Bl Anne of St Bartholomew

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Feastday – 7th June

Blessed Anne of St Bartholomew was the first Discalced lay sister - they did the manual work of the house, and did not recite Office in choir with the other religious.

Ana Garcia was born at Aimendral, Castille, in 1549. Anne was from a poor family in a rural area near Availa. She was a shepherdess as a young girl, and when her family tried to arrange a marriage for the attractive girl, she declined and stated her intention of becoming a Carmelite nun. Against her family's wishes, she entered St Joseph's at Avila in 1570 at the age of 21. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St Teresa, at St Joseph's, Avila.

She learned to read and write in the convent so that she could serve Teresa as a secretary, and all of Teresa's letters in the last few years of her life were dictated to Anne. When Teresa's health started to deteriorate this kind and gentle and extremely compassionate girl began to accompany her on all her journeys, nursing her in her illnesses, and caring for her as she died. The saint chose her as her companion and nurse.

In 1604 she went with a group of nuns to make foundations in France, and was finally elevated to the rank of choir sister. She became prioress of the Paris convent, and founded the Carmels at Tours and at Antwerp. She proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died in Antwerp in 1626. She was beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1917.