Teresa of Avila
This is a post about Teresa of Avila,
a saint fron Spain who reformed the Carmelite community.
Teresa was a beautiful young woman who lived in the 1500s.
She could have married well.
But Teresa decided to enter the Convent.
She had to run away to do this,
and her Father was very disappointed.
Teresa tried to devote herself to a life of prayer,
but it was very difficult.
Visitors came to the parlour every day,
and Teresa would greet them.
They often brought presents for the nuns,
and would invite Teresa to visit.
Teresa loved company,
and she spent most of her days chatting with visitors.
She had little time to pray.
Finally after 20 years of this life,
Teresa chose seclusion and silence.
The disappointed visitors were turned away,
as Teresa persuaded the nuns in her care to follow her example.
The Carmelite movement became one devoted to poverty,
silence and prayer.
However, she suffered from poor physical health.
She was also tormented by depression.
She writes of this ailment,
and I have found her words to be a great comfort.
It helps me to know that such a good person was also afflicted with this illness, and had to overcome it.
She recounts how the Priest told her to read books as a distraction, but she could not concentrate.
Then he told her to only study the pictures.
But she could not concentrate even on the pictures.
On his next visit,
she was so tearful that he declared he did not know how to advise her.
Time and again, I have turned to her work.
Her autobiography was given to me as a gift for my birthday.
She writes in personal way,
and speaks as though she is chatting to her readers.
It reads like a modern book,
not one from the 1500s.