Today is the Feast of St Teresa of Avila. She has been one of my special friends "up there" for many years, going back to when I studied her as Spanish literature in university. I was blown away by her powerful spirituality, joined to a profound humanity. She lived in sixteenth century Spain as a Carmelite nun, and succeeded, after many years trying, in founding a reformed version of the order. Her writings are beautiful classics of Catholic spirituality, earning her the title of Doctor of the Church. I paid two flying visits to Avila in the 1990s and love the place. In 2001 our September Pilgrimage was based there, and I was in my element! We visited some of the beautiful old towns and cities of Castile, such as Toledo, Segovia, Valladolid, Salamanca and the smaller town of Alba de Tormes, where the great lady died and is buried. I celebrated Mass there as well as in her convent in Avila.
Here is the well-known prayer usually known as "St Teresa's Book Mark", found after her death on a card in her prayer book.
Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing. God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.