In March 2018, I was privileged to participate in an educational pilgrimage to Spain and would like to share once again some of those memorable experiences.
In the first portion of the pilgrimage, we visited sites where Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) had unique spiritual encounters—experiences which continue to minister to us who are navigating a 21st Century faith journey.
I believe my favorite time in Spain was the day we spent in Ávila where we focused our attention on the 16th Century saint, Teresa of Ávila, also known as Teresa de Jesus.
Teresa, a sister in the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation in Ávila, Spain, was what some might call “one tough cookie.” She was a strong-willed leader and independent thinker who endured many physical, vocational and relational hardships. Instead of crumbling under adversity, however, Teresa delved more deeply into a devout life.
At the age of 40, Teresa experienced what she called a “second conversion.” Visions she experienced lead her to establish Carmelite houses devoted to contemplative life. Those cloistered orders remain to this day, and it was amazing to visit some of their convents.
When Teresa was a child, girls were not taught to read nor write. Teresa’s parents chose to go against that cultural norm. Their daughter was well educated and well-read. Years later, when Teresa founded a convent, she too was willing to buck the system and insisted all nuns would be taught to read and write.
― Teresa of Ávila
A Prayer from Teresa of Ávila
“May today there be peace within.
Today, may you too experience “peace within…”
Dios te bendiga!