In calling for good intelligence in a candidate for the style of life she founded, Teresa is not making demands for any particular amount of education. Educational opportunities for women did not form a part of the culture of her times. Education itself did not hold a place of esteem among the people; indeed, they often looked on it with suspicion. Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, who came to be Teresa’s assistant and also an important figure in the establishment of the Teresian Carmel in France and the Netherlands, was illiterate when she entered Carmel as a lay sister. What Teresa singled out as essential was the intelligence to be able to grasp the meaning of the religious life and, in particular, the Teresian Carmelite style of life. Included also in her idea of good intelligence would be the capacity to make sound practical judgments in applying the theory in particular situations.
Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
The Way of Perfection: Study Edition
Chapter 14, Interpretive note 4
I was seated near the door, as I was portress. I was feeling somewhat hurt, as it seemed to me the older Sisters were not satisfied that the Prioress had placed me at the Turn, because I was still young, and I thought that they were right under the present circumstances. In this mood I saw in spirit our Lord showing me a withered rosebush in the courtyard, all covered with red and white roses; as it was dried up and it was not the season of roses, the Divine Master said to me: “These roses cannot be gathered without encountering the thorns.” He wished to make me understand, by that, that it is by sufferings and contradictions that virtue is acquired. (…)
At this time our holy Mother broke her arm. She was on her way one evening to the Choir for Compline. It was already growing dark and she had a staircase to descend before entering the choir. The evil spirit threw her from the top of the staircase to the bottom. By the fall her arm was broken in the middle. The suffering she endured was great; all the Sisters sympathized deeply with her, and I more than the others because I loved her very much and endured with her her labors and pains. Besides these duties given me by our Lord, I had other sick to care for; besides, I had charge of the pantry and was assistant in the kitchen. These different employments obliged me to do during the night what was necessary for our holy Mother. I reserved the day for the service of the other religious.
Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917, Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by Michael, M A, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.
Teresa of Avila, St. 2000, The Way of Perfection: A Study Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O; study prepared by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.