At Sacred Heart Monastery in the arts and crafts room are banners honoring the desert ammas. It always amazes me how little I know about women on whose shoulders I stand. These were spiritual women who went out into the desert to begin monasteries in the 4th and 5th centuries in order to be counter-cultural and serve God. They are known for their wisdom, visions and writings. Many were mystics.
Some of their names were Monica, Hildegard, Clair, and Mechtild.
A mystic who came along later I do know something about is Teresa of Avila. She founded 17 monasteries for women, got in trouble both with the church and the political machine of the era, wrote a fantistic treatise on prayer called Interior Castle. One of my favorite stories about her occurred when she was criticized for the voluptious way she devoured meals. She replied, "When praying, pray! When eating partridge, eat partridge!"
I wonder, are there any mystics today? I think we are in sore need of them.