Spain-Morocco 2015

Ávila, the City of Saints

Our guide said that Ávila is a military fortress and a spiritual fortress or the “City of Saints and Stones”. Let me present three Saints from Ávila:

1. St. John of the Cross, one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.

He was born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez into a converso family (descendents of Jewish converts to Christianity) in Fontiveros, near Ávila, a town of around 2,000 people.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer.

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2. St. Theresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church. She was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, author during the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be a founder of the Discalced Carmelites along with John of the Cross.

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St. Teresa was born in 1515. This year, Spain celebrates 500th anniversary of her birht. You can find these small square plaques everywhere in Avila. They commemorate this special anniversary.

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She was baptized in this church.

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The Convent of St. Teresa is one of two main destinations for Catholic pilgrims to Ávila. The 17th-century convent was built after the canonization of St. Teresa (1515-82) over the house where she was born. It contains her relics, along with those of her friend St. John of the Cross, in a small museum.(sacred-destinations.com)

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3. San Vicente and his two sisters.

The Basilica de San Vicente stands on the traditional site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent at the hands of the Romans in the 3rd century. He was killed here together with his two sisters.

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The Basilica de San Vicente that stands today dates from the 12th century and is mostly Romanesque in style.

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This coffin-like monument marks the exact place where St. Vincent and his sisters were killed. There are no bodies inside.

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