To the very magnificent and most reverend lord and padre mio, in Granada.
May the Holy Spirit be with your honor, mi padre. Today, the vigil of the Conception, I received a letter from you. May the Lord repay you for the consolation it gave me. This was necessary, for you should know that for more than three months, it seems, hosts of demons have joined against the discalced friars and nuns. They have stirred up so many persecutions and calumnies against us nuns as well as Padre Gracián, and these are so hard to stomach, that all we can do is take refuge in God [Among the calumnies: the apostolic nuncio Felipe Sega called Teresa “a restless, contumacious, disobedient, female vagabond”]. As a result, I believe he has heard our prayer, for the nuns are, after all, good souls. Those who sent memoranda to the king have retracted their words about the lovely exploits they attributed to us. The truth is a great thing and these sisters above all rejoice in it. As for me, it matters little. I’ve grown used to such things, and it’s not surprising that they leave me untouched.
Now, to top things off, the nuns at the Incarnation have agreed to vote for me for prioress, and though I received fourteen or fifteen more votes than needed, the friars so conspired that another nun who had fewer votes was elected and confirmed. And the friars would have done me a great favor, provided everything had proceeded peacefully.
Since the nuns did not want to obey the newly-confirmed prioress except as vicaress, they were all excommunicated — more than fifty of them. Although in fact, according to learned men, they were not really excommunicated, they have nonetheless had to undergo two months without being able to attend Mass or speak to their confessors, and they are in anguish. Although the nuncio [Felipe Sega] has now given orders for them to be absolved, they are still in the same situation. Just think, what a life it is, to see all of this going on!
The case has now gone to the royal council. Although it is very troubling to see this, it’s much preferable to my having to go there. Pray for me, for goodness’ sake, for until we become a separate province I don’t think we will ever have peace. The devil is trying to prevent this as much as he can….
Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 219 to Gaspar de Salazar, S.J.
7 December 1577
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.