The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your paternity always, amen. Father Rector gave me a letter of yours that was certainly a great surprise to me. In it you mention that I have been trying to get Padre Gaspar de Salazar to leave the Society of Jesus and transfer to our Carmelite order, that God wants this and has revealed it!
As for the first, His Majesty knows—and the truth of this will come to light—that I have never wanted this, still less urged him to take such a step. When some of this news reached me, it did not come through any letter from him, and I became so disturbed and distressed that it did anything but benefit the poor condition of my health at the time. And my knowledge of this is so recent that you must have heard about it long before I did, I think.
As for the revelation you mention, I could not have known whether he had a revelation about the matter, for he had not written to me, nor had I any knowledge of his decision.
If I had received the “revelation” in his regard of which you speak, I would not have been so shallow as to think that for so slight a reason a great change like the one mentioned should be undertaken, nor would I have even told him about it. Thanks be to God, I have been instructed by many persons about the value of such things and the credence that should be given to them. I don’t think Padre Salazar would pay any attention to them, unless there was another factor to be considered, for he’s a very sensible man.
As for what you say about your desire that the superiors investigate, you are right, and you can order them to do so. Obviously, in my judgment, he wouldn’t do anything without your permission or informing you about it. I will never deny the great friendship that exists between Padre Salazar and me or the favor he shows me. Yet I am certain that in what he has done for me he has been moved more by the service it renders our Lord and our Blessed Mother than by any friendship. Truly, I think it has even happened that as much as two years went by without a letter passing between us. If the friendship is an old one [Avila, 1561], it is because in the past I was in greater need of help, for this order had only two discalced Fathers. At that time I would have had a greater motive for wanting him to transfer than I do now. Thanks be to God we have more than two hundred, I think, and among them not a few who are especially suited for our poor manner of life. I have never thought that the hand of God would be more sparing toward his Mother’s order than to the other orders.
As for what you say about my having written so as to have it said that you were preventing him, may God omit my name from his book if such a thought even crossed my mind. Allow me to insist so that you may understand my point of view. It is that in my dealings with the Society I hold their concerns close to my heart and would lay down my life for them, as long as I understood that I would not by that be doing a disservice to God. His secrets are great, and since I have played no more part in this matter than that mentioned (and God is the witness), neither would I want any in the future. If I am blamed without being at fault, it would not be the first time. In my experience, when our Lord is satisfied, he makes all things smooth. I would never believe, except for very serious reasons, that His Majesty would permit that his Society go against his Mother’s order, for he took the Society as a means to repair and renew it. How much less would he permit this for such a light matter. And should he permit this, I fear that what would be gained on the one hand, would be lost on the other.
We are all vassals of this King. May it please His Majesty that those belonging to his Son and his Mother be such that like courageous soldiers we look only at the banner of our King to follow his will. If we Carmelites truly do this, obviously those who bear the name of Jesus cannot turn away from us, a threat that has often been made to me. May it please God to preserve you for many years.
Now I know the favor you are always showing us, and so, miserable though I am, I pray to our Lord very much for you, and I beg you to do the same for me. For half a year there has been no letup in the rain of trials and persecutions coming down on this poor old woman, and now this business is for me no minor matter. Nonetheless, I give you my word not to say anything that would encourage him or tell someone else to do so, nor have I ever said anything to him.
Today is 10 February.
Your paternity’s unworthy servant and subject,
Teresa of Jesus
Letter 228 to Padre Juan Suárez, Madrid
Written from Avila, 10 February 1578
“In my dealings with the Society I hold their concerns close to my heart and would lay down my life for them, as long as I understood that I would not by that be doing a disservice to God.” (St Teresa of Avila, 1578) #JesuitsTweet
Translator and editor Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. adds the following notes:
Teresa was shown a letter in which the Jesuit provincial claims she was urging Gaspar de Salazar to transfer from the Jesuits to her discalced Carmelite friars. Disturbed by the false accusations, Teresa defends herself and insists on the truth of the matter in her regard.
Gonzalo Dávila was the rector of the Jesuit school in Avila, Juan Suárez was the provincial, and Gaspar de Salazar was the Jesuit who was the reason for this letter. Padre Suárez wanted Teresa, or her superior, to write to all the discalced houses to caution them in regard to Padre Sálazar.
Teresa was forever convinced that the Jesuits provided decisive help in her work of reform: “I would never believe, except for very serious reasons, that His Majesty would permit that his Society go against his Mother’s order, for he took the Society as a means to repair and renew it.”
At the close of her letter, St. Teresa refers to a “rain of trials and persecutions” that she is experiencing. The troubles began in August 1577 with the arrival of the new nuncio, Felipe Sega.
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.