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Teresa of Ávila

Biography of Teresa of Ávila: – Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada born on March 28, 1515, in Ávila or Gotarrendura. – Her paternal […]

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Biography of Teresa of Ávila:
– Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada born on March 28, 1515, in Ávila or Gotarrendura.
– Her paternal grandfather, Juan Sánchez de Toledo, was a marrano converso.
– Teresa’s father, Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, was a wealthy wool merchant, and her mother, Beatriz de Ahumada y Cuevas, raised her as a devout Christian.
– Teresa exhibited early fascination with martyrdom and devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Religious Life and Spiritual Works:
– Teresa entered the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at age 20.
– She studied contemplative prayer and mystical works by Osuna and Peter of Alcantara.
– Teresa’s zeal for mortification led to a year-long illness and religious ecstasy.
– Her mystical experiences included visions and the transverberation.
– Teresa authored significant works like ‘The Life of Teresa of Jesus,’ ‘The Interior Castle,’ and ‘The Way of Perfection.’

Mystical Experiences and Legacy:
– Teresa’s visions included encounters with Jesus Christ and the transverberation experience.
– Her raptures sometimes involved levitation, leading to embarrassment.
– Teresa’s mystical experiences influenced scholars and artists.
– Her reforms faced opposition but led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites.
– Canonized in 1622, Teresa was declared the first female Doctor of the Church in 1970.

Monastic Reformer and Extended Travels:
– Teresa preserved a rare medical record from the 16th century and founded St. Josephs convent in 1560.
– She established reformed convents in various Spanish provinces and collaborated with John of the Cross and Anthony of Jesus.
– Teresa faced opposition from unreformed Carmelite members but received papal and royal support for her reforms.
– Her last years were dedicated to founding multiple convents, totaling seventeen.

Last Days and After Her Death:
– Teresa fell ill on a journey and died in 1582, coinciding with the calendar switch.
– Her feast day is celebrated on October 4 or 15.
– Teresa’s body was found intact during an exhumation, and relics were distributed to different locations.
– She is revered as the Doctor of Prayer and was named copatron saint of Castile in 1626.
– A statue in Ávila honors Teresa’s legacy.

Teresa of Ávila (Wikipedia)

Teresa of Ávila, OCD (Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada; 28 March 1515 – 4 or 15 October 1582), also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Carmelite nun and prominent Spanish mystic and religious reformer.


Teresa of Ávila

Saint Teresa of Ávila by Eduardo Balaca
Virgin, Doctor of the Church
BornTeresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada
28 March 1515
Ávila or Gotarrendura, Crown of Castile
Died4 October 1582(1582-10-04) (aged 67)
Alba de Tormes, Crown of Castile
Venerated in
Beatified24 April 1614, Rome by Pope Paul V
Canonized12 March 1622, Rome by Pope Gregory XV
Major shrineConvent of the Annunciation, Alba de Tormes, Spain
Feast15 October
AttributesCarmelite religious habit, biretta, quill, dove (as an attribute of the Holy Spirit), heart with a christogram
PatronageSpain, sick people, people in religious orders, chess, people ridiculed for their piety, lacemakers, Požega, Croatia, Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines, Malalag, Davao del Sur, Philippines
ControversyHer reforms met with determined opposition and interest from the Spanish Inquisition, but no charges were laid against her. Her order split as a result.

Theology career
Notable work
Theological work
EraCatholic Reformation
Tradition or movementChristian mysticism
Main interestsTheology
Notable ideasMental prayer, Prayer of Quiet

Active during the Counter-Reformation, Teresa became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal, reforming the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. The movement was later joined by the younger Carmelite friar and mystic Saint John of the Cross, with whom she established the Discalced Carmelites. A formal papal decree adopting the split from the old order was issued in 1580.

Her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her books The Interior Castle, and The Way of Perfection, are prominent works on Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice. In her autobiography, written as a defense of her ecstatic mystical experiences, she discerns four stages in the ascent of the soul to God: mental prayer and meditation; the prayer of quiet; absorption-in-God; ecstatic consciousness. The Interior Castle, written as a spiritual guide for her Carmelite sisters, uses the illustration of seven mansions within the castle of the soul to describe the different states one's soul can be in during life.

Forty years after her death, in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. On 27 September 1970 Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism.



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