|Saint Teresa of Avila: Biography and Online Writings
Virgin, foundress, and Doctor of the Church
The woman who came to be known as St. Teresa of Jesus was descended from an old Spanish family and was born in 1515. At the age of 20 Teresa entered the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation at Avila, Spain. She lived a rather lax life for many years. But finally, when praying before a statue of Christ scouraged at the pillar at age 40, St. Teresa committed herself to pursue a life of spiritual perfection. In 1560, she begain to receive spiritual counsel from St. Peter of Alcantara. In order to lead a life of stricter penance and deeper prayer, she founded a convent where the primitive Carmelite rule would be strictly observed. The "Discalced" Carmelite convent of St. Joseph was founded in Avila in 1562, against the strong opposition of many in the Carmelite order. Here St. Teresa wrote her famous book The Way of Perfection, having recently completed her Life, a spiritual autobiography written under obedience. The years from 1567 to her death were occupied with the establishment of Discalced Carmelite communities of both nuns and friars. In this, St. Teresa received much assistance from St. John of the Cross. In the midst of all this outward activitiy, her inner life progressed until she reached the stage of "spiritual marriage" in 1572.
St. Teresa also wrote the Interior Castle, the Foundations, and several smaller books. She died at Alba de Tormes on October 4, 1582, was canonized in 1622 and, in 1970, was ranked by Pope Paul VI amongst the Doctors of the Church . St. Teresa was a woman of strong character, prudence, and practical ability. Her growth in mystical prayer amidst all the responsibilities incumbant upon any foundress of a new religious community demonstrates that contemplation and action are not incompatible.
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Personal Prayer: Pathway to Joy
Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio has taught spiritual theology academically, but, more importantly, he's had plenty of practice applying that tradition to everyday life. With a family of seven, a business, and a non-profit corporation to run, he knows the challenges that a busy, active life can pose to the Christian who wants to pray. In this talk, he lays down principles and gives practical suggestions on how busy laypeople can develop a prayer life that leads to joy and personal transformation.
CD - $8.95 Audio Tape - $8.95