St Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa was born in Avila, Spain on March 1515.  St. Teresa read a book about the great St. Jerome, and made her mind up to become a bride of Christ.  She entered the Carmelite Order in 1536.  During her time as a nun Teresa was said to be too charming, everyone liked her and she liked the attention.  She found it too easy to slip into a worldly life and ignore God.  The convent encouraged her to have visitors to whom she would teach mental prayer because their gifts helped the community economy.  But Teresa got more involved in flattery, vanity and gossip than spiritual guidance.  When she was 41, a priest convinced her to go back to her prayer, but she still found it difficult.  When St. Teresa started praying again, God gave her spiritual delights, the prayer of quiet where God’s presence overwhelmed her senses, and sometimes her whole body was raised from the ground.  St Teresa felt the best evidence that her delights came from God was that the experiences gave her peace, inspiration, and encouragement.  St. Teresa opened sixteen new Carmelite convents.  These convents were filled with nuns who wanted to live holy lives, a simple life of poverty and devoted to prayer.  St. Teresa herself gave them an example to follow, she prayed with great love and worked hard at her daily tasks.  St. Teresa was a great leader and true lover of Jesus and his church.  St. Teresa was the founder of the Discalced Carmelites.  She died on October 4th 1582 and was proclaimed a Saint by Pope Gregory XV on 12th March 1622.  In 1970 Pope Paul VI declared her the first woman Doctor of the Church for her writings and teaching on prayer.