Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Two Women Doctors of the Church

Yesterday  marked the four hundred year anniversary of the beatification of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila). There will be celebrations throughout the coming year by the Discalced Carmelites throughout the world. The coming year of 2015 marks the five hundred year jubilee of the Saint's birth.

Saint Teresa is not only a saint, founder and beloved patron, she is one of four women doctors of the Church. Her teaching on prayer is classic and a universal guide for the Church. She is particularly interesting because she had no real formal training and yet her works along with those of Saint John of the Cross are what many consider to be the definitive works on prayer and mystical experience.

Today in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite we celebrate another great soul and doctor of the Church: Saint Catherine of Siena. Her mystical life did not keep her from a mission of charity and even a guide to ecclesiastical leaders. She is also an example of lay holiness; she belonged to the Third Order of Preachers (Dominican) and did not live in a convent.

The prayer, St. Teresa's Bookmark, is a powerful summary of her teaching and needed today more than ever:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Two images of Saint Catherine: the first, "The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena" by Giovanni di Paolo; the second, Saint Catherine of Siena by unknown artist.

H/T to Diane at "Te Deum Laudamus" blog for the Saint Teresa anniversary.