Saint of the Week:
St. Teresa of Ávila
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”
FEAST DAY: October 15
PATRON SAINT of headaches, writers, Spanish Catholics, chess players, illness, loss of parents, the ridiculed
Teresa lived in an age of exploration, as well as political, social, and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. Despite strong opposition from her father, Teresa joined the Carmelites. She was a woman “for God” — a woman of prayer, discipline, and compassion. Her heart belonged to God, which gave her the freedom to embrace ongoing purification and suffering for the sake of conversion and sanctity. Through struggles with her own mediocrity, her illness, and opposition from others, she remained courageous and faithful.
Though a contemplative, Teresa spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. Teresa became the founder of the Discalced Carmelites, which was a reform movement within the Carmelite Order. In her work of reform, she worked very closely with St. John of the Cross. She also wrote several important works, including her autobiography, Life of Teresa of Avila, and her most influential work, The Interior Castle, in which she talks about the mystical life in terms of seven mansions. These mansions show the growth in intimacy between the believer and God.
In 1970, Pope Paul VI gave Teresa the title of Doctor of the Church, making her the first woman to ever be given this honour.
PRAYER OF ST. TERESA OF ÁVILA
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing; God only is changeless. Patience gains all things. Who has God wants nothing. God alone suffices.