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A refreshingly modern reconsideration of Saint Teresa (1515-1582), one of the greatest mystics and reformers to emerge within the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, whose writings are a keystone of modern mystical thought. From the very beginning of her life in a convent, following the death of her mother and the marriage of her older sister, it was clear that Teresa's expa A refreshingly modern reconsideration of Saint Teresa (1515-1582), one of the greatest mystics and reformers to emerge within the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, whose writings are a keystone of modern mystical thought. From the very beginning of her life in a convent, following the death of her mother and the marriage of her older sister, it was clear that Teresa's expansive nature, intensity, and energy would not be easily confined. Cathleen Medwick shows us a powerful daughter of the Church and her times who was a very human mass of contradictions: a practical and no-nonsense manager, and yet a flamboyant and intrepid presence who bent the rules of monastic life to accomplish her work--while managing to stay one step ahead of the Inquisition. And she exhibited a very personal brand of spirituality, often experiencing raptures of an unorthodox, arguably erotic, nature that left her frozen in one position for hours, unable to speak. Out of a concern for her soul and her reputation, her superiors insisted that she account for every voice and vision, as well as the sins that might have engendered them, thus giving us the account of her life that is now considered a literary masterpiece. Medwick makes it clear that Teresa considered her major work the reform of the Carmelites, an enterprise requiring all her considerable persuasiveness and her talent for administration. We see her moving about Spain with the assurance (if not the authority) of a man, in spite of debilitating illness, to establish communities of nuns who lived scrupulously devout lives, without luxuries. In an era when women were seldom taken seriously, she even sought and received permission to found two religious houses for men.         In this fascinating account Cathleen Medwick reveals Teresa as both more complex and more comprehensible than she has seemed in the past. She illuminates for us the devout and worldly woman behind the centuries-old iconography of the saint. From the Hardcover edition.


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A refreshingly modern reconsideration of Saint Teresa (1515-1582), one of the greatest mystics and reformers to emerge within the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, whose writings are a keystone of modern mystical thought. From the very beginning of her life in a convent, following the death of her mother and the marriage of her older sister, it was clear that Teresa's expa A refreshingly modern reconsideration of Saint Teresa (1515-1582), one of the greatest mystics and reformers to emerge within the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, whose writings are a keystone of modern mystical thought. From the very beginning of her life in a convent, following the death of her mother and the marriage of her older sister, it was clear that Teresa's expansive nature, intensity, and energy would not be easily confined. Cathleen Medwick shows us a powerful daughter of the Church and her times who was a very human mass of contradictions: a practical and no-nonsense manager, and yet a flamboyant and intrepid presence who bent the rules of monastic life to accomplish her work--while managing to stay one step ahead of the Inquisition. And she exhibited a very personal brand of spirituality, often experiencing raptures of an unorthodox, arguably erotic, nature that left her frozen in one position for hours, unable to speak. Out of a concern for her soul and her reputation, her superiors insisted that she account for every voice and vision, as well as the sins that might have engendered them, thus giving us the account of her life that is now considered a literary masterpiece. Medwick makes it clear that Teresa considered her major work the reform of the Carmelites, an enterprise requiring all her considerable persuasiveness and her talent for administration. We see her moving about Spain with the assurance (if not the authority) of a man, in spite of debilitating illness, to establish communities of nuns who lived scrupulously devout lives, without luxuries. In an era when women were seldom taken seriously, she even sought and received permission to found two religious houses for men.         In this fascinating account Cathleen Medwick reveals Teresa as both more complex and more comprehensible than she has seemed in the past. She illuminates for us the devout and worldly woman behind the centuries-old iconography of the saint. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul

  1. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    Very enjoyable biography of my mentor and patron. I have yet to find a single book which does her justice but I do like and recommend this one. Its strengths include: 1.) attention given to both historical record and deep spiritual insight; 2.) a credible picture of the flawed humanity of Teresa, and 3.) the skillful employment of humor. I can't help thinking even Teresa wouldn't have had too many arguments with this portrayal of herself. She was a woman who liked to laugh at herself, to appreci Very enjoyable biography of my mentor and patron. I have yet to find a single book which does her justice but I do like and recommend this one. Its strengths include: 1.) attention given to both historical record and deep spiritual insight; 2.) a credible picture of the flawed humanity of Teresa, and 3.) the skillful employment of humor. I can't help thinking even Teresa wouldn't have had too many arguments with this portrayal of herself. She was a woman who liked to laugh at herself, to appreciate her own foibles as opportunities for humility and spiritual growth. As such, I think she would scoff at many of the books, works of art, pictures, etc. which glamorize or glorify her. If I understand her at all, she would say that all that honor and tribute belong to Him; she is but His servant. On the down side, there were times as I was reading this book, I wanted more information than the author supplied; this may be due to my inordinate interest in Teresa combined with what I already know about her, or it could be a function of this type of biography, which was more geared toward the saint's spiritual development than the normal course of her life. Whichever is the case, Teresa of Avila The Progress of a Soul often only whetted my appetite for information about Teresa. All-in-all, a good read and a worthwhile addition to anyone's Teresian library, however it doesn't satisfy as the first or last book on the great Spanish mystic and Carmelite Reformer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    Teresa of Avila is one of my favorite Christians from long ago; her writings are challenging (challenging enough that I hope to read them again soon). Her life story is also inspiring, and Medwick's book tells that story. There are lots of names, as per usual with biographies. I would have preferred more detail on Teresa's writings and their influence. That said, this book gives you a good grasp of her story and is worth a read, if you're interested in that sort of thing. Teresa of Avila is one of my favorite Christians from long ago; her writings are challenging (challenging enough that I hope to read them again soon). Her life story is also inspiring, and Medwick's book tells that story. There are lots of names, as per usual with biographies. I would have preferred more detail on Teresa's writings and their influence. That said, this book gives you a good grasp of her story and is worth a read, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerri Bauer

    I liked this book because it's written as a biography, not hagiography. I came away feeling I'd gained more insight into Teresa the woman, nun, and saint because of the way the author situated her firmly in her time and place. Yet something about this saint defies attempts to fully capture her story beyond the surface. I liked this book because it's written as a biography, not hagiography. I came away feeling I'd gained more insight into Teresa the woman, nun, and saint because of the way the author situated her firmly in her time and place. Yet something about this saint defies attempts to fully capture her story beyond the surface.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    This straightforward just-the-facts biography was interesting in places but largely a disappointment, although I take some of the blame for being the wrong audience. I picked it up hoping to gain a better understanding of the origins and principles of mystical Catholicism, and while the text was peppered with intriguing snippets from The Interior Castle as well as Theresa's letters and other works, context for the material was in short supply. As an example: the book is largely about Theresa mov This straightforward just-the-facts biography was interesting in places but largely a disappointment, although I take some of the blame for being the wrong audience. I picked it up hoping to gain a better understanding of the origins and principles of mystical Catholicism, and while the text was peppered with intriguing snippets from The Interior Castle as well as Theresa's letters and other works, context for the material was in short supply. As an example: the book is largely about Theresa moving from town to town in southern Spain, battling holy and secular administrative bureaucracies in her attempts to form new convents, and while much is made of the philosophical rivalries between her Discalced faction and the Calced opposition, I couldn't really tell you what the fundamental issues at play were, beyond the fact that Calced means "has shoes" and Discalced means "no shoes". Hence the "wrong audience" admission: the author seems to assume that the reader picking up this book already has a thorough understanding of the religious currents in the air of medieval Spain, and thus is more interested in the minutiae of which minor noble tried to hamstring Theresa's new covenant in which far-flung Andalusian village. Without that bigger picture, the stakes here are pretty low. Despite that major drawback, there were a number of interesting things to learn in the margins, and I don't regret the time. For one thing, I discovered "cante jondo", a southern Spanish music style that perfectly embodies the Iberian intermingling of European and medieval Moorish cultures: flamenco rhythms underpin longingly romantic vocal melodies that hold eerie echoes of a muzzein's call to prayer drifting over the roofs of a dusty desert city. Great stuff! There are lots of little paths like that here (such as the tale of the notorious princess-with-an-eyepatch Ana de Mendoza!) if you're interested in the larger world Theresa worked within, but you'll have to follow them without much assistance from the text itself. There's also some interesting material on Theresa's relationship with St. John of the Cross, and the ways she was perceived by her nuns and the church at large, but the book hand-waves away any real consideration of her iconic place in the history of mysticism, perhaps the key figure in the question of the relationship of the soul to the body, as of course immortalized in marble by Bernini in what is unquestionably the most notable celebration of the meeting of the erotic and the divine in all of Western art. There are probably other books that shine better lights on what Theresa "meant" to the human race, and I suppose if I get around to picking one up I'll be glad to have the mundane background info that this one provided.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    This the second time I’ve read this book. I bought it when it was first published because of my interest in this saint. I put it as part of my 2020 book challenge: read a book about a woman you admire. Teresa lived in challenging times. As a woman, a mystic and of Jewish descent (her father came from a converso heritage) she hit the trifecta of everything that was disdained in 16th C Spain, lacking only being Protestant to hit the jackpot! As a woman in developing her theology of prayer she had This the second time I’ve read this book. I bought it when it was first published because of my interest in this saint. I put it as part of my 2020 book challenge: read a book about a woman you admire. Teresa lived in challenging times. As a woman, a mystic and of Jewish descent (her father came from a converso heritage) she hit the trifecta of everything that was disdained in 16th C Spain, lacking only being Protestant to hit the jackpot! As a woman in developing her theology of prayer she had to be canny in dealing with the male clergy and proved very deft at that. In reforms of convents and monasteries, she was caught in political and financial turmoil being very adroit in dealing with these. Her determination and persistence make her a feminist icon for us today. The Catholic Church in bestowing the title of Doctor of the Church in 1970 made her the first woman to be so named. As the author notes in her preface to the book that because Teresa is a saint she can be borrowed by all who believe she is their soul mate. And indeed St Teresa can be a soul mate to anyone who seeks inner peace and a role model of what a woman can do.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Judging from the title I was expecting to read about "The Progress of a Soul". If progress is measured in the number of convents Teresa managed to start in her lifetime then she was surely a success. Or if maybe her ability to navigate the political waters of the inquisition then again she surely must be considered a success. None of these reasons however is why she was made a doctor of the church. Her inner struggles and spiritual accomplishments are barely mentioned in this book. There are a f Judging from the title I was expecting to read about "The Progress of a Soul". If progress is measured in the number of convents Teresa managed to start in her lifetime then she was surely a success. Or if maybe her ability to navigate the political waters of the inquisition then again she surely must be considered a success. None of these reasons however is why she was made a doctor of the church. Her inner struggles and spiritual accomplishments are barely mentioned in this book. There are a few quotations from Teresa's writings which hint at her inner world but they don't form a coherent picture of her teachings. For these a reader will have to go directly to her many works. I was disappointed this book did not describe why Teresa has become one of the churches most beloved and respected saints nor why this saint has become so important to contemplatives from many different religious and cultural backgrounds. So while I learned a lot about Teresa from this book, I didn't feel it added anything important to what could already be gleaned from her autobiography.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Pineda

    This is an enjoyable read for me. It is a biography, and not hagiography, in a proper sense. The author did not overlook Teresa's humanity, flaws and all, but instead painted a portrait that any ordinary person would relate too. She also accurately reflected Teresa's wicked sense of humor in some anecdotes. However, I must say that it would be a challenging read for those who are unfamiliar with the religious, cultural, social, and political milieu of 16th-century Spain, with all those names and This is an enjoyable read for me. It is a biography, and not hagiography, in a proper sense. The author did not overlook Teresa's humanity, flaws and all, but instead painted a portrait that any ordinary person would relate too. She also accurately reflected Teresa's wicked sense of humor in some anecdotes. However, I must say that it would be a challenging read for those who are unfamiliar with the religious, cultural, social, and political milieu of 16th-century Spain, with all those names and events.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ci

    A lively, scholarly and engaging narrative of Teresa of Avila's life and the people around her. It does not contain much discussion of theological and mystical teachings of her, but the author gave generous outline of her work and the critiques of them. What is most impressive to this reader is how business-like and sophisticated she had been in her reforms of religious life in old Spain. Will read this book again after reading Teresa' 'Interior Castle' and 'Vida'. A lively, scholarly and engaging narrative of Teresa of Avila's life and the people around her. It does not contain much discussion of theological and mystical teachings of her, but the author gave generous outline of her work and the critiques of them. What is most impressive to this reader is how business-like and sophisticated she had been in her reforms of religious life in old Spain. Will read this book again after reading Teresa' 'Interior Castle' and 'Vida'.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Crofut

    I have been fascinated with St. Teresa over the last year or so ; she is up there with St. Augustine as my favorite to read. Medwick's book falls short in a couple respects, but still provides a good background for the world St. Teresa lived in. I have been fascinated with St. Teresa over the last year or so ; she is up there with St. Augustine as my favorite to read. Medwick's book falls short in a couple respects, but still provides a good background for the world St. Teresa lived in.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Zinn

    This difficult, plodding biography covers the life of St. Teresa of Avila, Spain (not Mother Teresa of Calcutta). If you've read "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown, you might remember St. Teresa being depicted in the statue by Bernini, in the midst of what appears to be a "toe-curling orgasm". I thought that sounded a bit much, but after reading St. Teresa's own description of the vision that led to the image, I think Bernini nailed it. Teresa definitely had some issues. Her relationship with God This difficult, plodding biography covers the life of St. Teresa of Avila, Spain (not Mother Teresa of Calcutta). If you've read "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown, you might remember St. Teresa being depicted in the statue by Bernini, in the midst of what appears to be a "toe-curling orgasm". I thought that sounded a bit much, but after reading St. Teresa's own description of the vision that led to the image, I think Bernini nailed it. Teresa definitely had some issues. Her relationship with God is patently carnal, and the "maladies" she suffered, according to modern medical professionals, were largely psychosomatic. Were she alive today, she would be undoubtedly considered mentally/emotionally unstable. But in context, given the choices for wealthy Spanish women in the 16th century (slavish marriage or a nunnery), coupled with the prevailing climate of extreme religiosity of the era, she seems less insane and more just an eccentric. Frequently prone to spontaneous raptures (sometimes transfixed for hours), and apt to speak her mind in a time where women were strongly discouraged from doing so, Teresa was an extremely provocative figure - not the wisest course in the midst of the Inquisition. Still, her leadership, skills of persuasion, and remarkable fortitude gave her divine inspirations the chance to be realized. Her reform of the Carmelite order and her autobiography each stand as monuments to her industry and rigorous self-examination. This book is a tough slog - not difficult, just rote and surprisingly pedantic, given the subject matter. The author takes a slightly mocking tone to her subject, an off-putting (if somewhat understandable) choice. If you're interested in understanding her relationship with God, I imagine that reading Teresa's autobiography would be a better option.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carl Nelson

    An outstanding book about an amazing person. Teresa of Avila is an amazing person who lived in a challenging time. She pursued her relationship with Christ with great bravery and love that caused the Inquisition to pursue her. But they could never convict her as her life exhibited a holiness that could not be denied. One attribute of this throughout her life was obedience, which could not be challenged. But her's was not a blind obedience, she created many important innovations that required fig An outstanding book about an amazing person. Teresa of Avila is an amazing person who lived in a challenging time. She pursued her relationship with Christ with great bravery and love that caused the Inquisition to pursue her. But they could never convict her as her life exhibited a holiness that could not be denied. One attribute of this throughout her life was obedience, which could not be challenged. But her's was not a blind obedience, she created many important innovations that required fighting the establishment. Cathleen Medwick does wonderful job of portraying this life including the close relationship with john of the Cross.

  12. 5 out of 5

    meg

    **3.75 Rating** I'm not sure why I picked up this book, other than the fact that it was sitting on a table for anyone to take. I've never really read in-depth biographies on saints, and as a lapsed Catholic it's kind of weird to acknowledge this. Medwick does a great job telling the story of Teresa's life, though at times it does become repetitive and dull and you just have to work your way through it. I did find great inspiration in reading about Teresa's life and am inspired to read about other **3.75 Rating** I'm not sure why I picked up this book, other than the fact that it was sitting on a table for anyone to take. I've never really read in-depth biographies on saints, and as a lapsed Catholic it's kind of weird to acknowledge this. Medwick does a great job telling the story of Teresa's life, though at times it does become repetitive and dull and you just have to work your way through it. I did find great inspiration in reading about Teresa's life and am inspired to read about other saints as well, as it taps in to my love of studying spiritual matters. Quotes from the book: "Solitude consoles me." From Teresa's Vida in regards to prayer: "A beginner has to consider that he is starting to make a garden, for the Lord's pleasure, on very barren ground full of terrible weeds. His Majesty pulls these out, and is going to put in viable plants instead. Well then, consider this done when a soul has decided to practice prayer, and has started doing it. With God's help, we have to make these plants grow, as good gardeners do, watering them carefully so that they don't die but begin producing flowers, which give off an appealing scent, to delight this Lord of ours. Then He will come frequently to amuse himself in this garden and take pleasure in these virtues."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    Okay- This isn't my usual read, but I liked this. History stuff can be dull (and the level of detail is tedious in this one sometimes) but then again, sometimes it reads like a crazy Spanish soap opera. Picture friars kidnapping one another, nuns barricading themselves in from angry mobs after nightfall...and this: -A pervasive odor of sanctity (smells like lilies, apparently) was noticed emanating from Saint Teresa immediately after she died. This was attested to all the attending nuns EXCEPT fo Okay- This isn't my usual read, but I liked this. History stuff can be dull (and the level of detail is tedious in this one sometimes) but then again, sometimes it reads like a crazy Spanish soap opera. Picture friars kidnapping one another, nuns barricading themselves in from angry mobs after nightfall...and this: -A pervasive odor of sanctity (smells like lilies, apparently) was noticed emanating from Saint Teresa immediately after she died. This was attested to all the attending nuns EXCEPT for the one that had sinus problems. This leaves me wondering several things: -If sanctity smells like lilies, what does humility smell like? Tea roses? How about sanctimoniousness or charity? -A nun on the verge of death was cured when Teresa passed on. Was this some kind of holy triage? After all, she bypassed the one with the sinus problems. What's a girl got to do to get medical attention around here? There are some surprisingly modern-day parallels easily seen in the nonstop manueverings of Teresa and her contemporaries. On the other hand, it's hard to figure out what was going on with her and her recurrent ecstacies. She had such an interestingly bland view of them. All in all, quite a character- such a blend of spiritual and practical matters. What a gal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Wonderful biography of a fascinating woman. I really enjoyed the presentation style the book takes: the book is absolutely not a religious text or some sort of guide to prayer, and yet chooses to present her spiritual experiences without excessive modern comment or secular qualifications either. It reads vividly -- I had a hard time putting it down. That said, it was hard to keep track of every figure in the book; one remembers St John of the Cross and the mad Princess of Elba of course, but man Wonderful biography of a fascinating woman. I really enjoyed the presentation style the book takes: the book is absolutely not a religious text or some sort of guide to prayer, and yet chooses to present her spiritual experiences without excessive modern comment or secular qualifications either. It reads vividly -- I had a hard time putting it down. That said, it was hard to keep track of every figure in the book; one remembers St John of the Cross and the mad Princess of Elba of course, but many of the others will likely go forgotten. Most importantly, the book splendidly shows her development both spiritually and as a driven leader, determined to push her reforms through within the Carmelite order. Her struggles and worries followed her constantly throughout her life as she worried about the spiritual (the favors of God, the progress of prayer, and the meanings of her frequent raptures) and as she struggles with the more mundane: funding for her convents, political battles with the Spanish nobility, etc. She really only felt at peace in the last few years of her life. Her, a Saint, who undoubtedly triumphed in both Spiritual and Earthly matters in the end.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Cette biographie de Ste. Thérèse d'Avila est absolument magnifique. Ste. Thérèse d'Avila est ne au XVIe siecle dans une famille de conversos (des juifs sephardes qui ont adopte la religion Catholique Romaine.) Grace a ses ecrits sur la priere elle est devenue la première femme reconnue comme docteur de l'Eglise Catholique. Avec la collaboration de St. Jean de la Croix, elle a fonde nouvel ordre des carmélites déchaussées de Saint-Joseph. Elle etait une organisatrice doue qui possedait des reserve Cette biographie de Ste. Thérèse d'Avila est absolument magnifique. Ste. Thérèse d'Avila est ne au XVIe siecle dans une famille de conversos (des juifs sephardes qui ont adopte la religion Catholique Romaine.) Grace a ses ecrits sur la priere elle est devenue la première femme reconnue comme docteur de l'Eglise Catholique. Avec la collaboration de St. Jean de la Croix, elle a fonde nouvel ordre des carmélites déchaussées de Saint-Joseph. Elle etait une organisatrice doue qui possedait des reserves d'energie enormes. Elle a etabli 17 couvents en Espagne. En plus elle etait une reformatrice acharnee qui a lutte toute sa vie pour le respect stricte des regles de la vie monastique. L'image que possede la grande majorite des gens de nos jours vient de la Statue de Ste. Therese en extase de Bernini qui se trouve a l'Église Santa Maria Della Vittoria a Rome. Cette statue represente incontestablement un aspect de Ste. Therese mais il faut lire ce livre remarquable afin d'avoir une vue complete de cette femme extraordinaire.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Author Cathleen Medwick begins her biography of 16th century Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila by describing her subject’s 1582 death and its immediate aftermath. Expecting she’d be declared a saint (she was canonized in 1622), those around her at the convent of Carmelite nuns at Alba de Tormes watched how she died, as this would go a long way in demonstrating her sainthood. Every word she uttered was noted throughout the convent. Please read the rest of the review here. Author Cathleen Medwick begins her biography of 16th century Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila by describing her subject’s 1582 death and its immediate aftermath. Expecting she’d be declared a saint (she was canonized in 1622), those around her at the convent of Carmelite nuns at Alba de Tormes watched how she died, as this would go a long way in demonstrating her sainthood. Every word she uttered was noted throughout the convent. Please read the rest of the review here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Ultimately this book is just boring. Beyond that I think I was disappointed because it wasn't what I was looking for. Lionizes Teresa of Avila without any discussion of what makes her different than any other person from the sixteenth century with strange views on the world. In particular, this book seems to really skirt the way she threatened the Church and came up against the Inquisition, in favor of focusing on her bizarre religious practices and chronic illnesses. Totally one dimensional. Ultimately this book is just boring. Beyond that I think I was disappointed because it wasn't what I was looking for. Lionizes Teresa of Avila without any discussion of what makes her different than any other person from the sixteenth century with strange views on the world. In particular, this book seems to really skirt the way she threatened the Church and came up against the Inquisition, in favor of focusing on her bizarre religious practices and chronic illnesses. Totally one dimensional.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this is kind of an odd book, but a truly fascinating one. i think perhaps the easiest summary of it would be, "do you know that dirty statue by bernini? well, this book is about that saint. unfortunately her ecstasies often ended up helping her solve administrative problems, rather than something more salacious." anyway, it was a nice book to read during lent - st. teresa is, in my estimation, a wonderfully lenten saint. this is kind of an odd book, but a truly fascinating one. i think perhaps the easiest summary of it would be, "do you know that dirty statue by bernini? well, this book is about that saint. unfortunately her ecstasies often ended up helping her solve administrative problems, rather than something more salacious." anyway, it was a nice book to read during lent - st. teresa is, in my estimation, a wonderfully lenten saint.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kay

    I read this book in preparation for a visit to the walled (11th century) town of Avila, Spain in February. Teresa was a Carmelite nun, a 16th century Renaissance mystic, a spirited woman who struggled while speaking freely and navigating the male world of 16th century European Catholic Church. She is Spain's most important female saint and the first woman named Doctor of the Church. Great background for my visit to Avila. I read this book in preparation for a visit to the walled (11th century) town of Avila, Spain in February. Teresa was a Carmelite nun, a 16th century Renaissance mystic, a spirited woman who struggled while speaking freely and navigating the male world of 16th century European Catholic Church. She is Spain's most important female saint and the first woman named Doctor of the Church. Great background for my visit to Avila.

  20. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnn

    This was my carry-along book, meaning I read it in bits and pieces--perhaps not the best way to read this title but I did enjoy it. Not that that was hard. I already admired St. Teresa's spirit after studying her "Way of Perfection" and found myself admiring her even more after reading this biography. This was my carry-along book, meaning I read it in bits and pieces--perhaps not the best way to read this title but I did enjoy it. Not that that was hard. I already admired St. Teresa's spirit after studying her "Way of Perfection" and found myself admiring her even more after reading this biography.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Stephens

    A fascinating life, but a slow read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Moyra

    Wanting to read a biography of a spiritual woman ... here we go ...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Summisse

    A gift from a dear friend. He introduced me to Teresa.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I had to return this to the library, I'll pick it up again sometime. I had to return this to the library, I'll pick it up again sometime.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Didn't finish it. Didn't finish it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    so frustrating when a book is left on the flight.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fictionista Du Jour

    Historically based biography of my favorite saint.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    remarkably readable and interesting. i'm enjoying this remarkably readable and interesting. i'm enjoying this

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    So far an interesting biography....not sure if I will get through it, but the author has a very engaging writing style. We'll see.... So far an interesting biography....not sure if I will get through it, but the author has a very engaging writing style. We'll see....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Bradbury

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