Tuesday, August 26, 2014



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Celebration of the 5th Centenary of St. Teresa's birth

Photo: Public Domain

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


St. Therese of the Child Jesus

From The Story of a Soul:

At this time I was enjoying such a living faith, such a clear faith, that the thought of heaven made up all my happiness, and I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith. I believed they were actually speaking against their own inner convictions when they denied the existence of heaven, that beautiful heaven where God Himself wanted to be their Eternal Reward. During those very joyful days of the Easter season, Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, the source of the only real and pure joys. He permitted my soul to be invaded by the thickest darkness, and that the thought of heaven, until then so sweet to me, be no longer anything but the cause of struggle and torment. This trial was to last not a few days or a few weeks, it was not to be extinguished until the hour set by God Himself and this hour has not yet come. I would like to be able to express what I feel, but alas! I believe this is impossible. One would have to travel through this dark tunnel to understand its darkness...

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Allegiance to Jesus Christ through Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Photo: R. Massaro-Carmelite Monastery Lourdes, France

Many people wonder about the life of a Secular Carmelite and the obligations of this vocation. This new feature, "The School of Carmel," will provide commentary on the vocation of the Secular Carmelite.  Let's begin with a description of a Secular Carmelite from our Constitutions:

Secular Carmelites are faithful members of the Catholic Church who are called by the Holy Spirit to "live in allegiance to Jesus Christ." They seek evangelical perfection and union with God in the Order of the Teresian Carmel for his greater Glory and the good of his Church. In response to that call, members willingly submit to the "gentle yoke" (Mt, 12:30) of obligations and commitments contained in the Rule of St. Albert, our Constitutions and our Provincial Statutes.
From the Constitutions of the OCDS

*Faithful members of the Catholic Church
  The person seeking to become a Secular Carmelite must be in 
  good standing with the Catholic Church.

  Must be at least 18 years of age.

  Provide documentation of Catholic sacramental history.

  Living the Catholic faith for a minimum of 18 months after 
  Baptism before being eligible to enter Aspirancy.

  A person with marriage issues (divorced and remarried without a
  declaration of nullity, etc.) that have not been resolved by 
  a Catholic Tribunal may not proceed in formation. 

  A person who has made promises in another secular order, who
  has not been released from their promises, may not proceed in


The Daily Obligations of a Secular Carmelite:
1/2 hour of mental prayer each day
Attend Mass daily if possible
Pray Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours
Daily devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Observe the Carmelite days of fast
Regular recourse to the Sacrament of Confession
Spiritual Reading
Wear the Brown Scapular


The period of formation is approximately five years for one to make final promises.  The discernment process is a combined effort between the candidate and the council.  Even if the candidate wishes to become a Carmelite, the council may vote otherwise if they discern that Carmel may not be the right spiritual path for that person.

Candidates in Carmel must be interviewed by the council during each stage of their formation. The candidate will be questioned about his or her effort to fulfill the obligations. They will be asked about their faithfulness to prayer. They will also be asked to reveal any struggles or challenges they are facing. Also, the candidates are asked if they have the support of their family members. It is very important that family members support the vocation, because it is not the intention of the Order to cause strife or discord in the household because of the obligations. 

The candidate will be observed to see how they respond in obedience to the president and the council. The council represents the provincial delegate in the province. If a member is disobedient or disrespectful of the local authority, then, in essence, that person is being disobedient to the provincial delegate. 

Disobedience in just one member of a community can create a host of problems. Therefore, candidates should be carefully scrutinized that they understand what they are going to profess in regards to the promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Just as in Catholic marriage, if a person makes a vow and doesn't understand what he is promising, it can make the marriage invalid, so, too, a person professing poverty, chastity and obedience when he doesn't understand what he is doing, may make that promise invalid. The council, and in particular, the formation director, have the serious responsibility of seeing that candidates are formed and understand the serious nature of the promises.

The Secular Carmelite vocation is an awesome gift of God in which a person is called to respond to the invitation of intimate friendship with God through quiet prayer on behalf of the Church.  Is God calling you to a deeper prayer life? Is God calling you to Carmel?

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes to Rev. Mother 
Sister Angelica Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament
September 18, 1918

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
I had really wanted to write to you as soon as I received your affectionate letter, which I enjoyed so much, as I did the picture of Elizabeth of the Trinity you sent me.

You can't imagine how well your letters are attuned to my needs and the great joy they bring me, especially your latest one where you tell me that there's an "opening" for this poor and miserable girl in that very dear dovecote. How I thanked my Lord from the bottom of my soul when I read the lines that brought me this happiest of news. Believe me, I feel exiled here in the world, amidst so many dangers, and long to see myself already in that little convent, an eternal prisoner of Our Lord; and I have no other thought, desire or occupation that is not directed to Him.

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes had a mystical experience in which she was given the knowledge that she would die soon; "within 30 days" as she explained it to her confessor. 

She contracted typhus and died at the age of 19-one month after she confided her experience to her confessor. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on March 21, 1993. 

Here is a clip from the film on the life of St. Teresa of the Andes that has been shown on EWTN. In this scene, St. Teresa's sister Rebecca is filled with sadness as her dear sister enters Carmel. Later, Rebecca will experiences her own call to Carmel and enter the same monastery after the death of her sister.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds

Sunday, August 3, 2014


For the last five years of Teresa de Jesus' life (1577-82), Ann of St. Bartholomew served in the capacity of confidante, secretary, and inseparable companion. She is commonly referred to as Saint Teresa's nurse. One of the the three miracles used to prove Teresa of Avila's qualification for sainthood was Ann of St. Bartholomew's apparently instantaneous acquisition of the ability to write.  In her testimony supporting Teresa's beatification, Ann states that the impetus to write arose from Teresa's voluminous correspondence and need for a secretary: "If you knew how to write , you would help me answer these letters." Ann was anxious to please, but she insisted that she could learn only from Teresa's handwriting. After she refused to imitate a sample of an unknown nun's beautiful handwriting, St. Teresa gave her two lines in her own handwriting, and Ann learned to write that same afternoon.

Blessed Anne
As Ann of St. Bartholomew spoke, so she wrote. While Teresa de Jesus employed popular speech in her writing by choice and for a variety of purposes, including protection from accusations of meddling in theology and a desire to reach wide audiences, Ann of St. Bartholomew knew no other form of expression. Her writings exemplify the speech of peasant women of Castile...
Excerpt from Untold sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works, Electa Arenal and Stacey Schlau, Trans. Amanda Powell. (Reprinted in the Carmel Clarion Volume XXI No. 5)

After the death of St. Teresa, Blessed Ann played an important role in the advancement of Carmel throughout Europe. She was humble and bore her sufferings patiently. She was known for her deep spiritual mysticism and her strict adherence to St. Teresa's teaching on obedience. A steadfast obedience to her superiors that led to conflicts with other nuns. These conflicts caused her deep personal suffering. Throughout her life, like St. Teresa, she remained a true daughter of the Church. Her feast day is June 7.

From the writings of Bl. Anne:

According to St. Bernard it is the person who keeps silent and says nothing when things go wrong who is really humble. It is very virtuous, he says, to keep silent when people are talking about our true faults; but more perfect when we are slighted or accused without having committed any fault or sin.

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, pray for us.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds