is the brainchild of Bishop Báez, our Discalced Carmelite confrère.

The pope is rehabilitating many men of God misunderstood for being prophets, says the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

October 11, 2018 | Israel González Espinoza

Bishop Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, launched the hashtag #OigamosARomero on social media platforms as part of a tribute to the martyred Salvadorean Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez [still lovingly referred to as “Monseñor Romero”], who was killed by a paramilitary commando from El Salvador´s political far-right in March 1980; he will be canonized this coming Sunday, October 14 by Pope Francis in Rome.

Bishop Báez explained that the purpose of the initiative is for Nicaraguans to get to know Monseñor Romero’s thoughts, and from that point on they can reflect on his pastoral and prophetic life and work.

“I created the hashtag #OigamosARomero to be able to talk about this extraordinary man of God who gave his life for his people,” Bishop Báez stated.

BAEZ - Articulo 66 Oigamos article poster
The hashtag is used to share all the references to the martyred Salvadorean archbishop
Photo: I. González

 

Until now, the hashtag has been used to share famous quotes, photographs, audiovisual material, and even cartoons of the so-called “bishop of the poor” of Latin America.

The goal, according to Bishop Báez, is to establish a solid number of impressions and engagements for the hashtag during the rest of the week until Sunday, which is the day that Monseñor Romero will be raised to the full honors of the altar. Along with this, the objective is that Romero’s work may spread and that his words may have an effect upon the current sociopolitical situation in the country.

“Without a doubt, Monseñor Romero is a contemporary saint for our times; his life and his witness enlighten us,” the religious leader pointed out.

2018-10-12
A sample tweet from Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood.

Báez revealed that since his years in the novitiate with the Carmelite friars in San José, Costa Rica, he has been a professed admirer of the prophetic work of Archbishop Óscar Romero, whose total dedication to the poor and his ardent defense of human rights in the face of the Salvadorean military regime led to his martyrdom while celebrating the Eucharist.

“The Pope [Francis] has given indications of rehabilitating personalities who are deeply rooted in the Gospel, and who, forgetful of self, gave their lives for the poor, for social change, and for the fight for justice in history. In their day they were misunderstood, as were so many prophets or like Jesus himself.

“I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood. But today, the Pope invites us to see them as models of the Gospel and as paradigms to follow if we truly want to change the world,” Bishop Báez concluded.

Oigamos a Romero footer image

 

 

Managua (Agenzia Fides) – The Church in Nicaragua is preparing to celebrate the canonization of Mgr. Romero, on October 14th, also through digital tools, launching the #OigamosARomero hashtag in all social networks.

The main promoter of this initiative is the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Bishop Silvio José Baez, O.C.D., who stated through Twitter and the web that “it is part of the homage to the Archbishop, Salvadoran martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, murdered by an extreme right-wing military commando in March 1980 and who will be canonized on Sunday, October 14th in Rome by Pope Francis”….

Bishop Silvio José Baez, O.C.D. launches #OigamosARomero initiative in social media

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