Monday, September 12, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Chapter 25 - 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 25              XXV

        Chapter 25 Contents
  - The Foundation Of 
      The Glorious S. Joseph 
      Of Seville Continued. 
  - What Happened When Getting A House 
      Of Our Own 
  1. Troubles and discouragements. — 
  2. Abandonment of the Saint. — 
  3. Her brother returns from the Indies. — 
  4. Difficulties in finding a good house. — 
  5. A house found. — 
  6. Difficulties of taking possession. — 
  7. The Saint takes possession 
        of the new house. — 
  8. Troubles of Don Lorenzo. — 
  9. The church arranged. — 
10. Preparations for the opening. — 
11. Solemnities of the opening — 
12. A miracle. 
           CHAPTER 25

  1. Troubles and discouragements. 
No one would suppose that
    in a city so rich as Seville, 
    among a people so wealthy, 
I should have had less help 
     in making a foundation
than in any other place 
     wherein I had been.                                 [1] 
They did so little for me 
    that I sometimes thought 
it would not be well for us 
    to have a monastery there. 
I do not know 
whether it be that part of the earth 
  where I have heard people say
       the devils, 
              by the permission of God, 
       have more power to tempt us.             [2] 
They pressed hard upon me, 
   for never in any other place 
was I so weak and cowardly. 
Certainly I did not know myself, 
though I did not lose my ordinary trust 
   in our Lord. 
I was, however, so different 
   from what I usually am 
ever since I began these foundations, 
  that I felt our Lord was in some measure 
        withdrawing His hand, 
   that He might abide in Himself, 
   that I might see that any courage 
        I had before
   was not mine
  2. Abandonment of the Saint.  

I remained there 
   from the time already mentioned 
   till a little before Lent,                             [3] 
I never thought of buying a house, 
   and I had not the means of doing so, 
neither was there any one 
   who would be surety for us. 
As for those 
   who had spoken so much 
        to the father, the apostolic visitor, 
             about entering the order, 
   who had asked him 
             to bring the nuns to Seville,
        they must have seen later 
             that our life was too austere, 
             that they could not bear it. 
One (nun) only came to us, 
    of whom I shall speak later.                          [4]
And now the time was come
    to order me to leave Andalucia, 
for other matters were now pressing here.  [5] 
It was a very great grief to me 
  to leave the nuns 
without a house of their own, 

though I saw 
  that I was of no use whatsoever there, 
     for that grace 
           which God gives me here                 [6] 
            of finding some one 
                  to help us in our work 
      God did not give me there
           ( in Seville )
 3. Her brother returns from the Indies.

It pleased God that a brother of mine,
   Lorenzo de Cepeda                                [7]
 arrived at this time from the Indies 
    where he had been living 
  for more than thirty-four years. 
He took it more to heart than I did 
  that the nuns had no house 
         of their own, 
  and helped us much, 
      especially in finding for us 
    the house wherein they dwell now. 
I, too, was then much more urgent 
   in my prayers to our Lord, 
begging  Him not to let me leave them 
   without a house, 
and I made the sisters pray to Him 
   for the same object, 
and to the glorious S. Joseph; 
we had many processions 
and made many prayers to our Lady. 
Relying on these, and 
seeing  my brother bent on helping us, 
  I began to treat 
      about the purchase of certain houses, 
  though the matter 
       seemed to be arranged, 
  yet all came to nothing. 
 4. Difficulties in finding a good house.  
When I was in prayer one day, 
  beseeching God to give them a house, 
seeing that 
            they were His brides 
            and were so anxious to please Him, 
     He said to me, 
       'I have heard you; let me be.' 
I was very glad, 
    considering the house already gained, 

so it was 
     — His Majesty saved us from buying one 
             with which everybody was pleased 
          because the site was good; 
          and it was so old 
               and in so ruinous a state
          that we were buying 
                merely the site, 
          that for a little less 
                than the house we are in cost us. 
When the matter was settled, 
    and nothing remained 
but the drawing up of the deeds, 
    I was not at all satisfied; 
it seemed to me 
   that the last word I had heard in prayer 
 was not fulfilled in that house, 
for that word, as I understood it, 
    meant that God would give us 
         a good house; 
and it was His pleasure to do so, 
  for the very person 
who had sold the house, 
   notwithstanding his great gain thereby, 
made difficulties about the deeds 
 when the time for signing them had come. 
We were, therefore, 
     free to abandon our bargain 
  without any fault on our part; 
and it was a great grace of our Lord to us, 
  for those 
     who might have had to live in it 
  would never in all their life 
     have finished the repairs it needed; 
it would have been a great trouble to them, 
  and their means were scanty, 
  5. A house found.  

We had much help herein 
    from a servant of God, 
who almost from the day of our arrival, 
  when he knew 
          that we had no one to say Mass
    came every day to say it, 
          though his house was far away, 
          and the heat excessive. 
He was Garci Alvarez,                           [8] 
     a very good man, 
and respected in the city for his good deeds, 
and to which alone 
          he was always devoted, 
  and if he had been wealthy 
      we should never have been in want. 
As he knew the house well,
    he thought it very foolish 
         to give so much for it, 
    told us so every day, 
    and wanted us to speak about it no more. 
He and my brother went to see 
    that wherein the sisters are now living
and returned so pleased with it 
     — and justly so, 
          for our Lord meant it for us  — 
     that in two or three days 
         the deeds were drawn up. 
 6. Difficulties of taking possession.  
We had some trouble in moving into it, 
    - they who were then  living in it,
             would not go out, 
    - the Franciscan friars, 
             who lived close by, 
        came at once to beg of us 
             not to go in on any account. 
If the deeds had not been 
    drawn up and signed 
I might have thanked our Lord 
     to have the contract set aside, 
     for we were in danger 
          of paying 6000 ducats, 
                  the price of the house, 
         without being able to take possession. 
Not so did the prioress look on it;              [9]

she thanked God 
    the bargain could not be broken           [10]
for His Majesty 
     gave her more faith and courage 
     than to me 
   in all that related to that house, 
and she must have greater courage 
   than I have in everything, 
for she is much better than I am. 
We were in this trouble 
   for more than a month; 
then it pleased God 
   that we should remove, 
the prioress and myself 
    with the two other nuns; 
we did so by night, 
    and in great fear, 
that the friars might know nothing about it 
    before we took possession; 
they who went with us said
that they thought (in) every shadow 
      they saw was a friar. 
  7. The Saint takes possession 
        of the new house.  
Early in the morning 
    the good Garci Alvarez
who came with us, 
    said the first mass,                               [11] 
and we had no fear now. 
O Jesus, what fears I have had 
    when taking possession ! 
If when doing no evil, but serving God, 
    such fears are felt, 
what must it be with those persons
   who go about doing evil 
against God and their neighbour ? 
I know not what gain they can have, 
   or what pleasure they can seek,
 with such odds against them. 
  8. Troubles of Don Lorenzo.  
My brother was not here then, 
  for he had taken sanctuary 
on account of a certain mistake 
   made in the deed,                                 [12]
 which was drawn up in a hurry, 
     — a mistake that involved a great loss 
              to the monastery — 
and as my brother was our security 
   they wished to take him to prison. 
As he was a stranger 
  his imprisonment would have distressed us, 
and as it was 
  we were in trouble, 
for until he assigned some of his property 
   as security 
there was trouble enough. 
Later on 
   the matter was arranged satisfactorily,
though, to give us more trouble, 
   we did not escape litigation for a time. 
We shut ourselves up 
    in certain rooms on the ground floor, 
and my brother was there all day 
    among the workmen, 
 and supplied us with food, 
  and indeed had done so 
       for many days before, 
for, as everybody did not know 
     of the monastery, 
because it was a private house, 
    we received but scanty alms 
 except from the Prior 
    of the Carthusians of Las Cuevas, 
a great servant of God. 
He was a native of Avila, 
   and of the Pantoja family.                     [13] 
God inspired him 
    with such great affection for us 
from the time we came here, 
and I believe it will last, 
so that he will help us 
   to the end of his life. 
It is only reasonable, therefore, my sisters,
  if you should read this, 
that you should pray to God 
  for one who has done so much for us, 
  and for others also, 
whether he be living or dead. 
I write this for that end: 
   to this holy man we owe much. 
  9. The church arranged.  
We were thus occupied 
    for more than a month 
      — so I believe, 
           but my memory is so bad
               in reckoning time, 
           and so I might be wrong; 
    more or less must always be understood  
     when I speak of days, 
    and it does not matter much. 
My brother was very busy 
    during this month 
in converting certain rooms into a church, 
   and in furnishing it throughout, 
so that none of the labour fell upon us.    [14] 
10. Preparations for the opening. 
When it was finished 
 I wished to have the Most Holy Sacrament  
         reserved without noise
    — for I very much dislike giving trouble
         when it can be helped — 
 and said so to the father Garci Alvarez. 
He spoke about it to the Father Prior 
    of Las Cuevas, 
and they considered our affairs 
    as if they were their own.  
Their opinion was 
  that it could not be done as I wished, 
for if the monastery was to be known
     in Seville 
the Most Holy must be solemnly reserved, 
     and they went to the archbishop. 
It was settled among them all 
  that the Most Holy Sacrament 
should be brought with great solemnity 
  from one of the parish churches. 
The archbishop ordered the clergy 
   and certain confraternities 
to join the procession, 
   and the streets to be decorated. 
11. Solemnities of the opening 
The good Garci Alvarez adorned 
     - our cloister, 
           which I have said served us then 
                   for a passage, 
     -  the church 
  with the utmost care. 
He prepared handsome altars 
  and arranged many devices. 
Among these was 
     a fountain of orange-flower water, 
which we had 
        neither wished for 
        nor had anything to do with; 

        it was afterwards a great joy to us. 

It was a comfort to us to witness 
   such solemn preparations for our feast, 
   so much decoration of the streets, 
       the music, and the minstrelsy. 
The holy Prior of Las Cuevas told me 
  - that he had never seen anything like it 
        in Seville,  and 
  - that he looked on it all 
        as being visibly the work of God: 
   he was in the procession himself, 
      which was an unusual act on his part.
 The archbishop carried
      the Most Holy Sacrament.                   [15]
You see here, my children, 
   the poor Carmelites honoured of  all,  [16] 
who shortly before seemed 
   as if they could not get a drop of water,  
   though there was plenty in the river. 
The people came in crowds. 
12. A miracle
A strange thing happened, 
  according to the account 
       of those who saw it. 
After many salvoes of  artillery 
    and rockets discharged, 
when the procession was over 
    and night was coming on, 
        the people wished to have more, 
when some powder, 
        I know not how, 
    took fire ; 
        and it was a great marvel to all 
        that he who had it 
               was not killed. 
A huge flame rushed upwards 
   to the top of the cloisters, 
the ceiling of which was covered 
   with silk hangings, 
   which everybody expected to see 
       burnt to ashes ; 
   but it was not damaged 
       in the slightest degree,
   though made of purple and gold. 
But what I am going to say is astonishing: 
the stonework of the cloisters close 
       under the silk 
             was black with smoke
while the silk above 
           remained unsoiled 
       as if the fire had never reached it. 
Everybody was amazed at the sight. 
The nuns gave thanks to our Lord, 
for they could never have paid 
   for the hangings. 
Satan must have been so vexed 
   at the solemnity which had been kept, 
   at the sight of  another house of God, 
that he would have his revenge somehow, 
   and His Majesty would not let him.
May He be blessed for ever and ever ! 


           Foot Notes:

  The nuns lived 
         in the most extreme poverty, 
     sleeping on the floor; 
     and the dishes for their table, 
           - lent by their neighbours 
                   for the first day, 
           - were sent for on the next and
 In a few days a charitable lady, 
      Dona Leonor de Valera
  heard of their distress, 
  gave alms secretly to a good woman, 
       whose devotion it was 
               to succour the needy. 
 But the poor Carmelites 
   were hardly the better 
      for the charity of Dona Leonor, 
   though intended for them alone, 
      because the good woman 
        who was to carry it to them 
      took it into her head 
         that they were not in great want, 
      and divided the alms among others 
             (Reforma, hk. iii. ch. xxxvii. 5). 
    Another Reference to the difficulties
    experienced by the foundation in Seville
    at that time.  
  Ash Wednesday fell on 
      7th March in 1576, 
  the Saint had arrived in Seville 
      on Thursday, 26th May 1575. 
          See ch. xxiv. 9. 
   See ch. xxvi. 3. 
  The Saint had now been ordered 
     by the provincial to 
        leave Seville 
        take up her residence 
             in some other monastery,
     the choice of which was, however, 
         left to her. 
  In Castille. 
  Don Lorenzo de Cepeda
         born In 1519, 
   left Spain for the New World in 1540 
   in company of his brothers 
        Jerome and Peter. 
    After  various adventures he became 
    in 1550 treasurer to the Viceroy at Quito. 
    He married in 1556 
      Dona Juana de Fuentes y Espinosa 
    by whom he had seven children. 
    After her death in 1567 he resolved 
      to return to Europe but was prevented 
     from doing so till 1575. 
     He arrived in August of that year 
       at Sanlucar. 
     He died, 26th June 1580 at Avila, 
     and was buried in the chapel 
         of S. Joseph's Convent. 
 This good priest became 
      chaplain and confessor to the nuns, 
  and in November of this year 
      began to make the Saint uneasy. 
     - interfered with the discipline 
           of the house, 
     - kept his penitents long
          in the confessional, 
     - introduced into the monastery 
          any confessor 
        a nun might wish to consult. 
When the prioress Mary of S. Joseph
    remonstrated with him, 
  he went about the city 
    and consulted others 
        as to whether a prioress could meddle 
    with anything relating to confession. 
S. Teresa applied 
  to Fray Pedro Fernandez, the visitor
    who, being at Seville,
         inquired into the matter, 
          and ordered the prioress 
               to dismiss the indiscreet confessor. 
      (Note of Fray Antonio of S. Joseph 
        to Letter of 26th Nov. 1576. 
   Mother Mary of S. Joseph 
       says that although a servant of God
    he was ignorant, puzzle-headed, 
       devoid of learning and experience.) 
 [ Blog Note: 
  The version, edited by John J. Burke, C.S.P., 
  indicates Fray Antonio of S. Joseph 
  to Letter 113; 
  but is letter # 84 in vol ii. ed. Doblado]
  The custom of exchanging 
       the family name
                for that of a Saint 
       introduced by S. Teresa
    has had one disagreeable result, 
      namely that the same name 
    having been chosen by so many religious, 
    it is sometimes extremely difficult
          to distinguish between them. 
 Among the names most frequently occurring, 
   not only at different periods 
               and in different countries, 
   but among contemporary religious 
       of one country 
   is that of  Mary of S. Joseph. 
   Not less than six nuns, 
      spiritual daughters of S. Teresa bore it, 
   of whom four figure in her correspondence; 
   even Don Manuel de Serrano y Sanz 
      in his monumental work, 
   "Apuntes para una biblioteca de Escritoras 
      espanolas desde el ano 1401 al 1833"
            ( _ vols. Madrid, 1905), 
    is guilty of a confusion 
    between Mary of S. Joseph, 
             the sister of Don Julian Davila, 
        nun of the convent of S. Joseph at Avila, 
   and her namesake, 
        nun of Malagon, the subject of this note
   The daughter of 
       Don Sebastian de Salazar and
         Dona Maria de Torres
    she was born 
                according to the register 
                      of the convent of Malagon 
                               at Molina, 
               but according to her own records 
                               at Toledo, 
          about 1548, 
    and joined at an early age 
       the household of Dona Luisa de la Cerda
    where S. Teresa made her acquaintance 
       during a prolonged stay 
         with Dona Luisa in 1562. 
   So profound was the impression 
      made by the Saint 
    upon that miniature court, 
     but especially upon the youthful 
         Maria de Salazar 
     that the entire household refrained 
         from frivolity and pleasure 
      and became a model of piety 
          and a source of edification. 
     Maria de Salazar met the Saint 
          again in 1568, 
      and soon afterwards asked 
       for the religious habit at Malagon, 
       where she was clothed 
             on 9th May 1570 
       and professed 
             on  l0th June of the following year. 
       The Saint took her to Veas and 
          afterwards to Seville
       where she made her prioress
        and while engaged elsewhere 
       she never failed to direct her by letter 
         and to keep her informed 
            of the course of events. 
        The sixty letters addressed 
          by S. Teresa to Mary of S. Joseph 
             and now preserved at Valladolid 
          are second in importance
          only to those written 
               to Father Jerome Gratian. 
  From time to time a cloud passed 
       over their friendship, 
   S. Teresa reproaching the prioress of Seville
       for her astuteness; 
   but no sooner had it lifted 
       than she again poured out her heart 
    into that of her confidential friend. 
   The latter had her full share in the troubles
      of the Reform:
      in 1579 she was deprived of her office
         and treated with unjustifiable rigour; 
     but after six months 
         her innocence triumphed, 
     and she was reappointed. 
     After S. Teresa's death, 
        Mary of S. Joseph undertook 
           a foundation at Lisbon 
        where she became involved 
          in the troubles of Father Gratian, 
                      and also 
          in the struggle of Ven. Anne of Jesus 
            for the approbation by the Holy See 
          of the Constitutions of the Saint 
            for the nuns. 
     Both these affairs proved a source 
         of keen suffering which lasted 
      until the end of  her life. 
      In 1603, she was transferred
         to the convent of Cuerva near Toledo,   
      the prioress of which 
         was prejudiced against her, 
      and there she died
          in the odour of sanctity, 
      19th October of the same year. 
      She was a ready writer, 
       and has left most important works, 
      on which see Serrano y Sanz, 
            1. c. ii. 333: 
       the "Libra de Recreaciones", 
       or what is preserved of it,
         has been pubished 
       in El Monte Carmelo, 
       ____  1909. Oeuvres, iii. 376.
          . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   Blog Note: refers to books 
          mentioned in this foot note.
         Don Manuel de Serrano y Sanz 
 "Apuntes para una biblioteca de Escritoras 
      espanolas desde el ano 1401 al 183"3 
            (2 vols. Madrid, 1905), 
    "Notes for the Library of Spanish authors 
       from  the year 1401 to 1833"
      . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    "Libro de las Recreaciones" 
      of Mary of S. Joseph (Salazar)
   "Book of Recreations"
  The house belonged to Pedro Pablo
     a minor canon of the Cathedral, 
   and was in the street called La Pageria;  
   until its demolition in 1882
       it was called Casa de Santa Teresa. 
   The house was good, 
      but the neighbourhood evil, 
    and the nuns removed to another in 1586 
        [ Reforma, bk. iii. ch. xlvi. i]. 
  Julian of Avila had returned
      in the beginning of June 1575, 
  as appears from letters of 
            4th June and 
            19th October 1575. 
 [ Blog Note: 
  The version, edited by John J. Burke, C.S.P., 
  indicates  Letter 58; 
  but is letter # 54 in vol iii. ed. Doblado]
 The notary who drew up the deeds,
    made the mistake, 
  as appears from a letter 
     of the Saint to Fray Mariano, 
    9th May 1576. 
   Her brother, Don Lorenzo,  took refuge 
       in the monastery of the Carmelites 
   with Fray Jerome of the Mother of God, 
    and was there on the 29th April 1576, 
       as the Saint writes of it on that day. 
  [ Blog Note: 
  The version, edited by John J. Burke, C.S.P., 
  indicates  Letter 72; 
  but is letter # 47 in vol i  ed. Doblado]
  Don Fernando de Pantoja
     born at Seville, 
    belonged to a noble family of Avila 
      whose palace is still one 
     of the principal buildings of that town. 
   He entered in 1518 
     the charterhouse 
       of Santa Maria de las  Cuevas 
      at Triana near Seville 
     and made his profession 
       in the following year. 
     Prior at Aniago and Cazalla, 
     near Valladolid and Seville respectively, 
     he was elected junior visitor 
        of the province of Catalonia. 
    In 1567 he became Prior of Las Cuevas,   
     and was appointed second
                and in 1571, 
      first visitor of the province of Castille. 
    Together with some other religious 
        of his order 
     he set himself against certain innovations
         in the way of government 
     in which he thought to foresee 
         the germs of  relaxation. 
     He was already over eighty years old 
        when he made the acquaintance 
      of S. Teresa 
         who had the highest admiration 
              for his sanctity, 
          as he also had of hers. 
       She always speaks of him 
            in terms of deep veneration, 
        and presented him with a relic 
            singularly dear to her, 
        a fragment of one of the thorns 
            with which our Lord was crowned. 
       From her, he learnt to have devotion
            to S. Joseph and S. Anne 
       and built chapels in his charterhouse 
            in their honour. 
       He died 8th July 1582, 
        less than three months before S. Teresa
           [ Oeuvres, iv. __ note. ]
  During this time S. Teresa sat 
     for Fray Juan de la Miseria, 
   who had been commanded 
      by Father Jerome Gratian 
    to paint her portrait. 
          See ch. xvii. 5, note. 
  3rd June 1576, 
  on the Sunday 
  within the octave of the Ascension. 
   See Foundations: ch. xxvi. i. 
 At the end of the function 
    the Saint knelt before the archbishop
        and begged his blessing, 
    but to her great confusion 
       the archbishop, 
           in the presence of a great crowd, 
       begged the Saint to bless him.
         [ Reforma, bk. iii. ch. xlviii. 1 ]. 

  3rd June 1576, 
  on the Sunday 
  within the octave of the Ascension. 
   See Foundations: ch. xxvi. i. 

  End of  Chapter 25 
                     of the 
          Book of the Foundations
             of S. Teresa of Jesus 
  of the Order of our Lady of Carmel 

No comments:

Post a Comment