Blessed (Cyriac) Kuriakos Elias Chavara, co-founder and first prior-general of the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, was born at Kainakary in Kerala, India, on February 10th, 1805. He entered the seminary in 1818, and was ordained priest in 1829. He made his religious profession in 1855, in the congregation he founded. In 1861 he was named vicar-general for the Syro-Malabar church; in this capacity he defended ecclesial unity threatened by schism when mar Tomas Rochos was sent from Mesopotamia to consecrate Nestorian bishops. Throughout his life he worked for the renewal of the church in Malabar. He was also co founder in 1866 of the congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Above all, he was a man of prayer, zealous for the Eucharistic Lord and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He died at Koonammavu in 1871. His body was transferred to Mannanam in 1889.
Born about 1305, in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelite Order when he was twenty one. He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He was transferred to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363 he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta in Cyprus in 1366.
Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence in Italy and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on 13th October 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love for the poor. He died on 6th January 1374.
Henry was born at Vinebre, Catalonia, Spain, on the 16th October 1840 and was ordained priest on September 21, 1867. He was an apostle to young people in teaching them about their faith and inspired various movements for the teaching of the Gospel. As a spiritual director he was fascinated by St Teresa of Jesus, the great teacher in the ways of prayer and Daughter of the Church who is better known in the English speaking world as St Teresa of Avila. In the light of her teaching, he founded the Company of St Teresa (1876) dedicated to educating women in the school of the Gospel and following the example of St Teresa. He gave himself to preaching and the apostolate through the printing press. He underwent many severe trials and sufferings. He died at Gilet, Valencia, Spain, on the January 27, 1896. He was canonised on July 16, 1993, in Madrid, by Pope John Paul II.
Nuno was born in 1360 and for many years pursued a military career, becoming the champion of Portuguese independence. After the death of his wife, he joined the Order as a brother in 1423 at the monastery of Lisbon, which he had founded himself, and took the name Nuno of Saint Mary. There he lived until his death in 1431. He was noted for his prayer, his practice of penance, and his filial devotion to the Mother of God.
Born in Mantua on 17 April 1447, as a youth Baptist joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time he was a renowned Christian humanist ‘who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ’. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on 20th March 1516.
Barbe Avrillot was born in Paris in 1566. At the age of sixteen she married Pierre Acarie, by whom she had seven children. In spite of her household duties and many hardships, she attained the heights of the mystical life. Under the influence of St Teresa’s writings, and after mystical contact with the Saint herself, she spared no effort in introducing the Discalced Carmelite nuns into France. After her husband’s death, she asked to be admitted among them as a lay sister, taking the name of Mary of the Incarnation; she was professed at the Carmel of Amiens in 1615. She was esteemed by some of the greatest men of her time, including St Francis de Sales: and she was distinguished by her spirit of prayer and her zeal for the propagation of the Catholic faith. She died at Pontoise on April 18, 1618.
She was born at Carnpi Bisenzio, Florence, where in 1874 she founded the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of St Teresa whom she also sent to Lebanon and the Holy Land. She lived joyfully, body and soul, the mystery of the Cross in full conformity to the will of God and she was outstanding for her love for the Eucharist and her maternal care for children and for the poor. She died at Campi Bisenzio on 23 April 1910.
Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honour was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.
Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826 she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility and love. She died at Vich in 1854.
The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.
Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.
For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.
“I understood that love comprises all vocations – that love is everything, and because it is eternal, embraces all times and places.”
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
“Let us love, since that is what our hearts were made for.”
“don’t wait until tomorrow to begin becoming a saint.”
“Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it.”
“The endurance of darkness is the preparation for great light.”
Faith “is like the feet wherewith the soul journeys to God, and love is the guide that directs it.”