Quote of the day: 7 January

The Doctorate of St. Teresa:

The historical development of an idea

(excerpts)

Fr. Valentino Macca, O.C.D.

Ephemerides Carmeliticae
Vol. 21 (1970/1-2) pp. 35-113


 

The Positio, concluded by this favorable judgment of the Promoter General of Faith, was distributed to all the Cardinals and Prelates of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to whom the matter was submitted:

An, attentis insigni vitae sanctitate et eminenti doctrina eiusque benefico in vita Ecclesiae pondere, procedi posse arbitrarentur ad Sanctam Teresiam a Iesu Ecclesiae Doctorem declarandam.

The matter was then dealt with directly in the meeting that the Sacred Congregation held at the Vatican on 15 July 1969, the eve of the solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. After the learned and widespread report of Card. Arcadio M. Larraona, Promoter of the Cause, Cardinals and Official Prelates of the Sacred Congregation unanimously decided that St. Teresa of Avila was worthy of being inscribed by the Supreme Pontiff in the catalog of the Doctors of the Church.

The following 21 July, Paul VI, informed of the favorable judgment of the Sacred Congregation, approved the decision and ordered that St. Teresa of Jesus be numbered among the Doctors of the Church, reserving for himself the determination of the day of proclamation, and giving the order that the corresponding Apostolic Brief should be prepared. 

All of this is reflected in the Decree Urbis et Orbis of 21 July of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

According to this decree, therefore, St. Teresa of Avila has already been declared a Doctor of the Church. However, the solemn proclamation that the Holy Father, as was later announced, will make during a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s on 27 September 1970, has not yet taken place.

We have presented the historical development of the idea of the Doctorate of St. Teresa of Avila from its humble and at the same time already powerful origins immediately after the Saint’s death until the happy official goal that now is approaching. It is an idea that immediately emerged with extraordinary clarity, even if not in strictly canonical terms, given the extraordinary value of Our Holy Mother Teresa’s doctrine and the widespread diffusion and influence that her books and her Magisterium soon had, praised by Popes and Bishops, exalted by the liturgy, used by Doctors and mystical writers, which became more and more an unquestionable authority in the field of mystical theology. While many believed that with Teresa of Jesus we were faced with a typical case of the Church declaring a Doctor equipollenter, from 1882 onwards, however, with ever greater insistence the voices were heard of those who implored a formal declaration. In 1923, an appeal was made to the Holy See to achieve this intention; it failed. The time was not ripe.

Providence arranged that in the climate of grace created by Vatican II, Paul VI, so supernaturally open to the signs of the times, should have the inspiration to give for the first time to a female Saint, distinguished for a marvelous doctrine that made her the teacher and mother of spiritual life in the Church, the title of Doctor.

The Pope, chosen by God for this act, had already in 1965 practically called her Doctor; in 1967 he greeted her as “great teacher of Catholic mysticism” and “extraordinary interpreter of the things of God”; while on 10 September 1965, he declared her principal patroness of all Catholic writers in Spain, affirming that she was the “luminary of Spain and of the whole Church” through her books, filled with heavenly wisdom, and even today she remains “praestantissima magistra” [exceptional teacher].

The solemn act of 27 September 1970—crowning all of this—will give the title, full rights, and honors of “Doctor of the Church” to the one who loved to call herself “daughter of the Church”.

Fr. Valentino di Santa Maria, o.c.d.

17 February 1924 – 7 January 1988

 

Teresa Doctor Valladolid portrait red background
Convento de la Concepción del Carmen de Valladolid | Ángel Cantero, Iglesia en Valladolid / Flickr

 

 


Father Valentino Macca, O.C.D. was a native of Brescia, Italy whose decades of service to the Discalced Carmelite Order left an indelible impression. He entered the Order at age 16 in the convent at Brescia, professing his solemn vows in 1945. When he completed his theological studies at the Teresianum in Rome, Cardinal Adeodato Piazza ordained him to the priesthood in 1950. Not long after, Father Valentino began to serve the Order at the General Curia in Rome. First, he served as a member of the communications team, the Centro Informativo; next, he labored as General Archivist, eventually assuming the direction of the Analecta O.D.C. as well.

Father Valentino distinguished himself for many years as the professor of Marian Spirituality and Mariology at the Marianum in Rome; to this day, Mariologists cite his published works. He served as a consultor to various dicasteries of the Holy See; his final curial assignment before his death was as a Relator for the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. The library of the Teresianum in Rome lists 40 titles in its catalog where Father Macca is either the author, editor, or even the subject. We are pleased to bring an excerpt from his writings on Carmelite history to our readers. For a more complete biography of Father Valentino in Italian, we direct our readers to the Enciclopedia Bresciana article here.

 

Translations from the Italian are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Marie du jour: 29 May

THE WAY OF PERFECTION

The book called The Way of Perfection written by Teresa of Jesus, a nun of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel. This book is intended for the discalced nuns who observe the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel.

JHS

This book deals with the advice and counsel Teresa of Jesus gives to her religious Sisters and daughters who live in the monasteries that, with the help of our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mother of God, our Lady, she founded. These monasteries follow the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. She directs her counsel particularly to the Sisters at St. Joseph’s monastery in Avila, which was the first foundation and the place where she was prioress when she wrote this book.

In all that I say in this book I submit to what our Mother the Holy Roman Church holds. If there should be anything contrary to that, it will be due to my not understanding the matter. And so I beg the learned men who will see this work to look it over carefully and to correct any mistake there may be as to what the Church holds, as well as any other mistakes in other matters. If there should be anything good in this work, may it be for the honor and glory of God and the service of His most Blessed Mother, our Lady and Patroness, whose habit I wear despite my being very unworthy to do so.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Foreword to the Way of Perfection

 

TERESA Way of Perfection autograph manuscript Valladolid
Original autograph manuscript of the Way of Perfection preserved in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Valladolid | Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

 

The Way of Perfection, 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.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 8 March

When the Lord wants a soul for Himself, creatures have little strength to prevent this.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 10, No. 8

TERESA Way of Perfection autograph manuscript Valladolid
As she writes the account of the founding of the Discalced monastery of the Conception of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valladolid, Saint Teresa mentions Antonio Manrique de Padilla, the son of the governor of Castile and his widow, Doña María de Acuña. At an early age Don Antonio perceived his call to the priesthood and religious life; his mother prayed faithfully for his vocation. Despite pressure from the rest of the family and “after having been delayed for three years and strongly urged to change his mind, he entered the Society of Jesus.” Don Antonio entered the Jesuits March 8, 1572, and was a novice under the direction of Baltasar Alvarez, the former confessor of Saint Teresa. [Source: Kavanaugh and Rodriguez] | Photo: Original autograph manuscript of the Way of Perfection preserved in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Valladolid. The photographer has focused on this sentence from Chapter 21: “They must have a great and very resolute determination to persevere until reaching the end, come what may, happen what may, whatever work is involved, whatever criticism arises, whether they arrive or whether they die on the road, or even if they don’t have courage for the trials that are met, or if the whole world collapses.” | Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

The Marie du jour – May 18

Before I go, I want to leave you my statue of the Most Holy Virgin as a sign of our perpetual union. It has been my constant companion. She has been my intimate confidante from the youngest years of my life. She has listened to me tell of my joys and sorrows. She has often comforted my heart broken by sorrow. I am leaving the statue with you to take my place. She has listened to me tell of my joys and sorrows. Talk to her, heart to heart, just as you do to me. When you feel lonely, as I often do, look at her and you will see her smiling face, telling you, “Your mother will never leave you alone.” When you are sorrowful and feeling down and cannot find anyone to whom you can unburden yourself, run to her presence and you Mother’s sorrowful gaze will tell you “There is no sorrow like mine.” She will comfort you, placing in your soul a drop of the consolation that springs from her wounded heart.

Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes

 

2216788796_90a330f133_o
Nes avertas oculos a fulgure huius sideris si non vis obrui procellis

 

She has listened to me tell of my joys and sorrows. Talk to her, heart to heart, just as you do to me.

The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement
Letter 81
Translated by Michael D. Griffin, OCD
Edited by Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS 
New Life Publishing, 2003 

Photos by Chema Concellón from his coverage of Holy Week in Valladolid, Spain, 2007

The Marie du jour – May 3

Avila, Incarnation, Jan. 19, 1572

St. Teresa’s vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation

1. On the eve of the feast of St. Sebastian, the first year in which I was prioress at the Incarnation, at the beginning of the Salve Regina, I saw the Mother of God descend with a great multitude of angels and sit in the prioress’s choir stall where there was a statue of our Lady. In my opinion, I didn’t then see the statue but our Lady herself. It seemed to me she looked something like she does in the painting the countess gave me; [1] although the power to discern this was quickly taken away, for my faculties were soon held in great suspension. It seemed to me there were angels above the canopies of the stalls in the back and above the front stalls; although they were not in corporeal form, for this was an intellectual vision.

She remained for the whole of the Salve, and she told me: “You were indeed right in placing me here; [2] I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”

2. After this, I remained in the kind of prayer I now have, that of keeping my soul present with the Blessed Trinity. And it seemed to me that the Person of the Father drew me to Himself and spoke very pleasant words. Among them, while showing me what He wanted, He told me: “I gave you My Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?”

 

Avila-Encarnation_Choir_1882-pilgrims-guidebook
Avila, nuns’ choir in the Carmelite monastery of Incarnation

 

[1] She is speaking of a painting given her by the Countess of Osorno, Doña María de Velasco, a friend of hers who lived in Valladolid. The painting is still preserved at St. Joseph's of Avila.

[2] When she took possession of her office as prioress of the Incarnation, October 14, 1571, she placed a statue of Our Lady of Clemency in the prioress's stall with the keys to the monastery in its hands.

Spiritual Testimonies: 21 Her vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

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