Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul

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Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul

Format:  Paperback,

304 pages

Edition: Image Books

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Jan 2001

ISBN-13: 9780385501293

ISBN-10: 0385501293

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
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."


Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Jan 2001
ISBN-13: 9780385501293
ISBN-10: 0385501293
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.75
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.5 x 8.0 x 1.0


Review by Library Journal (1999-11-15)

A dozen biographies on Spanish reformer and mystic St. Teresa of Avila (1515-82), were published in English in the 1990s testifying to her enduring attraction. Tracing the indomitable Teresa's own writings, Medwick (an editor at Vogue and House & Garden) recounts the Carmelite nun's efforts to establish new convents throughout Spain while dealing with misunderstandings, illnesses, politics, and treachery. Clear writing in a modern idiom marks this well-researched biography, unencumbered by heavy footnoting.

The author's long admiration for her subject is evident in her deft handling of the saint's many complexities. A map and chronology would have enhanced the text, and the occasional slip (Teresa would not be "saying Mass") is easily overlooked in the wealth of seamless information provided. This is a good introduction to a fascinating personality by a non-Catholic who leaves others to probe Teresa's spirituality and theology more deeply. Recommended for general collections. Anna M. Donnelly, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, NY

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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