|Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens,|
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Ulm, Germany
Photo by David Monnieaux
Teresa always thought of herself as a terrible sinner. When she was 16, her father sent her to live in a convent, not knowing there were lots of spiritual problems. Teresa got sick and was paralyzed for three years, but she couldn’t find the will to pray. She thought she didn’t deserve to be listened to by God. It wasn’t until she was 41 that a priest convinced her to pray again. Prayer was very hard for her, but she learned to take time frequently throughout the day to talk to the Lord as a friend to a friend. Teresa resolved to get her order to go back to the simple life of poverty and prayer, but that just made the people around her angry. She started a new convent, the Discalced (Shoeless) Carmelites, but her other Carmelite sisters fought her. Throughout the years, she would start more convents, and face terrible criticism. Still, her order and her way of prayer spread all around the world, and she is now a Doctor of the Church.
At the convents founded by Saint Teresa, the sisters all were barefoot. Today, go barefoot when you can (schools, stores and restaurants require shoes, but maybe you can wear flip-flops or sandals instead, even if it's a chilly day). Going barefoot can help you remember to talk to Jesus more often, especially if you have to be careful where you step, if your feet get cold, etc. Try it!