Quote of the day: 21 February

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

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

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

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

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

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

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

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

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

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

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA

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

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

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA


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

Quote of the day: 16 February

“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or ex­terior, than the motive of love alone, by constantly asking myself: ‘Now what am I doing in this action? Do I love God?’ If I should notice any obstacle to pure love, I shall take myself in hand and recall that I must seek to return my love for His love.”

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
God Is Love

Teresa Margaret-Redi

Quote of the day: 15 February

Edith’s six months of probation passed quickly. On 15 February 1934, following the custom of the Order, she knelt before the assembled community and asked to receive the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel. She was granted her request on 15 April. During the two months that she was preparing for her clothing, she grew in love and gratitude toward her superiors and her sisters. It was not easy for her to grasp that, as the “bride-to-be,” she should be the object of so much attention and solicitude on the part of her Sisters. Everyone was busy helping her to prepare for her clothing as it drew nearer. Besides the bridal dress, all the clothes she would need in the convent had to be made – a long white tunic of wool, a pair of rope sandals, a rosary with big beads and a coarse brown handkerchief. She had to go from one workroom to another to try on first one thing and then another; and though nothing more was done for her than for anyone else, she accepted each service as though it were a special token of love for herself.

Mother Teresia Renata of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite

Edith-Stein_clothing-bridal-
On 15 April 1934, Good Shepherd Sunday, Edith Stein was clothed in the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel and received a name that she herself had suggested, Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

Quote of the day: 7 February

The Child Jesus wants us to seek Him alone, in simplicity of spirit; and the Divine Simplicity banishes from our souls all folly and depravity. No amusement: neither in ourselves nor in creatures. Nothing but Jesus who is sought and served simply and in truth.

Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament
Conversations with Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament (Margaret Perigot, 7 February 1619 – 26 May 1648) was a professed Discalced Carmelite nun of the Carmel of Beaune, France. Orphaned in her early adolescence, her uncle, a priest, entrusted the devout child to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Beaune. She had a particular devotion to the Infant Jesus, and soon discovered that He entrusted her with a special mission: to make him known as the Little King of Grace. Venerable Margaret died at age 20, but devotion to the Infant Jesus of Beaune and Venerable Margaret continues to this day.

 

Quote of the day: 5 February

Your life will pass like an instant.
On Carmel we are very near Heaven.
My beloved, my love has chosen you.
I have reserved a glorious throne for you!….

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
PN 16, Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée

 

On 5 February 1895, Céline Martin was clothed in the Carmelite habit and began her novitiate in the Carmel of Lisieux. St. Thérèse wrote the Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée as a gift for her sister’s clothing.

Quote of the day: 3 February

Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love

L 106 To Madame de Bobet

[February 10, 1902]
Dijon Carmel, February 10

J. M. + J. T.

Very dear Madame,

I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?

Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.

A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.

Elizabeth of the Trinity

A kiss to dear little Simone. 

*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.”  Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel

Quote of the day: 28 January

Although separated by an immense ocean, we are no less children of the same family. Our holy Mother Teresa of Jesus watches undoubtedly over you in a special manner, and deigns to cast an eye upon you from her place in Heaven, where her charity and her ardent zeal for the propagation of the faith in those countries which you inhabit are so efficacious before the throne of her Divine Master.

Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Riom, Auvergne
Letter to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Baltimore, Maryland, 1838

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

Quote of the day: 2 January

My little girl was born last night, Thursday [January 2], at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet… I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin
Letter from Mme Martin to Mme Guérin, January 3, 1873

Quote of the day: 1 January

I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 1

Advent 15: Elijah

Elijah, our Father, leads,
In our self-denying we follow him
Strongly and zealously,
Nuns of Carmel.

9903473755_386b7cfa95_o
Carmel of Valladolid, 21 September 2013 | Ángel Cantero

Al Padre Elías siguiendo
nos vamos contradiciendo
con su fortaleza y celo,
monjas del Carmelo.

Poetry: 10. On the Way to Heaven; 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.

16 December: Blessed Mary of the Angels

December 16
BLESSED MARY OF THE ANGELS
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1661, she died, after spending her whole life there, in 1717. In 1675 she entered the Discalced Carmelite Convent of St. Christina, and several times filled the offices of Prioress and Novice Mistress. She underwent continual spiritual trials but was constant in her ardent love of God. She was outstandingly faithful to prayer and particularly devoted to St. Joseph, in whose honor a convent was founded through her good offices at Moncalieri.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila
(C 40, nos 3,8 ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1980, pp. 193-95).

True love for God cannot be hidden

Those who truly love God love every good, desire every good, favor every good, praise every good. They always join, favor, and defend good people. They have no love for anything but truth, and whatever is worthy of love. Do you think it is possible for a person who really loves God to love vanities? No, indeed, he cannot, nor can he love riches, or worldly things, or delights, or honors, or strife, or envy. All of this is so because he seeks only to please the Beloved. These persons go about dying so that their Beloved might love them, and thus they dedicate their lives to learning how they might please him more. Hide itself? Oh, with regard to the love of God—if it is genuine love— this is impossible. If you don’t think so, look at Saint Paul or the Magdalene. Within three days the one began to realize that he was sick with love; that was Saint Paul. The Magdalene knew from the first day; and how well she knew! Love has this characteristic: it can be greater or lesser in degree. Thus, the love makes itself known according to its intensity. When slight, it shows itself but slightly; when strong, it shows itself strongly. But where there is love of God, whether little or great, it is always recognized.

And could one conceal a love that is so strong and just that it always increases and sees no reason to stop since its foundation is made from the cement of being repaid by another love? This other love can no longer be doubted, since it was shown so openly and with so many sufferings and trials, and with the shedding of blood, even to the point of death, in order that we might have no doubt about it.

May it please His Majesty to give us his love before he takes us out of this life, for it will be a great thing at the hour of death to see that we are going to be judged by the One whom we have loved above all things. We shall be able to proceed securely with the judgment concerning our debts. It will not be like going to a foreign country, but like going to our own, because it is the country of one whom we love so much and who loves us.

RESPONSORY

The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him.

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.
The Lord watches over all who love him.

Morning Prayer

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. To love God is to be truly wise, and wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.

PRAYER

Lord,
you have told us that you live forever
in the hearts of the chaste.
By the prayers of the virgin Blessed Mary of the Angels
help us to live by your grace
and to become temples of your Spirit.

Grant 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. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Maria-degli-Angeli_antique-holy-card

Advent 13: Spirit

Daughter, Father John of the Cross is going there. Let the nuns in that monastery speak to him of matters concerning their souls with simplicity as though they were speaking with me, for he has the spirit of our Lord.

Saint Teresa to Madre Ana de San Alberto, Letter 323

Vision of Segovia - Carmelo de Medellin
Vision of Segovia
Unidentified artist
Oil on canvas, 18th or 19th c.
Monasterio Carmelita de San José, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
More details here

Hija, ahí va el padre Juan de la Cruz; trátenle sus almas con llaneza en ese convento como si yo misma fuera, porque tiene espíritu de nuestro Señor.

Santa Teresa a la Madre Ana de San Alberto, Carta 323

Letters: Letter 323 to Madre Ana de San Alberto; 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.

St. Thérèse and the First World War

Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion.

During the First World War of 1914-1918, the presence of Sister Thérèse in the trenches was extraordinarily tangible. The voluminous mail from that period asks for her support and a large quantity of ex-votos were offered to the Carmelite Sister as tokens of gratitude.

The official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux offers a sample of mail received from the front line, a selection of illustrated letters, postcards and holy cards, as well as ex-voto offerings from grateful soldiers.

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

bannieres14-18 WW1 (2)

Drawn from the depths of the abyss of disbelief, I’m slowly journeying towards faith. Intensely aware of my own indigence, I one day came across Story of a Soul, which the chaplain at our camp lent to me. And there I read that there is one road, and one joy, which is called holy joy, and that even simple souls can follow it and won’t go astray. Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion. When I have the honor of going to fight, I would like Sister Thérèse – henceforth my patron saint – to accompany me. I will take her with me in my heart and in my head but I would like a flower from her grave to be placed in my wallet, against my heart.
Charles Gérard, Caporal
February, 1916

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

Battlefield shower of roses

Restoration completed

During the summer months of 2018, the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, undertook a significant restoration project in their monastery chapel that included a redesign of the sanctuary to permit more space for concelebrating priests and for altar servers.

Built during the years 1935-1937, the monastery was designed by the French architect Marcel Favier and is one of the few jewels of French art deco architecture still standing in Israel. Please enjoy this brief video produced by the Discalced Carmelite friars of the Holy Land Delegation that highlights the completed restoration project. You can visit the website of the Discalced Carmelite nuns Holy Land federation of monasteries here.

Poverty is the way

On the Way to Heaven

Toward heaven let us journey,
Nuns of Carmel.

Mortified, humble, and despised,
Let us walk,
Consolations left aside,
Nuns of Carmel.

Unresisting let us go
To vowed obedience,
Our consoling aim,
Nuns of Carmel.

Poverty is the way,
The very road He came,
Our heavenly Emperor,
Nuns of Carmel.

Untiring in loving,
Our God is calling;
Trusting Him, let us follow,
Nuns of Carmel.

Afire in love’s burning,
He, once born trembling,
Veiled in our humanity,
Nuns of Carmel.

Hasten to this enrichment
Where poverty and grief
Will never be,
Nuns of Carmel.

Elijah, our Father, leads,
In our self-denying we follow him
Strongly and zealously,
Nuns of Carmel.

Renouncing our will,
We long to attain
Elisha’s double spirit,
Nuns of Carmel.

Teresa-vagabonda-statue_full-length

Excerpt from the poetry, number 10; 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.

September 1: St. Teresa Margaret Redi

September 1
SAINT TERESA MARGARET REDI OF THE SACRED HEART
Virgin

Memorial

Teresa Margaret belonged to the noble family of Redi, and was born in the Tuscan city of Arezzo in 1747. She entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Florence on September 1, 1764. She was granted a special grace of contemplative insight based on Saint John’s phrase God is love, through which she felt called to a hidden life of love and self-sacrifice. She progressed rapidly, fulfilling her vocation through heroic charity toward others. She died in Florence in 1770, aged twenty-three.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

HYMN

Come, happy Saint, and teach us all
The boundless love of Christ,
His gifts to you, that for the height
Of sanctity sufficed.

You made Teresa’s teaching yours,
Together with her name,
Determined to become with her
A spirit of pure flame.

Drawn by your Spouse, you lived with Him
A hidden life apart.
Teach us to drink the healing springs
That well up from his heart.

Praise to You, Eternal Father
And to Your Only Son
Who with the Holy Spirit pure
Forever reign as One.

C.M.
Unknown

SECOND READING
From the Acts of Canonization of Saint Teresa Margaret

(Decr. “Super tuto” AAS 26 [1934], pp 105-06)

The love of Christ impels us

Brief as it was, Teresa Margaret’s whole life may be regarded as one continual raising up of her guiltless soul to God.

In its innocence her soul turned spontaneously to God, and seemed able to find rest in him alone. In her, utter purity was joined to profound humility and she genuinely loved to be disregarded and despised. She did not simply bear humiliations, she rejoiced in them. Her purity of heart and her lowliness of spirit earned for her a high degree of charity, and this rapidly increased until her ardor became truly seraphic and she could hardly speak of God without her face becoming suffused with joy. Her love of God went hand in hand with a deep love for her neighbor and especially for sinners, on whose behalf she offered herself unreservedly to God as a victim. Her unassuming kindness and complete self-denial for the sake of her sisters in religion, especially the sick, were such that she was regarded as an angel of charity.

The fires of her love were fed principally by the Eucharist, and she looked forward with longing to her communions. She was also especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion which did much to curb the advances of Jansenism at that time in Tuscany. She was utterly devoted to Our Lady, whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity. She was endowed to a high degree with the gift of contemplative prayer, and daily grew closer to God, as though reflecting the glories of the eternity she was fast approaching.

As her life neared its end this true daughter of the holy Mother Teresa and faithful disciple of Saint John of the Cross was called upon through a mystical martyrdom of the spirit, to resemble her crucified Spouse yet more closely. It was the very intensity of her love which caused this martyrdom; for the more fervent love becomes the more unrelentingly it spurs the soul on to further love, and since no love of ours can match God’s infinite lovableness, such a soul suffers exquisite torments from its insatiable thirst for greater love, and seems to itself to be wrapped in impenetrable darkness and to be totally lacking in love for God. In fact the greater love is, the less it seems to itself to be. It is the soul that is truly nailed to the cross with Christ by this supreme martyrdom of the heart that wins for itself and for others the choicest fruits of redemption.

Such souls by their silent apostolate of suffering, love and prayer, are foremost in the benefits they obtain for mankind and are the purest and most exalted in the whole Church.

RESPONSORY

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

The Lord your God is a consuming fire; a jealous God.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Morning Prayer

HYMN

The life that flowered in Carmel’s shade,
Yielding a fragrant-scented grace,
Is crowned in heaven, a bud of light
Washed in the radiance from God’s face.

Margaret, you blaze with charity
Among those weaving virgin choirs
Who, for reward, follow the Lamb
Singing the love his name inspires.

Help us to catch that same love’s fire
That, lit with the interior flame,
We find our life, our peace, our joy,
All things in Christ and in his name.

Help us deserve the Father’s gifts,
Tasting eternity and heaven
On the unclouded source of joy
From whom alone all gifts are given.

Open our hearts to take the life
Which his renewing Spirit pours,
Life that returns the Father’s love
With the same freedom it restores.

So even on earth we come to know
God’s Trinity by God’s own grace,
Happy, like you, for evermore
To sing his glory and his praise.

L.M.
Text: Bro. John Leonard Davies, O.C.D.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.

PRAYER

Father,
you enabled Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
to draw untold resources of humility and charity
from the fountainhead, our Savior.
Through her prayers
may we never be separated from the love of Christ.

Grant 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

HYMN

Jesu, the Virgins’ Crown, do thou
Accept us, as in prayer we bow;
Born of that woman, whom alone
Virgin and Mother we do own.

Amongst the lilies thou dost feed,
With virgin choirs accompanied;
With glory deck’d, the spotless brides
Whose bridal gifts thy love provides.

They, wheresoe’er thy footsteps bend,
With hymns and praises still attend;
In blessed troops they follow thee,
With dance, and song, and melody.

We pray thee therefore to bestow
Upon our senses here below
Thy grace, that so we may endure
From taint of all corruption pure.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might, and glory be,
From age to age eternally. Amen.

88.88.
Jesu, coróna Vírginum

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. As the Father has loved me, I have loved you; remain in my love.

Teresa Margaret-Redi
All things count for nothing when it is a matter of acquiring true love of God

 

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