Teresa was born to a Spanish merchant and his second wife, who died when Teresa was in her teens. Thereafter, Teresa’s upbringing was entrusted to the care of nuns. Upon reading the letters of Saint Jerome, Teresa resolved to enter religious life and joined the Carmelite Order. She spent several uneventful years in the convent, punctuated by a severe illness, but then experienced a vision of the sorely wounded Christ that changed the course of her life.
Teresa progressed into increasingly ecstatic experiences, focused sharply on Christ’s Passion. Driven by these experiences, she set herself to the reformation of her Order. Gathering supporters, Teresa promoted austere, primitive adherence to the Carmelite Rule. Teresa struggled to establish and broaden the ministry of the Discalced, or shoeless, Carmelites, founding many convents.
Teresa also contributed greatly to the evolution of Christian mysticism, with writings that include the Way of Perfection and Interior Castle. Saint Teresa of Avila was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque.)
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