Today the church celebrates The Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus, also known as Saint Teresa of Avila. Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social, and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century — an age of turmoil in reform. She was born before the Protestant Reformation, and died almost 20 years after the closing of the Council of Trent.
The gift of God to Teresa, in and through which she became Holy, and left her mark on the church and the world is three-fold: She was a woman. She was a contemplative. She was an active reformer.
As a woman Teresa stood on her own two feet even in the man’s world of her time. She was her own woman entering the Carmelites, despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes, wise yet practical, intelligent yet much in tune with her experience. Mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A holy woman. A womanly woman.