by Patricia Mathson
Celebrating Saint Teresa of Ávila
Trusted in God
Feast Day: October 15
[CLICK HERE] for a fun activity page about St. Teresa of Ávila.
Teresa lived in Ávila, Spain, and enjoyed being with her friends. She also played with her little brother who was closest to her age. When Teresa was 12 years old, her mother died. Her father then sent her to live with a group of nuns in a nearby convent.
Teresa liked living in a convent, so in 1534, when she was 19, she became a Carmelite nun. Teresa loved God with all her heart. She called God her best friend. She was a person of prayer in all things. Her favorite prayer was the Our Father.
Putting God First
Sometimes Teresa found it difficult to pray because so much was going on at the convent. There were constant visitors and other distractions. Teresa reminded the others to put God first in their lives. Some didn’t like her telling them what to do. Teresa started new convents where the nuns lived a simple lives.
Praying for Others
Teresa died in 1582 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970. (A Doctor of the Church is a person recognized by the Church because his or her writings, teachings, and love inspire others to be faithful disciples of Jesus.) Today, sisters in her order around the world continue to pray for the needs of others. Her order is called the Discalced Carmelites. These sisters seldom leave the convent, but spend their days in work, study, and prayer.
What Can We Do?
* Let’s make Our Father crosses. This was St. Teresa’s favorite prayer. Draw a cross on a piece of large card stock. Then glue onto the cross a copy of the Our Father. Draw a border around the cross.
* Let’s talk about words that St. Teresa wrote: “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours.” What does this mean? What does it have to do with being compassionate?
* Let’s learn about St. Teresa’s order called the Discalced Carmelites. The sisters pray, study, and work at the convent and seldom leave. Let’s use the internet to find out what the closest community of Discalced Carmelites is to us.
God of Love, help us to love you with all our hearts like St. Teresa of Ávila did. Give us the strength to do what is right, even when doing what is right is very difficult. May we be people of prayer, like St. Teresa was. Amen.
Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a MRE degree from the University of Dallas. She is the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of many books including Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospel with Children (Liguori Publications).
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