St. Teresa of Avila

The woman who lead the reformation of the Carmelites


  • Teresa was born on March 28, 1515 in Avila, Spain.
  • Teresa spent most of her life at the Convent of St. Joseph in Avila, but she traveled a lot to set up the new convents for the reformed Carmelites.
  • Teresa learned about the lifestyle at a convent school in Santa María de Gracia, and through her life experiences, including visions from God.
  • Teresa traveled a lot and created many new convents in the new reform. She was sick for long periods of time, and one time went into a coma. The coma paralyzed her legs for three years. She had visions from God, and people were weary that the devil was at work inside her.
  • Teresa wrote novels, all church related, some of them are: Way of Perfection, Meditations on the Canticle, The Foundations, Visitation of Discalaced Nuns, Life, and The Interior Castle.
  • Teresa did not have patrons, she decided to write these books on her own with the encouragement from others such as her confessor, to record her thoughts and describe/interpret visions she had.

The Work

"When once you have learnt how to enjoy this castle, you will always find rest, however painful your trials may be, in the hope of returning to your Lord, which no one can prevent. Although I have only mentioned seven mansions, yet each one contains many more rooms, above, below, and around it, with fair gardens, fountains, and labyrinths, besides other things so delightful that you will wish to consume yourself in praising in return the great God Who has created the soul to His own image and likeness. If you find anything in the plan of this treatise which helps you to know Him better, be certain that it is sent by His Majesty to encourage you, and that whatever you find amiss in it is my own." - Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

This is an excerpt from Teresa's book The Interior Castle, which was written in 1577. What was so significant about this piece was that it is an account of a vision she had received from God. It is her interpretation of the vision, which is that the rooms of the castle were the steps to becoming one with God. I find this piece interesting because she had a vision, and that experience must have been life changing for her. It is amazing that she wrote about it so that other people can see her vision and the way she chose to interpret it, it is also a guide for her steps to becoming one with God. Saint Teresa of Avila exemplifies humanism because she reformed the Carmelites to comply with the ways they had originally practiced, going back to the classics.

Works Cited

  • "The Interior Castle." Index. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. <>.
  • "Teresa of Avila." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 20. Detroit: Gale, 2000. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 9 Jan. 2013.
  • Ramge, S. V. "Saint Teresa of Avila." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 9 Jan. 2013.
  • "The Interior Castle: The Seventh Mansions: Epilogue." The Interior Castle: The Seventh Mansions: Epilogue. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. <>.