St. Teresa's Day

St. Teresa's Day

October 15
St. Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) was a Spanish Carmelite nun and reformer who recognized that the discipline in convents had relaxed to the point where they were little more than social clubs. In 1562, amidst intense opposition, she withdrew from the big convent she had entered in 1535 and established a small house with only 13 members known as the Reformed, or Discalced, Carmelites. Teresa's nuns devoted themselves to a rigorous way of life that had been largely forgotten in most monastic orders. They never left the convent, they maintained almost perpetual silence, they lived in austere poverty, and, as a symbol of their humility, they wore sandals instead of shoes—thus the designation "discalced," which means "barefoot." Before she died, Teresa had established 17 such communities. She was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.
Every year in Ávila, Spain, there is a huge celebration in honor of St. Teresa on October 15. The day is filled with religious services, parades, dances, games, and feasts, and the streets are decorated with banners and flowers. St. Teresa of Ávila is often colloquially referred to as "Big St. Teresa" to distinguish her from St. Teresa of Lisieux, a 19th-century Carmelite nun and author.
CONTACTS:
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., 35th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
www.okspain.org
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 172
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 259
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 753
OxYear-1999, p. 415
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 450