An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Teresa of Avila

(Mar. 28, 1515-Oct. 4, 1582). Monastic reformer. She was born in Avila, Spain. In 1534 Teresa entered the monastery of the Incarnation of the Carmelite nuns in Avila. While a nun she had numerous visions. In 1559 Teresa had a vision in which she was convinced that Christ was present to her in bodily form, though invisible. Teresa was very much concerned about the laxity in the Carmelite monasteries and resolved to reform them. In 1562 she established the monastery of St. Joseph in Avila, and there she wrote the first of her mystical treatises, The Way of Perfection. Under her leadership a number of reform convents were founded in Spain. St. John of the Cross was encouraged by Teresa to seek the reform of the Carmelite friars. Teresa is known for her mystical contemplative spiritual writings, especially The Interior Castle. She died in Alba de Tormes, and was canonized in 1622. Teresa was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Roman Catholic Church. She is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 15.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.