Saint of the Day – St. Teresa of Avila – October 15
St. Teresa of Avila, also known as St. Teresa of Jesus, was a Carmelite nun, reformer of her order, mystic, and writer. She is one of only three women who have been named “Doctor of the Church.” She had a lively intellect and loved people and parties. She wasn’t afraid to argue with the Lord or to oppose those of her time who believed her reforms unnecessary and even dangerous. She experienced many years of illness, including three of paralysis. She found prayer difficult for many years and even refused to try. It wasn’t until she was middle-aged that she began her great work of prayer, reform and teaching.
Many books and articles have been written about St. Teresa of Avila. I refer you to them and to her own writings for details about her life and contributions.
I also invited Mother Marija of Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania to share a thought with us about St. Teresa. Her response:
The invitation: “What is one thing you would like people to know about St. Teresa of Avila?” To be true to Teresa one must be faithful to Teresa’s own thought, at least as well as another can understand and convey it. Our Holy Mother St. Teresa, is a Doctor of the Church, so she needs no other “recommendation” in her teaching capacity. Her own mystical life is self-described in her writings: Life, The Way of Perfection (written for her daughters the Carmelite nuns), and the Interior Castle, which book describes – even maps out – the journey of a soul through seven stages of the inner life to union with God. Again, Teresa had the Carmelite nuns in mind when writing this book, as the epilog expressly tells us. So what would I like people to know about Teresa? Simply that she is a true guide for a life of prayer – a “life”, meaning that prayer for Teresa is the WAY to God. Our Lord is, of course, the WAY and Teresa’s way of prayer is friendship with Jesus. The Way of Perfection, a life of Prayer and finding Jesus as the Way for each of us seems for Teresa to be identical. After all, she is Teresa of Jesus.
Thank you, Mother, for your contribution. May God bless you and all who seek to serve Him through a life of prayer and friendship with Jesus.
The books of St. Teresa of Avila are still in print today. You can find them listed in our discovery engine at http://www.theologika.net/search. Just enter her name and you’ll get links to her works.