Quote of the day: 31 July

To Don Cristóbal Rodríguez de Moya, Segura de la Sierra

Avila, 28 June 1568

 

Our Lord has brought together in these houses persons who amaze me and leave me completely confounded, for those chosen must be persons of prayer, suited for our way of life. If they are not, we do not take them. God gives them ordinarily a joy and happiness so great that they seem to be in a paradise on earth.

This is a fact, as your honor can learn from many people, especially if any members of the Society of Jesus who have been here pass through. For they know me and have seen this.

They are my Fathers to whom, after our Lord, my soul owes every good it possesses, if it does possess any.

And one of the things that attracts me to those ladies and to serving you in every way I can, is that they have conversed with these Fathers. Not every spiritual person satisfies me as being suited for our monasteries, but those who have had these Fathers as confessors do.

Almost all those who are in our houses are their daughters—I don’t remember any that I have accepted who were not. They are the ones who suit us. For since these Fathers nurtured my soul, the Lord has granted me the favor of having their spirit planted in these monasteries.

 

Jesuits_first Jesuit saints_Lima
First Jesuit Saints. Lima school 17th c., oil painting. Comunidad Jesuita de Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Lima. | Juan Manuel Chocano Chávez SJ / Pinterest

 

And so, if you are familiar with their rules, you will see that in many things in our constitutions we are like them. For I received a brief from the pope to draw up constitutions, and when Our Most Reverend General came here, he approved them and gave orders that they be observed in all the monasteries founded by me.

And he ordered that the Fathers of the Society be preachers for the nuns and that no major superior could hinder them from doing so; and that if they wanted, they could be the nuns’ confessors. But the fact is that they have a rule forbidding this, and so, except on rare occasions, we cannot confess to them. Nonetheless, they frequently speak to us and give us counsel and do us much good.

I had the same desire that those ladies have, to submit the house to the direction of these Fathers, and I tried to do it.

I know for certain they will not accept a monastery, even were it the wish of the princess, for they would have to care for too many in the kingdom; so, it’s something impossible.

I praise God that like no other order we have a freedom to speak with them, a freedom that we are sure will never be taken from us….

Written in Avila in the monastery of St. Joseph, 28 June 1568.

Your honor’s unworthy servant,
Teresa of Jesus


Translator Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes: Don Cristóbal, a wealthy widower, was trying to decide whether to found a Teresian Carmel or a Jesuit school. His two daughters and he wanted spiritual direction from the Jesuits. A Franciscan friend of Teresa’s interceded in favor of the Carmel. At this point, Teresa wrote the following letter, but in the end, Don Cristóbal decided in favor of the Jesuits. The authentic text of the letter is incomplete.

The text that we present includes the first nine numbers of Letter 11, which “have undergone some decided tampering. Because some of the thought is still Teresa’s”, Fr. Rodriguez added these all-important paragraphslong cherished by Jesuits and Teresian Carmelites alikein an annotation to Letter 11.

 

Ignatius Loyola_Círculo de Diego Valentín Díaz_1620
Saint Ignatius Loyola
Circle of Diego Valentín Díaz (Spanish, 17th c.)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1620
Iglesia de Santiago el Real, Medina del Campo

 

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 8 March

When the Lord wants a soul for Himself, creatures have little strength to prevent this.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 10, No. 8

TERESA Way of Perfection autograph manuscript Valladolid
As she writes the account of the founding of the Discalced monastery of the Conception of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Valladolid, Saint Teresa mentions Antonio Manrique de Padilla, the son of the governor of Castile and his widow, Doña María de Acuña. At an early age Don Antonio perceived his call to the priesthood and religious life; his mother prayed faithfully for his vocation. Despite pressure from the rest of the family and “after having been delayed for three years and strongly urged to change his mind, he entered the Society of Jesus.” Don Antonio entered the Jesuits March 8, 1572, and was a novice under the direction of Baltasar Alvarez, the former confessor of Saint Teresa. [Source: Kavanaugh and Rodriguez] | Photo: Original autograph manuscript of the Way of Perfection preserved in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Valladolid. The photographer has focused on this sentence from Chapter 21: “They must have a great and very resolute determination to persevere until reaching the end, come what may, happen what may, whatever work is involved, whatever criticism arises, whether they arrive or whether they die on the road, or even if they don’t have courage for the trials that are met, or if the whole world collapses.” | Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

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