St. Teresa was born in Avila, Spain in 1515. She is known as the patroness of the religious and the sick.
As a child, Teresa was obsessed with the martyrs and saints. One day, when she was seven, she convinced her brother to become a martyr . Her plan was to go to the Moors and ask to be decapitated! They were just outside the town walls when their uncle found and stopped them.
When she was 14-years-old, Teresa’s mother passed away, so she turned to the Virgin Mary as a spiritual mother.
Though she was devoted to her faith, the saints and the Virgin Mother, she was also interested in reading fiction and her father worried this was making her vain. To help Teresa remain holy, he sent her to the Augustinian nuns at Avila.
At the monastery, Teresa became extremely ill and experienced moments of religious ecstasy during her devotionals.
Teresa also practiced self-mortification, a common practice during that time. It was during one such occasion she received her first vision of Jesus. She continued to have visions for the next two years, which drove her to convert Spanish Jews to Christianity, to found convents, and to spend five years in prayerful seclusion.
Teresa eventually founded a religious order; the Discalced Carmelites. Many Carmelite religious live cloistered of poverty and prayerful contemplation even today.
As St. Teresa approached the end of her life, she expressed happiness that her hour has arrived. “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.”
St. Teresa was beatified at April 24, 1614 and canonized on March 12, 1622.
Following her death, her body was exhumed several times, each time smelling sweet, feeling firm, and was unspoiled. Several relics of her body are currently on display at various holy sites around the world.
Her feast day is October 15.
To learn more about St. Teresa of Avila, and to read her fun facts, visit Catholic.org.
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