Born in Avilia, Spain, on March 28, 1515, to a family of converted Jews Theresa became a Carmilite nun and later founded the Reformed order of Carmelites. John of the Cross was her protege'.
She was given to mystical experiences in prayer. She encouraged an openess to such things yet did not encourage dependance on them.
Her focus was on nurturing a relationship with Christ through engaing God's presence. She taught that that divine presence was to be recieved with joy and not treated as a right.
She penned an extensive biography and a number of books, that she wrote during the fifteen years when she was actively engaged in founding new communities of reformed Carmelite nuns. The Way of Perfection she composed the Way of Perfection and Foundations for the special guidance of her nuns. Her best know The Interior Castle was written with a larger audiance in mind, in it she writes with unwavering authority on the spiritual life.
Her orders way of life was austere and her reforms radical.
In the autumn of 1582, Teresa, although ill, set out for Alva de Tormez, when she arrived at the convent, Teresa went to bed in a state of exhaustion. She never recovered, and three days passed away.