Franciscan Footprints

2016 Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus

St Teresa & piilgrimSince I attended Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church & School – which my parents are now parishioners – not to mention my baptismal name is “Tracy,” a derivative of the name “Teresa,” it is easy to understand the devotion I carry to this Carmelite Doctor of the Church.  From the church’s website, here’s a quick synopsis of this great saint:

Saint Teresa is among the most important figures of all time for Catholic spirituality. Her works - especially the four best known (The Life, The Way of Perfection, The Mansions and The Foundations) - together with her more historical works, contain a doctrine which encompasses the whole of the spiritual life, from the first steps right up to intimacy with God at the center of the Interior Castle.

Her Letters show her occupied with a great variety of everyday problems. Her doctrine on the unity of the soul with God (a doctrine which was intimately lived by her) follows the Carmelite tradition which had preceded her and to which she herself contributed in such a notable way, enriching it as well as passing the tradition on, not only to her spiritual sons and daughters, but also to the whole Church which she served so unsparingly. When she was dying, her one joy was to be able to affirm that "I die a daughter of the Church".  In 1970, the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.

St. Teresa is the patron saint of headache sufferers. Her symbol is a heart, an arrow, and a book. She was canonized in 1622.

The church celebrated Teresa of Jesus’ quincentennial birthday in 2015 – that’s 500 years since her birth.  So in 2014, the parish organized a pilgrimage to Ávila, Spain, which I attended.  What a blessing to see the cell where she penned many of her writings at the Monastery of the Incarnation in Ávila and then onto Alba de Tormes to see where her relics have been venerated since the day of her death.  You, too, can take a virtual pilgrimage to her monastery and resting place!

In formation, the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis community, use the writings of Saint Teresa, along with other authors to teach about prayer – one of Saint Teresa’s gifts to the Catholic Church.

Saint Teresa of Jesus, pray for us!

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