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St.Teresa of Avila

St.Teresa was an influential Spanish Saint who brought about the reformation of the Carmelite order.

She was born in Avila on 28th March, 1515. Her mother and father were devout catholics and they wanted her to follow their lead. Her father was so strict that even the slightest mistake would mean a sin to him. Her mother though was different. She was religious too but she gave way to fun and frolic without compromising her faith. So St.Teresa always looked on to her and she was happy with her life.

When she was seven years old, she asked her elder brother to accompany her to go off to the monastery , serve God and beg there for food and spend the rest of their lives there. They had almost gone there when one of their uncles saw them and brought them back. Things were going on fine till her mother expired. She was not able to cope up with a very strict father and she eventually gave in to temptation. She started spending time with friends and all that a teenage fantasize and stopped praying. At the age of 16, her father sent her off to a convent to become a nun so that she would reform her ways.

The convent was way too lenient on her than her father and she started to actually enjoy her stay. They did not have stringent rules to follow and the prayer too was not satisfying to her. So she started practicing mental prayer and she was complete in harmony with the Lord. The people who saw her changes grew surprised and asked her to teach the mental prayer to them. She started to teach them to concentrate and spend time alone with God, the one you know who always loves you.

But things took a bad turn when she was asked to teach the prayer to the only people who can afford to give complements to the convent. She gave up teaching and spent time in solitude prayer. She was inflicted with malaria and she was almost knocked out for 4 days and people thought she actually died. When she woke up, she felt better and she claimed she saw visions and and spiritual experiences that made her feel better. But no one believed her and convinced her that these were delusions of the demon.

She refused to believe it but accepted for the sake of others. She convinced herself that she was too big a sinner now to ask for favours from God. This went on and she thought of praying and asking for something from God would be improper. When she was 41, she was convinced again by a monk to pray and she started praying with much vigor. She wanted to form her own order and to reform the convent. She met with so many dejections and humility all along the way till she formed her own order.

When she used to practice mental prayer she would sometimes levitate. Far from being happy, she used to feel embarrassed and plead god not to give on a show in front of others. Once she formed her order, she effectively led the way and went on being the light for so many people. She went about the whole of Spain setting up her order and spreading the word of God and finally breathed her last on October 4 at the age of 67.

Feast – October 15

Patron of – Body illness especially headache.

Prayer to St.Teresa

This is a simple poem written by St.Teresa herself and used as a prayer.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever had God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

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