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Doctrix Teresa: A Churchly Theologian

This year marks the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, best known to history as St. Teresa of Ávila. A sixteenth-century Spanish reformer and spiritual writer, in 1970 she became the first female named as a Doctor of the Catholic Church. A friend and devotee of St. John of the Cross, Teresa is often depicted as the patron saint of Catholic Reformation spirituality. In recent years, a number of Protestant thinkers have begun to study Teresa, not only as a famous mystic but as a genuine theologian in her own right. One of these is Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who published a book about Teresa in 1991. Another is Elizabeth Newman, a Baptist ecumenical theologian, whose 2012 book, Attending the Wounds on Christ’s Body: Teresa’s Scriptural Vision, examines Teresa’s theology and spirituality with special attention to what all Christians, Protestants no less than Catholics, can learn from her about Christian unity today. Continue Reading »

St. Kateri's Long Journey Home

When Pope Benedict canonized Kateri Tekakwitha yesterday—making her the first Native American saint—he not only elevated an extraordinary Catholic woman; he lifted the entire community of Native American believers. Ever since the “Lily of the Mohawks” died in the seventeenth century, her indigenous supporters have believed what the Catholic Church now officially proclaims: that she was a bold and prophetic saint. . . . Continue Reading »

The Genius of the Women Saints

This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize seven new saints. His honorees include four women, two of whom—Franciscan sister Marianne Cope and lay contemplative Kateri Tekakwitha—have American roots. Their canonizations follow just two weeks after Benedict named German mystic Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church, a high honor bestowed on only three women before her. . . . Continue Reading »

The Saints of John Paul II

Of the making of saints there is no end cries the modern Ecclesiastes, and with some justification. A thousand years ago—or even twenty-five years ago—the roster of canonized saints was severely circumscribed. From 1000 AD to 1978 AD, fewer than 450 men and women had been “raised to . . . . Continue Reading »

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