St. Teresa of Avila

Spanish Mystic and one of only four women Doctors of the Church, Saint Teresa of Jesus, 1515 – 1582, was a reformer of the Carmelite Order, and a founder of the Discalced Carmelites together with Saint John of the Cross.

In the Summer of 2011, in a week of talks, Brother Brian Dybowski introduced us to the powerful poetry and prose of Saint Teresa of Avila. In his Introduction to the commentary, provided as Teresa of Avila class handouts, Brother Brian wrote this:

St. Teresa of Avila 1515-1582

“It’s encouraging for us to know that Teresa did not start life at full blaze. Instead she converted in several stages. First she advanced from ordinary life to a nun’s consecrated life. Then, from being a lax nun, she flamed up into fervent life with Christ. As this fire grew, she renewed her personal religious life. Then she re-founded, the Carmelite order. Carmelites had abandoned poverty so much that they wore shoes. Teresa’s return to poverty earned her group the name “without-shoes” or Discalced. We wonder how her weak body could sustain her hardy acts. Quite simply, her spirit caught fire. In this blaze, she was just like the tiny Teresa of Calcutta. Each overcame physical weakness because God, or Love, or Fire, erupted in them. Eternal Flames activated them. Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s letters reveal how God strengthened her. (See the book: Come Be My Light.) Eternal Fire provides great Light, as we shall see with St. Teresa of Avila.”