I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the voice of Jesus.
BLESSED ELIA OF SAINT CLEMENT
Theodora, a name meaning "gift of God," was born January 17, 1901, in Bari, Italy. She entered the Carmelite monastery there at the age of nineteen, and died seven years later on Christmas day after making her total offering of herself to God in 1924. She was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.
From her writings:
My Delight, who could ever separate me from You? Who could be capable of breaking these strong chains that keep my heart attached to Yours? Perhaps the abandonment of creatures? It is precisely this that unites the soul to its Creator. . . . Perhaps tribulations, suffering, crosses? It is in these thorns that the canticle of the soul that loves You is freest and lightest. Perhaps death? But this will be nothing but the beginning of true happiness for the soul. . . . Nothing, nothing can separate this soul from You, not even for a brief moment. It was created for You and is lost if it does not abandon itself to You.
My life is love; this sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is, "Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone." My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself, but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on . . . . I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.
Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified believed that she saw Our Lady after being mortally wounded. Our Lady prophesied that she would enter the Carmelites.
Mary Baouardy was born in 1846 in Abillin, near Nazareth. She was the first surviving child of Georges and Mary Baouardy, poor powder-makers who had lost twelve boys in infancy. Mary was born in answer to a novena to the Blessed Virgin in Bethlehem, with the promise that she would be named for her. Two years later, her brother Paul was born, and then, tragically, both parents died of an infectious disease, leaving Mary and Paul orphaned. They went to live with different relatives, and never saw each other again. These events were only the first of many sufferings in store for little Mary. Her wealthy uncle treated her well, but as was the custom during those times, he had arranged a marriage for her when she was only thirteen. Mary had always loved Jesus and the Virgin, and she did not want to marry. She prayed. The night before her wedding, Jesus spoke to her, telling her that He would help her. She cut off her beautiful long braids, wrapped the jewels she had been given in them, and sent them to her uncle. This made him furious, and from that day Mary was treated as a household slave. In her anguish, she befriended another servant, a man who was a Muslim. He promised to help her to deliver a letter to her brother in a different town. But when she went to his home with the letter, he tried to force her to renounce her faith in Christ. This she refused to do, and the angry man slit her throat. The next thing Mary remembered was a beautiful woman in blue came to her with a delicious broth that gave her strength. The woman dressed her wound, and then told her that she would enter a Carmelite monastery, make her vows in another, and die in another. This prediction proved true, because Mary later entered the Carmel of Pau, France. She assisted a foundation in India where she made her vows, and she died in the Carmel that she had helped to found in Bethlehem. Awaking in a confessional in a Franciscan church located in Jerusalem, Mary began working as a domestic. A series of positions led her to the family that brought her to France, where she began her religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Apparition, but her mystical graces alarmed the sisters, and they did not accept her there. Her novice mistress brought her to the Carmel of Pau, where she was accepted and given the name Mary of Jesus Crucified. She died in the Carmel of Bethlehem from a fall that wounded her leg in 1878. Mary of Jesus Crucified was just canonized by Pope Francis on May 17, 2015.
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