Novena to All Carmelite Saints

The Carmelite order has been richly blessed with men and women, who have made this same earthly pilgrimage we are walking now. They stand ready to be our spiritual companions, to encourage us, to share their wisdom with us. From each one of these great saints we can learn something different about the beautiful spirituality that comes to us from Carmel.

Leading up to the Feast of All Carmelite Saints, we will share a “novena” of nine Carmelite saints you might not have met yet. The lives of these less-famous Carmelites still serve as examples to us. They can teach us something new and different about the beautiful spirituality that comes to us from Carmel. the wisdom they impart to those of us still making our journey toward God.

Novena to All Carmelite Saints

Novena prayer to be said daily.
Prayer taken from Carmelite Proper, November 14, Feast of All Carmelite Saints

Lord, may the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother,
and the prayers of all the Saints of Carmel
help us to walk steadfastly in their footsteps,
and by our prayers and good works
ever further the cause of Your Church.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Happy feast of All Carmelite Saints!

Let us pray the Litany of Carmelite Saints asking the Saints and Blesseds of Carmel to intercede for us!

Novena Daily Meditations

Kindly click on the photo for daily meditation.

Novena | Day 1 (November 5)

“Silence is precious; by keeping silence and knowing how to listen to God, the soul grows in wisdom and God teaches it what it cannot learn from men.”
– Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew
Feast Day: June 7

She was St. Teresa of Avila’s trusted companion.

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The youngest of seven children, Anne was born into a devout family of landowning farmers in the Castile region of Spain. From an early age, Anne had a deep love for Jesus and desired to become a nun. She experienced a number of dreams in which she realized she was being directed toward a recently-founded Discalced Carmelite monastery in Ávila. Anne entered Saint Joseph’s monastery in Ávila in 1570, becoming the first lay sister. After her profession, Anne joined Saint Teresa on her travels to Valladolid and Medina del Campo. Teresa thought very highly of Anne, and she proved invaluable to Teresa as her secretary and nurse. In the last years of her life, no longer able to write herself, Teresa would dictate her correspondence to Anne. Anne was an especially dedicated nurse, attending to Teresa’s health problems during her final years. Teresa died in Anne’s arms in 1582 at the convent in Alba de Tormes.

Anne returned to Ávila after Teresa’s death and would eventually travel to Paris in 1604 to establish the Discalced Carmelites nuns in France, where Anne became the founding prioress of two convents – in Pontoise and Tours. A few years later, Anne journeyed to Belgium, founding a Carmel in Antwerp, and it is here that she remained prioress for the rest of her life, dying on June 7, 1626. Anne was beatified in 1917.

Blessed Anne’s spirituality focused on seeking and desiring God’s will, and faithfully carrying out and lovingly uniting herself to His will. In her autobiography, Anne wrote extensively about her mystical union with Jesus in reliving with Him the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of His earthly life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, rewarder of the humble, you blessed your servant Anne of Saint Bartholomew with outstanding charity and patience. May her prayers help us, and her example inspire us, to carry our cross and be faithful in loving you, and others for Your sake. Amen.
Bl. Anne of St. Bartholomew, pray for us!

Novena | Day 2 (November 6)

“Prayer, prayer… pray for a while each day, and life will be easier and bearable. Learn to speak with God without words and, in this way, practice the prayer of meditation. Be faithful and reverent before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.”
Blessed Josepha Naval Girbés
Feast Day: November 6

She was a secular Carmelite who formed a school in her own home instructing girls to embroider and preparing them for Holy Communion.

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Josepha was born in the small agricultural village of Algemesí, in the Valencia region of Spain in 1820, to a devout Catholic family, the eldest of five children. In addition to a basic education in reading and writing, Josepha learned to embroider, which became the means by which she would save souls for Christ by educating young girls and women.

After her mother’s death when she was 13, Josepha helped her father raise her younger siblings. For the next several years, she received spiritual direction from the parish priest and her love for Jesus and His Blessed Mother grew steadily. Through the influence of her spiritual director, her commitment to God flourished, and at age 18 she consecrated herself to the Lord with the vow of perpetual chastity. Josepha dedicated herself to holiness of life and of service to Church and neighbor. She formed an informal school in her own home, and invited young girls and women to take embroidery instruction. During the needlework classes, Josepha taught the girls and women how to pray, contemplation, the evangelical virtues and basic catechism. She read to them from the Bible and they engaged in spiritual conversations. She also prepared children for their First Holy Communion. Josepha eventually became a secular Carmelite, entering the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Teresa of Jesus.

Due to a heart condition, Josepha’s health began to decline. She died in 1893 at the age of 72, and was buried in the brown tunic and white mantle of the Carmelite habit.

For those living in the secular world, Blessed Josepha is an especially wonderful role model because she herself lived in the secular world, and well understood its distractions and attachments. Despite these allurements, she chose to follow God’s will in all the ordinary circumstances of daily life. She loved God, cultivated a deep interior life, and showed her love for others by generously giving of herself. “Josepha Naval Girbés is an exceptional mistress of secular holiness; a model of Christian life in her heroic simplicity; a model of parish life. Her entire life proves how one can reach holiness in all states of life in a total consecration to God and in a selfless love for one’s brothers and sisters, even while living in the world.”¹
¹From the General Promoter of the Faith, Monsignor Petti, at the conclusion of the Theological Consultors’ examination

Prayer: O God, through the new leaven of the Gospel, you call men and women and empower them to serve you faithfully in secular life. Grant that they may fervently imitate the example of Blessed Josepha, and, through her intercession, work tirelessly as true Christians to build up your kingdom by fulfilling their duties in the world. Amen.
Bl. Josepha Naval Girbes, pray for us!

Novena | Day 3 (November 7)

“The voice of God leaves no emptiness in the soul, it fills her and does not doubt.”
Blessed Francis Palau y Quer
Feast Day: November 7

He knew what it felt like to be exiled and separated from community, and he spread devotion to Our Lady.

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The seventh of nine children, Francis was born in Spain, in 1811 into a humble farming family of devout Catholics. By age 14, Francis was certain of his vocation to the priesthood, and in 1828 he enrolled in the diocesan seminary in the city of Lleida. He entered the Carmelite order in Barcelona in 1832. Civil war from 1833 to 1839 in Spain brought with it disruption and widespread religious persecution. However, Francis never wavered in his commitment to his vocation, and continued with his theological studies. In the summer of 1835, Francis was arrested by the revolutionary forces and was ultimately forced into living in exile in France and outside his community.

Francis was at last able to return to Barcelona in 1851. However, religious communities were still suppressed, again preventing Francis from living in community. The archbishop of Barcelona appointed him spiritual director of the local seminarians, as well as pastor of a local parish church. It was at this time that Francis founded his “School of Virtue”. The school was suppressed by the government and Francis was exiled to Ibiza, where he lived for the most part in solitude as hermit. In the years 1860-1861, Francis founded the Congregations of Carmelite Brothers and Carmelite Sisters on the island of Majorca. He also spent much of his time preaching retreats that proved very popular among the islanders, as well as spreading love and devotion for Our Lady.

Francis was appointed Director of the Discalced Carmelite tertiaries in Spain in 1867, and wrote a Rule of Life and Constitutions for its members. In 1872, he went to the aid of the Sisters, whose community he had founded, during an outbreak of typhus. On his return journey to Barcelona, he became ill and was taken to the last of his foundations at Tarragona. Francis died there in 1872 at the age of 60.

Francis lived his Carmelite spirituality by promoting love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the need for all – both religious and lay persons – to live their lives in recognizing and returning God’s love.

Prayer: O God, through Your Spirit You filled Blessed Francis, Your priest, with singular gifts of prayer and apostolic charity; through his intercession grant that Christ’s beloved Church, refulgent with the beauty of the Virgin Mother Mary, may be an ever more effective universal sacrament of salvation. Amen.
Bl. Francis Palau, pray for us!

Novena | Day 4 (November 8)

“The sole thing I do many times in the day is to say to the Lord that I wish to live only to love Him and to please Him; that I desire all that He wishes in the way that He wills.”
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
Feast Day: December 11

She knew what it meant to be persecuted for her faith.
She and her sisters were arrested and harassed by an anti-clerical movement in Spain.

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The fourth child of the Marquis and Marchioness of Pidal, Maria was born into a deeply devout Spanish family actively involved in the life of the Church. At the time of her birth, Maria’s father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican. Maria was convinced of her vocation, having heard God’s call to the religious life from a very early age. In her later years, she would often remark that she was “born with a religious vocation.”

After studying the works of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, Maria felt drawn to the contemplative life and joined the Carmelite monastery of El Escorial in Madrid, making her first profession in 1921. In 1924, she founded a new Carmel, Cerro de los Angeles, and from this foundation nine others followed in Spain and one in India. In July 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the nuns at Cerro de los Angeles were arrested, and for the next 14 months amidst severe privations, threats and searches, the nuns lived in expectation of martyrdom. This, however, did not happen. In the fall of 1937, Mother Maria, together with all of her nuns, managed to leave Madrid for Salamanca where she was able to found another Carmel at the request of the local bishop. In 1939, Mother Maria was able to restore the convent of Cerro de los Angeles, which had been completely destroyed. It was from the rebuilt Cerro de los Angeles that between 1944-1961, Mother Maria established additional Carmels across Spain, including one at la Aldeheula, which effectively became a little village – the convent was greatly expanded and eventually included schools, housing for the poor, a church, community center buildings and various other structures.

The hallmark of Saint Maria’s spirituality was to always give primacy of place to prayer and self-sacrifice. She had a true, passionate zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. She was dedicated to the Rules of her community and was committed to helping those in need, and initiated many apostolic, social and charitable works.

Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus died at the convent of la Aldehuela in 1974 at the age of 83.

Prayer: Lord God, who drew Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus into the secrets of the Heart of Your Son, grant through her intercession and example, that we may work together for the salvation of souls, experiencing the delights of Your love. Amen.
St. Maria Maravillas, pray for us!

Novena | Day 5 (November 9)

“Our Redeemer ever present in the most Blessed Sacrament, extends His hands to everyone. He opens His heart and says, ‘Come to Me, all of you.’”
Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Feast Day: November 19

He was in the Russian military and studied civil engineering.
He sought to bring unity to the Church.

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Jozef Kalinowski was born into a Polish noble family in the city of Vilnius, in present-day Lithuania in September 1835. Jozef proved to be a capable and distinguished student, studying engineering, agriculture and mathematics. In 1853, he joined the Russian military and continued his studies in civil engineering in St. Petersburg. In 1863, Jozef was promoted to the rank of captain, by which time, the Russians occupied Poland and the Polish insurrection against the Russians erupted.

Jozef’s sympathetic views toward the Poles prompted him to resign from the Russian army, and he soon actively engaged in fighting the Russians. He subsequently was captured and given a death sentence by firing squad. In 1864 this was commuted to 10 years’ exile and hard labor in Siberia. Jozef endured the 9-month long forced-march to Siberia with other prisoners of war. Jozef remained a prisoner at hard labor for 10 years, during which time he became a spiritual advisor to the other prisoners – giving them hope, and encouraging them to turn to God in prayer.

During his imprisonment in Siberia, Jozef became aware of his growing vocation to the priesthood. In 1887, he entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Linz, Austria, taking the name Raphael of St. Joseph. By 1882, he was ordained a priest and at this time, Russian suppression of religious communities in Poland had eased. In 1883, he was named prior of the Carmelite monastery in Czerna, allowing him to return to Poland, where he worked hard to restore the presence of the order in Poland and Ukraine, by founding several communities of friars and nuns.

There was a three-fold aspect to Saint Raphael’s Carmelite spirituality. First, he worked tirelessly with schismatic Russians, teaching them the Catholic faith and encouraging them to turn toward Christ. Second, he placed great focus on the sacrament of Confession, soon becoming a much sought-after confessor and spiritual director. Third, his overall spiritual life was one of constant prayer, austerity and silence – teaching his novices to follow his example. Saint Raphael Kalinowski died of tuberculosis in 1907 at the age of 72.

Prayer: Lord God, You made your priest Saint Raphael strong in adversity and filled him with a great love in promoting Church unity. Through his prayers, make us strong in faith and in love for one another, that we too may generously work together for the unity of all believers in Christ. Amen.
St. Raphael Kalinowski, pray for us!

Novena | Day 6 (November 10)

“Lord Jesus, I very humbly beg you to look from now on through my eyes, speak by my tongue, and accomplish by all my members and senses the things which are agreeable to you.”
Blessed Mary of the Incarnation
Feast Day: April 18

She knew the suffering of financial hardship when her husband recklessly reduced the family to poverty. She knew St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis de Sales and brought the Carmelite order to France as a lay woman.

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Barbara Avrillot (also known as Madame Barbé Acarie) was born in Paris in 1566 to a devout, noble family. Her mother dedicated Barbara to the Blessed Virgin Mary and sent the little girl to be educated by the Poor Clare nuns of Longchamp. Although Barbara had aspirations toward the religious life, she acceded to her parents’ wishes and married Pierre Acarie in 1582 at the age of 16. The couple would have six children together. Over the years, her husband’s imprudent management of the family’s finances caused the family much suffering and hardship, but Barbara still found the means to distribute alms to the poor and perform many varied works of charity.

In 1601, Barbara was introduced to the writings of St. Teresa of Ávila, and shortly thereafter began having mystical experiences with the saint, who told her that God wanted her to introduce Discalced Carmelite nuns in France. With the help of St. Francis de Sales, who obtained the approval of Pope Clement VIII, Barbara had permission to begin establishing monasteries of Discalced Carmelite nuns in France. The first of these communities was established in Paris in 1604, and six Spanish nuns who had known and had been formed by St. Teresa settled in the new foundation, including Anne of St. Bartholomew and Anne of Jesus. By the time of her death in 1618, Barbara helped establish 14 Carmels in France, and her three daughters all became Carmelite nuns.

When Pierre died in 1613, Barbara requested to be admitted to the Amiens Carmel, where her eldest daughter was sub-prioress, taking the name Sister Mary of the Incarnation.

Blessed Mary’s Carmelite spirituality was marked by her fervent spirit of prayer and her zealous propagation of the Catholic faith. After years of rapidly deteriorating health, Blessed Mary died at the Carmel at Pontoise at the age of 52.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You gave Blessed Mary of the Incarnation heroic strength in the face of the adversities she met along life’s road, and zeal for the extension of the Carmelite family. May we Your children courageously endure every trial and persevere to the end in Your love. Amen.
Bl. Mary of the Incarnation, pray for us!

Novena | Day 7 (November 11)

“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

He was an apostle to young people and had a great devotion to St. Teresa of Avila.

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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.

Prayer: Lord God, in Your priest Saint Henry de Ossó You wonderfully combined the ideals of the apostolic community: a life of continual prayer and of untiring apostolic activity. By his intercession may we persevere in the love of Christ and serve your Church by word and deed. Amen.
St. Henry de Osso y Cervello, pray for us!

Novena | Day 8 (November 12)

“I must obey, because it is the will of God.”
Blessed Maria Mercedes Prat
Feast Day: July 24

She was martyred, executed for the crime of being a religious. The last words on her lips were those of the “Our Father”.

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Mercedes was born in Barcelona in 1880, and from her earliest childhood, committed herself to God. Even as a young girl, she followed Jesus’ example in showing a great love for others, her commitment to her prayer life, her familial responsibilities, and her dedication to her schoolwork. In 1904, at the age of 24, Mercedes entered the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus in Tortosa, Spain and in 1920 was assigned to the community’s mother-house in Barcelona.

The sisters with whom Mercedes lived viewed her as a “true Teresian – a religious according to the heart of God.” She was prudent, truthful, gentle and kind in dealing with others, while remaining firm in character. She lived entirely in submission to God’s will. God was her one love, and her love for God increased to the point where she would gladly have given her life for Him. In time, her desire would be fulfilled.

For the next 16 years, Mercedes joyfully taught the local children at her community’s school, but the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War brought with it destruction and suffering. In mid-July 1936, Mercedes and her sisters were forced to give up their school and flee. However, on July 23rd, Mercedes, together with another sister were arrested. The two sisters endured hours of questioning, intimidation and threats, yet they refused to recant their statement that they were religious sisters, fully aware that for this, they would suffer the penalty of death. At dawn on the morning of the 24th, Mercedes and her companions stood before the firing squad and were shot and executed. The last words on her lips were those of the “Our Father”.

Prayer: O God of infinite goodness, You endowed the virgin Blessed Maria Mercedes Prat with the gift of fortitude and enabled her to complete her offering of herself to You and to the Church through martyrdom. Through her intercession grant that we may always remain firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Amen.
Bl. Maria Mercedes Pray, pray for us!

Novena | Day 9 (November 13)

“Just as the soul lives the life of God, so does God in a certain way live IN her. And so it is that between them there is but a single life, a single love… God alone!”
– Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
Feast Day: September 1

She knew what it felt to take care of a sick family member.

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Born Anna Maria Redi, to a noble Italian family in 1747, Anna Maria from an early age, desired nothing more than to live a humble, completely hidden life given over to growing in virtue. Beginning around the age of five, she felt called to a life of prayer and would spend much time alone in quiet contemplation, pursuing holiness while carefully avoiding drawing attention to herself, and to appear ordinary to all around her. Although drawn to the religious life, Anna Maria was not quite sure of her vocation. It would be none other than St. Teresa of Ávila herself who would dispel Teresa Margaret’s doubts inviting her to become one of her spiritual daughters in Carmel with these words: “I am Teresa of Jesus, and I want you among my daughters.” Teresa Margaret entered the Florence Carmel in September 1764 at the age of 17.

Teresa Margaret served her community as infirmarian and always presented a serene exterior no matter how taxing her internal or external trials might have been. She was determined to prove her love for God in all her deeds, to conform her will to God’s in all things, to be – in her words – “motivated by love alone.” For those wishing to grow in virtue, it is well worth getting to know St. Teresa Margaret and following her quiet example.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You enabled Saint Teresa Margaret Redi to draw untold resources of humility and charity from the fountainhead, our Savior. Through her prayers may we never be separated from the love of Christ. Amen.
St. Teresa Margaret Redi, pray for us!