Posted in CARMELITES, DOCTORS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 15 October – Saint Teresa of Avila OCD (1515-1582)

Saint of the Day – 15 October – Saint Teresa of Avila OCD (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Prayer” Seraphic Virgin, Reverend Mother, Prioress.

François_Gérard_-_St_Theresa_(detail).jpg
Probably one of the most famous artworks of St Teresa – by French painter François Gérard (1827)

St Teresa of Jesus, honoured by the Church as the “seraphic virgin,” virgo seraphica and reformer of the Carmelite Order, ranks first among women for wisdom and learning.   She is called doctrix mystica, doctor of mystical theology; in a report to Pope Paul V the Roman Rota declared:  “Teresa has been given to the Church by God as a teacher of the spiritual life.   The mysteries of the inner mystical life which the holy Fathers propounded unsystematically and without orderly sequence, she has presented with unparalleled clarity.”   Her writings are still the classic works on mysticism and from her, all later teachers have drawn, e.g., Francis de Sales, Alphonsus Liguori.   Characteristic of her mysticism is the subjective-individualistic approach; there is little integration with the liturgy and social piety and thus, she reflects the spirit of the sixteenth and following centuries.

naiche-washburn-st-teresa-of-avila-francois-gerard.jpg
And this is a drawing by French painter François Gérard

Teresa was born at Avila, Spain, in the year 1515.   At the age of seven she set out for Africa to die for Christ but was brought back by her uncle.   When she lost her mother at twelve, she implored Mary for her maternal protection.   In 1533 she entered the Carmelite Order; for eighteen years she suffered physical pain and spiritual dryness. Under divine inspiration and with the approval of Pope Pius IV, she began the work of reforming the Carmelite Order.   In spite of heavy opposition and constant difficulties, she founded thirty-two reformed convents.

Truly wonderful were the exterior and interior manifestations of her mystical union with God, especially during the last decade of her life.   These graces reached a climax when her heart was transfixed (transverberatio cordis), an event that is commemorated in the Carmelite Order by a special feast on 27 August.

Ecstasy_of_Saint_Teresa_September_2015-2a
                                The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini,                                      Basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome

Indeed, Teresa was said to have been observed levitating during Mass on more than one occasion.

Teresa is regarded as one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, and her position among writers on mystical theology as unique. Her writings on this theme, stem from her personal experiences, thereby manifesting considerable insight and analytical gifts. Her definitions have been used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Teresa states: “Contemplative prayer, in my opinion is nothing other than a close sharing between friends.   It means frequently taking time to be alone with Him whom we know loves us.”   Throughout her writings, Teresa returns to the image of watering one’s garden as a metaphor for mystical prayer.st teresa mosaic

She practised great devotion to the foster-father of Jesus, whose cult was greatly furthered throughout the Church through her efforts.   When dying, she often repeated the words: “Lord, I am a daughter of the Church!”   Her holy body rests upon the high altar of the Carmelite church in Ala, Spain, her heart with its mysterious wound is reserved in a precious reliquary on the Epistle side of the altar.

Below are the statues of St Teresa at the Vatican, the first on the Colonnade and the second inside St Peter’s.StTheresa-NorthColonnade-56StTheresaofJesus-RNave

 

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

2 thoughts on “Saint of the Day – 15 October – Saint Teresa of Avila OCD (1515-1582)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s