Long before I considered entering the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), I contemplated joining the Discalced Carmelites friars, founded by St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross in 1568. I was – and still am – an avid reader of Carmelite literature and I felt especially drawn to the writings and spirituality of the great Carmelite mystics, including St. Teresa, St. John, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
God has His own way of leading us on a path that He Himself finds most suitable, and so I (joyfully) ended up with the Franciscans rather than the Carmelites. Yet I still feel a great affinity and love for my Carmelite brothers and sisters. Therefore, while visiting Madrid a couple of weeks ago, I took a side trip to the hometown of the great Carmelite reformer, St. Teresa. “La Santa” as she is known in Ávila, was born inside the crenelated walls and her presence is still strongly felt in all parts of the city.
I came to Ávila to pay my homage and respects to this amazing woman – this mystic, bride of Christ, and mother to many spiritual children – and indeed, I was moved by the devotion and faith she inspired, and continues to inspire, in Ávila today. However, I was equally amazed and awestruck by the sheer beauty of the landscape and architecture of this sleepy medieval town in the Spanish countryside.
The photos below are a memento from that wonderful trip.