Jesus. The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your reverence, amen, amen. Yesterday I received a letter from you which, although there were only a few lines, brought me the greatest delight, for I was very afflicted over what they told me about so many people dying. I am praying urgently to God for you, as they are doing in all these houses, for I sent to ask them for their prayers. I feel anxious at every moment to think of you amid so many trials.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 455 to Madre María de San José, Seville (excerpt)
Written from Burgos, 6 July 1582
Dr. Kristy Wilson Bowers from the University of Missouri History Department has shared with us some of the fruit of her research into the 1582 outbreak of the bubonic plague in Seville. In a 2007 article for the Bulletin of the History of Medicine Dr. Bowers writes, “in late January 1582, Seville’s city council sent out word of newly imposed plague restrictions, and public criers in the neighboring towns duly informed residents of the recent legislation. Due to an outbreak of plague in the [nearby] towns of Constantina, La Puebla de los Infantes, and Cazalla de la Sierra, residents and goods from those towns were forbidden entry into the city.”
In a separate blog post, we will share more from Saint Teresa’s Letter 455 to Madre María de San José in Seville and an excerpt from Dr. Bowers’ article that specifically addresses the public health restrictions—the gate closures in the city walls—that affected two other monasteries that were located just outside the walls.
Bowers, K 2007, “Balancing Individual and Communal Needs: Plague and Public Health in Sixteenth Century Seville” Bulletin of the History of Medicine Vol. 81 No. 2 pp. 335–358.