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St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila

The feast of Teresa of Ávila, known as Doctor of the Church, is being commemorated every October 15.

Born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada on March 28, 1515, she died on October 4, 1582, at the age of 67.

She was beatified in Rome by Pope Paul V on April 24, 1614.  Pope Gregory XV canonized her on March 12, 1622.

Also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, a Carmelite nun, she is a known Spanish mystic and religious reformer.

She is a patron of Spain, people in religious orders, sick people, people ridiculed for their piety, chess, lacemakers, Croatia, Talisay, and Cebu in the Philippines.

She wrote her biography entitled The Life of Teresa of Jesus.  Her books The Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection are popular in Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice.

In her autobiography, she discerns four stages in the ascent of the soul to God: mental prayer and meditation; the prayer of quiet; absorption-in-God; and ecstatic consciousness. 

Pope Paul VI on September 27, 1970, proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church because of her contributions to Catholicism.

Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, her father, was one of the richest in Avila, a wool merchant.  Teresa's mother raised her up as a devoted Christian.

She was attracted to the lives of saints and at age seven, she ran away from home.  That was with her sibling Rodrigo, to seek martyrdom in the fight against the Moors. But their uncle brought them home. 

At age 11, her mother died, leaving inconsolable. She turned to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother.

She fell in love with medieval tales of knighthood and works about fashion, gardens and flowers. She studied at the school of the Augustinian nuns.

At age 20, despite his father’s objection, she entered the local easy-going Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation.

With her supporters, they faced persecution from the unreformed members of the Carmelite.

She died either before midnight on October 14 or early in the morning on October 15 1582 from an illness.

"My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another,"  were her last words.

Her body was found to be intact even if her clothing had rotted when her coffin was opened nine months after her death.

Her mystical works influenced many theologians like Francis of Sales.

Teresa of Avila is also honoured in the Church of England and in the Episcopal Church on October 15.

She also inspired authors in modern times with this prayer:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.