Our Patron Saint

St. Teresa of Jesus was born in Avila, Spain, in 1515. At the age of 20 she entered the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation in her native Avila. After 26 years in the Incarnation, she was inspired by God to found the convent of St. Joseph in Avila for religious devoted to a life of contemplative prayer. This was the beginning of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. teresa

Teresa believed the purpose of her new order was to pray for the needs of the church. During the course of her life she wrote several books and left other writings that teach the way of contemplative prayer for those who follow in her footsteps. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared St. Teresa the first woman doctor of the church, primarily for her teaching on prayer. She described her method of prayer in this way: “I tried as hard as I could to keep Jesus Christ, our God and our Lord, present within me, and that was my way of prayer.”

Lay people who are attracted to the teachings of St. Teresa and Carmelite spirituality often become members of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. They make a formal commitment to follow the charism of the Carmelite order according to their state in life. To learn more about Carmelite spirituality and the Third Order, please visit the web pages for the Institute of Carmelite Studies, the Carmelites of the Washington province, and the Third Order Community of St. Joseph.