Theologian Thursday: St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Added on by Keegan Osinski.

Teresa of Avila was a Spanish Catholic mystic and Carmelite nun. She spent a lot of time in ascetic seclusion, in prayer, contemplation, and writing. She took an oath of poverty and opened many convents in Spain.

Teresa actually has a lot of similarities to Julian of Norwich.

She went through quite a few serious illnesses, and also experienced many visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Teresa went on to develop a kind of prayer practice to engage these visions and become spiritually closer to God.

What you should read:
Ratings:(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality: 
Although the patriarchy engrained in her through society often made her question her worth as a woman, she did much important work, even taking a leading role in training John of the Cross and Anthony of Jesus in opening the Carmelite Brethren.
Environmental Sensibility: 
As mystics often do, Teresa of Avila found God in nature, and often looked to nature to inspire and inform her spiritual prayers and practices. Therefore, I believe she cared for the environment as God's creation and as a conduit of divine revelation.
Heretical Tendencies: 
As a nun and leader of convents, she was pretty soundly grounded in orthodox belief, even if her visions and mysticism are not always accepted as kosher.
General Badassery: 
While she did battle sickness and have some crazy visions, most of Teresa's life is marked by simple asceticism, hard work, and devotion to her convents. Admirable, certainly, but perhaps not entirely badass.


"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world."