Today is the feast day of Christian Church which honors Saint Teresa of Avila. She was a 16th-century mystic and Carmelite nun who traveled around teaching and writing mystical treatises on the interior life of maturing Christian spirituality and contemplative practices. (Here’s a great intro on her life.)
For me, reading her writings and about her life is one of the most powerful testimonies to a woman’s place in the Christian church. She constantly challenged the male power structures of the day and in many of her writings one can see how she goes to great lengths to address their concerns about a powerful woman, trying to demonstrate how a woman can teach and lead while also living in accordance to the doctrines of the scriptures.
And yet, more than any intellectual argument, it is her grace, maturity, and powerful insight into the Bible, the Christian Life, and the human soul that are some of the greatest apologetics for a woman’s full right to teach and preach and lead in the Church. In her magnum opus, The Interior Castle (which is breathtaking), she offers this lament, and I offer it to you on her feast day.