St. Theresa of Avila : History and Legacy
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This SIP links Saint Teresa of Avila's history to the legacy that she has left in Spain and on the Carmelite Order as a whole. She came from a mixed household, one side moderately wealthy Jewish and the other Spanish farmers, with a very strong Catholic mindset and background. When she first entered in the Convento de la Incarnaci6n, she hesitated for years on deciding whether or not she wanted to become a nun, and when she finally did it was with the intention to change the Order. Her belief was that the Order had fallen away from its original glory and needed to be restored so that the nuns could pray effectively and achieve salvation. Her reforms of the Carmelite Order created a new branch called the Discalced or Barefoot nuns. This branch has hundreds of locations spread around the world today, including over twenty locations in Spain. Since the French Revolution (1789-99), the Order has been unable to recover its original strength, but it is still impressive to see how many women have made vows and held them for their whole lives. Indeed, St. Teresa's reforms have undoubtedly inspired many people to create a stronger relationship with God and the Saints through intense prayer and reflection. Her impact can be seen on more than just religious life, though, as many lay men and women have lived their lives to follow her example of devoted prayer. The many pieces of artwork like those at the Convento de Ia Incarnaci6n in Avila and Basilica in Alba de Tormes are just some examples of the inspiration countless individuals have felt upon gaining knowledge of her history and works in general. Underneath the tourist facade in all three of the cities, those truly looking to learn more about St. Teresa can find others with new and interesting information. The passion and excitement in the voice of the uncloistered nun in Salamanca show the lasting impact of St. Teresa. She was an influential woman with ideas far ahead of her time and worked through sickness, threats from the Inquisition, and constant backlash to give individuals the chance at a better life.