Discalced Carmelite Nuns, OCD
Peacefully at the Carmel of St. Joseph, Spruce Grove, Mother Teresa of Jesus, O.C.D., foundress, passed into eternal life, November 24th, 2016, aged 91, in the 62 nd year of her religious life. Born March 5, 1925 in Cardiff, South Wales – Great Britain, to William Joseph Fox and Mary (O’Farrell), Maureen was their second child, having been preceeded by a brother, Fr. Francis Patrick Joseph, I.C., who became a Rosminian priest. She received a lively Catholic Faith from her loving and closely – knit family in which religion was of first importance. Maureen entered the Carmelite Monastery in Bridell, Cardige in northern Wales on September 15, 1952. On March 24, 1953 she received the Carmelite Habit and her religious name of ‘Sister Teresa of Jesus’. She made her First Profession on March 25, 1954 and made her Perpetual Profession of Vows on March 25, 1957. In 1966 she became Mistress of Novices and she served as Prioress from 1968 – 1971. With the closure of Bridell Carmel in 1975, Mother Teresa went temporarily to Darlington Carmel for Association work. She was the Secretary of the Association of British Carmels in its formative stage. In April 1978 she went to help the Carmel in Macau and became Novice Mistress in December, 1978. She was elected Prioress in January 1985 and has held this office for 31 consecutive years until her death in November, 2016. Mother’s experience in Macau gave her a deep insight on Communist China and a profound love for the persecuted Church there. As the Carmel was situated on the mainland of China, the nuns were in a privileged position to receive many confessors of the Faith in their parlour (1980 – 1990). These included priests (mostly Jesuits), Sisters, laypeople who had all borne heroic witness to their faith by long years of suffering in prisons and labour camps before finally being released at the end of their unjust sentences. Mother Teresa wrote 3 biographies of Confessors of the Faith in the Suffering Church in China. She kept close contact with many faithful Chinese priests and laity from around the world; several of whom had been former prisoners for Christ there. She worked zealously until the time of her death to assist them, educate others, and to promote a greater awareness of the situation of the underground persecuted Church in China. Macau was under Portuguese Church rule because China had leased Macau to Portugal for 442 years. This lease was due to expire in 1999, and Macau was then to be handed back over to Communist mainland China. In addition to that situation, Macau could not viably generate vocations to perpetuate the existence of the Carmel, given that only a mere 2% of its population was Catholic and a cloistered Carmelite vocation is a unique calling. With these considerations in mind, Mother Teresa and her community decided to relocate abroad. Many permissions of Church and state were needed for this tremendous undertaking. Human effort and interventions of God’s unfailing providence, which can only be seen as miraculous, allowed them to leave and on March 8, 1990, Mother Teresa of Jesus arrived in Canada with 7 other nuns to found this Carmelite Monastery of St Joseph in Spruce Grove, Alberta which opened May 31, 1993. Although we deeply feel the great loss of her physical presence, her spirit remains very much alive among us as we go forward blessed by her heroic example of greatness, fidelity, and indefatigable trust in God’s loving providence and care.
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