Saint Teresa of Avila (also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, 1515-1582), Virgin, mystic, reformer of the Carmelite Order, and Doctor of the Church. Throughout her life, Saint Teresa was graced with mystical visions and ecstasies, through which she embraced the suffering of Christ.
Below, excerpts from the General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI on Saint Teresa of Avila:
Our catechesis today deals with Saint Teresa of Avila, the great sixteenth-century Carmelite reformer proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.
Teresa entered the Carmel in Avila at the age of twenty. Maturing in the spiritual life, she embraced the ideal of a renewal of her Order and with the support of Saint John of the Cross she founded a chain of reformed Carmels throughout Spain.
Her highly influential writings, which include the Autobiography, The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, reveal her profound christocentric spirituality and her breadth of human experience.
Teresa considered the evangelical and human virtues the basis of an authentic Christian life. She identified deeply with Christ in his humanity and stressed the importance of contemplation of his Passion and of his real presence in the Eucharist. She presents prayer as an intimate friendship with Christ leading to an ever greater union of love with the Blessed Trinity.
In her life and in her death Teresa embodied an unconditional love for the Church. May the example and prayers of Saint Teresa of Avila inspire us to greater fidelity to prayer and, through prayer, to greater love for the Lord and his Church, and more perfect charity towards our brothers and sisters.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."