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Monasterio de La Encarnación: Chapel of the Transverberation

Chapel of the Transverberation

A transverberation is a spiritual wounding of the heart due to the saint's deep love for God. The best known case of transverberation occurred with St. Teresa of Avila around 1582 in this chapel in the convent of the Incarnation in Ávila. On the left is her cell with the grills on the window. Describing a short angel who was very beautiful and who appeared to be one of the highest kinds of angels who appeared to her as all on fire, she said, “In his hand I saw a long golden spear and at the end of the iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire.” He pierced her heart so many times that she described it as feeling as though it went through her entire abdominal cavity. She described the aftermath as one of complete fire for the love of God, but the pain was so intense, she was audibly moaning. The heart was removed from St. Teresa of Avila’s body during an exhumation, and in 1872 was studied by three doctors at the University of Salamanca. The perforation caused by the fiery dart was noted, and the doctors agreed that the heart could not be preserved by any natural or chemical means. It was completely incorrupt and is kept at the convents of the Carmelite reform. 15 October is the feast of St Teresa of Ávila.

Credit: Lawrence OP / Flickr