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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Theresa of Avila

b. 1515, Ávila, Spain; d. 1582, Alba de Tormes, Spain

A mystic and a major figure in the Catholic Church, Theresa is credited with reviving religious spirit in Spain as a leader of the Counter Reformation. In 1536, she joined a community of Carmelite nuns. Along with Saint John of the Cross, she formed the Discalced Carmelite or Barefoot Carmelite order (known by the abbreviation O.C.D.) in 1593. In 1970, Pope Paul VI named Theresa a Doctor of the Church, one of only three women to hold the title. The others are Saint Catherine of Siena (1970) and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1997).