Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

St. Teresa of Avila’s 500th birthday to be celebrated

the Inland Register

(From the August 20, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

St. Teresa of Avila – mystic, teacher, writer, spiritual director, friend – a Carmelite nun of 16th century Spain, and the foundress and reformer of the Carmelite Order, who in 1970 was named the first woman Doctor of the Church, is being remembered all over the world this 500th anniversary year of her birth. The Diocese of Spokane will also be joining in this world-wide celebration.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, Gonzaga University will be sponsoring “A Teresisan Festivity,” with lectures presented by Dr. Karin Heller, Dr. Leonard Doohan, and Dr. Joy Milos. Whitworth University dancers under the direction of Karla Parbon will offer a dance meditation: “The Dwelling Places,” inspired by St. Teresa’s classic book The Interior Castle.

Sister Leslie Lund, a Carmelite Sister of Mary in Newport, Wash., will speak from St. Teresa’s heart in a one-woman play. The Gonzaga University Women’s Choir will also perform, under the direction of Dr. Tim Westerhaus. The day will close with the celebration of Mass in St. Teresa’s honor.

This day of celebration is open to the public free of charge, though good will offerings will be gratefully received. A free lunch will also be provided, courtesy of Gonzaga University.

St. Teresa of Jesus was born in 1515 and died in 1582. In 1554 she experienced what she called her third conversion, and from then on gave herself to God, and God returned this total self-gift in extraordinary ways.

Teresa’s personal renewal and Carmelite reform paralleled the renewal and reform of the Church following the Council of Trent, and she became a model for the Church’s post-conciliar renewal in the 16th century as well as today. St. Teresa was an extraordinary woman who brought women’s issues to the fore throughout Spain and Portugal. She was well-known, even to the powerful of her day.

She travelled extensively, founding convents throughout Spain – in fact, she was a significant leader and extremely competent businesswoman. However, she is known today for her experiences and insights into prayer, and no contemporary spiritual or prayer movement is uninfluenced by her teachings. Her writings on prayer are among the most important in the entire history of the Catholic tradition.

Although St. Teresa lived in the 16th century, her dynamic presence and transforming teachings are as relevant today as ever in history. In Spain she is simply “La Santa,” considered the most influential saint of her time.

Her 500th anniversary is being celebrated in dioceses and churches throughout the world, including Eastern Washington. St. Teresa shows what a life dedicated to God looks like. She teaches what people can become when they give themselves to prayer, and she shows how to integrate a life of great involvement for others with a daily dedication to prayer in the giving of self to God.

Many are familiar with another Carmelite – St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the “Little Flower.” Fewer know the great St. Teresa of Avila as well. In fact, this day of celebration may introduce many to her for the first time. Even though she is known as a spiritual mystic, the underlying foundation of her teachings on prayer and intimate relationship with Jesus are attainable and available to all. As she tells of the invitation of Jesus: “Come to me, all of you, and I will give you living water to drink.”

So come, find a good friend in Teresa of Avila. She will lead you to the Lord Jesus.

Though the Carmelite Sisters of Mary have been part of the Spokane Diocese for only 25 years, their Religious Order has had an impact on the Church since the early 13th Century. The local Sisters are Carmelite hermits living in community as inspired by the first Carmelite hermits on Mt. Carmel, who also lived a life of solitude and community. The Sisters dedicate their lives to prayer for the Church and world. Their ministry includes spiritual direction, offering solitude retreats, teaching prayer and Carmelite spirituality, giving guidance in the spiritual life. Now the Carmelite Sisters offer this day honoring St. Teresa as part of the celebration of Consecrated Life and their contribution to education in the faith in the “Know, Love, and Serve” renewal program throughout the Spokane Diocese.

Join in these Teresian festivities Saturday, Oct. 3, at Gonzaga University’s Student Chapel between 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required by those providing the lunch.

Register online at: http//; by email to:; or call (509-313-3572).

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