12 Interesting facts about St. Teresa of Avila – Aleteia

St teresa facts

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October 15 is the feast of st. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), probably the most influential female saint and mystic in the world.

for the feast of st. Teresa de Avila, we decided to ask a Carmelite why this saint, a doctor of the Church, who represents the culmination of Christian mysticism, is relevant and useful for the new generations.

so we turned to mr. Christian Dobner, one of the most prolific Carmelite nuns and Catholic women today. She translates German, English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, and Russian, and is a contributor to various publications, including the semi-official Vatican newspaper. , l’osservatore romano. she lives in the monastery of santa maria del monte carmelo in concenedo di barzio, in the city of lecco, in northern italy. she knows, reads, translates and writes about st. Theresa.

“just being a woman is enough to make my wings fall off”, st. Teresa said. This statement, written in her autobiography, is one of the famous sayings of this great saint, whose full name was Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada. according to mr. dobner, this phrase reminds us that despite the social conventions of the time that clipped women’s wings, Teresa did not let herself be contained.

in the world of the Spanish golden age, society was not very prone to the “independence of women; rather, it was the opposite. Men ruled and women had to adapt, “explains the Italian Carmelite, who explains how, from a very young age, Teresa” showed that she knew how to get what she wanted.

“Teresa was fascinated by hearing and reading stories of the martyrs, because they had shed their blood and had seen God. and she, to see it, wanted to speed up time. In fact, she convinced her younger brother, Rodrigo de Ella, to flee with her to Muslim lands, so that they would be martyred and thus could see God. her relatives found them on the outskirts of Ávila, her hometown. but that was teresa, and that was her determination when she was a child.

“Imagine what she was like as a teenager or an adult,” Dobner says.

so, to get to know this saint better at her party, here are a dozen interesting facts about the saint:

  1. I felt that a day when I couldn’t read a new book was a day wasted.
  2. with the complicity of his mother and behind his strict father’s back, he read books about the great deeds of knights, very popular at the time.
  3. There are hypotheses that Teresa was part of a network of women who exchanged books.
  4. She was independent and autonomous. When she understood that God was calling her to be a nun, and after communicating it to her father (who rejected the idea), she decided to leave her parents’ house, and went to the Encarnación Monastery (in Avila). .
  5. the day he entered the monastery (November 2, 1535), the bells were ringing for All Souls Day.
  6. he overcame bureaucratic and financial obstacles—and, says dobner, also the machismo of the time—and managed to found new convents.
  7. He established small convents throughout Spain. she traveled on foot, for which she was called the wandering saint.
  8. she taught her nuns to think and pray for themselves, and to concentrate to listen to the Lord within, in what she called the “inner castle”.
  9. They kept a close eye on her because she was suspected of heresy, but they couldn’t find anything to contradict the idea that she was obeying the will of God.
  10. She always abandoned herself to the will of God, and she was a very determined woman who knew where she was going. she used to say many times: “I am yours, sir; I was born for you. what do you want from me?”
  11. in 1970, together with saint catherine of siena, she was declared a doctor of the church.
  12. by her own admission, sometimes she felt like “a lion” and other times like “an ant”.

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