Teresa was born in Avila in Spain. As a little girl in her parents' rich home, Teresa and her brother Rodrigo loved to read the lives of the Saints and Martyrs. They felt that the martyrs got to heaven an easy way.
The two children set out secretly to go to the land of the Moors. As they walked along, they prayed that they might die for Christ. But they had not gotten far when they met an uncle. He took them back to their worried mother at once. They then decided to be hermits in their garden. This didn't work out either. They could not get enough stones together to build their huts.
Teresa herself wrote down these amusing stories of her childhood. But when she grew to be a teenager she changed. She read so many novels and foolish romances that she lost much of her love for prayer. She began to think more of dressing up to look pretty. But after she recovered from a bad illness, Teresa read a book about the great Saint Jerome.
Then and there, she made up her mind to become a bride of Christ. As a nun, Teresa often found it hard to pray. She had poor health and also wasted time every day in long, foolish conversations. One day, in front of a picture of Jesus, Teresa felt great sorrow that she did not love God more. She started then to live for Jesus alone, no matter what sacrifice had to be made.
In return for her love, the Lord gave Teresa the privilege of hearing him talk to her. She also began to see visions and Jesuit and Dominican priests came to see if this was true. They were convinced and declared that the visions were holy and true.
She learned to pray in a marvelous way, too. Saint Teresa of Avila is famous for having opened new Carmelite convents. These convents were filled with sisters who wanted to live holy lives. They made many sacrifices for Jesus with Teresa herself giving them the example. She prayed with great love and worked hard at her duties in the convent.
Teresa was a great leader and true lover of Jesus and his Church. She died in 1582. We celebrate her feast day on October 15th.
Her many writings show her great love of God. Teresa wrote these beautiful words: "Let nothing trouble you, nothing make you afraid. All things pass away. God never changes. Patience obtains everything. God alone is enough."
Saint Teresa taught that we must have a great trust in God's care for us. She wrote that a person who has God, will need nothing; God alone is enough.
O God, You raised up St. Teresa by Your Spirit so that she could manifest to the Church the way to perfection. Nourish us with the food of her heavenly teaching, and fire us with a desire for holiness. Amen.