I met St. Teresa of Avila today, and knew immediately that she was going to a part of my own personal canon of saints. I connected with her immediately. I am starting my own personal canon of saints, just like I have started my own personal literary canon that I am calling “The Literatures of Healing” that I will be writing some articles about. It appears that not only am I finding healing literature, but I’m finding healing in the communion of saints. This woman is someone I would totally be friends with if she were alive today.
The communion of saints, includes those saints canonized by the Catholic Church and also other Christians who have gone before us. St. Teresa was canonized by the Catholic Church, but I’m interested in anyone who had a kind of rocky relationship with God but still ended up being faithful. I also give some of the canonized saints different designations than the church does about what they might be the patron saint of. For me, St. Mary Magdalene (my patron saint) is the patron saint of trauma. Not an official Church designation but in my own personal canon of saints, that’s her designation.
St. Teresa was quite the spunky woman who followed her own intuition on her own relationship with God. The kind of woman I really want to be. I was attracted to her for many reasons: she spent time in solitude and introspection, honest about her faith and doubts. She had honest but sometimes irreverent conversations with God, which sometimes end up being the best ones. She walked in authenticity despite people trying to silence her. While polite religious society ordered her around, she still developed her own relationship with God while also respecting the perceived authority of the spiritual leaders in her life. Her family life was fraught with tension, and she had her own inner turmoil, having to choose between marriage and religious life.
A cool thing about St. Teresa of Avila is that she was canonized by the Catholic Church on my birthday, except that since she was canonized on March 12, 1622, then I suppose that in reality, I was born on her canonization day.
I’m glad that I’m finding faithful companions for my life, my friends that I love and for the companions who have gone on before.