Saint of the Day: Teresa of Jesus
Mother of the Spiritual Life
Spanish, b. 1515, d. 1582
Virgin; mystic; foundress of 17 Carmelite convents; friend of several saints of her time, including John of the Cross; the first woman named Doctor of the Church
The daughter of a merchant, Teresa was born into a large, devout family; at 7, she and her brother decided to run away to Africa, where they hoped to be beheaded by the Moors and become martyrs—a relative cut short their journey, bringing them home to their mother the same day; entered the local convent in Avila at 16 and professed vows at 20, not because of love for God, but rather following customs of the time for women from wealthy families; the atmosphere of the convent was more social than pious; yet at age 39, Teresa underwent a conversion, which transformed her spiritual mediocrity into great fervor, a fervor for God that would lead to reform and the founding of the Discalced (shoeless) Carmelite order, where religious would truly live out the vow of poverty; her private revelations were questioned not only by her religious superiors, but also came under the scrutiny of the Inquisition
500 years after her birth, people continue to seek her instruction on how to pray and and guidance on union with God in prayer
Patroness of religious and the sick, headaches, Spain, people in need of grace
O Lord! All our trouble comes to us from not having our eyes fixed upon Thee. If we only looked at the way along which we are walking, we should soon arrive; but we stumble and fall a thousand times and stray from the way because, as I say, we do not set our eyes on the true Way. — The Way of Perfection, chapter 16
We need no wings to go in search of God, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us. — The Way of Perfection, chapter 28
“What I have learned is this: that the entire foundation of prayer must be established in humility, and that the more a soul abases itself in prayer, the higher God raises it. — The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila
…if you progress a long way on this road and ascend to the Mansions of your desire, the important thing is not to think much but to love much; do, then, whatever most arouses you to love. Perhaps we do not know what love is… — Interior Castle, Fourth Mansion
- Read / listen bio at American Catholic
- Read bio at EWTN
- Read Butler’s Lives of the Saints entry on St. Teresa
- Read General Audience of Pope Benedict XV( (February 2, 2011)
- Read Pope Francis’ message to Bishop of Avila (October 2014)
- Watch / listen Cardinal Bergoglio say a few words on the saint
- Watch / listen Saints Alive segment on the Interior Castle
- Pray Litany to Saint Teresa of Avila
True humility will walk happily along the road by which the Lord leads it. — The Way of Perfection, chapter 17
(some) Writings of Saint Teresa of Avila
- Read The Way of Perfection
- Read Interior Castle
- Read The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila
- Read Letters of Saint Teresa of Avila
Including a Poem
Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All things pass;
God never changes.
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
— Poem IX
And a Prayer for Other Souls
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for every one of you.