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The Love & Humor of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila was a Sixteenth Century Spanish Carmelite nun. She is credited with the reform of the Carmelite order, and she and St. John of the Cross together established the Discalced (“shoeless”) Carmelites.

I first encountered her when I was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. Each of the dorms at Notre Dame has a chapel, under the patronage of a particular saint. Some of the dorm chapels proudly proclaim their saint’s name and/or have a statue or icon of their patron. The dorm I was in, although it had a rich liturgical life, didn’t advertise the name of its patron saint. When I served my term as dorm sacristan, I did some digging around and discovered our patron saint was St. Albert the Great – an august saint, but not necessarily a relatable figure for young women. I suggested that we rededicate our chapel to a female saint, and the search began. After several rounds of voting, we landed on St. Teresa of Avila. (The final choice may or may not have been influenced by the aforementioned sacristan dressing as St. Teresa and giving a lively monologue as the saint.)

One of the things that made me fall in love with St. Teresa of Avila was how down to earth she was. Although she was a saintly woman in her later years, her younger years were anything but perfect. As a teenager – reading the equivalent of romance novels and just being an overall handful – she was sent to live in a monastery. Unlike the other St. Theresa (Therese of Lisieux) she didn’t enter the monastery at a young age out of sheer devotion and love for God. She was sent there because her family couldn’t deal with her rambunctious behavior any longer.

Read more at Catholic Exchange

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