Blessed Maria Teresa of Saint Joseph
Founder of the Congregation "Karmelietessen
of the Divine Heart of Jesus "(1855-1938)
Feastday: October 30
Also known as: Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch
Anna Maria Tauscher was born on June 19, 1855 in Sandow, 16 miles east of Frankurt an der Oder. Sandow belonged to Germany at the time and is now in Poland. Anna Maria was the eldest daughter of the Lutheran pastor Hermann Traugott Tauscher and Pauline van den Bosch, who was very religious and dedicated herself to all kinds of good causes. After Anna Maria, seven more children followed, three of whom died as children. From the mother from Haarlem, the children learned to pray and to practice charity towards the poor.
Reverend Tauscher was appointed in Arnswalde in 1862; three years later he was transferred to the Lucas congregation in Berlin. In the parental home the children had a beautiful and safe childhood, until the death of mother Pauline in 1874. As the eldest daughter, it was up to the barely 20 year old Anna Maria to run the household and participate in the conversations at the table. , where political and ecclesiastical themes were often discussed with guests. At the request of her father, Anna Maria also read the speeches of the deputies in the Reichstag.
When Father Tauscher remarried in 1879, his eldest daughter was freed from home obligations and was able to focus more on prayer and Bible reading. The Tauscher family had already lived in Berlin for over 19 years, when Reverend Tauscher was offered the Lutheran congregation in Gusow. Anna Maria was delighted with the move to rural areas. She visited the poor and the sick and gathered a group of young girls around her. She was 30 years old when she wanted to make a great sacrifice to God as proof of her love for Him. She applied for the position of head of an insane asylum. With her father's permission, she left the parental home on March 6, 1886 and traveled to the Rhineland.
Working with the sick cost her a lot of self-victory and gave her sleepless nights, but she took nothing back from her sacrifice. In Cologne she learned a lot about the Catholic faith and was introduced to Mayof and the Sacred Heart worship. Ultimately, she found in the teachings of the Catholic Church exactly what she considered her 'own religion' until then. Her transition to Catholicism on October 30, 1888 at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Cologne led to her dismissal by the Protestant director of the institute where she worked and also made it impossible to return to her father. Because the director had also written a negative certificate, she could not find a new job. In this emergency - unemployed and homeless - she found temporary shelter in an Augustinian monastery in Cologne, where she was employed for the lowest household work.
She came to Berlin on 7 November 1889, where she acted as companion and traveling companion of Mrs. Von Savigny. During a trip to the Bavarian monastery Zangberg, where a daughter of Mrs. Von Savigny was a monk, Anna Maria Tauscher met Saint Teresa of Avila. When reading her life story it became clear to her that she belonged to the Carmel Order, although she did not yet know how this could be achieved.
In Berlin she had seen the anonymous misery of many children growing up on the streets and being given away through the local newspapers. Inside, Marie Tauscher felt the call of God to give these homeless children a home. Thus, in 1891, the first St. Joseph House was built in Berlin's Pappelallee. To help alienated people from the Church find a home with God again, she began the home mission in 1897. This allowed many to find their way back to the Church and to the sacraments. At that time no one could have imagined that a new twig would emerge here on the Carmel tree, for Mother Mary Teresa of Saint Joseph, as she now called herself, led a secret life with her first companions according to the Rule of Carmel, connected with the penance in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
What followed were many years of struggle for ecclesiastical recognition and affiliation with the Carmelite Order. The founder traveled to Rome three times, until she reached her goal in 1904. In that year the congregation was also given a name, which is still used: 'Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus' or 'Carmel D.C.J.' for short. During these years the young community expanded rapidly in Europe: in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Italy and Hungary, St. Jozef houses were created, which offered homeless children a home. From 1912 to 1920, the founder stayed in America to plant a new Carmel twig there too. The Congregation's first retirement home was established in the New World in 1917, also in response to the need at the time.
In 1904, the first Mother House and Novitiate (= training) was founded in Rocca di Papa in the diocese of Frascati. But while Anna Maria was in America, World War I was raging in Europe. The sisters' house was expropriated as' German property '. After Mother Maria Teresa's return from America, she was looking for a new Mother House. The choice fell on Sittard, where the heart of the congregation with an international community is still located today.
The congregation received the 'decretum laudis' from Pope Pius X on 9 May 1910 and the final approval of the constitutions in 1930 from Pope Pius XI. The founder and first Superior General spent the last years of her life in the Mother House in Sittard, where she died on September 20, 1938. She found her resting place in the monastery cemetery, until her remains were exhumed in 1987 and reburied in a side chapel of the monastery chapel in the Mother House.
The beatification process:
On February 2, 1953, her beatification process was initiated in the diocese of Roermond. All her writings were collected in a four-year process. She had written more than 3,000 letters and left many other things in writing. In October 1957, the documents were taken to Rome, to the Congregation for Beatifications and Saints. In 1972 her writings were approved. Subsequently, her life was examined for the heroic virtues on the basis of witness statements and written documents. Since 1973, as Postulant General of the Carmel OCD, Father Simeone was responsible for the progress of the trial. After his retirement in 1997, Father Bonifatius Honings OCD took over this task from him.
The so-called 'Positio', a large, thick book describing the entire process, was printed in 1981. The objection was raised that the life of the Servant of God was not without gaps and therefore required an addition. This took another ten years, as documents had to be collected that were kept in archives all over the world. Dr. The force of the Archdiocese of Cologne was very helpful to the sisters in making a complete biography of the foundress. In 1992 the additional position was printed. Then the trial was paused until a miracle occurred, which would be confirmed by doctors.
There were already many answers to prayers and also miraculous healings, but they still lacked solid doctor's statements. Finally, on December 16, 1996, the miracle happened that brought the beatification process further. Mrs. Pieters-Maas from Heerlen had been suffering from an athlete's foot disease for more than 25 years, which was very painful and made it difficult for her to walk. She had already visited numerous doctors, but no one could help her. Father Honings knew the Pieters couple well, because they regularly took part in days of reflection in Sittard. It was he who advised them to pray a novena (= nine-day prayer) in honor of the founder of the Sittard sisters. And the two spouses did so together. After two novenas, there was still no cure, so they began a third novena. During that third novena the pain actually stopped suddenly and Mrs. Pieters was able to walk again without any problems. This incident was investigated as a "miraculous cure", first in the diocese of Roermond and then in Rome and recognized as such.
The beatification process was resumed and on December 20, 2002, the decree on heroic virtues was festively pronounced in Rome by Pope John Paul II. However, the illness and death of this pope delayed. And then the procedure was also changed. No more beatifications by the Pope himself, but by a delegated representative of him and, moreover, in the relevant dioceses. After the ratification of the miracle decree, the date for the beatification with Bishop Frans Wiertz van Roermond was set on May 13, 2006.
Beatification is the first step towards canonization. With this, the Church gives permission for open worship of a person in the local Church, within the congregation with which she was associated and in other places where permission has been given. Note the difference: a saint is venerated in the liturgy in the world church, but a blessed one may only be venerated in certain places.
A miracle is an extraordinary fact that is scientifically inexplicable and is assigned directly to the intercession of the Servant God in a beatification process. These miracles are usually inexplicable healings because they are easier to document. Miracles and answers to prayers that happened after a prayer to a Servant God serve as proof that God Himself is the origin of the person's call to holiness.
With the festive beatification, the Church declares that:
1) Mother Mary Teresa's life was exemplary - not only for her sisters, but also for a wider circle of persons - concerning above all her love of God and charity;
2) She may be openly invoked as an advocate and people may trust that God hears and answers their prayers.
This festive beatification took place on Saturday, May 13, 2006 in St. Christopher's Cathedral in Roermond, during a Eucharistic celebration. Cardinal Simonis, on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Saint Joseph's nun, Maria Teresa of German origin. The main celebrant was Saraiva Cardinal Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Beatifications and Saints.
The new blissful:
To what extent can the new blessed be an example for all of us and is it current? Her life is marked by a threefold love: to the Church, to Carmel and to the cross.
1) Love to the Church:
At a time when the pastors of the Church are facing harsh criticism, the new blessed says to us that we will be able to see and hear God himself in them: "The voice of a bishop is the voice of God." She left the care for the priests and the prayer for their sanctification to the sisters.
2) Love to Carmel:
Mother Maria Teresa was an enthusiastic "daughter" of Saint Teresa of Avila, whom she called the "Wisest Teacher". She followed her not only in spiritual matters, but also in practical matters, including monastic foundations.
3) Love to the cross:
Sickness and suffering like to be repressed. But not in the life of the new blessed. She saw in every suffering a proof of the Love of God. She could thus become equal to the crucified Jesus. She knew of the value of suffering, which is borne out of love to God, and made it fruitful for the Church and the world.
Mother Maria Teresa was also a true pioneer in the education of children. Already a hundred years ago she introduced the family system in the St. Jozefhuizen. At the time, this meant: no more than 16 children with one sister and one staff member in one group, with the sisters replacing the upbringing in the family as much as possible. The sister was there for the children 24 hours a day; only at prayer times she was replaced. Maria Teresa founded about 50 children's homes in several countries in Europe and America.
In the Netherlands the first foundation was in Sittard, in Limburg, where it went in 1898 on the advice of a redemptorist priest from Roermond. Today this house is the general mother house of the entire congregation. Further children's homes were created during the life of the foundress in Tilburg, Leiden, Amsterdam and Bloemendaal and later in Vogelenzang, which until recently housed the priest seminary of the diocese of Haarlem.
Incidentally, Anna Maria Tauscher's maternal ancestors came from Haarlem. Cornelius van den Bosch went to Prussia in 1720 to enter the service of Friedrich Wilhelm I. He was tall (1.8 meters) and very gifted with his hands. Hence, he was involved in the construction of the Dutch houses in Potsdam. His son Christiaan Lodewijk van den Bosch is the builder of the famous historic windmill of Slot Sanssouci. From her forefathers Mother Maria Teresa inherited not only the talent of the builder, but also the love for the Netherlands. When she arrived in the Netherlands in 1898, she immediately felt at home.
Mother Maria Teresa also practiced what is now called 'new evangelization' a hundred years ago. Then it was called a home mission. She saw the need of those who had turned away from the sacraments of the Church and instructed her sisters to bring them back into the Church. She was also far ahead of her time in the field of pastoral care for foreigners. In Berlin, for example, it was the Italians who no longer went to church because they lacked a Mass in their own language. She found an Italian-speaking priest and invited the people to Mass in Pappelallee, which was quickly overcrowded. When no one spoke of ecumenism, she maintained friendly contacts with people of other faiths. She did works of charity for them and gladly accepted their help. She said, "We are all children of one Heavenly Father!"
Saturday afternoon, May 13, 2006, Cardinal Simonis beatified Saint Joseph's nun Maria-Teresa of Saint Joseph, who was of German origin, on the authority of Pope Benedict XVI. He did this by reading a papal apostolic letter during a celebration in the packed cathedral of Roermond. It was the first beatification on Dutch soil since the Pope determined that these ceremonies no longer take place in the Vatican, but in the diocese where the new Blessed One died and was buried. It was the first beatification on Dutch soil. After the apostolic letter was read, a relic of the new blessed was placed at the altar. Among the guests was also Maria Pieters-Maas from Heerlen.
The Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus
The sisters continue the work of the foundress in 53 houses located in 16 countries in Europe, America and Africa. They unite contemplative contemplative prayer with active apostolate. Originally, they were children's homes and a number of retirement homes almost everywhere. In the course of time, the work has shifted to the necessity of that time. Old people's and nursing homes are becoming increasingly necessary, while the number of children growing up in children's homes is decreasing. The tendency is to look for foster families for these children. However, the demand for places in daycare centers, where the children are well looked after while the parents work, is increasing.
An increasing necessity is the catechesis that the sisters give in the form of religious instruction in schools and preparation for the First Holy Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation in the parishes. In the mission countries, physical needs are also being met by kitchens for children and doctor's treatments for poor people. But all these activities are about bringing people's souls closer to God, and this activity is supported with prayer. This is how many people are reached all over the world.
On February 1, 2006, the Congregation had 423 professed sisters and 29 novices trained in Croatia, the United States, Brazil and Nicaragua. The average age worldwide is roughly between 56 and 65 years.
The presence of the Carmelite DCJ in today's world:
Sittard (NL) founded by the founder in 1898, since 1922 mother house of the congregation and nowadays Generalate, Novitiate, nursing home for the sick sisters and reflection house 'Regina Carmeli'.
Branch of the Mother House in Sittard; Founded on May 23, 2001 in Akureyri.
In 1945 the children's home was transferred from Haarlem to Vogelenzang; since 1980 reflection house, until recently also the home of the major seminary of the diocese of Haarlem; the vacant buildings are currently being let to another sister community.
Berlin-Pappelallee: First house of the Congregation, started by the founder herself in 1891, first as a children's home, later as a training center for various dioceses in the GDR era, including a daycare center, training center for kindergarten teachers and a retirement home; nowadays nursing home.
Neuss: Founded in 1918; until the Second World War children's home, then retirement home.
Munich: Founded in 1921 by the founder as a children's home; nowadays only one group intern and 120 children in the daycare center.
Kreuth: Founded in 1968 as a holiday home for the children of Munich; nowadays holiday home and sanatorium.
Halberstadt: In 1920, with the permission of the founder, the old Dominican monastery was set up as a children's home; now a home for disabled children and a daycare center.
Ludwigsburg-Hoheneck: Founded in 1930 as a children's home; nowadays a rest home for the elderly and with various spiritual programs.
All the houses of the Carmel DCJ founded in Hungary since 1907 were expropriated by the state in 1950, while the sisters had to shed their habit and were forced to leave the monastery. Religious life was not allowed again in Hungary until 1989, allowing the sisters to return to Berhida on October 15; After new construction, a new monastery was consecrated on March 25, 1993 in Gyenesdias. One young Hungarian sister is currently working in a daycare center.
The house in Vienna was founded in 1911 by the founder as a children's home and was also a novitiate from 1922 to 1928; In 1939 the children were taken from the sisters by the Nazis, after which Jews persecuted until 1942 were admitted; after the war retirement home to date and in the future also a day care center. See also: www.jozefs-heim.at
Rocca di Papa: Founded in 1904 by the founder herself; first mother house of the Karmel DCJ; Expropriated as German property in 1915; then a children's home and since 2002 also a daycare center.
Cremona: First house in Italy, founded in 1903 by the founder herself; until 1983 children's home, now a retirement home.
Rome: Founded on Monte Mario in 1944 as a refuge for the sisters and children of Rocca di Papa; in 1954 moved to the new children's home that was built in Via Trionfale; since 1955 mainly used for the reception of pilgrims; see also: villamontemario.com
Clusone: Initially a holiday home for the children of Cremona; blessed on June 19, 1952; is currently being converted into holiday homes.
Zagreb: Started in 1917 by Sister Maria Teresa of Saint Peter of Tyrol, when Mother Founder Maria Teresa of Saint Joseph was in America; in 1925 the current children's home was bought and nowadays it is a home for internally and externally living children; in 2001 it was renovated into a retreat house, Provincialate and Novitiate.
Leskovac: Founded by Sister Maria Teresa of Saint Peter in 1920; children's home, nursery, catechesis in schools.
Prislin-Poredje: Founded in 1940.
Punat: Founded in 1960.
Belica: Inauguration, 1968
Slavonski Brod: Founded in 1969
Strmec: Since 1974
Split: Founded in 1979
Gabela Polje (near Medjugorje): Founded 1991
Mississauga: Founded 1952
Toronto: Founded by its foundress in 1913
St. Catharines: The house, founded in 1914 by the founder in Merriton, moved to St. Catharines in 1920.
Medicine Hat: Founded in 1951
United States (10 houses; 3 counties);
Milwaukee-Wauwatosa: Founded by the Foundress in 1916; Provincialate for USA North; current activity: home for punished young people
Kenosha: Founded by the founder in 1917; first retirement home of the order.
East Chicago: Founded by the Foundress in 1913; shelter for girls and for babies brought in by the police.
Grand Rapids: Founded in 1951.
Kirkwood: Founded in 1935; Provincialate for Central USA.
Owensboro: Founded in 1952.
La Mesa: Founded in 1938.
San Antonio: Founded in 1918.
Corpus Christi: Founded in 1924.
Managua: Founded in 1979
Tipitana: Since 1995
Bluefields: Since 1965
Puerto Cabezas: First foundation in Nicaragua in 1947; because the sea threatened to inundate the land, abandoned by the sisters in 1978; used by the Sandinistas as a prison, where the prisoners were tortured; when a sister appeared there, the soldiers got scared and left; the diocese renovated the building and returned the land to the sisters (the sea was no longer a danger) and the sisters returned on December 4, 2002.
Maracaibo: Founded in 1982.
Jacarei: Founded in 1985 from the Croatian province.
São José dos Campos: Founded in 1989.
Palhoca: Novitiate, founded in 1992.
Ubatuba: Founded December 14, 2001.
Itaúna: Founded December 14, 2002.
Tibati (Cameroon): First foundation in Africa, from Sittard Mother House, January 22, 1995.
Umuozu (Nigeria): Founded on July 16, 2002.
On January 1, 2005, three sisters started to manage the retreat home of the Carmelite Fathers.
Russia:The Congregation's youngest foundation, in August 2005 in Taganrog, near the city of Rostock.
I have been able to use the above information in thanksgiving to Superior General M. M. Angelina Finnell and the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, sharing their joy at the beatification of their founder Mother Mary Teresa of Saint Joseph.
See also their website.
6132 AL SITTARD
P.O. Box 28
6130 AA SITTARD
Tel: +31 - (0) 46 - 452 53 80
Fax: +31 - (0) 46 - 451 95 83