When my mother reached a certain advanced age I knew my visits were not to be about altering her diet or other lifestyle choices that mostly featured watching way too much TV about the PA couple with the 8 toddlers. I lived too far away to influence her daily choices and instead focused on merely her enjoying my visits by taking her to visit pals, enjoying some champagne together and taking her to have any appetizers she wanted at her favorite “local” restaurant, the Olive Garden, that she inexplicitly referred to as London Fog.
St. Teresa is largely remembered here as the owner of the small statue of the Infant of Prague featured in nearly every church in town and an auspicious wedding gift known for preventing bridal rain. However, St. Teresa is also known for her prolific writings and is standing in the Parroquia with her feathered plume and book in hand.
Teresa’s writings, even read today in translated form are lyrical and moving. She, along with the Virgin of Guadalupe, played a large part in the feminization of faith in SMA and Mexico as a whole by emphasizing compassionate love. Her writings focus on living in the now with God. So, for instance, you are boiling an egg, God is in the water, the pot, the flame, etc. Teresa got so caught up on the notion of God being in the moment she would literally levitate off the ground and have orgasms, more politely referred to as her ecstasies. In art, like she is featured on a local bus, when you see a nun with an unusual facial expression that would be Teresa in an ecstasy of enjoying God in the moment.
My mother long volunteered at a local central PA Catholic nursing home called Villa Teresa in Teresa’s honor. The complex was built in the 70’s on the largest hill in town. This geographic faux paus aided in several wheelchair deaths involving the elderly with rogue high velocity winds resulting in going downhill for a final foray much like the rides at nearby Hershey Park.
Eventually said incidents necessitated closing Villa Teresa. When my mother could no longer function independently due to dementia it was, ironically, the Jewish Nursing Home in town she entered still somewhat baffled by Villa Teresa’s closure. I’m sure had she, or I, been more like St. Teresa of Avila we could have found a way to feel God’s presence even in those moments!