This monument of Teresa of Avila created by Juan Luis Vassallo Parodi is located near the entrance to Avila and the Torre bridge in Avila, Spain. It is conceived as a tribute to the literary work of the Saint. The beautiful statue of Teresa, sculpted from a single block of white stone twenty tons, and two meters high, represents her writing, with the pen on the book
Teresa of Ávila or Saint Teresa of Jesus was a Spanish noblewoman who felt called to convent life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author and theologian, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church,
Teresa, who became a celebrity in her town dispensing wisdom from behind the convent grille, was also known for her raptures, which sometimes involved levitation. It was a source of embarrassment to her and she bade her sisters hold her down when this occurred.
At an earlier age she was very ill and spent almost a year in bed, causing huge worry to her community and family. She nearly died but she recovered, attributing her recovery to the miraculous intercession of St. Joseph and he began to experience bouts of religious ecstasy. She reported that, during her illness, she had progressed from the lowest stage of “recollection”, to the “devotions of silence” and even to the “devotions of ecstasy”, which was one of perceived “perfect union with God”. During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced the rich “blessing of tears”.
Subsequently, historians, neurologists and psychiatrists have taken an interest in her symptomatology. The fact that she wrote down everything that happened to her means that an invaluable and rare medical record from the 16th century was been preserved. Examination of this record has led to the conclusion that she may have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy.
Forty years after her death Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. She has since become one of the patron saints of Spain, and in September 1970 Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church