Quote of the day, 20 October: St. Teresa of Avila

Jesus be with your honor. Yesterday evening I received a letter from our Padre Gracián in which he tells me that the papal bulls for the Archbishop of Toledo have arrived. He believes the archbishop [Gaspar Cardinal de Quiroga y Vela] is already in Toledo, and that if he is there, he will be there in order to take possession of his see.

Just now I have found this man [the messenger], which I consider most fortunate. He says he will deliver the letter on Tuesday by noon. Today is Sunday, 19 October, I believe [in fact, it was 20 October].

Since it is now so late into the night, I am saying no more, nor did I let my brother know about this messenger, for I don’t believe he would have anything to ask of you.

I gave the messenger three reales and I will give him another two here. When he is there give him two for his return, for we agreed on seven. I have some scruple about paying him everything here until I ask advice.

Oh, what a trial these restraints of our poverty are! May it please the Lord—since I can’t do anything—to provide for you in some other way, as he can.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Letter 210 to her brother-in-law, Don Juan de Ovalle
20 October 1577

Note: Teresian biographer, scholar, and translator Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. indicates that: “Teresa’s brother-in-law needs a favor from the Archbishop of Toledo, who has just arrived in Toledo. Teresa writes at night in haste to inform him of his chance to travel there and speak to the archbishop.” Concerning Teresa’s comment on the restraints of poverty, Father Kavanaugh notes in more than one place that Don Juan and his wife, Teresa’s sister Juana, “were often in financial difficulty.”

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.

Featured image: This image of Letter 148 from St. Teresa to Madre María de San José (Salazar) in Seville is a brilliant example of the plain-speaking Saint addressing the prioress who Father Kavanaugh describes as being “undoubtedly one of Teresa’s most intimate friends.” At the beginning of the letter, Teresa writes:

“Always include on a small piece of paper a list of the things you want me to answer. Your letters are long—although they don’t seem so, because of the joy they give me; but if when in a hurry I have to read them all over in order to answer them, they do seem long.”

It seems that St. Teresa could have been fond of our outlines and bullet points in today’s writing styles!

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