You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.
Foundation of the Carmel of Pontoise
From the Autobiography of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew
Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew, to whom they had just given the black veil, was named Prioress of the new monastery; Mother Isabel of the Angels, Sub-Prioress; and Sister Beatrice of the Conception, Mistress of Novices. Mother Anne of Jesus, who governed the first convent, wished to accompany to Pontoise the three Spanish Carmelites sent there, and she took with her two of the first novices of the Order, Sister Louise of Jesus and Sister Aimee of Jesus.
On Monday Mother Anne of Jesus gave the religious habit to four young ladies of M. Gallemant’s community; the first received was called Agnes of Jesus; later she became Sub-Prioress, and took great care of Blessed Mary of the Incarnation (Madame Acarie) in her last illness. After the ceremony, Mother Anne of Jesus, in order to excite the fervor of the novices just received, spoke these remarkable words: “You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.”
The first night these novices passed in the house they noticed a miraculous odor, which the Spanish Carmelites told them to call the perfume of St. Teresa.
On Tuesday they started on their return trip to Paris. They left Sister Louise of Jesus, who had to remain in the new monastery, at Pontoise… On returning to Paris, Mother Anne of Jesus was in admiration of the way in which Madame Acarie had established the Order in France; and Madame Acarie admired the way in which Mother Anne of Jesus governed.
The Carmelite said: “How could one woman have sufficient influence in France, Rome, and Spain to make so difficult a foundation? How has she been able to find all the money used in it?”
The Blessed one said in her turn: “How has a Spanish religious, who does not understand French, been able to acquire so much authority over persons of so different a language and customs? How has she been able to make them all one heart and one soul?”
Learn more about the foundation of the Discalced Carmelites in France here
Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917, Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by anonymous, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.
If you could see through the grilles the goodness lavished on me
For an increase in the fruit of goodness
St. Paul speaks
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. (Romans 15:13-14)
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks
If you knew how well cared for I am in my dear Carmel, what a Mother I have unceasingly near me… She is a true mama for her little patient. You would have tears in your eyes if you could see through the grilles the goodness lavished on me by this heart whom God has made so motherly. (Letter 326 to Madame Farrat, around 18 October 1906)
“It takes one to know one,” we often say. This holds true for St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and the many times that she wrote about the goodness of her community during her illness. In her letters to her own mother, Elizabeth repeatedly reassured her mother of the exquisite charity of her prioress: “our good Mother takes such good care of me.” That is just an example of Elizabeth’s own goodness, wherein she continually praises the goodness in those around her. Being filled with goodness is a fruit of our growing relationship with God, who, as Jesus told the rich young man, is the ultimate in goodness: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone” (Mk 10:18).
O Saint Elizabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.
(Make your request)
Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.
Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)
Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)
Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC
On 2 August 1901, the cloister door of the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Dijon opened wide to admit 21-year-old Elizabeth Catez as a postulant. Mother Marie of Jesus, the prioress of Dijon who was also the foundress of the new Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, had desired to take the young postulant with her to the new foundation. Mother Marie had discussed it with Madame Catez toward the end of June, who promised the prioress that she would make the supreme sacrifice and permit her daughter to enter a Carmel in another diocese. Elizabeth, in an attitude of total abandonment to the will of God, was ready to accept all.
Biographer Conrad de Meester, O.C.D. notes that at the beginning of July, Mother Marie of Jesus began to prepare for the new postulant in Paray-le-Monial. Elizabeth would enter on the First Friday in August—August 2nd. The entire month of July was spent with a sense of certitude in the Catez household that Sabeth would be over 100 kilometers from home, not a mere stone’s throw away, not even within earshot as the nuns would sing the Sanctus after Madame Catez would take a brisk walk to morning Mass at the Carmelite monastery.
The postulant’s trousseau was already prepared in Paray-le-Monial when Madame Catez was overcome with regret. She confided in a friend. The friend advised her that she should take up the matter with someone of authority. God writes straight with crooked lines, they say; in this case, the line of authority ran directly from the Sister who was the monastery Portress and an old friend of the Catez family: Sr. Marie of the Trinity.
When Sister Marie learned how distraught Madame Catez had become at the prospect of losing her daughter to the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, Sister had an idea:to have her own spiritual director, the esteemed Dominican friar Père Vallée, intervene with Mother Marie of Jesus. But first, Sister Marie needed to ascertain Elizabeth’s own sentiments in the matter. That was simple.
During the Diocesan Inquiry for the process of beatification, Sister Marie of the Trinity explained under oath that when Elizabeth next stopped by the monastery, Sister Marie quizzed her concerning her upcoming postulancy in the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.
Do you have a special attraction for the city of the Sacred Heart?
Does a foundation there attract you?
I rather doubt it. The peace and silence of an established monastery like Dijon would attract me much more. And the distance would cost my mother.
Have you talked to Père Vallée about this?
No, I prefer to abandon myself and let the good God guide everything according to his good wishes.
Would you permit me to talk to Father about it?
Father de Meester writes that without the intervention of Sister Marie of the Trinity, the portress of Dijon, we would not even be speaking of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity from the Carmel of Dijon; she would be known as Elizabeth from the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial.
De Meester also indicates that when the Dominican Père Vallée learned of the great emotional toll it would take upon Elizabeth’s mother, he urged Madame Catez to speak honestly with Mother Marie about her misgivings and her sincere desire to remain near her beloved daughter. That distance of 140 kilometers between Dijon and Paray-le-Monial could make visits to the monastery difficult and rare.
It was all a last-minute decision. On the 28th or the 29th of July, Madame Catez wrote to Mother Marie of Jesus, who was away at Paray-le-Monial. Father De Meester indicates that the prioress responded immediately and “with humanity and serenity.”
May the good God give you peace and joy in your great sacrifice. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to be able to contribute by leaving our dear child to [the Carmel of] Dijon and you can consider it as having taken place. I am writing to Dijon that they should prepare her little cell for the 2nd of August—if I am not there to receive her, our dear Mother sub-prioress Germaine of Jesus and Sister Marie of the Trinity—her guardian angel—will be there and I will find her when I return; I am really held back here. So console yourself right now, as well as my dear little Marguerite, Elizabeth will stay in Dijon.I really love Elizabeth because I feel that she loves Our Lord very much and that she will make a true daughter of Saint Teresa; if it is a sacrifice for me to lose her, it is a joy to give her to Dijon, of which I am still a mother and of which I will always be a daughter, the two convents will never be but one. I would like to write to Elizabeth, but I cannot do it tonight and I want to reassure you right away because it is painful for me to sense that you are in such anguish. Fear no more … I believe, dear Madame, that we are doing God’s will, and that’s all there is in this world.
MEESTER, Conrad de. Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité (French Edition) . edi8. Kindle Edition.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Dedicated to Cristhian, sine qua non.
The book called The Way of Perfection written by Teresa of Jesus, a nun of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel. This book is intended for the discalced nuns who observe the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel.
This book deals with the advice and counsel Teresa of Jesus gives to her religious Sisters and daughters who live in the monasteries that, with the help of our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mother of God, our Lady, she founded. These monasteries follow the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. She directs her counsel particularly to the Sisters at St. Joseph’s monastery in Avila, which was the first foundation and the place where she was prioress when she wrote this book.
In all that I say in this book I submit to what our Mother the Holy Roman Church holds. If there should be anything contrary to that, it will be due to my not understanding the matter. And so I beg the learned men who will see this work to look it over carefully and to correct any mistake there may be as to what the Church holds, as well as any other mistakes in other matters. If there should be anything good in this work,may it be for the honor and glory of God and the service of His most Blessed Mother, our Lady and Patroness, whose habit I wear despite my being very unworthy to do so.
Saint Teresa of Avila Foreword to the Way of Perfection
The magistrates came to receive us half a mile outside the city. All the people arranged in procession welcomed us with demonstrations of most lively faith. The gathering was so great, and our entrance made with such solemnity, that we were unable to cross the threshold of our home until evening. There was reason to praise God in witnessing the devotion with which the inhabitants of Pontoise received this new foundation, and even now they retain the same sentiments. Our Lord has granted and ceases not to grant many favors to this city, owing to the prayers of the Sisters.
Witnessing all this, I experienced intense sorrow only at the thought that I was to be head of the monastery. I was like one condemned to death, and so mortified that it seemed to me the office of Prioress, in my case, was a disgrace, and that never in any other circumstances had I been weighed down body and soul by such ignominy. My whole being seemed but a worm of the earth; and that in truth is what I am. But I never saw it in so clear a light as on that occasion.
Being one day before the Blessed Sacrament, I begged our Lord that He, Himself, would be watchful for His glory, and that He would assist me, as I felt entirely alone. He said to me: “I am here; I consider you as the light of my eyes.”
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, despite her fears and trepidation, became one of the great foundresses of the Teresian Carmel in France and Belgium. The Carmel of Pontoise was founded with the aid of Blessed Madame Acarie (Marie of the Incarnation), 15 January 1605, three months after the foundation of the Carmel of Paris on faubourg Saint-Jacques, 18 October 1604.
This our American Carmel — your lifted hands are the very strength & hope of all our rising churches
Now it grows very serious my mother, — the parting, & may be not to see you, o blessed, blessed, blessed souls of this our American Carmel.
Speciosa Deserti & lilia convallium — Every day may be the last on earth for me, for you my Mother & ye all her worthy Daughters — but just so has been the pleasing moment granted to me after 15 years of landing on this shore more endeared to me — it had always been so desired — & you have made it so extremely kind.
May that only joy of meeting as souls who wish to live but to their Jesus, his priests or his sacred spouses, ever be so pleasingly felt as it has been to my own heart these two days. I wish no greater encouragement to my friends when they will succeed me here for, whether simplicity or awkwardness I yield entirely to the pleasure of telling you how delighted I have been, how finding me among you nearer to the Sacred Heart to which you live so beautifully offered & united in this happy solitude.
Speciosa, Speciosissima Deserti — You live under his roof, return continually to praise him in his own presence in that choir, dead & lost to the world, though your very name the sweetest edification abroad while your lifted hands are the very strength & hope of all our rising churches.
0 Speciosa, Speciosissima lilia Deserti — I May I only be faithful to my own share of that common grace of your prayers, best of mothers, & ye all her worthy daughters. Accept my full gratitude & love in J. & M.
Servant of God Simon Bruté Thank you note to the prioress of the Carmel of Port Tobacco, Maryland written at the close of his first visit, most likely in 1825 since Bruté arrived in the United States in 1810
Learn more about the Servant of God Simon Bruté and his cause for beatification
Father Bruté's letter was published in Charles Currier's Carmel in America: a centennial history of the Discalced Carmelites in the United States (1890)
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
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.
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.
CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH
Ant. To love God is to be truly wise, and wisdom begins with the fear of the 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.
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.
Avila, Incarnation, Jan. 19, 1572 St. Teresa’s vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation
1. On the eve of the feast of St. Sebastian, the first year in which I was prioress at the Incarnation, at the beginning of the Salve Regina, I saw the Mother of God descend with a great multitude of angels and sit in the prioress’s choir stall where there was a statue of our Lady. In my opinion, I didn’t then see the statue but our Lady herself. It seemed to me she looked something like she does in the painting the countess gave me;  although the power to discern this was quickly taken away, for my faculties were soon held in great suspension. It seemed to me there were angels above the canopies of the stalls in the back and above the front stalls; although they were not in corporeal form, for this was an intellectual vision.
She remained for the whole of the Salve, and she told me: “You were indeed right in placing me here;  I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”
2. After this, I remained in the kind of prayer I now have, that of keeping my soul present with the Blessed Trinity. And it seemed to me that the Person of the Father drew me to Himself and spoke very pleasant words. Among them, while showing me what He wanted, He told me: “I gave you My Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?”