Teresa de Ahumada y Cepeda, Saint Teresa's complete name, was born in Avila, Castile, Spain on March 28, 1515. Her father, Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda, had remarried to his second wife, Dona Beatriz de Ahumada, and Teresa was the third of their nine children. Her father, being a Jewish converso and a highly respected man in Avila, was excluded from many offices in State and religious orders in Spain because of his racial purity. The family though, was large and wealthy in Avila and had no major problems.
Teresa's childhood was happy and religious. She read the Lives of the Martyrs devotedly because they adventure stories to her. Teresa and her older brother, Rodrigo, played at martyrdom to get into heaven as children by running away from home to be killed by the Moors. Their uncle found them and returned them home. She was seven at the time and Rodrigo was eleven. This was an early sign of Teresa's ability to enthuse other people to follow her passion.
Teresa grew into a graceful, pleasing teenager who enjoyed dressing up and wearing jewelry. She later regretted this period of her life. When she was thirteen, her mother, Dona Beatriz, died. Her father sent Teresa away to an Augustinian school for girls. She then had to choose between marriage, in which she had no interest, or the religious life. At that point Teresa became very ill, and decided to join the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation without her father's permission. She secretly left home in November of 1536 to begin her new life. Don Alonso then decided to approve of her decision. Teresa chose the Carmelite order because a close friend was in the convent.
The convent was relaxed, people could visit without censure and...
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... of faith by praying again. Teresa had many visions and voices, internal that imitate the apostles because even if they did not know it, all were affected by the Holy Spirit.
Teresa went up against the opposition of Spain and the Calced, facing arguments even from the local bishops and cathedral chapters, which was a big deal. But she truly believed in God's plan, and never gave up her (and God's) dream. The apostles, and other martyrs, faced every opposition during their time, from the Jews and Romans persecuting killing of the Christians brutally, but neither Teresa nor the apostles or martyrs left their faith.
2. www.catholic-forim.com/saints/saintt01.htm (Good Website for Saints)
3. Butler's Lives of the Saints, New Fall Edition (October) by Peter Doyle
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