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Discalceation means "removal of footwear". St. Teresa of Ávila was one of a number of saints of the Roman Catholic Church who were "discalced," or shoeless. She was one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites religious order.

The origins of discalceation lie in Exodus 3:5,[1] where God tells Moses "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground".

A separate custom in Biblical times of taking off only one shoe as part of a socially witnessed contract is referred to in Ruth 4:7[2] and Deuteronomy 25:9.[3]

Albert Gallatin Mackey, the pioneering American masonic historian and encyclopedist, made much of masonic initiates being required to remove their usual footwear, as a symbol of reverence on entering a masonic lodge.[4]


  1. ^ http://biblehub.com/exodus/3-5.htm
  2. ^ http://biblehub.com/ruth/4-7.htm
  3. ^ http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/25-9.htm
  4. ^ Wikisource Albert Mackey, The Symbolism of Freemasonry, 1882, Chapter XVIII, The Ritual of Discalceation

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