The Spanish city of Avila is preparing to celebrate the fifth centenary of the birth of the first woman doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Jesus, or Teresa of Avila. The commission organizing the commemoration, the Foundation promoted by the Order of Discalced Carmelites and the Diocese of Avila are preparing activities to begin Oct. 15, 2014.
A delegation visited Rome last month to present the plan to the Holy Father. They spoke with the Pope after the Feb. 26 general audience, accompanied by Bishop Jesús García Burillo of Avila.
The city is preparing “with intensity” for this great event, explained Miguel Ángel García, mayor of Avila: “The whole city is involved in the celebration of this Centenary.” He also said that their meeting with the Pope gave them a renewed motivation and “we leave with a renewed spirit and much strength.”
The mayor said the Pope was very familiar with the event and showed “very important receptivity,” and “this makes us think that we are on the right path with the celebration of the Centenary.”
The city leader said they are hoping for the Pope’s participation, having already given a formal invitation and during the meeting, asking him personally. If in the end the Pope can go, he said, “it would be a formidable event.”
For his part, Father José Emilio Martínez, vicar general of the Carmelite Order, said the Pontiff received them “with interest, attention and a desire to know what is being done for Saint Teresa and for the Centenary.” Francis knows the importance of this great saint and he is interested also that the centenary be an event with an important repercussion for the work of evangelization, the Carmelite said. Moreover, the Pope showed special interest in the young people’s meeting, which is planned for the end of August 2015.
In regard to Saint Teresa, Father Martínez stressed that she “continues to be of importance today” for young people because she reflected on herself and wanted to find her place in life. Saint Teresa offers a dynamic to address the question ”Lord, what do you want from me?” and to truly discover what we can and must be. She teaches young people “that they are much more than they think and much more than what many want to make them believe.” The mission with young people is to bring them close to two realities that belong to the life of the Church,” as are “contemplative prayer” and “liturgical life.”