For mass, did any of the saints


have to go looking for a priest to hold mass? For example, St Teresa d’avila, doctor of the church, or St Catherine of Siena…
were masses held where they lived? As they were female holy persons, later named saints, etc, they could not hold a mass themselves, so did they have to find a priest? Would people in more isolated areas geographically, women, have to not have a mass? Was to frustrating for them, in what we assume was their higher spiritual understanding, to access mostly everything but this? These were very intelligent women as well, was this ironic?


Not ironic at all; humility is the keynote of sanctity, so such as St. Teresa of Jesus would not presume to know better than Christ and His Church. (It’s only those with a lesser spiritual understanding who would have a difficulty.) Communities such as hers would have priests assigned to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to hear confessions. (Just think: Mass and confession with St. John of the Cross!) For her monasteries in Avila and other larger towns and cities this wasn’t a problem. BTW, it was important to St. Teresa that each of her nuns be able go to the confessor of her choice.

Further, the issue of access to the Mass in isolated areas would hold true for women (religious or not) and laymen.


I should add, too, that in her reform of the Carmelite Order (later separating into two distinct Orders) St. Teresa wanted priests to be formed in her spirit in order to help the nuns of her monasteries (monasteries which were being founded quite quickly throughout Spain). Of the first two priests, one was, of course, St. John of the Cross.


Precisely - any unordained person who lives in a remote location has difficulties with having the sacraments available to them. This is equally a problem for laymen too.

For that matter don’t most other Christian denominations believe in having an appropriately ordained minister (with most not believing in female ordination) to lead their services? To bury, marry and baptise at the very least? Or to administer the Lord’s Supper which most denominations have at least monthly? Doesn’t this cause problems when people live remotely?


St. Teresa and St. Catherine had GREAT reverence for priests–and in St. Catherine’s time there were many evil and/or incompetent priests and she still had great reverence for them because they were God’s anointed (and this made her weep all the more when she saw how they abused and soiled their holy station).

St. Clare was bedridden at the end of her life, but she could watch Mass miraculously on her wall–this is why she is the patron of TV :smiley: (I wonder if this is where the Poor Clares and Mother Angelica got the idea for EWTN? :wink: )


Just wanted to say something - I am going to have a retreat on these two Saints - I believe it is going to be an awesome retreat.

I have info on St John of the Cross

but I need more info on St. Teresa of Avila. Do you know any?

I am sorry if I really derailed the topic.


St Teresa was in a Carmelite convent which presumably had a priest assigned to say Mass for the nuns. St. Catherine was I believe a Dominican tertiary, I don’t know if she lived in a religious community or in her family home, if the former again a chaplain would have been assigned, if the latter she would have attended Mass in her parish, or possibly at a nearby monastery or community of Dominican priests. I am not sure why you would assume holy women have no access to the Mass.


That should be a marvelous retreat! :slight_smile: Here’s an article on St. Teresa to get you started:

Also, if you have time before the retreat you might like to read her autobiography:


I have read a lovely & humorous story about St Teresa. She wanted more priests for the nuns in her monasteries, & she wrote to the bishop. He replied pointing out the names of St John, along with the 2nd priest (whose name I can’t recall)…
St John of the Cross happened to be a very short (& slender) man, and St Teresa wrote back to the bishop, saying, "If you had ever seen Father John, you would know that I actually have only a priest and a half!"
She was sent another priest…:smiley: Such a sense of humor as she had!!!

Just wanted to say something - I am going to have a retreat on these two Saints - I believe it is going to be an awesome retreat.

I have info on St John of the Cross

but I need more info on St. Teresa of Avila. Do you know any?

Oh, wow!! That should be totally awesome!!
St Teresa’s works are online at:

Although this site is operated by Calvin College, a Reform Church school, it has quite a number of classic Christian writings on the site, including a number of Catholic saints…HTH!!


Thanks for the great link! I bookmarked that one. :smiley:


Thanks FCEGM and Zooey for the great links!

God bless.


I’d forgotten the other priest’s name, too - it’s Fr. Anthony of Jesus.

Yes, St. Teresa had such humor - she was just so human! :slight_smile:


“only a priest and a half!”"
hahaha, that is funny. :slight_smile:


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