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Ann Lobera

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(Better known as V ENERABLE A NN OF J ESUS ).

Carmelite nun, companion of St. Teresa; b. At Medina del Campo ( Old Castile ), 25 November, 1545; d. at Brussels, 4 March, 1621. The daughter of Diego de Lobera of Plasencia, and of Francisca de Torres of Biscay, Ann was a deaf-mute until her seventh year. Left an orphan, she went to live with her father's relatives. Having made a vow of virginity while in the world, she took the habit in St. Teresa's convent at Avila, in 1570. While still a novice St. Teresa called her to Salamanca and placed her over the other novices. Ann made her profession on 22 October, 1571, and accompanied St. Teresa in 1575 to the foundation of Beas, of which she became the first prioress. Later she was sent by the saint to establish her new convent at Granada. One of the greatest difficulties consisted in a misunderstanding between St. Teresa and Ann, which drew from the former sharp reprimands, in a letter dated 30 May, 1582. With the help of St. John of the Cross, Ann made a foundation at Madrid (1586), of which she became prioress. She also collected St. Teresa's writings for publication. While at Madrid Ann came into conflict with her superior, Nicholas a Jesu-Maria (Doria), who, by rendering the rules stringent and rigid in the extreme, and by concentrating ll authority in the hands of a committee of permanent officials ( consulta ), sought to guard the nuns against any relaxation. It was an open secret that the constitutions of the nuns, drawn up by St. Teresa with the assistance of Jerome Gratian, and approved by a chapter in 1581, were to be brought into line with the new principles of administration. Ann of Jesus, determined to preserve intact St. Teresa's work, appealed (with the knowledge of Doria) to the Holy See for an Apostolic confirmation, which was granted by Sixtus V by a Brief of 5 June, 1590. But on Doria's complaining that the nuns had been acting over the head of their superiors, Philip II twice forbade the meeting of a chapter for the reception of the Brief, and the nuns, and their advisers and supporters, Luis de León and Dominic Ba241;ez, fell into disgrace. Furthermore, for over a year no friar was allowed to hear the nuns' confessions. At last Philip having heard the story from the nuns' point of view commanded the consulta to resume their government, and petitioned the Holy See for an approbation of the principles of the constitutions. Accordingly Gregory XIV by a Brief of 25 April, 1591, revoking the Acts of his predecessor, took a middle course between an unconditional confirmation of the constitutions and an approbation of the principles of the consulta. These constitutions are still in force in a large number of Carmelite convents.

Doria resumed the government of the nuns, but his first act was to punish Ann of Jesus severely for having appealed to the Holy See ; for three years she was deprived of daily communion, of all intercourse with the other nuns, and of active and passive voice. At the expiration of this penance she went to Salamanca, where she became prioress from 1596 to 1599. Meanwhile a movement had been set on foot to introduce the Teresian nuns into France. Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, warned by St. Teresa and assisted by de Brétigny and de Bérulle brought a few nuns, mostly trained by St. Teresa herself, with Ann of Jesus at their heads, from Avila to Paris, where they established the convent of the Incarnation, 16 October, 1604. Such was the number of postulants that Ann was able to make a further foundation at Pontoise, 15 January, 1605, and a third one on 21 September at Dijon, where she took up her abode; other foundations followed. Nevertheless difficulties arose between her and the superiors in France, who were anxious to authorize certain deviations from the strict rule of St. Teresa; the situation had become strained and painful, when Mother Ann was called to Brussels by the Infanta Isabella and the Archduke Albert, who were anxious to establish a convent of Carmelite nuns. She arrived there on 22 January, 1607, and besides the Brussels house she made foundations at Louvain (4 November), and Mons (7 February, 1608); and helped to establish those at Antwerp, and at Krakow in Poland. She, moreover, obtained leave from the pope for the Discalced Friars to establish themselves in Flanders. The Spanish Carmelites having decided not to spread outside the Peninsula declined the offer, but the Italian congregation sent Thomas á Jesu with some companions, who arrived at Brussels, on 20 August, 1610. On 18 September, Ann of Jesus and her nuns, in the presence of the nuncio, rendered their obedience to the superior of the Italian congregation. She remained prioress at Brussels to the end of her life. Numerous miracles having followed upon her death, the process of canonization was introduced early in the seventeenth century, and in 1878 she was declared Venerable.

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