Hating convent life

Teresa of Ávila was born Teresa Ali Fatim Corella Sanchez de Capeda y Ahumada in Ávila, Spain in 1515.

Her parents’ marriage was turbulent. Teresa and her mother liked romance novels but her father worried that Teresa was becoming vain as a result. When she was 16 he sent her to a convent. At first she hated it, but when it came to making a choice between marriage and the religious life, she chose the Carmelite convent.

When Teresa fell ill with malaria she used it as an excuse to stop praying. A priest persuaded her to return to her prayer, but she still found it difficult.

“I was more anxious for the hour of prayer to be over than I was to remain there. I don’t know what heavy penance I would not have gladly undertaken rather than practise prayer,” she wrote.

Levitating during prayer

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