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  • Writer's picturePhil


The story runs along these lines:

Teresa of Ávila had an unfortunate occurrence.

Sometimes it is said that she fell off a horse into the mud;

sometimes it’s a carriage accident and mud;

sometimes there’s no mud at all

and it’s an insight she received in prayer.

Whatever the circumstances, she heard Jesus say to her,

“This is how I treat my friends,”

to which she replied,

“If this is how You treat your friends,

it is no wonder You have so few!”

Teresa was born into an aristocratic Spanish family in 1515.

Following her mother's death, she was educated by Augustinian nuns

and then ran away from home to enter a Carmelite convent

when she was twenty.

After initial difficulties in prayer,

her intense mystical experiences attracted many disciples.

She was inspired to reform the Carmelite rule and,

assisted by St John of the Cross, she travelled throughout Spain

founding many new religious houses for men as well as women.

Her writings about her own spiritual life

and progress in prayer towards union with God

include The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle,

which are still acclaimed.

She knew great physical suffering

and died of exhaustion on 4 October 1582.

Her feast is today, the 15th October because the very day after her death the reformed calendar was adopted and eleven days were omitted from October that year.


“From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints,

good Lord, deliver us.”

“They deceive themselves who believe that union with God

consists in ecstasies or raptures, and in the enjoyment of Him.

For it consists in nothing except the surrender and subjection of our will,

with our thoughts, words and actions, to the will of God.”

“Prayer is a friendly conversation with the One we know loves us.”


Let nothing upset you, let nothing startle you. All things pass; God does not change. Patience wins all it seeks. Whoever has God lacks nothing: God alone is enough.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

no hands but yours, no feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which

he is to look out with compassion on the world,

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless humanity now.

COLLECT Merciful God, who by your Spirit raised up your servant

Teresa of Ávila to reveal to your Church the way of perfection: grant that her teaching may awaken in us a longing for holiness, until we attain to the perfect union of love in Jesus Christ your Son

our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Avila Walls today

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