St. Teresa of Avila’s feast day will be celebrated on October 15th. She is known as being the patron saint of writers and headache sufferers.
Born in Avila, Spain in 1515, she was sent to a convent at the age of 16, because her father believed her to be “out of control”. At first she hated it, later she came to enjoy it, in part because they were less strict than her father.
Eventually, she decided to become a Carmelite nun. She practiced meditation and mental prayer. She fell ill with malaria and almost died. She awoke paralyzed, which lasted for three years. She found it very difficult to pray during this time. However at the age of 41 a priest convinced her to go back to prayer. She suffered many distractions and found it very difficult. As she began her prayer life anew, God gave her spiritual delights including ecstasies, and the prayer of union. She eventually became known as a mystic.
At the age of 43 she decided to form a new convent which met with much resistance. Her confessor St. John of the Cross helped to begin the reformed order of the Discalced (barefoot) Carmelites.
St. Teresa was known for her honest dialogue with God. She wanted the nuns in her order to have the proper attitude and discipline in their prayer life. But she too could be frustrated with life. Every moment of her life was a prayer, even the difficult ones. She is known for the following exclamation.
“If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”
St. Teresa has written many books. These include: The Interior Castle, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and The Way of Perfection. Her spirituality has led many to a much deeper prayer life. She has been proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.
St. Teresa died on October 4 at the age of 67.
The following prayer is attributed to St. Teresa of Avila:
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.
October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary