THE INSPIRATION AND INTERCESSION
OF THE SAINTS
The Saints share in the living tradition of prayer
by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today.
–Catechism of the Catholic Church
Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Carmel
The Carmelite nuns belong to Mary. From Our Blessed Mother, we learn to contemplate the Word of God in our hearts. As she was the first and most perfect disciple of Christ, we follow Him by following her. Like Mary, we seek to be overshadowed by her Son, sitting at His feet, listening to His words and taking them to heart. Wearing Mary's habit reminds us that she is our Mother as we are called to be mothers as we pray for our priests, Christ incarnate.
St. Joseph, Protector of Carmel
St. Joseph, the earthly and humble father of Christ, protected and provided for Mary and Jesus during His ministry here on Earth. He continues to provide that protection for the Church, the Body of Christ, and for Mary's Order, the Carmelites. St. Teresa implored that we ask St. Joseph to teach us to pray; therefore, when we are in need, we seek the intercession of St. Joseph to protect and provide.
Elijah the Prophet, Spiritual Founder
We find inspiration in Elijah, the fiery prophet of Mount Carmel and the patron of the Carmelite Order. Called forth to stand strong and rekindle the faith of God’s people, Elijah was a faithful preserver of the covenant. His zeal embodies and animates our charism. He teaches us to be still and listen to hear God’s voice and to be aware of His presence.
St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church
Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila is the founder of the discalced Carmelites and a model for our daily life. Following the example of Elijah and the hermits of Mt. Carmel, she formed a way of life that fostered prayer, contemplation, trust, and a deep friendship with Jesus. She was the first woman to be declared a doctor of the Church and left a rich legacy of thoughtful and personal writing to guide the soul or "interior castle" to its innermost chamber in union with God.
St. John of the Cross
St. John of the Cross chose to follow a religious path at a young age. He joined the Carmelite Order and became a priest in 1567. He encountered Teresa of Avila and was drawn to her strict routine and devotion to prayer and simplicity. When Teresa founded a new monastery, John followed and changed his name to John of the Cross. He traveled to Avila at the invitation of Teresa to become her confessor and spiritual guide.
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
St. Therese was raised in a devout and holy family. She once wrote that from the age of three, she refused nothing of what God asked of her. St. Therese was devoted to a doctrine of doing small, ordinary things in extraordinary ways with great love. Her greatest desire was to save souls by means of prayer. We find strength in her words, "My God, I choose all! I don't want to be a saint by halves, I'm not afraid to suffer for You."
St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)
St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) grew up in a Jewish family and was a passionate searcher of the truth. She found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic, and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She died with her fellow Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. She left behind a body of writings known for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality.