Teresa of Avila

(1515–82)
   Saint, Mystic, Devotional Writer and Monastic Reformer.
   Teresa was of part-Jewish descent and she was born in Avila, Spain. She entered a Carmelite monastery at the age of twenty, but another twenty years were to pass before she began to seek the life of perfection. She was subject to visions which included hearing words and being pierced with a mystical spear of divine love. In 1562 she founded the convent of St Joseph at Avila, in which a primitive and strict form of the Carmelite Rule was observed. She was guided by her spiritual advisor peter of alcántara and her most famous book, The Way of Perfection, was written for the guidance of her nuns. She also wrote an autobiography and the mystical classic The Interior Castle. Despite opposition from the Calced Carmelites, she founded several Discalced convents throughout Spain, aided by St John of the cross. The later part of her life was dedicated to placing the new foundations on a secure footing and many of her convents survive to this day. She is primarily remembered, however, for her vivid depictions of mystical prayer and as the ecstatic subject of a statue by Bernini.
   V. Lincoln, Teresa: A Woman: A Biography of Teresa of Avila (1984);
   R.T. Petersson, The Art of Ecstasy: Teresa, Bernini and Crashaw (1970);
   R. Williams, St Teresa of Avila (1992).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • TERESA OF AVILA, St. — (1515 1582) Canonized in 1622, St. Teresa of Avila fought illness most of her life, but had a will strong enough to reform the Carmelite order despite substantial op­position. She was a mystic, a prolific writer, and an important figure in the… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Teresa of Avila — (1515 1582)    Baptized as Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada; also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus. A Spanish Carmelite nun and mystic who experienced * ecstatic, * trance like states, * out of body experiences, visions, and *verbal auditory… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Teresa of Avila — noun Spanish mystic and religious reformer; author of religious classics and a Christian saint (1515 1582) • Syn: ↑Saint Teresa of Avila • Instance Hypernyms: ↑saint …   Useful english dictionary

  • Teresa de Ávila — Terẹsa de Ạ́vila,   spanische Karmelitin und Mystikerin, Theresia, T. von Ávila …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Teresa of Avila — biographical name Saint 1515 1582 Spanish Carmelite & mystic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • TERESA OF ÁVILA — (1515 1582)    Italian ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, religious reformer and MYSTIC whose works The Way of Perfection, Book of Foundations, The Interior Castle and her autobiographical Life are considered among the great classics of MYSTICAL writings …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Teresa of Avila, Saint — • Carmelite reformer and founder, mystic, author, d. 1582 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia


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