Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Discussion of Chapter 18 - 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 
           Discussion of Chapter 18 


        Chapter 18 Contents
 - Of The Foundation Of The Monastery 
      Of S. Joseph At Salamanca
      In The Year 1570. 
 - Treats Of Some Important Counsels 
          For Prioresses 
   1. The Saint is invited to Salamanca.— 
   2. Hires a house. — 
   3. Leaves Avila for Salamanca. — 
   4. Laboriousncss of the Saint. — 
   5. Increased joy of the nuns. — 
   6. Strictness of the Carmelite rule. — 
   7. Indiscreet zeal of prioresses. — 
   8. Discretion necessary. — 
   9. Spiritual and intellectual gifts. — 
 10. Nuns not to be driven 
           towards perfection. — 
  11. Imperfections to be borne with. — 
  12. The prioresses to be cautious 
           in tasking the obedience of the nuns. — 
  13. Simple obedience of a nun. — 
  14. Another instance. 


   
    















The aboveDrawing is from:

"St Teresa of Jesus of the Order of Our Lady of Mt Carmel
embracing The Life , Relations, Maxims, and Foundations"
Edited by John J. Burke, C.S.P.
from www.books.google.com]  
Page 292  See their Terms of Use on the opening page.

___________________________


          Discussion of Chapter 18 
  Envisioning a Foundation for Salamanca
  The Difficulties faced; 
     The Benefits to be achieved
  The Founding of The Monastery of St. Joseph
         at Salamanca  on November 1, 1570.
  Counsels for Prioresses
___________________________________


  Envisioning a Foundation for Salamanca

 Unike, many of the other foundations, 
   Malagon, Durueo, Valladolid, Toledo, and Pastrana,  
   regarding which we have been reading,
 this convent did not begin with a donation of
    funds or property.

 St. Teresa writes that:
  "a rector  of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit)
       [  Martin Gutierrez - foot note # 4]
          in  Salamanca 
   wrote to me to say that
          - a monastery of our order 
               would be most useful there...
          - giving me reasons for thinking so"
 She doesn't provide these reasons.
   We know, Salamanca was a "university city", 
         much like the prestigious academic centers 
         of Oxford in England, Paris in France  
         and  Bolognia in Italy.
    We know from her description, 
         that Salamanca was very poor.
           "I had been hitherto kept back 
               from founding a house in poverty there, 
             because the place was  very poor.        
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #1]
         "The inhabitants of Salamanca 
                supported themselves chiefly 
             by providing board and lodging 
                for the students".
                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: Footnote  #5]

 The Difficulties faced; The Benefits achieved
 She describes some of the obstaces and opposition,
   which  she had to face at Salamanca:
 But these were diminished 
    by the benefits of the foundation:
  The Difficulties:
       ▪ Poverty  
  
             "But, considering 
               - that Avila is quite as poor, 
                         and 
               - that God 
                    never abandons, 
                    nor ever will...abandon anyone 
                          who serves Him
               I determined to make the foundation..."
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #1]
          
       ▪ Opposition 
              "...what the devil does 
                   to embarrass one of these monasteries. 
               Though God did not suffer him 
                   to molest this at the first, 
                because He would have it founded, 
                yet afterwards
                    the trouble and the opposition 
                we met with 
                    were so great..."
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #2]
       ▪ Sickness
               "being myself,  very unwell. 
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #3]
               "again I had sicknesses and fever; 

                 ...but I saw clearly 
                 that our Lord was giving me strength. 
                ...while occupied in these foundations, 
                     to find myself 
                amidst such pains and sufferings..."
      
                I could have done nothing 
                  but lie down on my bed...       
                complaining to His Majesty...
                asking Him 
                     how it was 
                that He would have me 
                     do what was beyond my power.
                His Majesty would then 
                   give me strength,
                not without suff'ering however, 
                                          [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #4]

       ▪  Difficulty of travel
              "the great hardships 
                      of travelling in cold, heat, and snow. 
              "Once it snowed
                       the wholeday long, 
                at other times we missed our road..."
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #4]
              "I never refrained 
                        from making a foundation
                through fear of trouble, 
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #4]
   Benefits:
       ▪ The Praise and Honor given to God
               "but when I had once started,
                I thought nothing of them (the difficulties)
                 - looking to Him 
                    in whose service 
                 they were undertaken
                                 and 
                 - calling to mind 
                that our Lord would be praised
                                 and 
                    that the Most Holy Sacrament 
                         would dwell in the house 
                    I was going to found..."
              "I know of no trouble, 
                    however great it may be, 
               that should be dreaded 
                    when it is the condition of obtaining; 
               so great a good for Christendom; 

               a great consolation to us... 
               that Jesus Christ, 
                    true God and true man, 
               dwells, as He does, 
                    in so many places 
                    in the Most Holy Sacrament".
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #4]
              "and so I believe 
                that God is greatly pleased with it
                    seeing that Satan cannot endure it."
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #2]

       ▪  The Spiritual Advancement of the Nuns

           "these souls, 
                 so pure, 
                 intent on the praises of God, 

                - their obedience and happiness, which
                       so strict an enclosure 
                                and 
                       solitude 
                   supply them, 
                                and 
                - their cheertulness 
                   when they have any opportunity 
                       of mortifying themselves. 
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #5]

  The Founding of  the Monastery of St. Joseph
       She obtained permission from the Bishop
       with the help of that Father Rector, 
          Martin Gutierrez. 
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #1]
       Little detail is given in this chapter 
          regarding the description of the house
       but the next chapter  continues the account.

       Here, she does say 
          that she hired a house          
               which was occupied by students and
          that she made her arrangements "in secrecy" 
                to avoid opposition,
          "...relying on the mercy of God"
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #2, 3]
         "The house belonged to 
              Gonzao  Yanez de Ovalle"
                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: Foot note #7]
        
        "We arrived on the eve of  All Saints"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #3]
  
        "in the latter end of October.
          Her companion was 
               Mary of the Blessed Sacrament,
               (Mary Suarez), 
                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18:Foot note #8]
        The Monastery of St. Joseph,
           the 7th convent for Discalced Carmelite Nuns
         was founded at Salamanca 
            on November 1, 1570.
                                        [ Foundation: Introduction]
  

   Counsels for Prioresses
   To Lead nuns 
       according to the Rule or Constitution
       rather than by the Prioress's proclivities or Interest
    "The prioresses have to watch...over 
            the interior state and 
            the outward demeanour 
         of their subjects.
                            
    "Discretion is a great thing in government, 
          and exceedingly necessary...   
          it is a very important thing
               to have discretion and 
               to understand dispositions..."
                             
    "Our Lord leads souls onwards 
              by different roads"
    Advise on the Subject of Mortification


   To Lead nuns 
           according to the Rule or Constitution
       rather than by the Prioress's Proclivities or Interests

      "the prioresses...have...been appointed 
            ...to direct their subjects
          according to the rule and constitutions..."
         "I ...would rather they kept the rule
          for 
            - that gives them enough to do, 
                  and 
            - whatever is beside that 
                 should be done with gentleness.  
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
                                 ~~~~~~~~~  
       "they have not been appointed 
             to guide souls by the road                         
         which they like themselves, 

         even it they have to do violence 
            to themselves ( force themselves)
         and prefer another way. 
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
        "As the prioresses have (themseves) 
              different gifts and virtues, 
          so they wish 
               to direct their nuns accordingly. 
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
          Accordingy St. Teresa advises 
              not to assign that 
          which the prioress, hersef, sees
              "as easy to do: 
                     it may be so (easy) for her, 
              and yet perhaps 
                     it may be very hard 
                           ( for her nuns) to obey."
                                           [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
    
           Conversely,
              "we are not to command others to do 
                what seems very hard to ourselves."
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
  
    St. Teresa then describes instances 
           of  assigning activities according 
               to one's proclivity
            and the difficuties that may result:

     ▪  When a Prioress is much given 
          to  Penance  and  Mortification:
           - "for whom penance had a great attraction...                        
               directed all the sisters
                   by that way. 
               At one time the whole community 
                 took the discipline,  
                and...other observances of the same kind"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]

          - given to mortification
                 there is to be no rest anywhere"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
          -  "who is most mortified 
                    will look upon 
                everything she may order 
                    for the purpose 
                of subduing the will 
                     as easy to do: 
                it may be so for her, 
                     and yet perhaps 
                it may be very hard to obey. 
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
     ▪  When a Prioress is much given  to Prayer 

          - "Other prioresses of much spirituality 
                would be glad 
             if all were given to prayer"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]

          - "if the prioress be given to prayer:
                  she occupies the community therein, 
              though it be not 
                  the time for prayer, 
               even after matins, 
                  when it would be much better 
              if all the nuns went to sleep"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]


 ▀ "the prioresses have to watch...over 
            the interior state and 
            the outward demeanour 
         of their subjects.
                                [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]


   "Discretion is a great thing in government, 
          and exceedingly necessary 
              in these houses"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
  
        "and I would have the prioresses, 
               for the love of our Lord, 
          look into it; 
          for in these houses 
          it is a very important thing
               to have discretion and 
               to understand dispositions..."
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]




   "Our Lord leads souls onwards 
              by different roads"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #6]
     "...Let (the Prioress)  labour to guide each soul 
                 by the way His Majesty is guiding it
        "The prioress must not think 
               that she sees into souls at once: 
               let her leave this with God, 
                who alone can see into them"              
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #9]
   
        "Though it is most necessary 
            to enable souls to attain 
                   to liberty and high perfection,
            that is not gained in a moment, 
            and they must therefore 
                help every one onwards 
                       according to 
                the intellectual and spiritual gifts
                       which God has given them.
              "it is a very important thing...              
               to understand dispositions..."
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
                . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
           St. Teresa givs an example 
               of  the importance of  understanding
           and how a nun, 
               although good,
               but lacking in understanding, 
           may not at first grasp 
               the "spirit of the rule"
               or the knowledge of perfection"
           Yet later, after through their own  effort and 
               the example of the prioress and other nuns,
           they may "be  the most saintly".

                        "for there are some who
                                 must labour much 
                         before they can  arrive 
                                 at the knowledge of perfection 
                                         and
                                 of the spirit of  our rule"
                        "they may not know 
                          when it is safe 
                                to excuse themselves, 
                                nor when it is not, 
                             and they may be ignorant 
                                of other minute observances" 
                       Yet  "afterwards, perhaps,   
                        these very persons 
                               will be the most saintly"
  
                        "when they...understood them, 
                                they will keep perhaps with ease"              
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #8]
           She offers a specific example of
                  "a sister who, great in spirituality, 
                     ... but...does not understand 
                   certain things in the constitutions:
                        the mentioning of the faults 
                              of others in chapter 
                        she considers 
                              to be a want of charity"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #9]
                             ( The weekly"Chapter"  
                                   provides, in charity, 
                                correction and guidance
                                   for the nuns 
                                according to each's needs, 
                                   as well as, 
                               assistance in the cultivation of 
                                    insight and self-knowledge.
                                  [ See aso Blog Appendix #2 ] )
                   "and yet in other ways 
                        I see that she far surpasses those 
                     who understand the constitutions well". 
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #9]
              
                   "She, who, 
                        among the eleven thousand virgins, 
                     went and hid herself, 
                        was not the less a saint and martyr: 
                     on the contrary, perhaps 
                        she suffered more than the others 
                     in coming afterwards 
                         alone to offer herself for martyrdom.    
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #9]
                     Here, St. Teresa  makes reference
                             to a saintly woman,  Cordula,
                      who was  
                       - overcome by "certain feelings at times 
                              over which she has no control" 
                                       and 
                       - "not able to endure"
                           but did benefit from other's example.
                                          [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #11]
                                          [ See also Blog Appendix #3 ]



 Regarding the  subject of mortification,
    St. Teresa advises: 

     That penances and prayers
          are a source of  cultivating  humility and love.
        But if  required 
             on a persistent  ( too frequent)  basis 
                         or 
             too rigorously,
         there is the possibility that:
            • "they will do 
                 - great harm 
                 - instead of good, 
                      and 
                 - make the sisters uneasy".
            •  They can be "a strong temptation" 
                because the nuns have different strengths,
                    temperaments, and understanding.
                Even the same nun can be 
                     of  different mind and strength
                     at different times
            
                       "All this, certainly, is to me 
                         - a source of shame and devotion, and 
                        at times 
                         - a strong temptation, 
                        for the sisters,  all absorbed in God, 
                            do not perceive it"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
           • They may be a detriment to  health 
                        "but I 
                            - fear for their health
                                   and 
                            - would rather they kept the rule
                          for 
                            - that gives them enough to do, 
                                   and 
                            - whatever is beside that 
                                  should be done with gentleness."  
                                          [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
                    St. Teresa expressed her concern
                     regarding the health of the nuns: 
                    "prayer...even after matins, 
                     when it would be much better 
                           if all the nuns went to sleep"
                                            [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #7]
                    [Blog note:
                     She seems to be referring to prayer
                      that is extended beyond 11pm 
                     when the nuns would normally
                      "withdraw for the night's rest". 
                    Matins is part of the Divine Office,
                       the Liturgy of the Hours,
                    which was said  after 9pm 
                       but extended until 11pm 
                     with examination of conscience,
                      and meditations which anticipate
                       the next day' and its prayers
                                     See Blog Appendix #1  ]

          •  "that mortification of this kind 
                     is not of obligation.
                  that is the first thing 
                     they have to look to."
                                          [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #8]


              
  The prioress should be observant of 
         the state of the nun 
         the nun's reaction to any assignment or bidding
     • If  the result is disturbance or  anxiety  then
        
         ◦ "proceed by degrees 
             till our Lord shall have done this work in her"
                   "A prioress, 
                        to mortify a sister, 
                    bids her do something... 
     
                   (If) When it is done
                    the sister is 
                           so disturbed and tempted
                    that it would have been better 
                            if such a command 
                            had not been given her, 

                    (then) the prioress should consider
                     that she cannot make her perfect 
                            by a strong arm, 
                     but should rather dissemble, 
                            and proceed by degrees 
                 till our Lord shall have done 
                       this work in her"

                    "...lest what is done for the purpose 
                            of bringing her on
                             — for without this particular form 
                                     of perfection 
                                  she might be a very good nun — 
                           should be 
                               an occasion of disquiet to her, and 
                               an affliction of spirit, 
                          which is a most dreadful thing".

         ◦ "If  that nun sees the others 
                   doing these things 
              she, too, by degrees 
                   will do them"
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #10]
         ◦ "she may be saved without this virtue".    
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #10]
                  "Some, then, there are 
                      who will undergo great mortifications...        
                    because our Lord 
                       has endowed their souls with strength 
                    to give up their own will; 
                    others will not be able 
                       to endure even slight ones...           
                    but breaks down under the burden…"
                                          [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #11]
  
 "The prioresses to be cautious 
          in tasking the obedience of the nuns."
                                                       

          • "Never command anything, 
                 even for the trial of a sister's obedience, 
              which may be... even a venial sin".
          •  She also advised  against directives
                 that could involve risks  to health or safety

             "There are ways enough 
                 to practise perfect obedience, 
              and every way
                 that is free from these dangers
              I commend".
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #12]
              "...The prioresses should 
                 - be very cautious in dealing with souls 
                      whom they already know 
                      to be obedient, 
                         and 
                 - consider what they are doing. 
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 18: #13]



               __________________________


Blog Appendix for Chapter 18

[ Blog Appendix #1 ]
From this Book of the Foundations: Page 430
" THE CONSTITUTIONS 
Constitutions For The Sisters 
  Of The Order Of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel 
  Of The Primitive Rule Unrelaxed, 
  Given By The Most Reverend 
        Father Fray Juan Bautista Rubeo, 
   General Of The Said Order, In The Year 1568.
   The Order To Be Observed In Spirituals 
1. Let matins be said after nine o'clock, 
         and not before,  nor so long after 
     as not to leave  when they shall have been said 
         a quarter of an hour 
     for the examen of conscience
         touching the spending of the day.
      ...shall read... the mystery 
       on which the meditation  is 
          to be made the next day. 
      The time to be spent herein shall be such 
          that precisely at eleven o'clock 
        a bell shall be rung, and 
       the nuns shall withdraw for the night's rest.  
...
2. In summer they are to rise at five, 
     and continue in prayer till six;
    in winter at six, and continue in prayer till seven."
        [ Foundations: The Constitutions: page 430 ]


Blog Appendix #2
From this Book of the Foundations: 
    Beginning on Page 430
 THE CONSTITUTIONS 
  Constitutions For The Sisters 
  Of The Order Of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel 
  Of The Primitive Rule Unrelaxed, 
  Given By The Most Reverend 
        Father Fray Juan Bautista Rubeo, 
   General Of The Said Order, In The Year 1568.
   OF FAULTS 
46. The chapter of faults is to be held, 
       according to the Rule, once in each week; 
       the faults of the sisters are to be corrected 
         with charity. 
        ...
47.  ... to tell their own or a sister's faults simply, 
        or in answer to a question from the president. 
        ...
48. ... Let the mother prioress or the president, 
        with the zeal of charity and the love of justice, 
        and without any dissembling, 
          correct the faults lawfully, 
                              [ Foundations: The Constitutions: 
                                             Beginning on page 430 ]


[ Blog Appendix #3 ]
 Regarding:
    -  "She who, 
                among the eleven thousand virgins, 
          went and hid herself, 
          was not the less a saint and martyr…"
          [Foundations: Ch. 18: # 9 ]
    -  Foundation: Ch18: Foot note #10

    
  Quaedam autem virgo, 
   nomine Cordula, 
  timore perterrita, 
  in navi nocte illa se abscondit, 
  sed in crastinum sponte morti se offerens,
  martyrii coronam suscepit. 
  Sed cum eius festum non fieret, 
  eo quod cum aliis passa non esset,
  ipsa post longum tempus 
      cuidam reclusae apparuit, 
  precipiens ut sequenti die a festo virginum 
  eius quotannis solemnitas recoleretur 
  [ Jacobi a Voragine, 
     in fest undecim mille Virginum ]
               [ Foundation: Ch18: Foot note #10] 
 Bloggers'   Rough transation and Note
 A certain virgin, 
   Cordula by name
 terrified in fear
 hid herself in the ship  that night
 but on the morrow,  according to the will of God,
   presented/offered  herself  to  death, 
 she received / took up the martyr's crown.
 But  with her feast 
   not established,  not observed  
        along  with that of the others, 
  she, after a long time,  appeared to certain hermit;
  She instructed that on the day 
       following the feast of the virgins, every year,
  (her own) solemnity  should 
       be  honored / commemorated. **
    [ Jacobus de Voragine
       On the feast of the eleven thousand virgins] 

                        . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 From: 
  "The Golden Legend: Reading on the Saints"
      
   The "Book of the Foundations" editor 
       has included references
    to the "Golden Legend's chapter 
       on St. Ursula and her Companions,
    in which Cordula, a virtuous woman,
       hid in terror 
    from the dangers her companions faced
    but the next day, 
       she practiced detachment and  surrendered herself
    to Providence and the will of God.
    "She who, 
                among the eleven thousand virgins, 
          went and hid herself, 
     was not the less a saint and martyr: 
     on the contrary, perhaps 
         she suffered more than the others 
         in coming afterwards 
     alone to offer herself for martyrdom."
         [Foundations: Ch. 18: # 9 ]
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  Although  this reference to  Cordula's suffering
     seems an extravagant comparison 
       to the example of a  nun's situation,
      there are some  similarities:
   - Like Cordula, the nun, had  different
         strengths and weaknesses apart from their group.
      While the St. Ursula and her Companions
          courageously endured great suffering
      "because our Lord 
           has endowed their souls with strength 
       to give up their own will"
       Conversely, 
            Cordula was not able 
                 and 
            "others will not be able 
                 to endure even slight ones, 
             who,  not only cannot carry them, 
                 but breaks down under the burden"
                                   [Foundations: Ch. 18: # 11 ]
    - Like Cordula, who was able to join her 
          companions on the next day
      and so  "was not the less a saint and martyr"
      "If  that nun sees the others doing these things 
            she, too, by degrees will do them"
                                   [Foundations: Ch. 18: # 10 ]

               . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 From: 
  "The Golden Legend: Reading on the Saints"
       (Legenda Aurea -  The Golden Legend)
    by Jacobus de Voragine
           1229-1298
  Blessed Jacobus was a Dominican Father 
      and Archbishop of Genoa.
  He excelled as a teacher, administator, peacemaker, 
     and helper of  the poor
  He was beatified by Pope Pius VII in 1816.
 ** This is referring to former feastdays:  
         October 21  as the feastday 
            of St. Ursula and her Virgins and  Companions
        October 22, is the feastday 
            of St. Cordula,  Virgin and  Martyr
      The traditional (Tridentine) calendar still includes
         St Ursula's feast day of October 21.




             End of  the Discussion 
                   of Chapter 18 
                         of the 
            Book of the Foundations
                of S. Teresa of Jesus 
    of the Order of our Lady of Carmel   




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