St. Teresa Margaret Redi [Feast: September 1]
Teresa Margaret was born in Arezzo in Tuscany in 1747 of the noble Redi family, and entered the Discalced Carmelites in Florence on September 1, 1764. She was given a special contemplative experience concerning the words of Saint John, “God is love.” She felt deeply that her vocation was to live a hidden life of love and self-immolation. That vocation was confirmed by her heroic exercise of fraternal charity, but was soon completed: she died in 1770, aged twenty-three.
St. Brocard [Feast September 2]
The “Brother B” to whom the Carmelite Rule is directed remains shrouded in the mystery of the ages. Even his name “Brocard” depends on a tradition which cannot be entirely supported. So what can we know about Brocard?
Fortunately, we do know quite a lot about the hermits and eremitical life during the medieval period. A typical hermit would find a quiet place where study of Scripture and silent prayer were possible. The hermits who followed the Crusaders to Palestine had the added characteristic of a unique hardiness. “Walking in the footsteps of Jesus” was a primary goal in the individual’s spiritual journey, especially in such places as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth.
There was a centuries-long tradition of hermits living on or near the Carmel valleys and it seems very likely that the need for a written formula of life may have been seen as a way to organize this overcrowded population, and settle disputes over details of their spiritual practice.
Brocard may very well have been the peacemaker who rose to this challenge by seeking out a significant prelate to settle the questions of ascetical discipline. The simple fact that he is the one whom Albert of Jerusalem addresses indicates that he could speak for the others, probably because of a consensus on his leadership. He may also have had to contend with ethnic differences among hermits from many different places. Brocard’s position as leader may have reflected his skill at mediating the small disputes which arise among strong-minded people.
Condensed from the article by Leopold Glueckert O.Carm.
St. Albert of Jerusalem [Feast: September 17]
Albert Avogadro was born about the middle of the Twelfth Century in Castel Gualteri in Italy. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior in 1180. Named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli in 1185, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. There, in word and example, he was the model of a good pastor and peace-maker. While he was Patriarch (1206-1214) he united the hermits of Mount Carmel into one community and wrote a Rule for them. He was murdered at Acre on September 14, 1214.