Roman Catholic Saint, Author. Born to a wealthy family in Spain and a father pious and strict bordering on the extreme, she was sent by him at the age of 16 to the local Carmelite convent. She then chose the life of a nun and was installed at the Carmelite convent permanently. She began to learn and practice mental prayer and her theological beliefs toward inter peace became manifest. The convent encouraged her to have visitors to whom she would teach the mental prayer concept. She fell ill with malaria and suffered a seizure. After four days, she awakened from the coma to discover a grave had been dug for her. Paralyzed for years and never completely well Teresa soon attracted many companions which led to opening up of her own convent. She wrote books which became renowned for their depth of doctrine and which showed her own spiritual experience. She also helped to reform the friars, who labeled her as a trouble maker. At 51, she felt it was time to spread her reform movement, however, the Carmelite order excommunicated her along with the members of her convent, and she was denounced to the inquisition. Despite this she had postulants clamoring to get into her reform convents, and many people thought about what said and wanted to learn about prayer from her. Soon her ideas about prayer swept not only through Spain but all of Europe. At the age of 67 on October 4th, 1582 she died, and was canonized in 1622. In 1970 she was declared a Doctor of the Church for her writing and teaching on prayer, one of two women to be honored in this way. Mother Teresa assumed her name upon becoming a nun with a vow to imitate her namesake.
Bio by: Paul S.