Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Image painted by Terry Nelson and taken from his blog at

Today we celebrate the last day in the Octave following the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Our Lady confirmed this title when she first appeared to St. Simon Stock as the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel and promised to save those who wear the scapular from the fires of hell; She will also shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment.  In a later vision, she would later appear to Pope John XXII and reveal the Sabbatine Privilege. "I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
The document 'Lumen Gentium' further confirms this title, as it relates to Our Lady as the Theotokos, the God bearer, who bore the author of Grace Himself in Her womb. It states, '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 Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’

Today we read in our Carmelite proper the following beautiful excerpt from
the homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria preached at the Council of Ephesus.

Hail Mary, Mother of God, august treasury of the whole world, unquenchable
torch, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, temple indestructible, and
place of the uncontainable, mother and virgin. Through you is named blessed
in the holy gospel He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hail Mary! You contained the uncontainable in your holy virginal womb.
Through you the Trinity is glorified; through you is the cross named
precious, and adored throughout the whole world; through you heaven exults;
through you angels and archangels rejoice; through you demons are put to
flight; through you the devil, the tempter, fell from heaven; through you
the fallen creature is taken up to heaven; through you the whole created
world, gripped in the madness of idolatry, come to a recognition of the
truth; through you comes about holy baptism for believers; through you the
oil of gladness; through you churches have been founded through the whole
world; through you nations are led to repentance.

What need is there to speak at length? Through you the only Son of God
shone His light for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death;
through you prophets foretold what was to come; through you apostles preach
salvation to the nations; through you the dead are raised to life; through
you kings reign, through the Holy Trinity.

What man can sing adequately the praise of Mary? She is both virgin and
mother! The wonder astounds me. Shall the Builder be forbidden to inhabit
the temple He has built?

Shall He be despised who chose His handmaid for His mother?

See then, all things rejoice. May it be ours to fear and bow before the
unity of the Trinity, to worship and tremble in awe before the indivisible
Trinity, as we sing praises of the ever-virgin Mary, that is the holy
Church, and of her Son and immaculate spouse; for to Him is glory for ever
and ever. Amen.


God of eternal wisdom, in Your providence You willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should bring forth the Author of Grace, and take part with Him in the mystery of man’s redemption. May she obtain for us grace in abundance and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

450th Anniversary of St. Teresa's Carmelite Reform

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
Last Monday we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Pope Benedict XVI gave a thoughtful message on the importance of continuing to give ouselves fully to God as St. Teresa did. As we prepare our hearts to enter into the Year of Faith which begins October 11th, we need to revisit this invitation by Christ to leave all behind, and come follow Him.  Here is our Holy Father's message to read and ponder. Enjoy!
Pope Benedict XVI Recommends St. Teresa's Daring: Fear Not to Tell Our Lord, 'I Am Yours'

(Image taken from

By Junno Arocho

ROME, JULY 16, 2012 ( Benedict XVI sent a message today to Bishop Jesús Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, to mark the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Carmelite Reform and the founding of the Carmelite convent of St. Joseph in Avila.

The Pope said he was united with the Diocese of Avila, the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, and with all those who follow the spirituality of St. Teresa.
"In fact, a saint is not one who carries out great feats based on the excellence of his human qualities, but one who allows Christ to penetrate their soul, to act through their person, He being the real protagonist of all their actions and desires, who inspires every initiative and sustains every silence," the Holy Father said.

Reflecting on the reform of the Carmelites, the Pontiff said that it was "born of prayer and tends to prayer" and that it fostered a way of life that favored a more personal encounter with Jesus Christ. "The convent of Saint Joseph was born precisely so that [Teresa's] daughters would have the best conditions to find God and establish a profound and intimate relationship with Him," he said.

Saying that the Teresian reform protected apostolic work through prayer in a world that lacked spiritual values, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated that "confident prayer be at the heart of the apostolate, so that the message of the Redeemer Jesus Christ will resound with crystal clarity and forceful dynamism." The Holy Father also called for all members of the Church, especially young people, to take the vocation of sanctity seriously.

"Following in Teresa of Jesus’ footprints, allow me to say to those who have the future before them: aspire also to belong totally to Jesus, only to Jesus and always to Jesus. Fear not to tell Our Lord as she did: 'I am yours, for you I was born, what do you want me to do?' And I ask Him to enable you to respond to his calls illumined by divine grace, with 'determined determination,' to offer the 'little' that is in you, trusting that God never abandons those who leave everything for His glory," he said.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded his message to Bishop Garcia Burillo entrusting the Church in Avila to the Blessed Virgin Mary and exhorting them to continue on the mission of carrying out the mission that St. Teresa of Avila began 450 years ago. "I place under her maternal protection the apostolic endeavors of the Church in Avila so that, rejuvenated by the Holy Spirit, she will find the appropriate ways to proclaim the Gospel with enthusiasm and courage. May Mary, Star of evangelization, and her chaste spouse Saint Joseph intercede so that the 'star' that the Lord lighted in the universe of the Church with the Teresian reform will continue to radiate the great brilliance of the love and truth of Christ to all men," the Pope said.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Carmelite Nuns Offering of Selves Helped End the French Revolution

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Today we celebrate Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and Companions, virgins and martyrs. 
The end of the brutality of the French Revolution against the people,
and particularly the religious, was intrinsically tied with these Discalced Carmelite Compiegne 
nuns who offered their lives as reparation to end the atrocities. This is precisely what happened, when Bl. Teresa of St. Augustine led her fellow sisters to martyrdom that she prophetically foretold years before, while singing hymns of praise. You can read more about this in To Quell the Terror or in the complete article, a portion of which I am pasting in below. It can be found at and is taken from The Mantle of Elijah: The Martyrs of Compiegne as Prophets of Modern Age, (1995) by Terry Newkirk, ocds

With the coming of the Discalced Carmelites into France, the movement Brémond calls the Mystical Invasion" culminated:
All that generation, great and small alike, resembled these two [Francis de Sales and Barbe Acarie] more or less. After them, and during the first half of the seventeenth century, the movement continued to extend and develop, but also to grow complicated until the time when we seem to see in the very complication symptoms or menaces of approaching dissolution .19

As with any great popular movement, there were inevitably abuses and excesses which provoked a reaction. By the end of the seventeenth century, mysticism had become an object of derision in France. By the time of the French Revolution, contemplative life had receded to its customary and, some would say, proper obscurity. The cloistered nuns of Compiègne maintained some ties with prominent persons: several noble families had been the benefactors of the sisters, who depended entirely upon alms for their sustenance. Since the days of Louis XIV, when one of his former mistresses entered another Carmel as a penitent, the monastery (not far from one of the royal residences) had enjoyed the crown s favor; indeed, the first historian of the martyrs, Mother Marie of the Incarnation, was apparently the natural daughter of the Prince de Conti.20 Mother Henriette of Jesus was the grand-niece of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, chief advisor to Louis XIV. But, for the most part, the nuns avoided political entanglements, asking only to be left unmolested to live their vocation to prayer. Far from being aristocrats themselves, their fathers were shoemakers, stockbrokers, cabinetmakers, laborers little blue blood, a great deal of red." 21

It was, however, the nuns supposed sympathy for anti-revolutionists that led to their arrest. Within the monastery, authorities found a portrait of the king and images of the Sacred Heart similar to those used by reactionary groups. The religious were accused of halting the progress of public spirit." 22 In reality, however, political factors figured little in the nuns condemnation to the guillotine. Something more threatening, something less well defined, provoked that retribution by civil authorities.

Throughout the events of the Revolution, the nuns of Compiègne, like most religious communities, obeyed the civil law insofar as possible. Doubtless, they prayed for those in authority over them, as all Christians are counseled to do. It is likely that they kept the royal portrait as a memento of a family which had been kind to them. The Canticle to the Sacred Heart of Jesus" (see Appendix, pp. 37 40), written by a Parisian priest and used as incriminating evidence in the nuns trial because a copy was found in their monastery, bespeaks a longing for peace and order brought about by divine love as any reasonable person shocked by the escalating butchery might have felt. It looks forward to a time when the King will be free," but makes no special mention of his restoration to power. Indeed, in the context this could refer as easily to a heavenly as an earthly king. Yet the state found that grounds existed for executing the sixteen nuns. Why?

In the Assemblée Nationale on February 13, 1790, M. Garat- l Aine expressed the sentiments of many revolutionaries against religious orders:
The rights of man will they thus be won? This is the real question. Religious orders are the most scandalous violation of them. In a moment of fleeting fervor, a young adolescent pronounces an oath to recognize henceforth neither father nor family, never to be a spouse, never a citizen; he submits his will to the will of another, his soul to the soul of another; he renounces all liberty at an age when he could not relinquish the most modest possessions; his oath is a civil suicide.23

Religious life, especially religious obedience, simply makes no sense to the enlightened." Active orders might be tolerated because they provide education or medical care; contemplative orders are, to the rationalist, a mere absurdity. Perceptively, Georges Bernanos places these words in the mouth of the former prioress of the Compiègne Carmelites, Mother Henriette of Jesus:
We are not an enterprise for mortification or the preservation of the virtues, we are houses of prayer; whoever does not believe in prayer cannot but take us for impostors or parasites.24

If not impostors or parasites, the poor sisters must, at least, be deluded or intimidated, the revolutionaries believed. When monastic vows were suppressed by order of the Assemblée, city authorities came to the monastery to interrogate each sister as to the motives of her vocation and to offer freedom to any who wished it. When none chose to leave, the officials returned with armed guards that they posted as sentinels within the cloister: they believed that the sisters were afraid to speak for fear of being overheard. One by one the nuns were brought to be examined. When Mother Henriette s turn came, she handed them a written response and asked them to read it aloud to her:
How false are the judgments
that the world makes of us!
Its profound ignorance
disapproves of our promises,
all that it adorns itself with
is but pure vanity.
Its only reality
is the sorrow that devours it.

I despise its pride,
I consider its hatred an honor;
and I prefer my chains
to its spurious freedom.
O day of eternal celebration,
O day forever holy,
when, vowing myself to Carmel
I won the heart of God.

O beloved and precious bonds
I strengthen you each day;
all that the earth can offer me
is worthless in my eyes;
your sarcasm, worldlings,
compared to my joy
is a dead giveaway:
that joy outweighs all the cares
to which your soul is prey.25

It is crucially significant not only that the former prioress elected to reply in verse, but that her answer, while perhaps not a great poem, is both competent poetry and a well- constructed argument. An even more striking example of reasoned rhetoric turned against the nuns would-be liberators occurred when, in 1790, Mother Nathalie of Jesus (Grenelle) addressed the Assemblée Nationale on behalf of French Discalced Carmelites:
The most complete liberty governs our vows; the most perfect equality reigns in our houses; here we know neither the rich nor the noble and we depend only on the Law . In the world they like to broadcast that monasteries contain only victims slowly consumed by regrets; but we proclaim before God that if there is on earth a true happiness, we possess it in the dimness of the sanctuary and that, if we had to choose again between the world and the cloister, there is not one of us who would not ratify with greater joy her first decision. After having solemnly declared that man is free, would you oblige us to think that we no longer are?26

Such pleas availed little; religious houses were ordered dispersed, and it was even forbidden to meet for common prayer and to wear the habit. The nuns of Compiègne were forced to leave their Carmel on September 14, 1792 the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the day on which the long penitential season in Carmel began.27 Sometime shortly before, the women had pledged themselves to a course of action their persecutors would have found even more incomprehensible than monastic life: through a communal act of consecration, they offered their lives for the sake of peace.

Between June and September 1792, Mme Lidoine [Teresa of St. Augustine] avowed to her daughters that having made her meditation on the subject, the thought had come to her to make an act of consecration by which the Community would offer itself as a holocaust to appease the wrath of God, and in order that the divine peace which his dear Son had come to bring into the world would be bestowed on the church and the state.28

Like generations of Carmelites, the sisters had made dramatic representations of martyrdom part of their recreation; these were imaginative rehearsals for the real thing, always regarded as a possibility. Yet they knew that seeking martyrdom too actively could be sinful, a temptation of pride. For almost two years after first making their act of consecration, the nuns, in quiet defiance of the law, lived apart in small groups, dressing as laywomen but meeting for common prayer. Eventually, in mid-June, 1794, they were arrested and tried before the Assemblée Nationale, without attorney or witnesses.29 In the following dialogue the irrational" mystic, Teresa of St. Augustine (Lidoine), answers the charges of the enlightened" president of the tribunal:

If then you require a victim, here I am; it is I alone whom you should strike, my Sisters are innocent." The President: They are your accomplices." If you judge," said Mother, that they are my accomplices, of what can you accuse our two extern sisters?" Of what? Have they not been messengers for carrying your letters to the post?" But they were ignorant of the content of the letters and did not know the address where I sent them; besides, their position as women in service obliges them to do what they are told." Shut up," answered the President, their duty was to inform the Nation of it." 30

Testimony was halted there; the nuns were sentenced to the guillotine. An ironic sidelight: the one nun of royal blood, Marie of the Incarnation, happened to be away at the time of the arrest and thus escaped execution; one of only three survivors of her community, she became the martyrs first historian, collecting eyewitness accounts of the nuns deaths.30 Reverend Mother Émilienne, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, wrote in a letter:

I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.32

Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor.33 Sister Julie had an extreme horror of the guillotine; yet she refused to leave her sisters even when her family sent for her, saying, We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God." 34 Another witness said of the nuns, They looked like they were going to their weddings." 35

Throughout France a vaunted new age of spiritual maturity, free from the bonds of sectarian religion, was underway. On June 20, 1794, a Feast of the Supreme Being" was celebrated in Compiègne. 36 In November of the previous year, the worship of Reason was officially proclaimed: the church of Saint-Jacques in Compiégne became the Temple of Reason. The church of Saint- Antoine became a public meeting hall and fodder storehouse. In December, the Mayor of Paris had announced in the Temple of Reason that the Declaration of the Rights of Man would henceforth be the catechism of the French, and that the Constitution would be their Gospel.37 The prevailing mood of the times is reflected in a letter of July 17, 1794, from municipal officials of Compiègne to the Comité du Sureté Nationale:
The citizens of the Commune of Compiègne and of the District celebrated a civic festival on the 26 of this month (Messidor) in memory of the taking of the Bastille and in rejoicing for the recent victories of our armies. The minutes of the Municipalites attest that everywhere people were animated by the same spirit. The festival was concluded with dances and patriotic banquets.38

Yet there must have been a growing public unease not evident in this letter. Something in the sight of the nuns being executed seems to have affected even the hardened Parisian crowd, accustomed to cheering loudly each fall of the guillotine blade. Within ten days, by July 27, 1794, Robespierre and the provisional revolutionary government were finished.39

The double dimension, mystical and prophetic" is the essence of the Carmelite charism: according to ancient tradition, the order traces its origins to a community of hermits gathered near the fount of Elijah on the slopes of Mount Carmel, forever linked in Scripture with the memory of the great prophet. It was only natural, then, that from the beginning Carmelites should see themselves as the spiritual heirs of Elijah, living in his power and spirit; the feastday of Saint Elijah is still celebrated with solemnity in Carmelite monasteries throughout the world. It is certain that since Elijah, carried off like a flaming whirlwind in a chariot with fiery horses, a prophetic spirit has not ceased to breathe on the family of Carmel." 40

But in what sense are the Martyrs of Compiègne prophets? It may help to recall that the role of the Old Testament prophet was not to predict the future, except incidentally, but to summon the people of Israel to return to their former fidelity: their function was a radically conservative one, in the best sense of both words. The martyrs point backward to something lost; as well as forward to the inevitable consequences of that loss. In the brutal execution of these cloistered religious by a democratic" state founded ostensibly on human reason, we find a metaphor, perhaps, for our own condition, for T.S. Eliot s famous dissociation of sensibility" that has violently subjugated our intuitive, reflective, contemplative selves to rationalism, materialism, and pragmatism.

Works Cited:
Newkirk, ocds Terry  "The Mantle of Elijah: The Martyrs of Compiegne as Prophets of Modern Age, (1995) ICS Publications, Washington, D.C.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Today is the anniversary of the marriage of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese de Lisieux. I unfortunately missed their feast day which was yesterday, but nonetheless I would like to give a brief review of their lives and how their vocation in marriage was the vehicle that God used for their sanctity and that of their children.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that matrimony has as its purpose, "the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."84 Furthermore, we are told that "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage."87 The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.

Louis Martin and Zrelie Guerin were able to realize the beautiful purpose and higher calling of this sacrament, through their union which was defined by a deep spiritual life, both individual and as they raised their daughters within their home.  Before meeting one another at a later age, both had pursued religious life unsuccessfully, and despite this continued to foster an active and focused prayer life. 

Louis, at the age of thirty-five, worked at who the watch-maker’s shop in the Rue du Pont Neuf and the Pavilion.  His mother met Zélie Guérin at some professional sewing courses, and was impressed with her solid qualities combined with her gentle manners and pleasant presence.  Was this not the wife of whom she had dreamed for her son?  She made overtures to her that perhaps she could meet her son, and eventually succeeded in overcoming her doubts and resistance.

"Shortly thereafter, Zélie Guérin was crossing the bridge of Saint Léonard she met a young man whose distinguished appearance, dignified bearing and reserved manner made a favourable impression on her.  At that same moment an inner voice murmured: “This is he whom I have prepared for you”.  The identity of the passer-by was soon revealed to her.  She learned to know Louis Martin.

The two young people did not take long to learn to appreciate and become fond of each other.  Their mutual moral harmony was so quickly established that their private engagement was sealed by a formal religious betrothal without delay and three months after their first meeting they were able to be united together before God.  On the 13th July 1858, they plighted their troth in the splendid church of Notre Dame.  The Abbé Hurel, Dean of Saint Léonard, who had doubtless lent to the project the support of his authority as a spiritual director, received the vows of the pair.  The ceremony took place at midnight as quietly as possible, as though to enjoy only the sacred Christian aspect of the event; perhaps also because the great works of God are accomplished in the night silence and this was a work of greatness from which was to be born the Saint of Lisieux.

The house in the Rue du Pont Neuf had been hastily arranged to receive the newly married couple.  As it was large and had a private entrance, it was possible for two families to live there quite separately and that without encroaching upon the space taken up by the workshop and the jewellery business.  Louis’ parents were installed on the first floor.  Zélie transferred her business to her new home.  She lived there close to her own people, since only a short section of the main road separated her from the Rue Saint Blaise.

From this happy union ultimately nine children were born, four of whom died in infancy (two boys and two girls).  All five surviving sisters became nuns, four of them Carmelites, among them the great St. Thérèse (the Little Flower) and one, Léonie, became a Visitandine." (Excerpts taken from

This beautiful excerpt is taken from a paper written for the 150th anniversary of these blesseds written by Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O Carm. in his paper The Human Charm of Christian saintliness.

Louis and Zélie were luminous examples of married life lived in faithfulness, in welcoming life and in the education of their children.  A Christian marriage lived in an absolute confidence in God that could be proposed to families today.  Their marriage was exemplary, full of Christian virtues and human wisdom.  Exemplary does not mean that we should copy, photocopy their life reproducing all of their doings and gestures, but that we should use, like they did, the supernatural means that the Church offers to each Christian to carry out his vocation to saintliness.  Providence wanted their Beatification to be announced during the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of their marriage, 13th July 2008.

In what way are the Martin parents modern?  Can they help our families to take on today’s challenges? 

Vocation in a family

Vocation is, above all else, a divine initiative.  But a Christian education favours a generous response to the call of God: It is in the heart of the family that parents should be for their children by their words and their example, the first announcers of the faith, and they should favour vocations in everyone and in a special way the consecrated vocation [CCC, 1656].  So if the parents do not live the evangelical virtues, young men and young women cannot hear the calling, understand the necessity of the sacrifices and appreciate the beauty of the goal to be reached.  In fact, it is in the family that young people experience evangelical values of the love that is given to God and to others.  They must be educated to understand their responsibility in their freedom, to be ready to live, according to their vocation, the highest level of spiritual realities. [John Paul II, Vie consecrate].

All of the Martin children were welcomed as a great gift of God to be given back to God.  The mother, her heart broken with pain, offered to Him her four children who had died at an early age.  The father offered to Him his five daughters, on their entry to the convent.  For their children they not only suffered the pain of physical birth, but also the pain brought on in faith until Christ was formed within them [Galates 4, 19].

They were truly ministers of life and saintly parents who engendered saints; they guided and educated saintliness.  The Martin family, like the family in Nazareth, was a school, a place of learning and a place of preparation for virtue.  A family who, today, will become the landmark for each Christian family.

Let us pray that those of us who are married can take these gems and example and apply them to our own vocation as husbands and wives. We ask the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, and St.Joseph to further intercede for us as well.
Let us pray...
God Our Father, I You for having given us Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Therese. United and faithful in marriage, they have left us an example of Christain living and evangelical virtue. In raising a large family through trials, suffering and bereavement, they put their trust in You and always sought Your will.
Deign, Lord,to make known their will i n their regard and grant the favour I ask, in the hope that the the father and mother of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, may soon be canonised and thereby held up to the Universal Church as model for the families of our time. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes shows us how to Love

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

St. Teresa of the Andes became the first canonized Carmelite saint of Latin America. Juanita Fernandez Solar was born at Santiago, Chile on July 13, 1900. From her adolescence she showed great piety and devotion to Christ. She entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given the name Teresa of Jesus. In less than one year, she died after having made her religious profession. She was beatified by John Paul II on April 3, 1987, at Santiago, Chile, 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 beatified. St. Teresa of the Andes was canonized on March 21, 1993 in St. Peter's Basilica. (See

Testimonies leading up to her beatification and canonization are telling of what a joyful soul Teresa (nee Juanita) shared with everyone she met.  Her enthusiasm was infectious and her desire for souls and union with God would take her to the heights of sanctity in a short period of time.  Her brother Luis affirms that Teresa saw God in the smallest of events and in all people who crossed her path. From an early age she practiced great charity by giving to the poor and teaching catechism to children in the different villages that their family would stay at for the summer. All of her actions stemmed out of a deep prayer life that sought to bring her own soul and those of all other souls closer to Christ. 

Despite some supernatural favors early on, especially after receiving Holy Eucharist, Teresa found only dryness and aridity in prayer. Doubt and confusion clouded her mind and heart as she discerned entering the Carmelite Order at Los Andes, even though she received great consolation and affirming light when visiting there. Despite this, she felt a natural attraction to the order and shared what she believed to be the heart of the Carmelite order and charism as founded by St. Teresa of Avila, to her friend who was still in the world and discerning entering the order

"He'll give you the strength and grace you need to be a Carmelite. May Jesus, in that desert of love, find a place of refreshment in His Isabel. May He find amidst the darkness of the world, a fire of love in your pure heart. How great your mission is, my dear little sister. But it's also a mission that requires continuous struggle. Embrace the cross that your Divine Spouse places upon your shoulders with all your soul. He considers you to be strong, even virile,, since He's giving you a cross - a very heavy one to be sure - but it's because God loves you infinitely. Thank Him for so great a good."

"So..let's be Carmelites, but in the full sense of the word. It's the greatest vocation, since Our Divine Master told Mary Magdalene, "You have chosen the better part." The most Holy Virgin was a perfect Carmelite...A Carmelite, as I think of her, as nothing but an adoring victim. Let us be victims, dear Isabel,  hosts, but pure ones. Let us live completely immersed in God.  (Letters of St. Teresa of the Andes, p. 228)
“My Jesus, I love You. I am totally Yours. I give myself completely to Your divine will. Jesus, give me the cross, but give me the strength to carry it. It matter not whether You give me the abandonment of Calvary or the joys of Nazareth. I only want to see You contented. I doesn’t bother me to be unable to feel, to be insensible as a rock, because I know, my sweet Jesus, that You know I love you. Give me the cross. I want to suffer for You, but teach me to suffer by loving, with joy and with humility.

Lord, if it please You that the darkness of my soul becomes deeper, that I not see You, it will not bother me because I want to fulfill Your will. I want to spend my life suffering to make reparation for my sins and those of sinners and so priests will be sanctified. I do not want to be happy, but for You to be happy. I want to be like a soldier so that at every moment You can dispose of my will and preferences. I want to be courageous, strong and generous in serving You, Lord. You are the Spouse of my soul. ”
Copyright 1989, God the Joy of My Life, translated by Michael D. Griffin, O.C.D. Teresian Charism Press Holy Hill 1525 Carmel Road Hubertus, WI 53033 USA

Blessed Pope John Paul II confirmed this great love that burned in St. Teresa's heart during her canonization Mass in 1993. "This young virgin of the Andes today proclaims the beauty and happiness that comes from a pure soul...In the bosom of her family she learned to love God above all things. In feeling that she belonged to the Creator alone, her love of neighbor became more intense and definitive. ..She teaches us that happiness is found in being the least and the servant of all, following the example of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life in ransom of the many."

May we follow her pure, loving example.

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes..Pray for us. Amen.