Feast of All Carmelite Saints
As those of you who have been following our site for some time know, we are partial to Carmelite spirituality here. It is a spirituality, formed in the crucible of spiritual fire, that drew the Carmelite saints to the Lord by way of prayer and love. In today’s Carmelite calendar, the Carmelites celebrate the feast of all the many Carmelite saints: saints like St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila (the two great reformers of Carmel), St. Thérèse of Lisieux (“The Little Flower”), the newly canonized St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), St. Simon Stock (who received the scapular at the hands of Our Lady, a sign of her guidance and protection), all of whom are very famous, and some of whom are counted among the Doctors of the Church.
But, there are many others who are celebrated as well including St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi (often mentioned in our excerpts from the Divine Intimacy meditation classic), Bl. Titus Brandsma (the Dutch priest martyred at Dachau for his strong opposition to the Nazis), St. Peter Thomas (precursor of ecumenism), St. Andrew Corsini (known as the “Apostle of Florence” who was wild and dissolute in his youth but lived a life of great mortification thereafter), St. Mary of Jesus Crucified (who played an important role in the identification of Emmaus due to a private revelation), St. Teresa of St. Augustine and the Martyrs of Compiegne (16 in all, guillotined during the French Revolution), the Prophets Elijah and Elisha, St. Albert of Trapani (whom St. Teresa of Avila had a great devotion to), St. Margaret Redi (whose spirituality was to remain hidden and appear just like everyone else despite her heroic virtue and who has also been quoted in our Divine Intimacy excerpts), St. Angelo Paoli (particularly devoted to the poor and to the Passion of Christ), St. Raphael Kalinowski (St. John Paul II’s boyhood hero), St. John Soreth (who formally established the first convent of Carmelite nuns in 1453), Bl. Maria Teresa of St. Joseph (foundress, in 1891, of the contemplative, apostolic congregation of Pontifical Right known as the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, which has homes for the homeless in many countries around the globe, cares for the aged, and is involved in Christian upbringing of children and youth), Ven. Mary Angeline Teresa (who founded the “Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm” in the U.S.), third order Carmelites, and the list goes on and on! All these saints became, as St. Elizabeth of the Trinity famously put it, a “Praise of Glory”.
These saints were called by God from many different backgrounds and strata of society. And, the examples of their lives, and relationships with the living God, are an inspiration to many, especially to those in the Carmelite communities. What they had in common is that, hidden in Christ, they climbed Mount Carmel, the Mountain of the Lord, and became transformed in Christ … and holy in the process. Besides being set apart for God, they shared a love for the Church and for the Carmelite order, a love for our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Carmel, and a deep understanding and appreciation for the Cross as both the instrument of our salvation and the manifestation of God’s merciful love for us. They sought to emulate this humble love that is patient and forgetful of self, a love which bears all things for the sake of the other, a love watered by self-denial and prayer. Thus, they began, in their lifetimes, to experience heaven on earth, an eternity begun now and in progress!
Please join with us, as we join with the various Carmelite orders throughout the world, in celebrating this great Carmelite feast.