Ávila was the place chosen for many of the outstanding pages in the history of Hebrew, Islamic and Christian mysticism.
This is confirmed by names such as Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, Juan de la Cruz, Pedro de Alcántara, Mosé de León, Nissim Ben Abraham and Mancebo de Arévalo; however, Ávila is, first and foremost, the town of St Teresa of Jesus, one of the most exceptional figures in Spanish spirituality. Ávila is the town of her childhood, youth and maturity, of her years of enthusiasm and projects and the place that marks the beginning and return of her foundations.
Known in Ávila as ‘La Santa’, she was born on 28 March 1515 to a large family, as she says herself in the Book of her Life. Her parents were Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda and Beatriz Dávila Ahumada and they came from Toledo after they had converted to Christianity.
Her life coincides with the town’s ‘Golden Century’, which can be seen in the renovation of the town itself, the construction of new palaces in Renaissance style, the remodelling of its churches and new convent foundations, all as a result of economic and social rebirth.
She died in Alba de Tormes in 1582 and is buried there.