Quote of the day: 14 September

September 14, 1939

Ave Crux, Spes Unica

“Hail, Cross, our only hope!”—this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious song of the cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greets us through the heart of the Savior. And now, as the church year draws toward an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spellbound until the Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb.

Our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And it leads us to the foot of the cross to renew our holy vows. The Crucified One looks down on us and asks us whether we are still willing to honor what we promised in an hour of grace. And he certainly has reason to ask.

More than ever the cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the Antichrist show it far more dishonor than did the Persians who stole it. They desecrate the images of the cross, and they make every effort to tear the cross out of the hearts of Christians. All too often they have succeeded even with those who, like us, once vowed to bear Christ’s cross after him.

Therefore, the Savior today looks at us, solemnly probing us, and asks each one of us: Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open.

If you decide for Christ,
it could cost you your life.
Carefully consider
what you promise.

Taking and renewing vows is a dreadfully serious business. You make a promise to the Lord of heaven and earth. If you are not deadly serious about your will to fulfill it, you fall into the hands of the living God…

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all flames towers the cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell.

Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth. Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them. Do you hear the anguish of the dying? You would like to be a priest and comfort them. Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them.

Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross. Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart. Its precious blood is poured everywhere—soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you—asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

 

Jesus on the Cross
Jesus on the Cross, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver Colorado | Thomas Hawk / Flickr

 


We present excerpts from the meditation for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a fervorino that Saint Teresa Benedicta wrote for the prioress to deliver to the nuns of the Carmel of Echt, Holland on 14 September 1939, her first opportunity to renew her vows as a Discalced Carmelite in her new community.

Edith mentions that “our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.” Here she makes a direct reference to the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, No. 16:

You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

For centuries, Discalced Carmelite nuns have renewed their vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity—the order in which Edith presented the vows in her meditation—on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Although the Discalced Carmelite friars renew their vows and the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order members renew their Promise at Easter or during the Octave of Easter, the 1991 Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite nuns indicate that they shall renew their profession twice each year:

“In order to give common witness to religious consecration in following Christ, every year the sisters will renew their religious profession during the Easter Vigil or the octave of Easter, and on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, using the formula given in the Ritual. The communities may repeat this renewal on other occasions in order to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

No matter what legislation Discalced Carmelites may observe, the essential purpose is clear: “to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

 

Thicket Priory 10th anniv GBCarmelites Flickr 48393091826_a41a057804_o
The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Thicket Priory | © Johan Bergström-Allen, British Province of Carmelites / Flickr

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

28 July: Blessed John Soreth

July 28
BLESSED JOHN SORETH
Priest

Optional Memorial

John Soreth was born at Caen in Normandy and entered Carmel as a young man. He took a doctorate of theology in Paris and served as regent of studies and provincial of his province. He was prior general from 1451 until his death at Angers in 1471. He restored observance within the Order and promoted its reform, wrote a famous commentary on the Rule, issued new Constitutions in 1462, and promoted the growth of the nuns and the Third Order.

From the Common of Men Saints (Religious), except the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
Ch 4

From the Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule by Blessed John Soreth

Learn from Christ how you should love him

It is from Christ Himself, brother, that you will learn how to love Him. Learn to love Him tenderly, with all your heart; prudently, with all your soul; fervently, with all your strength. Love Him tenderly, so that you will not be seduced away from Him; prudently, so that you will not be open to deception; and fervently, so that downheartedness will not draw you away from God’s love. May the wisdom of Christ seem sweet to you, so that you are not led away by the glory of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. May Christ, Who is the Truth, enlighten you, so that you do not fall prey to the spirit of error and falsehood. May Christ, Who is the Strength of God, fortify you when hardships wear you out.

St. Basil says that we are bound to our benefactors by bonds of affection and duty. But what greater gift or favor could we receive than God Himself? For, He continues, I experience the ineffable love of God–a love more easily felt than described. Since God has planted the seeds of goodness in us, we can be certain that He is awaiting their fruits.

So let the love of Christ kindle your enthusiasm; let His knowledge be your teacher, and His constancy your strength. May your enthusiasm be fervent, balanced in judgment and invincible, and neither lukewarm nor lacking in discretion. Love the Lord your God with all the affection of which your heart is capable; love Him with all the attentiveness and balance of judgement of your soul and reason; love Him with such strength that you will not be afraid to die for love of Him. May the Lord Jesus seem so sweet and tender to your affections that the sweet enticements of the world hold no attraction for you; may His sweetness conquer their sweetness.

May He also be the guiding light of your intellect and the ruler of your reason: then you will not only avoid the deceptions of heresy and save your faith from their ambushes, but you will also avoid too great and indiscreet an enthusiasm in your behavior. God is Wisdom, and He wants to be loved not only fervently, but also wisely; otherwise the spirit of error will easily take advantage of your enthusiasm. If you neglect this advice, that cunning enemy thereby has a most effective means of taking the love of God from your heart by making you progress carelessly and without discretion. Therefore, may your love be strong and persevering, neither giving in to fears nor being worn out by labors.

Not to be led astray by allurements, that’s what it means to love with all one’s heart; not to be deceived by false arguments, that’s the meaning of loving with all one’s soul; not to let your spirit be broken by difficulties, that is to love with all one’s strength.

The Rule goes on to say that you should love your neighbor as yourself. For he who loves God, loves his neighbor too; “for he who does not love his brother whom he sees, how can he love God whom he does not see?”

Responsory

R/. This is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; * and His commandments are not burdensome.
V/. Those who keep His commandments abide in God, and God abides in them; * and His commandments are not burdensome.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Be faithful ’til death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Prayer

Lord God,
you willed that Blessed John Soreth
should renew religious life
and establish communities for women
in the Order of Carmel.
May his prayers and merits
help us to be ever more faithful
in following Christ and His Mother.

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. This faithful man made his city strong and renewed the faith of sinners.

 

Maurice d'Angers
Saint Maurice (detail)
André Robin (French, 15th c.)
Stained glass
Cathedral of Saint-Maurice, Angers
André Robin was the painter in charge of the stained glass windows at the Angers Cathedral, beginning in 1434. The artist’s great attention to detail in his work is clearly seen in the window dedicated to Saint Maurice. The photographer notes that the patron saint “wears a beautiful Italianate French armour of the early 1450s. Note how all the details in its construction have been carefully depicted.”
View the complete photo by Roel Renmans here

 

Quote of the day: 12 June

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO POLAND
EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

In a particular way, I wish to greet the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Górka in Wadowice. We are meeting on an exceptional occasion: 27 August this year marks the centenary of the consecration of the Church of Saint Joseph, at the Convent founded by Saint Raphael Kalinowski. As I did as a young man, I now return in spirit to that place of particular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which had such a great influence on the spirituality of the Wadowice area. I myself received many graces there, and today I wish to thank the Lord for them.

 

St Joseph Convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars Wadowice
A statue of St. Raphael Kalinowski stands in front of St. Joseph Convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Wadowice, Poland | Tulio Bertorini / Flickr

 

I am pleased that I was able to beatify, together with one hundred and eight martyrs, Blessed Father Alfons Maria Mazurek, a pupil and later a worthy teacher in the minor seminary attached to the Convent. I had the opportunity to meet personally this witness of Christ who in 1944, as prior of the convent of Czerna, confirmed his fidelity to God by a martyr’s death.

 

Alphonsus Mary Mazurek-870x1024 (2)
Detail of a portrait of Blessed Alphonsus Mary Mazurek displayed in the Basilica of St. Anne in Lubartów, Poland, where Blessed Alphonsus Mary was born. See the complete portrait here.

 

I kneel in veneration before his relics, which rest in the Church of Saint Joseph, and I give thanks to God for the gift of the life, martyrdom and holiness of this great Religious.

Saint John Paul II
Wadowice, 16 June 1999
Homily excerpts

 

Quote of the day: 8 June

First of all, let none of our subjects, in any case whatsoever, fail to object at least once or twice to that which obedience might demand of him or her. If they raise objections three or four or five times or even more, we will reward them when they appear before us.

Servant of God Father Jerome Gratian
Constitutions of the Cerro, or Treatise on Melancholy
Translation of a Work of Jerome Gratian: An Example of Teresian Humor

Statement of Objections_Marco Verch_Flickr
statement of objections von Marco Verch | twitter-trends.de (Creative Commons)

 

Dodd, Michael. (2009)  Jerome Gratian: Treatise on Melancholy. Kindle Edition. © Michael Dodd

Marie du jour: 24 May

True Carmelites are committed to saving the world

 

Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
The Apostolate
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Thirteen 
Saturday evening, 11 September 1943

Holy Hill main church Erik Aldrich Flickr
A moment of personal reflection and prayer is captured by photographer Erik Aldrich inside the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Holy Hill, the Discalced Carmelite church and retreat center in Hubertus, Wisconsin | pureimaginations / Flickr

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (pp. 104) Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Quote of the day: 21 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, April 25, 1935

Pax Christi!

Very Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

The Bridegroom sends you the little wreath of myrtle with which your love decorated him, him as well as the bridal candle, the candles on the table, the napkin, cutlery, etc. The Bride wore a wreath of white roses. I was very happy to hear where the adornments came from. Heartfelt thanks for them. We have not yet finished discussing what else I am to receive from you. I thought of an emblem and lining for a vestment since the silk of the bridal dress has not yet been used and has been waiting for the necessary accessories since the Clothing Day. But perhaps our dear Mother [Mother Josepha, the prioress] will think of something more urgent.

When you visit us again — after all, we’ve been anticipating it with joy all winter — we will recount everything that happened from the first hours of the morning until night on this beautiful Easter Sunday. One cannot write about it in such detail. The Veiling ceremony will come only three years from now, after perpetual profession. For us, the preparation consists primarily of a ten-day retreat made in total silence and solitude. During that time we are allowed to live like hermits. I will tell you about the daily schedule when I see you.

The Bride wore a wreath of white roses

For my meditation, I had our Holy Father John’s Dark Night and the Gospel of John. Usually, on the day before Profession, before dinner, one makes a public admission of one’s faults. I was allowed to do that at noon on the Wednesday of Holy Week so that it would not interrupt the silence of the Holy Triduum. I found it especially good [to comply with that custom] before the first of the Tenebrae offices — once they begin one wants to leave off all occupation with oneself. On Saturday evening I was called [to come for a few minutes to see the community] during recreation time; I received from each Sister the promise of a spiritual bouquet and a commendation of intentions.

Richly laden I then returned to the choir. Of course, out of the great riches of grace on this Easter day, I let all those have a share who have given me something of their heart to take along into Carmel.

Once more, sincere thanks for all your goodness and love. In caritate Christi, your Sister

Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Saint Edith Stein’s Letter 198 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU
Self-Portrait In Letters, 1916-1942 (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)


Notes:

  • It was customary to place a small statue of the Infant Jesus on the head table in the refectory where the newly-professed is seated next to the prioress. Myrtle is used to create a small wreath for the statue of the Infant, the “Bridegroom”, who faces his “Bride”, wearing a garland of white roses. Edith sent the myrtle wreath that had been used on the statue to Mother Petra, who had provided it and all the flowers and decorations for the celebration.
  • Edith refers to the Chapter of Faults, where even to this day in many Discalced Carmelite monasteries, nuns will gather in the Chapter Room of the monastery to listen to the prioress give a brief spiritual reflection on an aspect of community life and how it applies to the Carmelite Rule and their Constitutions. The nuns then take a spiritual and moral inventory, reviewing their life together; each one admits her public faults and begs forgiveness of her sisters. On occasions like religious profession, a nun will individually and publicly admit her faults and ask for forgiveness outside of the community Chapter of Faults. Since her profession rite took place on Easter Sunday, Edith made her public admission on Holy Wednesday; she gives the reasons why.
  • During the retreat days prior to her profession on Easter Sunday, Edith would have assisted at the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours in the nuns’ choir. However, she would have veiled her face with her great veil (grand Voile) when in the presence of the community so as to maintain the spirit of solitude where the Discalced Carmelites “are allowed to live like hermits,” as Edith describes above. In the photo below, the veil that you see extending over her shoulders is the great veil, while the small veil (petit Voile) tucks inside her scapular. In her hermit days while on retreat, we see that Edith preferred to spend extra hours of solitary prayer in the choir near Christ in the tabernacle while the rest of the community was occupied at recreation.

[Sources: Leuven, Stinissen & Gelber; Carmel of Haifa]

First Profession_Easter 21 April 1935

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: 9 April

Monday, 9 April 1888

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

Thérèse enters the Carmel of Lisieux

From Marie Martin (Marie of the Sacred Heart) to her father, Saint Louis Martin 
9th April 1888

Incomparable Father,

What Céline tells us is worthy of you! Ah! What a remarkable father we have! He truly is unique… Also, I’m not surprised that God is taking all the children away from this incomparable father! He is too dear to his Heart for Him not to look upon him and his family with a very special love. How our dear mother must be smiling down upon you, she must be rejoicing to see her darling boat being so well directed by you towards Heaven.

 

Entrée aqua-entree-1
St. Thérèse crosses the threshold of the cloister, a later watercolor | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux | Visit the Archives site to see the annotated sketch for this watercolor and all of the artworks associated with the life of St. Thérèse, her “Life in Pictures

 

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints, and if we didn’t follow in the footsteps of your generosity… Ah! How Jesus will have to repay you a hundredfold for the lily barely in bloom, the lily, filled with freshness, that you are offering him today. Oh, your crown in heaven! Darling Father, how radiant and beautiful it will be. Ah! Pray that your diamond may not be too pale beside so many beauties.

I can’t continue any longer, my heart is too full of affection for you and is all yours.

Our Mother couldn’t help crying as she read Céline’s account. Ah! What a remarkable father you are!!

M. of the S. H.

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints

N.B. — St. Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was deferred to Monday, April 9 in the year 1888 because March 25 was Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. “Our Mother” refers to the prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague. You can read a brief biographical sketch of Mother Marie here; as Sr. Geneviève (Céline) remarked at the end of her life to another younger member of the community, “But we loved her! But you would have loved her! Only…” she continued with an appropriate facial expression “she was feared as a storm is feared when you have no umbrella … “

Read an outstanding essay concerning Thérèse’s entry to the Carmel of Lisieux on April 9, written by St. Thérèse expert Maureen O’Riordan and illustrated with 19th-century photos, published on her blog Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.

 

The letter from Marie of the Sacred Heart to her father, Saint Louis Martin, all correspondence by family and friends, and other texts and sources concerning St. Thérèse are found on the official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 16 March

This our American Carmel — your lifted hands are the very strength & hope of all our rising churches

J.M.J.

Eternity.

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

Mother-Frances-Dickinson_Port-Tobacco
Mother Clare Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Frances Dickenson, 1755-1830)

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)

Quote of the day: 25 February

On Wednesday, the 25th of February 1959, at 9:25 a.m. Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face died at the age of 89 years and 10 months, and 63 years of religious profession.

With her Sisters continually and prayerfully keeping watch by her bedside, she had a peaceful night, happy with the deliverance drawing nigh. At dawn, she was a bit restless, but without any suffering.

“It really is today,” said the Mother Prioress.

“Today!” she repeated, as if she was savoring her joy.

“Yes, you fight, it’s a hard fight! But you will have the victory because Jesus is with you.”

In a tone of triumph, a blurry look in her eyes, but extremely lucid, Sister Genevieve continued: “Jesus!”

That was her last word. She expressed the tenderness of her entire life.

Today! — Jesus!

Céline Martin
Sr. Geneviève of the Holy Face, OCD

Read the complete account of her final day on our post, Adieu Céline

Quote of the day: 24 February

To free yourself from the harm the world can do you, you should practice three precautions.

The first precaution

The first is that you should have an equal love for and an equal forgetfulness of all persons, whether relatives or not, and withdraw your heart from relatives as much as from others, and in some ways even more for fear that flesh and blood might be quickened by the natural love that is ever alive among kin, and must always be mortified for the sake of spiritual perfection.

Regard all as strangers, and you will fulfill your duty toward them better than by giving them the affection you owe God. Do not love one person more than another, for you will err; the person who loves God more is the one more worthy of love, and you do not know who this is. But forgetting everyone alike, as is necessary for holy recollection, you will free yourself from this error of loving one person more or less than another.

15373525997_835386917e_o
Johan Bergström-Allen/British Province of Carmelites

 

the person who loves God more is the one more worthy of love, and you do not know who this is

 

Do not think about others, neither good things nor bad. Flee them inasmuch as possible. And if you do not observe this practice, you will not know how to be a religious, nor will you be able to reach holy recollection or deliver yourself from imperfections. And if you should wish to allow yourself some freedom in this matter, the devil will deceive you in one way or another, or you will deceive yourself under some guise of good or evil.

In doing what we said, you will have security, for in no other way will you be capable of freeing yourself from the imperfections and harm derived from creatures.

Saint John of the Cross
The Precautions (excerpt)

Albert of Jerusalem Seminar 10oct2014
Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite friars pray together at a conference | Johan Bergström-Allen/British Province of Carmelites

At age 20, Juan de Yepes y Alvarez entered the Carmelite Order, being clothed with the habit on February 24, 1563, and taking the name Juan de Santo Matia (John of Saint Matthias).  Pursuing theological studies in Salamanca, he was ordained in 1567, and said his first Mass in Medina del Campo. During that trip, he first met Teresa of Avila, and she encouraged him to promote her reform among the men’s Order. In November, 1568, John and three other friars took up the observance of the primitive Carmelite Rule in a farmhouse near Duruelo. At that time, he changed his name in religion to Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross).  [Source: Manuel Diego, O.C.D.]

The Precautions
The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 19 February

These last two days our dear invalid has grown considerably weaker, and this morning she wasn’t able to get up to take Holy Communion. Our beloved Sister is in a state of weakness, oppression, and anxiety which leads us to think that the end cannot be far off.

She was most touched by your parcel, but she eats so little now that she only tasted it. She has asked us to convey her gratitude for this kind gesture which moved her deeply.

Letter from Sister Marie-Louise de Gonzague Vétillart, V.H.M. to Saint Zélie Martin
(excerpt)
19 February 1877


I’m enclosing a letter I just received a moment ago which doesn’t leave us any more hope, as you can see. Last week I sent some roasted goose to my sister since she’d wanted to eat some cooked in our house. I also sent her a pound of gumdrops and a dozen cakes, but Pauline wrote Marie that she gave almost all of them to her.

Finally, I think her death is imminent, and it makes me very sad. But on the other hand, I want my poor sister to be freed as soon as possible.

Letter from Saint Zélie Martin to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin
(excerpt)
20 February 1877

Garden of the Visitandines Rouen, edhal on flickr
Garden of the former Visitation monastery, Rouen | Edhral / Flickr 

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.

pere jacques - a life without risk igsize
Learn more here about Père Jacques of Jesus, the Discalced Carmelite friar from the Province of Paris who was held as a political prisoner in the Mauthausen concentration camp because he sheltered Jewish students at the Discalced Carmelite friars’ boarding school in Avon, France

Quote of the Day: 17 January

For a long while now I have hardly been able to do any work. From the beginning of September until the middle of December, I took care of our good, eldest lay sister, Sr. Clara (cancer of the liver, as far as the doctors can tell). Then I got the office of turn-sister [portress], which means being a contact between the cloister and the outside world. You can imagine that for this one needs a serviceable walking apparatus. I hope to be allowed to make my perpetual profession on April 21. Soon thereafter follows the Veiling Ceremony. That is, again, a big public celebration that the beloved baptismal sponsor [Hedwig Conrad-Martius] should not miss. Hopefully the League of Academics will again cover the cost of travel. We celebrated the 300th Jubilee Year of the Cologne Carmel for four days at the end of September/beginning of October. Our dear Mother <Teresa Renata> wrote a beautiful commemorative booklet for the occasion. I believe you will receive it as a gift when you next visit us.

Do you know that Husserl’s health is very poor? This summer he suffered a severe recurrence of pleurisy and is not recovering well from it. Would you write to him sometime perhaps? They now live in Freiburg-Herdern, at Schöneck 6.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein
Letter 257 to Hedwig Conrad-Martius, 17 January 1938

September 8, 1890: Profession of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus

May I never seek nor find anything but yourself alone

On the day of her solemn religion Profession, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus carried a Profession Note, which was a prayer, a type of love note between Thérèse and her divine Spouse. On it, she wrote,

O Jesus, my divine spouse! May I never lose the sec­ond robe of my Baptism! Take me before I can commit the slightest voluntary fault. May I never seek nor find anything but yourself alone. May creatures be nothing for me and may I be nothing for them, but may you, Jesus, be every­thing!

Read more of her Profession Note here

Pri02
Image of the note carried by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux on the day of her religious Profession 8 September 1890

 

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 1

SCRIPTURE READING
1 Kings 17:1-7

At the wadi Cherith

Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead said to Ahab, “As Yahweh lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order.”
The word of Yahweh came to him, “Go away from here, go eastward, and hide yourself in the Wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.” He did as Yahweh had said; he went and stayed in the Wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

 

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross, Chapter 1

The Message of Sacred Scripture

In Carmel—under the mitigated Rule as well—the remembrance of the Prophet Elijah, the “Leader and Father of Carmelites” lived on. The Institutio Primorum Monachorum set the prophet before the eyes of the young religious as a model of the contemplative life. This prophet whom God commanded to go forth into the desert, to conceal himself by the brook Carith across from the Jordan, to drink the water of the brook and to be nourished by the food which God would send him, is to be the model of all who withdraw into solitude renouncing sin and all sensory pleasures, indeed all earthly things.

 

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

Wadi Tiwi_Oman
Wadi Tiwi, Oman

 

The Science of the Cross
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

“Juanita preferred the poorest one”

On 7 May 1919, Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of the Holy Spirit in the township of Los Andes, roughly 90 kilometers from her family in the capital of Santiago, Chile.

Years later, her brother Luis testified for her process of beatification and canonization:

“Juanita chose the poorest Monastery of Los Andes out of the spirit of poverty. She could have entered a Carmelite cloister in Santiago which, while austere, had more comforts and a better appearance. Nevertheless, Juanita preferred the poorest one.

“Juanita entered religious life at the age of eighteen. The whole family traveled with her to Los Andes and was present when she entered the convent. Juanita bade farewell to each of us in the midst of a huge electrical storm. The rain was exceedingly heavy. She said goodbye to me last, hugged me and whispered in my ear, ‘God exists, brother, and never forget that.’ At this point, my sister, Rebecca, was so upset that she fainted.”

 

Teresa-de-los-Andes_teenager-formal-portrait_headshot-sepia
Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes (1900-1920)
Juana Enriqueta Josefina of the Sacred Hearts Fernandez Solar
“Juanita”

 

The Writings of Saint Teresa Of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement 
Edited by Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS 
Translated by Reverend Michael D. Griffin, OCD
Published by New Life Publishing Company, 2003

Featured photo: Peregrinación de Santa Teresa de Los Andes 
Km 19, Cerro Chacabuco
Benjamín Mejías / Flickr

 

 

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