Being in prayer on the feastday of the glorious St. Peter, I saw or, to put it better, I felt Christ beside me; I saw nothing with my bodily eyes or with my soul, but it seemed to me that Christ was at my side — I saw that it was He, in my opinion, who was speaking to me.
Since I was completely unaware that there could be a vision like this one, it greatly frightened me in the beginning; I did nothing but weep. However, by speaking one word alone to assure me, the Lord left me feeling as I usually did: quiet, favored, and without any fear. It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side; but since this wasn’t an imaginative vision, I didn’t see any form.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did. At no time in which I was a little recollected, or not greatly distracted, was I able to ignore that He was present at my side.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did.
I immediately went very anxiously to my confessor to tell him. He asked me in what form I saw Him. I answered that I didn’t see Him. He asked how I knew that it was Christ.
I answered that I didn’t know how, but that I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me, that I saw and felt Him clearly, that my recollection of soul was greater, and that I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet, that the effects were much different from those I usually experienced, and that it was very clear.
It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side
I could do nothing but draw comparisons in order to explain myself. And, indeed, there is no comparison that fits this kind of vision very well. Since this vision is among the most sublime (as I was afterward told by a very holy and spiritual man, whose name is Friar Peter of Alcántara and of whom I shall speak later, and by other men of great learning) and the kind in which the devil can interfere the least of all, there are no means by which those of us who know little here below can explain it. Learned men will explain it better.
I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me
I saw and felt Him clearly
my recollection of soul was greater
I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet
the effects were much different
it was very clear
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 27; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
“Be careful about what you are doing.”
Saint Teresa of Avila to Sr. Ana de San Agustín
Carmel of Villanueva de la Jara Continue reading “Good advice”
We arrived in Villanueva de la Jara on the first Sunday of Lent, the feast of St. Barbaciani, [21 February] the vigil of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, in the year 1580. On this same day at the time of the high Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the church of the glorious St. Anne.
The city council and some others along with Doctor Ervías came out to receive us, and we got down from our wagons at the church in the town, which was quite far from St. Anne’s. The joy of the whole town was so great.
It gave me much consolation to see the happiness with which they received the order of the Blessed Virgin, our Lady.
We had heard from afar the peal of the church bells. Once we were inside the church, they began the Te Deum, one verse sung by the choir and the other played by the organ.
When it was finished, they carried the Blessed Sacrament on one portable platform and a statue of our Lady on another, and crosses and banners. The procession proceeded with much pomp.
We were in the middle near the Blessed Sacrament with our white mantles and our veils covering our faces, and next to us were many of our discalced friars from their monastery and Franciscans from the monastery of St. Francis that was located there, and one Dominican who happened to be present (even though he was alone it made me happy to see that habit there).
Since the distance was great, there were many altars set up along the way. From time to time the procession stopped and some verses were recited in honor of our order which moved us to great devotion. So did the sight of all of them praising the great God present in our midst and the fact that because of Him they paid so much honor to us seven poor, little discalced nuns who were there.
While I was engaged in all these reflections, I became very ashamed in recalling that I was among them and that if they were to do what I deserved they would all turn against me.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 28
We are grateful to photographer José-María Moreno García for making his photo-documentary of the Fifth Centenary visit to Saint Teresa’s foundation of Villanueva de la Jara available for download under a Creative Commons license. To see the complete photo album from this foundation, click here.
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA
Spiritual Testimonies, No. 6
(Malagón, Feb. 9, 1570)
Our Lord encourages her to make more foundations and to write their history
Right after I received Communion, on the second day of Lent, in St. Joseph’s at Malagón, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me in an imaginative vision, as He usually does.
While I was gazing upon Him, I saw in place of the crown of thorns a crown of great brilliance on His head, there where the wounds must have been made.
Since I am devoted to this episode of the Passion, I was very much consoled and began to think how great the torment must have been since there were so many wounds; and I became afflicted. The Lord told me that I shouldn’t grieve over those wounds, but over the many that were now inflicted upon Him. I asked Him what I could do as a remedy for this because I was determined to do everything I could.
He told me that now was not the time for rest, but that I should hurry to establish these houses
He told me that now was not the time for rest, but that I should hurry to establish these houses; that He found his rest with the souls living in them; that I should accept as many houses as given me since there were many persons who did not serve Him because they had no place for it; that those houses I founded in small towns should be like this one, for, by desire, as much could be merited as in the other houses; that I should strive to put all the houses under the government of a superior; that I should insist that the interior peace not be lost through a concern for bodily sustenance; that He would help us so nothing would be lacking; that the sick especially should be cared for; that a prioress who did not provide for and favor the sick was like Job’s friends; that He made use of the scourge for the good of souls, and that in such an event they should practice patience;
and that I should write about the foundation of these houses.
I thought of how in regard to the house at Medina I never understood anything in a way that I could write of its foundation. He told me that that was all the more reason to write of it since He wanted it to be seen that the Medina foundation had been miraculous. He meant that He alone founded that house since it had seemed absolutely impossible to found.
And as a result I decided to write about the founding of these houses.
With profound gratitude to the translator, Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., who with his Spanish collaborator Father Otilio Rodriguez is the sine qua non of all of the texts of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross that we publish on this blog. Father Kieran died 2 February 2019, just days shy of his 91st birthday. His funeral Mass is celebrated today, 9 February in the monastery chapel in Washington DC and his interment will be at the provincial cemetery in Holy Hill, Wisconsin, 14 February. To learn more about Father Kieran and his remarkable career as a translator and Discalced Carmelite, visit the Washington Province blog.
From this spiritual source the faith and ardent love of John of the Cross and of Teresa of Jesus were nourished, two saints to whom, let me say it, I have entrusted myself since the years of my youth.
Saint John Paul II
Address to the Bishops of Oviedo and Valladolid on their Ad Limina Visit
6 February 1982
Although separated by an immense ocean, we are no less children of the same family. Our holy Mother Teresa of Jesus watches undoubtedly over you in a special manner, and deigns to cast an eye upon you from her place in Heaven, where her charity and her ardent zeal for the propagation of the faith in those countries which you inhabit are so efficacious before the throne of her Divine Master.
Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Riom, Auvergne
Letter to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Baltimore, Maryland, 1838
N.B. — In the year 2019, the Memorial is overshadowed by the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
SAINT HENRY DE OSSO Y CERVELLO
Henry was born at Vinebre, Catalonia, Spain, on October 16, 1840, and was ordained a priest on September 21, 1867. He was an apostle to young people in teaching them about their faith and inspired various movements for the teaching of the Gospel. As a spiritual director he was fascinated by St. Teresa of Jesus, the great teacher in the ways of prayer and Daughter of the Church who is better known in the English-speaking world as St. Teresa of Avila. In the light of her teaching, he founded the Company of St. Teresa (1876) dedicated to educating women in the school of the Gospel and following the example of St. Teresa. He gave himself to preaching and the apostolate through the printing press. He underwent many severe trials and sufferings. He died at Gilet, Valencia, Spain, on January 27, 1896.
He was canonized on July 16, 1993, in Madrid, by St. John Paul II.
From the Common of Pastors
Office of Readings
The Second Reading
(A Month in the Heart of Jesus, Prologue, EEO III, Rome, 1977, pp. 456-458)
From the writings of Saint Henry de Osso, Priest
Identification with Jesus Christ
This is our main endeavor: to think, to feel, to love as Christ Jesus, to act and to speak as He — in a word, to conform our whole life to Christ’s. No one can be saved unless they are formed in the image of Christ. To conform our life to Christ’s, we need, above all, to study His life, know it, and meditate upon it, not only in its outward appearance, but by immersing ourselves in the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams of Jesus Christ so as to do everything in union with Him. In His goodness, Jesus Himself invites us, both in word and in action, to do this. For example, if we do not know the sentiments of His heart so as to put them into practice, how can we learn from His gentleness and humility? Or, how can we come into His presence each time we act in order to imitate Him? Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept silent, walked, worked, sweat, got tired, rested, was hungry, thirsty and poor; in a word, He suffered and died for us and for our salvation.
Why is it, then, that we cannot make or imagine Jesus as real and down to earth, but only in theory and as the ideal, which is the reason we do not love and imitate Him in everything, as we must? Jesus is our brother, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, bone of our bones. This is who our Jesus is, true God and true Man, alive, personal, and intimate. He let Himself be seen; He lived and spoke with us. For our salvation, being the eternal Word of God, He descended from heaven, became flesh, suffered, died, rose, ascended into heaven, and remained among us until the end of time to be our companion, our consolation, and our food in the Blessed Sacrament.
Eternal life, then, our only happiness in time and eternity, consists in knowing Jesus more intimately. How happy will be the person who learns this lesson and lives it daily. What an inspiring thought! I will live, sleep, speak, listen, work, suffer — I will do everything, I will suffer everything in union with Jesus, with the same divine intention and sentiments that Jesus had and with which He suffered, which is what Jesus wants of me.
Whoever does this — and all of us are called to do it — will live in this life the life of the world to come and will be transformed into Jesus, able to say with St. Paul: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
R/. I rejoice in the trials I bear and make up in my flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ *
— for the sake of His body which is the Church.
V/. I have been crucified with Christ, and now I no longer live but Christ lives in me: *
— For the sake of His body which is the Church.
in your priest Saint Henry de Osso
you wonderfully combined
the ideals of the apostolic community:
a life of continual prayer
and of untiring apostolic activity.
By his intercession may we persevere in the love of Christ
and serve your Church by word and deed.
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.
One feast day of St. Paul, while I was at Mass, this most sacred humanity in its risen form was represented to me completely, as it is in paintings, with such wonderful beauty and majesty; I have written about it in particular to your Reverence when you insistently ordered me to do so. And writing about it was very difficult for me to do because one cannot describe this vision without ruining it.
Saint Teresa of Jesus
The Book of Her Life, 28:3
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.
Servant of God Anne of Jesus
Autobiography of Blessed Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew
I resolved to do the little that was in my power; that is, to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I could and strive that these few persons who live here do the same.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 1
Oh, my soul! Let the will of God be done; this suits you. Serve and hope in His mercy, for He will cure your grief when penance for your faults will have gained some pardon for them. Don’t desire joy but suffering. O, true Lord and my King! I’m still not ready for suffering if Your sovereign hand and greatness do not favor me, but with these, I shall be able to do all things.
Soliloquies 6: Painful Longing For God
¡Oh ánima mía! Deja hacerse la voluntad de tu Dios; eso te conviene. Sirve y espera en su misericordia, que remediará tu pena, cuando la penitencia de tus culpas haya ganado algún perdón de ellas; no quieras gozar sin padecer. ¡Oh verdadero Señor y Rey mío!, que aun para esto no soy, si no me favorece vuestra soberana mano y grandeza, que con esto todo lo podré.
Exclamaciones del Alma a Dios: Capítulo 6
Soliloquies: 6, Painful Longing For God; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Insofar as I can understand the door of entry to this castle is prayer and reflection. I don’t mean to refer to mental more than vocal prayer, for since vocal prayer is prayer it must be accompanied by reflection. A prayer in which a person is not aware of whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of whom,
I do not call prayer however much the lips move.
Sometimes it will be so without this reflection, provided that the soul has these reflections at other times. Nonetheless, anyone who has the habit of speaking before God’s majesty as though he were speaking to a slave, without being careful to see how he is speaking, but saying whatever comes to his head and whatever he has learned from saying at other times, in my opinion is not praying. Please God, may no Christian pray in this way.
The Interior Castle: I:1
Porque, a cuanto yo puedo entender, la puerta para entrar en este castillo es la oración y consideración, no digo más mental que vocal, que como sea oración ha de ser con consideración; porque la que no advierte con quién habla y lo que pide y quién es quien pide y a quién,
no la llamo yo oración
aunque mucho menee los labios; porque aunque algunas veces sí será, aunque no lleve este cuidado, mas es habiéndole llevado otras. Mas quien tuviese de costumbre hablar con la majestad de Dios como hablaría con su esclavo, que ni mira si dice mal, sino lo que se le viene a la boca y tiene deprendido por hacerlo otras veces, no la tengo por oración, ni plega a Dios que ningún cristiano la tenga de esta suerte
Castillo Interior: Moradas Primeras – Capítulo 1
The Interior Castle, First Dwelling; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Elijah, our Father, leads,
In our self-denying we follow him
Strongly and zealously,
Nuns of Carmel.
Al Padre Elías siguiendo
nos vamos contradiciendo
con su fortaleza y celo,
monjas del Carmelo.
Poetry: 10. On the Way to Heaven; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Daughter, Father John of the Cross is going there. Let the nuns in that monastery speak to him of matters concerning their souls with simplicity as though they were speaking with me, for he has the spirit of our Lord.
Saint Teresa to Madre Ana de San Alberto, Letter 323
Hija, ahí va el padre Juan de la Cruz; trátenle sus almas con llaneza en ese convento como si yo misma fuera, porque tiene espíritu de nuestro Señor.
Santa Teresa a la Madre Ana de San Alberto, Carta 323
Letters: Letter 323 to Madre Ana de San Alberto; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Nota Bene: Míriada Hispánica is the academic review published by the University of Virginia Hispanic Studies Program. The most recent issue, No. 16, is dedicated as a festschrift in homage to Professor Alison Weber upon her retirement from the University as Professor of Spanish. Well known among Carmelites for her groundbreaking work Teresa de Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity (Princeton UP, 1990; reprinted in paperback in 1996), Dr. Weber continues to teach as a Professor Emerita and continues to pursue her research interests concerning Saint Teresa, the Spanish mystics, and women’s writing in early modern Spain. Numero 16 of Míriada Hispánica features two articles in English in regard to Carmelite themes. Teresa of Avila, Courtier by Professor Luis Corteguera of the University of Kansas examines Teresa of Avila’s views on authority as reflected in her courtly metaphors. María de San José in Portugal: Life in the Lisbon Carmel by Dr. Barbara Mujica, Professor of Spanish Emerita at Georgetown University offers a detailed, fascinating, and well-sourced account of the María de San José’s influence and experience that prepared the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Lisbon to cope with the English attack on their monastery in 1589.
The entire issue is available for free download here
La profesora Alison Weber, recientemente jubilada de la Universidad de Virgina, ha sido objeto de un homenaje por parte de la revista Miriada Hispánica, que edita la Universidad de Virginia en su Centro de Estudios de Valencia (Hispanic Studies Program). El último número, coordinado por Jennifer E. Barlow, está dedicado a temas muy queridos por […]
All we can do is take refuge in God.
Sólo nos quedaba acudir a Dios.
Excerpt from Letter 219 to Padre Gaspar de Salazar, Granada; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
On Palm Sunday after Communion, my faculties remained in such deep suspension that I couldn’t even swallow the host; and, holding it in my mouth, after I returned a little to myself, it truly seemed to me that my entire mouth was filled with blood. I felt that my face and all the rest of me was also covered with this blood, as though the Lord had just then finished shedding it. It seemed to me warm, and the sweetness I then experienced was extraordinary. The Lord said to me: “Daughter, I want my blood to be beneficial to you, and don’t be afraid that My mercy will fail you. I shed it with many sufferings, and you enjoy it with the great delight you are aware of; I repay you well for the banquet you prepare me this day.”
He said this because for more than thirty years I have received Communion on this day when possible and have striven to prepare my soul to give hospitality to the Lord.
Saint Teresa of Avila
El día de Ramos, acabando de comulgar, quedé con gran suspensión, de manera que aun no podía pasar la Forma, y teniéndomela en la boca verdaderamente me pareció, cuando torné un poco en mí, que toda la boca se me había henchido de sangre; y parecíame estar también el rostro y toda yo cubierta de ella, como que entonces acabara de derramarla el Señor. Me parece estaba caliente, y era excesiva la suavidad que entonces sentía, y díjome el Señor: “Hija, yo quiero que mi sangre te aproveche, y no hayas miedo que te falte mi misericordia; Yo la derramé con muchos dolores, y gózasla tú con tan gran deleite como ves; bien te pago el convite que me hacías este día”.
Esto dijo porque ha más de treinta años que yo comulgaba este día, si podía, y procuraba aparejar mi alma para hospedar al Señor.
Santa Teresa de Jesús
Excerpt from Spiritual Testimonies: 22 Eucharistic experience; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.