“May the Holy Spirit inflame us with that fire which Jesus came to cast on the earth and which he ardently desired to set ablaze.”
St. Alphonsus Liguori was an 18th century Neapolitan gentleman, a star lawyer, with an apparently prosperous future ahead of him. However, his attention to an inner voice within himself and an extraordinary sensitivity to the immensity of people’s needs all around him compelled him to give his life over to God and to the service of God’s people. His passionate desire to respond to these needs led him to found the religious congregation known as the Redemptorists, whose clear mission was to make the redeeming love of Jesus Christ available and accessible to everyone, especially the poor and spiritually abandoned. This sense of mission, coupled with a spirituality fueled by prayer, devoted to the Blessed Mother, and focused on the three-fold mystery of Love’s redeeming way – the Incarnation, Redemption, and Holy Eucharist – profoundly stirred and influenced the hearts of Fr. Louis Florent Gillet and Mother Theresa Maxis.
St. Teresa of Avila
“We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us.”
–Saint Teresa of Avila
A 16th century Spanish Carmelite Nun and one of only four women Doctors of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila is best known for the intensity of her life of prayer and her extraordinary writing and teaching on the spiritual life. The connection of St. Teresa of Avila to the IHM congregation comes through St. Alphonsus. St. Alphonsus had a great devotion to St. Teresa who lived two hundred years before him. As a teenager, he read many of her writings and referred to her as his “second mother.” It was through Saint Teresa that Alphonsus came to understand prayer as “nothing but a friendly relationship and frequent conversation with Jesus whom we know loves us.” So, it was really through her spiritual tutelage that St. Alphonsus handed on to his Redemptorist congregation and to the IHM congregation the wonderful gift of prayer, prayer that is simple and rooted in the perennial tradition of the Church. So we are indebted to St. Teresa of Avila for her profound contribution to our spirituality.