Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saint Teresa reformed the Carmelite Order with her irrepressible determination

"As I read on, I learned that after the Black Death of the fifteenth century the Holy See mitigated the original austere rule of silence, fasting, prayer and penance. It was thought the health of the people in fifteenth-century Europe could not stand such a rigorous discipline.

Then in the following century, at Avila in Spain, appeared the great organizer and mystic of Carmel, Saint Teresa of Jesus. After living as a nun for twenty years under the mitigated rule, she felt impelled to bring back to the Order all its primitive penance and prayer. When she hesitated, because of her sex and weakness, to attempt the restoration of the original rule of Carmel, Our Lord spoke to her: 'It is because men and theologians will not listen to Me that, despised by them, I come like a beggar to talk of what I want with humble women and to find rest in their company.'

How I admired the great Saint Teresa and her courageous confidence in God! Church dignitaries and ministers of state conspired against her. But once God's will became clear to her, there was no obstacle she could not overcome.

It was because Saint Teresa, with her irrepressible determination, succeeded in restoring the Primitive Rule of Carmel, the Rule followed throughout the world by all discalced (or shoeless) nuns, that I was thinking of Carmel. I discovered that monasteries of the Reform were established all over Europe. And, most exciting of all, I learned that in our own country the very first religious order of women to found a convent in what was then the United States was the Carmelite Order."

-- My Beloved: the Story of a Carmelite Nun by Mother Catherine Thomas, ocd


Judy Khalili said...

This book was a great help to me, and was a source of grace, resulting in my baptism into the Church. Sr. Catherine Thomas corresponded with me, and also introduced me through her book to Carmel. May she pray for us!

ocd sister said...

Hi, Judy! What a privilege to have corresponded with Mother Catherine Thomas. May she intercede for you and for all Carmelites in the world. God bless you!