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Saints of Carmel
St. Teresa of Jesus from Avila, Spain was a down-to-earth saint with a real practical bent. She could move in all circles of society with equal ease regardless of the person being a King or a peasant. She was a mover and shaker when she saw a need in the church. The Carmelite reform of the nuns and the friars are due to her initiative under the impulse of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to the Magisterium of the Church.
The Catholic Church declared her a doctor of the church in 1970 along with St. Catherine of Siena due to the fact that her writings have a universal application in the spiritual life of the Church. Her writings, such as her "Autobiography," the "Way of Perfection," and the "Interior Castle" are treasures that have an appeal to religious as well as laity and even to non-Catholics. She wrote from experience and from the infused grace of God. The virtues that are the hallmarks of her life are humility, obedience, charity, common sense, and profound love of God.
St. Teresa died on Oct. 4, 1582 as a "daughter of the Church" as she stated on her deathbed. Her legacy lives on not only in her writings, but in the lives of her daughters, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, during the centuries.
Some of St. Teresa's outstanding daughters have been St. Therese of the Child Jesus of Lisieux, France, who left her "Little Way" of spiritual childhood that focuses on total confidence and trust in the love and mercy of God. St. Therese was born January 2, 1873 in the town of Alencon, France. She entered Carmel at the exceptional age of 15 and died nine years later from tuberculosis at the age of 24 on 30th of September 1897. She lived her ordinary life in an extraordinary way. She tried to live every moment in the will of God and to do all for love of Him. Her autobiography, "A Story of A Soul," is a spiritual classic that has universal appeal and inspired its readers to saintly lives. One such life is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who took her name in religion from St. Therese. St. Therese was declared the 33rd Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity and St. Teresa de Los Andes like St. Therese died very young and left a legacy of profound writings. Blessed Elizabeth was born in the year 1880 in Cher, France. She entered the Carmel of Dijon, France in 1901 and after an exemplary religious life died at the age of 26 from Addison’s disease. Her spiritual life was focused on the indwelling Trinity within her soul. She will be canonized on October 16, 2016. St. Teresa de Los Andes was born July 13, 1900. At a very early age, she was very devoted to Jesus and Mary. She entered the Carmel of Los Andes, Chile in 1919 at the age of 18, and received the habit on September 8th of the same year. After only eleven months in Carmel she died of typhus on April 12, 1920. She reached the heights of the mystical life within a very short time. We know of her profound spiritual life through her diary and letters.
Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified was born in Upper Galilee, Palestine in 1846 after her parents who were childless went on a pilgrimage to Nazareth to beg the Virgin Mary to intercede for them. She was orphaned at the age of two and went to live with her uncle. She felt the call to consecrate herself to God, but her uncle arranged a marriage without her consent which was customary in their culture. When she refused to marry, she was cruelly mistreated by the family, but would not relent. A servant of the family who was Muslim tried to get her to convert to Islam. Upon her staunch refusal, he slit her throat and left her for dead. It is at this point that the extraordinary intercession of God touched her life. A nun dressed in blue rescued her and took her to a grotto so as to nurse her back to life. This nun then told her what would happen in her life. "You will never see your family again, you will go to France, where you will become a religious. You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa. You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second, and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem." Her life had many miraculous and mystically aspects in contrast to the ordinary life of St. Therese. God leads each soul down different paths, but all towards the same end. She is most known for her devotion the Holy Spirit. She was just canonized by Pope Francis on May 17, 2015.
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) was born on October 12, 1891 in Germany of Jewish parents. She was a gifted student and brilliant philosopher who studied under the famous Phenomenology philosopher, Husserl and had worked with Martin Heidegger. She received her doctorate in Philosophy for the University of Gottingen in 1918 and later taught at the University of Frieberg. She converted to the Catholic faith on January 1, 1922 after reading the "Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila." She entered the Carmel of Cologne, Germany during October 1933, but later transferred to Echt, Holland due to the persecution of Jews in Germany. Unfortunately, Germany later invaded Holland and the persecutions continued. During the Jewish holocaust, she was rounded up by the Nazis at the Carmel in Echt, Holland, and was shortly after martyred at the concentration camp of Auschwitz, Poland on August 9, 1942.