Rev. Jean-Francois Lefebvre speaks on joy of St. Teresa

Fr. Lefebvre on Teresa of Avila
Fr. Lefebvre on Teresa of Avila
Photo by James Kuepper
Fr. Lefebvre speaking at his talk on St. Teresa of Avila Tuesday night in the Gallery, with Sister Mary Ignatius on the left.

Staff Writer

“The love of Christ is the source of pure joy,” said the Rev. Jean-Francois Lefebvre in a talk about Saint Teresa of Ávila on Tuesday evening in the Gentile Gallery.

Lefebvre is a professor of theology at the Studium de Notre Dame de Vie in Venasque, France. The Studium has a friendly relationship with Franciscan University. Lefebvre also leads multiple Christian outreach apostolates, including prayer groups and youth chaplaincy.

Around 100 students, faculty, staff and religious attended the talk in the Gallery.

Lefebvre gave a lot of background on the great Saint, who is a doctor of the Church and the mother of all the baptized due to her teachings on baptismal life. He also spoke on how Teresa of Ávila was a joyful person with intense desire for God.

“What the Lord desires is works, and works means charity, joyful charity,” Lefebvre said.

Every event in Teresa’s daily life was an opportunity to transmit her spirit, which included sacrifice, praise, and spiritual joy.

Saint Teresa of Ávila’s desire for God was so strong that she wanted to be a martyr. When she realized that she could not be a martyr, she instead decided to become a hermit.

Using the Saint’s conversion toward greater inner joy through as an example, Lefebvre said that “prayer and remaining under the gaze of the Lord is the only way to conversion.”

Teresa of Ávila spent many hours in the garden, simply spending time with the Lord as her form of silent prayer.

He also quoted from Ávila’s work The Interior Castle, saying that “the joy of the soul is so exceedingly great that it would like to tell its joy to all,” again using the Saint’s life as an example.

Junior Ned Frazier took Ávila’s example of joy to heart, saying, “We can’t change hearts without joy. If you believe, that belief has to change something.”

Sophomore Sarah Baugher said that “Saint Teresa reminds us to just spend time with God in silent prayer. Without this time with Him, we can never fully experience His joy.”