Theresa in the month of October

St. Therese de Lisieux of France.

The Catholic feast day for St. Therese de Lisieux occurred on October 3rd. During the 17th century the Carmelites had a strong presence in France. Therese Martin was born in Lisieux and entered the Carmelite monastery in 1873. Therese became a saint in 1925 under the direction of Pope Pius XI. In 1997 St. Therese became a Doctor of the Church during Pope John Paul II’s tenure. There’s a Spanish and French tradition for the Carmelites consisting of three components: The 2000 friars who live an active parish life; the 700 nuns that live a cloistered life, and the approximately, 30,000 members of the Laypeople of the Secular Order. They have provinces all over the world including India, Indonesia and Singapore with missions from Bolivia to Zimbabwe. In New Mexico there are Carmelite monasteries in Santa Fe and Las Cruces.

Spanish Tradition

St. Teresa de Avila of Spain. Art by Carlos Otero.

Today is the Catholic feast day of St. Teresa de Avila. The Carmelites of Santa Fe follow the Spanish tradition. It began during the 16th century with St. Teresa de Ávila who entered the convent in 1535. She was born Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada in 1515 in Gotarrendura in the province of Ávila, Spain. Her paternal grandfather, Juan de Toledo became a Jewish convert to Christianity. Then he was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition for allegedly returning to the Jewish faith. A writer and mystic, St. Teresa was a reformer of the Carmelite Order. In 1568 with the assistance of St. John of the Cross, they restored the practice of the Ancient Order of the Carmelites. St. Teresa was canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

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