Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
With these words, these three daughters of Carmel could address the Good Shepherd when it was time for them to give their lives for the faith in the divine Spouse of their souls. Yes, “I fear no evil.” Not even death. Love is greater than death and “You are with me.” You, the crucified Spouse! You, Christ, my strength!
Saint John Paul II Homily, Rite of Beatification
Sr. María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja
Sr. María Ángeles de San José
Sr. Teresa del Niño Jesús 29 March 1987
With the Virgin, you can sing your “Magnificat” and leap with joy in God your Savior, for the Almighty is doing great things in you, and His mercy is eternal. . . . Then, like Mary, “keep all that in your heart,” draw your heart very close to hers, for this priestly Virgin is also the “Mother of Divine Grace,” and in her love she wants to prepare you to become “that faithful priest who is entirely according to God’s heart” of whom He speaks in Holy Scripture.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt) Around 25 June 1905
My dear Mother, now I would like to tell you what I understand by the fragrance of the perfumes of the Beloved.
Since Jesus has re-ascended to Heaven, I can only follow him through the footprints that he left, but how illuminated are these footprints, how aromatic they are! I only have to cast my eyes on the holy gospel; all of a sudden I’m breathing in the perfumes of the life of Jesus and I know on which side to run…
It’s not the first place, but the last place that I aim for; rather than moving forward with the pharisee, I repeat, full of trust, the humble prayer of the tax-collector;
but above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine.
Yes, I feel it, even if I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go—my heart, broken in repentance—throw myself in the arms of Jesus because I know how much he cherishes the prodigal child who comes back to Him.
It’s not because the good God, in his prevenient mercy, has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I raise myself to Him through trust and love…
Renowned Discalced Carmelite scholar Father François-Marie Léthel concluded Meditation 8 of the 2011 Lenten Exercises for the Roman Curia by citing this final paragraph from Manuscript C. He also notes that, “at the same moment, Thérèse writes to her spiritual brother Bellière:
“You love St. Augustine, St. Magdalene; these souls to whom “many sins were forgiven because they loved much”. Me too, I love them; I love their repentance, and especially… their loving audacity! When I see Magdalene come forward in the midst of the numerous guests, showering the feet of her adorable Master with her tears, that she’s touching for the first time, I sense that her heart has understood the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus and that, total sinner that she is, this Heart of love is not only disposed to pardon her but still more to lavish upon her the benefits of his divine intimacy, to lift her up to the highest summits of contemplation. Ah! my dear little Brother, since it was given to me also to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit to you that has chased away all fear from my heart. The memory of my faults humiliates me, it brings me to never learn on my strength, which is only a weakness, but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love. How—when you throw your faults with total, filial trust in the burning all-consuming brazier of love—how wouldn’t they be consumed without coming back?”
Read Father John Clarke’s translation of Letter 247 from Saint Thérèse to Abbé Maurice Bellière (21 June 1897) here.
Nota Bene: We have elected to be as faithful to the original text as possible in our translation, avoiding a re-cast into contemporary idioms. There is the age-old question among translators of French: does avoir confiance mean to be confident, to have confidence, or does it mean to trust? As an example, again and again today, theological translators agree: the best and truest translation of Jésus, j’ai confiance en toi is, Jesus, I trust in you.
Over time, few devotions have been so extensively promoted as the devotion to the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
It is so intimately connected with the life of the Catholic, that it provokes more attention when particular Catholics do not practice it, than when it is visibly part of their life.
In 1595, however, Mag. Joseph Falcone published a work on the history of the Order, in which as a contemporary he declared that this devotion blossomed, especially in Spain, and that there was no house where people did not wear the garment of Carmel, indeed, through the common wearing of that garment, the whole of Spain and Portugal could be said to be one great cloister of Carmelites.
For a long time, people believed that when it came to the Netherlands, any indication that the Scapular was also worn here was missed.
Admittedly, not many traces of this devotion have remained but, all the same,they do tell us that the Netherlands did not trail behind other countries.
We possess a poem by a layperson, from the end of the fifteenth-century, which sings the praises of the Scapular.
The translation of this text reads as follows:
We see the Carmelites clothed with Scapulars who—from the hands of the Holy Simon Stock when he, as a foretaste of the reward for his devotion to the Holy Virgin Mary, having been graced to contemplate her, Mary, with this garment in her virginal hands—have accepted the cited Scapular with incredible zeal as their garment.
We can say frankly that in our country all priests could be said to be promoters of this beautiful devotion and, thanks to the piety of their priests, nearly all Catholics in the Netherlands have received the garment of the Lady of Mount Carmel. What Falcone said of Spain at the end of the 16th century may surely be said of the Netherlands today: There is no house where, to be blessed with the countless indulgences and privileges of the Carmelite Order, one does not wear the garment of Carmel.
Blessed Titus Brandsma Promoting the Holy Scapular in the Netherlands (excerpts)
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kg 19:4).
The previous verse tells us why Elijah decides to go to the desert and wants to die: “He was afraid; he got up and fled for his life” (1 Kg 19:3).
Elijah was a great prophet, a man of God, and a giant of the faith. Even the great men of God can suffer moments of crisis and fear, as in this case with the prophet Elijah, who flees in fear before the threats and persecution of the powerful Phoenician queen Jezebel.
The prophet’s crisis, however, becomes a moment of grace because God approaches him in the desert and feeds him, giving him new strength to live.
Elijah goes to the desert, lies down and goes to sleep. He’s just waiting to die. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4). Like so many other believers in the Bible, Elijah complains before God. All that remains is to throw in the towel; everything has been useless.
And further, now Elijah is afraid. Fear leads Elijah not only to run away but also to fall asleep. Falling asleep is to remain unconscious, in a certain way: it’s an escape from reality.
However, when things turn dark; when what’s transpired becomes indecipherable and the future, uncertain: that’s when we have to be wide awake.
We must not turn off the light of conscience and discernment, for that is when we must be more clear-headed than ever.
The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God, because God doesn’t want anyone to be asleep and fearful.
The prophet turns to hear the word of the Lord through an angel, saying two times: “Get up and eat” (1 Kings 19:5). After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep.
Sometimes the crisis is so great
and the discouragement is so strong
that it is difficult to get up and walk.
But God is not overcome by our weakness; God insists for the second time in feeding Elijah: “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7).God doesn’t want us to feel fearful, neither does he want us to sleep.
God offered Elijah—through his messenger—frugal and simple food: a pilgrim’s meal (“a cake baked on hot stones” and “a jar of water”, 1 Kings 19:6). At that moment you don’t need a succulent feast, but effective nutrition. That kind of effective nutrition to recover strength and hope, only God can provide. Elijah ate and “he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8).
Before eating, the prophet’s flight was headed toward death;after being fed in the desert, that miraculous meal takes him to Mount Horeb or Sinai, where Moses met the Lord, where Israel first made a covenant with its God.God began everything on that mountain.
Elijah fought against the injustice and arrogance of the powerful, the manipulation of religion, the violent repression, and the use of fear as a form of domination. All of these shady schemes are opposed to God’s plan.
Elijah gave everything. In the end, in self-imposed exile, escaping to protect himself from the death threats of Queen Jezebel, he falls down, tired and hopeless, in the desert. He was tempted not to keep fighting, dreaming, and hoping. It can happen to anyone.
The biblical text, however, gives us the certainty that God’s nourishment allows us to come out of our unconscious state and overcome fear—not letting anyone deprive us of hope. The bread that God gives us in the desert is more powerful than the wiles and threats of the shadowy structures of oppression and death.
Today, too, we need a bread that is mysterious and effective, that allows us to walk with strength and hope.
That bread is Jesus, who today has told us: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). Jesus offers to nourish us so as to give us strength, light, hope, and the breath of life that come from the same God, the creator of life.
If Jesus nourishes us with his love and kindness, with his light and with his strength, nothing can take away our joy and hope. In our interior, in the depths of our heart, God feeds us with his Son, the Bread come down from heaven.
We have heard Jesus say: “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.”The Father mysteriously draws us to Jesus; he makes Jesus attractive to us. And if Jesus presents himself again to us—attractive, fascinating, familiar in the depths of our being—we are attracted to the good, the beautiful, the noble.
If Jesus makes us attractive, we will be fascinating and attractive, which does good for the human person—which builds a better world.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua Homily, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (excerpts) 12 August 2018
You can read the full text of the homily on our blog here.
We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the simplicity and purity of our hearts.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D. Spiritual Maxims
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 300 to her mother
[ July 18, 1906]
J. M. + J. T.
Darling little Mama,
I’m expecting you on Saturday at the time we arranged; I will go to receive you on foot, without a cane. I’m delighted about it! I was expecting you today, and here I see my Master wants to unite mother and child in suffering, since your dear health is the reason for the delay of your visit; I love you too much to be sad about it, for I understand better than ever how much God loves us when He tries us. What a relief for me to think of you looked after by our dear Guite; let yourself be cared for by her, obey her completely, won’t you, little Mama.
The Blessed Virgin has not performed the miracle you desired. When, as you tell me in your dear, kind letter, you’re afraid that I might be a victim marked out for suffering, I beg you not to be sad about it, that would be so beautiful; I don’t feel worthy of it; think now, to have a share in the sufferings of my crucified Bridegroom, and to go with Him to my passion to be a redemptrix with Him. . . . Saint Paul says that those whom God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Rejoice in your mother’s heart when you think that God has predestined me and has marked me with the seal of the Cross of His Christ.
My legs, however, are getting better; I can walk without a cane. I’ve been given a very light robe, and this is what I wear when I make my little comings and goings, which consist in going out on the terrace and to the little tribune [small second-story prayer chapel overlooking the tabernacle]; can you imagine what a joy this is for my soul? Several times a day I make long visits to my Master, and I thank Him for having given me the use of my legs to go to Him. I am reading your dear book, which is magnificent; you’ve made me a very precious gift, my dear Mama; I have it beside me on the little table that is so useful to me. If you knew how well set up I am. . . . I think up something new every day, and my dear Mother smiles at my “comforts.” How she cares for me and anticipates my every need; I had told her I had a bad taste in my mouth and she got some new candy for me to bring me more relief, and it’s like that with everything; she has the intuitions of a mother. If you knew how she loves you; it was she who told me to write you right away, and I didn’t have to be begged, as you can imagine. We’ve had a very beautiful feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I’ll tell you all about it on Saturday. I’m giving you all my best wishes for my Guite; tell little Sabeth to give her this holy card and to kiss her for Tata. A Dieu, darling Mama, I gather all of you together to kiss you as I love you. Be very reasonable, listen well to your Guite to please me. Your daughter who loves you more than she can say.
M.E. of the Trinity r.c.i. 26 years old today.
This would be the last birthday letter that Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity would write to her dear mother, Madame Catez. Less than four months later, she would die of acute adrenal failure, directly attributable to her years-long battle with Addison’s Disease.
Sister Constance—baptized Marie-Jeanne Meunier—was born in St-Denis, near Paris, on May 28, 1766. She entered our community on May 29, 1788, and took the habit on the following 13th of December.
But the unhappy decree of the Constituent Assembly, which proscribed the profession of vows—of which the Reverend Mother Prioress had been notified—deprived our dear Sister Constance of the happiness of professing her own.
To this trial was added still another that was even more cruel to her heart. Her parents from whom she had (so to speak) extracted their consent to enter the monastery, having learned of the fatal decree [that proscribed the profession of vows], resolved to make her come home. Armed with their authorization, one of her brothers presented himself with the intention to use force if she refused to leave of her own goodwill. But because his attempts were unsuccessful, a police raid took place.
The young novice, without being disturbed by this sudden and threatening appearance, replied to the summons which was issued for her to leave in the name of the law:
Gentlemen, I have entered here only with the consent of my parents. If they only want to get me to leave here because their tenderness is alarmed at the dangers that I can run into while staying there, I thank them for it; but nothing but death will be able to separate me from the company of my Sisters. And you, my brother—whom I am most likely to see for the last time—testify to our dear parents that indifference does not enter into my refusal to yield to their desires, that it hurts my heart to give them cause for chagrin; but I also think that they cannot find fault in the fact that I am following the movement of my conscience. That is all I demand of this ‛liberty’ whose benefits everyone proclaims to high heaven.
The commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others did not go farther; they left, admiring the courage of the novice who fulfilled so well, in her sentiments and her language, the meaning of the religious name that had been given to her when she was admitted to the number of the daughters of St. Teresa. She had the glory of dying as a Christian heroine, like her companions, at only 28 years old.
Sister Marie of the Incarnation, O.C.D.
What was this fatal decree?
Sr. Marie of the Incarnation tells us that Blessed Constance entered the Carmel of Compiègne on the 29th of May 1788 and was clothed in the habit of Carmel on December 13th.
Canonically, she should have professed her perpetual vows in the following December, 1789. Historian William Bush in his well-known book, To Quell the Terror, tells us that the prioress intended to permit Sr. Constance to profess her vows on the anniversary date in the following year.
The tumultuous events of 1789 changed everything. On Tuesday 14 July, revolutionary insurgents stormed the royal fortress in Paris called the Bastille. Their siege was successful; they captured the fortress, arrested the commander and turned the tide of revolutionary fervor in Paris toward the revolutionary insurgents and away from the crumbling royal administration. From Paris, soon the entire nation was ablaze with revolutionary fervor.
Meanwhile, in the Constituent Assembly—a governing body created in June 1789—deputies were emboldened by the actions of the insurgents. Thanks to the joint efforts of the French national library and Stanford University we can read the daily acts of the Constituent Assembly and learn exactly who and what created the fatal decree of 28 October 1789.
Mr. Rousselet gives an account, in the name of the committee on reports, of letters written by two male religious and one religious sister asking that the Assembly explain what it means concerning the profession of vows; he proposes to forbid the perpetual monastic vows.
Michel Louis Rousselet was a deputy from the bailiwick of Provins (Seine-et-Marne) southeast of Paris. He served only two years in the Assembly (30 Mar 1789 – 30 Sep 1791), but for the Catholics of France they were crucial. His report received the backing of Guy Jean-Baptiste Target from the bailiwick of Paris-Outside-the-Walls.
Mr. Target requests a postponement on the substance and presents the following decree:
Yes, the report …. the Assembly postpones the question concerning the profession of vows and however, as a provision, decrees that the profession of vows will be suspended in monasteries of either sex.
Several clergymen who were Deputies explained that the temporary suspension cast judgment on the matter; they demanded the implementation of the rule that required three days of discussion for important matters. Tragically, their pleas were ignored. The record of the Assembly states:
Sanctions against the Catholic Church in France swiftly followed as the nascent revolutionary government, strapped for cash, expropriated all of the assets of the Catholic Church and her patrimony. To this very day, the Church in France is poor, reliant upon the government to care for her buildings like the great Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.
Sr. Constance, the native of Saint-Denis, did not return home with her brother after the commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others left the monastery. She remained in ‘the company of her Sisters’ all the way to scaffold. She fulfilled the life of a Discalced Carmelite nun, but always remained a novice and canonically never was permitted to participate in any important decisions of the monastic chapter that required a voice vote.
It was only at the foot of the scaffold, six years after entering the Carmel of Compiègne that she finally professed her perpetual vows as a Discalced Carmelite nun. Her heart filled with overwhelming joy, she climbed the steps of the scaffold as she emphatically exercised her voice, becoming a foundress—the protomartyr—of the Carmel of Compiègne transferred to the heavenly courts.
What words were on the lips and in the heart of Blessed Constance in those ultimate moments on earth? She intoned Psalm 117, the psalm that Saint Teresa of Avila and Venerable Anne of Jesus chanted as they inaugurated each and every new foundation:
O praise the Lord, all you nations, acclaim him all you peoples!
Strong is his love for us; he is faithful for ever.
Concerning the Blessed Constance’s chant, Professor Bush explains: As their final song at the scaffold— for there were several— it was Psalm 117, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, which proclaims the mystic truth couched at the heart of the Christian experience of salvation: God’s mercy is at the center of all things, even of being guillotined.
Bush, William. To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 (pp. 14-15). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
sœur Marie de l'Incarnation. Histoire des religieuses carmelites de Compiègne conduites a l'échafaud le 17 juillet 1794: Ouvrage posthume de la soeur Marie de l'Incarnation. January 1, 1836. (pp. 108-110) T. Malvin. Google Play Books edition. This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Tomorrow, 16 July will be the Commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For several centuries the faithful in their piety have wanted to honor the illustrious Mother of God with various titles and with the most sincere acts of giving. Let us recall that it was Pope John XXII in the fourteenth century who promoted the devotion to Mary under this title: it is precisely this history that we must remember when, each time, the form of prayer and homage becomes clearer and clearer.
Remember that your holy will
Is my rest, my only happiness.
I abandon myself and I fall asleep without fear
In your arms, O my divine Savior.
If you also fall asleep when the storm rages,
I always want to stay in deep peace.
But, Jesus, while you are asleep,
For the awakening!
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Jesus, My Beloved, Remember!… “Rappelle-toi” (PN 24), Stanza 32
Read the full text of the poem in French here and in English here. Read this and more entries from Mother Agnès’ yellow notebook of her last conversations with Saint Thérèse during July 1897 here. You can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.
The First Holy Communion of St. Teresa of the Andes
It is impossible to describe what took place between my soul and Jesus.
I asked Jesus a thousand times that He would take me, and I experienced His dear voice for the first time. “Oh Jesus I love You, I adore You!” I prayed to Him for everybody. I felt the Virgin near me. Oh, how my heart expanded! For the first time, I experienced a delicious peace.
After making our thanksgiving, we went to the patio to share things with the poor, and each girl went to embrace her family. My Daddy kept kissing me. Being so happy, he lifted me up in his arms. Many little girls came to the house that day. What can I say of the gifts that were given to me? The bureau and my bed were filled.
Shortly after that time, we moved from that house (at 475 Ejercito Street). Since that first embrace, Jesus did not let me go but took me for Himself. Every day I went to Communion and talked with Jesus for a long time. My special devotion was to the Virgin. I told her everything. The earth no longer held any attraction for me.
Every year, I used to become sick on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Once when I was sick, I was looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart, and I heard a very sweet voice say to me: “I am alone on the altar for your love, and you can’t even suffer for a moment?”
From that time, the dear Jesus spoke to me, and I spent entire hours conversing with Him. That is the reason I enjoyed being alone. He went on teaching me how I should suffer and not complain and about intimate union with Him. Then He told me that He wanted me for Himself, that He would like me to become a Carmelite. Ah! Mother, you cannot imagine what Jesus was doing in my soul. At that time, I did not live in myself. It was Jesus who was living in me.
Saint Teresa of the Andes From her autobiographical writings at age 15
Explore our blog posts concerning Saint Teresa of the Andes here.
The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement, Edited by Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS
Translated by Father Michael D. Griffin, OCD. New Life Publishing Company, 2003
We arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty. My brother was waiting for us at the station and was delighted to see us. He and his wife are doing everything they can to entertain us. This evening, Sunday, there’s a beautiful reception in their home in our honor….
As for me, I’m finding it hard to relax! None of that interests me! I’m absolutely like the fish you pull out of the water. They’re no longer in their element and they have to perish! This would have the same effect on me if I had to stay a lot longer. I feel uncomfortable, I’m out of sorts. This is affecting me physically, and it’s almost making me sick. However, I’m reasoning with myself and trying to gain the upper hand. I’m with you in spirit all day, and I say to myself, “Now he must be doing such and such a thing.”
I’m longing to be near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel my affection so much more when you’re not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live apart from you.
Saint Zélie Guérin Martin Letter CF 108 to Saint Louis Martin (excerpt) Lisieux, 31 August 1873
Explore more of the correspondence of Louis Martin and Zélie Guerin here.
Here We are with you, the Shepherd with his dear flock, the Father with his beloved Sons.
Here We are with you, in the most holy name of our Divine Redeemer, of our lovable King of the Tabernacle; in the name of Saint Thérèse who, today more than ever, is the honour and glory of Lisieux and its Carmel…
Pray, beloved Sons, that, as the Divine King of the Tabernacle has created our souls and given all His precious blood for them, He will similarly deign also to sanctify and save them, in making them, here and now, in awaiting heavenly glory, living basilicas where He will be pleased to dwell with His sanctifying grace and all His blessings: basilicas so beautiful, so magnificent, that no worldly beauty could compare with them, not even the delightful splendors of the new Basilica of Lisieux.
Pope Pius XI Radio message for the blessing of the Basilica of Lisieux 11 July 1937
Learn more about the blessing of the Basilica of Lisieux on 11 July 1937 here and here.
I believe love does not allow us to pause for long here on earth, and besides Saint John of the Cross says so definitively; he has a wonderful chapter in which he describes the death of souls who are victims of love, the last assaults He gives them, then all the rivers of the soul, which are so immense they already resemble seas, go to lose themselves in the Ocean of divine love. Little sister, Saint Paul says that “our God is a consuming Fire.” If we remain always united to Him by a simple, loving gaze of faith; if, like our adored Master, we can say at the end of every day: “Because I love my Father, I always do what pleases Him,” He will really be able to consume us, and like two little sparks we will lose ourselves in the immense Furnace, free to burn there for all eternity.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Letter 293 to Clémence Blanc (excerpt) Beginning of July, 1906
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, thou who hast been rightly proclaimed the Patroness of Catholic missions throughout the world, remember the burning desire which thou didst manifest here on earth to plant the Cross of Christ on every shore and to preach the Gospel even to the consummation of the world; we implore thee, according to thy promise, to assist all priests and missionaries and the whole Church of God.
Pope Pius XI through an Apostolic Brief issued 9 July 1928 accorded a partial indulgence of 300 days once a day and a plenary indulgence, on the usual conditions, if this prayer is devoutly said every day for a month.
The Blessed Virgin will never be hidden from me, for Ilove her too much.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux The Yellow Notebook 8 July 1897
On 8 July 1897 Saint Thérèse “was so sick there was talk of giving her Extreme Unction. That day, she was taken down from her cell to the infirmary; she was no longer able to stand up, and she had to be carried down.” Read more entries from Mother Agnès’ Yellow Notebook for the month of July here.
When I get to Heaven and I see Jesus busy talking with someone, I’ll quickly go open the water taps and all the earth will have water, and as soon as Jesus turns around I’ll turn the water off right away, I’ll leave, and he won’t know that anyone turned on the water…
… Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that the one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love …
Saint John of the Cross Letter 26 to Madre María de la Encarnación 6 July 1591
On Saturday, 4 July 1942, the Chapter nuns of Le Pâquier were assembled for a meeting at which the Reverend Mother Prioress proposed to them that Sister Teresia Benedicta of the Cross, in the world Edith Stein, a professed Sister of the Cologne Carmel who is at present in the Carmel of Echt in Holland, be received as a member of the community, either permanently or temporarily according to circumstances.
In 1938, because of her Jewishness, Sr. Benedicta was forced to leave the Carmel where she had made her profession. The German authorities who have conquered Holland are now compelling her to leave that country. The Sister in question has obtained the necessary permission for her transfer from the Most Reverend Father Provincial in Holland; our Most Reverend Bishop has agreed to her reception into our Carmel, and a petition has been made to our Most Reverend Father General for the Indult.
On the fifth of the same month, a Sunday, the nuns were assembled once again and the Reverend Mother Prioress made the same proposal, after which it was unanimously resolved by a secret vote to receive Sister Teresa Benedicta into the community for an unlimited time.
We, the undersigned, testify that the above account is exact, Sr. Marie Agnès of the Immaculate Conception, Prioress; Sr. Marie-Françoise of the Most Sacred Heart, 1st Key-Bearer
Executed on 5 July 1942, at Le Pâquier
Record of the vote by the Chapter nuns of the Carmel of Le Pâquier in Switzerland to receive Saint Edith Stein as a member of their community. Their prioress shared the news of their unanimous approval in a 17 July letter to Mother Antonia, the prioress of the Carmel of Echt, Holland. Read an excerpt from Edith’s thank-you letter here. Explore the website of the Carmel du Pâquier here (French and German) and their Facebook page here (French).