Carmelite Quote of the Day

The purpose of this topic is to offer brief quotes from Carmelite saints and authors that the faithful can reflect on, share with others, and even memorize. Where the quote is better understood in a broader context, a link to the longer quote will be provided for further reflection. Sources and citations will accompany the quotes so that all may be assured of their authenticity.

We ask the Carmelite Doctors of the Church — Saints John of the Cross, Teresa of Jesus, and Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face — to enlighten us all.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Teacher in the Spirit, pray for us!


The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Excerpt from Exaltation of the Cross, September 14, 1939: Ave Crux, Spes Unica, which was a meditation that Sister Benedicta wrote for the Carmel of Echt, 14 September 1939. This text was written as a kind of ferverino that the prioress would give to the nuns to prepare them for the renewal of their vows on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. You can read more from this text here and here.


Thanks for sharing this. It’s beautiful.

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At your service! If these quotes help you, feel free to share them and keep coming back for more.

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A soul depends on grace in proportion to its desire for greater perfection. God’s help is necessary at every moment because without it the soul can do nothing.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D. (Nicolas Herman)

Excerpt from his Spiritual Maxims, I.3-5, found in Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, edited by Father Conrad de Meester, O.C.D., translated by Father Salvatore Sciurba, O.C.D., and published by ICS Publications, Washington DC.

You can read this quote in context here. On 10 August 1635, Nicolas Herman was seriously injured in the Thirty Years War, ending his military career. It was the pivotal event that launched him on the way of perfection in the Teresian Carmel. As a Discalced Carmelite friar he learned Saint Teresa’s method of prayer, which she explained in her autobiography:

Keeping Christ present is what we of ourselves can do (Book of Her Life, 12.4).


Christ’s mercy endures everything, and does not think evil but rejoices in the good; it intercedes for us, and knocks on the door of our heart, it lowers itself until it conquers the soul with its love full of humility.

Saint Raphael of St. Joseph Kalinowski

Excerpts from his conference, Baptism and Religious Vows given to a community of Discalced Carmelite nuns (location/date unknown). You can read the quote in context here. It is taken from the biography of St. Raphael by Father Szcepan Praskiewicz, OCD entitled Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, published in 2016 by ICS Publications, Washington DC.

For those unfamiliar with St. Raphael, he was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. Following military service, he was condemned in 1864 to ten years of forced labor in Siberia. In 1877 he became a Carmelite and was ordained a priest in 1882. He contributed greatly to the restoration of the Discalced Carmelites in Poland. His life was distinguished by zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907.

As a native of Wadowice, St. John Paul II lived in the saintly shadow cast by St. Raphael Kalinowski. He mentions St. Raphael in his homily when he celebrated Mass in Wadowice in 1999. You can read excerpts from his homily that refer to St. Raphael and the Discalced Carmelite friars here. As this article from Aleteia explains, Saint Raphael Kalinowski was a personal hero of St. John Paul II.

  • Discalced Carmelites celebrate the Memorial of St. Raphael of St. Joseph Kalinowski on November 19.


If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet a priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian. If the white man beat me that’s his problem, not mine. I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much.

Blessed Isidore Bakanja

Blessed Isidore Bakanja is known as the “Scapular Martyr” because of the horrific circumstances of his martyrdom: he was tortured and left mortally wounded because of hatred of the faith and his refusal to remove the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which he wore constantly.

You can read his brief Carmelite biography here. A more detailed description of his story is found here. Saint John Paul II beatified Isidore on Sunday, 24 April 1994 along with Gianna Beretta Molla and Elisabetta Canori Mora. You can read an English translation of excerpts from the Holy Father’s homily and pray the Carmelite prayer of the day at this website.

Blessed Isidore Bakanja, pray for us!


Live in His intimacy as you would live with One you love, in a sweet heart-to-heart.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

You can read this quote in context here. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (Elizabeth Catez, 1880-1906) entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery of her hometown of Dijon, France in 1901. There she made her profession of vows in 1903 and from there she was called “to light, to love, and to life” by the Divine Spouse in 1906. A faithful adorer in spirit and in truth, her life was a “praise of glory” of the Most Blessed Trinity, present in her soul and loved amidst interior darkness and excruciating illness. In the mystery of divine inhabitation, she found her “heaven on earth,” her special charism, and her mission for the church. She was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1984 in Paris and canonized by Pope Francis 16 October 2016.

The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Dijon-Flavignerot curate the official Elizabeth of the Trinity website. The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Boston have an excellent translation of St. Elizabeth’s famous prayer to the Holy Trinity. You can find novenas to St. Elizabeth of the Trinity here.



The Almighty has done great things in the soul of his Divine Mother’s child and the greatest thing was that he showed her her littleness, her powerlessness.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

This is a literal translation of the final statement in Manuscript C, folio 4 recto of St. Thérèse’s autobiographical manuscripts. You can read Father John Clarke’s English translation here on the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, as well as the French original text here.

Much of the Archives website is available in English; click here to visit the Archives homepage and then click English to explore only the English content.

On 14 August 1921 Pope Benedict XV promulgated the decree on the heroicity of the virtues of Thérèse of the Child Jesus. You can read an excerpt from his address here or the pope’s complete address here. In his remarks, he seems to foresee that one day Carmel may have a woman as Doctor of the Church. In fact, there are two!

Here is a photo of the bottom of Manuscript C, folio 4 recto where St. Thérèse says that the greatest thing that God ever did was to show her her littleness (underlined) and her powerlessness.

MsC04r (2)



In Carmel, too, we had our procession after Vespers, which we sing at 2 o’clock. We wore our white mantles: that is so beautiful in the midst of our cloisters, and I like to think of the procession of Virgins who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a joyous celebration in Carmel. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity desired to share that joy with two of her aunts, with whom she shared many happy Assumption feast days on summer vacation at their country home. You can read this quote in context here.


Hang on – St. Teresa Benedicta and St. Elizabeth are right in line…

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So true! We know for a fact that one of our Discalced Carmelite theologians who worked so hard on the positio for the doctorate of St. Thérèse of Lisieux was already working on the positio for the doctorate of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort when St. John Paul II went to his eternal reward. Apparently, it was the Holy Father’s great desire to see St. Louis-Marie enrolled among the Doctors of the Church first, and then our beloved Edith. Perhaps someday…

Well now, let us suppose that the devil so as to incite pride causes these apparitions. The soul may think they are from God, humble itself, recognize its unworthiness to receive so great a favor, and strive to serve more.

Saint Teresa of Avila

This passage in her book known as The Foundations comes from chapter 8, where she discusses extraordinary, mystical favors and offers advice concerning revelations and visions. This is very helpful today for those who think they are receiving privileged communications from God!

You can read the quote in context here.

This is the famous chapter where she refers to some of her favors in paragraph 3, but speaks of herself anonymously, in the third person:

I know a person whose confessors caused her much distress over similar things; but afterward, from what she could understand through the great effects and good works that resulted, she judged that her experiences were from God. And she was very distressed that because of the command they gave her she had to bless herself and make the fig when she saw a vision…

Levitation of John & Teresa_HIDALGO-Jose-Garcia


@carmelitequotes not sure where I should post it. Maybe you know it already but in Italy there was a pretty famous singer called Giuni Russo.She lived a very secular life but eventually later on reverted to the Faith and embraced the Carmelite Spirituality. Toward the end of her short life (she was very sick) she recorded some amazing music pieces with the Carmelite sisters.
I think you may enjoy it.


This is stunning! Thank you so much!

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In this vale of tears, suffering will not be lacking, and we should be content to have something to offer to our most beloved Jesus who wanted so much to suffer for love of us. The most direct way to unite ourselves to God is that of the cross, so we should always desire it. May the Lord not permit that I be separated from his divine will.

Blessed Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Moragas Cantarero
From the English translation of the Spanish propers for the Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings, 2nd Reading (excerpt)

Maria Sagrario was born at Lillo (Toledo) on 8th January 1881. A pharmacist by trade, she was one of the first women in Spain to be admitted to this qualification. In 1915 she entered the Carmel of St. Anne and St. Joseph in Madrid. Through her spirit of prayer and her love for the Eucharist, she was a perfect embodiment of the contemplative and ecclesial ideal of the Teresian Carmel. She was Prioress of her community when she was martyred on 15th August 1936. It was a grace she longed for and accepted in perfection of faith and ardent love for Christ.

The Discalced Carmelites in Spain observe her Optional Memorial on 16 August; elsewhere, the Teresian Carmel observes the Optional Memorial of all the beatified martyred nuns of the Spanish Civil War on July 24.


They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

The Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort

Blesseds Leonard Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard, and Hubert of Saint Claude
Resolutions of the Martyrs, (excerpt)

Fr. Leonard Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), Fr. Michael-Aloysius Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude (b. 1753 at Frolois), were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church, and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result, they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader ship in Rochefort Bay, waiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation, and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.

You can read the quote in context here.


We have the duty to assist the pope, and if we are unable to do it in other ways, let us help with prayers and good works.

Saint Raphael of St. Joseph Kalinowski

This quote comes from a conference that St Raphael gave to the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Wadowice, 29 March 1893, at festivities celebrating the pontificate of Leo XIII. You can learn more about St Raphael Kalinowski here. You can read this quote in context here.


I sacrifice my days of suffering for my parish and for those who are dear to me. With God’s help, I hope to persevere, supported by the prayers of those I hold dear and of my parish.

Blessed Georg Häfner

Blessed Georg was a parish priest in the Diocese of Würzburg, Germany who was arrested 31 October 1941 after running afoul of the Nazis. He refused to participate in the typical salute to Hitler and insisted upon the rights and freedom of the Church. He was transferred to Dachau concentration camp in December 1941 and succumbed to the maltreatment, torture and hardship on 20 August 1942. He was distinguished for his heroic patience and forgiveness of his oppressors.

He is venerated by Discalced Carmelite Secular Order members; from a young age he was associated with the Discalced Carmelites in the Würzburg diocese and as an adult he joined the secular order. His Teresian spirituality sustained him in his captivity.

You can learn more about Blessed Georg and view his commemorative cobblestone (stolperstein) here.


There are commemorative cobblestones, called stolpersteins, all over Europe that recall the arrest, deportation, and death of victims of the Shoah. Here is a photo of the stolperstein that commemorates Blessed Georg Häfner. Although he was arrested in the town of Oberschwarzach, where he served as the parish priest, this stolperstein is in Würzburg, which is the diocesan see.

  • Blessed Georg is a shining example of holiness for parish priests everywhere. Let’s ask him to pray for our pastors, that they may have courage and strength in the face of the many enemies who attack our religious liberties today.

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