Saint Teresa of Portugal (d.1250)

for June 17

Saint Teresa was the daughter of the king of Portugal. She married her cousin and they lived happily, with the blessing of many children. After several years, their marriage was proclaimed invalid because the two were so closely related and did not get special permission. After this announcement, Teresa's husband went on to marry another woman named Berengaria. Husbandless, Teresa traveled to Portugal, where she established a Benedictine monastery. Some years later, Berengaria came to visit Teresa, seeking her assistance in settling a fight over inheritance among her children. Teresa could have treated Berengaria with disdain for marrying her husband, but instead she kindly helped her settle the dispute peacefully.

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Saint Teresa teaches us much about the attitude we are to adopt as Christians. When people wrong and hurt us, it is natural and common to want to hurt them back, to want to treat them poorly. But Jesus taught that we must forgive all, regardless of the harm they have caused. Saint Teresa had good reason to despise her husband's new wife, but she forgave, accepted, loved, and even helped her. This is the disposition we are to adopt. Think of a time that you charitably forgave another.


Dear Jesus, help to ensure that I forgive and welcome others as you have forgiven and welcomed me.