Skip to comments.Mother Therese of Coopersburg
Posted on 05/31/2002 10:00:12 AM PDT by Siobhan
BODY OF CLOISTERED U.S. NUN WHO DIED IN 1939 FOUND 'INTACT' WITH GREEN PALM
The spokesman for a monastery in Pennsylvania has confirmed that the body of a nun who died 63 years ago -- in 1939 -- appears to be "intact" and holding a palm that remains green.
The discovery was made last August during renovation of a mausoleum in Coopersburg, about seven miles southeast of Allentown, where the nun, Mother Therese of Jesus, founded the Carmelite Monastery of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. While there are a number of instances in Europe, the phenomenon of incorrupt, supernaturally preserved bodies is extremely rare in the U.S. If verified by Church authorities it will be a huge development for the American Church, which has only a handful of saints and of those just a few, St. John Neumann, Mother Cabrini, and St. Rose Duchesne, who were found at least partially incorrupt.
Among the pantheon of incorrupt saints is St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi -- after whom the monastery was in part named.
"We were reconfiguring the burial site for the sisters and during the placement of tombs, we had to relocate her tomb," the spokesman, Sam Miranda, who saw the body himself, told Spirit Daily. Miranda said that the monastery is strictly following the protocol for canonization of Mother Therese and thus is not using the term "incorrupt" until the official Church recognizes it as such.
But the body, he said, was in "human form."
"We don't want to violate the process in initiation of the cause [of official approval]," he said. "I will tell you that her body maintained its human form." The diocesan newspaper, The A.D. Times, reported that "the condition of Mother Therese's body became known when workers renovating the mausoleum noticed her state -- vastly different from the other deceased sisters -- causing nuns residing at the monastery to appeal to their superior to examine the matter."
That led the general delegate to the Carmelite nuns and hermits in North America, Rev. John Benedict-Weber, to begin an investigation of Mother Therese's life as told through her letters andpersonal records in order to determine if a formal request should be made to begin the canonization process.
"One of the fathers has just returned from Rome, and we are being cautious," said Miranda. "In no way, shape, or form do we want to violate the Vatican's process. So I'm only validating that during the process of reconstruction of the mausoleum, the foundress, who is Mother Therese of Jesus, was found in a humanlike state. I was there."
The strictly cloistered Coopersburg Carmelites have no communication with the outside and so there was not the opportunity to interview other witnesses. However, Miranda confirmed that the palm branch was still green. He said all Carmelites sisters are buried with a palm. According to the diocesan newspaper, the ten Carmelites at the large, spare monastery have been praying for Mother Therese's cause. Baptized Maria Anna Lindenberg, the nun was born in Muenster, Germany, and came to the U.S. in 1901 after the death of her parents. She later returned to Europe to establish a monastery in the Black Forest and also spent time at monasteries in Rome and Naples. Mother Therese died at age 62 and the palm she held was from the recent Easter celebration, according to the diocese.
[The order to which Mother Therese belonged is called "Carmelites of the Ancient Observance." It was greatly influenced by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross -- whose body was also incorrupt -- and was also the order (centuries later) of St. Therese the Little Flower. As for St. Magdalene de Piazzi: she was a mystic known for her visions and ecstasies. She was born in Florence on April 2, 1566. Like Mother Therese she led a hidden life and had a dedication to Pentecost.]
You're right. This monastery is an O.Carm. monastery. The O.Carms. refused to reform under St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
The OCDs (Discalced Carmelites) are St. Teresa of Avila's / St. John of the Cross's order.
Also, St. Therese, the Little Flower, was an OCD, not an O.Carm. like the article said.
Do you have any details on that? I was under the impression that the OCDs who reported directly to the Holy See were the strictest, but I don't know that much about the O.Carms.
Yes, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns that are under the 1990 Constitutions under the jurisdiction of the Holy See are much more traditional and stricter on enclosure than the ones under the new 1991 Constitutions (generally speaking of course, because some of the 1991s are very good too). There’s a discussion about it here in Vocation Station: http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?s=759b1b7ddcdfcc244d76fa8b60cf3799&showtopic=58540 It’s something like 18 out of the 60something Carmels in the US that are under the 1990s.
I don’t know very much about the different O. Carm. communities, but just that this one in Coopersburg looks great! http://religiouslife.com/vocsearch/search.phtml?view=d&my_id=31&criteria=d And they seem to be heavily influenced by the OCDs, especially with St. Therese as patron of their monastery.
Thanks so much for the information! I’ll be checking out the links.
You’re welcome! :)
There’s also reference to some of the different OCD Carmels in the US in this thread too - http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?s=c0f44d1ef38f55d10c18c76ac7143217&showtopic=66675