St. Teresa of Avila School officially opened in September 1984 and is located in the Northwest corner of Red Deer in the Glendale community. We have a student population of approximately 400 students ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5 and a staff of approximately 60. Special Programs include Before and After School Care, Early Literacy Intervention, Speech Services, and a Foundations Program.
Teresa was born into a noble family in Avila, Spain in 1515. She was one of nine children, three of whom were from her father's first marriage. This father was exceptionally strict and pious. He frowned on his wife and his daughter's fondness to read romance novels, which he found to be frivolous. At age seven, Teresa became interested in the concept of martyrdom and attempted to make herself a martyr by convincing her brother to run away with her to join the Moors. When she was twelve, her mother passed away. Despite all her grief, Teresa was a very typical teenager; she enjoyed flirting and gossiping.
When Teresa was sixteen, her father sent her to spend a few months in a local Augustinian convent. At first Teresa resented being separated from the social life she so enjoyed; however, this spiritual existence resonated within her. Teresa began to question which path she would take. Should she take her vows and devote her life to God or continue the social whirl that she had so previously enjoyed. Devoting much time to prayer and reflection, Teresa chose to join the convent and in 1534 she made her vows.
In 1539, Teresa suffered persistent bouts of malaria, which left her permanently weakened. Throughout this struggle, Teresa never ceased to persevere. Day by day, she began to pray more effectively and sincerely, and God rewarded her with great spiritual delights. It was during this period when she began to experience God's peace and the joy of being in His presence. She would later write: "O infinite goodness of my God! ... how I long, when I think of this, to be wholly consumed in love for Thee!" Teresa's prayer life eventually grew so profound that she experienced the supernatural. There have been accounts that she was visited by angels, demons, and apparitions of Christ and underwent real spiritual ecstasies.
In 1562, she began her reform of the Carmelite order by establishing convents in Avila, Toledo, Valladolid, Salamanca, and Alba. In addition, she founded the order of the Discalced - or barefoot - Carmelites. Teresa was an intelligent woman as well as a talented writer, yet all of her works were published after her death.
Throughout her various works, Teresa taught the importance of having a virtuous life, saying it was the key to a happy, wholesome life. She also taught that God is our greatest friend, and must be involved in every aspect of our lives.
Teresa died in 1582, joyful that she was leaving the earth as a daughter of the Church. She was canonized in 1622 and to this day, Catholics honour her on her feast day, October 15. In 1970 the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honoured.