University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Selected Carmelite Mystical Writers

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION The Carmelite Spiritual Tradition is rich in literature. In eight hundred years of history, spiritual wayfarers in this particular tradition, handed down to us from one generation to the other, their own mystical venture in writing. Literary genres vary from, autobiographies, treatises on the spiritual life, poetry, letters etc…

Thus the study-unit will present different mystical writers each time that it is offered. In 2008-2010 the study-unit will explore tow young Carmelites and their writings: Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity.
Thérèse (1873-1897), Doctor of the Church, is renowned for her “Little Way”. In her spiritual life, she realised that it was not necessary to accomplish “great deeds”, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. Her main inspiration were not “spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles” but “the Holy Scriptures” through which “all seems luminous” and where “a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realise one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because ‘only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet’.”
Elisabeth (1880-1906) a skilled pianist, is renowned for her Trinitarian spiritual zest. She wrote: “I find Him [God] everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying.” At the end of her life, she began to call herself Laudem Gloriæ. Elizabeth had wanted to be called that in Heaven because it means “praise of glory”. She said, “I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself.”

List of Objectives

By the end of the course, participants will:
a) be acquainted with the persons and works written by two Carmelite spiritual masters and writers.
b) have better understood God’s pedagogy as revealed in the spiritual journey of these two young Carmelites;
c) appreciate different forms of literature used as a means to express the spiritual experience.

Reading List

- ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY, Complete Works, translated by Alethia Kane - Anne Englund Nash, Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1984, 1995.
- THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX, The Story of a Soul, translated by John Clarke, Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 31996.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

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