A Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila

To Imitate Her Virtues

St. Teresa of Avila, Mission San Juan Capistrano, CA. (Photo by flickr user DominusVobiscum)
Statue of Saint Teresa of Avila in Serra Church, Mission San Juan Capistrano, California. (Photo by flickr user DominusVobiscum; licensed under Creative Commons-Attribution 2.0 Generic)

This Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila, a virgin and doctor of the Church, was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Along with Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa reformed the Carmelite order. Like Saint John of the Cross, she was known for her many works of theology, including mysticism. In this novena, we ask Christ for the grace to imitate the virtues of Saint Teresa of Avila. Each day, we pray for a different gift.

First Day: On the first day, we thank Christ for the gift of faith, one of the three theological virtues, and for the gift of devotion to the Eucharist, and we ask Him to increase those gifts in our souls, as He did for Saint Teresa.

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy faithful spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ, through whose agency we have access to the Eucharist, in both adoration and Holy Communion.

Prayer for the First Day of the Novena

O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Second Day: On the second day, we thank Christ for the gift of hope, the second of the three theological virtues, and ask for confidence in His goodness, which we have seen through His sacrifice on the Cross, during which He shed his Precious Blood.

Prayer for the Second Day of the Novena

O most merciful Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of hope which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy holy spouse, to give us a great confidence in Thy goodness, by reason of Thy Precious Blood, which Thou hast shed to its last drop for our salvation.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Third Day: On the third day, we thank Christ for the gift of love or charity, the third of the three theological virtues, and ask Him to perfect the gift of love in us, as He did in Saint Teresa of Avila.

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most loving spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Third Day of the Novena

O most loving Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of love which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most loving spouse, to give us the great, the crowning gift of Thy perfect love.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Fourth Day: On the fourth day, we ask Christ for the desire and the resolve to love Him as Saint Teresa did. In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most generous spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Fourth Day of the Novena

O most sweet Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of great desire and resolution which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, that she might love Thee perfectly; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most generous spouse, to give us a true desire, and a true resolution of pleasing Thee the utmost of our power.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Fifth Day: On the fifth day, we ask Christ for the gift of humility, which He granted to Saint Teresa. In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most humble spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Fifth Day of the Novena

O most kind Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of humility which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most humble spouse, to grant us the grace of a true humility, which may make us ever find our joy in humiliation, and prefer contempt before every honor.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Sixth Day: On the sixth day, we ask Christ for the gift of devotion to His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and His foster father, Saint Joseph, a devotion which He granted to Saint Teresa.

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most dear spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Sixth Day of the Novena

O most bountiful Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of devotion towards Thy sweet mother, Mary and her holy spouse, Joseph, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most dear spouse, to give us the grace of a special and tender devotion towards Thy most holy mother, Mary, and towards Thy beloved foster-father, Joseph.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Seventh Day: On the seventh day, we ask Christ that our heart may be wounded with love. It may sound strange to ask for a wound, but it is no different from the idea that "love hurts," because we're willing to sacrifice our own desires for the one we love.

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy seraphic spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ. Seraphic means angelic.

Prayer for the Seventh Day of the Novena

O most loving Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the wonderful gift of the wound in the heart which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy seraphic spouse, to grant us also a like wound of love, that, henceforth, we may love Thee and give our mind to the love of nothing but Thee.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Eighth Day: On the eighth day, we ask Christ for the desire for death. By this, we do not mean despair, but a desire to be with Christ in Heaven (which the prayer refers to as the "country of the blessed").

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most constant spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Eighth Day of the Novena

O most beloved Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the eminent gift of the desire for death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most constant spouse, to grant us the grace of desiring death, in order to go and possess Thee eternally in the country of the blessed.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Ninth Day: On the ninth day, we ask Christ for the grace of a good death, that we may die burning with love for Him, as Saint Teresa did.

In the first verse of the prayer, the phrase "Thy most affectionate spouse" refers to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Prayer for the Ninth Day of the Novena

Lastly, O dearest Lord Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of the precious death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, making her sweetly to die of love; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most affectionate spouse, to grant us a good death; and if we do not die of love, yet, that we may at least die burning of love for Thee, that so dying, we may be able to go and love Thee for evermore with a more perfect love in heaven.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us.
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.