Friday, September 16, 2011

The Book of the Foundations - Chapter 26 - 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 26       XXVI 


       Chapter 26     Contents
  - Continuation Of The Same Foundation 
        Of S. Joseph In The City Of Seville. 
  - Relates Some Very Noteworthy Doings 
  - Concerning The First Nun 
        Who Entered There 
   1. The Saint quits Seville. — 
   2. Her stay there full of trials. — 
   3. The first novice in Seville 
        falsely accused when a child. — 
   4. And cruelly treated. — 
   5. Her innocence manifested. — 
   6. Beginning of her vocation. — 
   7. She refuses to marry. — 
   8. And is most cruelly treated. — 
   9. Her goodness discovered. — 
 10. A vision. — 
 11. Sees  Carmelites for the first time. — 
 12. Confesses to Father Gratian. — 
 13. And escapes into the monastery. — 
 14.. Her joy and bodily health. — 
 15. Assailed by temptations. — 
 16. And delivered. 
 
          CHAPTER 26
    1. The Saint quits Seville.  
1
You can well imagine, my daughters, 
   the joy we  had that day. 
Mine, I may say, was very great, 
  especially when I saw
that I was leaving the sisters  
       - in so good a house, 
       - so well placed, 
       - the monastery known, and 
       - with nuns in it who could pay 
          the greater part of the sum it cost, 
      so that by the help of those 
        who should come to fill up the number,
      however small their dowry, 
        they might live without being in debt. 
What gave me the greatest joy of all was,
that I had had a share 
      in their troubles, 
     and when I had to rest myself 
        I went away. 
This festival took place 
    on the Sunday before Pentecost, 1576
Immediately after, on the Monday
   I left the place
      to escape the great heat then beginning, 
            and 
      to avoid travelling, 
            if possible, in Whitsuntide, and 
       to keep the feast in Malagon, 
            where I wished much to stop a day; 
that is why I made such haste to be gone.   [1] 
 2. Her stay there full of trials. 

2
It was not our Lord's pleasure 
    that I should hear Mass 
  even once in the church; 
the joy of the nuns was seriously disturbed
    by my departure, 
which they felt much. 
We had been together for a year
    and had suffered so much, 
as I have already said; 
but I do not recount here 
    our greatest troubles. 
I believe myself
 that, with the exception 
                of the foundation in Avila, 
       with which none other 
                is to be compared,
   I never had so much to endure 
        anywhere as here, 
   because my trials were 
        for the most part interior
May His Divine Majesty grant 
   that He may be always served in this house ! 
as I trust He will be, 
   for if it be so 
   everything else is as nothing. 
His Majesty has begun 
   to draw good souls into the house
As to those in it 
   whom I took with me,  five in number
   I have already said how good they were:
   that is only a part 
          of what might be said of them, 
          and that the least. 
  3. The first novice in Seville 
        falsely accused when a child.   
3
I will speak of the first who entered
   because her story will give you pleasure. 
She was the daughter 
    of most pious Christians, 
 her father a highlander.                          [2] 
When she was still a child, 
    about seven years of age, 
an aunt of  hers begged her mother
    to let her have her, 
as she had no children of her own. 
She took her home, and
   must have caressed her and 
   shown her love for her, 
        as was natural, 
   for certain women in her service, 
   who, before the child came, 
        had hopes of inheriting 
              some portion of her property, 
   seeing clearly from the love shown her 
         that the aunt would leave her 
               the greater part, 
   agreed together to have her removed 
         out of the way by a diabolic act, 
         which was, to accuse the child 
            of an intent to murder the aunt, 
                      and 
            of having given some money 
                      to one of them 
            for the purchase of corrosive sublimate.
This was told to the aunt, 
    and as all the three said the same thing 
she believed them; 
the mother of the child, 
   who is a most excellent woman, 
did so also. 
   4. And cruelly treated.  
4
The mother took the child 
   and carried her home, 
thinking that in her she was nurturing 
 a very wicked woman. 
Beatriz of the Mother of God 
      — for that is her name — 
    told me that for more than a year 
        her mother continued 
               to whip and torture her,  
        and to make her sleep on the bare floor,
   because she wanted her 
        to confess so great a wickedness. 
When the poor child said 
     - she had done no evil, 
               and 
     - that she did not know 
               what corrosive sublimate was, 
   her mother thought the worse of her, 
      as one possessed of a spirit 
                to hide her sin. 
The poor mother was distressed 
   when she saw her thus hardened 
       in her denial, 
   thinking she could never be reformed. 
It is strange the child did not accuse herself 
   to escape such chastisements, 
but as she was innocent 
   God gave her Strength always
         to speak the truth. 
   5. Her innocence manifested.  
5
But, as His Majesty helps those 
  who do no wrong, 
He chastised two of those women 
    so severely 
that they seemed to be mad; 
they sent for the child secretly
    to come to her aunt, 
and begged her to forgive them, 
and unsaid everything 
   now they were at death's door. 
The third woman did as much 
    — she died in childbirth. 
In a word, all the three died in great pain: 
it was a chastisement for that 
  which they had made the innocent child
 to suffer. 
I know all this, not from herself only, 
  for afterwards her mother, 
        when she saw her a nun, 
distressed at the evil treatment 
   she had received at her hands, 
recounted it to me with other matters; 
she had been most cruelly treated. 
God permitted the mother, 
   who had no other child, and 
   who was a very good Christian,
         to be thus cruel to her own daughter,
         whom she loved exceedingly. 
   She is a most truthful and pious person. 
   6. Beginning of her vocation. — 

6
When the child was a little more
   than twelve years of age 
she read in some book the life of S. Anne,  [3] 
and conceived a great devotion 
    to the saints  of Mount Carmel,
   it being said there 
     that the mother of S. Anne 
        — I think her name was Emerenciana —
                      (Merenciana )
     used to converse often with them. 
   Hence her devotion 
         to the order of  our Lady 
   became so strong 
         that she 
           - made a vow of chastity, and
           - promised to become a Carmelite nun. 
Whenever she could 
   she spent many hours alone and in prayer. 
God and our Lady gave her 
   great and very special graces. 
She wanted to become a nun at once, 
but durst not 
   on account of her father and mother; 
  besides, she did not know 
      where  to find the order,                    
  which was strange, 
  for, though there was a monastery 
       of the mitigation in Seville,             [4]
   she never knew of it 
       till she heard of our monasteries
    many years afterwards. 
  7. She refuses to marry.  
7. 
When she was old enough to be married
  her  father and mother considered 
on whom they should bestow her, 
   she being still very young. 
They had now, however, no other child, 
    for her brothers were all dead, 
    and she, the least cherished, 
        alone remained. 
She had one brother living 
   when that affair happened  
of which I have been speaking, 
and he had defended her, 
saying that the story was not to be believed. 
When the marriage was already settled
   they spoke to her about it,
 thinking that she would make no objection; 
but she told them 
   that she had made a vow never to marry,  
        and 
   that she never would be married 
        even if they were to kill her. 
   8. And is most cruelly treated.   

8
Her father and mother took it 
     into their heads
  that she had misbehaved herself 
     in some way, 
  and therefore would not marry: 
it was a delusion of Satan, 
  or a self-deception 
which God permitted 
   to make a martyr of  her. 
So they 
      having promised her in marriage, 
             and 
       seeing what an affront it was 
             to the bridegroom, 
  beat her so much and treated her so cruelly  
       —  even wishing to strangle her, 
             for they used to throttle her — 
       that it was fortunate they did not kill her. 
God, who had chosen her 
      for other things, 
gave her life. 
She told me 
   - that at last she scarcely felt 
         the ill-treatment at all, 
      for she used to think 
        of the sufferings of S. Agnes, 
      which our Lord  brought 
         to her recollection, 
              and 
     - that she rejoiced to suffer 
            something for His sake, 
        and did nothing else 
            but offer up her wrongs to Him. 
They thought she would die, 
for she was three months in bed 
     unable to move. 
  9. Her goodness discovered.  

9
It seems very strange
that a young girl 
      who never left her mother's side, 
          and 
      whose father, as I have heard, 
          was so prudent, 
  could be thought so ill of, 
       for she was always 
           pious and modest, 
           and so charitable 
       that whatever she could get 
           she gave away in alms. 
When our Lord wishes to give any one 
  the grace to suffer 
He has many ways of doing so. 
Some years after this, however,
  He made them see 
the goodness of their child; 
they would then give her 
   what she wanted for her alms-deeds, 
and the persecutions were changed 
    into caresses. 
Nevertheless, everything was a trial to her 
 because of her wish to be a nun, 
and so she lived on, as she told me, 
  in great distress and sadness of heart. 
10. A vision.   

10
Some thirteen or fourteen years 
  before Father Gratian went to Seville, 
and when there was no talk 
   of  barefooted Carmelite friars, 
this happened: 
     
     She was with 
                    her father and mother 
                    and two women 
                    from the neighbourhood 
      when a friar of our order came in, 
            clad in serge as they are now, 
            and barefooted. 
They say his countenance 
   was cheerful and venerable, 
but he was so old, however, 
   that his beard which was long, 
      looked like silver threads; 
he stood close beside her, 
  and began to address her 
           in a language
  which neither she nor any of  the others 
           understood, 
  and when he had done speaking 
    he made the sign of the cross 
           over her three times, 
    saying,                                                 
           'Beatriz, God make thee strong,' 
    and went away. 
While he remained nobody stirred: 
they were amazed. 
Her father asked her who he was. 
She thought that he knew him.                   [5]
They rose up in haste to look for him, 
  but they saw him no more. 
She was greatly consoled herself, and 
all were amazed, 
   for what they had seen 
       was the work of  God, 
   and in consequence of it 
      they made much of her, 
   as I have just said. 
All these years, 
   I believe fourteen, passed away, 
she herself always serving our Lord, and 
praying Him to fulfil her desire. 
11. Sees  Carmelites for the first time.  

11
She was in great distress 
  when the father-master 
       Fray Jerome Gratian 
   came to the neighbourhood. 
One day she went to hear a sermon 
   in one of the churches of  Triana 
   — it was there her father was living — 
 not knowing who the preacher was to be, 
and there saw the father- master Gratian 
   go to receive the benediction. 
When  she saw him 
   in his habit and barefooted 
she thought at once of him 
   whom she had seen before; 
the habit was the same, 
  but the age and the countenance were not, 
 for father Gratian was 
     not yet thirty years of age. 
She told me that she almost fainted away 
  in the excess of her joy, 
for, though she had heard 
  that there was a monastery in Triana, 
  she did not know it belonged 
        to the Carmelites.                            [6] 
From that day forth 
  she tried to go to confession 
to Father Gratian; 
it was the will of God, however, 
 that she should have no little trouble, 
for she applied to him 
   as often as twelve times 
     — it might be more or less —
 but he never would hear her confession. 
She was young and beautiful, 
   for she must have been 
then not twenty-seven, 
and he, being extremely careful, 
   would not have any relations 
with persons like her. 
12. Confesses to Father Gratian.  
12
One day in the church 
     — she too was most careful herself — 
  a woman asked her 
     what the matter was, 
  for she was weeping. 
She said that she had made 
  so many efforts to speak to that father, 
who was then hearing confessions, 
  and all to no purpose. 
The woman took her to the confessional, 
 and asked him to hear her confession; 
and so she made a general confession to him. 
He, when he saw so noble a soul, 
   was greatly comforted himself, 
and comforted her too 
   by telling her 
    - that Carmelite nuns might be coming, 
            and 
    - that he would make them 
            receive her immediately; 
and so it came to pass, 
and the first thing he ordered me to do 
   was to receive her the first of all, 
for he was satisfied with her spirit, 
and told her so. 
When we came she took much pains 
   to keep our arrival 
from the knowledge of her father and mother, 
   for if they knew of it 
     she would have had no opportunity 
    of coming to us. 
And so, on the very day of the feast 
   of the Most Holy Trinity,                   [7]
she left the women 
        who used to attend her 
     behind, 
   for her mother did not go with her 
       to confession, 
and the monastery of the Carmelites, 
   where she always confessed, 
    and to which she gave great alms, 
    as well as her father and mother 
           for her sake, 
   was at some distance. 
 13. And escapes into the monastery.  

13
She had arranged 
        with a very great servant of God 
    to take her, and
    told the women 
            who used to attend her 
       - to leave her, 
             as the woman 
                with whom she was going out 
            was very well-known in Seville 
                 as a great servant of God, 
            given to good works, 
                 and 
      - that she would return  immediately. 
They accordingly let her take with her 
  the habit and mantle of frieze; 
how she carried them 
  I know not, 
unless it was her joy 
  that made everything light. 
Her only fear was 
   that somebody might stop her 
   and find out what she was carrying, 
for she was walking out 
   in a way most unusual for her. 
What cannot the love of God do ? 
She had now no respect of persons, 
   and thought of nothing 
but of the possibility of her desire 
      being frustrated; 
We opened the door to her at once. 
I sent word to her mother, 
   who came as if beside herself, 
but said that she saw 
   that God was gracious to her child, 
and, though she was distressed 
   because she could not speak to her yet
 she was not immoderately so, 
    as others are; 
on the contrary, 
    she gave us at once very large alms. 
14.  Her joy and bodily health.  

14
The bride of Jesus Christ 
   began to rejoice in the happiness 
 so much desired. 
She was so humble, 
   and so pleased 
      with whatever she had to do, 
that we found some trouble
    in taking the broom out of her hands. 
She who had been made so much of 
   at home 
found all her recreation in hard work. 
The great happiness she felt 
    caused her to gain flesh at once, 
which so struck her father and mother 
that they were glad to see her 
   in the monastery. 
15. Assailed by temptations.  

15
Some two or three months 
  before the time of her profession, 
that she might not have
   so much joy without suffering, 
she fell into most grievous temptations; 
not because she was not determined 
    to make her profession, 
but because she thought the religious life
     most hard to bear. 
She forgot all the years 
  during which she had suffered so much 
 to gain the blessing she now had, 
and Satan tormented her so cruelly 
 that she could not help herself. 
Nevertheless doing violence to herself 
  she conquered him, 
and in the midst of her torments 
  made  a resolution to be professed.      [8]
Three days before her profession,
our Lord, 
           who would not let her strength 
                    be tried any longer, 
     visited and consoled her 
            in a most special way, 
                     and 
     put Satan to flight. 
16. And delivered. 
16
She was now so consoled 
   that during those three days 
she seemed to be beside herself with joy, 
   and for good reasons 
     — the grace she had received was great. 
Within a few days 
     after she entered the monastery 
her father died, 
and her mother
   took the habit in the same house,          [9] 
giving to it by way of alms 
    all she possessed. 
The mother and child are 
     - living in the greatest joy, 
     - edifying all the nuns, 
            and 
     - serving Him 
         Who has bestowed upon them 
          so great a grace. 
Moreover a year had not passed by 
   when there came another, 
very much against the will 
    of her father and mother.                    [10]
Thus our Lord goes on, 
   filling this His house 
with souls so eager to serve Him 
   that neither the austerities 
           nor the strictness of enclosure 
      can stand in their way. 
May He be blessed for ever and ever ! 
May He be praised for ever and ever ! 
Amen. 
             _________________


                      Foot Notes:
 [1]
   The Saint left Seville 
          4th June 1576
    attended by her brother Don Lorenzo. 
    Fray Gregorio Nazianzen
       now professed, 
    went with her. 
   She was in Malagon on the 11th
    where she was still 
        in the beginning of July
    By order of Fray Jerome 
     she went to Avila to complete 
        the term of her priorship, 
     after which she ought to have gone 
        to Salamanca 
      where she was conventual. 
    But it was finally decided 
       she should go to Toledo
    whither she went, 
       bringing with her 
     as her companion and secretary,
       the venerable Ann of S. Bartholomew
    On the 9th day of  August
     the Saint was in Toledo
     watching the storm 
        that had burst on the order, 
     and waiting for the calm. 
________________
 [2] 
  Alonso Gomez y Vero
  a native either of the Sierra Nevada 
    or the Sierra Morena, 
  and Juana Gomez
  The child bore the name Chaves, 
     probably that of her grandmother.
        [ Ouevres, iv. 64.  ]
_____________________
 [3]
  By the Carthusian, Pedro de Orhmdo. 
          ( Pedro de Orozco)  ?
________________
 [4]
  Founded in 1513 
   under the title of the Incarnation. 
________________
 [5]
   She admitted in after times 
      to her confessors and others 
   whom she could trust 
    that it was the great prophet Elias. 
    It was a tradition in the order also 
    that Beatriz had then a vision 
     of the prophet of Mount Carmel 
        [ Reforma, bk. iii. ch. xxxviii. 8]. 
________________
 [6]
  The Discalced Carmelites founded, 
        6th January 1574, 
   a convent at Triana 
    called Nuestra Senora de los Remedios
   from a hermitage under that title 
     given them by the Archbishop. 
    Father Jerome Gratian was Prior and
    Father Mariano, master of novices.
      [  Oeuvres, iv. 69, note.].
_________________
  [7] 
  Three days after the arrival of the nuns, 
     the day when the first Mass 
     was being said. 
_________________
 [8]
  Beatriz of the Mother of God 
   made her profession 
       29th September 1576
   in the following year after the Calced 
   fathers had mixed themselves up 
     with the government of the house, 
   she gave false evidence 
       against the prioress,
           who in consequence was deposed, 
                    and 
       against Father Jerome Gratian, 
    while she herself was nominated prioress. 
   But the falsehood of the accusations
       having been proved, 
    Mary of S. Joseph was reinstated 
       by Fray Angel de Salazar. 
    It took Beatriz some time 
       to see her wrongs, 
     but being convinced, she humbled herself 
     and asked pardon. 
    The remainder of her life 
        was most edifying. 
     She died in 1624  at the age of 86. 
        [ Oeuvres, iv. 73 n. ]
_________________
 [9]
  She made her profession
       10th November 1577, 
   as lay sister under  the name 
       Juana de la Cruz
   A cousin of Beatriz entered soon after, 
      taking the name,  Leonor of S. Angelus.  

   The three together gave as dowry 
       house property of the annual value 
         of 100 ducats. 
           [ Oeuvres, 1. c. ]
_________________
 [10]
  Bernarda of S. Joseph
   who took the habit 10th March 1576 ; 
       [ Oeuvres 1. c. ]


            End of  Chapter 26 
                     of the 
          Book of the Foundations
             of S. Teresa of Jesus 
  of the Order of our Lady of Carmel   
   

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