I have a feeling that Sister Rosa Maria will read Mary Was Her Life in a really important season, when she really needs it.
Sister Josepha of the Child Jesus (one of the sisters in my Novitiate) said this months prior to my departure from Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. For years I was told to read this book, that it was a must. The first time I heard about it I was visiting a convent of sisters and that book was for sale, I did not have enough money to buy it (I was a struggling college student). When I entered Carmel, our monastery library showed we had it…but it was missing. What are the odds- Why can’t I read this book? Sister Josepha’s prophetic words kept ringing in my ear. I was excited to see when Our Lady would have this book land in my hands.
Teresita Quevedo was no ordinary girl. She died at age 20. Teresita was the life of the party, captain of her basketball team, tennis champion, swimmer, dancer and even won “best dressed” in school. She was a born leader and her spiritual father and priest summed her life up in one sentence: Mary was her life. The author of the book said, “every girl has an obsession, Teresita’s was the Mother of God.” Teresita told not a soul, not even her own family; and took a private vow of chastity in the presence of her priest and left high school to enter the Carmelites of Charity- the nuns who taught at her school. After she took that vow, something so evidently changed in her that her mother worried why she wasn’t asked to be danced with at parties. Many boys later said “Teresita was a doll, but her attention was elsewhere.” Her attention was on Our dear Lady and her promised virginity to Our Lord. She later became Sister Maria Teresa of Jesus and took her vows on her death bed. Her last words as she lay sick and dying were:
Mary…how beautiful You are!
I stayed in touch with my confessor from Carmel after I left and we had a rather intense discussion about Our Lady. It was his idea to start a Carmel with a fourth vow of total consecration to Mary. I owe much of my formation in Carmel to him. He was not Carmelite, but he had a deep love for Mary and was providentially in the Marian Vow. I never get sick to the point of having to stay in bed, but I fell so ill that I was confined to my bed at my grandparent’s house. I still remember this moment as if it were a dream. About a month after leaving Carmel My Grammie comes in my room and says, “why didn’t you tell me you ordered a book?” I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about and she walked up to my bed holding out to me Mary Was Her Life. I knew now why Our Lord wanted me confined to the bed, so I could devote all my time to the book I had been waiting years to read.
It was my Carmelite confessor who surprised me with the book. Mary knew this was the season in my life to finally read it. With a new Carmel on the horizon and a new chapter of Mary’s Hand in my far from being over story… how profound are the ways of God. May this book land in your hands as well and set your heart on fire for love of Mary!