• 15 Oct 20

Oct 15 - “St. Teresa of Avila” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Teresa!

St. Teresa of Avila is one of the greatest teachers of the spiritual life in the history of the church. She wrote four major books about prayer and left three volumes of letters.

In her time and culture, women were expected to be quiet and obey men, the Inquisition held Spain in its grip, and the Roman Church was reacting to the Protestant movement by entrenching itself in rigid orthodoxy. Into this darkness Christ brought light through this woman who loved him passionately. Christ answered her love with gifts of leadership and great insight.

Teresa’s gifts were also Spanish gifts. She was a daughter of a stark windswept land, textured by the mix of many cultures. Christians, Muslims and Jews had lived there together for centuries. The blue Moorish tiles forming stars of David in the background of this icon bear witness to Teresa’s Jewish blood and the rich spiritual heritage of the east.

St. Teresa reformed her Carmelite Order, founding seventeen convents throughout Spain. Her foundations were small, poor and strictly disciplined, with emphasis on contemplative prayer. Yet the nuns danced in their times of recreation, and Teresa herself played drums and the tambourine. "It is not a matter of thinking much," she told her nuns, "but of loving much. So do whatever most kindles love in you."