In a message sent to the Discalced Carmelites, Pope Francis said that St. Teresa of Avila serves as a model and guide “of total donation to God.”
The letter, which was addressed to Fr. Saverio Cannistra, Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites, was sent on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the Spanish mystic’s birth.
“Saint Teresa is above all teacher of prayer“, he wrote. “Central in her experience of prayer was the discovery of the humanity of Christ. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a vivid and simple way, available to all, because it consists simply in ‘a relation of friendship… with Him whom we know loves us.'”
Continuing his message, the Pope noted that the Saint of Avila has left a “great treasure to renew consecrated life today” that also teaches faithful to remain perseverant in the midst of sufferings.
“Desirous of serving the Church, and in the face of the grave problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being a spectator of the reality that surrounded her,” he wrote.
“This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always distinguished the Discalced Carmelite women and men.”
The 78 year old Pontiff went on to write that the Teresian communities are called to be witness of the maternal love of the Church in a world that is “lacerated by divisions and wars.”
Concluding his letter, Pope Francis thanked the Discalced Carmelites, as well as encouraging them so that their testimony of life continues to “shine the joy and beauty of living the Gospel and attract many young people to follow Christ closely.”
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For the full translation of the Pope’s letter to the Discalced Carmelites, go to: