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Posted by on Oct 15, 2008

Saint of the Day – St. Teresa of Avila – October 15

Saint of the Day – St. Teresa of Avila – October 15

St. Teresa of Avila - by Peter Paul Rubens

St. Teresa of Avila - by Peter Paul Rubens

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 Just enter her name and you’ll get links to her works.

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2008

Saint of the Day – St. Teresa of Avila – October 15

St. Vincent de Paul – September 27

St. Vincent de Paulimage by Monastery Icons

St.Vincent de Paul is one of those saints whose mark on society has been so great that we often take their contributions for granted. Men and women through the centuries have been moved to serve the poor because of his example, as priests, nuns, and lay persons. Through the society which bears his name, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, members work across the United States and around the world, providing help both for those who face long term challenges and those who are “down on their luck” for a short time. 

Last year, Randy wrote a biographical post for the feast of St. Vincent de Paul. Lots of good information is there, along with links to other sites. This year, I asked members of orders founded by St. Vincent de Paul and his associates for one thing they’d like the world to know about him. These were responses I received, in order received.

From Sr. Mary Frates, DC – Vocation Director, Daughters of Charity, DePaul Provincial House

Thank you for this opportunity.  St. Vincent De Paul is well known for making an impact on the society of his day through organizing service to the very poorest.  What I would like people to know about Vincent is that he paid attention to everything that was happening around him and it was this attention to the present moment that drew him to take action to help those in need.

From Fr. Ray Van Dorpe, C.M.  Assistant Provincial, Midwest Province of the Congregation of the Mission

I would like people to know that St. Vincent de Paul was a man far ahead of his time.  He was one of the first to organize the laity for charitable works of mercy that were not dependent on the support of the local pastor.  These “Confraternities of Charity” later became the Ladies of Charity, an international organization and part of the larger Vincentian Family, along with the Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, to name but a few.  St. Vincent was also ahead of his time in putting women to work outside the structures of cloistered life (the Daughters of Charity).  He also was one of those who revolutionized the formation of the clergy in France and other countries and developed a sophisticated ministry of preaching missions in poor rural parishes (the Congregation of the Mission).  But more important than all these accomplishments was his love for the poor and his deep desire to bring the Good News to the poorest of God’s people.

Thank you for sharing your insights. May the Lord continue to bless your ministry and that of Vincentians around the world.

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