Teresa of Ávila

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Teresa of Ávila

Peter Paul Rubens 138.jpg
Saint Teresa of Ávila by Peter Paul Rubens
Teresa of Jesus, Reverend Mother, Prioress, Doctor of the Church
BornTeresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada
28 March 1515
Ávila, Crown of Castile (today Spain)
Died4 or 15 October 1582(1582-10-15) (aged 67) [lower-alpha 1]
Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Crown of Castile (today Spain)
Theology career
Notable work
Camino de Perfección
El Castillo Interior
Theological work
Era Catholic Reformation
Tradition or movement Christian mysticism
Main interests Theology
Notable ideas Mental prayer, Prayer of Quiet
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion [1] [2]
Lutheranism [3]
Beatified 24 April 1614, Rome by Pope Paul V
Canonized 12 March 1622, Rome by Pope Gregory XV
Major shrine Convent of the Annunciation, Alba de Tormes, Spain
Feast 15 October
Attributes of Spanish-Jewish parentage, contemplative, mystic, ecstatic, writer on mental prayer, religious reformer, administrator, prolific correspondent possibly temporal lobe epilepsy sufferer
Patronage Spain, sick people, people in religious orders, people ridiculed for their piety, lacemakers, Požega, Croatia, Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines
ControversyHer reforms met with determined opposition and interest from the Spanish Inquisition, but no charges were laid against her. Her order split as a result.

Teresa of Ávila, born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus (28 March 1515 4 or 15 October 1582 [lower-alpha 1] ), was a Spanish noblewoman who felt called to convent life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and of mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church, but not until over four centuries after her death. [lower-alpha 2] Active during the Catholic Reformation, she reformed the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. [4] The movement she initiated was later joined by the younger Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic John of the Cross. It led eventually to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites. A formal papal decree adopting the split from the old order was issued in 1580. [5]

Contents

Teresa, who had been a social celebrity in her home province, was dogged by early family losses and ill health. In her mature years, she became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal borne out of an inner conviction and honed by ascetic practice. She was also at the center of deep ecclesiastical controversy as she took on the pervasive laxity in her order against the background of the Protestant reformation sweeping over Europe and the Spanish Inquisition asserting church discipline in her home country. The consequences were to last well beyond her life. One papal legate described her as a "restless wanderer, disobedient, and stubborn femina who, under the title of devotion, invented bad doctrines, moving outside the cloister against the rules of the Council of Trent and her prelates; teaching as a master against Saint Paul's orders that women should not teach." [6]

Her written contributions, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus and her seminal work The Interior Castle , are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature. Together with The Way of Perfection , her works form part of the literary canon of Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice, and continue to attract interest from people both within and outside the Catholic Church.

Other associations with Teresa beyond her writings continue to exert a wide influence. A Santero image of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo, said to have been sent by her with a brother emigrating to Peru, was canonically crowned by Pope John Paul II on 28 December 1989 at the Shrine of El Viejo in Nicaragua. [7] Another Catholic tradition holds that Saint Teresa is personally associated with devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague, a statue she may have owned. [8] Since her death, her reputation has grown, leading to multiple portrayals. She continues to be widely noted as an inspiration to philosophers, theologians, historians, neurologists, fiction writers and artists, as well as to countless ordinary people interested in Christian spirituality and mysticism.

Forty years after her death, in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. At the time she was considered a candidate for national patron saint of Spain, but this designation was awarded to St. James the Apostle. She has since become one of the patron saints of Spain. However, not until 27 September 1970 did Pope Paul VI proclaim Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism. [9] [10]

Early life

Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in 1515 in Ávila, Spain. Her paternal grandfather, Juan Sánchez de Toledo, was a marrano or Converso, a Jew forced to convert to Christianity or emigrate. When Teresa's father was a child, Juan was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition for allegedly returning to the Jewish faith, but he was later able to assume a Catholic identity. [11] Her father, Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, was a successful wool merchant and one of the wealthiest men in Ávila. He bought a knighthood and assimilated successfully into Christian society.

Teresa of Avila elopes to travel to Africa by Arnold van Westerhout Arnold van Westerhout - Teresa of Avila leaves her home to travel to Africa.jpeg
Teresa of Ávila elopes to travel to Africa by Arnold van Westerhout

Previously married to Catalina del Peso y Henao, with whom he had three children, in 1509, Sánchez de Cepeda married Teresa's mother, Beatriz de Ahumada y Cuevas, in Gotarrendura. [12]

Teresa's mother brought her up as a dedicated Christian. Fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints, she ran away from home at age seven, with her brother Rodrigo, to seek martyrdom in the fight against the Moors. Her uncle brought them home, when he spotted them just outside the town walls. [13]

When Teresa was eleven years old, her mother died, leaving her grief-stricken. This prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother. Teresa was also enamored of popular fiction, which at the time consisted primarily of medieval tales of knighthood and works about fashion, gardens and flowers. [14] [15] Teresa was sent to the Augustinian nuns' school at Ávila. [16]

Entry into religious life

After completing her education, she initially resisted the idea of a religious vocation, but after a stay with her uncle and other relatives, she relented. In 1536, aged 20, [17] much to the disappointment of her pious and austere father, she decided to enter the local easy-going Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation, significantly built on top of land that had been used previously as a burial ground for Jews. She took up religious reading on contemplative prayer, especially Osuna’s Third Spiritual Alphabet (1527). Her zeal for mortification caused her to become ill again and she spent almost a year in bed, causing huge worry to her community and family. She nearly died but she recovered, attributing her recovery to the miraculous intercession of St. Joseph. She began to experience bouts of religious ecstasy. [12]

Foundations of spirituality

Her reading of the medieval mystics, consisted of guides to examination of conscience and spiritual exercises and inner contemplation known in mystical terms as oratio recollectionis or oratio mentalis. She also dipped into other mystical ascetical works such as the Tractatus de oratione et meditatione of Peter of Alcantara.

She reported that, during her illness, she had progressed from the lowest stage of "recollection", to the "devotions of silence" and even to the "devotions of ecstasy", which was one of perceived "perfect union with God" (see § Mysticism). During this final stage, she said she frequently experienced the rich "blessing of tears". As the Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sin became clear to her, she came to understand the awful horror of sin and the inherent nature of original sin. She also became conscious of her own natural impotence in confronting sin and the need for absolute surrender to God.[ citation needed ]

Around the same time, she received a copy of the full Spanish translation of St. Augustine's autobiographical work Confessions , which helped her resolve and to tend to her own bouts of religious scruples. The text helped her realize that holiness was indeed possible and she found solace in the idea that such a great saint was once an inveterate sinner. In her autobiography, she wrote that she 'was very fond of St. Augustine...for he was a sinner too.' [18]

Around 1556, friends suggested that her newfound knowledge could be of diabolical and not of divine origin. She had begun to inflict mortifications of the flesh upon herself. But her confessor, the Jesuit Francis Borgia, reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. On St. Peter's Day in 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ had presented Himself to her in bodily form, though invisible. These visions lasted almost uninterruptedly for more than two years. In another vision, a seraph drove the fiery point of a golden lance repeatedly through her heart, causing her an ineffable spiritual and bodily pain:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it... [lower-alpha 3]

The account of this vision was the inspiration for one of Bernini's most famous works, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. Although based in part on Teresa's description of her mystical transverberation in her autobiography, Bernini's depiction of the event is considered by some to be highly eroticized, especially when compared to the entire preceding artistic Teresian tradition. [19]

The memory of this episode served as an inspiration throughout the rest of her life, and motivated her lifelong imitation of the life and suffering of Jesus, epitomized in the adage often associated with her: "Lord, either let me suffer or let me die."[ citation needed ]

Embarrassment of raptures

Teresa, who became a celebrity in her town dispensing wisdom from behind the convent grille, was also known for her raptures, which sometimes involved levitation. It was a source of embarrassment to her and she bade her sisters hold her down when this occurred. Subsequently, historians, neurologists and psychiatrists like Peter Fenwick and Javier Alvarez-Rodriguez, among others, have taken an interest in her symptomatology. The fact that she wrote down virtually everything that happened to her during her religious life means that an invaluable and exceedingly rare medical record from the 16th century has been preserved. Examination of this record has led to the speculative conclusion that she may have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. [20] [21]

Monastic reformer

Over time, Teresa found herself increasingly at odds with the spiritual malaise prevailing in her convent of the Incarnation. Among the 150 nuns living there, the observance of cloister, designed to protect and strengthen spiritual practice and prayer, became so lax that it appeared to lose its purpose. The daily invasion of visitors, many of high social and political rank, disturbed the atmosphere with frivolous concerns and vacuous conversation. Such intrusions in the solitude essential to develop and sustain contemplative prayer so grieved Teresa that she longed to intervene. [22]

The incentive to take the practical steps inspired by her inward motivation was supported by the Franciscan priest, Peter of Alcantara, who met her early in 1560 and became her spiritual adviser. She resolved to found a "reformed" Carmelite convent, correcting the laxity which she had found at the Incarnation convent and elsewhere besides. Guimara de Ulloa, a woman of wealth and a friend, supplied the funds for the project.[ citation needed ]

The abject poverty of the new convent, established in 1562 and named St. Joseph's (San José), at first caused a scandal among the citizens and authorities of Ávila, and the small house with its chapel was in peril of suppression. However, powerful patrons, including the local bishop, coupled with the impression of well ordered subsistence and purpose, turned animosity into approval.[ citation needed ]

In March 1563, after Teresa had moved to the new convent house, she received papal sanction for her primary principles of absolute poverty and renunciation of ownership of property, which she proceeded to formulate into a "constitution". Her plan was the revival of the earlier, stricter monastic rules, supplemented by new regulations including the three disciplines of ceremonial flagellation prescribed for the Divine Office every week, and the discalceation of the religious. For the first five years, Teresa remained in seclusion, mostly engaged in prayer and writing.[ citation needed ]

Church window at the Convent of St Teresa TeresaAvila.jpg
Church window at the Convent of St Teresa

Extended travels

In 1567, Teresa received a patent from the Carmelite General, Rubeo de Ravenna, to establish further houses of the new order. This process required many visitations and long journeys across nearly all the provinces of Spain. She left a record of the arduous project in her Libro de las Fundaciones. Between 1567 and 1571, reformed convents were established at Medina del Campo, Malagón, Valladolid, Toledo, Pastrana, Salamanca, and Alba de Tormes.

As part of the original patent, Teresa was given permission to set up two houses for men who wished to adopt the reforms. She convinced two Carmelite friars, John of the Cross and Father Anthony of Jesus to help with this. They founded the first monastery of Discalced Carmelite brothers in November 1568 at Duruelo. Another friend of Teresa, Jerónimo Gracián, the Carmelite visitator of the older observance of Andalusia and apostolic commissioner, and later provincial of the Teresian order, gave her powerful support in founding monasteries at Segovia (1571), Beas de Segura (1574), Seville (1575), and Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia, 1576). Meanwhile, John of the Cross promoted the inner life of the movement through his power as a teacher and preacher. [23]

Opposition to reforms

In 1576, unreformed members of the Carmelite order began to persecute Teresa, her supporters and her reforms. Following a number of resolutions adopted at the general chapter at Piacenza, the governing body of the order forbade all further founding of reformed convents. The general chapter instructed her to go into "voluntary" retirement at one of her institutions. [23] She obeyed and chose St. Joseph's at Toledo. Meanwhile, her friends and associates were subjected to further attacks. [23]

Several years later, her appeals by letter to King Philip II of Spain secured relief. As a result, in 1579, the cases before the inquisition against her, Father Gracian and others, were dropped. [23] This allowed the reform to resume. An edict from Pope Gregory XIII allowed the appointment of a special provincial for the newer branch of the Carmelite religious, and a royal decree created a "protective" board of four assessors for the reform. [23]

During the last three years of her life, Teresa founded convents at Villanueva de la Jara in northern Andalusia (1580), Palencia (1580), Soria (1581), Burgos, and Granada (1582). In total, seventeen convents, all but one founded by her, and as many men's monasteries, were owed to her reforms over twenty years. [24]

Last days

Her final illness overtook her on one of her journeys from Burgos to Alba de Tormes. She died in 1582, just as Catholic Europe was making the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which required the excision of the dates of 5–14 October from the calendar. She died either before midnight of 4 October or early in the morning of 15 October, which is celebrated as her feast day. According to the liturgical calendar then in use, she died on the 15th in any case. Her last words were: "My Lord, it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another." [25]

Avila, Saint Theresa's statue Avila SaintTheresa1.jpg
Avila, Saint Theresa's statue

Holy relics

She was buried at the Convento de la Anunciación in Alba de Tormes. Nine months after her death the coffin was opened and her body was found to be intact but the clothing had rotted. Before the body was re-interred one of her hands was cut off, wrapped in a scarf and sent to Ávila. Father Gracián cut the little finger off the hand and – according to his own account – kept it with him until it was taken by the occupying Ottoman Turks, from whom he had to redeem it with a few rings and 20 reales. The body was exhumed again on 25 November 1585 to be moved to Ávila and found to be incorrupt. An arm was removed and left in Alba de Tormes at the nuns' request, to compensate for losing the main relic of Teresa, but the rest of the body was reburied in the Discalced Carmelite chapter house in Ávila. The removal was done without the approval of the Duke of Alba de Tormes and he brought the body back in 1586, with Pope Sixtus V ordering that it remain in Alba de Tormes on pain of excommunication. A grander tomb on the original site was raised in 1598 and the body was moved to a new chapel in 1616.

The body still remains there, except for the following parts:

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini, Basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome Ecstasy of Saint Teresa September 2015-2a.jpg
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini, Basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome

Canonization

In 1622, forty years after her death, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. The Cortes exalted her to patroness of Spain in 1627. The University of Salamanca had granted her the title Doctor ecclesiae (Latin for "Doctor of the Church") with a diploma in her lifetime,[ dubious ] but that title is distinct from the papal honour of Doctor of the Church, which is always conferred posthumously. The latter was finally bestowed upon her by Pope Paul VI on 27 September 1970, [9] along with Saint Catherine of Siena, [26] making them the first women to be awarded the distinction. Teresa is revered as the Doctor of Prayer. The mysticism in her works exerted a formative influence upon many theologians of the following centuries, such as Francis of Sales, Fénelon, and the Port-Royalists. In 1670, her coffin was plated in silver.

Teresa of Avila is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 15 October. [27]

Statue of Saint Teresa of Avila in Mafra National Palace, Mafra Palau de Mafra - Estatua - 1.jpg
Statue of Saint Teresa of Ávila in Mafra National Palace, Mafra

Mysticism

The ultimate preoccupation of Teresa's mystical thought, as consistently reflected in her writings, is the ascent of the soul to God in four stages (see: The Autobiography Chs. 10–22):

Teresa is regarded as one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, and her position among writers on mystical theology as unique. Her writings on this theme stem from her personal experiences, thereby manifesting considerable insight and analytical gifts. Her definitions have been used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Teresa states: "Contemplative prayer (oración mental), in my opinion is nothing other than a close sharing between friends. It means frequently taking time to be alone with Him whom we know loves us." [29] Throughout her writings, Teresa returns to the image of watering one's garden as a metaphor for mystical prayer.

Writings

This is the one portrait of Teresa that is probably the most true to her appearance. It is a copy of an original 1576 painting of her when she was 61. Teresa de Jesus.jpg
This is the one portrait of Teresa that is probably the most true to her appearance. It is a copy of an original 1576 painting of her when she was 61.

Teresa's writings are regarded as among the most remarkable in the mystical literature of the Catholic Church. They include:

Philosophical works

Christia Mercer, Columbia University philosophy professor, claims that the seventeenth-century Frenchman René Descartes lifted some of his most influential ideas from Teresa of Ávila, who, fifty years before Descartes, wrote popular books about the role of philosophical reflection in intellectual growth. [33] She describes a number of striking similarities between Descartes' seminal work Meditations on First Philosophy and Teresa's Interior Castle. [31]

Excerpts

Teresa, who reported visions of Jesus and Mary, was a strong believer in the efficacy of holy water, claiming to have used it with success to repel evil spirits and temptations. She wrote: "I know from frequent experience that there is nothing which puts devils to flight better than holy water." [34]

The prayer Nada te turbe (Let nothing disturb you) is attributed to Teresa, having been found within her breviary: [35]

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.

Kirvan 1996

A modern prayer Christ has no body but yours, though widely attributed to Teresa, [36] [37] is not found in her writings. [38]

Legacy regarding the Infant Jesus of Prague

The Spanish nuns who established Carmel in France brought a devotion to the Infant Jesus with them, and it became widespread in France. [39] [40]

Though there are no written historical accounts establishing that Teresa of Ávila ever owned the famous Infant Jesus of Prague statue, according to tradition, such a statue is said to have been in her possession and Teresa is reputed to have given it to a noblewoman travelling to Prague. [41] [42] [43] [44] The age of the statue dates to approximately the same time as Teresa. It has been thought that Teresa carried a portable statue of the Child Jesus wherever she went; the idea circulated by the early 1700s. [45] [ page needed ]

"It is love alone that gives worth to all things." SantaTeresa.jpg
"It is love alone that gives worth to all things."

Patron saint

In 1626, at the request of Philip IV of Spain, the Castilian parliament [lower-alpha 6] elected Teresa "without lacking one vote" as copatron saint of Castile. [46] This status was affirmed by Pope Urban VIII in a brief issued on 21 July 1627 in which he stated:

For these reasons [the king's and Cortes's elections] and for the great devotion which they have for Teresa, they elected her for patron and advocate of these kingdoms in the last Cortes of the aforementioned kingdoms.... And because... the representatives in the Cortes desired it so greatly that their vote be firm and perpetual, we grant it our patronage and the approval of the Holy Apostolic See.

Rowe 2011, pp. 77–78

More broadly, the 1620s, the entirety of Spain (Castile and beyond) debated who should be the country's patron saint; the choices were either the current patron, Saint James Matamoros, or a pairing of him and the newly canonised Saint Teresa of Ávila. Teresa's promoters said Spain faced newer challenges, especially the threat of Protestantism and societal decline at home, thus needing a more contemporary patron who understood those issues and could guide the Spanish nation. Santiago's supporters (Santiaguistas) fought back and eventually won the argument, but Teresa of Ávila remained far more popular at the local level. [47] [ page needed ] Saint James the Greater kept the title of patron saint for the Spanish people, and the most Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Immaculate Conception as the sole patroness for the entire Spanish Kingdom.

Portrayals

Portrayals of Teresa include the following:

Detail of St. Theresa, 1827, by French painter Francois Gerard Francois Gerard - St Theresa (detail).jpg
Detail of St. Theresa, 1827, by French painter François Gérard
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Therese in La Vierge d'Avila by Catulle Mendes (1906) Georges Jules Victor Clairin (1843-1919), Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) in ''Sainte Therese d'Avila''.jpg
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Thérèse in La Vierge d'Avila by Catulle Mendès (1906)

Music

Painting and sculpture

Literature

Drama and film

See also

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 At some hour of the night between 4 October and 15 October 1582, the night of the transition in Spain from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.
  2. As of 2019, there are 36 "Doctors of the Church", of whom only four are women.
  3. Teresa wrote that it must be a cherub (Deben ser los que llaman cherubines), but Fr. Domingo Báñez wrote in the margin that it seemed more like a seraph (mas parece de los que se llaman seraphis), an identification that most editors have followed. Santa Teresa de Ávila. "Libro de su vida". Escritos de Santa Teresa.
  4. Comparing the contemplative soul to a castle with seven successive interior courts, or chambers, analogous to the Seven Heavens.
  5. It may have influenced René Descartes, especially his Meditations on First Philosophy
  6. Rowe 2011, p. 47 refers to the Castilian Cortes as the "Castilian parliament"

Citations

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  2. The Episcopal Church 2010, p. 639.
  3. "Saints of the Week!". resurrectionpeople.org.
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  12. 1 2 Clissold 1982.
  13. Medwick 1999, Expeditions.
  14. Teresa of Avila & Lewis 1870.
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  16. Zimmerman 1912.
  17. Pirlo 1997, p. 241.
  18. Teresa of Avila & Zimmerman 1997.
  19. For the creation of the work and an analysis of its transgression of religious decorum, see Franco Mormando's article, Did Bernini's 'Ecstasy of St. Teresa' Cross a 17th-century Line of Decorum? ).
  20. Barton 1982.
  21. Rodriguez 2007.
  22. "Discalced Carmelite History". OCD General House. 2 July 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
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  25. Counsell 2011, p. 207.
  26. Pope Paul VI 1970b.
  27. "The Calendar". The Church of England. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
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  29. "Catechism of the Catholic Church". vatican.va. 1997.
  30. Ibáñez 1882.
  31. 1 2 "She Thinks, Therefore I Am". Columbia Magazine. Fall 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  32. Garriga Espino 2015, pp. 35–53.
  33. Mercer 2017, pp. 2539-2555.
  34. Teresa of Avila & Starr 2008, pp. 238–241.
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  36. Howell 2009, p. 151.
  37. "The Journey with Jesus: Poems and Prayers" . Retrieved 6 December 2012.
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  39. Darricau n.d.
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  47. Rowe 2011.
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  49. Tommasini 1998.
  50. Hontiveros 2016.
  51. "Joan Osborne Relish". austriancharts.at. Hung Media.
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  56. de Beauvoir 2011, p. 729.
  57. Harrison 1995.
  58. Lafferty 1999.
  59. Klossowski 1998.
  60. Maynard 2009, p. 77–80.
  61. Moore 1990, p. 25.
  62. Graham 1999.
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  64. Findley 1999.
  65. Sackville-West 2011.
  66. Knowles et al. 2002, pp. 18-34.
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  69. "Teresa". San Sebastian Film Festival. 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2020.

Sources

This article was originally based on the text in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.

Further reading

  • Carolyn A. Greene. Castles in the Sand fiction with cited sources about Teresa of Avila Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2009. ISBN   978-0-9791315-4-7
  • Jean Abiven. 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Teresa of Avila, New City Press, 2011. ISBN   978-1-56548-366-8
  • Gould Levine, Linda; Engelson Marson, Ellen; Feiman Waldman, Gloria, eds. (1993). Spanish Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Source Book. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-31326-823-6.
  • Bárbara Mujica, Teresa de Ávila: Lettered Woman, (Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press, 2009).
  • E. Rhodes, "Teresa de Jesus's Book and the Reform of the Religious Man in Sixteenth Century Spain," in Laurence Lux-Sterritt and Carmen Mangion (eds), Gender, Catholicism and Spirituality: Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200–1900 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011),
  • John Thomas, "Ecstasy, art & the body. St. Teresa of Avila's 'Transverberation', and its depiction in the sculpture of Gianlorenzo Bernini" in John Thomas, Happiness, Truth & Holy Images. Essays of Popular Theology and Religion & Art (Wolverhampton, Twin Books, 2019), pp. 12–16.
  • John Thomas, "Architectural image and via mystica. St. Teresa's Las Moradas", in John Thomas, Happiness, Truth & Holy Images. Essays of Popular Theology and Religion & Art (Wolverhampton, Twin Books, 2019), pp. 39–48.