Who Is Saint Teresa of Avila?

Activity Objective

To teach the children about Saint Teresa of Avila

Lesson Outcome

The children will identify Saint Teresa of Avila as someone who dedicated her life to God and someone for whom prayer was very important.


  • Strips of paper containing the bits of information about Saint Teresa of Avila provided in this activity


  • Tell the children that they will learn about Saint Teresa of Avila in this activity by putting the facts of her life in chronological order and by sharing additional information about her with each other.
  • Pass out strips of paper with facts or information about Saint Teresa and her life. (Some children may have to share a strip of paper if there are not enough for each child.)
  • Tell the children they will create a timeline of the events in Saint Teresa's life using the information on the strips to guide them. They will form this timeline by standing in line in order of the date of their information.
  • Tell the children that some of their information is not dated, so they will have to determine where in the timeline their information fits best.
  • Show the children the spot in the room where the timeline will begin.
  • Tell the children they will have three minutes to get in line.
  • Once the children are lined up, starting with the child at the beginning of the timeline, invite the children to share their information with the group.
  • Remind the children that Teresa of Avila is a good example of someone who dedicated her life to prayer.

Learning Styles

People Smart

Approximate Time

10 minutes


To create the strips of paper for the children, print out this activity and cut out each bit of information. Be sure the pieces of paper are not numbered when you hand them out, and be sure to keep a copy with the correct order labeled.

1.Teresa was born in 1515. How long ago was that? It was a time when there was no TV, computers, and no airplanes.
2.Teresa was born in Avila. Avila is a town in Castile, Spain. If you have a map or globe, show them where Spain is.
3.When Teresa was seven years old, she tried to run away with her brother, Rodrigo, to Africa. Teresa wanted to go to Africa to tell the people there about Jesus. They didn't get very far. Their uncle brought the children back home and Teresa's brother blamed her for the idea of running away.
4.Teresa's mother died when Teresa was 14.
5.When Teresa was 15, her father had her move into a convent. A convent is a house where nuns live. In the 1500s it was common for young girls from wealthy families to go to a convent to be educated.
6.When Teresa was 20, she became a nun. A nun is a religious person who devotes herself to God's work.
7.In her 20s, Teresa found it hard to pray at this convent. Teresa couldn't concentrate there because the families of the girls who were going to school at the convent would visit and stay for dinner. Teresa found she wasted a lot of time at this convent.
8.Teresa prayed a lot about living a simpler life, and when she was 40 years old, she started a new convent. The sisters in this new convent all agreed they would live simply and spend their days studying and praying.
9.The sisters in this new convent wore sandals instead of shoes and habits made of coarse fabric. A ?habit? is the robe a sister wears. Teresa wanted the sisters to change their way of thinking. She didn't want them to be worried about clothing and fashion. She thought if they changed what they wore on the outside, it would help them change on the inside.
10.The nuns in this convent had to be silent. Teresa wanted them to devote themselves to studying and praying about God. If you talk too much, sometimes it is difficult to listen to God.
11.Her new convent was called Saint Joseph and 13 nuns lived there. Teresa and the nuns who lived there had made a decision to live a simple, hard life devoted to God.
12.Teresa founded 17 convents. These convents had the same rules as the St. Joseph convent.
13.Teresa knew that prayer was very important and she wrote many books about prayer. Her books taught and encouraged people to pray.
14.Teresa wrote that letting God into your heart was like planting seeds in your life. When we pray and help others, we let the seeds grow.
15.Teresa wrote a book about becoming friends with God. She felt God was her best friend.
16.Teresa is called a Doctor of the Church. A Doctor of the Church is a special kind of teacher. Teresa was made a Doctor of the Church because the books she wrote were important in helping people learn to pray and become friends with God.
17.Teresa had a good sense of humor and was kind and sweet.
18.Teresa died in 1582 when she was 67 years old.
19.Saint Teresa of Avila's feast day is October 15. This is a day we remember all the good work Saint Teresa of Avila did.