Many people think that contemplative life belongs to the ancient times: Carmelites, Franciscans, Jesuits… they all have a long history within Church. Nevertheless, God, not only continues to call many others to a total and exclusive dedication but, He also continues to entrust some persons with the high mission of founding new communities according to the needs of his Church. That was the case of José María García Lahiguera and Maria del Carmen Hidalgo de Caviedes y Gómez, a bishop and a young lady who lived in the Spanish XX century.
20 July 1936. Spanish Civil War. A 23 years-old young lady is praying at the church of Capuchins before the celebration of the Holy Mass. Bombing at the "Barracks de la Montaña", Madrid. Bombs, explosions; in view of an imminent threat, the nuns try to find their chaplain all over the place so that they can go to confession. The young lady is seeking the priest but she is not able to find him. Right then, she strongly understands the vital role of priests within the Church, their irreplaceable mission of reaching souls in God’s plan of salvation. In front of the temple’s altar that looked threatening to fall down, this young lady, inspired by the Holy Spirit, offered her life to God for the priests. That young lady was named MªCarmen Hidalgo de Caviedes y Gómez.
Just a few months before (9 March 1936), José María García Lahiguera -Spiritual Director of the Minor Seminary- writes in his spiritual notes:
"And as sanctity is an act from grace, and this is reachable through prayer, there is an urgent and imperative need to embark on a crusade “Pro Sacerdotio” based on prayer and sacrifice. (…). But, since we are talking about something permanent and stable as priesthood is, the sacrifice for their sanctity has to be uninterrupted; this is not reachable if work is addressed or encourages only one person. I do think that it is necessary to pray to our Lord in order to determine whether it is convenient to start to think about the foundation of a religious cloistered order of nuns, whose main aim -not to say exclusive- shall be prayer and sacrifice for youth and seminarians and, whose distinctive shall be: the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; public, official and solemn offering (...) to be victims for priests and seminarians." (Free translation)
“The soul of the Oblate shall go beyond the wall of her monastery and cut through the seas until the last corner in earth with the same love as Christ is present, with His same Redemptory Love...And that lost missionary, unknown in his mission; that unappreciated priest; other who is in danger; the one who is full of expectations but without opportunities; (…) All that world of priests, man among men, segregated to be another Christ where He may deposit His own power. What does the Heart of Christ feel? He made them “another He” and only Christ shall be their life and exigency...They have to be in the world but being of God; they have to give themselves to the souls keeping their permanence only in God. That world of danger, fight, difficulties, temptation, pressure, undefined road….”
~ Mother María del Carmen ~
Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.