This woman, who had deep spiritual insights, described prayer as nothing but an intimate sharing between friends. Rather than describe a formula for prayer, she taught an attitude for life.
Among the earliest saints to be venerated as Carmelites, we find the story of the Sicilian hermit Angelus. Like his contemporaries Albert of Trapani and Simon Stock, who also lived in the 13th century, Angelus is somewhat difficult to profile, since the story of his life is clouded by legends
Venezuela’s first canonized saint may be a plain looking but hardy woman, who practiced the works of mercy at face value. Susanna Paz Castillo Ramirez was born in 1863 at Altagracia de Orituco, south-east of Caracas. Her family was well respected, and her paternal grandmother was the sister of Simon Bolivar, South America’s great Liberator.
During the most violent phase of the French Revolution, the so-called Reign of Terror, an estimated 40,000 people lost their lives at the guillotine. A disproportionate number of those were religious sisters and brothers, priests, bishops, and dedicated lay Christians.
Our God of Surprises has a way of bringing great beauty and spiritual richness out of the most unlikely sources. In the case of Jean Moulin, we find a blind member of Carmel’s Reform of Touraine who produced such other-worldly writings that some call him the French John of the Cross.
The island of Malta lies in the Mediterranean, between Tunisia and Sicily. Christianity arrived when St. Paul was shipwrecked there. One practical reason why Malta is such an intensely religious place today is the work of Fr. George Preca (1880-1962). Even as a young priest, he was a pioneer of the Lay Apostolate, long before most people knew what that meant.
The dawn of the sometimes calamitous 20th Century was marked with the all-too-short life of a spectacular young champion of the joy of contemplation. Juanita Fernández Solar was born in Santiago, Chile on July 13, 1900.
It may surprise more than a few people that the most recently canonized Carmelite saint is also the national hero of Portugal. Although he is not widely known in the rest of the world, just mention “the Holy Constable” in Portugal, and everyone knows who you are talking about.
In the context of the Middle Ages, Andrew Corsini stands out as one who was ahead of his time as a church reformer and a saintly example of what a leader should be.
In a world like our own, where factionalism and deep religious and political divisions poison our relationships, a saint like Peter Thomas is like a breath of fresh air. His life as a devout Carmelite and a diplomatic healer and trouble-shooter reminds us that reconciliation and common ground are always possible with God’s help.