On March 28th we will celebrate joyfully the anniversary of our holy Foundress who will be five hundred years old! Teresa of Jesus was born in Avila (Spain) on March 28, 1515, and more precisely on a Wednesday at five o'clock in the morning, as her father has registered, Don Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, son of Juan Sanchez, a converted Jewish merchant from Toledo.
Doña Beatriz de Ahumada is the happy mother.
The christian, exemplary and virtuous couple gave eight brothers to Teresa, who were added to the three brothers and sisters from her father's first marriage, so she’ll say "we were three sisters and nine brothers" and Teresa was the most beloved of her father and brothers , as she herself confesses. Teresa received from her mother a great affection. They shared the same devotion and liked, among others, reading good books, in the first place, the lives of the saints who had a great influence on her spiritual life.
So with this anniversary we are in a year of grace... it's like among Christians, we like to call each new year that marks the time that God has created for us, his children. However 2015 after Christ is particularly rich in graces for the brothers and sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is indeed the year of consecrated life for the universal Church, according to the desire of our Pope Francis. It is also the anniversary of the birth of our foundress Mother St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), 28 March 1515; and 2015 is also the year of the announcement of the canonization of Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified, Little Arab, Carmelite of Holy Land.
How do these three events, V centenary of birth of Saint Teresa, the year of consecrated life and the canonization of Mariam of Jesus Crucified, affect our Carmelite life in the Middle East?
First, we have our hearts open to the gifts that the Lord wants us to give us in this acceptable time, in this "kairos" which is offered to us to allow the Kingdom of God to be more present in our land, so that our conversion be more intense. The opportunity to return to the sources of our call, to revive our commitment to the Lord, our first love is a blessing. We see the importance that the Church gives to the consecrated life; if in certain periods of history this special vocation in the Christian people has been muted, it is now placed upon the candlestick to illuminate all the house. Compared to other vocations, it is not more, not less, but it's a special appeal and it is good that all the baptized may give thanks together. All vocations are not identical, that's the beauty of the ecclesial body. Saint Teresa, Mariam, can testify it.
The events of this year, beginning on March 28, we will help us to intensify our life committed to Carmel for the Church and for the world. The joy shared between brothers and sisters in these festive occasions tell us again and again that all these gifts given to us are to be given and to be fruitful.