Sunday, 30 November 2014 00:00

The Teresian Association celebrates Saint Teresa in various countries of Europe


BRUSSELS, Belgium.
Different celebrations have been held in the countries of Sector E7 (Europe Seven) of the Teresian Association on the occasion of the V Centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus.

Germany: University Residence, Theresianum

1130-2At the University Residence, Theresianum, in Munich (Germany) the Director, Manola Romero, invited residents to read the book on the Life of St. Teresa. Through quotations from St. Teresa, she invited the young residents to discover the meaning of their own life. An architecture major designed posters with some selected quotes. These posters were presented on October 15 to be voted on.

On the feast of St. Teresa, students prepared a Mass that was presided over by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Engelbert Siebler. The focus of the Mass was "Saint Teresa and interior prayer".

A student who had done some research on Saint Teresa wrote the introduction. The background music was provided by a group of six students with different instruments. Another group prepared the dinner that followed the Eucharist.

A meeting with alumnae took place on Saturday, October 18, with the participation of Julia María González, General Secretary of the Teresian Association, who presented some international projects to the university students. The moment ended with prayer in the chapel of the residence.

Belgium, Brussels, October 15: "STOP! Teresa nonstop!"

In the center of the capital of Europe, in a church with doors open to a pedestrian street, fifteen volunteer readers did a continuous reading of excerpts from the works of St. Teresa of Jesus from 10:00 AM till 6:00 PM.

1130-3Throughout the day bystanders, faithful, and curious entered to hear the texts and dialogue with the welcoming team. At noon, the church was full for the Eucharistic celebration in honor of St. Teresa. The white coat that Saint Teresa exchanged with the one of Ana of Jesus when the latter left Spain to found in France and Belgium, which is kept in the Carmelite monastery in Brussels, was placed at the foot of the altar. The readings continued, alternating with musical excerpts, from: the Book of Her Life, Way of Perfection, Foundations, some letters, and poems.

Later, about 180 people attended a prayerful performance dedicated to the Interior Castle. The reading was done by two artists, accompanied by organ music and choreography of a group of "Pèlerins dancers." A vocal ensemble sang a cappella some musical works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, prolonging the listening with a moment of great interiority.

Teresa was intensely present, a woman who wove ties, a woman of communication and relationship.

This event, which had good press coverage, was conceived and prepared by the "Teresian family" (Discalced Carmelites, Apostolic Carmelites, and the Teresian Association). Other scheduled times were:  commented reading of texts, prayer, a theatrical play, and conversation.

The Teresian School, Dublin

On October 15 a Mass with the participation of the educational community of the Teresian School was held at the parish of Donnybrook in Dublin, Ireland,. The celebrant was Father Conor Harper, school chaplain.

1130-4Prior to the feast, texts from the life of St. Teresa were read in the various classes to help students to know her better and prepare for the celebration.

The liturgy and songs were very well prepared. The girls choir sang a song adapted from the Spanish "Veante mis ojos":

Through the darkness shining Love you eat to meet me,
Love of God surrounds me, near beyond believing!
With His touch He heals me, Jesus of Galilee.
Bread of Life Become His gift of love that knows no ending.

Gently You await me, poor and small to draw me,
through all times and places You will go to seek me.
You will live within me, give Yourself completely.
Bread of life becomes Your gift of love that knows no ending.

With Your hands You give me Your own life to fill me,
Hide Yourself to meet me in bread and wine to feed me.
When my eyes shall see You I shall know no sorrow,
Death will be no more, and life will be Your love unending!

Many families attended the celebration. At the end, there was a reception at the school.  This was an occasion of deep joy for all.

Portugal: Christian mysticism

From October 17-19 members of the Teresian Association participated in the 2nd Preparatory Congress of the  V Centenary of St. Teresa at the "Domus Carmeli," in Fatima, with the theme: Christian mysticism.

The Congress had specialists like Martin Velasco, who presented on "The mystical phenomenon" and "the Christian mystical experience." Armindo Vaz spoke on  "Biblical faith, mystical experience" and María José Mariño spoke on "Suffering in the itinerary of the mystics," among others.

1130-5The experience has led to greater awareness of the presence of the Lord who dwells in the depths of the inner castle of each and every one. It has challenged us to live our experience, as many saints who have gone before us did. Open to the Spirit we prayed at the Eucharist that Jesus may always walk with us and that, like St. Teresa, we may be able to say to all we meet: "God alone suffices." At the end, we sang the hymn of the centenary.

In Lisbon, on October 15, we held a prayer meeting with texts from the Letter of the Year and the letter on the V Centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa, both written by Maite Uribe. After prayer we celebrated with port wine and sweets.

In Oliveira de Azeméis a group of the associations of the TA shared a lively dinner after a moment of prayer using some texts of St. Teresa and St. Pedro Poveda on "All of God." The desire to grow in union with God and live more intensely the moments of prayer remained with us.

In Coimbra, the TA group provides payer spaces open to those who want to have an experience of encounter with God in the style of Teresa of Jesus:  “intimate sharing between friends; (…) taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” The first meeting was held on October 14. A total of ten people attended. It was a deeply felt encounter with intercessory prayer for different people and realities of our world.

On October 15, as every year, the members of the Teresian Association were invited to celebrate the feast of St. Teresa with the community of the Carmel of Coimbra, This time the Eucharist was presided by the Provincial Superior and most of the Carmelite Fathers of the Portuguese province attended. The TA participated at the Eucharist and brought sweets for the sisters.

1130-6Paris: “Mouvements avec Thérèse d’Avila”

In Paris, France, on Sunday October 19, a beautiful evocation of St. Teresa through music and dance "Thérèse d'Avila avec mouvements" took place at a crypt of the church Notre Dame des Champs. The artist, Anne Vataux, is a former student of the "Foyer Universitaire du Dôme" of the Teresian Association.

Thanks to a teacher of the Chopin Conservatory of Paris, three good violinists offered baroque music between readings of St. Teresa. They adapted the musical selection to the readings on her life, her relationship with Jesus, her inner journey. The round of applause, which took place at the end not to disrupt the flow, expressed great admiration. The evening ended with an informal meeting at "Le Dôme". Upcoming activities around the V Centenario were announced: workshop on reading -prayer and a theatrical play.

Luxembourg: prayerful climate

The three communities that are inspired by the spirit of Saint Teresa, the Discalced Carmelites, the Apostolic Carmelites of St. Zitha, and the Teresian Association, an international association of lay people, plus the adult education center ErwuesseBildung and other diocesan bodies have developed a program to celebrate the V Centenary of St. Teresa: conferences, retreats, performance, groups to read the Writings of Saint Teresa, an exhibition, a pilgrimage to Ávila, and the spiritual exercises in daily life.

On October 15 the Teresian Association was responsible for opening the jubilee year with a Mass in the chapel of the Franciscan Sisters. A choir accompanied by an instrumental group consisting of piano, flute, and guitar came together for the occasion.   The decoration consisted of an icon of Saint Teresa and a path made of phrases like "Let nothing disturb you," "God alone suffices" and rose petals.

Two Jesuits, Maurice Gilbert and Josy Birsens, concelebrated the Mass. The participants included Emma Melgarejo, member of the General Council of the TA, and Teresa Fernandez Canedo, Director of Sector E7. Milly Hellers made a bilingual introduction recalling the event that called us together and thanking hundreds of attendees for their presence.


“Si le Père vous appelle…” was the opening song. In his homily, Father Maurice focused on the idea of the Gospel of John, the importance of remaining united to the vine. At the offertory, with the bread and wine the Word of God, the writings of St. Teresa and intentions of those present were offered, while the melody of Taizé "Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you..." was sung.

After communion we listened to part of the poem, in French, "If the love that you have me, God is like the one we have..." and the choir sang in Spanish. At the end, we sang the song of joy “Ne rentrez pas chez vous comme avant…” The "prayerful climate" of the celebration was evident.

After Mass a Luxembourg cava was shared.

England: in March

England will celebrate the V anniversary of the birth of Santa Teresa in March and a pilgrimage is scheduled for October 2015.

Information: Manola Romero, Conxi Baqué,  Hilda Geraghty, Annick Bonnefond,
Maria Odilia Maia Madail, Mentxu Ibarra, and Juany Rodríguez.


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