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Friday, March 22, 2013

Today is the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

Lord, Have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, Have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Lord, Have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.
graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the
Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have
mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Mother of
Sorrows, Pray for us.
Mother whose soul was pierced by the sword, Pray for us.
Mother who fled with Jesus
into Egypt, etc.
Mother who sought
Him sorrowing for three days,
Mother who saw Him scourged and crowned with
Mother who stood by Him while He hung upon the Cross,
Mother who
received Him into thine arms when He was dead,
Mother who saw Him buried in
the tomb,
O Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Save us by thy prayers.
O Mary, comfort of
the sorrowful, Save us by thy prayers.
O Mary, help of the weak, etc.
O Mary, strength of the fearful,
O Mary, light of the despondent,
O Mary, nursing mother of the sick, O Mary, refuge of sinners,
the bitter Passion of thy Son,
Through the piercing anguish of thy heart,
Through thy heavy weight of woe,
Through thy sadness and desolation,
Through thy maternal pity,
Through thy perfect resignation,
thy meritorious prayers,
From immoderate sadness,
From a cowardly
From an impatient temper,
From fretfulness and discontent,
From sullenness and gloom,
From despair and unbelief,
From final
We sinners, beseech thee, hear
Preserve us from sudden death, we beseech thee, hear us.
Teach us how to
die, we beseech thee, hear us.
Succor us in our last agony, etc.
Guard us from the enemy,
Bring us to a happy end,
Gain for us the
gift of perseverance,
Aid us before the Judgment Seat,
Mother of God,
Mother, most sorrowful,
Mother, most desolate,
Lamb of God, Who
takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest
away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who
takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Lord,
have mercy.
V. Succor us, O Blessed Virgin Mary,
R. In every time, and in every place.
Let Us Pray .
O Lord
Jesus Christ, God and Man, grant, we beseech Thee, that Thy dear Mother Mary,
whose soul the sword pierced in the hour of Thy Passion, may intercede for us,
now, and in the hour of our death, through Thine Own merits, O Saviour of the
world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God, world
without end. R. Amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mother Claire, Beloved Prioress, Now With Her Beloved

To be able to read the above announcement better, either click on the picture above and it will appear bigger in another window/tab or see the original PDF at

Mother Claire was Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada.  She was elected prioress of the Carmel of St. Joseph in Armstrong many times.  She lost her long battle with cancer March 14, 2013.  As she had a deep devotion to St. Joseph, her funeral was held on his feast day, March 19th.

Mother Claire was one of three nuns who came from the Carmel of St. Joseph in St. Agatha's, Ontario, at the request of the Bishop of Kamloops to found a Carmel in Armstrong.

Mother Claire with the Bishop on the day of her re-election as Prioress a few months ago.

This was the Carmel I was discerning with and will enter and I knew her through my visit and over the years with beautiful, loving, warm and encouraging emails and letters that was an impromptu novitiate class for me as she imparted wise teachings, advice and help to me.  I am still heartbroken over her passing and so hoped to enter under her Priorate and be her daughter and learn from her how to be a holy Carmelite, spouse to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  She gave me much help in person, now she will give me even more in heaven!

Mother Claire on the day of her Jubilee several years ago.

History of the Carmel of St. Joseph, Armstrong

When vocations in eastern Canada increased in the 1980's, the Carmel in St. Agatha had to plan for a new foundation, since twenty-one sisters is the limit for a Carmelite monastery. They looked to the west for various reasons, but especially that they might be more available to western vocations, who were being called to a strict contemplative life.

The west offered them a very wide choice, and the nuns, after much prayer, accepted the invitation of Most Reverend Lawrence Sabatini, Bishop of Kamloops, who was anxious to have the cloistered  contemplative nuns in his Diocese to pray especially for priests; and so, on August 15, 1991,  feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, three nuns from the Carmelite monastery in St Agatha, Ontario, arrived to pioneer the first English- speaking foundation in Western Canada. In time a property was purchased and on May 01, 1992, the foundation house, dedicated to St Joseph, was blessed by His Excellency, Bishop Sabatini, and the first Mass was offered in the small chapel. 

Today, the temporary dwelling having served its purpose, the sisters, trusting in Divine Providence and with the aid of good friends and benefactors, are undertaking the much needed construction of a permanent monastery that will facilitate their proper functioning where prayer can flourish.

The Discalced Carmelite Who Could Have Been Pope

FATHER OSCAR I. APARICIO, GENERAL Archivist, OCD-Rome-Italy (03.13.2013.) - In these days of the conclave we want to narrate the story of the Discalced Carmelite who came closest to occupying the See of Peter. We are speaking of Giovanni Antonio Benedetto Gotti. I was born in the Italian city of Genoa on March 29, 1834. He made ​​his first profession in the Teresian Carmel on September 21, 1851, in Loano. From That date, as was the custom in the reformed Carmel, I was called Jerome Mary of the Immaculate Conception. On December 22, 1856, I was ordained to the priesthood. He spent his first years as a professor of philosophy and from 1858 as a member of the community of Saint Ann in Genoa. 

Elected He Was General Procurator of the Discalced Carmelites on April 21, 1872. I managed the finances of the Order and was its legal representative before the Holy See and the Italian nation. It was Father Jerome Gotti who was in charge of bringing to the safe harbor union of two congregations of Discalced Carmelites in 1875: the Spanish congregation of Saint Joseph and the Italian congregation of Saint Elijah. His leadership qualities led to his election as Superior General of the Order on October 22, 1881, and his reelection to office in 1889 That. 
On March 8 I was named archbishop of Petra by Pope Leo XIII and was ordained in Rome on March 27. His first pastoral mission was Papal Legate Apostolic Internuncio and to the Republic of Brazil. During the period of more than three years in Which I was in Brazil (1892-1895) his work consisted of organizing the church, Principally the Brazilian hierarchy, and its Relations with the Brazilian state. 

On October 16, 1895, I received a telegram from the Secretary of State, Cardinal Rampolla, announcing I had been nominated That Cardinal of the Holy Church. The publication of his name as Cardinal was made ​​on November 29, 1895, and on December 1 of the same year I received the biretta. He later presided over the Sacred Congregations of Indulgences, Bishops and Regulars, and lastly of the Propaganda Fide. He died in Rome on March 19, 1916. 

Cardinal Gotti participated in the 1903 conclave. There were two likely successors to the papacy: Cardinal Rampolla and Cardinal Gotti. We Know That They received the MOST votes in the first two ballots, Rampolla Gotti Receiving 24 and 17. In the Following ballot, received 29 and Gotti Rampolla 16. Subsequently, the Austro-Hungarian Empire vetoed Rampolla, and Cardinal Sarto, patriarch of Venice, Began to accumulate many votes. On the seventh ballot He Was Elected Pope. He took the name of Pius, the tenth of That name to date, and we know him as Saint Pius X. 

Known May These Words make an exemplary life of the Discalced Carmelite, Cardinal Gotti, who was the friar That came closest to serving the Church from the Petrine office.

Source: The General House of the Teresian Carmel

Blessed Francis Palau y Quer, Carmelite Priest

Francis Palau y Quer was born on 29th December 1811 at Aytona in Spain. In 1828, he entered the seminary in Lírida. In 1832, after having completed three years of philosophy and the first year of theology, he joined the Discalced Carmelites and made his religious vows the following year. Forced by the political circumstances of the time to live as a secular, he was nevertheless ordained priest at Barbastro in 1836. After a long stay in France from 1840 to 1851, he returned to Spain and gave himself to the apostolate of preaching and missions to lay Christians, especially in Barcelona and the Balnearic Islands. During 1860 and 1861, he began organising various groups of women which later became the present-day Teresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Missionary Carmelite Sisters. He was also the founder of the Brothers of Charity, nowadays no longer in existence. He died at Tarragona on 20th March 1872.

Bl. Elizaabeth of the Trinity Quote

Peaceful was the night and deep the silence
When my boat set sail on the open sea,
Gliding over the boundless ocean on the loveliest
   of journeys.

All was hushed beneath the vault of heaven
As if listening to the voice of the Eternal.
Suddenly the waves arose, engulfing my light

It was the Trinity opening out to me:
In that divine abyss I found my deepest center.
No more will you find me at the water's edge;
I have plunged into infinity, where I belong.
With my Three I live at peace, in the wide
   freedom of eternity

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, 1906

Teresa of Avila: Spiritual Battles and Interior Peace

Let us endeavour to do our best: beware of the poisonous reptiles – that is to say, the bad thoughts and aridities which are often permitted by God to assail and torment us so that we cannot repel them.

Indeed, perchance we feel their sting! He allows this to teach us to be more on our guard in the future and to see whether we grieve much at offending Him.
Therefore if you occasionally lapse into sin, do not lose heart and cease trying to advance, for God will draw good even out of our falls, like the merchant who sells theriac, who first takes poison, then the theriac, to prove the power of his elixir.

This combat would suffice to teach us to amend our habits if we realized our failings in no other way, and would show us the injury we receive from a life of dissipation.

Can any evil be greater than that we find at home? What peace can we hope to find elsewhere, if we have none within us?

What friends or kindred can be so close and intimate as the powers of our soul, which, whether we will or no, must ever bear us company?
These seem to wage war on us as if they knew the harm our vices had wrought them. “Peace, peace be unto you”, my sisters, as our Lord said, and many a time proclaimed to His Apostles.

Believe me, if we neither possess nor strive to obtain this peace at home, we shall never find it abroad.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582):

Icon of St. John of the Cross

The "Parents" of Carmel - Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila and Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross

Our Lady, the Child Jesus and Saints of Carmel

Our Beloved Jesus

Our Lady Mt Carmel, Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus and Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Holy Face and the Wood of the Cross

"There is no wood better to kindle the fire
of holy love
than the wood of the cross,
which Christ used for his own sacrifice
of boundless charity."

- St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Quote

"This is the living bread
that came down from heaven."
- St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

St. Therese Quote

"Trials help greatly to detach us from earth. They make us look to God,
rather than to this world."

St. Therese of Lisieux

Thoughts for Lent with St Therese

"Some there are who keep themselves in peace, and have peace also with others. And there are some that are neither at peace within themselves, nor suffer others to be in peace; they are troublesome to others, but always more troublesome to themselves" Imitation of Christ Book 2:3

"It is a mistake to want to convince our Sisters that they are in wrong, even if this is the case, for it is not our duty to correct them. Let us be angels of peace, not Justices of the Peace". St Therese 'Conseils and Souvenirs'. 

"Rest on the Passion of Christ, and willingly dwell in His sacred wounds. For if thou fly devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmas of Jesus, thou shalt feel great comfort in tribulation; neither wilt thou much regard the being despised by men, but wilt easily bear up against detracting tongues. Suffer with Christ and for Christ, if thou desirest to reign with Christ. Imitation of Christ, Book 2:1

"My God, I thank Thee for all graces Thou hast bestowed on me, and in particular for having made me pass through the crucible suffering. With what joy I shall see Thee on the last day bearing the Cross as the emblem of royalty. As Thou hast made me a partaker of Thy holy Cross, grant that I may one day be like to Thee, and bear upon my glorified body the imprint of Thy sacred wounds. " St Therese 'Story of a Soul'   

"An internal man quickly recollects himself, because he never pours forth his whole self upon outward things. Exterior labour is no prejudice to him, nor any employment which for a time is necessary; but as things fall out, he so accommodates himself to them. As much as a man draws things to himself, so much is he hindered by them". Imitation Book 2:1

"You become too much absorbed in your work, and worry over it as though you bore the whole responsibility. Do you wonder what is going on at the present moment on other Carmels, and whether the nuns are busy or not? Do their labours prevent you from making your prayer? You must learn to dissociate yourself from your work in the same way,  giving the prescribed time to it, but maintaining detachment of heart". St Therese 'Conseils et Souvenirs' 

Nature is covetous, and more willing to take than to give, and loves to have things to herself. But grace is bountiful and open-hearted, avoids selfishness, is contented with little, and judges it more happy to give than to receive. Imitation Book 3:54

Our Lord teaches us to: Give to every one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again (Luke 6:30). It is more pleasant to give of one's own free will than to be asked, although this is not very hard if the request is politely made. If, however, it is made in a tactless way, a soul that is not firmly established in charity will find a hundred and one pretext for refusing. If she does finally comply, it is only after having impressed upon the petitioner how inconsiderate she has been, and what a great favour she is doing her. In short, she spends more time in stating her case than she would in performing the thrilling service asked for. St Therese 'Story of a soul'

Sataurday - Day of Our Lady

Every Saturday is special to Carmelites as it is the Our Lady's day!  Below is a beautiful excerpt from the writings of Pere Jacques Bunel on Our Lady given to the Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Pontoise.  I did a two posts on Pere Jacques recently.


Today, in honour of Our Lady, I would like to present fragments of the retreat Conference given to Carmelite Nuns in Pontoise Monastery by Pere Jacques Bunel in 1943. Pere Jacques was a diocesian priest in Rouen and popular preacher, who later entered Discalced Carmelite Order and became Carmelite friar. Carmelite nuns invited him to give conferences as retreat master. The conference theme is 'Virginity in God and in Mary' and was given on the feast day of Our Lady of Pontoise which was locally celebrated on 8th of September. Here, Pere Jacques gives us a very clear explanation of the virtue of virginity in relation to Triune God who is purity Himself. He gives us explanation of Our Lady's unique role as Mother of the Word incarnate and also gives us opportunity to meditate on the mysteries of the Trinity. Very edifying reading that may bring us ponder on purity of heart, mind, intentions and body. It may also make us wonder how great and unique is the gift of vocation to the Priesthood and religious life. I will present the conference fragments in two parts. The book with full text of conferences, "Listen to the silence" is available from ICS.

For a moment, let us focus our full attention on the living presence of God and consciously consider our closeness to Him. Let us also link ourselves with the Virgin Mary, whom we solemnly honour today on the Feast of Our Lady of Pontoise....

"The Mother of Christ is a virgin. When God took on human form, he wanted to assure this characteristic in his mother. By virtue of our vow of chastity it is essential for us to make this commitment shine forth, even if contemporary culture does not grasp its full meaning. Because we have made vows of chastity, we are designated as virgins. This characteristic is one of the crown jewels of Mary's divine motherhood. That same terminology is often applied to us. Perhaps we deceive ourselves by narrowing this beautiful concept.... [here Pere Jacques start to reflect on the concept of virginity not only as a mere abstinence from sensual pleasures but also as something much more deeper]. Let us fix now our gaze on the bosom of God and the mystery of the Trinity, to the degree that revelation permits. I maintain that the word of God is total, absolute virginity. Here is the reason why. As you are well aware, there is in the inner life of the Trinity a stupendous cycle, which overwhelms our poor, little minds. The pure intelligence grasps and sees itself; it speaks and express itself, It grasps and expresses itself in a word, which equals the intelligence that sets it forth. With infinite simplicity, the divine nature eternally expresses the Word of God. In this one word is the infinite activity of the divine intelligence. The Word of God, begotten by the Father, is the infinite, equal, and divine expression of the very Being of God. The Word posses the fullness of the divine nature, just as does the Father, and thus is truly God. In the infinite simplicity of God's being, this unfathomable, living expression shines forth so brilliantly that a third person, an outpouring of love, unites in a single nature this Word and the One who begets him from all eternity. These three persons: the Father, the Son begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit, whose infinite breath of love unites the three, constitute the perfect purity of God. That divine purity is what I term the fullness of virginity. Such is God Himself! In Chirst, there is something sublime in realization of virginity. The human nature given in its totality to the Word is divinized in every respect. Therein, the gift of self to God attains its greatest conceivable realization. Christ, as a human being without a trace of vacillation and with unimaginable integrity, brings to admirable fulfillment his mission of total virginity.

We have also seen God's remarkable preparation of the Virgin Mary for her role as Mother of the Word made flesh. God exempted her from original sin and its consequences. Thus, in the Virgin Mary, there comes about the restoration of what had been destroyed by Adam's sin, especially the reestablishment of the proper balance between the natural and the supernatural. At the time of their creature by God, Adam and Eve came into existence and continued in existence with total dependence on God. As creature, they were necessarily beings who did not exist of and by themselves. God is His own reason for being; He has not drawn His existence from anything else. "God is" and "I A, Who am" (Ex. 3:14) are rich phrases that contemplative religious relish. God is pure act, as the philosophers say; that is, he is the total realization of all possibility. We are not pure act; we have not realized all possibilities of being that are in us. Our being evolves as our hearts intensifies its affections and perfects them. Our body grows and then declines. God himself is pure actuality, pure act. Nothing in him is in the state of possibility, passing from nonexistence to existence. All is infinite existence in him. The human person, on the contrary, far from being this totality of realization, is a creature of infirmity and dependence... Nothing exists that cannot be annihilated instantly, if the creative action ceases to operate. It is this way, because we are not self-existent beings, as the words of Our Lord to Saint Catherine of Siena indicated: "You are she who is not"...We are not; we have only a borrowed being, unceasingly renewed by God. The Virgin Mary shares this condition of creaturehood with us. By herself she was not; she was totally dependent, as we are totally dependent. It is precisely this quality that constitutes the Virgin Mary's virginity. She is pure creature; God is pure deity, totally independent. For the Virgin Mary, her virginity lies in being a pure creature of God, namely, a creature living in total dependence on the will of God. Indeed, when we examine the Virgin Mary's life, when we gather the conclusion of the Fathers of the Church who dwelt on this Marian mystery, and when we study the works of theologians, we find that she was absolutely obedient to the will of God, even to the least indications of that will. The virginity of the Virgin Mary is founded on her pure dependence on God."


Monday, February 18, 2013

The Carmelite Habit

The Carmelite habit at the end of the 19th century.

Inherited from the clothing worn by Teresa d’Avila herself, the habit is a complex assemblage of various pieces under the robe and the scapular. Let’s remember the discomfort of feminine clothing of the well to do class from the same time period as we can see in the family albums. The working class dressed more traditionally with fabric that lasted. This was the case of the heavy woolen fabric in Carmel, in a habit without buttons held together entirely with pins for attachment.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Story of St Therese of Lisieux

"I am not dying..."



“I do not desire either suffering or death, although both are appealing to me;
it is love alone which really attracts me…
I can ask for nothing with any enthusiasm
except the perfect accomplishment of the Divine Will in my soul,
unhindered by any intrusion of created things.
I can say, with the words of our father, St. John of the Cross,
in his Spiritual Canticle,
‘I drank in the inner cellar of my Beloved, and when I went forth into the meadow
I forgot everything and lost the flock which I used to drive.
My soul has employed all its resources in His service;
now I guard no flock, nor do I have any other duties.
Now my only occupation is love.’
Or again: ‘I know love is so powerful that it can turn
whatever is good or bad in me into profit,
and it can transform my soul into Himself.”

~ St. Thérèse

St. Therese On Prayer

"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” 

 – St. Therese of of Lisieux

St. Therse Quote

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love…”

— St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"The Pater Noster of Saint Teresa"

"And Lead Us Not Into Temptation,
But Deliver Us From Evil"

Taken From
"The Pater Noster of Saint Teresa"

Translated and Adapted by
Imprimatur, 1942 

St. Teresa of Avila's Quotes

 (This would be MUCH better if the picture was actually St. Teresa of Avila!  Not sure who this nun/saint? is supposed to be!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

From a poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] on her memorial day:

You come to me as early morning's meal each daybreak.
Your flesh and blood become food and drink for me
And something wonderful happens.

Your body mysteriously permeates mine
And your soul unites with mine:
I am no longer what once I was.

You come and go, but the seed
That you sowed for future glory, remains behind
Buried in this body of dust.

A luster of heaven remains in the soul,
A deep glow remains in the eyes,
A soaring in the tone of voice.

There remains the bond that binds heart to heart,
The stream of life that springs from yours
And animates each limb.

How wonderful are your gracious wonders!
All we can do is be amazed and stammer and fall silent
Because intellect and words fail.

Today is the Memoria of St. Henry de Osso Y Cervello


Father Henry de Osso-Cervello was born in Vinebre, Spain, on October 16, 1840. He was one of those persons of whom it is said that God sends one every hundred years to help resolve the conflicts of their times.

It is not easy to sum up briefly all the details of his heroic life. We can get a glimpse by turning our attention to three of the most striking characteristics of this great apostle of the nineteenth century: he was a man of God; a man sent by Providence; a man determined to seek God’s glory in all things.


His spirit of faith was evident from his early years. It was nourished and developed until it became the hallmark of his spirituality. Osso was a man of profound spirituality. His thoughts, words, deeds — his whole life, in fact — were directed towards God. At the age of six he would stop playing and leave his friends to join the parish priest whenever he knew he was taking the Blessed Sacrament to a sick person.

His father sent him to be a clerk in a dry goods store in Reus while he was still a young boy, in the hope that he would become a successful business man. While there, Henry became concerned over the bad influence some friends, with whom he came in contact in the business, could have on him. 

Consequently, he secretly left for the Monastery of Our Lady of Montserrat, near Barcelona, where he would dedicate his life to God. In a farewell letter to his father, he wrote:
My absence will cause you sadness but Father, it is the glory of God that motivates me. Your sorrow will be turned to joy if only you remember that we will soon meet again in heaven… Give my clothes and other belongings to the poor… Life is short and riches serve no purpose unless we use them well.
Soon after this, we find him in the seminary in Tortosa and later, in that of Barcelona. In both places he was an example of virtue to his friends, who never used improper language or gestures in his presence.

He chose a spiritual director whose advice he followed always. With his director’s approval, he drew up a plan of life which he followed. He prefaced it thus:
As a help to my spiritual formation, I will, with God’s grace, engrave firmly in my mind Saint Teresa’s words: Let the world perish before I offend God because I owe more to God than to anybody else.
During the spiritual exercises that he made in preparation for his Subdiaconate, he added the following to his plan:
Learn of me, for I am meek and gentle of heart.
Goal: to imitate Jesus in my thoughts and actions so that others can say of me what they used to say of Saint Francis de Sales: This is how Jesus acted.
Prayer: Spirit of God, on the eve of Pentecost, I ask for this grace: Since I will soon consecrate myself to God in a special way as his temple and minister forever, fill me with your holy gifts. Grant me the spirit of prayer and zeal like that of the apostles. Fill me especially with the gifts of wisdom and fear of the Lord. Come, Holy Spirit.
Once ordained to the priesthood, he transformed his passionate love for God into dedicated ministry, and soon became known as a model priest. Without neglecting his classes in the Seminary, he exercised his priestly ministry everywhere, among all social classes, preaching, encouraging, giving retreats, teaching religion to the children. He communicated his apostolic zeal wherever he went. His deep spirit of faith was reflected in his prayer as well as in all that he did. His devotion while celebrating the Eucharist moved many to repentance and love of God.

“Who is that priest?” asked certain visitors who saw him celebrate Mass in Rome, so inspired were they by his fervor and devotion. At times he seemed transported out of himself. It was not unusual to hear him sigh gently, as though enraptured: My Jesus and my all. To love you or to die. Rather, to live and die loving you above everything else. Do not let me leave this world without having loved you and made you known and loved as much as I can. Give glory, honor and riches to others, but give me, your servant, only your love and that will be enough. My Jesus and my all. Praised be Jesus my love. All for Jesus! Praised be Jesus!

Such was his priestly concern, the cry of his loving heart. And such was the motto that he left to the religious that he founded, the Teresian Sisters, who often echo his words: All for Jesus! Praised be Jesus!

henry osso with angels


Another extensive field for his apostolic zeal opened up before him after his first Mass on October 6, 1876. The Revolution of 1868 resulted in a lowering of morals in Tortosa. To fight this evil, Henry obtained the permission of his Bishop, Dr. Vilamitjana, to organize twelve catechetical centers, which soon had an enrollment of 1,200 children. God poured abundant blessings on Tortosa by means of these centers.

His ministry was most effective and extensive. Among others, the following apostolic groups are better known:

The Teresian Apostolic Movement (TAM), which he founded to teach children and youth to pray according to the spirituality of Saint Teresa, spread rapidly in Spain. He established it in more than twenty parishes and the enrollment reached more than 130,000 during his life. Today it flourishes wherever the Teresian Sisters are.

The Brotherhood of Saint Joseph, a pious association for older men, started in Tortosa, enlisted some two hundred men from its beginning. Its rapid development was a sign that Father Henry’s ministry was pleasing to God.
Father Henry directed a pilgrimage to Rome, the outcome of his appreciation to the Pope and devotion to the Church. Eight hundred pilgrims went. He also organized another pilgrimage to Avila, birthplace of Saint Teresa, and to Alba, where she was buried. During this pilgrimage, he inspired everyone by his spirit of self-giving, self-sacrifice and humility, which let him forget himself and disappear at the hour of triumph — he who had been the main organizer of the pilgrimage.

He was also instrumental in establishing a monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Tortosa. These and many other forms of ministry, to which we could not possibly give space here, filled the life of this man who spent himself to make God known and loved.

But Father Henry’s great accomplishment in life was the foundation of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus, which he was inspired to found while at prayer during the night of April 2, 1876. With the approval of his spiritual director and the blessing of the Bishop, he established the Society, known as the Teresian Sisters, on June 23 of the same year, at the cost of innumerable sacrifices. To the sisters of the new congregation he wrote:
What we had in mind for this work of zeal was to make you other Teresas, in so far as possible, so that you might be foremost in promoting the honor of Jesus. Praying, teaching, and sacrifice is the aim of the Society. You must work wholeheartedly to promote the honor of Jesus and to restore all things in Christ by educating women according to the spirituality of Saint Teresa of Jesus.
He started the Society with only eight young women. Soon, however, it spread throughout Spain, Portugal, Africa, as well as North and South America. More than 5,000 Teresians have passed through the fourteen novitiates of the Institute. Today, it staffs more than one hundred schools around the world, in addition to many missions in Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico and all through Central and South America. The Teresians also staff houses of prayer in different parts of the world.

In the midst of his multiple activities, Father Henry also found time to devote to the apostolate of the pen. His first effort was a weekly newspaper entitled The People’s Friend. He was editor of Saint Teresa’s Magazine until his death. Among his many writings, the following publications are significant:

The Catechist Manual
Fifteen Minutes of Meditation
Handbook of TAM
Handbook of Friends of Jesus
Treasure Chest for Children
Novena to Saint Joseph
The Spirit of Saint Teresa
Saint Teresa’s Month
A Tribute to Saint Francis de Sales
Novena to the Holy Spirit
Novena to the Immaculate Conception

He also published textbooks for the schools where the Teresian Sisters taught.
His dynamic life, clear vision, and high ideals went hand in hand with his gentleness, simplicity, and modesty, characteristics that made Henry de Osso very attractive in his ministry. His biographer states: “Whoever saw him never forgot him. His personality attracted the respect and affection of all who approached him.”

Henry’s personality was so pleasant, sincere and natural that, unaware to him, one often sensed his virtue and magnanimous heart. “Our Founder’s presence encouraged us and made us happy. I always saw him act, speak, teach, and advise others as a saint would. His conversation always energized me. His mere presence communicated a certain experience of holiness.” These are some of the reactions of those who knew him.

The one who characterized him best, however, was his intimate friend, Father Francisco Marsal, when he said: “The servant of God, Henry de Osso, was the most faithful model of Jesus Christ that I have ever seen. His speech, conduct, and actions always made me think: That is how Christ acted.”

God, who wanted to make His servant holy, gave him a taste of the bitter chalice of Jesus’ own passion. As He does with those He loves most, He made him go through Calvary before entering into glory. But the displeasures and bitter trials he underwent only served as coals to light the fire of God’s love in his heart. “Jesus is loved very little”, he said to two sisters shortly before his death. “Let the three of us write a booklet on how to increase the love of Jesus in the world.”

A few days later, on January 27, 1896, he went home to His Father, after having made a fervent retreat in his favorite place of solitude, the Franciscan monastery of Sancti Spiritus in Gilet.

On the day he died, he appeared to several persons in Spain and America. He was buried in the Franciscan cemetery in Gilet, where his body remained until 1908, when his remains were transferred to the chapel of the novitiate of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus in Tortosa, Spain. On October 16, 1979, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. After the approval of a new first-class miracle in Uruguay, Father Henry was declared Saint by Pope John Paul II in Madrid, Spain, on June 16, 1993. The Church, whom he loved so much and served so faithfully, rejoices today as she offers this model of holiness to the world.

Heed St. Therese’s Advice!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

“And on the mountain of Carmel, in silence, in solitude, in prayer that never ends, the Carmelite already lives as if in Heaven for God alone.”
- Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

(The above picture of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity was taken when she was very ill and was not to long after this she went home to her Beloved.)
Her feast day is November 8th.  Below is one of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity's most beautiful prayers...

"O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you - even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm. me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.  

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.

O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your greatness!"

Quote from St. Teresa of Avila

Carmel of Armstrong's "Mt. Carmel"!

When I visited the Carmel of St. Joseph in Armstrong, British Columbia, though I didn't know the name of the mountains behind the monastery, I have since named them "Mt. Carmel" - which I thought appropriate given at the base is a Carmelite monastery and St. John of the Cross's work, "Ascending Mount Carmel."

Such beautiful mountains.  What a magnificent sight for the nuns to see every day for every season of the year!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good Friday Poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Poem written by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross on Good Friday, 1938

"Today I stood with you beneath the cross
And felt more clearly than I ever did
That you became our Mother only there.

But those whom you have chosen for companions
To stand with you around the eternal throne,

They must stand with you beneath the Cross,
And with the lifeblood of their bitter pains,
Must purchase heavenly glory for those souls
Whom God's own Son entrusted to their care."

More of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - Edith Stein

We bow down before the testimony of the life and death of Edith Stein, an outstanding daughter of Israel and at the same time a daughter of the Carmelite Order, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a personality who united within her rich life a dramatic synthesis of our century. It was the synthesis of a history full of deep wounds that are still hurting ... and also the synthesis of the full truth about man. All this came together in a single heart that remained restless and unfulfilled until it finally found rest in God." These were the words of Pope John Paul II when he beatified Edith Stein in Cologne on 1 May 1987.

Who was this woman?

Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Feast of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother." Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun.

Edith's father, who ran a timber business, died when she had only just turned two. Her mother, a very devout, hard-working, strong-willed and truly wonderful woman, now had to fend for herself and to look after the family and their large business. However, she did not succeed in keeping up a living faith in her children. Edith lost her faith in God. "I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying," she said.

In 1911 she passed her school-leaving exam with flying colours and enrolled at the University of Breslau to study German and history, though this was a mere "bread-and-butter" choice. Her real interest was in philosophy and in women's issues. She became a member of the Prussian Society for Women's Franchise. "When I was at school and during my first years at university," she wrote later, "I was a radical suffragette. Then I lost interest in the whole issue. Now I am looking for purely pragmatic solutions."

In 1913, Edith Stein transferred to Gottingen University, to study under the mentorship of Edmund Husserl. She became his pupil and teaching assistant, and he later tutored her for a doctorate. At the time, anyone who was interested in philosophy was fascinated by Husserl's new view of reality, whereby the world as we perceive it does not merely exist in a Kantian way, in our subjective perception. His pupils saw his philosophy as a return to objects: "back to things". Husserl's phenomenology unwittingly led many of his pupils to the Christian faith. In G6ttingen Edith Stein also met the philosopher Max Scheler, who directed her attention to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, she did not neglect her "bread-and-butter" studies and passed her degree with distinction in January 1915, though she did not follow it up with teacher training.

"I no longer have a life of my own," she wrote at the beginning of the First World War, having done a nursing course and gone to serve in an Austrian field hospital. This was a hard time for her, during which she looked after the sick in the typhus ward, worked in an operating theatre, and saw young people die. When the hospital was dissolved, in 1916, she followed Husserl as his assistant to the German city of Freiburg, where she passed her doctorate summa cum laude (with the utmost distinction) in 1917, after writing a thesis on "The Problem of Empathy."

During this period she went to Frankfurt Cathedral and saw a woman with a shopping basket going in to kneel for a brief prayer. "This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot. "Towards the end of her dissertation she wrote: "There have been people who believed that a sudden change had occurred within them and that this was a result of God's grace." How could she come to such a conclusion?

Edith Stein had been good friends with Husserl's Göttingen assistant, Adolf Reinach, and his wife.

When Reinach fell in Flanders in November 1917, Edith went to Göttingen to visit his widow. The Reinachs had converted to Protestantism. Edith felt uneasy about meeting the young widow at first, but was surprised when she actually met with a woman of faith. "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me - Christ in the mystery of the Cross."

Later, she wrote: "Things were in God's plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that - from God's point of view - there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God's divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God's all-seeing eyes."

In Autumn 1918 Edith Stein gave up her job as Husserl's teaching assistant. She wanted to work independently. It was not until 1930 that she saw Husserl again after her conversion, and she shared with him about her faith, as she would have liked him to become a Christian, too. Then she wrote down the amazing words: "Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust."

Edith Stein wanted to obtain a professorship, a goal that was impossible for a woman at the time. Husserl wrote the following reference: "Should academic careers be opened up to ladies, then I can recommend her whole-heartedly and as my first choice for admission to a professorship." Later, she was refused a professorship on account of her Jewishness.

Back in Breslau, Edith Stein began to write articles about the philosophical foundation of psychology. However, she also read the New Testament, Kierkegaard and Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. She felt that one could not just read a book like that, but had to put it into practice.

In the summer of 1921. she spent several weeks in Bergzabern (in the Palatinate) on the country estate of Hedwig Conrad-Martius, another pupil of Husserl's. Hedwig had converted to Protestantism with her husband. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: "My longing for truth was a single prayer."
On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. It was the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham. Edith Stein stood by the baptismal font, wearing Hedwig Conrad-Martius' white wedding cloak. Hedwig washer godmother. "I had given up practising my Jewish religion when I was a 14-year-old girl and did not begin to feel Jewish again until I had returned to God." From this moment on she was continually aware that she belonged to Christ not only spiritually, but also through her blood. At the Feast of the Purification of Mary - another day with an Old Testament reference - she was confirmed by the Bishop of Speyer in his private chapel.

After her conversion she went straight to Breslau: "Mother," she said, "I am a Catholic." The two women cried. Hedwig Conrad Martius wrote: "Behold, two Israelites indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (cf. John 1:47).

Immediately after her conversion she wanted to join a Carmelite convent. However, her spiritual mentors, Vicar-General Schwind of Speyer, and Erich Przywara SJ, stopped her from doing so. Until Easter 1931 she held a position teaching German and history at the Dominican Sisters' school and teacher training college of St. Magdalen's Convent in Speyer. At the same time she was encouraged by Arch-Abbot Raphael Walzer of Beuron Abbey to accept extensive speaking engagements, mainly on women's issues. "During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I ... thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one's mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world... I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to `get beyond himself' in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it."

She worked enormously hard, translating the letters and diaries of Cardinal Newman from his pre-Catholic period as well as Thomas Aquinas' Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate. The latter was a very free translation, for the sake of dialogue with modern philosophy. Erich Przywara also encouraged her to write her own philosophical works. She learnt that it was possible to "pursue scholarship as a service to God... It was not until I had understood this that I seriously began to approach academic work again." To gain strength for her life and work, she frequently went to the Benedictine Monastery of Beuron, to celebrate the great festivals of the Church year.

In 1931 Edith Stein left the convent school in Speyer and devoted herself to working for a professorship again, this time in Breslau and Freiburg, though her endeavours were in vain. It was then that she wrote Potency and Act, a study of the central concepts developed by Thomas Aquinas. Later, at the Carmelite Convent in Cologne, she rewrote this study to produce her main philosophical and theological oeuvre, Finite and Eternal Being. By then, however, it was no longer possible to print the book.

In 1932 she accepted a lectureship position at the Roman Catholic division of the German Institute for Educational Studies at the University of Munster, where she developed her anthropology. She successfully combined scholarship and faith in her work and her teaching, seeking to be a "tool of the Lord" in everything she taught. "If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him."

In 1933 darkness broke out over Germany. "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine." The Aryan Law of the Nazis made it impossible for Edith Stein to continue teaching. "If I can't go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany," she wrote; "I had become a stranger in the world."

The Arch-Abbot of Beuron, Walzer, now no longer stopped her from entering a Carmelite convent. While in Speyer, she had already taken a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1933 she met with the prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne. "Human activities cannot help us, but only the suffering of Christ. It is my desire to share in it."

Edith Stein went to Breslau for the last time, to say good-bye to her mother and her family. Her last day at home was her birthday, 12 October, which was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Edith went to the synagogue with her mother. It was a hard day for the two women. "Why did you get to know it [Christianity]?" her mother asked, "I don't want to say anything against him. He may have been a very good person. But why did he make himself God?" Edith's mother cried. The following day Edith was on the train to Cologne. "I did not feel any passionate joy. What I had just experienced was too terrible. But I felt a profound peace - in the safe haven of God's will." From now on she wrote to her mother every week, though she never received any replies. Instead, her sister Rosa sent her news from Breslau.

(St. Teresa Benedicta as a Novice.)

 Edith joined the Carmelite Convent of Cologne on 14 October, and her investiture took place on 15 April, 1934. The mass was celebrated by the Arch-Abbot of Beuron. Edith Stein was now known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce - Teresa, Blessed of the Cross. In 1938 she wrote: "I understood the cross as the destiny of God's people, which was beginning to be apparent at the time (1933). I felt that those who understood the Cross of Christ should take it upon themselves on everybody's behalf. Of course, I know better now what it means to be wedded to the Lord in the sign of the cross. However, one can never comprehend it, because it is a mystery." On 21 April 1935 she took her temporary vows. On 14 September 1936, the renewal of her vows coincided with her mother's death in Breslau. "My mother held on to her faith to the last moment. But as her faith and her firm trust in her God ... were the last thing that was still alive in the throes of her death, I am confident that she will have met a very merciful judge and that she is now my most faithful helper, so that I can reach the goal as well."

When she made her eternal profession on 21 April 1938, she had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: "Henceforth my only vocation is to love." Her final work was to be devoted to this author.
Edith Stein's entry into the Carmelite Order was not escapism. "Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede to God for everyone." In particular, she interceded to God for her people: "I keep thinking of Queen Esther who was taken away from her people precisely because God wanted her to plead with the king on behalf of her nation. I am a very poor and powerless little Esther, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful. This is great comfort." (31 October 1938)

On 9 November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world.

Synagogues were burnt, and the Jewish people were subjected to terror. The prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne did her utmost to take Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce abroad. On New Year's Eve 1938 she was smuggled across the border into the Netherlands, to the Carmelite Convent in Echt in the Province of Limburg. This is where she wrote her will on 9 June 1939: "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death ... so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world."

While in the Cologne convent, Edith Stein had been given permission to start her academic studies again. Among other things, she wrote about "The Life of a Jewish Family" (that is, her own family): "I simply want to report what I experienced as part of Jewish humanity," she said, pointing out that "we who grew up in Judaism have a duty to bear witness ... to the young generation who are brought up in racial hatred from early childhood."

In Echt, Edith Stein hurriedly completed her study of "The Church's Teacher of Mysticism and the Father of the Carmelites, John of the Cross, on the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of His Birth, 1542-1942." In 1941 she wrote to a friend, who was also a member of her order: "One can only gain a scientia crucis (knowledge of the cross) if one has thoroughly experienced the cross. I have been convinced of this from the first moment onwards and have said with all my heart: 'Ave, Crux, Spes unica' (I welcome you, Cross, our only hope)." Her study on St. John of the Cross is entitled: "Kreuzeswissenschaft" (The Science of the Cross).

Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people."