CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO
October 15 is the feast of St. Teresa of Ávila, the discalced Carmelite who reformed her order in 16th-century Spain, saving it from the decadence of the day.
Church Militant's Martina Moyski warns the Vatican is targeting followers of Teresa's holy rule.
Pope Francis: "You may be tempted to remain complacent saying: 'It has always been done like this.' But this expression is a poison in the life of the Church."
The Roman Curia — propelled by the pope's instructions — is targeting traditional Carmelites who seek to live lives of prayer, poverty and penance.
The Vatican congregation in charge of religious orders recently paid an apostolic visit to the Carmelite nuns in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, deeming the cloistered convent out of touch with the spirit of the times.
The thriving community houses about 25 nuns — mostly under the age of 30 — and attracts scores of new vocations.
A spokesperson for the nuns called the visit "a distressing and taxing trial."
But the prioress of the convent made her own visitation — to the Vatican.
Accompanied by two nuns, she traveled to Rome, delivering a letter to the pope expressing the sisters' desire to continue living according to the constitutions written by St. Teresa.
In a letter to supporters, the prioress explained: "[A]t St. Peter's Basilica, we knelt before the larger-than-life marble statue of our holy mother, St. Teresa of Jesus" and "[a]t the tomb of St. John Paul II, with tears, we begged him to again protect from Heaven ... our way of life, as he had done on earth in 1990 when he reaffirmed the original constitutions."
The prioress remains undaunted, writing: "Together we wish to remain ever faithful to our Carmelite charism, no matter what the cost."
Francis: "Preserve us from becoming a museum Church, beautiful but silent, with so much past and little future."
The sisters understand what's at stake.
On the envelopes of over 3,000 hand-written thank you notes to supporters, they penned the warning of St. Teresa: "Let the contemplative consider what he is doing; for, if he lets the standard fall, the battle will be lost."
The sisters are asking for prayers — just as they pray each day for mankind to turn toward God.
They are also accepting donations for the monastery they're continuing to build based on the Spanish Carmels of St. Teresa. Donations can be made at www.fairfieldcarmelites.org.