A Discalced Carmelite nun of Ragusa, Sicily, she was mistress of novices and prioress until her death on June 12, 1949. She was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2004.
From her writings:
To contemplate with deep faith our Beloved in the Blessed Sacrament, to live with Him Who comes to us every day, to remain with Him in the depths of our hearts, this is our life! The more intense this intimate life is, the more we will be Carmelites and make progress in perfection. This contact, this union with Jesus is everything: what fruits of virtue will come from it! You must have this experience: to live with Jesus and to live by His virtues is to listen to His beautiful voice, to His most loving wish, and immediately to obey it, to quickly please Him. Our eyes close, longing to find Him again, to contemplate Him in the depths of our hearts: is this not the reason why He gives us Holy Communion in the morning? Is it not the attraction for Him that remains in the Blessed Sacrament, where He lives? I do not know how to separate the ciborium that remains in the Tabernacles from the ciborium in hour hearts. Oh how many times, even though we are in the choir, before His sacred presence, at times exposed, we experience the great need to go deeply within ourselves, and there rediscover and remain with our Jesus!
What mystery of love is this intimacy with our Beloved! I reflect on this sometimes with emotion and give praise to Him Who is Love. And with tears I contemplate this intimacy. Everything here on this earth is nothing for us, withdrawn as we are, far from Him Who loved us so much. Our eyes no longer see anything, and even though we close them again to lose ourselves from the same sacred environment, we close them anxious to find Him again, to see Jesus! The most delightful Mystery of Love! He allows Himself to be found by the heart that searches for HIm, by the soul that knows how to do without many things for love of Him.
To be close to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, like the Saints in Heaven, is what we must do, according to our Holy Mother Saint Teresa. Seven times a day we come together around the throne of our good God, the sacred Tabernacle, reciting the divine praises; oh how much faith merits such lofty activity, what dying to self! May adoration and love accompany and beautify everything!
Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit was born in Poland in 1891. He became a Discalced Carmelite in 1908, and served as priest, professor of youth, prior and bursar. On August 28, in 1944, he was shot to death by Nazi troops that had invaded Poland. He was beatified on July 13, 1999, by Pope Saint John Paul II.
From the address by Pope Saint John Paul II:
"Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven; for this is how they persecuted the prophets before you."
To whom do these words still apply? To many, many people throughout humanity's history, to whom it was given to suffer persecution for the sake of justice. We know that the first three centuries after Christ were marked by persecutions, at times terrible, particularly under some Roman emperors from Nero to Diocletian. Even though these ceased under the Edict of Milan, nevertheless they broke out again in various historical eras, in numerous places throughout the world.
Even our century has written a great martyrology. I myself, over the twenty years of my pontificate, have elevated to the glory of the altar numerous groups of martyrs: Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican. How many there were during the period of the Second World War and under the Communist totalitarian system! They suffered and gave their lives in the Hitlerian and Soviet extermination camps. This time has now come to remember all these victims and to render due homage to them.
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. And though it is virtuous indeed to bear this in silence, it is more perfect still to want to be despised and thought mad and good for nothing, and to go on, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, wholeheartedly loving those who despise us.
If Jesus kept silent, it was not because he hated anyone. He was simply saying to his eternal Father what he said on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours, Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word, you spoke to us; without a word you worked the mysteries you came to accomplish -- teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind. What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues and how could we carry the cross for one another, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given himself as a living model of all perfection?
Blessed silence! In it you cry out and preach to the whole world by your example. Volumes could be written about your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love you than from books or study.
Our Lord became a spring for us, so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly he said in the Gospel that he came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by your words and deeds, and the patience you show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did you say, "Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart." Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us with those other virtues we need -- faith, hope and charity! Without faith we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and make us see the truth; and where faith is wanting, there is no light, and no way leading to goodness. [From A Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.]
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew was one of the chosen souls who assisted in the first foundations of St. Teresa of Avila. She was born into a prosperous farm family in Castile, not far from Avila, Spain. She had many mystical experiences as a child, preserved in her diaries. She wanted to enter the foundation of St. Joseph's in Avila, but was at first turned away because of her youthfulness. Her parents had died, and her brother opposed her call to religious life, wanting her to marry and to help the family to maintain the farm. But after much trial, she entered the monastery where she made her profession of vows as a lay Sister at the age of twenty-three in 1572, ten years before the death of the Saint and founder, Teresa of Avila. As a daughter of peasants, Anne could not read or write; nevertheless, in the final suffering of her life, while again residing at St. Joseph's in Avila, St. Teresa chose Blessed Anne for her nurse and secretary, She learned to read and write, and later played a key role in the spread of the reform to France and Belgium, where she died at Antwerp in 1626. Her writings are preserved there.
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