Quote of the day, 28 June: St. Teresa of Avila

Having returned from the foundation of Villanueva de la Jara, the major superior ordered me to go to Valladolid at the request of the Bishop of Palencia, Don Alvaro de Mendoza. This was the bishop who had accepted and favored the first monastery, St. Joseph’s in Avila, and always favors whatever pertains to this order. Since he was transferred from the diocese of Avila to that of Palencia, our Lord inspired him with the desire to found there another monastery of this sacred order.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Foundations, ch. 29, no. 1


Translator and editor Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. indicates that Don Alvaro de Mendoza was appointed Bishop of Palencia on 28 June 1577. Kavanaugh provides the following biography for this key figure in the life of Saint Teresa:

The bishop who was closest to Teresa and from whom she received the most favors, he came from a highly influential family in Spain. He was appointed Bishop of Avila in 1560. A robust man, he nonetheless, at the same time, manifested much piety and charity, sponsoring many humanitarian and social works. In 1562, influenced by Peter of Alcántara and won over by Teresa herself, he gave her decisive support in her endeavors. Accepting her new foundation in Avila under his authority when the provincial refused to grant it, he even provided the bread for the community. Yet at first he did oppose the foundation, fearing that Avila was too poor to support another community of nuns. He protected and defended Teresa against detractors and helped her with unbounded generosity.

In 1577 he was appointed Bishop of Palencia and, at his urgings, Teresa founded a monastery in Palencia in 1580, and then through his mediation, she founded one in Burgos in 1582. When the persecution of Teresa was at its peak, he had the delicacy to write to King Philip II, defending Teresa and her work. So great was his love and esteem for her that he arranged to be buried on the epistle side in the sanctuary of the new chapel in St. Joseph’s in Avila to which he had contributed.

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© Paweł Teperski OFMCap
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Monastero de San Jose, Avila, Espana

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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