"Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world."

These inspirational words by Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) convey the high spiritual intent of her life of service as a mystic, a poet, an administrator, a religious reformer, the foundress of 17 convents, the author of four books, and a deeply devotional Christian. This sixteenth century Carmelite was only recently recognized as the first woman Doctor of the Church.

To Name This Day . . .


  • Passion for God: The Path of the Bridal Mystic
    This is a vibrant spoken-word audio program by Tessa Bielecki, Mother Abbess of the Spiritual Life Institute, a Carmelite community. She writes about one of Teresa of Avila's most inspired legacies — "spousal prayer" in which God is loved and related to as spouse. Bielecki shares St. Teresa's zest for life making her an ideal tutor in this ritual of divine intimacy.
  • Teresa of Avila: The Book of My Life
    Translator Mirabai Starr sees this book as "the story of a mystic's coming of age." She has great respect for Teresa of Avila's spirituality, her interior journeys, her passion for God, her courage and creativity in the face of great physical suffering, and her leadership in times when women were restricted in their roles.
  • Holy Daring
    Carmelite monk Tessa Bielecki honors Teresa of Avila as her spiritual mentor, a doctor of the church, and a saint for all seasons. She describes her as "an earth mother and an earthy mystic, a poet and a brilliant administrator, a shrewd politician and a good friend, walking a dangerous tightrope in a delicate balancing act between realism and idealism, common and uncommon sense, making love and making war."


Choose one of these quotes by Teresa of Avila for reflection and prayer today.

  • "Nothing is small if God accepts it."
  • "God, deliver me from sullen saints."
  • "To wish to act like angels while we are still in this world is nothing but folly."
  • "It is not a matter of thinking a great deal but of loving a great deal, so do whatever arouses you most to love."
  • "I am amazed by how much can be accomplished on this path by being bold and striving for great things. Even if a soul is not quite strong enough yet, she can still lift off and take flight. She can soar to great heights. But like a fledgling bird, she may tire herself out and need to perch for a while."

Personal Explorations

  • When was your last bold attempt to strive for great things?
  • What kind of perch have you found ?
  • When is your next flight and what do you hope to accomplish?