Saint Teresa of Avila



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Fast Facts
teresa avila.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, St. Teresa of Avila
Function: 
Saint
Traditions: 
Christianity
Main Countries of Activity: 
Spain
Date of Birth: 
March 28, 1515
Place of Birth: 
Avila, Spain
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
1582
Ancestor Gurus: 

Biography

Saint Teresa was born on March 28, 1515 in Avila, Spain. When her mother died, her father placed her in a convent of Augustinian nuns. Teresa turned to the Mother of God to be her mother and began to consider a vocation among the nuns. After several years, Teresa returned home to her father determined to enter a convent herself. She entered the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation near Avila and made her profession in November of 1534.

For many years Teresa led a good religious life, though there was nothing remarkable about her. She experienced difficulty removing herself from the world and concentrating on God, in part because of the atmosphere of the convent, and in part because of what she perceived as her own faults and weaknesses. She continued to persevere in prayer and other devotions and finally achieved, according to the claims, the grace she so earnestly sought.

Conditions at her convent that had made it so difficult for her to find the peace of God still existed. Inspired by the Holy Spirit and guided by advisors, mentors and confessors, she undertook to reform her order. She was denounced as hysterical, glory-seeking, wrong-headed, stubborn, and welcomed as enlightened, wise, inspired and sincere. It must have been very difficult to maintain a sense of balance and humour amidst the trials and tribulations Teresa of Avila underwent, but her sense of humour and wit are still remembered. Perhaps the most famous of her sayings was in response to God's "But this is how I treat my friends, Teresa." "Well, then, no wonder You have so few of them!"

Despite many setbacks and some outright hostility, she succeeded in establishing the Reform of the Discalced Carmelites, both for brethren and sisters of her Order. She established thirty two monasteries, seventeen of which were convents of nuns. Her greatest legacy is her writings; letters, lectures and books on Prayer, Mystical Theology and Spirituality that have made a significant contribution to learning in the Church.

She died in 1582 and was declared a Doctor of the Church on September 27, 1970

Teachings

St Teresa of Avila mostly reminds to keep in silence, to keep one with the mystical body of Christ, to help poor souls.

This prayer is a glorious foolishness, a heavenly madness where the true wisdom is learned; and it is for the soul a most delightful way of enjoying.

Locations

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

The Autobiography of St. Teresa Of Avila: The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus

by Teresa of Avila

(Paperback)

Famous Carmelite classic in a wonderful traditional translation. Her spiritual struggles, vision of her potential place in Hell, mystical graces--yet she remained very down to earth. One of the most admirable women of all time! Nice large print. Impr. PB 555 pgs.

Recommended DVD & Video: 
Cover image

St. Teresa of Avila

(DVD)

A powerful epic mini-series shot on location in Spain that tells the story of one of the most amazing women in history, St. Teresa of Avila. With meticulous attention to detail and historical accuracy, outstanding production values, and an incredible performance by actress Concha Velasco as Teresa, this acclaimed major film production is the definitive film on the life of this great saint.

Teresa of Avila was called by God to reform and renew the Carmelite order, a daunting task. She was joined in this work by her great fellow Carmelite and spiritual director, St. John of the Cross. This film reveals the conversion that Teresa herself had to go thru to deepen her own union with Christ as she endeavored to bring about that same deeper spiritual reform of her Carmelite order. It shows the tremendous opposition that she and John both faced within (and without) their order to bring about this much needed spiritual renewal. She and John of the Cross were both great mystics who combined the essential dimensions of a profound spiritual life with the very practical aspects of being completely dedicated to the human tasks necessary for such a reform.

This DVD has the following language tracks: Spanish with English subtitles.

Includes a 16 page Collector's booklet. Also has many Special Features, including: Documentary on the Making of the Film, Behind the Scenes Footage, Interviews with Actress and Director, Biography of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross and much more!

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