St. Thérèse, St. Joan, and the mystical Kingdom of Catholic and Royal France.

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I’m Walter Emerson, a retired corporate executive who writes on phenomenological Catholic devotion to St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Reflecting over the course of a decade on the “experience of an experience” with St. Joan, these saintly sisters led me on a psychic journey to the mystical Kingdom of Catholic and Royal France. Under their guidance, my life transformed from near death to lively Catholic hope. I share this journey with others in the hope that they, too, will receive a deep devotion to St. Joan and St. Thérèse, accompanied by a life transforming dogmatic confession of Catholic faith through their French, Royal, Catholic spirituality.

Below is a comprehensive discussion of the project, requiring significant meditative attention.


Should this interest you?

The greatest gift we can receive from God is a single encounter, the meaning of which we must spend our entire lives discovering. This discovery is the pearl of great price for which one sells all one owns to acquire. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”1

The Dove and Rose began with an attempt to make sense of a single encounter. It is as if the trajectory of my entire life beforehand prepared me to receive it, and the purpose every day after has been to interpret its meaning. It began my search for the “pearl of great value.” The encounter was a phenomenon, a powerful moment of intuitive comprehension, whereby St. Joan of Arc permanently entered my life story through the Jehannian hermeneutics of St. Thérèse’s plays and poetry. I refer to it, using Thérèsian terminology, as a “divine glance”2 and an encounter with the combined hearts of St. Joan (The Dove) and St. Thérèse (The Rose). This phenomenon led to a tireless search for its meaning. This search transformed my life as I sold everything I had to obtain the pearl.

The Dove and Rose attempts to investigate the eidetic essence of the “experience of the experience” and then constitute an understanding of its meaning. I have tentatively determined the experience of the experience to be a “psychically3 transformative acceptance of holy friendship4” with St. Joan of Arc manifested through the plays and poetry of St. Thérèse. The effect of this acceptance is a sharing in St. Thérèse’s mode of being with Joan,5 which I call their “combined hearts.” The telos of this sharing in their combined hearts is my sanctification, conditioned on fidelity to grace. They lead me to the Kingdom, and I will not arrive without them.

The eidetic reduction must be intersubjective according to St. Edith Stein’s phenomenological method.6 The method requires that the phenomenon be made apparent and shared with others, without which the hermeneutics required by the reduction cannot continue. The reader is a participant in this investigation. By publishing the model, intersubjectivity is achieved, at least in potential. The goal cannot be attained without transparency to others.

The Dove and Rose is not about St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux directly; it is not the saints’ history or summary of their spirituality. The reader can find more on each saint’s life story at Heroic-Hearts.com, a podcast I co-host with Amy Chase. The Dove and Rose is a process of constituting an “experience of an experience” with Joan of Arc to reveal insights with universal applicability to the reader.

Despite some of the philosophical language, the work remains highly devotional in nature. There are metaphysics and phenomenology, but no attempt to make this “divine glance” a purely philosophical affair. The astonishing7 moment imbuing my soul with a lifelong devotion to St. Joan of Arc appears supernatural in nature and a grace from Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have done my best here to explain its meaning which I hope will inspire a similarly powerful devotion to St. Joan and St. Thérèse in others.



What is The Dove and Rose?

The Dove and Rose is a phenomenology of the combined hearts of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, resulting from an astonishing, instantaneous comprehension of Joan of Arc. What followed, equally instantaneously, was an immediate “psychically transformative acceptance of holy friendship” with Joan. The tentative constitution of this phenomenon is a royal French Catholic spirituality grounded in a mystical relationship with St. Mary Magdalene on the shores of Provence, in accordance with western tradition.8 Constituted further, the form of Magdalen’s contemplative mission in France abides as realism in the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mystical France is Catholic, Royal, and beloved by Our Lady. Devotion to Mystical France, Catholic and Royal, is devotion to Mary through the combined hearts of St. Joan and St. Thérèse.

The contemplative, phenomenological endeavor to reconstitute Magdalene's model, bringing this Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, is an expression of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Bringing to light the manifested "gestalt” of Magdalene's axioms as a devotional lifepower,9 in obedience to the dogmas, doctrines, magisterial teachings, and metaphysics of the Church, constitutes the meaning of the encounter with St. Joan, who, with St. Thérèse, guides us to this Kingdom.

The encounter with St. Joan as a “psychically transformative acceptance of her friendship,” like a lightning bolt, is therefore the “point of inquiry” on an empathic journey through Joan’s noetic field of meaning to “mystical France” in the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The “Jehannian hermeneutic” - our primary method of interpreting Joan’s life - is the heart of St. Thérèse as revealed through her poetry and plays. It is through St. Thérèse that we perceive Joan within the values taught by Thérèse, judge the experience of our encounter, and, at our most ontologically psychic level, yield to St. Joan’s friendship in this constitution, convinced that we must follow her to the Kingdom at all costs.

This project is initiated and constituted through a Catholic phenomenological reflection centered on the life of St. Joan of Arc, the savior and heroine of France, which projects an empathic understanding of her mystical map of meaning, itself empathically guided by the soft light of Magdalene's noetics, constituted through divine union with Jesus her mystical spouse. St. Thérèse, through her plays and poetry, is the authentic interpreter of St. Joan’s life and the one through whom we learn the values prioritized in our judgment of the encounter with Joan. Royaume France is a testimony and an invitation to walk phenomenologically with St. Joan and St. Thérèse into the mystical Kingdom of Catholic and Royal France. This is intended to be in obedience to the Church’s Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial teachings and total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Experientially, the reader will find an anthological collection of reflections revealing the “appearance of the Kingdom appearing” as related through an eclectic array of devotional expressions. The expressions that emerge in the heart and mind of the reader remain to be written.


St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Public domain from Wikimedia.

The project’s mission and vision are posited below based on the tentative, eidetic conclusion that the “psychically transformative acceptance of holy friendship” with St. Joan of Arc, through the values learned from St. Thérèse, reflects a royal French Magdalenian spirituality which must be constituted in the intellectual and devotional life of the subject, in accordance with the Church's metaphysics and the spirit of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.


Vision

The Vision of Royaume France is the combined hearts of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux as a phenomenological prism through which the Holy Spirit reflects the syntax of Magdalene's heart, Our Lady’s Catholic and Royal France, throughout our being.

Mission

The Mission of Royaume France is to empathically project St. Joan and St. Thérèse’s intersubjective noetic map of meaning through every corner of our hearts. The resulting transformation of our being becomes the transcendent stairway to Magdalene's mystical mode of being as the gestalt of France in Heaven.10

Method

The method of The Dove and Rose is phenomenology guided by Catholic metaphysics. It is to “contemplate how we think” to better “see what we have already seen”11 through a single-minded phenomenological devotion to St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux within the context of the metaphysics of the Catholic Church, its sacred tradition, and magisterial teachings. Phenomenological devotion in this context means to receive, record, interpret, assert, and articulate what these saints give us faithfully and prayerfully. This method of discourse is our "journey" with the saints.

Goal

The goal of The Dove and Rose is “descriptive fidelity” to what is given to us through this devotion "precisely as it is given, and within the limits of how it is given.”12

Outcome

The outcome we seek through the Dove and Rose is a mystical friendship with St. Joan and St. Thérèse and a sharing in their abiding union with Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Rule of Life

Read the Rule of Life for “Le Royaume,” the Kingdom blessed of St. Joan and St. Thérèse.


St. Joan of Arc. Public domain from Wikimedia.

My personal mission:

To help others be comforted, as though freed of a spiritual siege, by the divine virtue that resides in the combined hearts of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.13


These writings are personal reflections on my spiritual journey through the Catholic Church.

I hold an undergraduate degree in Economics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University.

I am married and the father of one child. Though raised a Methodist in the Bible Belt and surrounded with evangelicalism as a youth, I converted to the Catholic Church prior to my marriage in 1985.

Touched deeply by the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and imbued with a filial love for Mary, I set out on a life-long spiritual journey to "seek first" Christ's Kingdom with Thérèse as my guide.

Eventually led to confront my innermost being on that lonely, mystical hill of Calvary; I discovered through Mary's maternal guidance and Thérèse's sisterly care that Jesus had called another mighty saint to walk with me and to protect me through that dark and awful night of self-confrontation that leads us in Christ to true freedom. That saint, a spiritual sister to Thérèse, was Joan of Arc.

~ Walter Emerson Adams


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Check out the Heroic Hearts podcast on SubstackSpotify, or Apple. Heroic Hearts is a podcast about healing, enchanting, and elevating our hearts through the stories and spirituality of St. Joan of Arc and St. Therese of Lisieux. Co-hosted with Amy Chase.

1

Matthew 13:45-46. The Didache Bible - with Commentaries Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Ignatius Bible Edition. San Francisco CA: Midwest Theological Forum - Ignatius Press, n.d.

2

“I want to console you for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of you to take away my freedom to dis­please you. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself.”

Also note Edith Stein’s term, “unreflective certainty” which I often use for a more philosophical presentation in place of the “divine glance.” “The certainty of being is an unreflective certainty, and it precedes all our rational knowledge.” ~ Edith Stein. Potency and Act (The Collected Works of Edith Stein) Kindle Location 484.

3

“Psychic” in this model intends to be in the framework in which Edith Stein develops “psyche” in: Stein, Edith. Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities. ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2000. Using Stein as the point of departure, and adding a Heideggerian influence, “psychic acceptance” in The Dove and Rose refers to an acceptance in the psyche rendering a powerful motivation to explore that which is accepted at the most fundamental, ontological level of one’s being. It is immediately life-changing. This is opposed to a superficial, emotional response where one accepts the phenomenon as “interesting” but not immediately life-changing.

4

“Friendship is born from one soul into another soul; and the soul has value only in itself. Once we meet there, everything else disappears. And yet, by an admiral privilege, time confirms friendship… like two rocks overhanging similar waves and showing them unwavering resistance, so do they notice the flow of years vainly attacking the unchanging harmony of their hearts.” Lacordaire, OP, Henri-Dominique. The Life of St. Mary Magdalene. Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph, 2015. pp. 11-12.

5

“In either case, one spirit, by joining with another, comes to share in the other’s mode of being.” Stein, Edith. Potency and Act - Studies Toward a Philosophy of Being. Washington DC: ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2009. loc. 2064.

6

I refer the reader to a seminar on Edith Stein’s Phenomenology I personally attended online given by the British Society for Phenomenology during June, 2023 and presented by Dr. Mette Lebech of Maynooth University.

7

“Phenomenological Reduction - A Peer Reviewed Academic Source.” Accessed December 3, 2022. https://iep.utm.edu/phen-red/#H1. “There is an experience in which it is possible for us to come to the world with no knowledge or preconceptions in hand; it is the experience of astonishment. The ‘knowing’ we have in this experience stands in stark contrast to the ‘knowing’ we have in our everyday lives, where we come to the world with theory and ‘knowledge’ in hand, our minds already made up before we ever engage the world. However, in the experience of astonishment, our everyday ‘knowing,’ when compared to the ‘knowing’ that we experience in astonishment, is shown up as a pale epistemological imposter and is reduced to mere opinion by comparison.”

8

“Jesus Christ had left his mother to Jerusalem, St. Peter to Rome, St. John to Asia; to whom would he bequeath Mary Magdalene? We already know; it was France that received from the hand of God that part of the testament of His Son.” Lacordaire, OP, Henri-Dominique. The Life of St. Mary Magdalene. Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph, 2015.

9

“Lifepower” in this model is intended to be in the framework of Edith Stein’s development of the term in Stein, Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities. It is a life source within the psyche that can be influenced by outside forces.

10

See Stein, Knowledge and Faith (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 8). Kindle location 1701 for the inspiration behind “the transcendent stairway to Magdalene’s mystical mode of being as the gestalt of France in Heaven.” “A thread runs through all of Dionysius's writings that have come down to us. In the prologue of his commentary on Dionysius, Albert the Great summed it up in a quotation from Ecclesiastes: Ad locum unde {69} exeunt flumina revertuntur ut iterum fluant [the streams return to the place whence they have issued to again flow forth]. This flowing should be taken first as the order of being: every be-ing issues from God as from the First and returns to him again. Iterum fluere [flowing forth again] after reuniting implies not a separation but an inclining to what lies below in order to raise it up. Like the law of issue and return of which it forms part, hierarchy is not only an order of being but also an order of knowing.”

11

Detmer, Phenomenology Explained - From Experience to Insight. p. 18. “Its (phenomenology) aim is to help us to see more clearly what we have already seen…”

12

Ibid. p. 18. “One of the principal goals of phenomenology, then, is simply descriptive fidelity. The aim is to describe accurately what is given in experience precisely as it is given, and within the limits of how it is given.”

13

Pernoud and Clin, Joan of Arc - Her Story, 41. “But they (the citizens of Orléans) felt already comforted, as though freed of the siege by the divine virtue that they were told resided in that simple Maid…”

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The Dove and Rose is an epic phenomenological journey to the mystical Kingdom of France through the combined spirituality of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

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