By Teresa of Avila, J. M. Cohen

J. M. Cohen (Translator)

Born within the Castilian city of Avila in 1515, Teresa entered the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation while she was once twenty-one. stricken by sickness, doubts and self-recrimination, she progressively got here to acknowledge the facility of prayer and contemplation—her religious enlightenment was once intensified through many visions and mystical reviews, together with the piercing of her center through a spear of divine love. She went directly to chanced on seventeen Carmelite monasteries all through Spain. Teresa continuously denied her personal saintliness, despite the fact that, announcing in a letter: "There isn't any recommendation of that nonsense approximately my intended sanctity." This frank account is without doubt one of the nice tales of a spiritual lifestyles and a literary masterpiece—after Don Quixote, it truly is Spain's most generally learn prose vintage.

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Extra resources for The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself

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She progressed well with contemplation and wrote a good deal about the mystical spiritual experiences she underwent without giving them undue significance. A strong influence upon her was the Dominican priest Domingo BaɁez, who taught her that God can be loved in and through all things. In middle age, she resolved to found a convent under the Carmelite rule. After many setbacks, St Joseph舗s at Ɠvila was opened in 1562, the first house of the reformed or 舖discalced舗 (barefoot) Carmelites. During the next twenty years she travelled the length and breadth of Spain founding seventeen convents in all, often in conditions of great hardship.

For if when I was so young I had found anyone to teach me the fear of God, my soul would have grown strong enough not to fall. Afterwards, when I lost this fear altogether, only the concern for my honour remained, and was a torment to me in all that I did. When I thought that no one need ever know, I risked many things which were both dishonourable and sins against God. I believe that my conversations with her harmed me from the start. But the fault must have been mine rather than hers. For afterwards my own wickedness was enough, abetted by the servants about me, whom I found disposed to help in any wrongdoing.

She gives the reasons and tells of her superior舗 command that she should go and comfort a very great lady who was in serious distress. She begins to describe what happened to her there, and to tell how the Lord in His mercy made her the instrument whereby His Majesty roused a very important person to serve him in earnest, also to say how she afterwards found help and protection from Him. This is a very noteworthy chapter 35. She continues the story of the foundation of this house of our glorious father, St Joseph, and of the way in which the Lord ordained that holy poverty should be observed there.

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