Why do Discalced Carmelites exist? Why did a Spanish woman, inspired by God, decide to go for all the pain and complications of founding a new style of religious life that today is known as the Discalced Carmelites or more fittingly “It-Tereżjani”? WHY?
She herself describes her inner travails in her book “The Way of Perfection”. (Italics are mine)
“At the start, when I began to found this convent, I did not mean there to be so much austerity in externals.
Just then I heard about the disasters in France and the havoc brought about by those Lutherans, and how this unhappy sect of theirs was growing. It upset me completely, and –as if my efforts could have been of any use, or I were anybody at all–I went crying to our Lord and begged Him to right such a great wrong. I felt ready to lay down a thousand lives to save a single one of all those souls being lost there. But I was only a woman, I thought, and a bad one at that, and it was out of the question for me to do what I felt like doing to serve the Lord.
So I longed intensely (and still long) that as He has so many enemies and so few friends, His friends should at least be good ones; and I made up my mind to do what little I could: namely to keep the evangelical counsels as perfectly as I possibly could myself, and see that my few companions here should do the same.
I trusted in God’s great goodness, for He never fails to help anyone who makes up his mind to leave everything for His sake. The others were everything I could have desired, so my faults were canceled out by their virtues, and I was able to do something to please our Lord after all: if we all gave ourselves up to praying for those who are the defenders of the Church–the preachers and intellectuals who stand up for her –we should be helping this Lord of mine as much as we possibly could, while others for whom He has done any amount of good are treating Him so badly that you would think they wanted to nail Him back on the cross–the traitors!– and He has nowhere to lay His head.
It breaks my heart to see so many souls being lost. If only things were not so bad! If only there were not more and more being lost every day! Help me, sisters in Christ, help me in imploring our Lord to grant this!
This is why He has gathered you here; this is your calling; this is what your task has got to be; this is all you have got to long for, cry for, pray for!
The world is on fire; and it looks as though they would like to condemn Christ anew, so to speak, for they keep bringing up endless accusations; they are trying to wreck His Church. For the love of God beg His Majesty to hear our prayers in this regard; and I–wretch that I am–will also beg Him for the same thing, since His glory and the good of His Church are at stake.