Rome Newsroom, Apr 13, 2021 / 11:00 am
Pope Francis has hailed St. Teresa of Ávila as exemplar of courage and spiritual motherhood in a letter marking fifty years since the 16th century Spanish mystic was declared the first female Doctor of the Church.
“Despite the five centuries that separate us from her earthly existence, the flame that Jesus lit within Teresa continues to shine in this world that is always in need of brave witnesses, capable of breaking any barrier, be it physical, existential or cultural,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter.
The pope’s letter to Bishop José María Gil Tamayo of Ávila was read aloud at the inaugural Mass for an international congress on St. Teresa that is taking place in Ávila, Spain and virtually via livestream April 12-15.
St. Teresa of Ávila was “‘an exceptional woman,’ as Saint Paul VI defined her,” Pope Francis said.