While in St. Joseph’s in Avila in the year 1562, the same year in which the monastery was founded, I was ordered by Fr. García de Toledo, a Dominican, who at the time was my confessor, to write of that monastery’s foundation, along with many other things; whoever sees that work, if it is published, will learn there of those events [The Book of Her Life].
Now here in Salamanca, in the year 1573, eleven years later, my confessor, a Father Rector from the Society [of Jesus], whose name is Maestro Ripalda [rector of the Jesuit college in Salamanca], having seen this book of the first foundation, thought it would be of service to our Lord if I wrote about the other seven monasteries [Medina del Campo (1567); Malagón (1568); Valladolid (1568); Toledo (1569); Pastrana (1569); Salamanca (1570); and Alba de Tormes (1571)] that were since founded through the goodness of the Lord, and also about the first monastery of the discalced Fathers of this ancient order [Duruelo (1568), which transferred to Mancera in 1570].
And so he commanded me to write this. It seemed impossible for me to do so because I was so busy, both with correspondence and with other necessary occupations ordered by my superiors. I was recommending myself to God and somewhat distressed for being so useless and in such poor health.
Even without this feeling of being useless, it often seemed to me because of my poor health and my lowly natural inclinations that I wouldn’t be able to bear doing this work. While I was in this prayer, the Lord said to me: “Daughter, obedience gives strength.”
May it please His Majesty that this be so, and may He grant me the grace to be able to recount for His glory the favors that through these foundations He has granted this order.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Foundations: Prologue
Saint Teresa’s imaginative vision in which the Lord said that she should write “about the foundation of these houses” occurred after she “received Communion, on the second day of Lent, in St. Joseph’s at Malagón” (Cf. Spiritual Testimonies, no. 6), 9 February 1570.
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.