Quote of the day: 20 January

“Germany will be my grave.”

 

I shall say Mass for George on November 24, the feast of our father St. John of the Cross. On that day, I am leaving to minister to the French prisoners interned in Germany. French priests who wished to go were refused permits. I felt I could not refuse this mission, since Jesus says to those he rejects, “I was in prison and you did not visit me.” People think I am suited to the work because I have relatives in Germany. So I am setting out under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I am looking forward to bringing some consolation to these prisoners who are in such great need.

Hermann Cohen to his sister, writing from Montreux, Switzerland
Late November 1870

When Cohen arrived in Berlin, he took up the chaplaincy of Spandau prisoner of war camp, about nine miles from the capital. There were 5,300 French prisoners in the camp. While ministering to their spiritual needs, he also didn’t overlook their material ones. He would arrive at the camp armed with parcels of clothes and linen, which he distributed to those in need during the bitter Berlin winter.

I am at Spandau where you made your First Communion in the sacristy. I vest in this sacristy every day to say Mass and preach to the French prisoners. About 500 of them are ill with typhus and dysentery. About 400 attend Mass every day, and I preach to them. Then I visit the hospital to minister to the sick; and in the afternoon, I visit the barracks to see those who are well. Pray earnestly for their conversion; many of the healthy have not been to confession yet.

Hermann Cohen to his sister, writing from Spandau
Early December 1870

A last fragment of a letter from Hermann Cohen has survived. His beloved nephew George Raunheim has noted on it, “N.B. End of a letter written on 11 December in Spandau, twenty days before his death.”

Let us love Jesus more every day! Father Augustine. An unworthy sinner who wishes to be converted for the new year that is beginning. Amen.

On January 9, Cohen contracted smallpox while anointing two of its victims. His family afterward believed that he did not have the spatula with him with which he usually anointed the sick. He had a scratch on his finger through which he contracted the disease. A Capuchin friar in Spandau gave an account of his last days in January 1871..

On Friday, the 13, Father Hermann was ill. We went to his room, and his eldest brother Albert had come from Montreux. He was being looked after by a Sister of Charity. “Well Father, I need you,” he said to me. “I have smallpox and shall be in bed for three or four weeks. I shall be unhappy if the work I have begun is not continued. Besides, the Lord can take me. You will be there to take my place.” “Father,” I said, “I hope God will leave you still longer in your ministry.” But he looked at his crucifix and said, “No, I don’t think so, I hope the Lord will take me this time.”

On January 15, he grew worse; and after a seizure, the parish priest of Spandau decided to give him the last rites. Cohen accepted them with joy and peace, which impressed everyone present. Then he renewed his Carmelite vows. He joined in the Te Deum, the Salve Regina, and the De Profundis. Then he saw his brothers Albert and Louis for the last time and asked Louis to see that he was buried in the vaults of the Cathedral of St. Hedwig in Berlin.

Two days later, his condition deteriorated. On January 19, the sister asked if he wanted her to call a priest. Cohen replied,

So I am going to die. May God’s holy will be done; besides, if I were cured, I would have to witness distressful things.

Cohen’s last hours do remind us of what St. John of the Cross wrote in his “Spiritual Canticle”:

Death cannot be bitter to the soul who loves, who finds in her all sweetness, delights of love. The soul looks upon death as her friend and spouse, and thinking of her, rejoices as on the day of her espousals. She desires the day and hour when death will come, more than the kings of this earth desire their kingdoms.

The Spiritual Canticle 11:10

He gave a last blessing to those around him at their request—his attendants, the Sister of Charity who looked after him, and a Jesuit coworker. Cohen survived the night and died quietly the next morning at about ten o’clock. He was forty-nine years of age. It was a truly heroic end to a life that, after conversion, was completely dedicated to Christian and Carmelite ministry. He was indeed a martyr of charity.

And so on a frosty morning in the course of a Berlin winter, January 20, 1871, Hermann Cohen yielded his generous soul into the arms of eternal love.

Timothy Tierney, O.C.D.

A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the Cross
Chapter 13: Final Mission, 1870-1871 (excerpts)

 

Winter 2016 Berlin Spandau joerg euken flickr 31397478306
Winter in Spandau, 5 December 2016 | joerg euken / Flickr

 

The official website for the cause of the beatification of the Servant of God Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament is maintained by the vice-postulator of the cause in the Discalced Carmelite Friars’ province of Avignon-Aquitaine, the Carmes de Midi. You can access the cause’s official website here; it is in published only in French. The Discalced Carmelite General Postulator in Rome also has an official website with pages and links dedicated to Father Augustine-Mary. You can access the website’s links to Hermann Cohen here; it is published only in Italian. You can find the English translation of the Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament here. You can view our previous blog posts about Hermann Cohen here.

 

 

Tierney, T  2017,  A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the CrossBalboa Press,  Bloomington, IN

 

Prayer for the beatification of Father Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament (Hermann Cohen)

Mary, Immaculate Virgin Mother,

who at the grotto at Lourdes restored to health Fr Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament that he might serve you faithfully in your Order of Carmel, obtain, we pray, from the Blessed Trinity the grace…

mention your request here

through the intercession and merits of your devoted servant “whose joy was to suffer for Jesus” and to whom it was granted, in answer to his heartfelt prayer, “to consecrate his life in its entirety to God’s will, service and glory”.

Mary, Mother of God, glorify, we beseech you, your servant who, through the redeeming power of Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, was brought to the knowledge of the Truth.

Make known, we pray, this apostle who was fired with devotion to the Sacrament of your Son’s love. May he bestow upon us, priests and laity alike, his burning zeal that the Divine Presence in the Eucharist might be adored, the Mass celebrated with reverence and sincerity, and Holy Communion received frequently and with devotion.

Grant that forthwith throughout the world and especially among your chosen people, Israel, there may be established the Eucharistic Kingship of the Son of David, the Living Bread, who came down from heaven in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

Amen.

With ecclesiastical approval

 

Report favors received to the Vice-Postulator

Postulation de la cause du Père Hermann
Monastère du Broussey
33410 RIONS
France

causeduperehermann@gmail.com

Quote of the day: 10 November

My God, is it possible to have lived without thinking of Jesus, without loving Jesus, without living for Jesus and in Jesus?

Now that your grace has awakened me, now that my eyes have seen, my hands have touched, my ears have heard, my heart has loved—yes, I love Jesus Christ. I shall take care not to hide it. I am in honor bound to proclaim it before the world.

I love Jesus Christ—that’s the secret of my immense peace which has gone on increasing since the first moment I began to love. I love Jesus Christ—this is what I want to proclaim to the ends of the earth.

I wish that the walls of this temple would expand to include the millions who live on the earth, so that my voice could reach and penetrate the depths of their hearts, making them vibrate in unison with mine, all responding together in one great hymn of joy and triumph, echoing from earth to heaven, “we too love Jesus Christ.”

Servant of God Hermann Cohen

Father Augustine Mary of the Blessed Sacrament
Born Hamburg 10 November 1820
Died Berlin 20 January 1871

 

Hermann-Cohen_full-portrait
Father Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servant of God Hermann Cohen | Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

An interesting biographical sketch of the Servant of God, illustrated with photos is here. Born in a Jewish family in Hamburg, it outlines Father Hermann’s journey from Hamburg to Paris as a student of Franz Liszt in order to become a successful, internationally-recognized concert pianist, until his conversion in May 1847 while substituting for a friend as music director for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  Two years later, he entered the Discalced Carmelite friars in Le Broussey, France, exercising a rich and fruitful ministry.

A brief biographical article written by another Jewish convert and Discalced Carmelite, Father Elias Friedman, is here.

The official Discalced Carmelite biography published in Italian by the Postulator General is here.

 

Hermann Cohen tomb le Broussey P1030779
The tomb of the Servant of God in the Discalced Carmelite priory church of Le Broussey | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Tierney, T 2017, A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the Cross, Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN

Quote of the day: 2 June

God is eternal silence

 

nature water flowers lake
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God dwells in silence

 


Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Silence
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Eight 
Thursday evening, 9 September 1943


The Servant of God Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., who was a professed friar of the Province of Paris-Avon, an ordained priest, and the headmaster of the Discalced Carmelite friars’ boys’ preparatory school at Avon, the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésusdied on this date, 2 June 1945 in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Linz, Austria following 70 weeks in Nazi prison camps. Père Jacques was weakened by a year of hard labor and harsh conditions at Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps in Austria; when the Allied Forces liberated the camps on 5 May 1945, he summoned the strength to help restore order and organize relief efforts. But 15 days later the Allied camp commanders transferred him to St. Elizabeth Hospital so that he could be close to the community of the Discalced Carmelite friars at Linz. It was there that he succumbed to illness and exhaustion at 45 years of age.

The diocesan process of his cause for beatification was opened in 1990. You can find the prayer for his beatification here and the website for his cause here.

The World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem has a featured story dedicated to Père Jacques. It includes a description of his heroic acts to shelter Jewish students at the preparatory school, for which he was arrested. It also quotes the testimony of witnesses to his arrest and imprisonment and provides links to read full accounts of witnesses’ testimonies. On 17 January 1985 Yad Vashem recognized Père Jacques as Righteous Among the Nations. You can read the Yad Vashem featured story, find the links, and see the Yad Vashem photos here.

Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Père Jacques, is available for purchase from the publisher, ICS Publications.

 

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

Marie du jour: 20 May

She raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word

The gospel says, “raise your heads” (Luke 21:28).  The Lord wants us to look to the future with hope. There are certainly problems, there are situations that create fear; but as Christians, we who believe in Jesus Christ who is to come, we raise our heads.

Raising your head means being able to talk to God. Lifting your head is a gesture of humility in the gospel. It is the one who stands up to meet the Lord and listen to him, to be available to walk wherever he sends us, to be available to listen to his voice, to speak with him like the Virgin Mary did: she raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word.

Annunciation_Nicolas Poussin_1657 NatlGalleryLondon (2)
The Annunciation
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 – 1665)
Oil on canvas, 1657
The National Gallery, London

She raised her head — full of grace — to do the will of God in everything and always to be moved by the Spirit that had descended upon her most holy womb. Mary teaches us to raise our heads; that is not the lifting up of the haughty, the head-raising of the proud, who look at others from above, who are so sure of themselves that they think they don’t need others.

To raise your head in the gospel means raising your head to meet God and abandoning yourself into his hands; it means gazing at him with love and welcoming his love like the Virgin.

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, First Sunday of Advent, 2015 (excerpt)


About the painting:

The archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin that she will bear the Son of God. New Testament (Luke 1:26-38). Above her hovers a dove who represents the Holy Spirit, the medium through whom the Christ Child was conceived. Unusually, the Virgin’s cloak is painted yellow. This color probably had symbolic significance, possibly as a sign of hope and/or purity.

Learn more from The National Gallery

 

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: 4 March

THE SPIRITUAL CANTICLE

This commentary on the stanzas that deal with the exchange of love between the soul and Christ, its Bridegroom, explains certain matters about prayer and its effects. It was written at the request of Mother Ana de Jesús, prioress of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of St. Joseph’s in Granada, in the year 1584.

PROLOGUE

1. These stanzas, Reverend Mother, were obviously composed with a certain burning love of God. The wisdom and charity of God is so vast, as the Book of Wisdom states, that it reaches from end to end [Wis. 8:1], and the soul informed and moved by it bears in some way this very abundance and impulsiveness in her words. As a result, I do not plan to expound these stanzas in all the breadth and fullness that the fruitful spirit of love conveys to them. It would be foolish to think that expressions of love arising from mystical understanding, like these stanzas, are fully explainable. The Spirit of the Lord, who abides in us and aids our weakness, as St. Paul says [Rom. 8:26], pleads for us with unspeakable groanings in order to manifest what we can neither fully understand nor comprehend.

Who can describe in writing the understanding he gives to loving souls in whom he dwells? And who can express with words the experience he imparts to them? Who, finally, can explain the desires he gives them? Certainly, no one can! Not even they who receive these communications. As a result, these persons let something of their experience overflow in figures, comparisons, and similitudes, and from the abundance of their spirit pour out secrets and mysteries rather than rational explanations.

If these similitudes are not read with the simplicity of the spirit of knowledge and love they contain, they will seem to be absurdities rather than reasonable utterances, as will those comparisons of the divine Song of Solomon and other books of Sacred Scripture where the Holy Spirit, unable to express the fullness of his meaning in ordinary words, utters mysteries in strange figures and likenesses. The saintly doctors, no matter how much they have said or will say, can never furnish an exhaustive explanation of these figures and comparisons, since the abundant meanings of the Holy Spirit cannot be caught in words. Thus the explanation of these expressions usually contains less than what they embody in themselves.

2. Since these stanzas, then, were composed in a love flowing from abundant mystical understanding, I cannot explain them adequately, nor is it my intention to do so. I only wish to shed some general light on them, since Your Reverence has desired this of me…

Ana_de_Jesús
Mother Ana de Jesús (Lobera) was born in Medina del Campo on November 25, 1545, and entered the Teresian Carmel on August 1, 1570. In 1575 she went to Beas as prioress, where she became an intimate friend of St. John of the Cross. She later served as prioress also in Granada and Madrid. In 1604 she went to France and Belgium where she made numerous foundations. She died in Brussels on March 4, 1621. The cause for her beatification is in process. | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

Read the official biography of the Servant of God on the website of the Discalced Carmelite General Postulation of the Causes of the Saints 

The Spiritual Canticle and biographic sketch of Ana de Jesús from
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: 13 February

“I want my life to be a trail of light that shines in the way of my siblings showing their faith, hope, and charity.”

Servant of God Sister Maria Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart
http://lucia.pt/

Lucia_001
Sister Maria Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart
22 March 1907 – 13 February 2005

 

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