St. Teresa of Avila

Solemnity: 15 Oct.

Teresa was born at Avila in Spain in 1515. As a member of the Discalced Carmelite Order she made great progress in perfection and received mysitical revelations. As reformer of her Order she underwent many trials which she intrepidly overcame.St. Teresa was a woman of great humanity and courage. Having struggled herself with her prayer life she was, after her deeper conversation, able to offer others invaluable help on the journey towards God.

Having begun the reform of Carmel she began to write her books to help her Carmelite sisters and others on the way of prayer. Her outstanding works are: The LifeThe Way of PerfectionThe Interior Castle and The Book of the Foundations. These profoundly human, witty and sprawling writings have been a source of refreshment for many over the centuries. She gives, perhaps, the best and most complete description of the spiritual journey from the first awakenings of prayer to profound union with God. She is a theologian of the humanity of Christ and insists, again and again, that no matter how exalted our prayer is, we cannot abandon the humanity of Christ. Her writings are a good antidote to a lot of New Age vagueness floating around at the present time. She died at Alba in 1582 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.


Principal Events in the Life of Saint Teresa

1515 Teresa de Ahumada born at Ávila, in Spain.
1536 Enters Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation (under the Mitigated Rule), Ávila, as a novice. Regards the next 20 years as a period of semi-conversion.
1556 - 7 Final 'conversion'. First contact with the Society of Jesus.
1562 Founded the first convent of the reform, St Joseph's in Avila, under the Primitive Rule of St Albert. Lives there until 1567. Drew up her own Constitutions.
1565 Greater part of the Life written in its final version. The Way of Perfection begun.
1567 Authorisation by the Carmelite General for the foundation of further convents of the Reform. Primitive Rule and Constitutions approved.
1568 Teresa assisted in the foundation of the first Discalced Carmelite Friary in Duruelo with St John of the Cross and Fr Antonio of Jesus.
1562 - 82 Founded Discalced Carmelite convents throughout Spain.
1573 Began to write the Foundations. (Completed 1582)
1577 The Interior Castle written. (Revised 1580).
1582 Dies in October at Alba de Tormes.





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