Quote of the day, 12 March: Pope Gregory XV

On 12 March 2022 the sons and daughters of Teresa of Jesus celebrate her canonization with a Year of Jubilee in Avila, Spain. We share here two excerpts from the canonization decree issued in 1622.

The chief among Teresa’s virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his Spouse on one occasion.1 At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart.2 Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conducive to God’s glory.3

She not only submitted all her exterior actions to the judgment of her superiors with the greatest humility of spirit but also all her thoughts. By the advice of her confessors, who thought her deluded, against her own conviction, she spat upon a vision of Christ,4 not without a great reward of so profound an obedience. Nay, when she had written a book on the Canticles, filled with great piety, she threw it into the fire, to obey her confessor.5

Pope Gregory XV

Omnipotens sermo Dei (1622)
Bull of Canonization of St. Teresa of Avila

Sources: Liturgy of the Hours, Discalced Carmelite Order, Optional Memorial of the Transverberation of the Heart of St. Teresa of Jesus Our Mother; Meditations and discourses on the sublime truths and important duties of Christianity : being the posthumous work of the Reverend Alban Butler, Vol. II (J. P. Coghlan, 1792) p. 21.


  1. 18 November 1572. Cf. Spiritual Testimonies, 31.
  2. At the Monastery of the Incarnation in the year 1559. Cf. The Book of Her Life, ch. 29.
  3. Cf. Way of Perfection, ch. 5; Spiritual Testimonies, 58.
  4. In the translation of Fathers Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD this is referred to as a “gesture of scorn” called “making the fig”. Cf. The Book of Her Life, ch. 29.
  5. Teresian scholars Kavanaugh and Rodriguez indicate that the confessor was Domingo de Yanguas, OP and the incident took place as late as 1580. Because an earlier confessor, Domingo Báñez, OP approved the book in 1575, copies of Meditation on the Song of Songs had already been distributed among her nuns.
Saint Teresa of Avila
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)
Watercolor over graphite on off-white wove paper, ca. 1903
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum
Image credits: Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College (Some rights reserved)

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