Thursday 3rd September 2015

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:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Good News . . . Brief update on Father John Corapi

A bit of good news to share: A reliable source has informed me that Father John Corapi, a popular priest among orthodox Catholics who departed public life after a tumultuous period a few years ago, remains in the priesthood and…Continue Reading

9th Shocking Video: Planned Parenthood Sells Intact Aborted Babies, One “Just Fell Out” of the Womb

The Center for Medical Progress released a new video this morning — the 9th in its series of videos catching the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling aborted babies and their body parts. This latest video catches a Planned Parenthood medical…Continue Reading

All priests will be able to forgive sin of abortion during Jubilee for Mercy

September 1, 2015 7:33 AM Vatican City, Sep 1, 2015 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy Pope Francis has made some significant moves, allowing all priests to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Francis Arinze: 50 years as a Bishop

Yesterday Saturday 29 August 2015, Francis Cardinal Arinze, 82, marked fifty years as a Bishop. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English Africa Service to mark to the milestone, Cardinal Arinze was in high spirits. Although now retired and living…Continue Reading

Russians to construct ‘the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world’

Towering 80 meters monument to ‘Christ the Teacher’ by Zurab Tsereteli to find home in Vladivostok, Christian Telegraph reports according to RISU. The statue was cast in 2013 by Tsereteli, the famous Georgian-Russian sculptor, known for his gigantic projects such…Continue Reading

If You Still Support Planned Parenthood, You Are Simply Not A Decent Person

Another Planned Parenthood video has been released. I promised I would write about every new video that comes out, so here is my write up on the latest. Please read and share. I don’t usually ask you to share things…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Group Sends Cakes to Thank Planned Parenthood Staff After It Sells Aborted Babies

Apparently, Catholics for Choice want their friends at Planned Parenthood to know how appreciated they are since they will be “harassed” tomorrow at the protests across the country regarding their organ harvesting business.  As LifeNews previously reported, tens of thousands…Continue Reading

Facebook’s very (very) suspicious ‘trending’ Planned Parenthood story

Update Aug. 20, ’15 at 7:54 AM EST: I woke up this morning, and lo and behold, the “trending” news topic had changed. It now reads, “7th video critical of organization released by anti-abortion group.” That’s more like it. I…Continue Reading

Questions raised after pro-life activist Twitter accounts suspended without warning: one now restored

ONTARIO, August 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life activist campaigning against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s abortion extremism as well as a pro-life organization on a mission to show the violent reality of abortion through large graphic billboards had their Twitter…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new…Continue Reading

Catholic Priests’ Forgotten Flock: Catholic Men

The New Emangelization Project has documented that a key driver of the collapse of Catholicism in the U. S. is a serious and growing Catholic “man-crisis”.[1] One third of baptized Catholic men have left the faith and the majority of…Continue Reading

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Caracas, Venezuela, Aug 15, 2015 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis has hit the Church in a unique way: the production of Hosts fell 60 percent during the past month, affecting three states in the South American…Continue Reading

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: The astonishment at the encounter with Jesus

(Vatican Radio) The capacity to recognize ourselves as sinners opens us to the astonishment at the encounter with Jesus: that was the message of Pope Francis Thursday morning during Mass for the feast of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church. Pope Francis’ homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading which tells the story of the miraculous catch of fish. After working throughout the night without catching anything, Peter, trusting in Jesus,…Continue Reading

General Audience: love of family combats city desertification

(Vatican Radio) An estimated 15 thousand people were in St Peter’s Square for the Pope’s General audience on Wednesday, as he continued his catechesis on the family, which this week focused on the importance of families in spreading the faith. The Holy Father underlined that by creating the foundations of a solid faith in the home, the fruits are revealed in a more humane society. The Pope said that the alliance of the family with…Continue Reading

Saints Will Welcome Families, Pope to Philadelphia

St. John Neumann Was Bishop of the City and St. Katharine Drexel Was Born Here United States of America, August 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter When Pope Francis and thousands of families arrive next month to Philadelphia, they are sure to be welcomed by two saints with ties to the city. Fr. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant for the Vatican press office, has compiled the following biographies: * * * ST. JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, C.SS.R. (1811-1860)…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Angelus appeals for persecuted Christians, migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary . . . The Sabbatine Privilege

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY We recently celebrated, on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which, according to tradition, is associated with the giving of the Brown Scapular to St. Simon Stock on that date in 1251. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him with the scapular saying, “This will be for you…Continue Reading

Is Trumpism The New Nationalism?

By PATRICK BUCHANAN Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be? After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes. The…Continue Reading

The Family Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris Presents Many Grave Problems

By MAIKE HICKSON After reading the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the upcoming October 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, when it was first published in June, the author of this short article was somewhat stunned and increasingly troubled. Yet I was soon helped by others to acquire a better understanding. It is…Continue Reading

Syrian Apocalypse

By JOHN J. METZLER UNITED NATIONS— Syria continues to descend into the inferno while the international community stands transfixed. A political solution seems elusive as ever, the civil war grinds on having killed over 250,000 people, and more than twelve million people have fled their homeland. Alarmed by these developments, the UN Security Council has…Continue Reading

One Catholic Congressman … Prepping For The Pope’s U.S. Visit

By MATT HADRO WASHINTON, D.C. (CNA)— As the nation’s capital works to get ready for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. this fall, one Catholic congressman is preparing by reading papal encyclicals. “I say as a Catholic, I’m pretty excited,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) told CNA of the upcoming papal visit. He added that…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Take Up Your Cross

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 50:5-9a James 2:14-18 Mark 8:27-35 Faith is a great gift and, given the times in which we live, it is more necessary than ever that we have our faith. However, in the second reading today St. James says that faith without works is dead. He then gives…Continue Reading

Communiqué Issued at the end of the Pro-Life Conference In Accra, Ghana (August 8-9

Preamble In response to the increasing violation of the sanctity and dignity of human life and the continuing culture of death in Ghana and around the world, and in line with Pope Francis’ call for the need to sustain and support marriage and family life, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the priests, religious and laity of the Catholic Church in…Continue Reading

End Media Blackout On Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Scandal

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The baby parts sale scandal at Planned Parenthood is being aided and abetted by another scandal: the refusal of vast portions of the mainstream media to cover the issue. The release of numerous videos that detail the brutal and criminal killing and dismembering even of babies outside of the womb in order to obtain body…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Man Jesus — Humanity At Its Perfection

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 17 What was Jesus like, as a Man? We know about His divinity, we believe in it, but what was He like in His daily life with people in general? We call this topic investigating the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or, more simply, Jesus the Man. In an obscure province of…Continue Reading

The Episcopal College And The Pope

By DON FIER When Jesus founded the Church, as we saw last week, “He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 874). With the overarching objective to ensure that the ministry He introduced during His time on earth would be carried forward until the end of time, Christ organized her along hierarchical…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St.…Continue Reading