Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The 125th anniversary of Teresa's mystical marriage

Today on Tuesday 23rd October 2012 is the 125th anniversary of the mystical marriage of Teresa Helena Higginson that took place on the night of October 23rd - 24th 1887 in Clitheroe, between the Feast of the Holy Redeemer and the Feast of St. Raphael the archangel.  She was one of the very few souls in the history of the church to have been raised to such a great honour, and Teresa was probably the only Englishwoman to have received the privilege.  

Mystical marriage of St. Catherine

The mystical marriage consists in a vision in which Christ tells a soul that He takes it for His bride, presenting it with the customary ring, and the apparition is accompanied by a ceremony; the Blessed Virgin, saints, and angels are present. This festivity is but the accompaniment and symbol of a purely spiritual grace; hagiographers do not make clear what this grace is, but it may at least be said that the soul receives a sudden augmentation of charity and of familiarity with God, and that He will thereafter take more special care of it. All this, indeed, is involved in the notion of marriage. Moreover, as a wife should share in the life of her husband, and as Christ suffered for the redemption of mankind, the mystical spouse enters into a more intimate participation in His sufferings. Accordingly, in three cases out of every four, the mystical marriage has been granted to stigmatics. It has been estimated by that, from the earliest times to the present, history has recorded around eighty mystical marriages; they are mentioned in connection with female saints, beatae, and venerabiles — e.g. Blessed Angela of Foligno, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Colette, St. Teresa, St. Catherine of Ricci, Venerable Marina d'Escobar, St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi, St. Veronica Giuliani, Venerable Maria de Agreda.
Tomorrow I will hopefully post Teresa's account of the experience in her letter to Fr. Edward Powell.

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