Friday, June 7, 2019

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew


Today is the feast of a Carmelite saint, Blessed Anne, the secretary and confidante of the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila. Here her biography:
She entered in 1570 at the age of 21, taking the religious name Sr. Anne of St. Bartholomew and becoming the first discalced Carmelite lay sister. She made her profession on August 15th 1572 and was given the duty of infirmarian. In 1574 Anne went with St. Teresa to Valladolid and Medina del Campo. After that she became ill herself and was unable to travel for two years, but Teresa thought very highly of Anne and in 1577 she became her secretary and nurse. In the last five years of her life Teresa needed help with her large correspondence as she was often too tired or too ill to write herself, but she was able to dictate her letters. Anne had still not learnt to write, so Teresa gave her two lines of her own handwriting and told her to learn. In one afternoon Anne persevered and obeying Teresa’s directive she learned to write; this was cited as one of Teresa’s miracles in the process for her beatification, though it is true that, since Anne could read, she was already familiar with letters, which no doubt helped her learn to write. In the last years of Teresa’s life Anne wrote a great many letters for Teresa at her dictation. Teresa wanted Anne to receive the black veil and become a choir nun, but Anne begged to remain a lay sister, as she did not know how to read Latin which was required for the Divine Office and she said she would prefer to serve the community in practical ways than have the burden of administration. Teresa allowed her to remain a lay sister but predicted correctly that she would eventually become a choir nun. Anne visited many monasteries with Teresa and helped her with the foundations of Villanueva de la Jara, Palencia, Soria and Burgos. She was a dedicated nurse helping Teresa through her many health problems and attending to her lovingly in her last journeys. Teresa died in Anne’s arms at Alba de Tormes in 1582. (Read more.)

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