Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Discussion of Chapter 20 - 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 20 


         Chapter 20 Contents
   On The Foundation Of The Monastery 
      Of Our Lady Of The Annunciation, 
   At Alba De Tormes, 
      In The Year 1571 
   1. Alba de Tormes. — 
   2. Birth of Teresa de Layz. — 
   3. Blindness of  parents. — 
   4. Miraculous speech of the infant. — 
   5. Piety of Teresa de Layz. — 
   6. She removes to Salamanca. — 
   7. Prays for children. — 
   8. The foundation of a monastery 
        resolved on. — 
   9. Returns to Alba de Tormes. — 
 10. Difficulties suggested. — 
 11. And miraculously removed. — 
 12. Teresa de Layz goes to the Saint. — 
 13. Why some omissions are made.   — 

        



      




      



      Discussion of Chapter 20 
  The account of the Foundation 
         at Alba de Tormes,
       the 8th convent founded by St. Teresa 
         for the Discalced Carmelite Nuns

      The  Foundation at Alba de Tormes
       The Inception of the Plan 
              for the Foundation:
           Teresa de Layz was inspired by a vision
                  to endow a monastery of nuns.
           Delays encountered by Teresa de Layz
                  in  pursing her purpose.
        The Response and Determinations 
               of  St. Teresa 
           Her disinclination to endowments
             Advice of   Fray Domingo Banez 
           Negotiations for the arrangement 
                for the Foundation and its Endowment
      St. Teresa discusses the vision
                of Teresa de Layz
          Imagery and an Intellectual Message

            Not an illusion  or temptation / deception
       St. Teresa gives a lesson to parents
                on the value of daughters

       Her purpose in writing these accounts


 The  Foundation at Alba de Tormes:
  The Foundation of 
  the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation
       was established  in  Alba De Tormes
       on the feast of the Conversion of S. Paul,
        January 25, 1571  
            "The Most Holy Sacrament was reserved 
                  and the foundation made 
              on the feast of the Conversion of S. Paul,
                  in the year 1571, 
              to the honour and glory of  God; 
              and in that house, 
                  I believeHis Majesty is well served."
                                                     [Foundations: Ch. 20: # 12 ]
  
       "Juana of the Holy Ghost,  
                    prioress, 
                and 
        Maria of the Blessed Sacrament, 
                    sub-prioress" 
                                   [Foundations: Ch. 20: Foot note # 8 ]
         Teresa de Layz was the patroness
             "the foundress of the 
          Monastery of  the Annunciation of our Lady 
               of Alba de Tormes"
                                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #2 ]

  The Inception of the Plan for the Foundation:
 Teresa de Layz was inspired 
           to endow a monastery of nuns.
    
    Teresa de Layz prayed for many years for children
       who would, like herself,  "praise His Majesty".
                                                         [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #6 ]
                   "praying to our Lord for children, 
                             and 
                     making special prayers to S. Andrew"
                                                         [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #7 ]
    ▪ The vision and message of St Andrew
               In a dream or vision, 
         
                    "Close to the well
                        she beheld S. Andrew...
                     he said to her, 
                       'These children are different 
                         from those 
                   whom thou desirest.' 
                     She saw distinctly 
                       - it was S. Andrew...  
                               and also 
                       - that it was our Lord's will
                           that she should found a monastery"
                                                         [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #7 ]
                     "and they began to consider 
                         where they should make a foundation. 
                                              [Foundations: Ch20: #8 ]
    ▪ Her vision is realized:
        Her  new  house's grounds 
               were those that appeared in her vision
     Teresa de Layz  was the wife 
             of Francis Velasquez
       who became the stewart of the household 
              of the Duke and Duchess of Alba.

                    "While they were discussing the matter
                         (of the foundation)
                         the duchess of Alba....
                     asked...the husband...to undertake 
                          a charge and office 
                     she gave him in her household".

                    So, "He bought a house (in Alba)
                       and sent for (his wife)...
                    The next morning, 
                       on entering the court, 
                she saw...the well 
                  beside which she had seen S. Andrew
                    everything was precisely 
                       as she had seen it in the vision 
  
                           ...the place itself — 
                          but she did not see the Saint...
  
                    On seeing this she...
                          made up her mind 
                    to found a monastery on the spot
                     ...and they began 
                          to buy other houses near, 
                    till they had acquired ground enough."
                                         [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #9 ]
 Delays encountered by Teresa de Layz
      in  pursing her purpose.
    ▪ She didn't know which Order of nuns
          she should contact and offer the foundation.
            
                   "She was very anxious 
                          to find out 
                    what order it should belong to,
                     her wish being 
                          that the nuns should be few, 
                               and 
                          the enclosure strict. 
    ▪  The advice which she received 
            was adversarial  to her purpose.
          

                    "In discussing the matter 
                        with two religious of different orders,
                            very good and learned men,
                     she was recommended by both 
                         to do some other good work...                          
                     because 
                         - nuns...are discontented people...
                         - that there was no good 
                                   in founding a monastery"
                    "for, as Satan hated the work, 
                          he wished to hinder it"
                                        [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #10 ]
       ▪  She followed their advice.
           But a family  tragedy, returns her 
                  to her original purpose

                   "she resolved not to go on with her work" 
                                         [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #10 ]
                   The couple, then,  decided to endow 
                        her nephew,  
                   But he unexpectedly died soon after.
                   "From that day forth 
                        she was resolved to let nothing hinder 
                   the founding of  the monastery,          

                    ...though they did not know 
                        how to compass their end. 
                    God put into her heart... 
                        that which is now done; 
                                           [ Foundation: Ch. 20: #11 ]
           Her Confessor  
               a Franciscan Friar, 
                               
                   "...was told of these monasteries 
                        of  our Lady of Carmel 
                    which were being then established... 

                   he...told her  that...
                       - she could found her monastery, 
                       - and in the way she wished. 
                   ...and recommended her 
                   to find means of speaking to (St. Teresa)
                   She did so"
                                       [ Foundation: Ch. 20: #12 ]



  The Response and Determinations of St. Teresa  

                     "Two months had not passed 
                           since I took possession....                     
                       of the house in Salamanca

                      when I was urged, 
                          on the part of the steward 
                      of the duke of Alba and his wife,     
                         to found a monastery in that town
        Her disinclination to endowments
                     "I was not very willing to do so, 
                        for 
                          - it would be necessary...
                                 to have an endowment
                             because (Alba) was a small place,
               
                       and 
                        - my inclination was never 
                                to have any (endowments".
                                           [ Foundation: Ch. 20: #1  ]

         Advice of  "The Father Master, 
              Fray Domingo Banez,  my confessor"  

                      He advised:
                        - "that, as the (recent) council (of Trent)
                                   allowed endowments,   
                               it would not be well 
                                    if I refrained 
                               from founding a monastery 
                       - ...an endowment need not hinder
                               the nuns from being poor 
                               and most perfect. 
                                                     [ Foundation: Ch. 20: #1  ]
                  From the Council of Trent:
                        [ Concil. Trident., session. 25, 
                               de Regular,  chap. 3 ] 
            
                           CHAPTER III. 
                                 ....
                           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,-
                            ...
                            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. 
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 9: Foot note #5
                                         which referenced Chapter 9: #3]
                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #3 ]
   
          Negotiations for the arrangement 
              for the Foundation and its Endowment
                     "We had  a great deal of trouble 
                        in making the arrangement 
                     for I have always laboured
                         to have the monasteries 
                     which are endowed 
                      - sufficiently furnished, 
                                so that there shall be no need 
                         for the nuns to apply to their kindred 
                                or to anybody else,
                      - that they shall have in the house 
                        whatever is necessary 
                                 in food and raiment, 
                           and 
                      - that the sick shall be well cared for,  
                         because many inconveniences result 
                            from the want of what is necessary."
                                          [ See Foundations: Ch.20: #12 ]
                      "At last they became reasonable, 
                         (Teresa de Layz and her husband)
                           and assigned a sufficient endowment 
                        for the number of nuns;                         
                       they also did that 
                           which I thought much of 
                             — they left their own house 
                                  and gave it to us, 
                       going  themselves to live in one 
                            that was in a wretched state".
                                        [ See Foundations: Ch.20: #12 ]
                   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
          • St. Teresa preferred  
              that her monasteries be founded in poverty:
  
                       "I have never been without 
                               the courage and 
                               the confidence 
                            necessary for founding monasteries 
                               without revenues, 
                       for I was certain 
                           God would never fail them"
                                [ See Foundations: Ch.20: #12 ]
                       Recalling from Ch. 19: #10
                       "for it is of little consequence 
                            whether the house we have
                                     is good or bad: 
                        on the contrary,
                         it is a great pleasure to us 
                             to find ourselves in a house 
                         out of which we may be driven 
                             at any time, 
                         remembering 
                         that the Lord of the world had none. 
                         It has been often our lot, 
                              as may be seen
                         in the history of  these foundations, 
                              to live in a house that is, or was, 
                                      not our own, 
                         and the truth is 
                         that I have never seen 
                              one of  the nuns 
                         distressed about it".
                         Luke 9:58
                         Jesus said to him: 
                              The foxes have holes, 
                                   and the birds of the air nests;
                               but the Son of man hath not
                            where to lay his head 
                                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 19: #10 ]

         • But many of her foundations did begin 
               with the donation of  property,
                funds, and/or  endowments.
           But  the accounts of those monasteries 
               which began with donations
           showed the importance of  prudent planning:
                         "but I have no heart 
                                for founding monasteries 
                           to be endowed    
                                 and that scantily; 
                          I think it better 
                                 not to found them at all".
                                                 [ Foundations: Ch.20: #12 ]
          From some of the accounts, it was shown that:

           -  if the town  was too poor, too small
                 or  too inconvenient / out of the way
               it would be very dependent on the 
                 sufficiency, continuity, and reliability 
               of the promised endowment.
         
  
                          "it would be necessary,
                               because (Alba) was a small place, 
                           to have an endowment"                 
                                           [ Foundation: Ch. 20: #1  ]
           -  because of the initial patronage 
                 of the foundation,
              it would be assumed by all
                 that the monastery would be 
              continuously subsidized by the patron.

                          If we recall the account 
                             of the Foundation of Pastrano:
                         This plan began with the offer 
                             of the princess of Eboli
                           to found a convent there at Pastrana
                          But the negotiations 
                             continued to be troublesome
                          and the sponsorship was unrelliable:
  
                    "The princess wished the monastery 
                              to be unendowed, 
                          but the Saint would not hear of it, 
                          for she knew  
                          that the place was poor
                                       and 
                          that the people, 
                              supposing that a great personage 
                                   like the princess of Eboli 
                               had taken care 
                                   of the temporal necessities 
                                   of the house she had founded, 
                               would therefore suffer the nuns 
                                   to perish of want. 
                          The generosity of the princess 
                                was not to be relied on".
                             [ Foundations: Ch. 17: Foot note #15 ]

 St. Teresa discusses the vision
       of Teresa de Layz
      Both Imagery and an Intellectual Message
                         "...the vision was 
                             as much intellectual as imaginary"
     Not an illusion  or temptation / deception
           "it could not be fancy or an illusion of Satan". 
                                                  [ Foundations: Ch. 20: #7 ]
         ▪ Not an illusion or self-deception
              because it had true and good results:

             From the vision, 
                   Teresa de Layz understood
              what was God's will for her.
              She no longer yearned
                    to have her own children,
                         "to praise His Majesty"
              Instead by "carrying out our Lord's wish",
                   the convent would bring Him honor. 
  
                        "In the first place
                            it was no fancy, 
                          because of the great results 
                             that flowed from it, 
                          for from that moment  
                            she never again wished for children: 
                         she was so persuaded in her heart
                             that it was the will ot God 
                         that she 
                             neither asked 
                             nor even desired 
                         to have children any more, 
                         on the contrary 
                           she began to think of the means 
                         of carrying out our Lord's wish. 
                         ...
                         Being much amazed at the vision, 
                             she said to her husband 
                         that they might...found a monastery
                             seeing that it was not God's will 
                              (that) they should have children"
        ▪ It was not a temptation or deception
                       "Next it is clear also 
                          that the voice came not from Satan, 
                             because of the effects of  it; 
                         for nothing that comes from him 
                              can do any good, 
                          as the founding of a monastery is, 
                              wherein our Lord is greatly served. 
                                                    [Foundations: Ch. 20: #8 ]
                        And, again
                         it could not be from Satan, 
                         because 
                          - it took place more than six years 
                              before the monastery was founded, 
                                       and 
                          - Satan cannot know what is coming".
                                                    [Foundations: Ch. 20: #8 ]

 St. Teresa gives a lesson to parents
     on the value of daughters:
               "It certainly is a thing 
                    much to be lamented 
                that  mortal men
                    - not knowing what is best for them, 
                        as persons wholly ignorant
                       of the judgments of God, 
                   - discerning 
                       neither what great blessings 
                               may come by daughters 
                       nor what great evils by sons, 

                  should seem so unwilling 
                       to leave it in His hands 
                  to whom everything is known 
                        and
                  by whom all things are made, 

                  but must fret themselves to death 
                      about that in which 
                  they  should rather rejoice."
                 "As people whose faith is asleep, 
                    they will not 
                          seriously consider nor remember 
                    that it is God who thus ordains
                          — that they may leave it all 
                               in His hands;"

                  St. Teresa asks 
                    "how many fathers will suffer greatly
                             because of their sons

                  "and again  
                     how many mothers will go to heaven 
                             by the help of their daughters ! "
                                           [ Foundations: Ch.20:  #3 ]
  Her purpose in writing these accounts

                 Although  St. Teresa was directed  
                     by her Superiors to record 
                  the accounts of the founding 
                     of the Monasteries,
                  she also hopes that these accounts 
                      and the virtues and labors of the Nuns
                  will be a model for those nuns 
                      who will join in the future.
                 
                          "I began  by giving some account 
                               of particular sisters 
                            in these monasteries,
   
                      my purpose was 
                                to encourage those 
                            who came to us 
                                to go onwards 
                            according to such a good beginning"
                                                    [Foundations: Ch20: #13] 


            End of  the Discussion 
                   of Chapter 20 
                         of the 
            Book of the Foundations
                of S. Teresa of Jesus 
  of the Order of our Lady of Carmel
  







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