St. Teresa of Jesus
also known as Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic, was born on March 28,1515 in Avila, Spain. Her mother, Beatriz de Ahumada y Cuevas, died when Teresa was 14 years old. As a young teenager, she was vivacious and vain. When she was sixteen, her father, Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda, decided to send her to a convent for her education. At first, she hated it but eventually began to enjoy it because of her growing love of God and because the convent was less strict than her father. In 1535, she entered the Carmelite convent in Avila. She was occupied in entertaining many visitors in the parlor, which made it easy for her to slip into a worldly life and less attention and focus on God. These distractions kept her away from a true life of prayer.
At age 41, Teresa underwent a great inner conversion which led her to intensely seek union with God through prayer and contemplation. From her own experience of laxity in the Carmelite convent, she began a reform. With the help of St. John of the Cross, the Discalced Carmelite Order was founded. She reached high summit of wisdom and has given guidance to the whole Church. After many severe trials and difficulties, Teresa died at age 67 on October 4, 1582 at Alba de Tormes. She is the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Church.