Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch was born in 1855 in Sandow, Brandenburg (now in Poland), the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. At a young age, she was attracted to the Catholic Church and desired to become a “sister”. While serving as Director of Nursing at a mental hospital in Berlin, her desires were realized; she made her profession of faith 30 October 1888. In the following year, she read the autobiography of St. Teresa and understood that her vocation was profoundly Carmelite and one of service to the poor. She opened her first home for needy children in Berlin; others followed. In 1906, she received permission to gather her companions, to profess vows and establish the religious institute “Carmel of the Divine Heart of Jesus”, taking the name Maria Teresa of St. Joseph. Despite much suffering, her work grew and prospered in Europe and North America. After a long illness, she died in the odor of sanctity, 20 September 1938 and was beatified 13 May 2006.
From the Autobiography of Bl. Maria Teresa
During the night of January 21, 1890 I seemed to see a very touching picture in my sleep. It was a living, life-size crucifix. From the hands to the feet, the body was framed with a wreath of thorns. A wreath of thorns in the shape of a heart was impressed into the left side of the heart. There was no crown of thorns on the head. The arms were not lowered; they were stretched out, as a sign of life. This vision was a shocking and pitiful sight, as well as horrible and jolting. There are no words to describe it. While my eyes rested on it, my heart trembled with pain. I understood this picture to mean that the Divine Savior is the head in heaven, without pain or thorns. The Body is His holy Church, not only affixed to the cross by earthly powers but also wounded by lukewarm, lapsed Catholics, indicated by the thorns framing the body. The thorns impressed upon the heart are those consecrated to God, who have become the tepid and disloyal priests and members of religious Orders. That morning I arose quite early and hurried to the church. My heart was profoundly moved by pain and compassion; no, it was wounded. It was clear that God was asking of me prayer and atonement! I was to pray for the conversion of sinners, and to move the mercy of God for the freedom of Holy Church. From that morning on my heart was filled with a new hunger and thirst, not only for God’s pleasure or for perfection, but with a burning hunger and thirst to win souls for the Divine Heart. That crucifix is stamped on my memory, and it not only keeps my zeal for the salvation of souls alive, it increases its fire and creates in me the desire to arrive soon at the throne of God, where my longing for souls may be satisfied.