Saints of Carmel


Blessed Kuriakos Elias Chavara, one of the founding fathers and the first Superior General of C.M.I. (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) congregation of the Catholic Church, died on January 3rd, 1871 in the odor of sanctity leaving behind him the high reputation of a very holy monk. He was declared blessed on February 8, 1986 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

                       His mortal remains, transferred from Koonammavu where he died, were piously  kept in the chapel of St. Joseph's Monastery, Mannanam, Kerala, India. Because of his sanctity and his showering of blessings upon those who seek the intercession of him, Mannanam has become a pilgrim centre. Hundreds of people come to the tomb of Blessed Chavara on every Saturday. The feast of Blessed Chavara is celebrated with great devotion and solemnity every year on January 3rd.
                       For what the C.M.I. congregation and the Kerala Church today is we owe a great deal to the great dreams and efforts of the great luminaries, Malpan Thomas Porukara, Malpan Thomas Palackal and Blessed Chavara the first founding Fathers and Brother Jacob Kanianthara of the C.M.I. congregation.
                        Just like his teachers, Malpan Thomas Porukara and Malpan Thomas Palackal, Blessed Chavara was a great visionary. There is no areas of human endeavour where the fingers of Blessed Chavara has not touched. To his credit there are many firsts in the history of the Kerala Church: the first indigenous religious congregation, the first Sanskrit School, the first catholic printing press, the first Indian congregation for women. He was first to edit and publish the East Syrian Breviary. He prepared the first liturgical calendar in the Malabar Church in 1862 which continued to be in use until the recent years. It was through his efforts Syriac was first printed in Kerala and the first prayer books in Malayalam were printed at Mannanam under his care.
                         Besides the first house at Mannanam, he started several religious houses in different parts of Kerala. Starting of seminaries for the education and formation of clergy, introduction of annual retreats for priests and people, starting of forty-hour adoration, a house for the dying and destitute, special attention to catechumens, schools for general education were among the few of various activities under Blessed Chavara's leadership. Besides, in 1866 with the co-operation of Fr. Leopold Beccaro O.C.D. he started the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (C.M.C.) for women. He was the pioneer of popular education in Kerala and the one who inspired the Catholics to start schools in every parish along with their churches. That is why in Kerala schools are popularly called "Pallikkoodam" - a place for education attached to the church.
                        Amidst his diverse and manifold activities, he found time and leisure to write a few books, both prose and verse, for the benefit of the faithful. His counsels to the christian families given in the form of a "Testament of a Loving Father" are universally applicable and are relevant to this day. Essentially a man prayer and intense charity, he stayed in close communion with the Lord, amidst his several religious and social activities, permeating his spirituality to all around him, so much so that he was accepted and referred to as a man of God, from his early years.

 O.Carm:  Feast
OCD:  Optional Memorial

Born in Perigod, France, around 1305, Saint Peter Thomas joined the Carmelite Order when twenty years of age. He was Procurator General of the Order at the Papal Curia at Avignon and also an official preacher to the Curia there. In 1354, he was appointed bishop of Patti and Lipari. He acted as papal legate to the kings and emperors of his time, seeking to promote peace and to re-establish unity with the Eastern Churches. He was translated to other episcopal sees: in 1359 to that of Corinth in the Pelopennese with the role of papal legate in the East; then to Crete as archbishop in 1363 and finally to Constantinople in 1364 as Latin Patriarch. His efforts for the unity of the Church make this fourteenth century saint a precursor of ecumenism. He died in 1366 at Famagusta in Cyprus.

O.Carm:  Feast
OCD:  Optional Memorial

Saint Andrew Corsini was born in Florence at the beginning of the 14th century, he entered religious life in the Carmelite house in his native city. He was appointed Provincial of Tuscany in 1348 by the General Chapter meeting in Metz and the following year he was named bishop of Fiesole, near Florence. He governed his diocese well, becoming a model of charity and an eloquent preacher. He was distinguished by his zeal for the apostolate, his wise judgment and his love for the poor. He was admired and appreciated by everyone. Many people, rich or less well endowed, came to him as peacemaker after the many years of in-fighting and quarreling which had ruined their families and their cities. He died on 6th January 1374 and was canonized on 29th April 1629.


 Blessed Nuno Alvares Pereira
April 1
OC:  Memorial
OCD:  Optional 
NUNO ÁLVARES PEREIRA was born in Portugal on 24th June 1360, most probably at Cernache do Bomjardin, illegitimate son of Brother Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira, Hospitalier Knight of St. John of Jerusalem and prior of Crato and Donna Iria Gonçalves do Carvalhal. About a year after his birth, the child was legitimized by royal decree and so was able to receive a knightly education typical of the offspring of the noble families of the time. At thirteen years of age he became page to Queen Leonor, was received at court and was created a knight. At sixteen years of age, at the wish of his father, he married a rich young widow Donna Leonor de Alvim. Three children were born to the union, two boys who died early in life, and a girl, Beatrice, who would eventually marry Afonso, first Duke of Bragança, son of King João I.a

When King Fernando died, without an heir on 22nd October 1383, his brother João, became involved in the struggle to win the Lusitanian crown, which was being contested by the King of Castile, who had married the daughter of the dead king. Nuno took João’s side. He wanted him as his constable, that is commander-in-chief of the army. Nuno led the Portuguese army to victory on various occasions up until the battle of Aljubarrota (14th August 1385), which brought the conflict to an end.

The military capabilities of Nuno were, nevertheless, tempered by a deep spirituality, a profound love of the Eucharist and of the Blessed Virgin, the main foundations of his interior life. Totally dedicated to Marian prayer, he fasted in Mary’s honour on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and on the vigil of her feasts. The banner he chose as his personal standard bore the image of the cross, of Mary and of the saintly knights James and George. At his own expense he built numerous churches and monasteries, among which was the Carmelite church in Lisbon and the church of Our Lady of Victories at Batalha.

Following the death of his wife in 1387, Nuno did not wish to marry again and became a model of celibate life. When peace finally came, he gave the bulk of his wealth to the veterans, the rest he would dispose of in 1423 when he decided to enter the convent of the Carmelites which he himself had founded, taking the name of Brother Nuno of Saint Mary. Animated by love he abandoned power to serve the poor: it was a radical choice for a life, bringing as it did to a high point, the authentic path of faith which he had always followed. With this choice, he left behind the weapons of war and power in order to be vested in spiritual armor as the Rule of Carmel recommends. He would have wanted to withdraw to a community far away from Portugal, but the son of the king, Don Duarte, prevented it. No power could stop him from dedicating himself to the convent and above all to the poor, whom he continued to help and serve in every possible way. For them he organized a daily distribution of food and never hesitated in responding to their needs. The Commander of the King of Portugal, chief officer of the army and victorious leader, founder and benefactor of the Carmelite community, when entering the convent did not want any privileges but chose the humblest rank of a lay brother, putting himself at the service of the Lord, of Mary his ever venerated Patron, and of the poor in whom he recognized the face of Jesus himself.

Of significance too was the day of the death of Brother Nuno of Saint Mary: it was Easter Sunday, the 1st April 1431, and what following it was that he was immediately acclaimed a saint by the people who called him “O Santo Condestavel”.

While the fame of Nuno’s holiness remained constant and grew over time, more complex was the interim period of time leading to the process of canonization. This process was begun by the Portuguese sovereigns, and then by the Carmelite Order. But many other obstacles were to get in the way. Only in 1894 did Fr. Anastasio Ronci, then Postulator General of the Carmelites, succeed in introducing the process of recognition of the cult ab immemorabili of Blessed Nuno, which despite the difficulties came to a happy conclusion on 23rd December 1918 with the Decree Clementissimus Deus of Pope Benedict XV.

Even the relics were moved many times for the original tomb in the Carmelite church, until finally in 1961 on the occasion of the sixth centenary of the birth of Blessed Nuno, a pilgrimage was organized with the precious silver reliquary in which they were kept. Shortly afterwards this too was robbed and the reliquary never found. In their place some bones, relics from other places, were gathered together and preserved. The discovery of the site of the original tomb in 1996, together with some authenticated bone fragments, awakened the desire to hasten the proclamation of Blessed Nuno as a saint in the church.

The Postulator General of the Carmelites, Fr. Felipe M. Amenós y Bonet, took up the cause again and this was collaborated by an approved miracle in the year 2000. The required inquiries having been undertaken, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI made the proclamation of the decree of the miracle on 3rd July 2008. During the Consistory of 21st February 2009 he indicated that Blessed Nuno would be enrolled in the list of saints on 26th April 2009.

Blessed Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua
April 17
O.C:  Memorial
OCD:  Optional

Born in Mantua on 17th April 1447, Bl. Baptist's father was of Spanish origin and hence his surname. He entered the Carmelites in Ferrara and professed his religious vows in 1464. He was awarded a doctorate in theology in Bologna in 1475 and subsequently held a number of different positions in a succession of convents. Six times elected Vicar General for the Reformed Congregation (the Mantuan Reform), at the end of his life he was elected Prior General for the whole Order (1513-16).

His activities were not limited to the Carmelite Order. In 1513 he was invited to participate in the Lateran Council and, in 1515, he was entrusted by Pope Leo X with a diplomatic mission to negotiate a peace between the king of France and the duke of Milan. He was noted especially for his spirited and determined denunciations of the spreading corruption in society and he gave expression to his desire for reform with elegant literary appeals and a moving discourse in 1489 in St. Peter's Basilica before the Pope and the cardinals. All this, though, did not distract him from living a very interior life and having a special devotion to the Virgin Mary.

He was a friend of many of the famous humanists and illustrious figures of his age, becoming an important figure in the literary world. Proclaimed by Erasmus as the "Christian Virgil" (he wrote with more than 50,000 Latin verses, besides other works of prose), he must be judged as one of the best poets of his time, a claim which is well attested by the numerous editions of his works.

He died in Mantua on 20th March 1516 and his incorrupt body is preserved in the Cathedral there. The cult of Blessed Baptist was approved by Pope Leo XIII on 17th December 1885 and his memorial day is celebrated on 17th April.

 Blessed Mary of the Incarnation
April 18
OCD: optional memorial
Barbe Avrillot was born in Paris in 1566.  At the age of sixteen, she married Pierre Acarie, by whom she had seven children.  In spite of her household duties and many hardships, she attained the heights of the mystical life.  Under the influence of St. Teresa's writings, and after mystical contact with the Saint herself, she spared no effort in introducing the Discalced Carmelite nuns into France.  After her husbands death, she asked to be admitted among them as a lay Sister, taking the name of Mary of the Incarnation; she was professed at the Carmel of Amiens in 1615.  She was esteemed by some of the greatest men of her times, including St. Francis de Sales; and she was distinguished by her spirit of prayer and her zeal for the propagation of the Catholic Faith.  She died at Pontoise on April 18, 1618.
(Carmelite Calendar)


Saint Angelus 
Priest and Martyr
May 5

OC:  Memorial

Angelus is thought to have been one of the first Carmelites to return to Sicily from Mount Carmel and, according to a long-standing tradition, he was murdered in Licata during the first half of the 13th century.
Venerated as a martyr, a church was built soon after his death at the place where he died and his body was interred there. Only in 1662 were his remains transferred to the Carmelite church in Licata.
The cult of Saint Angelus spread throughout the Order and among ordinary lay people. Angelus and St Albert of Trapani are considered the "fathers" of the Order because they were the first two saints to have a cult in the Order and, as a result, they are frequently found in medieval Carmelite iconography alongside the Virgin Mary.
In Sicily, there are many places which have adopted Saint Angelus as their patron and the people there turn to him when in need, with great love and affection.

 Blessed Aloysius Rabata
May 8

OC: optional memorial

Born at Erice, near Trapani, Sicily, probably in 1443, Bl. Aloysius Rabatà entered the Order of Carmel at the Annunziata convent in Trapani at an early age. He was appointed prior of the reformed house of Randazzo where he died in 1490. According to tradition, he was mortally wounded in the head by an arrow after having denounced the extravagant dress of a local lord. Aloysius pardoned his attacker but refused to reveal his name.

May 9

Born in Malta on 12 February 1880. He lived in Valletta, the capital of Malta, near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. As a child, and according to the customs of the times, George joined the Carmelite Family by being enrolled in the Scapular. As a young man he felt called to the priesthood. He was ordained priest on 22 December 1906.
During the early months of 1907, the young Fr. George began his mission by gathering around him and forming a small group of young men in their twenties. He instilled in them moral principles, the fear of God and an awareness of the infinite love that God bears humanity. These young men were the first seeds of the Society of Christian Doctrine, popularly known as MUSEUM, the initial letters of "Magister, Utinam Sequatur Evangelium Universus Mundus" ("Lord, would that the whole world follow the Gospel"). Fr. George’s work was and is the religious education of young children, boys and girls and youth, undertaken by well-prepared lay people. The central theme of his spirituality and theology was the Incarnation: "Verbum Dei caro factum est" ("The Word of God was made flesh"). These words became the motto of the distinctive emblem of the Society and of his life.

Fr. George was not satisfied with a minimal Christian life. As a child he wore the scapular and in later years wanted to commit himself more intensely to following the example of Our Lady and thus became a Carmelite Tertiary. He joined the Third Order on 21 July 1918 and made his profession on 26 September of the following year. At his profession he took the name of "Franco", after the Carmelite Blessed Franco of Siena. Fr. George chose the name of this Blessed because he considered himself a great sinner… a characteristic of many saints. He really felt he was a member of the Carmelite Family, so much so that several times in his writings he calls himself a Carmelite and uses the name he took at his profession as a Tertiary rather than his own name. In 1952, in recognition of his untiring efforts to spread devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fr. George was affiliated to the Order.

He died at 82, on 26 July 1962. His presence and the influence of his spirit are still felt among all Maltese families. Fr. George Preca is a saint of our times, not because of any extraordinary events recorded during his life, but above all because of the living monument that he left behind in the Society of the MUSEUM, today spread to Europe, Oceania, Africa and Latin America. Fr. George has been a worthy son of Carmel, not just because he was a member of the Third Order or because he wore the Scapular and preached on Our Lady, but rather because he lived a life of intimate union with God and served his brothers and sisters after the example of Our Lady. He was beatified by John Paul II on 9 May 2001 and canonised on 3 June 2007 by Benedict VXI.
                                                                 SAINT SIMON STOCK
                                                                           May 16th

As far as can be ascertained from the earliest references, Simon Stock was an English Prior General, known for his holy way of life, who died about 1265 in Bordeaux in France. After his death, miracles were recorded by those visiting his tomb and during the 14th century a local cult developed in Bordeaux.

Around 1400, a separate legend emerged in the Low Countries of a "holy Simon" who had a vision of Our Lady, in which she appeared to him bearing the scapular and promised: "This is a privilege for you and your brethren: whoever dies wearing it, will be saved." Within a few years, the two accounts had been merged and Simon Stock, the Prior General, was credited with having the vision of Our Lady. The combined account quickly became elaborated with imaginary biographical details of Simon's life, such as his birth in Kent, his living for some years as a hermit in the trunk of a tree and his authorship of the Flos Carmeli, a beautiful Carmelite hymn to Our Lady (which is, in fact, found in the 14th century and hence predates the legend).

The cult of Saint Simon Stock and the scapular devotion spread rapidly throughout the 15th and 16th centuries and increasingly large numbers of lay persons were enrolled in the scapular. Artists from all over the world have portrayed the scapular vision and examples are preserved in Carmelite churches throughout the Order. In the 16th century, the cult of Saint Simon Stock was made a part of the liturgical calendar for the whole Order, his feast being usually celebrated on 16th May. The feast was omitted in the recent reform of the liturgical calendar after Vatican II but has been now reintroduced.

Although the historicity of the scapular vision is rejected, the scapular itself has remained for all Carmelites a sign of Mary's motherly protection and as a personal commitment to follow Jesus in the footsteps of his Mother, the perfect model of all his disciples. (
                                                       ST. JOACHINA DE VEDRUNA
                                                                             May 22

Saint Joachina was born on 16th April 1783 in Barcelona, Spain. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 but was widowed in 1816. She brought up nine children with loving care. In 1826, guided by the Holy Spirit, she founded the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity which spread throughout Catalonia, opening numerous houses for the care of the sick and to help and look after those who suffered from poverty and a lack of education. She found her inspiration in the mystery of the Holy Trinity and the distinguishing features of her spirituality were her love of prayer, self-denial, detachment, humility and her love for others. She died at Vich on 28th August 1854. She was beatified on 19th May 1940 and canonized on 12th April 1959.

 Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
May 25
Mary Magdalene bore the surname of the noble family of Pazzi in Florence. Already by the 15th century, the Pazzi family exercised great political power. She was born on 2nd April 1566, given a good education and, from her childhood, she had a deep sense of the presence of God, a great love for the Eucharist and a longing to live a penitential life. Contrary to the usual practice but, with the consent of her confessor, she was allowed to make her first communion at the age of ten years. When she was seventeen years, she was accepted by the Carmelite nuns of Saint Mary of the Angels in Florence, her native city. During her novitiate, she had a serious illness which lasted for two months and brought her close to death. As a result, she was allowed to anticipate her profession. However, she recovered and for three years she was assistant mistress of novices, then sacristan, and, for a further six years, mistress of novices. Also, for a period, she had charge of the junior professed and in 1604 she was elected subprioress. Her continuous physical sufferings and severe spiritual trials were a great burden but she was enriched by God with extraordinary graces. She died on 25th May 1607. She was beatified in 1626 and canonised on 22nd April 1669.

In addition to her deep spiritual life, she observed conscientiously her religious vows and led a hidden life of prayer and self denial. She was filled with a burning desire for the renewal of the Church: keenly aware of the urgent need for reform, yearning to see it spread, and offering herself so that the "anointed ones" (i.e. priests) would once again be a witness to the world and that the lapsed would return to the Church. "The central theme in her spirituality (although not thought out in a fully systematic fashion) is love; we are created by God with love and by love, and such is the means by which we must turn to him; love is the measure of how far the soul has returned to God. The principal function of love is to unite the soul to God. The spiritual life is like a circle, inspired by love, which in God has both its point of departure and its moment of arrival." Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi had also a great devotion to Our Lady and she was a significant inspiration in the development of Carmelite Marian devotion to the "Most Pure Virgin", claiming that the beauty of Mary lay in her purity, which was what had made her one with the Word in her divine maternity.
Her mystical experiences were written in five "original manuscripts", that is the notes which were written by her nuns recording all that she did or said during her ecstasies and her "overflowings of divine love". These notes were later revised by the saint herself. They are entitled: Forty Days, Conversations, Revelations and Understandings, Trials and Renewal of the Church, together with her Sayings and Letters.  


    Blessed Jane Scopelli, Virgin
July 9th

Born in Regio Emilia in 1428 , Blessed Jane took the Carmelite habit  living at first in her home and later in the monastery founded in that city, where she became Prioress.  She had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She died in 1491. (Carmelite Proper)

Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, Virgin
July 13th

Juanita Fernandez Solar was born in Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900.  From her adolescence she was devoted to Christ.  She entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given the name of Teresa of Jesus.  She died on April 12 of the following year after having made her religious profession.  She was beatified by John Paul II on April 3, 1987, at Santiago, Chile, and proposed as a model for young people.  She is the first Chilean and the first member of the Teresian Carmel in Latin America to be beatified.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
July 16th

The Sacred Scriptures speak of the beauty of Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah defended the faith of Israel in the living God.  There, at the beginning of the 13th century, under the title of "Saint Mary of Mount Carmel", the Order of Carmel had its formal beginning.  From the fourteenth century this title, recalling the countless blessings of its patroness, began to be celebrated solemnly, first in England and then gradually throughout the whole Order.  It attained its supreme place from the beginning of the seventeenth century , when the General Chapter declared it to be the principal feast of the Order, and Paul V recognized it as the feast of the Scapular Confraternity.

Saint Elijah
July 20th

The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in his presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one true God.  He defended God's law in solemn contest on Mount Carmel, and afterward was given in Mount Horeb an intimate experience of the living God.  The inspiration that was found in him from the very beginning of the Order so pervades its whole history that the prophet may deservedly be called the founder of the Carmelite ideal.

Blessed John Soreth
July 24th

Blessed John Soreth was born at Caen, in Normandy, about the year 1420.  Endowed with a spirit eminently adapted to great things, and a heart susceptible of the most heroic virtues, he entered the Carmelite Order at the age of sixteen.  After making brilliant studies at the University of Paris, he received the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1441, and became Prior General in 1451.  He constantly refused the bishopric and the cardinal's hat, which Calixtus III wished to bestow upon him.  For twenty years he labored to reform the Order, ad canonically erected the first monastery in Europe of Carmelite Nuns.  Afterward he founded five other convents which he guided with the most paternal care.  Several Popes honored John with their confidence, and so great was his poverty, penance, and humility that he was called "the light of all Mendicant Orders."  in his zeal for the spread of the Order he traveled throughout Europe , enduring indescribable trials.  At the siege of Liege, sacrilegious men tore the ciborum from  the altar and impiously trampled the Blessed Sacrament underfoot.  Unable to endure this  outrage, Blessed John forced his way into the church through crowds of enraged men , and exposing his body to their weapons, reverently collected the Sacred Hosts and carried them to his own monastery.  Being seized with a sudden fatal illness, he received the sacraments of the Church, exhorting his religious to live in harmony and observance of the Rule, and breathing forth his favorite aspiration, "Jesus, be to me Jesus!" his soul took flight to heaven.  From his death, he began to be honored as a saint because of his extraordinary miracles, and the Supreme Pontiff Pius IX approved and ratified by the apostolic authority the honors which had always been paid him.
Source: "Carmelite Devotions: Carmelite Nuns of Milwaukee"

Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angeles
Martyrs of Guadalajara
July 24

Maria Pilar of Francis Borgia was born in Tarazona on December 30, 1877.  Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross was born at Mochales on March 5, 1909.  Maria Angeles of St. Joseph was born at Getafe on March 6, 1905.  They were Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain and were martyred on July 24, 1936, after having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and offered their lives for the Church.  The first fruits of the countless of the Spamish Civil War of 1936-1939, they were beatified by John Paul II on March 29, 1987.

Blessed Maria Prat
Virgin and Martyr
July 24

Mercedes Prat was born on March 6, 1880, in Barcelona, baptized on the following day, and made her First Holy Communion on June 30, 1890.  From her childhood she gave herself completely to God, whom she received everyday in Communion.  She displayed a great love for her neighbor and tried to foster this kind of love in others.  During her years in school, she was known for her goodness and dedication to school work, excelling especially in painting and needlework, which were areas in which she had natural talent.  Entering the novitiate of the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus in 1904, in Tortosa, she made her temporary profession in 1907.  She was a "religious according to the heart of God," prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealing with others, but firm in character.  God was her one love, and her love for God kept growing to the point where she would give her life for Him.  In 1920 she was assigned to the motherhouse in Barcelona.  From there the path to martyrdom began on July 19, 1936, when the community was forced  to give up the school and flee.  On July 23, because she was a religious, Sr. Mercedes was arrested and shot, she died in the early morning of July 24.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
July 27

Born at Bolsward (the Netherlands) in 1881, Blessed Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a younf man.  Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome.  He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy and of the history of mysticism in the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he also served as Rector Magnificus.  He was noted for his constant availability to everyone.  he was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists.  Both before and during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic Press.  For this he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors; in 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau.  He was beatified by John Paul II on  November 3, 1985.

Disclaimer:  All biographical descriptions can be found in the Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours.(except when indicated otherwise).

                                                                 St. Albert of Trapani
                                                                          August 7

Born in Trapani, Sicily, during the 13th century, Albert was distinguished for his dedication to preaching and by his reputation for working miracles.In 1280 and 1289, he was in Trapani and afterwards in Messina. In 1296 he was appointed Provincial of the Carmelite Province of Sicily. He was known especially for his great desire to lead a holy life and for prayer. He died in Messina, probably in 1307. He was the first saint whose cult spread throughout the Order and, as a result, he is considered its patron and protector or "father", a title he shared with the other saint of his time, Angelus of Sicily. In the 16th century it was decided that every Carmelite church should have an altar dedicated to him. Among the many with a devotion to this saint were Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi.  

Curious History of a Painting
At the International Center of St. Albert (CISA) in Rome, there is a painting of one of the most venerated of the Carmelite saints—St. Albert degli Abati (also known as "Albert of Trapani" after the city where he was born). Dying probably in 1307, the Saint was a distinguished preacher and was the first in the Order to have a devotion to in the Order, that considered him as "Father," a title shared with his contemporary saint, the martyr, Angelo of Sicily.  In the lower part of the painting there is a scroll with the Latin inscription "Studiorum mecenati divo Alberto theologiae bacconicae candidate tabulam inaugurarunt 1704." It tells of the dedication by the students in the studium generale of Traspontina to their patron. The origin of the picture is connected to an odd bit of history.  In the course of the second half of the 17th century, the curriculum for the Order's students was rather haphazard in both content, in the requirements for enrolling in courses, in the organization of the houses of the students in such things as the orarium, length of the school day, and length of vacations.
The sections of the 1625 Constitutions dealing with norms for the students and their curriculum were modified by subsequent General Chapters and above all by the Prior General, Giovanni Feijó de Villalobos. In 1692 he issued a series of quite demanding decrees regulating studies within the Order. The program of Feijó, reflecting the Spanish customs, were seen as unrealistic for the rest of the Order, especially Italy. There were a number protests.
When, in April 1700, the next Prior General, Carlo Filiberto Barbieri, insisted the students be in conformity with the rules, the students of the studium generale in Traspontina (Rome), which was at the time the most prestigious in the Order, took the matter to the Vatican Congregation in order to obtain a dispensation and to continue the assigning of grades as well as their days of school and periods of vacation has had been practiced for over 100 years at Traspontina. On September 9, 1701, they obtained a decree in their favor and confirmed by a letter of Clemente XI with the same date. The Prior General Barberi was in agreement with the decision as he had already announced his support of the students of Traspontina.
There were, however, some "zealots" (among whom was a member of the Order’s Curia),  who were opposed to such a concession. At that point, there was a new appeal to the same Vatican Congregation and, by means not very clear, the "zealots" obtain a suspension of the papal letter. The students went on the offense and started a process at the Holy See against the "zealots" who called themselves "The Carmelite Religion" without ever revealing their true name.  The case was dealt with by the Congregation over several months, with some hearings and an examination of the motives of both sides, and of the drawbacks and observations identifies by defenders of both sides of the question. In the end, on November 10, 1702, the decision was handed down with nothing given in favor of the "zelots" and full agreement given to the students of Traspontina, confirming all that they had received from the Pope in his letter.  When the General Chapter of 1704, updated the part of the Constitutions dealing with studies, those sections put in by Villalobos in 1692 were simply done away with. The students celebrated the event which one more time confirmed their "rights" and offered to the Prior General the painting of St. Albert, by an unknown painter, as a sign of their respect.

Emanuele Boaga, O. Carm.
General Archivist of the Order

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
August 9
Edith Stein was born a Breslau on 12th October 1891 to German Jewish parents, and after her secondary education, she enroled in the department of philosophy in the city university. In 1913, she transferred to the University of Gotingen to study under Edmund Husserl. Until the age of thirteen years, she was in effect an atheist. She had her first serious encounter with Christianity listening to Max Scheler. In 1916, she continued and completed her studies at Fribourg where she wrote her doctorate directed by Husserl. She remained working in the university until 1921. During those years, she read the autobiography of Teresa of Avila and became aware of being called to become a Catholic; she was baptized on 1st January 1922. She made her First Communion the same day and was confirmed on the following 2nd February. After her conversion, she felt herself attracted to the religious life but circumstances forced her to delay this decision until 1933. When in 1933 she lost her teaching post as a result of the anti-Jewish laws, she entered into the Carmel at Cologne on 14th October 1933, taking the name of Teresa Benedict of the Cross. On 31st December 1938 she was moved to the Carmel at Echt in Holland so as to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews. In 1940, the situation worsened also in Holland. When the prescriptions became more severe, an attempt was made to transfer her to the Carmel in Switzerland. While the arrangements were being negotiated for her move, the deportations of the Jews to the concentration camps began in Holland. Sister Teresa, accompanied by her sister Rosa who had also become a Catholic, was taken to Amersfort on 2nd August 1942. On 3rd August, she was transferred to Westerbork. On 7th August, she and her sister together with other deportees were locked in railway wagons and taken by train to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, a voyage which took two days.
Sister Teresa Benedict of the Cross died in the gas chamber the same day that she arrived at the camp at Auschwitz, Sunday 9th August 1942, and her body was burned in one of the crematoria there. She was beatified on 1 May 1987 and canonized on 11 October 1998 by Pope John Paul II. On 2 October 1999 the same Pope proclaimed her co-patron of Europe. (

                                                            Blessed Isidore Bakanja
                                                                    August 12

Bl. Isidore Bakanja, a member of the Boangi tribe, was born in Bokendela (Congo) between 1880 and 1890. In order to survive, even as a boy, he had to work as bricklayer or in farms. He was converted to Christianity in 1906. He was working in a plantation run by a colonialist in Ikili and was forbidden by the owner to spread Christianity among his fellow-workers. On 22 April 1909, the superintendent of the business tore off the Carmelite Scapular, which Isidore was wearing as an expression of his Christian faith, and had him severely beaten even to drawing blood. He died on 15 August of the same year as a result of the wounds inflicted in "punishment" for his faith and which he bore patiently while forgiving his aggressor. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 24 April 1994.

Blessed Isidore Bakanja

Isiidore Bakanja worked as an assistant mason for white colonists in what was then the Belgian Congo and later known as Zaire. Convert, baptized 6 May 1906 at age 18 after receiving instruction from Trappists missionaries. Rosary in hand, he used any chance to share his faith; though untrained, many thought of him as a catechist. He left his native village because there were no fellow Christians.
He further worked as a domestic on a Belgian rubber plantation. Many of the Belgian agents were atheists who hated missionaries due to their fight for native rights and justice; the agents used the term "mon pere" for anyone associated with religion. Isidore encountered their hatred when he asked leave to go home. The agents refused, and he was ordered to stop teaching fellow workers how to pray: "You'll have the whole village praying and no one will work!" He was told to discard his Carmelite scapular, and when he didn't, he was flogged twice. The second time the agent tore the scapular from Isidore's neck, had him pinned to the ground, and then beaten with over 100 blows with a whip of elephant hide with nails on the end. He was then chained to a single spot 24 hours a day.
When an inspector came to the plantation, Isidore was sent to another village. He managed to hide in the forest, then dragged himself to the inspector. "I saw a man," wrote the horrified inspector, "come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me - he wasn't walking; he was dragging himself". The agent tried to kill "that animal of mon pere", but the inspector prevented him. He took Isidore home to heal, but Isidore knew better. "If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet a priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian."
Two missionaries who spent several days with him reported that he devoutly received the last sacraments. The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he already had. "I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much." After six months of prayer and suffering, he died, rosary in hand and scapular around his neck.  (

                                                          Blessed Angelus Mazzinghi
                                                                      August 17

The year of birth of Bl. Angelus Mazzinghi in Florence, Italy, or nearby, is unknown but it was certainly before 1386. He was received into the Order in 1413 and was the first member of the reform at Santa Maria delle Selve. He was prior there from 1419-30 and again in 1437, and in Florence from 1435-37. A lector in theology, he was particularly noted for his preaching of the word of God. He died in Florence in 1438. His cult, already practiced in some places, was confirmed in 1761.  (

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, the Little Arab
August 25
Mariam Baouardy was born at Abellin in Galilee on 5th January 1846 to very poor parents who were good living and devoted Greek-rite Catholics. She was left an orphan after the death of her parents at only three years of age when, together with her brother Paul, she was entrusted to the care of an uncle, who had moved to Alexandria in Egypt a few years earlier. She never received any formal education and remained unable to read. At thirteen years of age, wanting to give herself only to God, she firmly refused the marriage which her uncle, according to the Eastern custom, had arranged for her. The next few years, she worked as a domestic in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Beirut and Marseilles. At the beginning of Lent in 1865, she joined the Sisters of Compassion, but falling ill, she was forced to leave after a couple of months. Then she was received into the Institute of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition but, after two years as a postulant, she was judged not to be suited for the cloistered life. Finally, on 14th June 1867, she entered the Carmel in Pau. On 21st August 1870, whilst still a novice, she left for India to join a new Carmel to be founded at Mangalore. On 21st November 1871, she made her religious profession there. One year later, she was recalled to Pau, from where she left as part of a new foundation, the first Carmel in Palestine. She died on 26th August 1878 at Bethlehem from a cancer which she had contracted after a fracture caused by a fall. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13th November 1983. (
Blessed Jacques Retouret
August 26
Bl. Jacques Retouret was born at Limoges in France on 15th September 1746 to a merchant family. He was a serious young man, a lover of books and greatly gifted. At fifteen years of age, he entered the Carmelite house in his native city. After ordination, his zeal and learning were widely admired and large crowds of people were attracted by his way of preaching. Unfortunately, he was often unable to fulfil all his engagements, due to his persistent bad health which plagued him throughout his life.
The French Revolution did not spare him. Like the majority of his fellow clergy, Jacques refused to accept the civil law, unilaterally introduced by the state, which decreed, among other things, the election of bishops and parish priests by the people, only afterwards to be approved by the hierarchy and the pope. In addition to this refusal, Jacques was accused of siding with a group of political emigres who had invaded the country against the revolutionaries. He was arrested and condemned, together with many other priests and religious, and sentenced to exile in French Guinea in South America. Taken to Rochefort, he was held there in a prison ship. The British navy, at this time, was blockading the French coast and so preventing the departure of the prison ships. The conditions for the prisoners were beyond description: they were crowded together, hungry, plagued by sickness, and suffered from either the heat or the cold in overpowering smells, and persecuted by their gaolers.
Jacques died at Madame Isle, some miles distant from Rochefort, on 26th August 1794 at the age of 48 years. He was beatified, together with 63 other priests and religious, as martyrs for the faith, on 1st October 1995 by Pope John Paul II.


Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
September 1
Saint Teresa Margaret Redi was born in Arezzo on 1st September 1747 into the noble family of Redi. In 1764, she entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Florence, changing her baptismal name of Anna Maria to that of Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She grounded her spiritual and religious life in devotion to the Eucharist and to Our Lady, and in her dedication to the Sacred Heart which she described as a "giving of love for love". She led a humble and hidden life in the love of God and the total offering of herself and she gave caring and continuous service to her sisters. She died of peritonitis on 7th March 1770. She was beatified in 1929 and canonised by Pope Pius XI on 13th March 1934.

 St. Albert of Jerusalem
Law-Giver of Carmel
September 17
Saint Albert was born towards the middle of the 12th century in Castel Gualtieri in Emilia, Italy. He entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara, Pavia, and became Prior there in 1180. In 1184, he was named bishop of Bobbio, and the following year he was transferred to Vercelli which he governed for twenty years. During this period, he undertook diplomatic missions of national and international importance with rare prudence and firmness: in 1194, he effected a peace between Pavia and Milan and, five years later, also between Parma and Piacenza. In 1191, he celebrated a diocesan synod which proved of great value for its disciplinary provisions which continued to serve as a model until modern times. He was also involved in a large amount of legislative work for various religious orders: he wrote the statutes for the canons of Biella and was among the advisers who drew up the Rule of the Humiliates.
In 1205, Albert was appointed Patriarch of Jerusalem and a little later nominated Papal Legate for the ecclesiastical province of Jerusalem. He arrived in Palestine early in 1206 and lived in Acre because, at that time, Jerusalem was occupied by the Saracens. In Palestine, Albert was involved in various peace initiatives, not only among Christians but also between the Christians and non-Christians and he carried out his duties with great energy. During his stay in Acre he gathered together the hermits on Mount Carmel and gave them a Rule. On 14th September 1214, during a procession, he was stabbed to death by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom Albert had reprimanded and deposed for his evil life.


                                                                       Feast:  October 1
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face

Saint Thérèse was born at Alençon in France on 2nd January 1873. Her parents were Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin. After the death of her mother on 28th August 1877, Thérèse and her family moved to Lisieux. Towards the end of 1879, she went to confession for the first time. Taught by the Benedictine nuns of Lisieux, she received First Holy Communion on 8th May 1884. Some weeks later, on 14th June of the same year, she received the Sacrament of Confirmation. She wished to embrace the contemplative life, as her sisters Pauline and Marie had done in the Carmel of Lisieux, but was prevented from doing so by her young age. On a visit to Italy, during an audience granted by Pope Leo XIII to the pilgrims from Lisieux on 20th November 1887, she asked the Holy Father with childlike audacity to be able to enter the Carmel at the age of fifteen. On 9th April 1888 she entered the Carmel of Lisieux. She received the habit on 10th January of the following year, and made her religious profession on 8th September 1890. She fulfilled in a very special way all the little aspects of daily life, with humility, a gospel simplicity and great trust in God, and she tried by her example and her words to impart these virtues to her sisters, especially the novices. Discovering that her place was to be at the heart of the Church, she offered her life for the salvation of souls and for the well-being of the Church.
On 3rd April 1896, in the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she suffered a haemoptysis, the first sign of the illness which would lead to her death; she welcomed this event as a mysterious visitation of the Divine Spouse. She was transferred to the infirmary on 8th July. Meanwhile her sufferings and trials intensified. She died, transported by love, on 30th September 1897. Her final words, "My God...., I love you!", seal a life which was extinguished on earth at the age of twenty-four; thus began, as was her desire, a new phase of apostolic presence on behalf of souls in the Communion of Saints, in order to shower a rain of roses upon the world.
She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and proclaimed patron of the missions by the same Pope in 1927. On 19th October 1997, Pope John Paul II declared her Doctor of the Church. Most remarkable is her biographical account, The story of a soul. In her autobiographical manuscripts she left us not only her recollections of childhood and adolescence but also a portrait of her soul, the description of her most intimate experience.

 Feast:  October 15
Saint Teresa of Jesus

Known to her family as Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, she became the reformer of Carmel, mother of the Discalced Carmelite nuns and friars, "spiritual mother" (as is engraved under her statue in the Vatican Basilica), patron of Catholic writers (from 1965) and Doctor of the Church (1970), the first woman with Saint Catherine of Siena to ever receive this last title. She was born at Avila in Castile, Spain, on 28th March 1515 and died in Alba de Tormes, near Salamanca, on 4th October 1582 (a correction due to the Gregorian reform of the calendar that year, as the following day was officially 15th October). She was beatified in 1614, canonised in 1622 and her feast day occurs on 15th October.
Her life needs to be understood in the light of the plan which God had for her, with the great desires experienced in her heart, with the mysterious illness to which she was subject in her youth (and with the ill health from which she suffered throughout her life), and with the "resistance" to divine grace for which she blamed herself more than she should has. Running away from home, she entered the Carmel of the Incarnation in Avila on 2nd November 1535. As a result, partly of the prevailing conditions in the community and partly from her own spiritual difficulties, she had to struggle before arriving at what she called her conversion at the age of 39. But, benefitting from various spiritual directors, she then began to make great strides towards perfection.
In 1560, the idea first emerged of a new Carmel, where the Rule could be followed more closely, and this was realized two years later when the monastery of St. Joseph was founded without any endowments and "following the Primitive Rule": a phrase that needs to be clearly understood because both then and later it was a notion which was more nostalgic and "heroic" than practical. Five years later Teresa obtained from the Prior General of the Order, John Baptist Rossi, then visiting Spain, permission to increase the number of monasteries and a licence to found two communities of contemplative Carmelite friars (later to be called Discalced) who would be the spiritual counterparts of the nuns and, as such, able to help them. At the death of Saint Teresa, there were 17 monasteries of nuns in the Reform, and the communities of friars also quickly outstripped the original number, some founded with permission from the Prior General Rossi but others, especially those in Andalusia, established against his will, relying on the approval of the apostolic visitators, the Dominican Vargas and the young Discalced Carmelite Jerome Gracian (a close spiritual companion of Teresa, for whom she vowed to do whatever he asked her, as long as it was not contrary to God's law).
There followed a series of unedifying quarrels, made worse by the interference of the civil authorities and other outsiders, until in 1581, the Discalced were formed into a separate Province. Saint Teresa was then able to write, "Now all of us, Discalced and Calced, are at peace and nothing can hinder us from serving the Lord".
Saint Teresa is among the most important figures of all time for Catholic spirituality. Her works - especially the four best known (The Life, The Way of Perfection, The Mansions and The Foundations) - together with her more historical works, contain a doctrine which encompasses the whole of the spiritual life, from the first steps right up to intimacy with God at the centre of the Interior Castle. Her Letters show her occupied with a great variety of everyday problems. Her doctrine on the unity of the soul with God (a doctrine which was intimately lived by her) follows the Carmelite tradition which had preceded her and to which she herself contributed in such a notable way, enriching it as well as passing the tradition on, not only to her spiritual sons and daughters, but also to the whole Church which she served so unsparingly. When she was dying, her one joy was to be able to affirm that "I die a daughter of the Church".


Blessed Frances D'Amboise
November 5
Bl. Frances D'Amboise was born in 1427, probably at Thouars, France. At fifteen years of age, she was married to Peter II, Duke of Brittany and crowned with him in the cathedral at Rennes in 1450. She was widowed in 1457 and, not wanting a second marriage, she turned towards religious life. For this purpose, she built a Carmel for sisters at Bondon in 1463 following the advice of Blessed John Soreth, Prior General of the Carmelites. However, she herself only entered the monastery in 1468. In 1477 she transferred to the monastery at Nantes, another of her foundations. The records show that, as prioress, she had a strong personality but coupled with a motherly understanding and considerable psychological awareness. Some of the inspired spiritual direction which she gave to her sisters has been preserved. To her is due the introduction of frequent communion (daily for those who were sick) and the fourth vow of strict enclosure. She died on 4th November 1485 and her last testament was the phrase which she had said most often during her life: "In everything, do that which will make God loved the more!" Her cult was approved in 1863 by Pope Pius IX, as a recognition of the faithfulness of the Bretons to the Catholic Church and to their duchess. She is considered the foundress of the Carmelite nuns of France. She was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1866.

Blessed Angel Prat and Companions
November 6

In 1936 seventeen Spanish members of various Carmelite communities gave their lives in defence of and in witness to their Christian faith and consecration to Jesus Christ.
On 28 July at the railway station in Tarrega, twelve religious belonging to the Tarrega community were arrested. They were moved to Clots dels Aubens di Cervera and were shot at dawn on 29 July while they called on Jesus’ name and that of the Mother of Carmel. These men were: Fr. Ángel Maria Prat Hostench, the prior, Fr. Eliseo Maria Maneus Besalduch, novice master, Fr. Anastasio Maria Dorca Coramina, from the community of Olot (Girona) who had been preaching at Tarrega for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fr. Eduardo Maria Serrano Buj, a professor. There were also philosophy students: Bros. Pedro Maria Ferrer Marin, Andrés Maria Solé Rovina, Juan Maria Puigmitjà Rubió, Miguel Maria. Soler Sala and Pedro–Tomás MariaPrat Colledecarrara and the lay brother Eliseo Maria Fontdecaba Quiroga, as well as the novices, Bros. Elías Maria Garre Egea and José Maria Escoto Ruíz.
During the night of 13 August in Vic, Barcelona, Sr. Mary of St. Joseph Badía Flaquer, an enclosed nun from the monastery of Vic, was arrested. She was killed the same night defending her chastity and witnessing to her consecration to Christ.
Bro. Eufrosino Maria Raga Nadal, a sub deacon and member of the community of Olot, was killed on 3 October.
Bros. Ludovico Maria Ayet Canós and Angel Maria Presta Batlle, Carmelites from the community of Terrassa (Barcelona) were arrested on 21 July and imprisoned in the Modelo jail in Barcelona. On 13 August they were shot in the cemetery in Terrassa.
The prior of the community of Olot, Fr. Fernando Maria Llobera Puigsech, was killed in the ditches of Santa Elena of Montjuic (Barcelona) after a summary trial, and for simply being a religious.
The process for the beatification of this group began in the diocese of Barcelona in September 1959. On 26 June 2006, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, signed the decree for their beatification. On 28 October 2007 the were declared Blesseds among a group of 498 Spanish Martyrs of the 20th Century.

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
November 8

Elizabeth Catez was born on 18th July 1880 in Campo d'Avor near Bourges, France, and she was baptized four days later. In 1887, her family moved to Dijon where her father died the same year. On 19th April 1890, she made her First Communion and the following year, she was confirmed. In 1894, she took a vow of virginity. Feeling called to enter the religious life, she asked permission of her mother to enter Carmel but she received a firm refusal, and her mother only finally gave way on condition that Elizabeth waited until she was older. On 2nd August 1901, she entered the Carmel at Dijon where she was clothed in the habit on 8th December 1901. She made her religious profession on 11th January 1903 and 21st January the same year she was given the monastic veil. The five years that she spent in religious life brought her ever closer to God although the Lord tested her with many spiritual trials and severe physical suffering due to Addison's disease which finally brought about her death on 9th November 1906.

Blessed Maria Teresa Scrilli
November 13
Maria Teresa Scrilli (1825-1889) founded the Congregation at Montevarchi (Arezzo) on October 15, 1854, with the approval of the Bishop of Fiesole, Bishop Francesco Bronzuoli, the superiors of the Order, and with the agreement of the Grand Duke Leopold II. In 1860, with the fall of the Duchy of Tuscany and the unity of Italy, the Congregation was suppressed. The foundress, secure she was doing the will of God, moved to Florence and, in 1875, refounded the community. Since then, the Institute has developed so that its branches now extend beyond Italy. Currently the sisters are present in the United States, Canada, Poland, India, Brazil and the Czech Republic. The Congregation was affiliated to the Carmelite Order on March 31, 1929.
Mother Maria Teresa was profoundly connected to Carmelite spirituality which she knew, since childhood, from her reading of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi. The spirit of contemplation, total abandonment to the will of God, and deep union with the Lord were the characteristics of her spiritual life. Her prayer added the aspect of reparation for offences inflicted on God, of praise, of joy in Him, of profound union, of faith. The "pure love" for God pushes one to the generous offering of oneself to others, "to leave God for God," even to the point of making a fourth vow: "to give oneself over to neighbour by means of both Christian and civil moral instruction."
She was beatified in Fiesole (Florence) on October 8, 2006.

Click here to see more about the life of Bl. Maria Teresa Scrilli

 Saint Raphael Kalinowski
November 19

Raphael of St. Joseph (in lay life: Joseph Kalinowski) was born at Vilna to a Polish family on 1st September 1835 and died at Wadowice on 15th November 1907. Graduating in engineering at the Academy of Military Sciences at St. Petersburgh, he was appointed to the fortress at Brest Litowski and later promoted to be Chief of Staff in the Russian Army. In spite of his desire to leave the military life, he took part in the rising against the Czarist occupying forces in Poland, accepting the position of Minister of War in Vilna. The night of the 24th March 1864, he was arrested and put in prison where he was condemned to death but the sentence was later commuted to ten years forced labour in Siberia. He was freed in 1874 and returned to Poland. Being forbidden to live in any of the main Polish cities, he took up a post as tutor to the young Prince Augusto Czartoryski who spent most of his time in Paris. In 1877, Raphael joined the Carmelites. He was ordained priest in 1882 and began an apostolate centred on the confessional, in the giving of spiritual direction and being full of enthusiasm for ecumenism, he worked strongly for unity in the Church. A great devotee of Our Lady, he revived the Discalced Carmelite Order in Poland. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 17th November 1991.

November 29

Denis was born at Hornfleur in France on 12th December 1600. He served as a cartographer and naval captain for the kings of France and Portugal, but in 1635 he became a Discalced Carmelite in Goa, India. Some years earlier, in 1615, the Portuguese, Thomas Rodriguez de Cunha (born in 1598) had made his own profession as a lay brother in the same house, taking the name in religion of Redemptus of the Cross. The two of them were sent to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and there, on 29th November 1638, they were martyred near the city of Achen, giving the ultimate witness to their faith in Christ. They were beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 10th June 1900.


Blessed Bartholomew Fanti
December 5th 

A native of Mantua, Italy, he was a Carmelite in the Mantuan Congregation and already ordained priest by 1452. For 35 years in the Carmelite church of his city, he was the spiritual director and rector of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whom he wrote a rule and a set of statutes. Humble and gentle, he gave an example to everyone of a life of prayer, of generosity and of faithful service of the Lord. He was outstanding for his love of the Eucharist which was the centre of his apostolic life and for his devotion to Mary. He died in 1495.
 Saint John of the Cross
December 14
OCD:  Solemnity
O.Carm: Feast

Saint John of the Cross was born, probably in 1540, in Fontiveros, near Avila in Spain. His father died when he was very young and he had to move with his mother from one place to another, while he tried as best he could to continue his education and, at the same time, to earn a living. In Medina in 1563 he was clothed in the Carmelite habit and, after a year's novitiate, was given permission to follow the unmitigated Carmelite Rule. He was ordained priest in 1567, after studying philosophy and theology at Salamanca, and, in the same year, he met Saint Teresa of Jesus who, a little while before, had obtained permission from the Prior General Rossi to found two communities of contemplative Carmelite Friars (later called the Discalced) in order that they might help the communities of nuns that she had established. A year later - during which he travelled with Teresa - on the 28th November 1568, John became part of the first group of Reformed Carmelites at Duruelo, changing his name from John of St. Matthias to John of the Cross.
He occupied many different positions within the Reform. From 1572 to 1577 he was general confessor for the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila (not then reformed but where Saint Teresa was Prioress). In carrying out his duties, he became involved in an unpleasant dispute within the monastery, a dispute for which he was considered in some way responsible. As a result, he was seized and spent about eight months imprisoned in the Carmelite house in Toledo, from where he escaped in August 1578. During his time in prison, he composed many of his poems for which, later on, he wrote commentaries in his celebrated spiritual masterpieces.
After Toledo, he was appointed superior in a succession of houses, until, in 1591, the Vicar General, Nicolas Doria, (the Reform having, by this time, gained a certain autonomy) dismissed him from all his positions. In the final years of his life, this was not the only "trial" which came to him who had given everything to the Reform, but he bore all his trials as a saint. He died between the 13th and 14th December 1591 in Ubeda, aged 49 years.
He communicated his spirituality essentially by word of mouth and it was only written down as a result of persistent requests. The central theme of his teaching, which has made him renowned both within and without the Catholic Church, concerned the union through grace of man with God, through Jesus Christ: he described a spiritual journey from the very beginning up to the most sublime level, which consists of the stages of the purgative way, the illuminative way and the unitive way or, in other words, the stages for beginners, for the proficient and for those who are close to perfection. As Saint John says - in order to arrive at the All which is God, it is necessary that man should give all of himself, not like a slave but inspired by love. Saint John's most celebrated aphorisms were: "In the evening of your life you will be judged by your love" and, "Where there is no love, put love and then you will find love". Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII on 27th December 1726, he was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pius XI on 24th August 1926.