Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Chapter 9 - St. Teresa of Avila - Teresa of Jesus

    The Book of the Foundations
           of S. Teresa of Jesus 
     of the Order of our Lady of Carmel  
          CHAPTER   9 

       Chapter    9   Contents 
 She Leaves Medina Del Campo 
     For The Foundation 
  Of  S. Joseph Of Malagon 

 1. Religious observance of Medina —

 2. Dona Luisa de la Cerda. — 

 3. The Saint accepts the house 
           offered by Dona Luisa. — 

 4. Observance of poverty. — 

 5. Foundation, April 11, 1568.         


Monastery of  Malagon 

1. Religious observance of Medina 
1. How I have wandered from my purpose ! 
and yet some of the advice 
  I have given 
may be more to the  purpose 
  than the account of the foundations
During  my stay in the house 
  of S. Joseph in Medina del Campo,             [1] 
it was a great joy to me 
  to see 
    - how the sisters were walking            [2]
          in the way of those 
              of S. Joseph's of Avila, 
          in all religious observances, 
              sisterly love, and spirituality; 
   - how our Lord was providing in the house
        what was necessary 
              for the church 
              as well as for the sisters. 
Nuns came in whom our Lord seems 
    to have chosen Himself, 
such as became the foundation 
     of such a building: 
I think that all the good that is to come 
  lies in these beginnings, 
   for those who come in afterwards 
      walk in the way 
   which they find prepared for them. 
2. Dona Luisa de la Cerda. — 

2. There lived in Toledo a lady, 
   sister of the duke of  Medina Celi, 
     and in whose house I had been staying 
    by the commandment of my superiors, 
        as I have largely set forth 
             in the account 
        of the foundation of S. Joseph's.       [3] 
She conceived a special affection for me, 
  and that must have been in some way 
a means to move her to do 
  what she did, 
   for His Majesty  very often 
      makes use of means 
   which to us 
      who know not what is coming 
    seem to be of  little worth. 
When this lady heard 
   that I had authority to found monasteries,
she began to press me very much 
   to found one in the town of Malagon,          
which belonged to her. 
I would not hear of it at all, 
  because it was so small a place, 
  because I should be forced to accept
      an endowment for our maintenance, 
  and I had a very great dislike to do that. 
3. The Saint accepts the house 
           offered by Dona Luisa. — 
3. I laid the matter 
   before learned men and my confessor;    [4]
   they told me 
    - I was in the wrong, 
            for the holy council authorised           [5]
          the possession of revenues; 
    - that I ought not, 
                   because of any opinion 
                   I held on the subject, 
            to give up the foundation of a house 
      wherein our Lord might be so well served.
 Added to this 
     were the urgent requests of that lady, 
  and I could therefore 
     do no less than accept the foundation. 
She gave us a sufficient endowment, 
   for I always wished the monasteries 
to be 
        either altogether poor 
        or to possess enough so 
            that the nuns should never be forced 
                to beg of anybody 
            for that which might be necessary 
                for them. 
4. Observance of poverty. — 
4. I insisted with all my might that
      - no nun should possess 
            anything of her own, and 
      - on the perfect observance 
            of the constitutions 
         as in other houses founded in poverty. 
When all the deeds were drawn up, I  
   - sent for certain sisters                                [6] 
          for the foundation, and 
   - went with the lady to Malagon, 
but the house was not yet prepared 
         for us, and 
  so we were lodged for more than a week 
        in one of the rooms of the castle. 
5. Foundation, April 11, 1568.  
5. On Palm Sunday, [11th April] 1568,       [7]
the parishioners came in procession 
   to receive us, 
and we, in our white mantles, 
   with our veils over our faces, 
went with them to the church, 
   where a sermon was preached, 
and from which the Most Holy Sacrament 
   was carried into our monastery. 
It was a cause of much devotion in all, 
I remained there some days. 
One day in prayer, after Communion, 
  I heard our Lord say 
that He would be greatly honoured 
   in that house. 
I think I was there not quite two months,
  for I was pressed in spirit 
to found the house in Valladolid; 
and the reason was 
   what I am going now to tell. 

                            Foot Notes:
  From the Assumption to the end of October 
 See Foundationa: Ch. III #17  
 Dona Luisa de la Cerda, 
   sister of Don Juan de la Cerda, 
   duke of  Medina Celi 
   and widow since 18 January 1561,
   of Don Arias Pardo de Saavedra, 
       Lord of Malagon. 
  She lost six of her seven children 
    in their infancy. 
  See Life, ch. xxxiv. i 
  and passim. (frequently in her writings)
  [ Fray Dominic Banez ]
 Concedit sancta synodus omnibus 
monasterlis et domibus, tam 
virorum quam mulierum et mendicantium 
exceptis domibus fratrum 
Sancti Francisci Cappucinorum et coram 
qui Minorum de observantia 
vocantur — etiam quibus aut 
ex constitutionibus suis erat prohibitum, 
aut ex privilegio Apostolico non erat concessum, 
ut deinceps bona 
immobilia eis possidere liceat 
[ Concil. Trident., session. 25, 
   de Regular,  chap. 3)
  Blog Note:
The holy Synod permits that 
henceforth real property may be 
possessed by all monasteries and houses, 
both of men and women, and 
of mendicants, even by those 
who were forbidden by their constitutions 
to possess it, or who had not received permission 
to that effect by apostolic privilege,-
 with the exception, however, 
of the houses of the brethren of St. Francis 
(called) Capuchins, and those 
called Minor Observants: 
 and if any of the aforesaid places, 
    to which it has been granted 
by apostolic authority to possess such property, 
   have been stripped thereof, 
It ordains that the same shall be 
wholly restored unto them. 
But, in the aforesaid monasteries 
amid houses, as well of men as of women, 
whether they possess, or do not possess, 
real property, such a number of inmates 
only shall be fixed upon and be 
for the future retained, 
as can be conveniently supported, 
either out of the proper revenues 
of those monasteries, or 
out of the customary alms; 
nor shall any such places 
be henceforth erected, 
without the permission of the bishop, 
in whose diocese they are to be erected, 
  being first obtained. 
The saint obtained permission 
   for this foundation 
from the provincial, Fray Alonso Gonzalez, 
dated Moraleja, 24th March 1568. 
The contract with Dona Luisa de la Cerda,
    bearing date 30th March 1568, 
  is preserved in the archives of the convent. 
The foundation took place 
  in a large house adjoining the plaza mayor, 
but its situation was not conducive to recollection. 
Consequently another site was chosen, 
towards the south of the town, 
but at some distance  from the more 
   frequented thoroughfares. 
The foundress left S. Teresa a free hand 
   to choose as much ground 
as she thought necessary, 
  and to trace the lines 
on which the building was to be carried out. 
For this reason Malagon must be considered 
the model of what
  in the ideas of S. Teresa, 
  a Carmelite convent should be
for at no other foundation did she enjoy 
a similar opportunity. 
She settled the number of olive trees and 
the size of the cornfields required 
for the maintenance of the nuns. 
The foundress agreed to build the chapel 
and convent for the sum of  8,500 ducats. 
The builder, Nicolas de Vergara, 
undertook to make the foundation walls 
four feet thick, those of the convent three, 
the ground floor thirteen feet high, 
the upper storey ten, 
with walls of proportionate thickness; 
the belfry to carry two bells. 
In the cloister there were to be 
   ten columns of granite of the Ionic order. 
S. Teresa arrived at Malagon 
    on 25th November 1579 
only to find the building very backward. 
She spent her days sitting on a stone 
   facing the future convent 
watching and animating the workmen. 
    (the spot is now marked by a small chapel
      where a lamp is kept burning 
       before the image of the Saint, and 
       mass is said here from time to time), 
Consequently the convent was completed 
in time for the inauguration to take place 
  on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, 
8th December 1579. 
S. Teresa remained there till the middle 
  of February 1580. 
This was her eighth and last visit to Malagon. 
No other convent has remained 
   so entirely unaltered since her time. 
 The Saint left Alcala for Toledo 
  before Lent, 1568, with the two nuns, 
    Anne of the Angels and 
    Antonia of the Holy Ghost, 
and sent to Avila 
for Mary of the Blessed Sacrament, 
Mary Magdalen, 
Isabel of  Jesus and Isabel of S. Joseph. 
She left Toledo in Lent, and reached 
Malagon before Passion Sunday 
with her nuns, 
and Dona Luisa came with them 
[ Ribera, bk. li. ch. xi]. 
While looking for a site for her 
monastery with the parish priest 
and the mayor, 
she said when they came to a convenient spot,
 "This must be left for the barefooted friars 
of S. Francis."
Some years afterwards those friars came 
to Malagon, and built their monastery there 
[Reforma de los Descalcos, bk. ii. ch. xi. 3). 
The Saint came to Malagon 
   in the very beginning of April, and, 
according to her letter 
   to Dona Luisa de la Cerda 
went away on 19th May 
   (Letter of 18th May 1568). 
The first prioress of Malagon 
   was Mother Anne of the Angels, 
whom the Saint had taken years before 
from the monastery of the Incarnation, Avila 

(Reforma de los Descalcos, bk. ii. ch xi. 8).       

                End of  Chapter 9 
                        of the 
          Book of the Foundations
              of S. Teresa of Jesus 

  of the Order of our Lady of Carmel       

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