St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila, is one of the most popular Doctors of the Church. Her teaching on prayer has continued to inspire and guide Christians in their spiritual journeys for over four hundred years.
In The Interior Castle St. Teresa describes the road by which she was led, well aware that the others may be led in a different way. In the heavenly Fathers house, there are many mansions; not only seven, and many paths lead to them. What gives the work such high value is, that it is the result of a most searching inquiry into the various phases whereby a soul is gradually transformed into the likeness of God Himself. Here St. Teresa is at her best. She takes nothing for granted, her own personal experiences are admitted only after having been fully investigated and found to be consistent one with the other, and conformable to the teaching of the Church and the words of Holy Scripture.
Teresa of Avila
St Teresa of Jesus was born in 1515 in Avila, Spain and entered the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation in 1535, against the wishes of her father. During a serious illness, she practiced mental prayer and started receiving intellectual visions and locutions from Our Lord which continued for the rest of her life. Together with St John of the Cross, she began a reform movement which stressed a return to a traditional rule of poverty and simplicity for Carmelites. St Teresa died on 4 October 1582 in Alba de Torres. She was canonised along with St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis Xavier, and St Phillip Neri in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.