Wednesday’s Women: Teresa of Avila and Anne of St. Bartholomew

by Melanie on June 14, 2017

in Blessed Are You, Catholicism, Friendship, Nonfiction, Saints, Sisterhood of Saints, Spirituality, Wednesday's Woman

Note: For the next several weeks I’ll be featuring women saints who knew each other personally–mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters, and friends.

The Basics: Teresa of Avila, born March 28, 1515, in Spain; died October 4, 1582, in Spain; canonized

Teresa of Avila

March 12, 1622, by Gregory XV; feast day October 15. Woman religious, mystic. Anne of St. Bartholomew, born October 1, 1549, in Spain; died June 7, 1626, in Belgium; beatified May 6, 1917, by Benedict XV; feast day June 7. Woman religious.

The Story: Teresa was already a formidable force among the Carmelites when Anne professed her vows in 1572. Anne, thirty years younger, did not know how to write and was assigned to the infirmary. It was there she and Teresa truly bonded, as Anne cared for Teresa’s broken arm. She served as Teresa’s secretary and confidante, and in the process learned to write and take dictation from the woman who would become a Doctor of the Church for her thoughts on prayers. When Teresa died in 1582, she was in Anne’s arms. Anne, who unlike Teresa was uncomfortable in the spotlight, lived more than forty more years and conquered some of her feelings of inadequacy as she established and led convents in Spain and beyond.

Their Wisdom: Anne on Teresa’s consoling of her: “I did nothing but weep in my exceeding pain to see

Anne of St. Bartholomew

her dying, and to be unable to find anything to relieve her. She said to me with angelic patience: ‘Do not weep, my child! God wishes it so now.'”

What We Can Learn from Their Friendship: The age difference between them didn’t matter to Anne and Teresa. Teresa was a mentor to Anne, Anne was an aide to Teresa, and they were also friends. Let’s not put limitations of age, politics, and other potentially divisive issues on welcoming God’s people into our lives.

To Learn More About Them: Check out the site for the monastery at Alba de Tormes, where Teresa died, or read Anne’s autobiography.

To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.

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