St. Teresa’s Journeys

Setting up the new foundations in Spain took St. Teresa out of the monastery and onto the highways and byways of the Spanish countryside. Traveling in Medieval Spain was either done by donkey, horse or mule, covered wagons or a carriage. St. Teresa preferred to travel with her nuns by covered wagon. This way St. Teresa and her nuns would not be visible to the curious as they passed through towns and villages. While traveling throughout the countryside to set up these new foundations, St. Teresa moved the life lived in the monastery into the covered wagon. The life inside this wagon had a “prioress, their schedule of prayer, a water clock, a tiny bell, their breviaries, holy water, a crucifix, and some statutes of our Lady, St. Joseph, or the Infant Jesus.” Even outside this wagon there was a driver, as well as a noblemen, merchant or friend ready to lend them a hand, just like the life these nuns live in the monastery. There was even a “chaplain who would celebrate Mass in whatever little church they might happen upon along the way.”

(The Collected Works of St. Teresa, Volume 3, page 51 by ICS Publications)

St. Teresa's Journeys

St. Joseph at one door and Our Lady at the other

When founding the monastery of St. Joseph’s, St. Teresa writes in The Book of Her Life that one day after Communion the Lord told her to strive for this new monastery with all her powers and promised that He would be highly served in it. “He said it would be called St. Joseph and that this saint would keep watch over us at one door, and our Lady at the other”. Our Lord further told St. Teresa that Christ would remain with them and that the new foundation would be a “star shining with great splendor.” (The Book of Her Life, 32:11)

With the waves of our current culture tossing us about on this stormy sea, it would be good to remember that the whole Church is under the patronage of St. Joseph, one of the first acts as pope of Pius IX. Recently, the present Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued the decree Paternas vices (Fatherly care) adding St. Joseph’s name to all the main Eucharistic Prayers. Until this decree was issued in May, St. Joseph had only been included in the first Eucharistic Prayer. It was Pope John XXIII that inserted St. Joseph’s name in that prayer in 1962. St. Joseph will now be included in Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV.

Our Lady is know by many titles one of them is appropriately fitting for the present times: The Star of the Sea or Stella Maris. This is an ancient title for our Blessed Mother. In the ancient Aramaic language the phrase “Our Lady” meant pilot, leader or guide. At sea, or in the desert, someone was needed to lead the people safely and to guide them. In ancient times, more so than today, the stars were used as a guide to safety and new life.

With this in mind, let us keep these two saints watching over us, asking for their help and intercession as we make our journey in this life, remembering that St. Joseph is keeping watch over us at one door, and our Lady at the other.

St. JosephPatronChurch

St. Teresa of Jesus

St. Teresa of Jesus—also known as St. Teresa of Avila—was born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515. Thus, 2015 is the 500th anniversary, or Fifth Centenary, of her birth.


For five years the Discalced Carmelite Order has been preparing itself for this special occasion. As we remember our Foundress’s birth, we pray, above all else, for a rebirth or reinvigoration of her spirit and teaching among us who would call ourselves her sons and daughters. Read more here


A Sponge and the Indwelling Trinity


A dry sponge does not have any water, but put it in a bucket of water, and the water will enter the sponge. Water will seep into the large holes and will then fill the tiny spaces until it has penetrated throughout the sponge completely saturating it. In addition, the sponge will also expand a little in its size.

The soul is like this sponge. God is represented by the water. Most souls are dry like a sponge, but after spending time with God, drinking in His Presence, His Divinity will gradually fill up the soul until it is saturated and will even expand it a little.

The soul has a capacity for being filled with God. However, this depends on the soul’s capacity to absorb the Trinity. Meditation initiates this union. The more the soul spends time meditating on God allowing itself to be transformed, the more intimate and tender will the daily conversation become even in the midst of daily duties and activities. Drinking daily of His fullness allowing itself to be permeated by Him, like this sponge by water, the soul will be filled with God.

The Lord told St. Teresa to “Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me”. This can only be accomplished by meditation and growth in self-knowledge. And this is why daily intimate conversation with God is so necessary to the Carmelite.

Through her communion with God, St. Teresa also felt a communion with all creation. “It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” Through our communion with God, we also know His presence within the bonds of friendship, which is why the community is important. We are called to live a trinitarian life in the Church, with Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.

“I, being accustomed to the presence of Jesus Christ only, always thought that the vision of the Three Persons was in some degree a hindrance, though I know the Three Persons are but One God.  Today, while thinking of this, our Lord said to me ‘that I was wrong in imagining that those things which are peculiar to the soul can be represented by those of the body; I was to understand that they were very different, and that the soul had a capacity for great fruition.’ It seemed to me as if this were shown to me thus: as water penetrates and is drunk in by the sponge, so, it seemed to me, did the Divinity fill my soul, which in a certain sense had the fruition and possession of the Three Persons. And I heard Him say also: ‘Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me.’ It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” (St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Testimonies no. 14)

A Quarter of an Hour

4331084-praying-in-the-dark-with-a-rosary Today’s feast reminds us of the power of the Rosary and the value of prayer. It was established by St. Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto. Mary’s intercession was invoked through the praying of the Rosary by the faithful. The victory was attributed to her aide. The Rosary is a meditation on the life of Mary and a penetration into the mysteries of Christ. When we pray the Rosary we are following Mary’s example and are associating ourselves closely with the mysteries of salvation: the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God. To say the Rosary well requires recollection. Saying the prayers well and meditating on the events from the Gospels will nourish our interior life. The Rosary said well becomes for us a quarter of an hour’s meditation.

Lord, fill our hearts with your love, and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as man, so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and  ever.   Amen

Desires, Reason and Guardian Angels


Reflect that your guardian angel does not always move your desire for an action, but he does always enlighten your reason. Hence, in order to practice virtue do not wait until you feel like it, for your reason and intellect are sufficient.   (The Sayings of Light and Love #37 – St. John of the Cross)

St. Therese’s Prayer to Obtain Humility


“O Lord, You could not humble Yourself any more in order to teach me humility. That is why I want to respond to your love by putting myself in the lowest place and by sharing Your humiliations, so as to be able to share the kingdom of heaven with You hereafter. I beg You, divine Jesus, send me a humiliation every time I try to put myself above others. But Lord, You know my weakness; every morning I make resolution to practice humility and every evening I acknowledge that I still have many failures. I am tempted to be discouraged by this, but I know that discouragement also has its source in pride. That is why I prefer to put my trust in You alone, O my God. Since You are all–powerful, deign to create in my soul the virtue for which I long.”