The Mystical Invasion
Saint Teresa of Jesus died in 1582. Thirty-two years later, on 31 December 1614, Catherine Mectilde de Bar was born at Saint–Dié in Lorraine. On 22 July 1647, sixty-five years after the death of Saint Teresa and thirty-three years after the birth of Mother Mectilde, Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in L’Hautecour in Burgundy.
The spiritual climate in Europe, following the Council of Trent, was one of extraordinary incandescence. Henri Brémond in his monumental Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux en France speaks of a “mystical invasion.” Saint Teresa’s Carmel had crossed the Pyrenees, introducing men and women of all states of life to the way of interior prayer. The Jesuits had launched their missions to North America or, as they called it, “New France.” Men and women of God, too many to be counted, undertook great things for His glory. It was the golden age of great friendships in God. In 1610, the young widow, Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal, together with Francis de Sales, established at Annecy the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, declaring “that no great severity shall