03 May 2009

LotS: St. Teresa of Avila

[Collage: foil, construction paper, stickers, magazine clippings, glitter]

St. Teresa of Avila

at her niece's quinceñera clangs her
habited haunches onto a folding chair, face
flushed from the dance. In her youth she
had Esperanza's black-coffee eyes, sneaking
a peek at Cosmo ("20 Sizzling Sex Secrets--Try
Them Tonight!"), comparing her ass to J.
Lo's in the mirror (favorably, at least in these
jeans). Now they look elsewhere, dilated
by Light more flattering than the housefly
fluorescents here in Cristo Rey's basement
banquet hall. Hips swinging under First
Communion lace, the birthday girl extends
white gloves in invitation; her aunt takes them, says:
"Niña, don't let them tell you you don't know
because you're a woman. Women know. Know
what's right, even when you do wrong." "Si, si,
come dance"; they spin to salsa till the nun's
flats are off the floor, like a little girl borne up
by the feet of her Father.

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-82) founded an impoverished order of nuns for whom she wrote in her vernacular Spanish about prayer, humility and her recurring ecstasies with frankness, practicality, and humor. She is one of three female Doctors of the Catholic Church.

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