St. Teresa Avila, St. Teresa of Jesus, overcame great physical ailments to become one of the great Christian mystics. Through her experience with great pain brought on by malaria she became fully absorbed in her devotedness to God. It was during her periods of intense physical pain that she began to increasingly experience divine visions and an inner sense of peace. These experiences of joy and peace transcended the pain of the body.
"I threw myself down in despair before an image of the Mother of God. With many tears, I implored the Holy Virgin to become my mother now. Uttered with the simplicity of a child, this prayer was heard. From that hour on, I never prayed to the Virgin in vain."
At 43 St. Teresa Avila decided she wanted to found a new order recommitting to the values of poverty and simplicity. She devoted much of her life to travelling Spain organizing new convents based on ancient monastic traditions. Her work was not always greeted with enthusiasm as many resented her reforms and the implied criticism of existing religious orders.
In The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Teresa expresses her deep relationship with God. Her wisdom and ever-hopeful outlook inspire Christians everywhere.