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St. Teresa of Avila's Fest Day

alec vanderboom

Yesterday was my Confirmation Saint's Feast Day-- Ms. Teresa of Avila.

I spent the day being sick.

Perfect for her Feast Day! Jon keeps laughing at me! He says something like "You think the Feast Day is a success when it involves making Brown Scapular cupcakes, but really its successful when it involves you living more like a Saint that day."

It's hard to conceptualize just how much St. Teresa suffered from sickness during her life. At one point, they dripped melted wax on her eyeballs to see if she was dead--that's how deeply she was inside a coma. She had constant migraines, and stomach pains. She was crippled for three years, etc. The craziest part is that this saint prayed to be sick! She saw a saintly Carmelite suffer with some sort of "open sores in her small intestine" and she decided "I want that peace. God make me sick!" Boy, did God answer that prayer.

I named my daughter after Teresa--she was my and Jon's miracle baby after 3 years of secondary infertility. I conceived her immediately after we both received our Brown Scapular as Carmelites. So she was nicknamed "Carmel Baby" by my Carmelite Community.

Praise God they all prayed for her in utereo because at day six the girl almost passed right to heaven and we road an ambulance from our local Catholic hospital to Children's National Hospital in Washington D.C.

I got so made at Saint Teresa! I told her "I named her after the wrong saint! You think sickness is such a gift. You prayed for this in your own life. You better fix my kid!"

(which she did. Thank you!).

Anyway, St. Teresa of Avila is very awesome. I love her. If you have any wish to become better in prayer (and who doesn't) ask her to take you under her wing and teach you how to converse with God "as with a friend.

The best translators of Teresa's writings are the friars at the Institute of Carmelite Studies. They now have Kindle and Nook versions. If you are new to Teresa, I'd try Volume Two, which contains the Way of Perfection, Interior Castle and one of my favorite "Meditation on the Song of Songs." It's $20 and I met the translator, Kieran Kavaugh, OCD, he's a spiritual rock star!

If you're looking for a new take on Teresa, I'd try the new Study Edition of Teresa's Foundations, by Friar Mark Foley (another great friar I've met in person!) Foley's argument is that Teresa didn't  become a saint despite all her obstacles with lawsuits, and petty fights and unscrupulous businessmen, but because of them. It's so encouraging for those of us lay people who mistakenly think that a serious prayer life is only for those Nuns who are far removed from the Daily Grind.