Saint Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa of Jesus was born at Avila in Spain on 28 March, 1515 and died in 1582. Teresa was brought up by her saintly father, a lover of serious books, and a tender mother. After entering religious life she became very ill and nearly died. After a prolonged cure she was eventually healed by St. Joseph. During these years of suffering she began the practice of meditation and God blessed her with ‘intellectual visions’. One vision depicted hell, a state for those who die in mortal sin – which inspired her to seek a more perfect life. The more she endeavored to do God’s will the more powerfully did God work in her soul. The whole city of Avila was troubled by the reports of this nun contained in her autobiography The Life. Teresa also experienced a spiritual piercing or transverberation of the heart, the spiritual espousals and the mystical marriage. After many troubles and much opposition she founded numerous convents of Discalced Carmelites. St. Teresa’s position among writers on mystical theology is unique. Under obedience she wrote four books which contain the best explanations of prayer and meditation. One is called the Way of Perfection.