Getting to know Teresa of Avila

Blog Published: August 31, 2011
By Audra Turnbull

Blackbelt of the Catholic News Scrum, Audra Turnbull guest blogs about her experience on the A Nun’s Life Media Team for World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain.

I have a confession to make: when I was invited to go to Spain with Sister Julie, Sister Max and Melba, I tried to read about Saint Teresa of Avila but I failed. I never found the time to read any of her books. I was just going to have to go into Avila with an open heart.

Convent Door at the Monastery of the Incarnation, AvilaOur plane touched down in Madrid, Spain at around 7 o’clock in the morning and we immediately drove to Avila. After checking into our hotel room we decided to go into town and take a look around. We ended up spending the entire day inside Avila’s famous medieval walls. As we walked around it became apparent to me that I would have no trouble learning about Teresa of Avila — her influence and spirit was everywhere. Over the next couple days we toured many “Teresa sites”.

We walked through the door of the first convent she entered. I sat outside that door and pondered at how nervous, scared, calm and excited she must have been that day. At that moment I was starting to become a little bit closer to her.

As we walked through the museum we came upon a scary-looking-to-me statue of Saint Joseph. Legend had it that Saint Teresa told the statue to keep watch of the convent while she was away founding other convents. When she came back Saint Joseph would tell her if any of the nuns misbehaved. I really liked how this saint ran her convents.

We then toured a church that was built on the site where she was born. As I walked through I thought that she must have been a VERY holy person to have a church like this built in her honor. Then hit me- she was holy because of one thing: she loved God with all her heart. This love let her be open to whatever God was calling her to do. I think this is the greatest lesson Teresa taught me.

Saint Joseph the Tattletale at the Monastery of the Incarnation, AvilaCountless times I thanked God for showing me this great saint in this way- walking in her footsteps while hearing stories from the people who loved her. That was exactly how the early Christians learned about God.

So I want to thank Saint Teresa for being so gracious in letting me walk in her shoes for a couple of days. I also want to thank Sister Julie and Sister Max for telling me her stories. And of course Melba, for teaching me how to get into a media scrum.

Audra is a professional weather person for a radio station in western Illinois. She is also an avid polka fan and a writer.

Archived Comments

marla August 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

hahaha, audra this is great.

Marg August 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Love it, Auds! Almost like being there with you! “St. Joseph the Tattletale,” eh? A carpenter who picked up his hammer and saw…everything??? LOL!

Audra August 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Ohhh Marg I should have known you would go there… 

Sister Maxine September 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

Great post, Audra! You mention that you’re an avid polka fan. Your post makes me imagine St Teresa finding great joy in the polka, dancing in the communion of saints!

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