"Omni in re, semper, et ubique tantum Deum video, ipsum Deum." MAM

St. Teresa of Avila – Patroness of the SDR

St. Teresa was born on March 28, 1515, in Spain, in a noble and large family, rich in the Christian faith and material means. Her childhood was happy. As a child she had the opportunity to read the biographies of martyrs who awakened in her the desire for martyrdom. She was fascinated by the idea of eternity. She performed, along with her brother, a short flight from home to die as a martyr and entered into heaven. Teresa said to her parents as her “excuse”: “I wanted to see God“. Her mother died when she was twelve and Teresa asked Blessed Mother to become her spiritual mother.

During adolescence, she read profane books which brought her to live a worldly life. The education of the Augustinian Nuns from the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie of Avila and reading of spiritual literature, taught Teresa to meditate and to pray. At the age of twenty she entered the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation, near Avila. She took the name Teresa of Jesus. Three years later, she became seriously ill, and for four days was in a coma, apparently dead (Cf. Autobiography 5:9). In the struggle against the disease, Theresa saw the fight against her weaknesses.
With the maturing of her inside she began to state the idea of the reform of the Carmelite Order. In 1562, she founded, with the support of the local Bishop, Don Alvaro de Mendosa, the first reformed Carmelite, in Avila. Soon after, the Carmelite General Superior, John Baptist Rossi, approved the reform, directing Teresa to found more convents. The following years she continued in founding the new Carmelite convents, in total, seventeen convents. In 1580 she received confirmation, from Rome, for an autonomous province of its reformed Carmelite monasteries.
St. Teresa died on October 4, 1582. She was canonized in 1622. In 1965 she became the Patroness of Catholic Writers and in 1970 a Doctor of the Church.

Holy Father, Francis, in his message to mark the Jubilee Year for the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila (10-15-2014), spoke of the four gifts she possessed: joy, prayer, fellowship, and being in touch with the realities of her own time. He emphasized St. Teresa’s value of the joy in discovering God, resulting in the love of one another nourished by prayer. St. Teresa teaches us that the way to God is also a way to people.

As St. Teresa of Avila and her brother Rodriguez were inspired from early childhood by the heroes of the Kingdom of God, so Ven. Mother Alphonse Marie, too, had a great longing for holiness. She wanted to imitate this saint in her great love for God and in her fortitude in enduring physical and mental sufferings. Later on she spoke about it: “Already at the age of fourteen, I had a most ardent desire to imitate this great saint in something. I did not long for the extraordinary graces, with which St. Teresa was favored. I had only one desire, to love my Divine Spouse as she loved Him and always to remain faithful to Him” (J. M. Perrin: The Life Of Mother Alphonse Marie, pg. 23-24).

Blessed Alphonse Marie perceived, by this Saint, detachment from all created things and unification with God. Such things aroused in her renunciation, detachment, and later, she also encouraged her Sisters. The Foundress recommends these so we can establish a deep relationship with Christ and create in their souls a space for Him that belongs only to Him. She spoke to her Sisters of the great humility of this Saint and called them to mutual love and joy: ”St. Teresa told her daughters to be always content and joyful. And I too, my children, will always say to you: ‘Be content and rejoice!’ It is true, indeed, that you have left all things, but you have also found all things. Do you not live with God? How fortunate you are! No more sadness, no more depression!” (J. M. Perrin: The Life Of Mother Alphonse Marie, pg. 80).

St. Teresa of Avila was, for Mother Alphonse Marie, (as is she was as a little child Elizabeth) the example of many virtues as toughness, zeal, prayer, patience and a readiness to suffer. She placed under her and St. Alphonsus de Liguori the protection, of our whole Congregation at the very beginning of its foundation. Thus, St. Teresa became one of the Patron Saints of our Congregation.
Let us ask this great Saint, today, to become the true witnesses of God, His Love and His present among us. Let her teach us, constantly, to search for God and talk with Him.

St. Teresa,
pray for us and grant for us the spirit of prayer and humility.

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