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3 January
Blessed Cyriacus Elias Chavara
Priest - Optional Memory

Blessed (Cyriac) Kuriakos Elias Chavara, co founder and first prior general of the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, was born at Kainakary in Kerala, India, on February 10th, 1805. He entered the seminary in 1818, and was ordained priest in 1829. He made his religious profession in 1855, in the congregation he founded. In 1861 he was named vicar-general for the Syro-Malabar church; in this capacity he defended ecclesial unity threatened by schism when mar Tomas Rochos was sent from Mesopotamia to consecrate Nestorian bishops. Throughout his life he worked for the renewal of the church in Malabar. He was also co founder in 1866 of the congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Above all, he was a man of prayer, zealous for the Eucharistic Lord and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He died at Koonammavu in 1871. His body was transferred to Mannanam in 1889.

8 January
Saint Peter Thomas

Bishop - Optional Memory

Born about 1305, in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelite Order when he was twenty one. He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He was transferred to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363 he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta in Cyprus in 1366.


9 January
Saint Andrew Corsini
Bishop - Optional Memory

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence in Italy and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on 13th October 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love for the poor. He died on 6th January 1374.




17 January
Saint Henry De Osso y Cervello
Priest - Optional Memory

Henry was born at Vinebre, Catalonia, Spain, on the 16th October 1840 and was ordained 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 the January 27, 1896. He was canonised on July 16, 1993, in Madrid, by Pope John Paul II.


29 Jan
Bl. Archangela Girlani,
virgin OC-m

Born in the town of Trino in northern Italy about the middle of the fifteenth century, Archangela took the Carmelite habit in Parma and eventually became the prioress there. She held the same office in the new monastery at Mantua, where she died in 1495. She bore a special devotion to the Holy Trinity.



1 April
Blessed Nuno Alvares Pereira
Religious - Optional Memory

Nuno was born in 1360, and for many years pursued a military career, becoming the champion of Portuguese independence. After the death of his wife, he joined the Order as a brother in 1423 at the monastery of Lisbon, which he had founded himself, and took the name Nuno of Saint Mary. There he lived until his death in 143 1. He was noted for his prayer, his practice of penance, and his filial devotion to the Mother of God.


17 April
Blessed Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua
Priest - Optional Memory

Born in Mantua on 17 April 1447, as a youth Baptist joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time he was a renowned Christian humanist ‘who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ’. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on 20th March 1516.

18 April
Blessed Mary of the Incarnation
Religious - Optional Memory

Barbe Avrillot was born in Paris in 1566. At the age of sixteen she married Pierre Acarie, by whom she had seven children. In spite of her household duties and many hardships, she attained the heights of the mystical life. Under the influence of St Teresa’s writings, and after mystical contact with the Saint herself, she spared no effort in introducing the Discalced Carmelite nuns into France. After her husband’s death, she asked to be admitted among them as a lay sister, taking the name of Mary of the Incarnation; she was professed at the Carmel of Amiens in 1615. She was esteemed by some of the greatest men of her time, including St Francis de Sales: and she was distinguished by her spirit of prayer and her zeal for the propagation of the Catholic faith. She died at Pontoise on April 18, 1618.

23 April
Blessed Teresa Mary Manetti of the Cross
Virgin - Optional Memory

She was born at Carnpi Bisenzio, Florence, where in 1874 she founded the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of St Teresa whom she also sent to Lebanon and the Holy Land. She lived joyfully, body and soul, the mystery of the Cross in full conformity to the will of God and she was outstanding for her love for the Eucharist and her maternal care for children and for the poor. She died at Campi Bisenzio on 23 April 1910.




5 May
St. Angelus,
priest & martyr OC-M

Angelus was one of the first Carmelites to come to Sicily from Mount Carmel. According to trustworthy sources, he was killed by unbelievers in Licata during the first half of the thirteenth century. Acclaimed as a martyr, his body was placed in a church built on the site of his death. Only in 1632 were his relics transferred to the Carmelite Church. Veneration of St. Angelus spread throughout the Carmelite Order as well as among the populace. He has been named patron of many places in Sicily. Even to the present time devoted persons invoke him in their needs and faithfully honor him.

16 May
Saint Simon Stock
Religious - Optional Memory

Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honour was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.


22 May
Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas
Religious - Optional Memory

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826 she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility and love. She died at Vich in 1854.

25 May
Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
Virgin - Memory

Born in Florence in 1566, she had a religious upbringing and entered the monastery of the Carmelite nuns there. She led a hidden life of prayer and self denial, praying particularly for the renewal of the Church and encouraging the sisters in holiness. Her life was marked by many extraordinary graces. She died in 1607.


7 June
Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew
Virgin - Memory

Ana Gracie was born at Almendral, Castille, in 1549. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St Teresa, at St Joseph’s, Avila. The saint later chose her as her companion and nurse, and she subsequently brought the Teresian spirit to France and Belgium, where she proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died at Antwerp in 1626.



14 June
St. Elisha,
prophet OC-M

"Elijah came upon Elisha and threw his cloak over him. Immediately Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah as his attendant." (cf 1 Kgs 19:19-21). Elisha was filled with the spirit of Elijah; among the many signs he performed, he cured Naaman of leprosy and raised a dead child to life. He lived among the sons of the prophets and in God's name he frequently intervened in the affairs of the Israelites.

Mindful of its origin on Mount Carmel, the Carmelite Order desired to perpetuate the memory of the great prophets' presence and deeds through liturgical celebration of Sts Elijah and Elisha. Thus the General Chapter of 1399 decreed the celebration of the feast of St. Elisha. Through his fidelity to the true God and by his service to God's people, St. Elisha effectively illustrates the meaning of the prophetic office in our day.

9 July
Bl. Jane Scopelli,
virgin OC-m

Born in Regio Emilia in 1428, Blessed Jane took the Carmelite habit, living at first in her home and later in the monastery founded in that city, where she became prioress. She had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She died in 1491.


13 July
Saint Teresa of Jesus “of Los Andes”
Virgin - Memory

Juanita Fernandez Solar was born at Santiago, Chile, on 13 July 1900. From her adolescence she was devoted to Christ. She entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given the name of Teresa of Jesus. She died on April 12 of the following year after having made her religious profession. She was canonised on March 21, 1993, by Pope John Paul H and proposed as a model for young people. She is the first Chilean and the first member of the Teresian Carmel in Latin America to be canonised.

16th July
Solemn Commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel is commemorated in Sacred Scripture for its beauty, and it was there that the prophet Efijah defended the purity of Israel’s faith in the living God. Towards the end of the twelfth century A.D. near a spring called after Efijah, a group of hermits established themselves on Mount Cannel and built an oratory in honour of Our Lady, whom they chose as their titular and patroness. They became known as ‘the Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Cannel’. They regarded the Blessed Virgin Mary as their mother and model first of all in leading the contemplative life, and later in sharing the fruits of their contemplation with others. The Solemn Commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was first celebrated in the fourteenth century, but gradually adopted throughout the Order as an occasion of thanksgiving for the countless blessings which Our Lady had bestowed on the Carmelite family. The Scapular is a symbol of this and of consecration to her.

17 July
Blessed Teresa of Saint Augustine and Companions
Virgins and Martyrs - Memory

As the French Revolution entered its worst days, sixteen Discalced Carmelites from the monastery of the Incarnation in Compiegne offered their lives as a sacrifice to God, making reparation to him and imploring peace for the Church. On June 24th, 1794, they were arrested and thrown into prison. Their happiness and resignation were so evident that those around them were also encouraged to draw strength from God’s love. They were condemned to death for their fidelity to the Church and their religious life and for their devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Singing hymns, and having renewed their vows before the prioress, Teresa of St Augustine, they were put to death in Paris on July 17th, 1794. Pope Saint Pius X beatified them on May 13th, 1906.

19 July
Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace

‘The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, his associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with him in his suffering as he died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she cooperated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’ (Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, 61).

20 July
Saint Elijah
Prophet - Feast

The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God that lived always in his presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one God. He defended God’s law in a solemn contest on Mount Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mount Horeb an intimate experience of the living God. The hermits, who instituted a form of monastic life in honour of Our Lady on Mount Carmel in the twelfth century, followed monastic tradition in turning to Elijah as their Father and model.

24 July
Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angeles
Virgins and Martyrs - Optional Memory

Maria Pilar of St Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on December 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5, 1990), and Maria Angeles of St Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936. They gave witness to their faith in Christ the King and offered their lives for the Church. The first fruits of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936 1939, they were beatified by John Paul 11 on March 29, 1987.





26 July
Sts. Joachim & Anne,
parents of the BVM, OC-M

By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition.

We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James, though in no way should this document be trusted to be factual, historical, or the Word of God. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah -- Anne -- in 1 Kings).

For those who wonder what we can learn from people we know nothing about and how we can honor them, we must focus on why they are honored by the church. Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, "Let it be done to me as you will." It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe.

Such parents can be examples and models for all parents.

Anne (or Ann) is the patron saint of Christian mothers and of women in labor.

Parents of Mary, pray for all parents that they may provide the loving home and faithful teaching that you provided your daughter. Amen

24 July (also)
Blessed Maria Mercedes Prat
Virgin and Martyr - Optional Memory

Mercedes Prat was born on March 6, 1880, in Barcelona, baptised on the following day, and made her First Holy Communion on June 30, 1890. From her childhood she gave herself completely to God, whom she received every day in Communion. She displayed a great love for her neighbour and tried to foster this kind of love in others. During her years in school, she was known for her goodness and her dedication to school work, excelling especially in painting and needlework, which were areas in which she had a natural talent.

Entering the novitiate of the Society of St Teresa of Jesus in 1904, in Tortosa, she made her temporary profession in 1907. She was a religious ‘according to the heart of God:’ prudent, and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealing with others, but firm in character. God was her one love, and her love for God kept growing to the point where she would give her life for Him. In 1920 she was assigned to the motherhouse in Barcelona. From there the path to martyrdom began on July 9, 1936, when the community was forced to give up the school and flee. On July 23, because she was a religious, Sr Mercedes was arrested and shot; she died in the early morning of July 20.

27 July
Blessed Titus Brandsma
Priest and Martyr - Optional Memory

Born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Blessed Titus Brandsma. joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy and of the history of mysticism in the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he also served as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists. Both before and during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic press.

For this he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors; in 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau. Pope John Paul II beatified him on November 3, 1985.

28 July
Blessed John Soreth
Priest - Optional Memory

John Soreth was born at Caen in Normandy and entered Carmel as a young man. He took a doctorate in 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.


7 August
Saint Albert of Trapani
Priest - Memory

Albert degli Abbani was born in Trapani in Sicily in the thirteenth century. Having joined the Carmelites and been ordained a priest, he soon became famous for his preaching and miracles. He was provincial in Sicily in 1296, and died in Messina, probably in 1307, with a reputation for purity and prayer.

9 August
Saint Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
Martyr & Co-Patron of Europe - Memory

Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched after the truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptised a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942 during the Nazi persecution and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A women of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987, and canonised in Rome in 1998.


16th August
Bl. Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius,
vir.& martyr OCD-m

Discalced Carmelite mystic and healer. She was born in Florence to a distinguished Florentine family. Educated at San Giovanni Convent in Florence, she entered the Carmelites at Santa Maria degli Angeli Convent there in 1582 . After becoming seriously ill, Maria Magdalen experienced numerous ecstasies and five years of spiritual depression. She could read people’s minds and performed miracles of healing. Her revelations were recorded. Maria Magdalen died in Cannel and was canonized in 1669.





August 17
Bl. Angelus Augustine Mazzinghi,
priest OC-m

As a priest of the Carmelite Order, Angelo Augustine Mazzinghi, of Florence, Italy, served successively as superior of the order’s monasteries in Le Selve, Frascati, and his native Florence. Subsequently he became the Carmelite provincial of Tuscany. His deep personal sanctity and ardent piety left a lasting mark upon the religious houses he governed. His effectiveness as a preacher was commemorated in early artistic depictions of him portraying garlands of flowers issuing from his mouth and winding among those listening to him. After completing his term as Tuscan provincial, he devoted the rest of his life to the ongoing reform of the Carmelite Order. Having recognized the spiritual dangers that arise when friars live isolated from their fellow religious, Father Angelo particularly insisted that no Carmelite could accept any office that required living outside their religious community. He was also adamant that the vow of poverty be strictly interpreted and observed.

18 August
Blessed Jean-Baptiste, Michel-Louis and Jacques
Priests and Martyrs - Optional Memory

Fr Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil is thought to be born in Limoges 1737 or at Saint-Trielx on January 7th, 1759. In religious life he was called Fr. Leonard. Fr Michel Louis Brulard, was born at Chartres on June 11, 1758. His religious name is not known. Fr Jacques Gagnot, known in religious life as Fr. Hubert of St Claude, was born at Frolois on February 9, 1753.

Loyal to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the civil Constitution for the Clergy



25 August
Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified
Virgin - Optional Memory

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified was born of the Baouardy family, Catholics of the Greek Melchite Rite, at Abellin in Galilee in 1846. In 1867 she entered the Discalced Carmelites at Pau in France and was sent with the founding group to the Carmel of Mangalore in India where, in 1870, she made her profession. She returned to France in 1872. In 1875 she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began planning for another at Nazareth. Noted for her supernatural gifts, especially for humility, for her devotion to the Holy Spirit, and her great love for the Church and the Pope, she died at Bethlehem in 1878.

26 August
Saint Teresa of Jesus’ Transverberation
Nuns: Memory - Others: Optional Memory

‘The chief among Teresa’s virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his spouse on one occasion. At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most prefect and most conducive to God’s glory’ (Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonisation).

1 September
Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart
Virgin - Memory

Teresa Margaret was born in Arezzo in Tuscany in. 1747 of the noble Redi family, and entered the Discalced Carmelites in Florence on September 1’, 1764. She was given a special contemplative experience concerning the words of Saint John, “God is love.” She felt deeply that her vocation was to live a hidden life of love and self immolation. That vocation was confirmed by her heroic exercise of fraternal charity, but was soon completed: she died in 1770, aged twenty three.


12 September
Blessed Mary of Jesus
Virgin - Memory

Born in 1560 at Tartanedo (Spain) she took the Discalced Cannelite habit at Toledo in 1577 and made her profession the following year. She spent the rest of her life serving God in that Carmel, except for a brief period in 1585 when she helped with a foundation at Cuerva. She died at Toledo on September 13 th ‘ 1640. St Teresa of Jesus thought extremely highly of her. She was a great contemplative, intensely devoted to our Lord, and often drawing inspiration from the liturgy.


17 September
Saint Albert of Jerusalem
Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel

Albert Avogadro was born about the middle of the twelfth century in Castel Gualteri in Italy. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior in 1180. Named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli in 1185, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. There, in word and example, he was the model of a good pastor and peace maker. While he was Patriarch (1206 1214) he united the hermits of Mount Carmel into one community and wrote a Rule for them. He was murdered at Acre on September 14th, 1214.


1 October
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
Virgin and Doctor of the Church - Feast

Therese Martin was born at Alencon in France in 1873. While still young she entered the Carmel of Lisieux, where she lived in the greatest humility, evangelical simplicity and confidence in God. By her words and example she taught the novices these same virtues. Offering her life for the salvation of souls and the spread of the Church, she died on September 30, 1897.


15 October
Saint Teresa of Jesus
Virgin and Doctor of the Church - Solemnity

Teresa was born at Avila (Spain) in 1515. As a member of the Carmelite Order she made great progress in perfection and received mystical revelations. As reformer of her Order she underwent many trials which she intrepidly overcame. She also wrote books of the greatest spiritual value which reflect her own experiences. She died at Alba in 1582.


6 November
Blessed Josepha Naval Girbes
Virgin - Optional Memory

Josepha Naval Girbes was born at Algemesi in the Archdiocese of Valencia, Spain, on 11 December 1820. As a very young woman she consecrated herself to the Lord by a perpetual vow of chastity. Josepha’s life was simple. She stood out for her ardent love, and she made progress along the way of prayer and evangelical perfection while dedicating herself generously to apostolic works in her parish community.

In her own time she opened a school where she taught needlework, prayer, and the evangelical virtues. She formed many young girls and women and shared with them her wisdom and spiritual understanding. She was a member of the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Teresa of Jesus and had a special love for the Virgin Mother of God. Her holy death took place on February 20, 1893. She is buried in her parish church of St James in her native city.

7 November
Blessed Francis Palau y Quer
Priest - Optional Memory

Born in Aytona, Lerida, Spain, on December 29,’, 1811, Blessed Francis Palau y Quer entered the Order in 1832 and was ordained priest in 1836. Civil turmoil forced him to live in exile and outside his community. On his return to Spain in 1851, he founded his “School of Virtue”—which was a model of catechetical teaching—at Barcelona. The school was suppressed and he was unjustly exiled in Ibiza (1854 1860) where he lived at El Vedra in solitude and experienced mystically the vicissitudes of the Church. While in the Balearic Islands he founded the Congregations of Carmelite Brothers and Carmelite Sisters (1860 1861). He preached popular missions and spread love for Our Lady wherever he went. He died at Tarragona on March 20th, 1872, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1980.

8 November
Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity
Virgin - Memory

Elizabeth Catez of the Trinity was born in 1880 in the diocese of Bourges. In 1901 she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Dijon. There she made her profession of vows in 1903 and from there she was called “to light, to love and to life” by the Divine Spouse in 1906. A faithful adorer in spirit and in truth, her life was a “praise of glory” of the Most Blessed Trinity present in her soul and loved amidst interior darkness and excruciating illness. In the mystery of divine inhabitation she found her “heaven on earth”, her special charism and her mission for the church.

14 November
All Carmelite Saints

15 November
All Carmelite Souls

Just as the love of Christ and the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary have brought us together in a single family, fraternal charity unites those of us still striving to lead a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ in the world, and those already awaiting the vision of God in purgatory. Today the whole Order commends our departed brothers and sisters to God’s mercy through the intercession of Our Lady, sure sign of hope and consolation, and begs for their admission to the courts of heaven.

19 November
Saint Raphael Kalinowski of Saint Joseph
Priest - Memory

Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. Following military service, he was condemned in 1864 to ten years of forced labour in Siberia. In 1877 he became a Carinelite and was ordained a priest in 1882. He contributed greatly to the restoration of the Discalced Carmelites in Poland. His life was distinguished by zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907.

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29 November
Blessed Denis and Redemptus

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, whose secular name was Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 163 5; it was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra, where, in the town of Achen, they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

14 December
Saint John of the Cross
Priest and Doctor of the Church - Solemnity

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterwards he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness.



16 December
Blessed Mary of the Angels
Virgin - Optional Memory

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1661, she died, after spending her whole life there, in 1717. In 1675 she entered the Discalced Carmelite Convent of St Christina, and several times filled the offices of Prioress and Novice Mistress. She underwent continual spiritual trials, but was constant in her ardent love of God. She was outstandingly faithful to prayer and particularly devoted to St Joseph, in whose honour a convent was founded through her good offices at Moncalieri.





According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order has its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elias and Eliseus. They lived in caves on Mount Carmel. They honored the Queen of Heaven as the Virgin who is to give birth to the Saviour. When the reality replaced the symbol, the pious ascetics of Carmel were converted to the Christian Faith. In the 12th century, many pilgrims from Europe who had followed the Crusaders came to join the solitaries. A rule was established and the Order began to spread to Europe.

Amid the many persecutions raised against the Order of Mount Carmel, newly arrived in Europe, Saint Simon Stock, General of the Order, turned with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer on July 16, 1251, in the White Friars’ convent at Cambridge, She appeared before him and presented him with the well-known brown scapular, a loose sleeveless garment destined for the Order of Carmel, reaching from the shoulders to the knees. It was given as an assurance, for all who died wearing it, of Her heavenly protection from eternal death. An extraordinary promise indeed, but one requiring a life of prayer and sacrifice.

Devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and innumerable miracles put their seal upon its efficacy. The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who when the scapular was laid upon him by Saint Simon Stock at once asked for the Sacraments.

In the year 1636, a certain gentleman, member of a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the battle of Tehin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but he had time to make his confession. Afterwards a surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. When it had been withdrawn he soon expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin who had prolonged his life miraculously, thereby preserving him from the irremediable death of his soul.

At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.



Saint Joseph and Discalced Carmelites
This article was a response to a question on CINCarm mailing list about the appropriateness of discussion of St. Joseph on a list about Carmelite spirituality. Jerry graciously gave us permission to include in Our Garden.

In response to a concern about the appropriateness of talking about St. Joseph on CinCarm, let me point out the importance of St. Joseph in the history of the reformation of our Order. In her autobiography, St. Teresa tells us how her first foundation received its name:

"One day after Communion, His majesty earnestly commanded me to strive for this new monastery with all my powers, and He made great promises that it would be founded and that He would be highly served by it. He said it should be called St. Joseph and that this saint would keep watch over us at one door, and our Lady at the other, that Christ would remain with us, and that it would be a star shining with great splendor. "(LIFE, 32:11)
We find in the local statutes for secular Carmelites (ocds) in the United States this provision:

As sons and daughters of St. Teresa, members should keep in mind that Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, and the special patron of our Order. His the model of attentive service of Christ, of Mary and of the Church, and is also the 'master of prayer' proposed to us by St. Teresa.

We are called upon by our Rule to honor Joseph, first of all, because the Church honors him as her Universal Patron. This patronage was declared in the 18th century by the Church in response to signed petitions from hundreds of bishops, priests and laity. Interestingly, the petitions used the words "Universal Church" instead of "Catholic Church." An inspiration of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Vatican II and its emphasis on ecumenism, don't you think? The Church was pointing to Joseph as the patron of all and for all. This is evident is some of the other titles given to Joseph over the years.

Joseph is recommended to us by our Rule also as the model of attentive service of Christ, of Mary and of the Church.

Attentive! what a rich and vivid word to characterize what it means to love, and to point out how we are to foster and develop a loving relationship. It is so easy to say, "I love you," to God or anyone else. And sometimes we can serve God and others in a very perfunctory way; out of a sense of obligation, at best, and at worst, out of a sense of fear or as a way of manipulation: I'll do this for you if you do such and such for me. We can serve God and others begrudgingly in that way.

But we do not want to serve in this way. Look to Joseph, Teresa says, as your model of service. He was attentive in serving Jesus and Mary. When we love someone we are attentive to them; we are vigilant - watchful in seeing to their needs; conscientiously in search out ways to please our beloved.

Being attentive, so lovingly vigilant and watchful in our service of prayer, is an attitude which disposes us most surely for the grace of contemplation. Such attentiveness connotes a sense of waiting for, waiting on, the Lord who blesses those, the psalmist tells us, who wait so attentively on His Love. The psalms in fact provide us with such vivid images of how we should be attentive - not impulsively jumping into things, but always being open to the Spirit and allowing the Spirit to lead us into what God wishes us to do, into becoming the person God creates us to be. The psalmist tells us to be attentive with eyes watching through the night (Ps 119); in stillness before the Lord and waiting with patience for Him to reveal himself (Ps. 37). 3As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress," that is how attentive we should be on the Lord and for the revelation of His Mercy (Ps. l23). The psalmist reminds us that the servant is ever vigilant, the slave girl is always watchful, for the slightest signal of their master and mistress, so that they can be responsive. We should be as eagerly attentive to God and His Will for us as they, and as vigilant as the watchman who waits for the dawn. More than the watchman looks forward to the dawn which means his shift is over and he can have his rest; more eagerly than that should we wait for, be attentive to the Lord. (Ps. 130)

Such images from the psalms certainly characterized the attentiveness we find in Joseph's fulfillment of his mandate from God to serve the mission of Mary and then of Jesus in his hidden life of preparation.

Finally, our Rule reminds us that St. Teresa, a Doctor of the Church because she herself is regarded as a master of prayer, proposes Joseph to us as a master of prayer. Let me simply recall her words:

Anyone who cannot find a Master to teach him prayer should take this glorious saint for his master, and he will not go astray. LIFE. Chapter 7, 8.

If prayer is a loving conversation with Him whom we know loves us, then Joseph certainly had that experience par excellence, living in the presenceof Jesus as he did. For Teresa, the right road to prayer always meant living in the presence of Jesus, and walking in his footsteps. In our prayer, she tells us, "keeping Jesus present is what we of ourselves can do". To do this, she urges us to "speak with him, asking for our needs, complaining of our labors, being glad with him in our enjoyments and not forgetting him because of them, trying to speak to him ... with words that express our desires and needs." (LIFE, 12:2)

If we are to learn to pray to God with such intimacy, follow St. Teresa's and the Church's advice: GO TO JOSEPH. Jesus is always the way, Our prayer to the Father is pleasing in so far as it is united to the prayer of Jesus which He prays in us through the Spirit. To be attentive to Mary in our prayer is to be attentive to Jesus because her role is always to unite us to Him. Joseph had it all. He lived in the presence of Jesus and Mary, and conversed directly with them, and in so far as he knew Jesus as no other human has known Him after Mary, he knew the Father. That is why he is a model, a master of prayer.

Let us pray.
Dear St. Joseph, be our model and guide in our devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady. Teach us to do all for Jesus through Mary. Teach us to be ever attentive in our love and service of Jesus with and through Mary and to manifest that love in our service of the mystical body of Jesus. Help us make our prayer a loving conversation with Him Who loves us with infinitemercy, and help us to be vigilant in finding ways of seizing him by the heart with a tenacity which will move Him to draw us to Himself into union with His Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Teresa of Jesus on St. Joseph
"I took for my advocate and lord the glorious St. Joseph and earnestly recommended myself to him. I saw clearly that as in this need so in other greater ones concerning honor and loss of soul this father and lord of mine came to my rescue in better ways than I knew how to ask for. I don't recall up to this day ever having petitioned him for anything that he failed to grant . It is an amazing thing the great manyfavors God has granted me through the mediation of this blessed saint, the dangers I was freed from both of body and soul. For with other saints it seems the Lord has given them grace to be of help in one need, whereas with this glorious saint I have experience that he helps in all our needs and that the Lord wants us to understand that just as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth - for since bearing the title of father, being the Lord's tutor, Josep could give the Child commands - so in heaven God does whatever he commands." LIFE, Chapter 6, 6.

"Anyone who cannot find a Master to teach him prayer should take this glorious saint for his master, and he will not go astray." LIFE. Chapter 7, 8.

"One day after Communion, His Majesty earnestly commanded me to strive for this new monastery with all my powers, and He made great promises that it would be founded and that He would be highly served in it. He said it should be called St. Joseph and that this saint would keep watch over us at one door, and our Lady at the other, that Christ would remain with us, and that it would be a star shining with great splendor." LIFE. Chapter 32, 11.

"I understood that I had a great obligation to serve our Lady and St. Joseph; for often when I went off the path completely, God gave me salvation again through their prayers." SPIRITUAL TESTIMONIES. #26.



Prophet Elias
A man who saw God, a wonderworker and zealot for faith in God, Elias was of the tribe of Aaron, from the city of Tishba, whence he was known as "the Tishbite." When Elias was born, his father Sabah saw angels of God around the child, swaddling it with fire and feeding it with flames. This was a foreshadowing of Elias’ fiery character and his God-given fiery powers. He spent his whole youth in prayer and meditation, withdrawing often to the desert to ponder and pray in tranquility.

The prophet Elias came into the greatest conflict with the Israelite king, Ahab, and his evil wife Jezebel, for they worshipped idols and turned the people from the service of the one, living God. On top of this, Jezebel, being a Syrian, persuaded her husband to build a temple to the Syrian god, Baal, and appointed many priests to the service of this false god. Elias performed many miracles by the power of God: he closed the heavens, that no rain should fall for three years and six months; called down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice to his God, while the priests of Baal were unable to do this; brought rain from the heavens at his prayers; miraculously multiplied corn and oil in the widow’s house at Zarephath, and restored her dead son to life; prophesied to Ahab that the dogs would lick up his blood, and to Jezebel that the dogs would devour her--which came to pass; and performed many other miracles and foretold many events.

He talked with God on Horeb, and heard His voice in the calm after the great wind. At the time of his death, he took Elisha and appointed him his heir as a prophet; he parted the Jordan with his mantle and was finally borne to heaven in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses. He appeared, together with Moses, to our Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration. At the end of the world, Elias will appear again, to break the power of the antichrist (Rev. 11).




St. Albert of Jerusalem
Albert Avogadro was born about the middle of the Twelfth Century in Castel Gualteri in Italy. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior in 1180. Named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli in 1185, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. There, in word and example, he was the model of a good pastor and peace-maker. While he was Patriarch (1206-1214) he united the hermits of Mount Carmel into one community and wrote a Rule for them. He was murdered at Acre on September 14, 1214.

Rules of St. Albert

  1. [Chapter 1]
    Albert, called by God's favour to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.

  2. [Chapter 2]
    Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of alegiance to Jesus Christ -- how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master.

  3. [Chapter 3]
    It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward; and therefore:

  4. [Chapter 4]
    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 -- and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.

  5. [Chapter 5]
    If the prior and brothers see fit, you may have foundations in solitary places, or where you are given a site that is suitable and convenient for the observance proper to your Order.

  6. [Chapter 6]
    Next, each one of you is to have a separate cell, situated as the lie of the land you propose to occupy may dictate, and allotted by disposition of the prior with the agreement of the other brothers, or the more mature among them.

  7. [Chapter 7]
    However, you are to eat whatever may have been given you in a common refectory, listening together meanwhile to a reading from Holy Scripture where that can be done without difficulty.

  8. [Chapter 8]
    None of the brothers is to occupy a cell other than that allotted to him or to exchange cells with another, without leave or whoever is prior at the time.

  9. [Chapter 9]
    The prior's cell should stand near the entrance to your property, so that he may be the first to meet those who approach, and whatever has to be done in consequence may all be carried out as he may decide and order.

  10. [Chapter 10]
    Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord's law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty.

  11. [Chapter 11]
    Those who know how to say the canonical hours with those in orders should do so, in the way those holy forefathers of ours laid down, and according to the Church's approved custom. Those who do not know the hours must say twenty-five Our Fathers for the night office, except on Sundays and solemnities when that number is to be doubled so that the Our Father is said fifty times; the same prayer must be said seven times in the morining in place of Lauds, and seven times too for each of the other hours, except for Vespers when it must be said fifteen times.

  12. [Chapter 12]
    None of the brothers must lay claim to anything as his own, but you are to possess everything in common; and each is to receive from the prior -- that is from the brother he appoints for the purpose -- whatever befits his age and needs.

  13. [Chapter 13]
    You may have as many asses and mules as you need, however, and may keep a certain amount of livestock or poultry.

  14. [Chapter 14]
    An oratory should be built as conveniently as possible among the cells, where, if it can be done without difficulty, you are to gather each morning to hear Mass.

  15. [Chapter 15]
    On Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be found at fault, should be lovingly corrected.

  16. [Chapter 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.

  17. [Chapter 17]
    You are to abstain from meat, except as a remedy for sickness or feebleness. But as, when you are on a journey, you more often than not have to beg your way; outside your own houses you may eat foodstuffs that have been cooked with meat, so as to avoid giving trouble to your hosts. At sea, however, meat may be eaten.

  18. [Chapter 18]
    Since man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil your foe is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush.

  19. [Chapter 19]
    Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this -- your faith]. On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord's word for accompaniment.

  20. [Chapter 20]
    You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls. In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your leader you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and wary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in your own selves, an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that woever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.

  21. [Chapter 21]
    The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in silence and hope. For this reason I lay down that you are to keep silence from after Compline until after Prime the next day. At other times, although you need not keep silence so strictly, be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for, as Scripture has it -- and experience teaches us no less -- sin will not be wanting where there is much talk, and he wo is careless in speech will come to harm; and elsewhere: The use of many words brings harm to the speaker's soul. And our Lord says in the Gospel: Every rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on judgement day. Make a balance then, each of you, to weigh his words in; keep a tight rein on your mouths, lest you should stumble and fall in speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offence, and employ every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness.

  22. [Chapter 22]
    You, brother B., and whoever may succeed you as prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make himself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman.

  23. [Chapter 23]
    You, other brothers too, hold your prior in humble reverence, your minds not on him but on Christ who has placed him over you, and who, to those who rule the Churches, addressed the words: Whoever pays you heed pays heed to me, and whoever treats you with dishonour dishonours me; if you remain so minded you will not be found guilty of contempt, but will merit life eternal as fit reward for your obedience.

  24. [Chapter 24]
    Here then are the few points I have written down to provide you with a standard of counduct to live up to; but our Lord, at his second coming will reward anyone who does more than he is obliged to do. See that the bounds of common sense are not exceeded, however, for common sense is the guide of the virtues.



Superior General of the Carmelite Order (†1265)

Saint Simon Stock was born of one of the most illustrious Christian families of England, at the castle of Harford in 1164. Certain prodigies marked him, while an infant in the cradle, as a soul chosen by the Mother of God for Her own. Not yet one year old, he was heard to say the Angelic Salutation distinctly, before he had reached the age to learn it. As soon as he could read he began to recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, and he would never cease to do so daily. He read Holy Scripture on his knees at the age of six. He became the object of the jealous persecution of one of his brothers, and at the age of twelve determined to leave and go to live in a forest.

He found a very large hollow tree which became his oratory; and there Simon Stock lived like an angel of the desert. There he triumphed over the demon, as he would later tell his religious, only by the assistance of the Most Holy Virgin. When, deprived in his retreat of the Sacraments, he suffered sharp remorse and fear of his danger amid demoniac visions of criminal pleasures, Mary showed him the wiles of his enemy’s intentions in these harassments.

After twenty years he returned to his parents and resumed his studies, in particular those of theology. He was ordained a priest to obey the orders of Heaven, then went back to his retreat, which he left definitively in the year 1212. The incentive for his departure was a revelation the Blessed Virgin made to him that the Carmelite Fathers of Palestine would come to found monasteries in England. When two Carmelite monks arrived in the company of two English lords returning from a crusade, he hastened to join them, but troubles prevented the foundation of their projected monastery. The three hermits therefore lived in cells near Oxford. The University of Oxford, by recourse to obedience, prevailed upon Simon’s Superiors to allow him to teach theology there, but he did not remain for long.

During a time of difficulty for England which resulted from the Britannic king’s conflicts with the Pope, he composed the famous hymn, Alma Redemptoris Mater, in honor of the Mother of God, to ask for the king’s conversion; his prayers were heard and suddenly the prince accepted all conditions of peace which a papal legate proposed. Saint Simon was soon made Vicar General of his Order for all of Europe. But opposition to the spread of the ancient Order of the Virgin was raised up by the enemy of souls, until Pope Honorius III put an end to it by bulls approving, confirming and protecting the Order from its enemies. He did so, he said, to conform to a command of the Mother of God Herself.

When a General Chapter of the Order was assembled on Mount Carmel itself, Saint Simon attended it. The question of the flight of the monks from the persecutions of the infidels was debated; Saint Simon won out over another opinion by saying that it was a great evil to expose one’s faith to the dangers of persecution without a specific order from heaven, according to the Gospel: “When you are persecuted in one city, flee to another.” The Order had already lost many of its houses, burnt and desecrated. So the monks dispersed to join an army of Crusaders, not without suffering the loss of the lives of several among them at the hands of the infidels. The Christian army, however, found its waters were poisoned by the hand of its enemies, and retired with Saint Simon and his religious to the Mountain of Carmel once again; there the ancient fountain of Elias gave water in abundance, in answer to their prayers. For six years Saint Simon remained on Carmel before returning to Aylesford in England.

The Order afterwards multiplied its foundations, making several in France, under its pious king Saint Louis IX. So prodigiously did it multiply under Saint Simon, that a few years after his death, towards the end of the 13th century, it numbered, according to William of Tyre, several thousand monasteries or solitudes, which the same author estimated were peopled with some 125,000 religious. Saint Simon visited many of them in his extreme old age; he died at Bordeaux during his journeys in 1265.



St. Teresa of Avila
Saint Teresa was born in Avila, Spain, March 28, 1515. She died in Alba, October 4, 1582. Her family origins have been traced to Toledo and Olmedo. Her father, Alonso de Cepeda, was a son of a Toledan merchant, Juan Sanchez de Toledo and Ines de Cepeda, originally from Tordesillas. Juan transferred his business to Avila, where he succeeded in having his children marry into families of the nobility. In 1505 Alonso married Catalina del Peso, who bore him two children and died in 1507. Two years later Alonso married the 15-year-old Beatriz de Ahumada of whom Teresa was born.

Early Life. In 1528, when Teresa was 15, her mother died, leaving behind 10 children. Teresa was the "most beloved of them all." She was of medium height, large rather than small, and generally well proportioned. In her youth she had the reputation of being quite beautiful, and she retained her fine appearance until her last years (Maria de S. Jose, Libro de recreaciones, 8). Her personality was extroverted, her manner affectionately buoyant, and she had the ability to adapt herself easily to all kinds of persons and circumstances. She was skillful in the use of the pen, in needlework, and in household duties. Her courage and enthusiasm were readily kindled, an early example of which trait occurred when at the age of 7 she left home with her brother Rodrigo with the intention of going to Moorish territory to be beheaded for Christ, but they were frustrated by their uncle, who met the children as they were leaving the city and brought them home (Ephrem de la Madre de Dios, Tiempo y Vida de Sta. Teresa--hereafter abbrev. TV--142-143).

At about 12 the fervor of her piety waned somewhat. She began to take an interest in the development of her natural attractions and in books of chivalry. Her affections were directed especially to her cousins, the Mejias, children of her aunt Dona Elvira, and she gave some thought to marriage. Her father was disturbed by these fancies and opposed them. While she was in this crisis, her mother died. Afflicted and lonely, Teresa appealed to the Blessed Virgin to be her mother. Seeing his daughter's need of prudent guidance, her father entrusted her to the Augustinian nuns at Santa Maria de Gracia in 1531.

Vocation. The influence of Dona Maria de Brinceno, who was in charge of the lay students at the convent school, helped Teresa to recover her piety. She began to wonder whether she had a vocation to be a nun. Toward the end of the year 1532 she returned home to regain her health and stayed with her sister, who lived in Castellanos. Reading the letters of St. Jerome led her to the decision to enter a convent, but her father refused to give his consent. Her brother and confidant, Rodrigo, had just set sail for the war on the Rio de la Plata. She decided to run away from home and persuaded another brother to flee with her in order that both might receive the religious habit. On Nov. 2, 1535, she entered the Carmelite Monastery of the Incarnation at Avila, where she had a friend, Juana Suarez; and her father resigned himself to this development. The following year she received the habit and began wholeheartedly to give herself to prayer and penance. Shortly after her profession she became seriously ill and failed to respond to medical treatment. As a last resort her father took her to Becedas, a small village, to seek

"I did not know," she said, "how to proceed in prayer or how to become recollected, and so I took much pleasure in it and decided to follow that path with all my strength" (Libro de la Vida, the autobiography of St. Teresa--hereafter abbrev. V--4.6).

Instead of regaining her health, Teresa grew even more ill, and her father brought her back to Avila in July 1539. On August 15 she fell into a coma so profound that she was thought to be dead. After 4 days she revived, but she remained paralyzed in her legs for 3 years. After her cure, which she attributed to St. Joseph (V. 6.6-8), she entered a period of mediocrity in her spiritual life, but she did not at any time give up praying. Her trouble came of not understanding that the use of the imagination could be dispensed with and that her soul could give itself directly to contemplation. During this stage, which lasted 18 years, she had transitory mystical experiences. She was held back by a strong desire to be appreciated by others, but this finally left her in an experience of conversion in the presence of an image of "the sorely wounded Christ" (V 9.2). This conversion dislodged the egoism that had hindered her spiritual development. Thus, at the age of 39, she began to enjoy a vivid experience of God's presence within her.

However, the contrast between these favors and her conduct, which was more relaxed than was thought proper according to the ascetical standards of the time, caused some misunderstanding. Some of her friends, such as Francisco de Salcedo and Gaspar Daza, thought her favors were the work of the devil (V 23.14). Diego de Cetina, SJ, brought her comfort by encouraging her to continue in mental prayer and to think upon the humanity of Christ. Francis Borgia in 1555 heard her confession and told her that the spirit of God was working in her, that she should concentrate upon Christ's Passion and not resist the ecstatic experience that came to her in prayer. Nevertheless she had to endure the distrust even of her friends as the divine favors increased. When Pradanos left Avila in 1558 his place as Teresa's director was taken by Baltasar Alvarez, SJ, who, either from caution or with the intention of probing her spirit, caused her great distress by telling her that others were convinced that her raptures and visions were the work of the devil and that she should not communicate so often (V 25.4). Another priest acting temporarily as her confessor, on hearing her report of a vision she had repeatedly had of Christ, told her it was clearly the devil and commanded her to make the sign of the cross and laugh at the vision (V 29.5). But God did not fail to comfort her, and she received the favor of the transverberation (V 29.13-14). In August 1560 St. Peter of Alcantara counseled her: "Keep on as you are doing, daughter; we all suffer such trials."

Reformer. Her great work of reform began with herself. She made a vow always to follow the more perfect course, and resolved to keep the rule as perfectly as she could (V 32.9). However, the atmosphere prevailing at the Incarnation monastery was less than favorable to the more perfect type of life to which Teresa aspired. A group assembled in her cell one September evening in 1560, taking their inspiration from the primitive tradition of Carmel and the discalced reform of St. Peter of Alcantara, proposed the foundation of a monastery of an eremitical type. At first her confessor, the provincial of the Carmelites, and other advisers encouraged her in the plan (TV 478-482); but when the proposal became known among the townsfolk, there was a great outcry against it. The provincial changed his mind, her confessor dissociated himself from the project, and her advisers ranged themselves with the opposition. Six months later, however, when there was a change of rectors at the Jesuit college, her confessor, Father Alvarez, gave his approval. Without delay Teresa had her sister Juana and her husband Juan de Ovalle buy a house in Avila and occupy it as though it were for themselves (V 33.11). This stratagem was necessary to obviate difficulties with nuns at the Incarnation while the building was being adapted and made ready to serve as a convent. At Toledo, where she was sent by the Carmelite provincial at the importunate request of a wealthy and noble lady, she received a visit from St. Peter of Alcantara, who offered to act as mediator in obtaining from Rome the permissions needed for the foundation. While there she also received a visit from the holy Carmelite Maria de Yepes, who had just returned from Rome with permission to establish a reformed convent and who provided Teresa with a new light on the question of the type of poverty to be adopted by her own community. At Toledo she also completed in reluctant obedience to her confessor the first version of her Vida.

She returned to Avila at the end of June 1562 (TV 506-507), and shortly thereafter the apostolic rescript, dated Feb. 7, 1562, for the foundation of the new convent arrived. The following August 24 the new monastery dedicated to S. Jose was founded; Maestro Daza, the bishop's delegate, officiated at the ceremony. Four novices received the habit of the Discalced Carmelites. There was strong opposition among the townspeople and at the Incarnation. The prioress at the Incarnation summoned Teresa back to her monastery, where the Carmelite provincial Angel de Salazar, indignant at her having put her new establishment under the jurisdiction of the bishop, rebuked her, but after hearing her account of things, was mollified and even promised to help quiet the popular disturbance and to give her permission to return to S. Jose when calm had been restored. On August 25 the council at Avila met to discuss the matter of the new foundation, and on August 30 a great assembly of the leading townspeople gathered. The only one in the assembly to raise his voice against the popular indignation was Domingo Banez, OP. A lawsuit followed in the royal court, but before the end of 1562 the foundress, as Teresa of Jesus, was authorized by the provincial to return to the new convent. There followed the 5 most peaceful years of her life, during which she wrote the Way of Perfection and the Meditations on the Canticle.

Foundations. In April 1567 the Carmelite general, Giovanni Battista Rossi (Rubeo), made a visitation, approved Teresa's work, and commanded her to establish other convents with some of the nuns from the convent of the Incarnation at Avila. He also gave her permission to establish two houses for men who wished to adopt the reform. The extension of Teresa's work began with the foundation of a convent at Medina del Campo, Aug. 15, 1567. Then followed other foundations: at Malagon in 1568; at Valladolid (Rio de Olinos) in 1568; at Toledo and at Pastrana in 1569; at Salamanca in 1570; and at Alba de Tormes in 1571. As she journeyed to Toledo in 1569 she passed through Duruelo, where John of the Cross and Anthony of Jesus had established the first convent of Discalced Brethren in November 1568, and in July 1569 she established the second monastery of Discalced Brethren in Pastrana.

These foundations were followed by an interval during which Teresa served as prioress at the Incarnation monastery in Avila, an office to which she was appointed by the apostolic visitator, Pedro Fernandez, OP. This duty she was loath to assume, and she had much opposition to face on the part of the community. However, with the help of St. John of the Cross, who served as a confessor for the nuns, she was able to bring about a great improvement in the spiritual condition of the community. On Nov. 18, 1572, while receiving Communion from the hands of John of the Cross, she received the favor of the "spiritual marriage." At the request of the Duchess of Alba she spent the first days of 1573 in Alba, and then went to Salamanca to put things in order at the foundation there. At the command of Jerome Ripalda, SJ, she started her Book of the Foundations the following August. On March 19, 1574, she established a foundation at Segovia, where the Pastrana nuns had been transferred because of conflicts with the Princess of Eboli. This marked the beginning of a second series of fonndations. The next was made at Beas de Segura in February 1575. There Teresa met Jerome Gratian, apostolic visitator of the order in Andalucia, who ordered a foundation in Seville. The bishop objected, however, and Teresa sent Ana de S. Alberto to Caravaca to make a foundation there in her name on Jan. 1, 1576, and that of the Seville convent was delayed until June 3 of the same year.

Crisis Between the Calced and Discalced. The entry of the Discalced Brethren into Andalusia was forbidden by Rossi, the general of the order, who opposed Teresa and Jerome Gratian in this matter. The general chapter at Piacenza in 1575 ordered the Discalced Brethren to withdraw from Andalusia, and Teresa herself was ordered to retire to a convent. The general put Jerome Tostado at the head of the Discalced Brethren. While the conflict raged between the Calced and Discalced Brethren, Teresa wrote the Visitation of the Discalced Nuns, a part of The Foundations, and her greatest book, The Interior Castle. The nuncio Nicholas Ormaneto, a defender of the Discalced Brethren, died June 18, 1578, and his successor, Felipe Sega, was less favorably disposed toward them. John of the Cross was imprisoned in Toledo. Against Teresa's will the Discalced Brethren held a chapter in Almodovar on Oct. 9, 1578. The nuncio annulled the chapter and by a decree put the Discalced Brethren under the authority of the Calced provincials who subjected them to some harassment. The King intervened, and four were named to advise the nuncio, among them Pedro Fernandez, OP. Angel de Salazar was made vicar-general of the Discalced Brethren while negotiations were afoot for the separation of the Discalced from the Calced Brethren and the erection of a Discalced province.

Teresa then turned to visiting her convents and resumed the founding of new ones. On Feb. 25, 1580, she gave the habit to foundresses of the convent in Villaneuva de la Jara. The brief Pia consideratione, dated June 22, 1580, ordered the erection of a distinct province for the Discalced. On March 3, 1581, the chapter of the Discalced was held in Alcala, and Jerome Gratian, who was favored by Teresa, was elected the first provincial. Teresa's last foundations were: at Palencia and Soria in 1581, at Burgos in 1582; the most difficult of all, Granada (1582), was entrusted to the Venerable Anne of Jesus.
Teresa's body was interred in Alba. Paul V declared her a blessed April 24, 1614, and in 1617 the Spanish parliament proclaimed her the Patroness of Spain. Gregory XV canonized her in 1622 together with SS. Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Isidore, and Philip Neri.





St John of the Cross, 1542-1591. The Mystical Doctor, and, The Doctor of Mystical Theology, Feast Dec 14th.

When you sincerely desire inspiration to the fullest of your being, read John. Entreat him to guide you! He awaits your request. This particular doctor has a heavenly gift to bestow favors upon those who prayerfully petition him because he is so richly endowed. The below link will allow you to have a close look upon him as you request God's favors:

Known before his religious life as Juan de Yepes, he is truly considered the mystical doctor not only by the Carmelite Order to which he wholeheartedly belonged but also for all posterity. His appeal and gifts are for the universal Church and for all creatures who seek union with God in prayer and action. God poured His Spirit in him quite abundantly. John is a master and a marvel beyond description when it comes to the imitation of Christ. He lived a thoroughly, holy, prayerful life and expressed it with generous, Christian words and actions.

God leads us, generally, through the visible rather than the invisible. No better guide than the mystical doctor will you ever find. However, this saint is so subtle and profound that he is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. St John will marvelously lead you, usually, through someone else. John relied on others and allowed himself to be recruited by Teresa of Avila in her reform of Carmel. She sensed in him a holiness and wisdom that would help her in the renewal of the Order of the Virgin, especially with the men. John was one of the original founders of the new order that God inspired St Teresa to initiate and played a vital role in many important offices that he held.

When you are led by others, as John, you will become more humble and less susceptible to pride. In the spiritual ascent to God, there are many pitfalls, ambushes and spiritual traps for those who aspire for intimate union with God. When we allow God to completely purify us in this life and fully cooperate with God's Spirit, and those providentially selected for us, we will be in for such an awakening and amazement that we will not believe could be possible. This will normally happen ever so gradually.

God wants to inflame our souls. Thoughts of making spiritual acts of love become more aware, tangible and most consuming. The presence of God’s love becomes more alive, real and spiritually passionate. One becomes preoccupied in how to love more but the anxiety is gentle and not disturbing. In this stage of one’s life, there doesn’t seem enough time to love. One begins to long for eternity and is caught up in contemplation. One’s greatest sorrow will be focused on not having loved enough, more than, sorrow for past sins.

All Christians, no matter the division or denomination, have union with God if they possess charity. Charity is the life of love. It is the life of God. To be charitable is to be a Christian. There are many forms of love but the noblest is the love that shares, gives unstintingly and unreservedly. The Greek word for this love is called Agape. It is pure and perfect. It becomes transforming love when it is sacrificial for helping others at great cost to oneself. Jesus said it best: greater love than this no one has than to lay down one's very life for others-even if they are enemies or friends. Jesus wanted all to be His friends. This included His traitor, Judas. In Gethsemane, on the night of His arrest, He said: Judas, have you come to betray me with a kiss? He did not shrink from being kissed by Judas to show that He desires all to approach Him confidently if we can. Jesus is tenderly approachable to transform us. We can be sure that Jesus kissed his friends and love ones more frequently than is recorded in the gospels. Other books by reputable holy people also mentioned that Jesus shed more tears than the few occasions mentioned in Scripture.

Jesus Christ’s leading human and divine characteristic was His extraordinary warmth and affection showed to all especially sinners who were truly sorry for bad deeds, those struggling with temptations and especially those who were eager to return to God’s friendship and belong wholly to Him.

St John of the Cross knew we could only give to others what we get from God. John's charity was most generous. He will, usually, direct you to find a spiritual guide if you sincerely petition him. You should trust and submit to that person. God normally works through others although any holy and wise person on earth or in heaven can directly guide you. It does not matter who leads you to union. St John exhorts all to aim for union. Long for union. Pray for union. One has to be led to obtain union. It can come at the beginning, the middle or end of our spiritual journey. Pray that it may come soon. A unionized person is guided and is led as God ordains-with an almighty spiritual power. Spiritual love becomes a consummate passion.

God may prefer to guide you by the Father, Son or Holy Spirit. Frequently God uses His Mother, Mary. Personally, God leads us through our own guardian angel. God leads most of us through the Church. Remember that there is a price to be paid for union with God. Read St John of the Cross to discover the nature of union. His writings have the power to attract and excite you to a deeper union with God. Some of his books include:
The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,
The Dark Night,
The Living Flame of Love
and The Spiritual Canticle.

John was criticized, deprived, beaten, berated and even imprisoned by the very Religious Order he so earnestly hoped to help. He is perhaps the most misunderstood doctor of the Church precisely because he is the most mystical. The signs, signals and proof of God's overwhelming endorsement of St John of Cross to aid us are too many to conceive. John's union with God was total and thorough.

The mystical doctor was quite ordinary, natural and down to earth. His virtues, gifts and holiness were extra-ordinary. His natural gifts were shown to become supernaturalized both in life and death. For example, after John’s death not even lime would destroy his bones. There was a deliberate attempt to hasten the decompositon of his bodily remains. However, John's purity, innocence and love of God exceeded all natural causes and God has perserved his remains even to this day, I believe. He is an exceptional incorruptible.

To understand this phenomenon about St John and others, read The Incorruptibles listed in the sources. To read additional information about these types of miracles in the lives of the saints, go to Joan Carroll Cruz's books listed in the sources.

When it comes to the mystical life, everything is summed up by the "Beloved Apostle", St John the Evangelist, when he stated that God is Love. The "Mystical Doctor" added a dimension by saying that Love is repaid by Love alone and again: Love is only repaid by Love. The emphases here is that the Spirit of God within the Deity and within humans as God's bounty and gifts allow is the same Spirit. God alone repays Himself according to God's Infinite wisdom in time and eternity.

John understood that all creatures were "robbers." Because of our human nature, weakness and sin, we theoretically "robbed" the Father of the Son for thirty-three years. Actually, the Son never left the Father because they are one. John's wisdom comprehended that God's love was effusive and eternally generous. However, for John, life had to have a payback to God because of the lavish gift of the Son from the Father not only in the Eternal Word, but also in the Word made Flesh-Jesus. Only Love is paid back by the Spirit of Love dwelling in our hearts and minds. John attempted to help everyone be aware of the union of our hearts with God in transformation to effect the payback. He lived, breathed, worked, wrote, and suffered in a perfect spirit of charity to reveal how God works and lives in us. He understood the seven gifts of the Spirit in all of God's tremendous splendor and glory.

The providence of the Father allowed him to be kidnapped and kept locked up away from his monastery. He understood and accepted. Those parents with missing children, those who have love ones kidnapped or relatives who are separated have a commiserate friend they can identify and turn to with John of the Cross. He lived that desolation, isolation and separation. His intercessory powers are most extraordinary. John keenly sensed the separation of human and divine love. He was especially aware of the intimacy of Jesus. John was fully empowered with all the fruits, favors, beatitudes, blessings, graces and gifts to share with us.

When you want to understand, explore, tour and completely comprehend what love is, read, and above all, pray with John. Our Holy Father, John Paul II acted in this manner when he decided to write one of his doctoral dissertations on St John of the Cross.

John's writings, example and witness to the Gospel are extraordinary and subtle. John is matchless when it comes to the mystical life, contemplation and total submission to God in all things. John is a beloved lover and so caught up and absorbed in God that it would be impossible not to benefit from his moving, delicate and delightful words. Some samples of his palpable and celestial expressions includes: "That you may have pleasure in everything, seek pleasure in nothing. That you may know everything, seek to know nothing. That you may possess all things, seek to possess nothing. That you may be everything, seek to be nothing.”

Our Carmelite lover of prayer took many of the positive and divine elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, Islam and Confucianism and distilled them into the Judaic Christian science of love that Jesus spoke and lived. The principles, philosophies and system of thought in each of the above categories of belief differ distinctly from Christianity. Christianity is based upon a Person who had many titles. He is called the "Man of Contraditions", the "Transcendental Man" and the "Man of Sorrows". Jesus is more than philosophy or theology. He is nobler than a system of thought. He is the Eternal Word. However, more than that, Jesus is the Man-God. That makes Catholicism different and unique. The Man-God is for all humanity but faith is necessary to get to know and accept Jesus as God. Our eyes will not give us the answer to our faith. We need to go beyond what we see physically to the unseen spiritually. St. John told us never to trust or rely in visions-no matter what! Even if Jesus Christ Himself appears, do not trust what you see. Faith is better, nobler, surer and more meritoriously pleasing to God. God remains invincible and invisible!

Jesus was a Jew. He was a transformed, renewed and humble Jew. He was a mystery to all especially the Jewish leaders. They thought He claimed to be greater than Moses. They were right. That was their stumbling block. Jesus claimed to be Divine. The religious leaders thought He was possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. He was the Prince of Peace! How could they get it all wrong? What kind of Spirit lived in Jesus? The Spirit that hovered over Him at the beginning of His public ministry, in the River Jordan, testified as to Who He was. God’s “Elijah”, John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets, proclaimed Him as the Lamb of God. His multiple miracles and His resurrection testify to His Divinity.

Mohammad, the prophet, who lived after Christ and died in 632, according to Moslem traditions ascended to heaven. No one saw him die. Christ was crucified and identifies with all mortals as Savior who came back from the dead to prove he was God. The Islam religion has around one billion followers.

Who ever came back from the dead? St Thomas was puzzled at that time, seeing Jesus in front of Him after the resurrection. It was too good to be true. It didn’t make sense. Thomas’ eyes did not give him the answer. Thomas found it difficult to trust in a person who he knew had died. But, was it a real Body? Did He have bones? Jesus said that a ghost did not have bones as He had. Thomas had to trust in the words of Jesus more than his eyes. Were Thomas’ eyes controlling his belief or was his belief controlling his eyes? How does it work? How could a dead Person be alive, Thomas mused? How could he believe it? Many people have said that they would believe it when they see it. Isn’t seeing believing? Not in this particular instance. Thomas was confronted with a stumbling block too-his eyes! Human vision is different from supernatural vision. Faith is supernatural vision. Thomas made the leap from reason to faith. He didn’t understand it. Who could? He uttered his famous cry: “My Lord and My God!” We need to do the same often!

Confucius never said he was a part of divinity. He was born before Christ probably around 200 B.C. The following two paragraphs are taken from Relics listed in the sources.

Confucius laid no claim to being more than a man. His system of ethics gradually assumed the aspects of a religious cult. His analects are wise sayings similar to the Proverbs in the Bible. In accordance with tradition there are no statues of the sage, only tablets inscribed with his name. The followers of his teaching number more than 300 million with many paying homage at his tomb.

The Indian mystic and prophet, Buddha, died in 483 B.C.

He espoused noble causes in order to help liberate people from suffering by mental and moral self purification. Millions of pagodas in Asia containing some of his writings. Jesus embraced suffering. He was able to discern that suffering is sacrificial and infinitely meritoriously when united to the holy will of the Creator and when pain is unavoidable. He did not eliminate pain and was unafraid to challenge it. Jesus did not master hardships. He sanctified them with love and consecration. He is the Liberator because He cleanses, frees and liberates the soul, mind and heart through the innate seeds of faith, hope and charity that God infuses into our total being. Although Jesus never left any writings of his own, he imparted his Spirit to others as he promised to make known the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven. We are all made in the image and likeness of God despite our sinful inheritance.

We are incarnational trinities:possessing creativity with the Father, spirit with the Holy Ghost and communication with the Eternal Word. Exactly as the Father communicates with the One Word, we too, with our humanity in union with Jesus Christ, are able to express our minds, hearts and memories to our Father, Spirit and Son, the total Holy Trinity, by reason of the Trinity indwelling within us. Obviously we can't always be conscious of this inscrutable mystery. But through our baptism we are not only born again, we are reborn anew! The curse has been removed by the coming of the radiant Redemptor and Savior. The Messiah was promised and God always keeps His promises.

When you think you know what St John of the Cross said you realize it's more than you imagined. John's words will escape you often because he is so pure and deep. His words at times are puzzling and require a wise guide to help you grasp his remarkable message. Again, compare the below quote with the above quotation and reflect: "When you most seek, and most anxiously desire, you will never find if you seek for yourself-not even in the most profound contemplation but only in deep humility and submission of heart." Again, "seek in reading and you will find in meditation. Knock in prayer and it shall be opened in contemplation." Don't even think of trying to fully fathoming John. Rather, enjoy, celebrate and delight in his friendship, which the Church extends through his writings and legacy. The entire and authentic collected works of St John of the Cross can be obtained by writing to the Institute of Carmelite Studies at 2131 Lincoln Rd. N.E., Washington, DC 20002.

John's words are for all creatures and especially members of the Church. They do not have to live in monasteries or secluded settings or be contemplative. For John, God wants to transform each and everyone regardless of their lifestyle. All have to give the payback. We are "bandits". Intentionally or unintentionally we keep or are stingy with God who wants our loving thoughts, feelings, aspirations and desperations. John understood that to give up these for God results in a giving back to Him. John always reminds us that love is only repaid by love alone. We are spiritual thieves. We have imprisoned the Word made Flesh in God's many sanctuaries. God is more entrapped by His love for us than by our "stealing" him away from the celestial court. The kingdom of the heavenly court dwells in our midst, mystically and physically. Faith and love grasp this truth.

There is a mystic in each of us. It's God dwelling in us in a marvelous and invisible manner. God is absolute Mystery. God told Moses "I am who I am" One can not say more about God's presence than what God told Moses. The mystical apostle, St John, described God's nature: God is love. The mystical doctor's message is where there is no love, put love and you will find love. He was absolutely convinced that nothing is obtained from God except through love.

John's maxims and counsels which can be obtains from the many Carmelites' convents and monasteries throughout the world remind us of this Trinitarian truth. The Father spoke one Word which was His Son and this Word He always speaks in external silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul. Thus we see that genuine prayer without stillness and sincerity of spirit is not authentic prayer.

John was not so caught up in contemplation and union with God that he failed to mention the Virgin of Carmel. Listen to the fondness and intimacy of the concise yet tremendously sensitive lines in one of his touching Christmas poems: "If you meet the Virgin coming down the road, ask her into your home because she bears the word of God." John's life and writings exhort us to love Jesus and Mary as lover, husband, wife, brother and sister. He is telling us to be cordially inviting, respecting and assisting others when needed or necessary.

Although John has not written extensively about the Mother of God, there is according to the masters of the spiritual life, hardly anything that John has not said about Mary from a spiritual perspective. There are only sparse references about St Mary including 12 explicit and only 4 from John's major writings. However, from these profound, terse inclusions, an entire Mariology could be drawn. This information may be gained by going to the section marked "tapes" (from the link below) that Father Emmanuel Sullivan of The Mother of God, OCD, recorded. He did extensive research for the 400th anniversary on St John of the Cross and one will be amazed to know that hardly anyone in the entire history of the Catholic Church could said anything more fitting and excellently about the Mother of God in fewer words than what St John of the Cross expressed. In additions, there are many other excellent tapes by wise and holy Carmelites about St John of the Cross.

One arrives in a loving relationship with the heavenly court through self-denial, renunciation, fasting, penance, mortifications, asceticism, discipline and, above all, daily prayer. Surrender to God in all things if you want union. One needs to plunge in and trust. John's writings are like an ocean. He is deep. Deeper than the universe! Anyone who really wants to study, view and understand the stars needs a telescope. Those who want to understand God generally need a prayerful, wise guide to lead you where God reigns and dwells. Seek John and cry to him for any help. He is your friend and brother. He wants to share God's gifts with you.

John's craving for God is a gift but it can be anyone's gift. Don't be afraid to pray and seek God everywhere and non-stop. Naturally, you have to use common sense. Petition God to touch you with divine, common sense. God wants to supernaturalize your rational thinking with heavenly thinking (prayer). Remember that heaven is where the heart is. Ponder John’s blissful cry and reflect on this holistic, Hispanic healer. " Oh! thou most beautiful soul who longs to know where thy Beloved dwells. You, yourself, are that very tabernacle where He loves to take His delight". Jesus said it first: The kingdom of God is within you! We should not only stay near Jesus in the tabernacle but stay near all God’s creatures when they need us. God is there! Lovers, as John, always stay near and care for all with solicitude, sensitivity and affection whenever possible.

Christocentric men and women pray daily to live out the gospel message. They are people of prayer, adoration and action. Each, according to their gifts, attempt to share the fruits and favors of prayer. That is their calling and that is their gift to the Church and to the world and all of its members.

To act kindly toward others is the mystical life. The true mystic is not caught up in asceticism. Being generous, patient and compassionate to all despite interruptions in one’s life requires heroic holiness. Penance and mortification are measures to check human nature that has been irreparably damaged. Only constant vigilance can contain the ever-present weakness of the flesh, which has its own laws and tendencies. One attempts to receive charity through penance and never to attempt to gain something through one’s effort. Charity is not only a gift but God’s greatest gift that is bestowed and not earned.

Sharing charity, acting charitable and sometimes keeping quiet when one feels like criticizing, complaining and getting angry can only be achieved by supernatural graces. Charity is one. There is really only one charity and it embraces God and all of God’s creatures. It is impossible to have only one half of charity. To profess to love God and not neighbor is a hoax. To say one loves neighbor and not God is a myth.

All people are mystics to some degree. Lovers of humanity reveal Christ. Lovers of Christ reveal their concern for all humanity. The mystic aims to find God not only in his soul but everywhere and especially in being nice and kind to people.

It has been said, “charity is but the most manifest and illustrious aspect of God. Of all of God’s attributes, charity is the sovereign and original one because all the other attributes originate from charity. What is God’s power but dynamic, active charity? What is God’s wisdom but a teaching-charity? What is God’s mercy but a forgiving charity? What is God’s justice but a ruling charity?”

As music can sometimes be described as the voices of angels, St John’s writings are music to the ear. They will make you soar with inspiration to share, desire and love. His words are eloquent, subtle and sonorous. His poetry will tenderly touch and move you. His profound words are found in the best musicals ever. The lyrics in the famous Broadway shows such as Les Miserable and The Phantom of the Opera and The Man from LaMancha are echoes of John’s words. Wherever you hear words of love, the meaning and shades of expressed love in song or expressions, you will find similarities in St John’s words. He is unquestionably the mystic doctor of the Church because he expressed the inexpressible. He made them concrete as far as it is humanly possible with his superb prose and poetry. John asserts that love is a divine and delicate touch. It is also a wound that causes a glorious death in such a way that one dies while remaining alive. It strikes without a sound and one does not know how or why it is given.



Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as "Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus" and "The Little Flower," was born January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France.

On May 18, 1884, Theresa received her First Communion. She said "Ah, how sweet was the first kiss of Jesus! It was a kiss of love... I felt that I was loved."

St.Theresa had an ardent desire to be a nun, since she was three. When she was ten years old, she begged to be received into the Carmel of Lisieux
On January 10, 1889, she joined the congregation and pronounced her holy vows on September 8, 1890. She practiced all the virtues of childhood, of love and confidence, she became a great Saint.

On September 30, 1897, at the age of twenty-four, St.Theresa died of tuberculosis, with a loving glance at her crucifix, and said, “Oh, I love Him! My God, I love You!” Her feast is celebrated on October 1.



Sr. Elizabeth of the Trinity is well-known in the Order of Carmel. She lived in the 19th century. We see her as a girl of high spirits; she plunged into life, which she loved. She was a most accomplished pianist, securing prizes. She loved nature, she loved the sea, she loved adventures and new experiences. She loved her friends with very great warmth, which never left her even in Carmel. She lived by a doctrine; it was this: to live in company with Him alone. And that is the secret of Elizabeth and the secret of Carmel. Elizabeth did not start as a saint, but all that mighty will in her was applied from the beginning to the cause of God.

1. Family history
2. Birth
3. Childhood
4. Teenager
5. Entrance to Carmel
6. Spiritual life
7. Sickness and Death
8. Brief message

Family history
Elizabeth’s family name was Catez. Her father Joseph was born on May 29th, 1832 and was the fourth of seven children of Andre Catez and Fideline Hoel. The family was poor. His father was a simple farmer who could neither read nor write. He died at the age of forty-six when Joseph was eight. Joseph, his expression so clear and candid, had to make his way in life with the energy and perseverance that will characterize his daughter later. At twenty-one he joined the army as a volunteer. He had participated in the campaign (Algerian campaign) as well as the war in 1870. Later he did enjoy the titles Lieuteneant and captain (1872 and 1875). When he was a captain he married Marie Rolland in the year 1879.

Marie Rolland, mother of Elizabeth was a daughter of retired Commandant Raymond Rolland. He was also a tax-collector. Her mother was Josephine Klein. She came from the southern region i.e from Lorraine. Marie was their only child. Marie was a sensitive person and friendly who won many friends. Her first fiancé died during the War of 1870
that made her to devote herself to a serious Christian life. It seems she was an enthusiastic admirer of our great Carmelite, St. Teresa of Avila.

Birth – To these parents Elizabeth was born. Elizabeth’s story, the humble, simple and joyful acknowledgment of God’s love began on July 18, 1880.There was a great anxiety just before Elizabeth’s birth. For a time the mother’s life was in danger as well as of the child. The chaplain of the camp celebrated mass at the request of her father and it seems towards the end of the Gospel the baby was safely delivered.

  • Elizabeth liked to remember that this was the day of the week dedicated to the blessed Trinity.

  • On Sunday morning, July 18, 1880 Elizabeth Catez was born in this military building at the camp of Avor near Borges, ‘a quite rustic barracks which I’d have been happy to live in.” she would write later.

  • She was baptized on July 22, feast of Mary Magdalene. Marie Catez holds her daughter wearing her baptismal dress.

  • The chapel of military camp where Elizabeth was baptized. On the right and the left can be seen the small houses of military men.

  • Elizabeth liked to recall the day of her baptism because she liked the saint of whom our Lord said ‘she loved much’.

Childhood: What was she like?

  • Elizabeth as nine months old. A very beautiful, very lively child’ her mother would write later.

  • Elizabeth – 21 months old. Marie Rolland writes to her mother who was ill during those days – “Elizabeth is very conscious of your illness; she not only prays but she is teaching her doll to pray; she has just very devoutly made her kneel…’ she is a real devil; she is crawling and she needs a fresh pair pf paints every day…’ She is also a big chatterbox. The doll’s name is Jeanette.

  • When her mother was sick Marie Rolland had to travel to the south with Elizabeth. A mission was being preached there and was to close with a blessing of the children. A sister came to ask for the doll that could be used as the little Jesus in the crib. And the doll was dressed with a robe covered with golden stars etc. and was unrecognizable to the child’s eyes. She was distracted at first by the people and later she could recognize her doll and in a fit of rage with furious eyes she cried out “Jeanette, give me back my Jeanette”. Her nurse had to carry her out and this passionate and choleric temperament kept growing stronger. She was uncontrollable.

Elizabeth at about two years old with her doll Jeanette. At this time the Catez family moved to Auxonne and then to Dizon. With the blood of soldiers in her veins, she was naturally vivacious, impulsive and stubborn or headstrong we call her.

Elizabeth at the age of four. She was also called ‘Sabeth”

When they were in Dizon her sister was born called Marguerite or ‘Guite” on February 20th, 1883. Marguerite was gentle girl, shy and reserved.

Elizabeth at the age of five.

Marguerite recalled her sister’s childhood: she was very lively, even quick-tempered; she went into rages that were quite terrible; she was a real little devil.” Her mother speaks of her “furious eyes”. Even she did not hesitate to apply physical punishment to Elizabeth. It seems she would prepare her small bag threatening to send her as a boarder to the Good Shepherd (a house of corrections). But Elizabeth loved her mother intensely and he fear of severe punishment would disappear by a mother’s kiss before going to bed at night.

Catez family was known for its harmony. For e.g. the letter of Marie to her husband perhaps already suffering from heart trouble, who was traveling” do not forget my advice; take care of yourself; do not drink too much beer or smoke… take care of your health and think of us. The little ones are more or less well-behaved; Elizabeth often thinks of you etc.

In 1885, Joseph Catez retires.

In 1887 two deaths take place in the family. First, her grandfather Raymond Rolland and within eight months her own father died rather suddenly. Elizabeth was seven years old and there is no evidence available to indicate how the child reacted to this sad event. Surely, it must have made a remarkable effect on her. One obvious consequence was that Elizabeth’s formation and education were now entirely in the hands of her mother.

After the death of her father the family could no longer live in the military camps(Rue Lamartine). They had to move to some other place. From the window of the new house the little Elizabeth could see an unfamiliar building in a garden: i.e. Carmel.

The sudden change in the atmosphere must have left the family with loneliness, and must have bound them even closer to each other. But there were faithful friends, new relationships and annual trips to visit relatives and friends.

Without being rich, Marie Catez was sufficiently well off to assure the education of her children. Now Elizabeth was seven and she received her French lessons from Madam Gremaux. This teacher recalled the “iron will” of her little pupil. For it was Elizabeth’s nature always to go to the depths of things. Even she announced her intention of becoming a nun during this time (7 years)

In order to prepare her for a career as a piano teacher, her mother enrolled her in the Conservatory of Dijon when she was eight.

Elizabeth prepared herself to make her first confession at the age of seven and the priest who prepared her for this predicted, “This one will grow up to be a saint or a devil’, bus she cannot go gown the middle way.

She was always contrite, upright girl with a lovable nature and generous heart. Her straight forward approach to life led her to make good resolutions. Witnesses say that her first confession visibly engaged her in the struggle against her caprices.

Some of the letters (4 & 5) which were written when she was nine-and-a-half…say ”since I hope that I will soon have the happiness of making my first communion, I will be even better behaved for I will pray to God to make me better still”. (L.5)

After her first confession Elizabeth prepared herself for her first communion. It was nearly four year after and just before her eleventh birthday. Sensitive by nature, especially to things sacred, she was profoundly affected by her first reception of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Tears of joy were seen to run down the young girl’s face after her communion. Upon leaving the church she said to a close friend, “I am no longer hungry. Jesus has fed me”.

That evening she had her first visit with the prioress of the Dijon Carmel and the prioress told her that her name meant “house of God”. This deeply affected Elizabeth and she remained profoundly impressed by it.

The following month she was confirmed. At that time she intensified the gift of herself to Jesus. People began to notice her progress in making a gift of herself after her first communion to Jesus. But her irritable temper tantrums continued. They were so persistent, her parish priest said that Elizabeth would be a saint or a demon. With God’s grace she transcended the demon and fulfilled the meaning of her name.

In 1893 on July 18 she won first prize in higher fundamentals of music at the conservatory and on July 25 first prize at the piano. The newspapers reviews said she received thundering applause and performed as a distinguished pianist with an excellent touch and beautiful tone.


At fourteen, on day after having received the body of Christ, she felt irrestible compulsion to consecrate her whole life to Christ and to make a vow of perpetual virginity. A little later, the idea of religious life which she had nourished since she was seven took shape in this word which was spoken to her interiorly: “Carmel”. There was a long and difficult path to travel for Elizabeth before entrance into Carmel

Elizabeth of the big-feet
When we speak of Elizabeth we always think of her interiority or spiritual side of hers. A close friend of Sabeth remembered her always as always at the head of the group. Once her teacher asked the class to write a composition describing a self-portrait. Elizabeth wrote: “to draw one’s physical and moral portrait is a delicate subject to deal with, but taking my courage in both hands I set to work and begin! Without pride I think that I can say that my overall appearance is not displeasing. I am a brunette and, they say, rather tall for my age. I have sparkling black eyes and my thick eyebrows give me a severe look. The rest of my person is insignificant. My “dainty” feet could win for me the nickname of Elizabeth of the Big Feet, like Queen Bertha! And there you have my physical portrait! As for my moral portrait, I would say that I have a rather good character. I am cheerful and I must confess, somewhat scatterbrained. I have a good heart. I am by nature a coquette. ‘One should be a little’ they say. I am not lazy. I know ‘work makes us happy.’ Without being a model of patience, I usually know how to control myself. I do not hold grudges. So much for moral portrait, I have my defects and, alas, few good qualities! I hope to acquire them! Well at last this tedious task is finished and I am glad!

Two topics were not mentioned in the above exercise. Even though she had already won first prize at piano the previous year, she said nothing about her musical talent. The second point was that she did not mention her spiritual life. However, this aspect of her life was expressed in her personal notes and poetry written during this time.

Elizabeth’s adolescence
During this time her spirituality deepened. She grew in her awareness of the presence of God within her. Although she wanted to be a Carmelite, she accepted her mother’s wishes to wait until she was twenty-one before entering. Elizabeth was the most normal of the girls. Elizabeth had a cheerful personality. She was vivacious, friendly, sociable and energetic. She had many friends and was very fond of playing. She was the leader in the games and to make the fames interesting. She enjoyed sewing lessons, loved beautiful clothes and wore the latest hairstyles. Yet during these distractions and even in the midst of conversation, she tells us that she remained recollected in prayer, saying, “I cannot be distracted from God.” Elizabeth visited Lourdes with her mother and was thrilled to receive Holy Communion at the Grotto. She loved the Grotto and said she could not tear herself away.

She played tennis, played piano and loved dancing. She loved the countryside, loved climbing etc. summer holidays were spent traveling in France and Switzerland. She loved nature and her poems reflect this. “Nature leads us to the Good God. She also loved the stirring military life.

She visited the sick and was active in her parish choir. She animated a type of summer “day care” for the children who worked in the local tobacco factories. She was a natural leader and people of all ages were spontaneously drawn to her.

Although she did not speak of God, he radiated from her so vividly that perceptive people could not help but notice. It showed in her eyes and in her manner. She said once that she played her piano as if Jesus was the only one who could hear her. It was clear that she began her life as a Carmelite long before she entered its gates.

She saw holiness as everyone’s duty and she encouraged her friends and family to a life of perfection in the world. She was also a great lover of scripture, most markedly, the Epistles of St. Paul. Many of those who knew her later testified that she exercised a notable influence on others.

Entrance into Carmel
During the two years before she entered Carmel, Elizabeth led a sound spiritual life. She did not make a show of her devotions or service to others. She was blessed with spiritual maturity and reached the heights of contemplative prayer.

Because she charming and loveable, she had several suitors who hoped for her hand in marriage. It seems even her mother had found the perfect husband for her daughter. But Elizabeth did not change her mind.

Underneath the glitter was her serious side. At nineteen she talked about it with the chaplain at the Carmel in Dijon. He confirmed the Trinitarian presence in her soul. All she wanted was a simple affirmation that she was on the right road. Now she determined to enter Carmel.

Elizabeth entered Carmel on August 2, 1901. The previous weeks were spent in farewell visits to her friends and the places which she would never visit again.

When the time came for Elizabeth to leave her home forever, she knelt before her fathers portrait to ask him for his blessing. She attended mass at Carmel with her mother, sister and a few close friends who accompanied her to the altar and then to the enclosure door and she turned for a last look at those she loved so deeply.

She began her postulancy on 2nd August 1901. Her happiness in Carmel was great as she found God everywhere. “I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying”. Her Superior, Mother Germaine could see how very singular Elizabeth was and other sisters saw in her a great potential for holiness.

Her vocation was noted for gratitude and love for her “three”. Although she desired “Jesus” for her title, the prioress gave her “of the Trinity”. Even her name. Elizabeth of the Trinity, thrilled her. Life for the Carmelite is communion with God from morning till night. She penetrated the depths of the Triune mystery by creating within her soul another kind of incarnation of the Word, a humanity in which his mystery is renewed.

Elizabeth as a novice – from the very beginning Elizabeth’s favourite point of the Rule was silence. – Alone with the Alone. She continued to enjoy interior sweetness. Elizabeth’s spiritual journey in Carmel is an interesting one. It was one of great growth and sometimes, extreme darkness. The time before her profession is arguably the most difficult period in her spiritual life. Mother Germaine expressed her misgiving about taking her vows in such a state. However, she found the strength to overcome the doubts plaguing her and she walked by faith in the impenetrable darkness. Elizabeth gave herself to God and the service of her community with great love and generosity.

Always a thorough-going nun, Elizabeth never forgot the world. She had delightful correspondence with her relations during this time. Her love of God and her vocation only strengthened her love for her mother and her sister Marguerite. She sent many letters to lay people too.

January 11, 1903(Epiphany Sunday) she makes her profession. Her faith was purified and simplified and her love had reached a new incomparable force. It seems her humility and patience were noteworthy. Even the most critical of her sisters in the convent were never been able to discover any imperfection in her. It was in her life of prayer that Elizabeth performed her greatest works, here she found the deepest meaning of her life.

Prayer was her very existence; starting each day praying before daybreak, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary and the Way of the Cross were her special prayers. She did penance and constantly mortified her will.

Elizabeth could not have reached this point, it is certain had she not had a deep experience of God’s love. She was really flooded with the love of Holy Tinity. The mystery of the blessed Trinity dwelling within her continued to be the heart of Sr. Elizabeth’s spiritual life. It was by faith that she lived in the presence of the Indwelling Trinity. We know of her spirituality from her writings. The reflections she wrote on her retreats are most helpful to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of Elizabeth’s relationship with God. It is also full of useful meditations and wonderful insights that enrich everyone who seek a serious spiritual life and union with God. Others sought her advice and direction. She directed her mother, sister, friends, priests and seminarians in their secular and religious life. She affirmed that all could achieve the holiness of saints within or without convent walls.

Mother Mary was the guardian of her life. It seems she would never leave the house for a social engagement without placing herself under Our Lady’s care. (Pg. 24) she always took Our Lady with her. Later on she was to write of Our Lady, ‘In her everything took place within’.

Near the end of her earthly life she called herself by the name she desired to be called in heaven: “LAUDEM GLORIAE,” WHICH MEANS ‘PRAISE OF GLORY’. Yes, Elizabeth’s time in Carmel was short. She entered in August 1901; by March 1906 she was already in the infirmary beginning her lost last illness. It appears that she had already suffered from tuberculosis. Just as her life was filled with love, in the midst of the pain of the cross, so was her death. She suffered the suffocating Addison’s disease which was to make her last nine months of life a ‘real road to Calvary’, as her prioress said.

At that time it was incurable and we must also remember that the means to relieve pain were not available then as now. The disease affects some glands above the kidneys, robbing the body of substances needed for proper functioning. The result is hypertension, gastric trouble, the impossibility of nourishing oneself, fading away and death. For Elizabeth there was also ulceration, violent headaches and insomnia.

All during her illness she remained heroically joyful and accepting of all that God gave her to bear. She offered herself as a young girl as a victim for the sins of the world. Elizabeth viewed death not as end but as near being separated from “my three”. Her last words reflect this: I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!”. She died on November 9, 1906.
She brings a message for the interior life, which will find a wide echo among Christians of our day, many of whom are seeking such a life.

When we look at the life of Blessed Elizabeth we are struck by her strong will, simplicity and transparency. We are amazed to discover through her the wonderful mystery of Holy Trinity. We also notice that the unity of her spiritual life is unique and profound.

She was officially declared Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity on November 25, 1984. Her feast day is on November 8. Fortunately we have a mine of information in her writings: three notebooks, a diary, four spiritual treatises, 364 letters, 124 poems and 17 personal notes, two-thirds of which have never been published.

Elizabeth has much to teach our age." Elizabeth like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (see John 12).
Preoccupation with self separates modern men and women from God, from their fellow human beings and ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, to contemplate a God who is Three” serve others as the ultimate expression of our lives. These are the insights of Blessed Elizabeth and they are more valid today than ever.

Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the power of Trinity that divine power which can change everything, including weakness and illness. She desired to suffer in order to save souls. She wrote, “there is nothing like the wood of the Cross for kindling in the soul the fire of love.” Someone said, “ She belonged to the school of saints who seek rest and strength in sacrifice and suffering.” Who else but those who embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?
She was officially declared Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity on November 25, 1984. Her feast day is on November 8. Fortunately we have a mine of information in her writings: three notebooks, a diary, four spiritual treatises, 364 letters, 124 poems and 17 personal notes, two-thirds of which have never been published.




St. Benedicta Trinity
Edith Stein was born on October 12, 1891 in Breslau (Germany), now Wroclaw, Poland. She died on August 9, 1942 in Auschwitz, Poland.

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family, Edith Stein renounced her faith in 1904 and became an atheist. As a student at the University of Gottingen, she became acquainted with Edmund Husserl and became interested in his philosophy. When Husserl moved tot the University of Freiburg, he asked Edith Stein to join him there as his assistant. She received her doctorate in leading philosophers.

At Gottingen she first came into contact with Roman Catholicism. Attracted to this faith, Edith Stein returned on a holiday in 1921 to Breslau, where her profound encounter with the autobiography of the mystic St. Theresa of Avila caused her swift conversion. She was baptized on January 1, 1922, and gave up her assistantship with Husserl to teach at a Dominican girls' school in Speyer (1922 - 1932).

While at Speyer she translated St Thomas Aquinas' De veritate (On Truth) and familiarized herself with Roman Catholic philosophy in general. In 1932 she became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Munster but, because of anti-semitic legislation passed by the Nazi government, was forced to resign the post in 1933.

In 1934 she entered the Carmelite convent at Cologne, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. There she completed her metaphysical work 'Endliches und ewiges Sein', an attempt to synthesize the diverse philosophies of Aquinas and Husserl.

In 1938, with the Nazi threat growing, she was transferred to the Carmelite convent at Echt in the Netherlands. There she wrote her important treatise 'Studie uber Joannes a Cruce: Kruezeswissenschaft'. Removal from Germany, however, proved insufficient to ensure her safety.

On July 26, 1942 Adolf Hitler ordered the arrest of all non-Aryan Roman Catholics. With her sister Rosa, also a convert, Edith Stein was seized by the Gestapo and shipped to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Survivors of the death camp testified that she helped all other sufferers with great compassion. On August 9, 1942 she was sent to the gas chamber, where she died with her sister.

On May 1, 1987 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II.



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