Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Fascinating story: The Connection between Marie-Julie Jahenny's Mission of the Cross and Ven. Madre Teresa de la Cruz of Peru

September 24, 2019 I received an e-mail from the archive office of the Canonesses of the Cross in Peru, a religious order founded with special spiritual emphasis placed on the Cross of Christ and His Passion by Venerable Teresa Candamo Álvarez-Calderon, also known as Ven. Madre Teresa de la Cruz.

The order was founded in 1909 and is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

I was surprised and delighted to learn that the spirituality of Ven. Teresa's order was inspired in a very particular way by the Holy Novitiate of the Cross revealed to Marie-Julie Jahenny.

Here's her story and how she and her sister Maria came to know about Marie-Julie Jahenny.

Life of Ven. Madre Teresa de la Cruz

Her father was Don Manuel González de Candamo e Iriarte (14 July 1841 – 7 May 1904), the 23rd President of Peru who served from 1903 until his death in 1904. He also served as Interim President of Peru, officially as the President of the Government Junta, from 8 September 1903 until his death the following year.

He was a man of integrity as according to the Website of the Canonesses he declared that he loved justice, even if it should turn against his favour, meaning, he would bow to whatever was just, whatever the consequences would entail, even if it proved to be a personal disadvantage to him. He also ran his household accordingly.


Her mother was Doña Teresa Álvarez Calderón. Her parents married in October 24, 1873. They would have seven children: Carmen (1874), Teresa (1875), María (1877), José Manuel Rafael (1879) who died when 4 years old, José Rafael Victor (1882), José Manuel Rafael Saturnino (1884) and Virginia ( 1889).

Ven. Teresa give an account of the modesty of her mother, who disliked the celebrity associated with being the wife of a senior politician and then First Lady of Peru.  Her husband also came from the richest family in the country!  Despite her dislike of praise, she could be a little haughty and would not accept anything that would insult her dignity.   However, Ven. Teresa relates her mother never left the house except when duty called.   She was not frivolous, nor was she extravagant for she kept her household economy well ordered.   She also taught Ven. Teresa a hard lesson regarding vanity, which checked that vice immediately.   Ven. Teresa recalls that one day when she was a child she ran into the house and related a lady on the street remarked what a beautiful little girl she was.   Her mother then replied. “She has not seen you well." Ven. Teresa admitted it was an unpleasant response, but it made the temptation of vanity in her vanish.

(Image: Ven. Teresa in a theatrical production before receiving her vocation.  Is that the 'Mikado' by Gilbert and Sullivan? )

When a child, in addition to brilliant intelligence, she was also artistic and talented in the areas of theatre, embroidery, drawing and painting, she sang and also learned to play the piano and guitar.  She was also a creative writer for she wrote several poems, all dedicated to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin, and showed great fondness for reading and study. She received her early education with private teachers, later entering the College of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart observing very good behaviour and excelling in studies. She was formed in that solid and serious piety of St. Magdalena Sofía Barat: "Duty above all, duty always."   There God laid in Ven. Teresa's soul the solid foundation for the formation of her vocation that was to be shaken by trials.  She had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin and consecrated herself as the Daughter of Mary. She left school at the end of the year 1892, attaining the Cross of Wisdom, a prize awarded to outstanding students by the religious Sisters.

Discerning her Vocation

After the death of her father in 1904, the family left Peru and travelled through Europe. Her vocation did not strike her all at once, rather, it was a gradual process. Ven. Teresa relates the various steps she came to know her vocation as she travelled.

(*) They arrive in Paris in 1905 a year after her father's death: “Every morning we went to Mass in front of the tabernacle, and I don't know if after Communion, I had for the first time the absolutely clear knowledge that the Lord asked me of My love for him. I don't know how that communication went, I just know that I had no doubt about the thing itself and the obligation that it imposed on my conscience, but no idea of religious vocation occurred to me yet.”

(*) Montreux: “Months later we spent the winter in Switzerland. Fr. Tissot's book fell into my hands: "The Inner Life." I read it avidly finding in him the spirituality that suited my spirit and his reading guided my spirit more towards the only purpose for which we were created, also in a definitive way”.

(*) Florence 1906: “We went to Italy and went to church to be able to go to Confession. A priest came out and I confessed without asking him any questions or any less confidence. (My rough translation – she probably meant she did not confide in him the questions in her soul regarding a possible vocation.) Then the Father told me: 'Do not worry about knowing what God wants from you when the time comes, it will be made known to you'. I did not tell the Father that I was responding to a concern of my soul and I only thanked him for his advice, leaving me very happy because it seemed to me that St. Joseph had given me that grace.” (i.e. of receiving an answer.)

(*) Rome - From April to June 1906: “The visit to His Holiness Pope Pius X and all the monuments full of holy memories and venerable relics clarified, as expected, the idea of vocation in my soul. A great desire to serve the Holy Church woke up (in me) as something within my reach. Sharing these desires with my sister Maria, although reserving them from the rest of the family. We agreed to wait for the Blessed Virgin to give us (interior) light in Lourdes and in the meantime we would live as perfectly as we could in the current state in which we were, to expect the light we needed to decide our lives.”


(*) * Alassio, Italy - June and July 1906: “In the summer we went to Genoa. Alassio was a very small town, but it had a church and a convent of P.P. Capuchins where we went every evening to the prayer of the Rosary, and a Cathedral on whose main altar (there was) only a large Crucifix.  One day I went there looking at Him, I understood that He was telling me:

If you are looking for an ideal, here you are; if you want love, here you come; if you want a model here you have it”.

“I don't want to say that I heard words, but only the concepts or meaning of those words stuck in my intelligence causing me a lot of fear, because in them I understood all the breadth of their meaning and a whole program of austerity, for which I was very poorly prepared; and all the more austere because I understood that my true vocation was symbolized there.” 

No doubt she means the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel is where she received this knowledge, it is the cathedral in Alassio and it has a large crucifix. 

 (Image above: the Crucifix where Ven. Teresa received an answer regarding her vocation)


(*) Lourdes - September and October- 1906: "Following our program, we made the trip to Lourdes enjoying the supernatural ambiance that is breathed there and asking the Blessed Virgin to solve our spiritual problems."

A priest she confessed suggested her vocation might be to join one of the convents in France, but she felt like none of the convents she considered were the answer to the 'call' she received.

Marie-Julie Jahenny's Mission of the Cross

According to the e-mail I received the Canonesses of the Cross in Peru, Ven. Teresa de la Cruz 'encountered' Marie-Julie Jahenny in 1907 during this return trip to France.  While in San. Remo, she first become acquainted with two ladies from Brittany authorised by the local bishop of Nantes to transcribe the ecstasies Marie-Julie experienced, and through them she heard of Marie-Julie and her Mission of the Cross, and, that the visions said there would one day be founded the last and greatest order of the Church dedicated to the cross.

 Teresa was inspired by the accounts told of Marie-Julie, her spiritual abilities to read souls, her stigmata and the suffering of the Passion, and of course, this revelation of a future order dedicated to the Cross.  It seemed this was the vocation she was called to.

She asked if the ladies when they returned to Brittany would they please ask Marie-Julie what her vocation was, and if she was to follow the call to join this promised order of the Cross.

While Teresa and her family were in Geneva, the following reply was sent back from Marie-Julie in May 1907, with spiritual advice, obviously from Our Lady:

"The Blessed Virgin blesses these two children, but She will put their vocation to the test. Often souls are inflamed in desire from heaven, but as soon as the ordeal comes, they stumble and fall.  They must pray and persevere, and I will cover them with the power of the virtues of my maternal heart."  (NOTE: Teresa sister, Maria, also felt she had a similar vocation.)

Returning to Paris in June 1907, they prayed and waited, sorry that they didn't receive any more details about the path to take, but they felt they were going in the right direction and waited for more details from La Fraudais.  They then  received the advice from a prophetic ecstasy of Marie-Julie that they were to first seek a spiritual director before proceeding with discerning her path.  Marie-Julie interceded for them again upon the request of one of the Breton ladies and Our Lady responded:

Our Lady: "... that they choose a director to guide them in the spiritual paths and then I will work." (July 16, 1907)

At this point, the two sisters deliberated on choosing a spiritual director and would decide upon Fr. Marie Bernard Abbé Daurelle who was already so closely connected to Marie-Julie. 
Ven. Teresa had just left Lourdes and was in the town of San Remo in 1907, and it here and at this time he became her spiritual director. Fr. Daurelle told her about Marie-Julie Jahenny and her Great Work of the Cross that inspired her greatly – for the archive office of the Canonesses has informed me:

He (Fr. Daurelle) insisted very much on the WORK OF THE CROSS of which Marie-Julie was the victim ... we have the spirit of the Cross and that is the basis of the Work of which the venerable Mother was to be a part.”

Marie-Julie would later confirm that Abbé Daurelle was meant to be their spiritual director.

(Image Right:  Ven. Teresa in San Remo after discerning her vocation

Of interest, the archivist from the Canonesses has given me information from Maria's biography that she and her sister finally had the opportunity to witness an ecstasy of Marie-Julie and saw her suffer the Passion just before they left France and returned to Peru. 

(Image: a photo of Marie-Julie's cottage pasted in Maria's biography of the family's trip to Europe - the photo is placed at the head of her chapter on  discovering their vocation,  showing how important the two sisters considered their introduction to Marie-Julie and her revelations regarding their call to the religious life centred on the Mission of the Cross.  Photo provided by the archives of the Canonesses. which is much appreciated.)

From the autobiography of Maria,  Ven. Teresa's sister:

(Maria):  “After having spent two days together and as our desire was to see Maríe Julie in ecstasy and these took place Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we chose the Thursday that was October 3, to make our visit. After having received communion in the Church of Nort, we ride by car and leave town at 8 in the morning. We arrived at 11 o'clock in the village of Blain, where we had lunch quickly in order to arrive at the cabin before the "Angelus" which is the moment in which Maríe Julie generally goes into ecstasy. At 11:30 we were at her door. We called and (the door was) opened (by) the niece of Maria Julia (Angele) 16 year old who was knitting stockings, while resting from caring for the cows that was her daily work. She made us enter into a large (section) where the mother and the sister of M. Julie were, the first was an octogenarian old woman with a fine and beautiful face, dressed in the costume of the Breton villagers, the white touches and the Swedes, (i.e Swedish lace?) the daughter of Mother Angele was dressed the same way, who was busy cooking large cakes in the fireplace. The section she occupied was separated by a partition from María Julia's cell. The ladies introduced us to the family telling them that we were coming from a very distant country and immediately a conversation began about the harvest, the crops, etc.

Marie-Julie's sister entered her cell and announced us, she sent to say that she was praying the Rosary, so we had to wait for it to end. After a few moments they invited us in. As soon as we cross the threshold, we find ourselves in front of the stigmatized one. She was sitting on her bed, with the villager's touch on her head. (Sic. Possibly a local traditional cap is meant.) On her forehead stood out, from the first glance, a red line that crossed her from one temple to another, formed by a scab that covered a wound to lose itself in the hair. A crucifix, a small statue of the Virgin and a Rosary. the stigmatist had in her hands the red crusts of the stigmata, circular and about a centimeter in diameter above, and the palm torn and deep, exactly as they stood out as see in the images of the Sacred Heart, and on the ring finger a small band of white cloth that covered, as the ladies told us the mystical ring. (I.e. Marie-Julie had received a mystic espousal ring of blood around her finger.) Her face was common, rather round than aquiline, and her eyes small and not very expressive. She received us very kindly and with great naturalness and simplicity. The ladies told her that we were from such a distant country, that we had to spend thirty days at sea to return to it, which attracted her attention. To greet her we hugged her and kissed the stigmas of her hands, which she tried to withdraw, but we didn't make any observations about it, because the ladies had told us that we shouldn't do it.

When it was time for the "Angelus" she made a sign to the lady indicating that it was time for prayer, and began to pray, we all did the same. Gradually she picked herself up more deeply and her breathing became deep and noisy as if she went into agony with a stronger one of the others (I.e a stronger ecstasy?) stretched out and was numb like a corpse. The spectacle was impressive, as is the death, (i.e. Marie-Julie lived out Christ's death on the cross) and I remember that there was a time when I was almost sorry to witness it.

She was silent for an hour or so, in this interval we prayed the Rosary in a low voice. At the end of that time, without waking from her dream she began to articulate the following invocations: Verbum caro factum est et habitabit in nobis (...) After this some salutations to the Blessed Virgin joining the blessed, her director whom she called with The name of "Marie Bernard" (i.e Abbé Daurelle) and the people present and after having prayed for sinners said "La Saint Vierge est la". (i.e the Holy Virgin is there.) Then began a long speech of the Blessed Virgin changing tone, as if repeating a dictation, which we have kept very few notes, because Magdalena, who was the one who always wrote, (i.e the Breton Lady whom Ven. Teresa met) told us that on that occasion I was very excited, and that I could do it. And we, back in the house, wrote only what we could assure was accurate with the testimony of the two. It was this beautiful speech, full of heavenly tenderness and divine poetry and in a high and correct language, very different from the faulty and rustic one she used in her normal state.

After finishing this speech, Marie Julie shuddered saying "Notre Seigneur" (Our Lord) and began her dictation again (...)

Our Lord: "Wait for the hour of great consolation. Do not be sad when the call of the great light comes (...) Spouse Madeleine of the Cross, Spouse Providence, Therese and Mary, the soul of Mary Bernard (Abbé Daurell) is a bright sun to which I have riveted you. My Mother did that prepare the rivet, is it myself who did it. Mother and children of the Cross you are the flowers of Calvary, flowers of the garden of the Cross. Wait at the time of great comfort ... Do not be sad when the call of the great light arrives ...”

(NOTE: The two 'Spouses' are the two Breton ladies whom Teresa and her sister Marie met. Our Lord says Abbé Daurelle is the bright spiritual sun meant to direct them and their work.)

Ven. Teresa's sister continues: “We did not understand then the real and austere sense of these last words interpreting them only as an indication that we would belong to the “Work of the Cross”.

(*) Return to Peru - Ven. Teresa writes in her own autobiography:  "We embarked on Peru carrying our secret in our soul, (about her vocation and obviously the founding of an order), and hoping confidently that our hopes would soon be fulfilled because the Father assured us, (i.e Fr. Daurelle) that we would be calm, everything would be done by the voice of the Church."


After learning this, all credit due to the archivist who contacted me, I have recently discovered that Fr. Daurelle was appointed by Pope Leo XIII as one of the envoys sent to La Fraudais to investigate Marie-Julie Jahenny and her mystic experiences. Cardinal Rampolla the Secretary of State and Fr. Vanutelli were also appointed to investigate.  

I do not know for sure, but this was either at the time Bishop Fournier of Nantes first began his official investigation into Marie-Julie Jahenny, or, it must have been around the time Marie-Julie was unjustly denied the Sacraments after Bishop Fournier was was transferred to another diocese before his death. There were appeals made to Rome on her behalf, and as Leo XIII was the pope to lift the unjust decree, perhaps it was Fr. Daurelle who was sent to investigate the matter. As it turned out Cardinal Rampolla ruled that the order to forbid the Sacraments was unjust, and Pope Leo XIII ordered that Marie-Julie once again receive the Sacraments.  I also learned Fr. Daurelle sent copies of the accounts of her ecstasies to Rome as part of the official investigation into her mystical experiences.

The archivist of the Canonesses in Peru have informed me that as Fr. Daurelle was Ven. Teresa's spiritual director for many years, he sent her many letters until his death in 1913, their archives have about 150 letters I am told and they contain quite a number of communications about Marie-Julie Jahenny and the Great Work of the Cross heaven gave her. What a spiritual treasure trove!   No doubt they contain the prophecies of the Order of the Cross that would one day be founded?

(Image: Fr. Daurelle, spiritual director of Ven. Teresa de la Cruz, and, one of the priests appointed by Pope Leo XIII  to investigate Marie-Julie Jahenny.  I wish to thank the archivist of the Canonesses for sending this rare picture.)

Of interest, the archivist also said that Fr. Daurelle's real name was Jean Bautista, but that Our Lady had given him the new name of Marie Bernard, which we saw in the testimony of Ven. Teresa.   (After the religious name of St. Bernadette of Lourdes?)   The archivist also said that the Diocese of Savenay in the Pays de la Loire region informed them that everything concerning Marie-Julie Jahenny and Fr. Daurelle is archived with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  We can only hope that when Ven. Teresa's cause for beatification is reviewed again, this close connection with Fr. Daurelle will bring Marie-Julie forward as a case worthy of canonisation as well! 

When Fr. Daurelle died in 1913, Ven. Teresa and Maria understood what Our Lord meant by “Wait at the time of great comfort ... Do not be sad when the call of the great light arrives ...” It was a prediction of the death of Fr. Daurell, but, they were to wait for a 'great comfort'.

The archivist informed me that Ven. Teresa was not discouraged but she went forward, convinced that this work of founding an order with the Cross at its centre was from God.  From what I can read on their official website, Ven. Teresa suffered many years of setbacks and even persecutions while trying to found her order, and from what is revealed in her sister's biography, this persecution was caused in part due to having been inspired by the mystic experiences of Marie-Julie, but she pressed onward in holy patience and obedience.  Eventually the predicted 'great comfort' arrived when the Canonesses of the Cross was at last founded on September 14, 1919 after receiving official permission from the Church.

Ven. Teresa de la Cruz presents the Theology of Faith and total abandonment to the Divine Will in the midst of a materialistic world where the philosophy of forgetting God is imposed. After leading a life deeply marked by the mystery of the Cross, she died on August 24, 1953.   Her cause for beatification has been introduced in Rome since 1980. On April 3, 2009 Benedict XVI officially acknowledged the heroic virtues in the life of the Venerable Mother Teresa of the Cross.

Again we have a beautiful example of the authenticity of Marie-Julie Jahenny's spirituality and the Great Work of the Cross entrusted to her from Heaven when it has influenced the foundation of an order, and, the spiritual life of its founder Madre Teresa de la Cruz who is now not only a Servant a of God but a Venerable on the path to beatification and canonisation. 

 May Marie-Julie Jahenny soon have her own process of canonisation underway!


I wish to thank the archivist of the Canonesses in Peru for all this information.  Biography and photos from the Official Site of the Canonesses of the Cross.


Go To: