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St Teresa

St Teresa of Avila


St Teresa of Avila was a Doctor of the Church and founder of the Discalced Carmelites.

Teresa was born in Avila, Spain in 1515. She was the third of nine children.

‘I had a father and mother who were devout and feared God,’ she wrote in her autobiography.

When she was young, Teresa loved to read about the lives of different saints. After her mother died, Teresa’s father send her to an Augustinian convent school at the age of 16. Though, she did return home due to illness. By the age of 18, Teresa had decided that an religious life was her future, but her father initially refused to give his permission for her to become a nun.

Teresa left home to join the local Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation. There was a large community consisting of 140 nuns. For the next 20 years, Teresa lived at the convent. Due to the convent being so busy, she did find it hard to pray and mediate.

When praying before a statue of Christ in 1555, Teresa, dreamt of a small, poor Carmelite monastery and this is when the Carmelite reform began. Teresa founded 16 monasteries of women. She travelled while doing this and became known as ‘the roving nun’ by the people of Spain.

Teresa died on 15th October 1582. She was canonised by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 and she was exalted to patroness of Spain in 1627.

The feast day of Saint Teresa of Avila is 15th October.

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