Saint Teresa of Ávila
(1515 - 1582)
Three months after a sinful association with her cousin began, Saint Teresa of Ávila was entered into an Augustinian convent on the outskirts of town. At the age of twenty-one in 1536, she entered the Carmelite Order, creating a reformed branch of her order, known as the “barefoot” Carmelites, devoted to poverty, austerity, solitude, and prayer. Her numerous visions included one in which an angel repeatedly plunged an arrow into her heart, leaving her “all on fire with a great love of God.” Gian Lorenzo Bernini famously sculpted the episode in marble nearly one hundred years later. Pope Paul VI in 1970 elected Teresa the first female doctor of the church.