THE SPOUSE OF THE CRUCIFIED
CANON SNOW speaks of Teresa's frequent participation in the Passion. During this time at Wigan she seemed constantly, while in ecstasy, to be accompanying our Lord on His road to Calvary. These ecstasies of the Passion are a well-known feature in the lives of the stigmatics (St. Catherine of Ricci had them regularly for many years). In the case of Teresa, Miss Ryland gives a most exact description of what took place in Holy Week of 1874, though she says the same happened on other occasions also. Teresa was quite unconscious, but was evidently following our Lord step by step in all His sufferings, as was clear to those who watched from her actions and expressions, and from the exclamations which fell from her lips. Once Miss Ryland sent round for Father Wells. When Teresa seemed to have reached the third fall on the way to Calvary, she bent down as though to help our Lord to rise. Miss Ryland thought she was about to fall and put out a hand to help her, but Father Wells bade her sit still. Miss Woodward, one of the other teachers, spoke to her confessor, Father Gradwell, SJ, of the matter and he advised her to take notes of what occurred. Accordingly she and Miss Ryland took turns to watch and wrote down exactly what they witnessed. The notes on Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week were made by Miss Woodward, those on Holy Thursday by Miss Ryland who says: "I watched her actions and wrote them down. What I heard her say I put in brackets." The following are some extracts from these notes:
"Commenced at half-past four by asking our Lord to come to her. 'When wilt Thou come oh Lord? I am a sinful creature. Wash me in Thy Precious Blood oh Jesus. Ah Lord never permit me to betray Thee. I will never leave Thee.' Leans her head as St. John. 'Here let me rest oh Lord.' Raises her head a little. 'Ah Lord never permit me to betray Thee. Let me go with Thee. Oh my Jesus I will not leave Thee, oh let me. Oh Lord I cannot stay, let me go.' Head drops forward, slightly convulsed, shuts her eyes very closely as if to shut out some sight. 'Oh Eternal Father, if it be possible let this bitter chalice — Oh my God, my God, desert Him not. Ah pity Him. Thy Will be done oh Eternal Father, oh Angels come and help Him. Oh that I could help Him.' Groans for a few minutes. Head falls to right. 'Let me watch with Thee oh my Jesus.' Head falls on breast. Convulsions, head falls to right. 'Stay oh my Jesus.' Offers to hold Him. 'Hide. Hide, let me go.' Groans and works dreadfully, stretches out her hands. 'Oh Jesus stay. Stay for Mary's sake.' A look of great disappointment and groans. 'Do not permit them to rise again.' Turns her head from side to side with looks of horror. 'Ah my Jesus canst Thou bear this ingratitude?' Sees Him bound in the garden, stretches out her hands and begs to be bound instead. Blow on right cheek by the mouth. Blow on left eye. Heavy groans. A blow on mouth. Pulling of beard. Holds her chin. Low cries of pain. Sickness. A blow on left side of head. Beard is pulled. Appears to hear blasphemy, puts hands to ears to shut it out. Rests with head to right, hands to ears again. A blow on the right eye. Sickness, rests, head being inclined to right. Fingers to ears. 'Oh wicked Herod. Oh God of Wisdom. Clothed with scorn. Oh my Jesus.' Sickness, rests two seconds. 'Rest oh my Lord. Oh God Thou seest and knowest all things.' A blow on the right cheek. Rests, closes her ears, turns head away as if to shut out some sight. 'God of infinite Mercy show that there is no cause in Thee.' Turns head away. Rests for about three minutes. Turns aside in horror, gasps. Buffeted about the head. 'Canst thou stand with Him. Oh let me go with Thee, Lord Thou art too weak.' Turns in horror. 'Strip my heart of every affection. Oh let me, Lord Thou canst not bear it.' A tear drops from left eye. A blow on the face. Stretches out her hands in agony and begs for pity for Him. Writhes in fearful agony, apparently being scourged. Rests. A cry of pain, writhing again, rests, fearful writhing, rests. 'Oh see how torn He is, Ah find me something soft for mercy's sake.' Dreadful agony. 'Oh King of Heaven and earth, oh let me hold it for Thee. Ah King, God of Heaven and earth.' Puts hand to head with a look of great pain. 'Oh put it on me, You have done enough.' Crowning with thorns. Groans and writhes and clenches her hands. Raises her hand to her head and then to left cheek in great pain. 'Oh angels of Heaven adore Him.' Calls out: 'Show them all Thy wounds oh Lord and soften their hearts, oh lift Thine eyes blind with Thy Precious Blood, oh deafening yells.' Tries to shut them out. 'Oh Lord they know not what they do.' Is quite still for three minutes. Sees the drink offered. 'Oh take it Lord.' Calls out in agony. 'Oh stay him Lord.' Stretches out her hand for the Cross. 'Oh Lord let me bear it a little while. Thou art too weak. Oh lean on me. Thou art too weak oh Jesus lean.' First fall to the right. 'Oh Jesus let me raise Thee.' A blow on left cheek. 'Stand back.' A blow on right cheek. 'Oh Mary. Oh Jesus! Support her. Oh Jesus oh Mary?' Stretches her hands in agony. 'Oh Lord let me bear it, I can.' Lifts her right hand. 'Let me wipe it.' Sinks back. 'Lord I was not worthy.' Second fall. Five fearful blows about head and face, one on the mouth. 'Oh stand back! Oh trampled under. Oh my heart will break. Oh Eternal Father raise Thy Son.' A blow on the mouth. 'Oh how canst Thou forget. Oh compassionate heart, oh well may they weep. Oh lean. My Jesus lean. Let me guide Thy tottering steps, do not break the heart of Thy blessed Mother.' Fearful fall. Calls out in pain. Seven blows about head and face. One on the stomach. 'Stand back! Remember He is thy God.' Two blows. 'Raise Him gently.' Stoops to the ground. 'Ah Jesus, lean on me Lord.' A blow on the right cheek. 'Ah lean on me Lord. Take it off.' Head falls to right. Rests about four minutes. Seems to see drink offered. 'Take it Lord. Oh Mary bid Him take it.' Stripping off garments. Begs to be allowed to take them off. 'Oh take them gently. Oh pure God.' Appears to feel garments torn. Holds them at the waist. 'Oh holy and pure God. Most keenly felt by Thee oh my Jesus.' Turns her head aside in anguish. Moans. 'I will not let Thee go.' Cries of agony. 'Oh Jesus say not Thou must go. I cannot leave Thee Lord. Oh Mary bid Him stay. He never disobeyed thee. Oh Jesus for Thy Mother's sake.' Goes prostrate and is still as death."
Teresa herself often speaks in her letters of how she had accompanied our Lord in the various stages of His Passion, and describes the anguish which inundated her soul:  "She seems to forget that she is the sinner for which He is suffering and full of loving compassion she wishes to help Him. Oh that I could help Thee Dearest in Thy agony! I do not mean that we speak for I think it is impossible, but this is what is felt... Speaking about this kind of revelation of our B. Lord's Passion, it always creates a fresh and deeper horror of sin which I see is the cause of all, a great feeling of dread to offend the infinite Justice of God, and profound admiration of the awful purity of God. It fills me also with a thirst for suffering which nothing but the real pain which my crucified Saviour permits can appease and a burning desire and will to Sacrifice myself with Him for the souls of all."
It was in Passion Week, 1874, that our Lord conferred upon His chosen servant the special marks of His Sacred Wounds. In a letter written some years later in obedience to Father Powell, she thus simply tells him of the fact:
 "And when I was at Wigan in 1874, on the Friday morning in Passion Week, my Lord and my God gave me the marks of His five Sacred Wounds which I earnestly begged of Him to remove, but to give me an increase if possible of the pain. During all the following week they bled, and Fr. Wells saw one of them on the Good Friday1, after which that disappeared, the others having done so earlier in the morning, and on several occasions they have reopened. This I think I have mentioned to you before but as I am not quite certain about it I thought it better to do so here."
Again in another letter she says:
 "I have suffered much in the head, chest and side since 1860 but the pains have been much greater since 1874 when our dear B. Lord conferred the great favour I told you of and in the centre of the hands, feet, head and heart they are at times very excessive, but I am relieved always when they bleed which does not happen very very often. I also have a severe pain in the shoulders. I feel ashamed of calling them pains for I know they are excessive favours which I could never merit or have anything to do with. They are all Thine oh my God as are all the favours Thou hast bestowed on me. I did not at first think what was the cause of these favours but some ten or twelve years back I noticed they were always worse on Fridays, feasts of our Lord and during Lent. I have always reaped great spiritual strength and benefit from them and often when I felt I could not overcome poor human nature in some way I have pressed these parts which were as fountains of life to me and I was always able to overcome. I mean my Lord gave me great help when I did so. But during this eclipse which last took place in the soul, our dear B. Lord has not pleased to give this help, they have appeared to me, vile coward, as mines of untold and almost unbearable suffering and torture. Yet oh Lord I know they are the pledge of Thy love to me, and I value them perhaps more than any other gift Thou hast bestown. May Thy Holy Name be forever blessed."
Miss Ryland gives a most interesting account of what she herself witnessed at this time.
"To begin with the receiving of the Crown of thorns. It took place on Passion Sunday, 1874. I was the only person present. She asked me to come upstairs in the afternoon. She was apparently suffering and she went to lie down. She asked me to pray that she might be able to go to Sunday school and at night she would bear all our Lord wished. She added: 'He gave me this pain Himself.' She was able to get up, and went to Sunday school and also to Benediction. Towards night she got very weak and after we were in bed became very ill. I wanted to go for Miss Woodward who slept in the next room, but she would not let me so I returned to bed. All at once she sprang up and I am sure she left the bed, for I sprang up too to pull her down. For a while she spoke to her heavenly visitor. Then she put out her right hand towards our Lord (for it was He) and said aloud: 'No, not that, the thorny crown, give me the thorny crown.' Then in a few moments she fell back just as she had got up. I said to her: 'Teresa are you going to die? If you are I must go for Father Wells.' She did not seem to wish to get him up so I left it alone. Then she said to me: 'Our Lord has given me His Crown of Thorns, and also the Wound in the shoulder.' I saw no signs of it next day, except I thought there were pimples on the forehead, but I could not say whether they had anything to do with it or not.
"On the eve of Palm Sunday after going to bed (I think I had to take her as I often did on account of her weakness), I was kneeling by her side and she was unconscious (at least so far as I was concerned). She was speaking (to herself) to someone present. She raised her right hand and held it up quite firmly for a minute or two.2 Then she let it drop. I did not examine it. I was strangely wanting (as I think now) in curiosity about these things, but the next morning she kept it closed, placing her thumb in the middle. I think she washed herself that morning with the left hand but I forget. However, when she handed me back the towel it was stained with blood. The morning after both hands were closed. I washed her and she said to me: 'I can wash my own hands, dear.' So I gave her the same towel and she returned it to me again spotted with blood. This happened every day...
"On Good Friday we went to the morning service leaving Miss Higginson in bed and the house door locked. When we returned we both ran up to her at once and found her stretched on the bed, her arms extended in the form of a cross, and wounds in her hands. As usual I did not go very near. I just saw Miss Woodward throwing up the clothes at the foot of the bed to see if the feet were the same, and I ran off to bring Father Wells. He came. She was still the same, and he said to me: 'Run for the doctor.' I went and when I got back accompanied by Dr. Hart she was natural again and talking to Father Wells. Dr. Hart found her extremely weak, but, as Father Wells said, he did not at all know what was the matter with her."
Teresa's longing for holy Communion when she could not get out was intense. "The sufferings she went through on that account I could only liken to a person dying of hunger with food before them which she could not touch. When I came from holy Communion you would think she would devour me and to listen to her craving was most painful. I went to Father Wells about it and all he said was: 'She has no business to go on that way. Tell her from me she is not to do it.' I had to tell her, of course, and after that she became perfectly silent."
Sometimes Miss Ryland would beg of Father Wells to bring her Communion, but he would not always do so — no doubt to try her. On Holy Thursday, 1875, she waited all day long. She was in bed and whenever Miss Ryland asked her to take anything she would only reply: "He will come." At last, at nine o'clock at night, the curate who had been all day in Liverpool brought her the Blessed Sacrament. Then she got up but soon the weakness came over her again and she had to go back to bed. She remained there all next day and Miss Ryland never left her. She says that on that day a quantity of blood came from the mouth which she soaked up with a towel. She did not look at the hands and feet but nothing seemed afterwards to have come from them.
As was the case with most of those who bore the Stigmata, these sacred marks were a source of deep trouble to Teresa whose humility shrank from every outward sign. But, try as she would, she could not always disguise the fact, and several of her friends testify to having seen the wounds on her hands and feet and the thorn marks on her brow. Again and again she begged our Lord to remove the outward signs but to increase, if possible, the pain. In this she resembled St. Catherine of Siena who, when her request was granted, declared that the suffering from the invisible wounds was so terrible that only a miracle prevented her from dying. Teresa's prayer was also heard, for, towards the end of her life the marks completely disappeared, and the nurse who tended her during her last illness saw no trace of them either before or after death.
Teresa was now fittingly arrayed for the great event for which our Lord had been so long preparing her. This was the wonderful ceremony of her Mystical Espousals which St. Teresa calls the Spiritual Betrothal, saying that it is but the promise of what is to come, for it leads on to the Mystical Marriage wherein is accomplished the perfect union of the soul with her divine Lord. At the time none knew of this sublime event. Teresa never spoke of it even to Miss Ryland, and it was only after several years that she described it in two separate letters in obedience to her director, Father Powell.
 "On the feast of the Sacred Heart of the same year, when I was making a visit to the most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord placed a small crown of thorns, joined by a cross of unspeakable beauty, as a ring on the finger next to the little finger on my left hand, giving me to understand that thorns and crosses are the portion of those He chooses for His own, that He had accepted the offering I had so often made of myself and that I must consider myself for the future to be entirely His even as He had given Himself entirely to me, and as proof that this was no delusion, He told me that I should feel the thorns and cross which this little ring symbolised. And so I have, for since then He has sent me desolation and dryness and crosses of every description which before I knew not, and He has given me extraordinary help to bear them patiently and to love and cherish them next to Himself."
 "In the holy Name of Jesus our divine Spouse, in obedience to your wish and the honour and glory of the most Blessed Trinity, I will strive and relate that which Jesus my only Beloved has done for me, and in which I have no part or portion of merit and which it seems to me is a thing unheard of. It happened in the year 1874, I think on the feast of the S. Heart, after showing me very great favours which I am not able to relate (I mean what I saw or heard), that our dear B. Lord placed on the finger next to the little finger on the left hand a small circle of thorns with a small cross of magnificent stones in the centre, and He gave me to understand that I should suffer much for Him from that time to the end and that I must now regard myself as the 'Spouse of the Crucified.' Oh my God, how wonderful Thou art and how clearly dost Thou prove Thyself to be the Allwise and Almighty God, for I wondered much at the great things Thou didst to me and was not able to explain or express myself to anyone, and although I could not doubt about them coming from Thee, yet I thought that the Way of the Cross was a well beaten path and I was much afraid in times of dryness of the extraordinary favours Thou wert lavishing on me. And since Thou gavest me to sip of Thy bitter chalice in the garden my poor soul was thirsting and my heart burning with the desire of more and more suffering. And this thorny circle reassured me and bound me closer and closer to Thee the God of my heart, and from that time forth I have seen these words verified (I say words but I do not mean that He spoke but gave me to understand most clearly what I have said). I say after showing me great favours, for I do not think that at the time that the soul is lost in God that we can either see, hear, or understand anything either with the eyes of the soul or the body."
1. "I certainly saw the signs of the Stigmata upon one of her hands upon the Good Friday afternoon of 1874." Father Wells to Father Powell.
2. Miss Ryland at first thought that Teresa was then receiving the Stigmata but Teresa herself says that this took place on Friday morning and Miss Ryland adds: "Perhaps when I saw her raise her right hand and hold it up so firmly on the eve of Palm Sunday she may not have been receiving the wound but offering it in some prayer for sinners."