Quote of the day: 9 August

Passion Sunday, 26 March 1939

Dear Mother, please, will Your Reverence allow me to offer myself to the Heart of Jesus as a sacrifice of propitiation for true peace: that the dominion of Antichrist may collapse, if possible, without a new world war, and that a new order may be established? I would like it [my request] granted this very day because it is the twelfth hour. I know that I am a nothing, but Jesus desires it, and surely He will call many others to do likewise in these days.

Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
A stained glass window in Eindhoven, Netherlands seems to offer a fitting tribute to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein. Her lifelong journey with God from the family’s Jewish hearth to the heart of God by the path of total immolation for Christthrough the bonds of the Teresian Carmelprovides a stirring witness to the Church today. May we be inspired by her example and aided by her intercession. | pedrocaetano / Flickr

 

Edith Stein addressed Letter 296 to her prioress in the Carmel of Echt, Mother Ottilia a Jesu Crucifixo, O.C.D. (Maria Margaret Thannisch) on Passion Sunday, 1939. In her letter, we see profound continuity with Teresian spirituality; we offer for your reflection a few salient points.

Obedience

Edith’s obedience to her prioress prompts her to seek permission to make this solemn offering, rather than to enter into such a life-changing commitment by herself, a decision that could have consequences for her entire community.

Obedience is a cornerstone of all Carmelite life, beginning with the Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, which states, The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience — of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection…” (Rule, 4)

St. Teresa of Avila takes up the refrain when she writes, “in matters touching on obedience He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem” (Ph 2:8). (Foundations, 5:5)

 

Notting Hill Profession 2019
On 4 August 2019 Sister Sarah of Notting Hill Carmel made her First Religious Profession, and pronounced her vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience during Mass, in the presence of witnesses of the Church. This photo shows her pronouncing her vows as she kneels before her prioress, who receives them as God’s representative. | Photo: Carmelite Nuns in Britain / Facebook (used by permission)

 

Self-Offering

In comparison with the Discalced Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus who preceded Edith in choosing a life of radical, holocaust offering to God, we note the following similarities and differences:


🞧  The Discalced Carmelites of Compiègne made their offering after their prioress proposed making an act of consecration “by which the community would offer themselves in holocaust to appease the wrath of God and to obtain that, through the sacrifice of their very selves, peace may be restored to the Church and to the State.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

 

🞧  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was motivated by “ardent desires… to save souls” when she made her holocaust offering to merciful love on 9 June 1895. (CJ, 30 Sep 97) She wrote, 

“O My God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love you and make you loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory you have prepared for me in your kingdom… In order to live in one single act of perfect love, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to your merciful love, asking you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of your love, O my God!” (Pri 6)

 

🞧  St. Teresa Benedicta offered herself to the heart of Jesus, a gesture of self-immolation in the furnace of the infinite love of Christ. Like St. Thérèse of Lisieux and Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine, the prioress of Compiègne, St. Benedicta understood that a holocaust is consumed in the flames that spring forth from the Sacred Heart, echoing the sentiment of Thérèse: “O my Jesus! let it be me this happy victim, consume your holocaust through the fire of your Divine Love.” (Ms A, 84r)

Further, the propitiatory nature of St. Benedicta’s self-offering aligns with the consecration of the proto-martyrs of Discalced Carmelite nuns, Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine and her companions “so that peace may be restored to the Church and to the State.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

 

Adoration_of_the_Kings_Cologne Cathedral window_Robyn Fleming Flickr
This stained glass window depicting the adoration of the three kings in the Cathedral of Cologne would have been familiar to Edith Stein; the cathedral holds a reliquary which, according to tradition, contains the bones of the magi, seen here. Did Edith see her self-sacrificial offering in reference to the gold, frankincense, and myrrh offered by the travelers from the East? | Robyn Fleming / Flickr

 

Nothingness

“I know that I am a nothing,” Edith wrote. This is an ancient tune in the Teresian Carmel, beginning with St. Teresa of Avila herself: “I realized I was a woman and wretched and incapable of doing any of the useful things I desired to do in the service of the Lord.” (Way, 1:2)

Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine counseled abandonment as a remedy to her daughters and directees: “I’m speaking of perfect abandonment to the divine wishes of our good Master. We are in his hands like children in the arms of a tender Father, who knows well what we need” (Letter 4 from Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine to Mademoiselle de Grand-Rut, Holy Thursday, April 1790). (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 137)

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, immersing herself within her own Carmelite identity“of the Child Jesus”through spiritual childhood,  explores the frontier of nothingness through love. While she stated in Manuscript A that it is “the property of love… to lower itself,” (Ms A, 2v) in her magisterial Manuscript B, she plumbs the abyss: “So that Love may be fully satisfied, it must lower itself, lower itself all the way to nothingness and transform this nothingness into fire.” (Ms B, 3v)

Are these three Carmelite martyrs exaggerating? No, insists the Discalced Carmelite friar who is the foremost expert on the theology of the saints, François-Marie Léthel, OCD—professor of the same at the Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”. His teaching is crystal clear:

It is “a rule in the theology of the saints: the saints never exaggerate, but simply tell the truth in dimensions that always seem exaggerated to us as they do for all those who aren’t yet saints!” (Léthel 2011, p. 144)

 

Star Cluster NGC 6611 Hubble star clusters NASA Hubble Flickr
This collection of dazzling stars is called NGC 6611, an open star cluster that formed about 5.5 million years ago in the well-known Eagle Nebula (or Messier 16). It is a very young cluster, containing many hot, blue stars, whose fierce ultraviolet glow make the surrounding Eagle Nebula glow brightly. Astronomers refer to areas like the Eagle Nebula as HII regions. This is the scientific notation for ionized hydrogen from which the region is largely made. Extrapolating far into the future, this HII region will eventually disperse, helped along by shockwaves from supernova explosions as the more massive young stars end their brief but brilliant lives. In this image, dark patches can also be spotted, punctuating the stellar landscape. These areas of apparent nothingness are actually very dense regions of gas and dust, which obstruct light from passing through. Many of these may be hiding the sites of the early stages of star formation, before the fledgling stars clear away their surroundings and burst into view. For more information, visit: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1101a/ |ESA/Hubble & NASA / Flickr

 

Divine Will

St. Teresa Benedicta minced no words when she declared her firm belief that God was calling her to make this radical self-sacrifice: “Jesus desires it.”

St. Thérèse was more poetic:

Divine Word! You are the Adored Eagle whom I love and who draws me! It is you who, soaring toward this land of exile, willed to suffer and die in order to draw souls into the heart of the Eternal Home of the Blessed Trinity. It is you who, ascending once again to the inaccessible Light, which will be henceforth your abode, still remain in this vale of tears, hidden beneath the appearance of a white host.

Eternal Eagle, you desire to nourish me with your divine substanceme, poor little creaturewho would return to nothingness if your divine gaze did not give me life each and every moment.

O Jesus, in the excess of my gratitude, let me tell you that your love is crazy. Given this craziness, how can you not want my heart to soar to you? How can my trust have any limits? 

Ah! For you, I know, the saints have done some crazy things, they’ve done some great things because they were eagles… Jesus, I’m too little to do great things… and my own craziness is to hope that your Love will accept me as a victim… My craziness consists in begging the Eagles my brothers, to obtain for me the favor of flying toward the Sun of Love with the Divine Eagle’s own wings… (Ms B, 05v)

For Blessed Thérèse of Compiègne, the divine inspiration to make the act of consecration came to her during mental prayer, those moments in the life of every Discalced Carmelite nun where even in the midst of dryness and darkness, she communes with God alone.

Mother Thérèse shared an apartment with the most senior members of the monastic community in Compiègne city after they were expelled from their cloister by the secularizing legislation of the French revolutionary government. It was to these most mature members of the community that one morning she first proposed a community act of holocaust consecration (probably in 1792); but their immediate reaction was to recoil in fear.

Historian William Bush notes that their reaction startled the prioress and she immediately regretted the proposal. Yet, after an entire day of contemplation, here were “two tearful 76-year-old nuns coming to ask forgiveness of their prioress for their lack of courage.” (Bush 1999, p. 107)

Again, what did Edith say? “Jesus desires it.”

 

Ratgeb martyrdom of the Carmelites
“Deus Vult” (God wills it) was the rallying cry associated with the Crusades, in particular the first crusade in the 11th century. The first Carmelite hermits, for whom St. Albert of Jerusalem wrote his Rule of Life, were believed to be crusaders who chose to lead a life of penance and prayer on the Mediterranean slope of Mount Carmel, rather than return to their homes in Europe. Ultimately, many of them gave their lives as witnesses to Christ when they were martyred at the hands of the Saracens in 1291.
Martyrdom of the Carmelites
Jörg Ratgeb (German, 1480-1526)
Wall painting, 1517
Carmelite Cloister, Frankfurt

 

Universal Call

When Blessed Thérèse of Saint-Augustine proposed the act of consecration to the entire community, she reminded her nuns in Compiègne to “note well, my Sisters, that we didn’t enter religious life except to put ourselves to work on our sanctification through the total immolation of our selves, which are so precious to us.  It shouldn’t cost us much to do this.” (Sr. Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, p. 67)

With her typical audacity, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus dared to ask this of the Lord: “I beg you to lower your divine gaze upon a great number of little souls. I beg you to choose a legion of little victims worthy of your love!” (Ms B, 5v)

Yes, St. Thérèse begged for holocaust victims; and, St. Benedicta felt certain that Christ would call others to follow such a rugged path that she trod: “surely He will call many others to do likewise in these days.” (Stein, E 1939, Letter 269)

 

OLMC Haifa 2019 Procession photo OCDinform 01
Thousands of pilgrims accompanied the Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the slow, arduous climb from Saint Joseph Latin Catholic Parish in the City of Haifa up to the Stella Maris Church and Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite friars on the promontory of Mount Carmel on 5 May 2019. It was the 100th anniversary of the procession, which began as an act of gratitude for the liberation of the city from Turkish rule at the end of the first World War. | Discalced Carmelite General Curia / Facebook (used by permission)

 

“In these days…”

In our time, self-sacrifice and courage never must be lacking. “Jesus desires it” still today. What time is it now? Is it still “the twelfth hour”? Are we too late to respond to his call? In the words of a meditation written for the Elevation of the Holy Cross, 14 September 1939, Saint Edith Stein still speaks to us today:

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. 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, Spex unica!

 


Reference List

Agnès of Jesus, 1897, The yellow notebook of Mother Agnès, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/carnet-jaune/2385-carnet-jaune-septembre>.

Albert of Jerusalem, c. 1206-1214, The Rule of St. Albert, Carmelnet, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://carmelnet.org/chas/rule.htm>.

Bush, W 1999, To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Foley, M., & Teresa. 2012, The book of her foundations: a study guide, Institute of Carmelite Studies, Washington, D.C.

Gelber, L, Linssen, M & Stein, E 1992, The Hidden Life: Hagiographic Essay, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O & Teresa 2000, The Way of Perfection, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Léthel, F-M 2011, La Lumière du Christ Dans le Coeur de l’Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints, Éditions Parole et Silence, Les Plans-sur-Bex.

Marie de l’Incarnation 1836, Histoire des religieuses carmélites de Compiègne conduites a l’échafaud le 17 juillet 1794, Ouvrage posthume de la soeur Marie de l’Incarnation, Thomas-Malvin, Sens.

Stein, E. 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1895, Manuscript A 02v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/02-10/02/02-verso>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, 1895, Manuscript A 84r, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/81-86/84/84-recto>.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1896, Manuscript B 03v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/b03/b03v>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face 1896, Manuscript B 05v, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/b05/b05v>

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, 1895, Prayer 6 from Thérèse of Lisieux, Archives du Carmel de Lisieux, viewed 8 August 2019, <http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php/pri-6>.

 


Sine qua non

The blogger wishes to acknowledge the invaluable guidance, instruction, example, encouragement, and friendship of the following Discalced Carmelites:

Bishop Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Sister Marie Josephine Fagnoni, Carmel of Haifa
Father Emilio José Martínez González, Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”
Father François-Marie Léthel, Pontifical Theological Faculty “Teresianum”
Sister Thérèse Wilkinson, Thicket Priory

Quote of the day: 27 July

For that religious confession of faith in the social life, the Dutch people, in many large parts, have made great sacrifices out of respect for God, out of love for God and in faithful trust in God. That respect for God makes them view this as a duty, that love for God confers on them zeal and a spirit of sacrifice for that purpose, that faithful trust in God makes them strong, able to go on doing this despite everything. Both the Christians as well as the Catholics venerate numerous martyrs from their history, who they themselves hold up as an example, even when it means giving their life for the sake of confessing their faith, where people seek to oppress that confession of faith. In this respect the Catholics in particular have traditions which are their glory and honour. Through centuries of oppression, countless have zealously given up their position, their property and even their life. In this time, when the religious life of the majority of the Dutch people is surely no less conscious, it will be no different.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? (excerpt)

 

Brandsma_Nazis Imprison Priest 26Feb42 NYDailyNews

 

 

Blessed Titus Brandsma wrote the essay Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? in the prison of Scheveningen by order of the Gestapo, January 1942, not long after his arrest. Read the complete translation of his brief essay here.

 

English translation of the written defence ‘Waarom verzet zich het Nederlandsche volk, met name het Katholieke volksdeel, tegen de N.S.B.?’ by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos

12 June: Blessed Alphonsus Mary Mazurek and Companions

June 12
BLESSED ALPHONSUS MARY MAZUREK,
Priest of Our Order

AND COMPANIONS, Martyrs

Optional Memorial

He was born in 1891 at Baranowka, near Lubartow, Poland. He entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1908, taking the religious name Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a priest and appointed as a professor while dedicating himself to the education of youth. Afterward, he served in his Order as prior and bursar. In 1944, after having been arrested by the troops that had invaded his country, he was shot on 28 August at Nawojowa Gora, near Krzeszowice. He was beatified by John Paul II on 13 June 1999, together with many other Polish martyrs.

From the common of several martyrs; psalms from the current weekday

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the addresses of Pope John Paul II
(OR 7-8 June 1999 p. 11; 18/6/1999, p. 4)

Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness

Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. In a particular way, this beatitude places the events of Good Friday before our eyes. Christ was condemned to death as a criminal and then crucified. On Calvary, it seemed he had been abandoned by God and left at the mercy of people’s derision.

The Gospel proclaimed by Christ was put to a radical test: those who were present at the event cried out, He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. Christ does not descend from the cross since he is faithful to his Gospel. He suffers human injustice. Only in this way, in fact, is he able to accomplish the justification of mankind.

Above all, he wanted the words of the sermon on the mount to be verified in himself: Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you. To whom do these words still apply? To many, many people throughout humanity’s history, to whom it was given to suffer persecution for the sake of justice. We know that the first three centuries after Christ were marked by persecutions, at times terrible, particularly under some Roman emperors from Nero to Diocletian. Even though these ceased from the time of the Edict of Milan, nevertheless they broke out again in various historical eras, in numerous places throughout the world.

Even our century has written a great martyrology. I myself, over the twenty years of my pontificate, have elevated to the glory of the altar numerous groups of martyrs: Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican. How many there were during the period of the Second World War and under the communist totalitarian system! They suffered and gave their lives in the Hitlerian or Soviet extermination camps.

The time has now come to remember all these victims and to render due honor to them. These are often Nameless, “unknown soldiers” as it were, of God’s great cause, as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente. It is also good to speak of them on Polish land since here there was a particular sharing in this contemporary martyrology. They are an example for us to follow. From their blood, we should draw strength for the sacrifice of our life, which we ought to offer to God every day. They are an example for us to give a courageous witness of fidelity to the Cross of Christ, as they did.

I am happy that I was able to beatify, among the one hundred and eight martyrs, Blessed Father Alphonsus Mary Mazurek, a pupil, and much later, a well-deserving educator in the minor seminary connected to the Discalced Carmelite monastery. I had an occasion of meeting personally with this witness to Christ, who in 1944, as Prior of the Czerna monastery, sealed his faithfulness to God with death through martyrdom. I kneel in veneration before his relics which rest in the church of Saint Joseph and I thank God for the gift of the life, the martyrdom, and sanctity of this great religious.

Responsory
Cf Mt 5:11-12; Jn 15:20

R/. Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account.
* Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven (alleluia).
R/. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
* Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven (alleluia).

Prayer

May the prayers of your martyrs
Blessed Alphonsus Mary and companions,
prevail with you, Lord, on our behalf:
Let them strengthen us in our witness to your truth.

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

 

Alphonsus Maria Mazurek_564x389
Blessed Alphonsus Mary Mazurek (1891-1944) | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

Lisieux, 6 June 1944

Memories of June 1944

 

As I could do nothing about it, I did not get upset. If our whole monastery disappeared, its spirit would remain.

Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, OCD
Céline Martin

 

14227565487_39a6bc2857_o
Lisieux after the June 1944 bombardments: Rue de Livarot (now Rue du Carmel) | PhotosNormandie / Flickr

 

I give it to You, do as You will with it … My God, I even sacrifice my nuns to You if You wish it … I must cry when I see our little Carmel; I love it so much.

Mother Agnès of Jesus, OCD
Pauline Martin

 


Immense gratitude to Martin family expert Maureen O’Riordan for her tireless efforts to research the events of June, July, and August 1944 as they affected the sisters of St. Thérèse and the Carmel of Lisieux. You can see the articles she has written concerning the battle for control of Lisieux here. We particularly recommend her blog post, The Carmelites of Lisieux in the Summer of 1944: 80 Days and 80 Nights in the Basilica of St. Therese. Written for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Lisieux on 23 August 1944, it chronicles the events in great detail.

Martin family historian Father Stéphane-Joseph Piat, OFM notes in his book A Family of Saints: The Martins of Lisieux Saints Thérèse, Louis, and Zélie:

The dozens of bombardments that, between June 6 and August 22, 1944, rained down a hurricane of iron and fire over the Normandy town have demolished 2100 houses out of 2800, beaten to the ground two parish churches out of three, razed likewise the majority of the religious houses, and caused to perish, together with sixty religious, more than a tenth of the population. Historic Lisieux was nearly annihilated. Spiritual Lisieux remains standing.

May the powerhouse that is Spiritual Lisieux always remain a beacon of hope for peace: that God’s merciful love and the message of St. Thérèse’s infinite trust in his love may prevail in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world.

 

A Family of Saints: The Martins of Lisieux — Saints Thérèse, Louis, and Zélie
Piat, Stéphane-Joseph. Translated by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey.
© 2016 by Ignatius Press, San Francisco

 

Marie du jour: 15 May

During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The scholarly journal Teresianum in 1990 published an account by noted Discalced Carmelite historian Father Elias Friedman, O.C.D. concerning the Discalced Carmelite friars’ charitable efforts to shelter refugees at Stella Maris monastery during the armed conflict in Haifa in the year 1948.

A bit of background: Fr. Elias reminds his readers that at the end of 1947 when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution “recommending the partition of Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and a corpus separatum for Jerusalem,” Jews and Arabs in the region “jostled for position in view of the approaching termination of the British Mandate.” Bloody violence ensued.

Injured Palestinians lying on cots waiting to be evacuated in Haifa_LIFE 1948
Injured Palestinians lying on cots waiting to be evacuated in Haifa | The Palestine Project / Medium

Photos from the LIFE magazine archives illustrate Fr. Elias Friedman’s documentation. Father Elias carefully noted that in 1944 the population of Haifa was 128,000, with a fair balance of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (52% Jewish); the Discalced Carmelite Fathers’ parish in the city of Haifa, Saint Joseph Church, had a membership of roughly 4000 families. After the violence broke out in 1948, “of a total population of 98,284, Jews numbered 94,718.” Saint Joseph’s parish experienced a dramatic drop in membership: in 1948, there were only about 500 families that remained. When Fr. Elias published his article in 1990, he noted that the membership had “risen slowly, so that at the time of writing, the number of parishioners stands at +/-1,500.” Haifa’s Christian population suffered immensely in 1948.

Beginning in January 1948, Catholics in Haifa began to seek secure shelter at the Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, now known as Stella Maris, on the promontory of Mount Carmel at Haifa.

THE_STELLA_MARIS_MONASTERY_ON_THE_FRENCH_CARMEL_IN_HAIFA._מנזר__סטלה_מאריס__על_הכרמל_הצרפתי_בחיפה.D397-105_1934
THE STELLA MARIS MONASTERY ON THE FRENCH CARMEL IN HAIFA. 
מנזר “סטלה מאריס” על הכרמל הצרפתי בחיפה.
Date: 01/07/1934
Source National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography Dept. Government Press Office,
under the digital ID D397-105
Photographer: Zoltan Kluger (1896-1977)

Four religious from the Christian Brothers school were the first Catholics who came to the friars asking for a place to stay. “Soon they were followed by Arab families, desperately in search of shelter.” At one point, the number of refugees at the Carmelite monastery across from the lighthouse reached a total of 521.

British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop Haifa_Dmitri Kessel_LIFE 1948
British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop, Port of Haifa, 1948. | Dmitri Kessel, photographer | The Palestine Project / Medium

Father Clemente Casinelli, O.C.D. transferred to Haifa from the friars’ monastery at El-Muhraqa the place of Elijah’s sacrifice in April 1948 and assumed the office of Procurator. When he arrived, he found “the first floor of the monastery to be filled with men, women, and children.  They were mostly Catholics, some three or four families were Greek-Orthodox, and one family was Muslim (the Sabas). The overflow spilled into the grounds of the monastery.”

The refugees were very resourceful and contributed to one another’s well-being given the circumstances. Fr. Clemente took charge of the refugee program. He was an Italian Discalced Carmelite friar who had spent six years in a British prison camp in Lebanon during World War II for no other reason than his nationality; his own harsh experiences there gave him a unique sense of initiative and compassion.

Palestinian child refugee waiting on the dock to leave Haifa
Palestinian child refugee waiting on the dock to leave Haifa | The Palestine Project / Medium

 

Fr. Elias notes that “the refugees assisted regularly at Sunday Mass.” A local family who were benefactors to the friars and their refugees “set a good example by first putting their contributions into the plate and taking it around the congregation at the Offertory.”

“During the month of May, the refugees assembled for the daily prayers in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 7 o’clock each evening to recite the Rosary together and attend the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.”

 

NCMC Stella Maris closeup
The centerpiece of Stella Maris Church on the promontory of Mount Carmel is the miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel. The statue of the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus enthroned, placed at the center of the main altar, standing on a pedestal carved from a cedar of Lebanon, is devoutly venerated by the local Christians. | Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi / Facebook

Friedman, Elias. “Internal Arab refugees at the monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, Mount Carmel, Haifa (Israel).” Teresianum: Ephemerides Carmeliticae, vol. 41, no. 1, 1990, pp. 261-274.

Project, The Palestine. LIFE Magazine: Palestine 1948 — rare photo collection. medium.com, 16 May 2018, https://medium.com/@thepalestineproject/life-magazine-rare-photos-of-palestine-1948-d80e83d4929. Accessed 15 May 2019.

Wikimedia Commons has photo collections concerning historical images of Haifa, the statue of Our Lady of Chile that stands across from the monastery, and several historic images in the Stella Maris Monastery collection.

 

To make the celebration complete

“She will be baptized this Saturday, all we need is you to make the celebration complete. Marie will be her godmother along with a young boy, about her age, as godfather.”

St. Zelie Martin
Letter to Madame Guérin, 3 January 1873

 

 

The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption at Alençon, France is famous as the location of the marriage of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; their nuptials were celebrated in the church on Tuesday, 13 July 1858 at midnight.
 
St. Thérèse was baptized in this same church on Saturday, 4 January 1873, two days after her birth. The 1925 window in the baptistry, designed by executed by the native Alençon stained glass artist Louis Barillet, represents the baptismal rite. On 17 July 1944, the Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption suffered enormously in the Allied bombardment of the city. Miraculously, the Barillet window in the baptistry chapel survived undamaged.
Above the baptismal font hangs St. Thérèse’s baptismal gown, which had been handed down from her sister Léonie. The godfather of whom Saint Zélie writes was Paul-Albert Boul, age 9,  the son of a friend of Saint Louis Martin. Barillet indicated the presence of the godparents Marie Martin and Paul-Albert Boul by the baptismal candle, which they both hold.
 
On the Second Sunday of Advent, 6 December 2009, this church of the Diocese of Séez celebrated the decree of Pope Benedict XVI, issued 6 June 2009, which elevated the historic Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption to the rank of a minor basilica.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption is one of the most famous pilgrimage locations in France and in the Diocese of Séez. To make your own pilgrimage to Alençon, France visit the English language website of the Shrine of Alençon. When you visit the basilica, the baptistry chapel is the first chapel on the left as you enter the church.
 
To view the baptistry window in expanded detail and to see more stained glass windows in the Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption, visit the Flickr basilica photo album of Patrick Berthou
alenÇon - portail assomption de la ste vierge
Notre-Dame of the Assumption over the portal of the basilica in Alençon

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