St. Teresa of Avila was canonized as a saint for her selfless work to reform convents and monasteries in the pursuit of Christian perfection. St. Teresa of Avila believed that the nuns and monks in service to God should live a life of faith, simplicity and poverty. To spread her reformation of the Discalced Carmelite order, Teresa traveled on long, arduous journeys by ox cart.
During the latter years of her life, St. Teresa managed to found and regularly visit 17 convents in Spain. These nuns followed the reformed version of the Carmelite life that St. Teresa created and advocated. During this time, she also founded 15 new monasteries of the same order. St. Teresa was continually under mortal threat from the Spanish Inquisition and those who opposed her teachings of contemplative prayer, poverty and charity in the service of God. Despite this, she continued her teaching and wrote several books on her faith and practices. St. Teresa believed that the soul ascended to heaven over the course of four stages: heart's devotion, devotion of peace, devotion of union and devotion of ecstasy or rapture. She died at the age of 67 in 1582. Since her death, her body has been exhumed several times and found to be intact. Parts of her body have been displayed around the world. She was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.