Novena Day 3
Saint Henry de Osso y Cervello (1840-1896)
“Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept silent, walked, worked, sweat, got tired, rested, was hungry, thirsty and poor; in a word, He suffered and died for us and for our salvation. Why is it, then, that we cannot make or imagine Jesus as real and down to earth, but only in theory and as the ideal, which is the reason we do not love and imitate Him in everything as we must?”
Saint Henry de Osso y Cervello
Feast Day ~ January 27
Henry was born in the Catalonia region of Spain in 1840 and his inclination toward the spiritual life was clearly evident by the time he reached the age of six. When Henry was still a young boy, his father sent him to train as a clerk in a dry goods store, hoping Henry would learn to become a successful merchant. However, resolved to follow his true calling of dedicating his life to God, Henry traveled secretly to Barcelona and joined the monastery of Our Lady of Montserrat. During his time in the seminary, Henry developed great admiration and devotion to Saint Teresa of Ávila through extensive studies of her writings. This inspired Henry to draw up a life plan for which he took Teresa’s words as his motto: “Let the world perish before I offend God because I owe more to God than to anybody else.” Henry completed his seminary studies and was ordained a priest in 1867.
Henry’s profound faith and trust in Divine Providence became the hallmark of his spirituality. With great zeal he preached, gave retreats and was especially dedicated to teaching young people about the faith. To this end, he established 12 catechetical centers in Tortosa, Spain, which quickly grew to an enrollment of 1,200 children. He also founded the Teresian Apostolic Movement to educate children and youth to pray according to the spirituality of Saint Teresa.
Considered the greatest of his achievements, Henry established the foundation of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1876, the mission of which he wrote is to “…wholeheartedly promote the honor of Jesus and to restore all things in Christ by educating women according to the spirituality of Saint Teresa of Jesus.” The Society which humbly began with eight young women soon spread throughout Spain, Portugal, Africa and North and South America. Today, the Society staffs more than 100 schools and houses of prayer across various parts of the world.