Thursday 23rd October 2014

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

St. Teresa Of Avila

October 14, 2013 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Many parents have bemoaned a strong-willed child. Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, said, however: “Be thankful. Only strong-willed children become saints.” St. Teresa of Avila was a strong-willed child. In fact, one biographer called her a troublemaker. Born of Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and his second wife, Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, she loved her parents. She was born on March 28, 1515 of a large family and admits that they were all virtuous except her.
Teresa’s early years were occupied with reading about the saints with her brother Rodrigo. They thrilled at the victories of martyrs. Hoping to win the same eternal rewards, she and Rodrigo left to go to the Moors and to beg God to allow them to lay down their lives for Him.
An uncle found them, however, and brought them back home where Rodrigo was quick to blame the whole escapade on Teresa. At home, these partners set about building hermitages in the garden, but were unable to complete a solid structure.
St. Teresa lost her mother at the age of 14. She recognized the enormity of her loss, and so turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary, imploring her to become her mother. Unfortunately, without the guidance of her mother, she slipped into worldly ways as she and Rodrigo took up the reading of romances.
This focus led to pursuits of beauty and vanity. Her secular ways caused her father so much worry that he put her in a convent. Eighteen months into her stay, she fell ill and returned home, seriously considering a vocation to the religious life. Oddly enough, she found inspiration in the fiery letters of St. Jerome.
Determined to overcome her father’s objection, she sneaked off to join the Carmelite convent in Avila. Her heart yearned so for the religious life that her father finally capitulated. Shortly before her profession, she fell ill once again.
As her condition grew worse, her father brought her home once again. She began the practice of mental prayer, but without a spiritual director she made little progress.
Three years later Teresa recovered and returned to the convent where her charm and wit won her many friends and admirers. As a result of the excessive socialization in the Carmelite convent, she lost her spirit of piety and began rationalizing her behavior by claiming frailty. “This reason of bodily weakness was not a sufficient cause to make me give up so good a thing which requires not corporal strength but only love and custom.”
After her father’s death, she once again took up the practice of mental prayer, though quite imperfectly. She described her challenge to remain recollected. Taking courage from St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalen, she resolved to better her efforts. From this point on, she grew continuously in her spiritual journey, withdrawing from socialization.
Blessed with the prayer of quiet and union, she tried to reject the spiritual visions, but in vain. Fr. Baltasar Alvarez, a Jesuit spiritual director, assisted her in developing a deep and intimate communication with God.
Nevertheless, when she revealed her visions to him, she suffered many persecutions for three years along with great aridity and desolations. Her spiritual encounters were ridiculed by the Carmelites, who persuaded Fr. Alvarez to side with them.
In 1557, St. Peter of Alcantara came to Avila and visited the “troublemaker.” He possessed the wisdom to recognize the events as coming from God and explained to her that she would suffer more persecutions. These would serve to keep her humble and strengthen her virtue, he informed her.
During this period she received a deep wound in her heart. This wound was part of the mystical marriage. (After her death a long scar was discovered in her heart.) Overwhelmed with such love of God, her prayer became: “Lord, either to die or to suffer.” She longed to be with Christ in Heaven, while at the same time she wanted to suffer for His love.
For an in-depth account of her spiritual life, refer to Saint Teresa of Avila, Collected Works, translated by Kavanaugh and Rodriguez. These writings, which describe the seven interior castles, earned her the title of doctor of the Church, the first woman to earn this exalted distinction. For an uneducated woman to describe the deepest mysteries of the prayer life was nothing short of miraculous.
While St. Teresa wrote volumes on the revelations — under obedience — she also worked to establish new convents. In fact, two of her writings were for the Carmelites: The Way of Perfection and Interior Castle.
After 25 years as a nun residing with some 140 nuns accustomed to a relaxed and social life, St. Teresa decided to found a much smaller reformed community following the Carmelite rule more closely. Although she received proper canonical approval and funding, there was such an uproar that the approval was withdrawn.
In 1561 several citizens continued with Teresa’s plan by building a “house” which really was to be become a convent. When the son of a benefactor was grievously injured at the site, he was completely restored to health by St. Teresa.
The convent opened in 1562, much to the dismay of the prioress of the Incarnation. She sent for Teresa and became determined to have the convent demolished. This was avoided by a settlement reached by the intercession of Fr. Domingo Banez. She and four other nuns formed the first house founded on the reformed rule.
The Carmelites strictly adhered to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In 1567, the prior general of the Carmelites gave her permission to open more convents upon the same plan. He also gave her permission to open two houses of reformed friars in Castile.
Beginning in August 1567, she founded convents in Medina del Campo, Malagon, Madrid, Valladolid, and Toledo. She was approached by two men to open a home for men and did so in 1568. One of the men was St. John of the Cross.
Soon Pius V sponsored an inquiry into orders that relaxed their rules. Their findings led to St. Teresa being appointed as prioress to her original convent, the Incarnation, much to her distaste. She met much resistance, but her charm, wit, and humility soon won over the recalcitrant nuns to improve their cloistered spirit.
When she was sent to Seville, she was denounced to the Inquisition. The Italian Carmelites feared her reforms and thus persuaded the superiors to severely restrict St. Teresa’s Carmelites. Providentially, King Philip II of Spain intervened, obtaining an agreement for the separation of the order into the Calced and Discalced Carmelites in 1580.
Teresa was then 65 years old and in broken health. Before she died two years later, she founded two more houses of Discalced Carmelites. She died on October 4, 1582, was canonized in 1622, and declared a doctor of the Church in 1970. Her feast day is October 15.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ. She is celebrating her 20th anniversary with the organization.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

">

Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

popep6

Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”

Yesterday’s presentation of the mid-term report (Relatio post disceptationem) of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family was met with a remarkable level of interest among both Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets. The Vatican Radio site, in its introduction to…Continue Reading

Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod

The midterm report on the deliberations of the Synod on the Family has appeared and there is a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, has declared this statement “an earthquake,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope At Santa Marta: The Limitless Language Of God’s Love

pope563

(Vatican Radio) “We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit” who gives us the strength to love, said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning at Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports: Pope Francis centered his homily on St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience “that led him to…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church, The Body Of Christ

pope625

(Vatican Radio) Divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings and marginalization do not help the Church to grow as the Body of Christ, they shatter it into many pieces, they dismember it. Instead we should remember that we – as the Body of Christ – are called to appreciate the gifts and the quality of others in our communities. The Church as the Body…Continue Reading

Pope To Consistory: We Are Witnessing A Phenomenon Of Terrorism

In Briefing, Fr. Lombardi Says Interventions Reaffirmed That You Cannot Kill in the Name of God Vatican City, October 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Dedicating this morning’s Consistory of Cardinals to the Middle East, and particularly the region’s Christians, Pope Francis has called on the international community to do their part as well as his fellow prelates to protect…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Middle East Without Christians Unthinkable

pope562

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the…Continue Reading

The Purpose Of Education

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK It struck me many times during the 30 years I spent teaching history at a public high school in the suburbs of New York City that my understanding of the purpose of an education was starkly different from that of the education establishment. The establishment stressed the importance of teaching students…Continue Reading

Musings And Concerns On The Synod

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C. This October 9 commentary is reprinted with his permission. The Wanderer went to press this week on October 16, prior to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ final report and three days before the synod concluded…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Is The Church In The U.S. Unwittingly Helping To Promote The Secularist-Leftist Agenda?

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

The Government And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This past week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Purgatory: A Place Of Mercy

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Feast Of All Souls Readings: Wisdom 3:1-9 Romans 5:5-11 John 6:37-40 Today we have the great privilege of praying in a special way for those who have died yet still await the fullness of life in Heaven. We remember today the holy souls who are in Purgatory. It is rare that we hear about Purgatory…Continue Reading

Pope’s Message To Bishop Of Avila . . . St. Teresa Tells Everyone: “Do Not Cease To Be Joyful!”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is a translation of the message that Pope Francis sent October 15 to the bishop of Avila, Spain, Jesus Garcia Burillo, on the occasion of the opening of the Teresian Jubilee Year for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa of Jesus, doctor of the Church. The saint’s liturgical memorial is observed October…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Being Exposed To Synod’s Deliberations Is Not For The Fainthearted

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). “Peering into freedom’s ideal law,” as St. James’ letter exhorts and as the fathers of…Continue Reading

Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Evidently, Jesus did not stay with the apostles and disciples for long after the Resurrection. He founded a Church, His Church. Now, did He found it as a visible Church, with authority to guide, teach, and sanctify the people? Or didn’t He? Either He did or He didn’t. It is one or the…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era.…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading