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Dom. Edmundus Kendal, D.D., O.S.B. Censor 


Dom. Aidanus Gasquet, O.S.B. Cong. Angliae 
Abbas Praeses. 


Franciscus Canonicus Wyndham, O.S.C. 


Edm. Can. Surmont. 

Vic. Gen. 


Die 28 Julii 1913. 


n i 














[All rights reserved} 

The Benedictines of Stanbrook desire to express 
their sincere thanks to the Reverend Father Bene- 
dict Zimmerman for his having kindly revised the 
translation of this work and for the notes, index, 
and introduction which he has added to it. 



MARCH 17, 1883. 

" Saint Teresa's writings contain a power rather 
heavenly than human, which is marvellously efficacious 
in reforming men's lives, so that her books can be read 
with benefit, not only by those engaged in the direction 
of souls, or by those who aspire to eminent sanctity of 
life, but also by everyone who takes any serious interest 
in the duties and virtues of a Christian — that is to say, in 
the salvation of his own soul." 



Introduction by Rev. Benedict Zimmerman . xi 
Poems : 

i. self-oblation 3 

2. the soul's desire. first version , 6 

3. the soul's desire. second version . 10 

4. the soul's exile . . . . .12 


6. DIVINE BEAUTY . . . . l6 




9. ASPIRATIONS . . . . . -19 








*''• 17. THE SHEPHERD'S BRIDALS . . . 31 




18. THE CLOISTER .... 





22. THE LAMB OF GOD .... 





CISION ..... 

27. SAME SUBJECT .... 


29. TO ST. ANDREW .... 


31. ST. HILARION .... 






notes on the poems 

a.mations, or Meditations of the Soul on 
its God : 

































• 8 7 


. 89 

















Conceptions of the Love of God : 

saint teresa's introduction . . .ill 
i. of the difficulty of understanding 
the meaning of the holy scriptures, 
especially the canticle of canticles ii3 
ii. of false peace ..... 123 
iii. of true peace ..... 145 
iv. of the love of god, and the prayer of 

QUIET 156 






Maxims of St. Teresa 191 

Miscellaneous : 

papers found in st. teresa's breviary . i99 

the last days of st. teresa . . . 201 

st. teresa's manifestations after death . 225 

additional maxims 24o 

canonisation of st. teresa . . . 242 
bull of gregory xv. for the canonisation 

of st. teresa 254 

Index 275 


The Minor Writings of St. Teresa, — Minor because 
they occupy but little space in print, although as 
a revelation of the beauty and grandeur of her 
soul they equal the Life and the Interior Castle,— 
comprise the Poems, the Conceptions of the Love 
of God, the Exclamations and certain Maxims. 
While the Exclamations and the Maxims are fairly 
well known to English readers, the Poems and 
the Conceptions will probably come as a surprise 
to many of them. It is necessary to say a few 
words by way of Introduction. 

" POEMS." 

" I know one," says the Saint in her Life, evi- 
dently speaking of herself, " who, though she was 
not a poet, yet composed, without any prepara- 
tion, certain stanzas, full of feeling, most expres- 
sive of her pain : they were not the work of her 
own understanding ; but in order to have a 
greater fruition of that bliss which so sweet a 
pain occasioned her, she complained of it in that 
way to God." ' This was when she had reached 

1 Life, ch. xvi. 6. 


what she describes as the " third water " or the 
third state of prayer, which leads to " spiritual 
inebriation." It is an overflowing of the heart 
which can no longer contain the abundance of 
bliss infused into it. Alluding to the verse of 
the psalmist, " Cum dilatasti cor meum, — When 
Thou didst dilate my heart," St. Teresa considers 
that such graces, even of a less high order, cause, 
or require a widening of the heart, because they 
do not follow the narrow measure of poor human- 
ity. 1 What, then, must it be when grace comes 
in a mighty stream, a perfect torrent ? Like 
a river it precipitates itself down the sheer rock 
into a narrow basin which cannot hold it, but 
casts it up again with double vehemence, though 
not in the form of a solid mass, but dissolved into 
a myriad of atoms which break up and reflect 
the sunlight in the delicate hues of the rainbow. 
Thus the vehemence of the spirit seeks an outlet, 
not by bursting its prison walls with elemental 
force, but by converting itself into sweet song. 
In moments of emotion the sober word is in- 
capable of following the rush of thought. The 
love-stricken swain sings in verse the praises of 
the object of his passion. The ardent patriot 
rouses inert multitudes with mighty song ; the 
prisoner in his dungeon, the sufferer on his pallet, 
finds solace and revives hope in accents that 
vibrate in countless hearts. Thus, in a higher 

* Interior Castle, M. iv, ch. i. $. 


order of things, the soul yearning for the Supreme 
Good bursts into verse ; the prophet's words 
become a war song ; the wailing of the down- 
trodden, of him that is humbled by his fellow men, 
or all but crushed under the heavy hand of God, 
is turned into lyrics. More than that ! Is there 
not a song reserved for those who are purchased 
from the earth, a " new canticle which no man can 
say but the hundred and forty-four thousand 1 ? " 
" Who could tell the song when the morning 
stars praised Me together, and all the sons of God 
made a joyful melody ? " 2 Above all, is not 
God himself the first and the greatest of poets ? 
For, what is the universe but one great poem ? 
Are not the Incarnation and the work of Redemp- 
tion as it were the setting to music of the Word of 

No wonder, then, that the great contemplatives 
are also great poets. St. Bernard, St. Francis 
of Assisi were poets. The German Dominican 
mystics have left verses of high merit. St. John 
of the Cross, austerest of all mystics, is the sweetest 
of all poets. Luis de Leon is a classic in poetry 
no less than in prose. 

It is therefore not surprising that St. Teresa, 
enamoured of God, should have discharged the 
superabundance of her heart in accents sweet 
and mild. " Though she was not a poet/' — she 
thinks, but in this, surely, she is mistaken. She 

1 Apoc. xiv. 3. 2 Job. xxxviii. 7. 


became a poet the moment she found a worthy 
object of her verse. And having found it, she 
poured forth her feelings in an uninterrupted 
flow of melody. 

Some of her poems she committed to paper, 
but not all. Writing from Toledo to her brother, 
Don Lorenzo de Cepeda (January 2, 1577), she 
quotes three strophes of her beautiful poem be- 

Oh hermosura que excedeis, 

adding significantly : "I do not remember the 
rest," and, in fact, nothing more has been pre- 
served of this piece of verse. Some other songs 
were taken down by the nuns her companions. 
Much, however, has been lost, for her biographers 
and the persons who gave information during the 
various processes of beatification and canonisa- 
tion were able to quote the beginning of some 
poems not contained in the autographs or the 
nt collections. Some verses, too, have been 
attributed to her which modern critics are dis- 
inclined to consider as her work. This refers 
particularly to the beautiful sonnet beginning — 

No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte, 

which has also been ascribed to St. Francis 
Xavier. There is no evidence that St. Teresa 
knew the sonnet form, all her genuine poetry 
being of much simpler structure. 

It must, however, be pointed out that internal 


evidence alone is not a sufficient guide for the 
discrimination between her own verses and those 
which may be said to belong to her school. Thus, 
the Christmas carol beginning — 

Oy nos viene a redimir 

has been disallowed by Don Vicente de la Fuente 
and others, but as the Carmelite nuns of Florence 
claim to possess the autograph (or at least part 
of it) in St. Teresa's hand, it must be included 
among her undoubted works. From this it will 
be seen that the safest way to arrive at a reliable 
conclusion is to single out those poems for which 
there is external evidence, and to suspend judg- 
ment with regard to the others. 

The fathers who about the middle of the 
eighteenth century were commissioned to collect 
her writings with a view to preparing a critical 
edition — which, unfortunately, never appeared in 
print — were able to throw a great deal of light on 
this as well as on other portions of her works. 
Their labours fell into the hands of Don Vicente 
de la Fuente at a time when, practically, all the 
convents of Carmelite friars were dissolved, so 
that he was the first and for a long time the only 
one to profit by their studies. He divided the 
poems into four classes — namely, those that are 
unquestionably genuine, those that are probably 
so, others which are doubtful, and some which 
are certainly not her work. The first class com- 


prises seven, the second fifteen, the third twenty- 
one, and the last three numbers. He did not 
publish all these, but only thirty, for some were 
lost or had never been committed to writing, 
and others could not be traced by him. 

The French Carmelite nuns, already repeatedly 
quoted in these volumes, have taken up the matter 
anew in the sixth volume of their (Euvres completes 
de Sainte Terlse, and the result of their investi- 
gations has been, in the main, accepted by those 
responsible for the present edition. 

Only four poems are preserved in St. Teresa's 
own handwriting — namely, the one beginning — 

Cuan triste es, Dios mio, 

and the second version of the Glose, beginning — 

Vivo ya fuera de mi. 

These were published in facsimile at Madrid in 
1884 by Don Antonio Selfa. As has been men- 
tioned above, the Carmelite nuns of Florence 
possess fragments of the autograph of two carols — 

i Ah l pastores que veldts, 


Oy nos viene a redimir. 

The remaining poems preserved in various con- 
vents of nuns were collected by Father Andres de 
la Encarnacion in 1759. He found sixteen poems 
at Toledo, fourteen of which remained unedited 
until 1 861, when Don Vicente published his first 


edition of the works of St. Teresa. At Cuerva 
there were five, one of which is, however, not by 
St. Teresa, and another was known previous to 
Fuente. The Convent of Madrid possessed a 
collection made in 1606 containing five poems, 
four of which were already known. The five 
pieces of verse preserved at Guadalajara are all 
contained in the preceding collections. From 
these sources Fuente derived eighteen poems, 
not previously known, plus three from other manu- 
scripts in the National Library at Madrid. In his 
second edition (1881) he added two more from the 
Convent of Soria. The French Carmelite nuns, 
availing themselves of these sources, as well as 
of some recent publications and of the labours of 
Don Manuel Serrano y Sanz, have collected as 
many as thirty-six poems (one of these a mere 
fragment) attributed with various degrees of 
probability to St. Teresa ; they have moreover 
published two which they unhesitatingly declare 
to be some one else's work. 

In the English translation which follows as 
literally as possible the Spanish text, some poems 
for which there is but slender evidence have been 
disregarded. As to the rest, it is probably wisest 
to point out that the following pieces may with 
perfect safety be attributed to St. Teresa : 



1. Cuan triste es, Dios mio 


2. Vivo sin vivir en mi 

. Yepes. 

3. Vivo ya fuera de mi . 

. Autograph. 


Text. Authority. 

4. Oh hermosura que ex- Letter of St. Teresa. 

cede" is. 

5. En las internets entranas Autograph known to have existed. 

6. Alma buscarte has en mi Vejamen. 

7. Vuestra soy, para Vos Attested to by Julian Davila. 


8. Hermana porqui velSis Original [autograph] said to have 

been in the possession of Fray 
Jos6 de la Madre de Dios. 

9. QuiSn os trajo oca, Referred to in Reforma, bk. xiii. 

doncella ch. xxi. 

10. Cruz, descanso sabroso Attested to by Guiomar of the 

de mi vida Blessed Sacrament, nun at Sala- 

manca, professed in 1576. 

11. 1 Ah! pastores que veldis Fragment of autograph at Florence. 

12. Hoy nos viene a redimir Idem. 

With regard to the authenticity of the rest there 
are some cases, such as that of the two pieces from 
Soria, Caminemos para el cielo, and En la cruz 
estd la vida, where probability almost amounts 
to certainty, whereas in others prudence suggests 
that we should reserve our judgment. It is 
well to bear in mind that in Spain, as well as in 
some other countries, it is customary to celebrate 
the great feasts of the year, or such events as 
clothings, professions or jubilees, by poetical 
effusions appropriate to the occasion which do 
not always make pretension to literary merit. 
While it is perfectly possible that St. Teresa may 
sometimes have indulged in such rapid lines, 
orrespondence shows, even in hurried letters, 
such a refinement of diction and depth of thought 
that it is not easy to reconcile the style of her 


prose with that of some of the verses attributed 
to her. 


The adventures of the small work entitled — 
somewhat infelicitously — Conceptions of the Love of 
God might almost find a place among the romances 
of literature. Like all her other books, St. Teresa 
wrote it at the bidding of holy Obedience. When 
she informed her confessor, Diego de Yanguas, 
that it was completed, he, without even looking 
at it, commanded her to throw it into the fire, 
as it was unbecoming that a woman should write 
on the Canticle of Canticles. Ribera thinks it 
would have been far better for her to have waited 
a few days and consulted some more experienced 
men, but Teresa, at the word of command, knew 
no delay, and the precious papers were consigned 
to the flames. Ribera says the name of that rash 
confessor was not known, but some years after 
the publication of his biography Father Jerome 
Gracian was not only able to mention the name, 
but even to print some chapters of the work itself, 
which, he says, had been furtively copied by one 
of the nuns and thus saved from destruction. 

Untiring researches into the life and works of 
St. Teresa, begun in the middle of the eighteenth 
century and continued to the present day, have 
step by step elucidated the mystery, and at the 
same time furnished us with a text superior to 


that printed by Father Gracian in 1611, so that 
we are now in a position to present the reader 
with a work in no way inferior to the other writings 
of the Saint. 

The limits of time between which this book 
must have been composed can be accurately fixed 
by two dates. In the seventh chapter the Saint 
refers to an event which took place in Easter 
week 1 571, while she was staying at Salamanca. 
Hearing one of the nuns sing most tenderly of the 
sufferings of a soul desirous of seeing God but 
retained in this mortal life, she fell into so deep 
a trance that her life became seriously endangered. 
She related this occurrence in one of the additions 
to her Life, and also in the Interior Castle. 1 The 
Conceptions must therefore have been written 
after 1571. The other date, June 10, 1575, sup- 
plies the terminus ad quern. On the first leaf of 
the copy of the Conceptions known as that of 
Alba de Tormes there appears a note in the hand- 
writing of Father Dominic Bafiez : " This con- 
sideration is by Teresa of Jesus ; I have found 
nothing in it to shock me. Fray Domingo 
Bafiez " ; and towards the end of the first leaf 
he wrote the following censure : " I have care- 
fully examined these four quires which comprise 
eight leaves and a half ; I can find nothing repre- 
hensible in the doctrine contained in them, which 

1 Conceptions, ch. vii. 2 ; Relation iv. 1 and 2 ; Interior 
Castle, M. iv. ch. xi. 8. 


on the contrary is good and safe. Given at the 
college of San Gregorio at Valladolid, June 10, 
1575. Fray Domingo Banez." 

The movements of St. Teresa in the interval 
are well known. She left Salamanca in the early 
summer of 1571, remained a short time at Medina, 
and went to Avila ; in June she was sent back to 
Medina, and in the middle of July she was again 
called to Avila, where she lived first at St. Joseph's 
convent, and in October went to the Incarnation 
in the quality of prioress, remaining there one 
year and nine months, allowing only for a short 
journey to Alba de Tormes in February 1573. 
In July of that year she was sent to Salamanca, 
where she lived for six months, after which, passing 
through Alba, Medina and Avila, she proceeded to 
Segovia, where she founded a convent. In October 
1574 she returned for a short while to Avila and 
went afterwards to Valladolid. Three months 
later she went by way of Medina, Avila, Toledo 
and Malagon to Veas, where she stayed from 
February 1575 till May, when she went to Seville. 

Now, it is known that during her stay at Segovia 
she was engaged on the composition of a work 
which cannot have been either her Life or the 
Way of Perfection, both long since completed, nor 
the Book of Foundations, then interrupted and laid 
aside, nor the Interior Castle, which was only 
begun three years later. One of the nuns then 
living at Segovia, Anne of the Incarnation (de 


Arbizo) relates in her deposition that she, being 
then a novice, repeatedly witnessed the ecstasies 
of the Saint. One evening while passing by her 
door she saw her writing, her face being lit up 
as by a bright light. She wrote very fast, with- 
out making any corrections. An hour later, at 
about midnight, she ceased, and the light dis- 
appeaied ; the Saint then knelt down and re- 
mained in prayer for three hours, after which she 
went to sleep. 1 The same witness thinks the 
book then in course of composition was the 
Interior Castle, but that is impossible, for this was 
only begun in June 1577, when Anne of the In- 
carnation was in the convent of Caravaca. It 
must therefore have been a different work ; and 
remembering that Father Banez' censure bears 
the date of June 1575, and is not appended to 
the original manuscript but to a copy, and, more- 
over, that the " rash " confessor who commanded 
the book to be destroyed was Fray Diego de 
Yanguas, then living at Segovia and acting as 
the Saint's confessor during her sojourn there, 
the conclusion is irresistible that the Conceptions 
were written in that convent in summer 1574. 
Three nuns have left it on record that this learned 
and excellent theologian afterwards expressed 
from the pulpit itself his regret at having given 
a rash command to the Saint, and thus caused 
the loss of so valuable a writing. 

1 Interior Castle, new edition, Introduction, p. xiii. - 


Perhaps it was not so very rash, after all. 
Although not a commentary on the Canticle of 
Canticles, the Conceptions do comment on some 
texts taken from it. Just at that time the Spanish 
Inquisition was extraordinarily strict and vigilant, 
not only with a view to prevent dangerous books 
from obtaining circulation, but even withholding 
excellent works which in the hands of inquisitive 
or unsettled readers might lead to misunderstand- 
ings. St. Teresa herself complained once to our 
Lord of the sweeping order of the Grand In- 
quisitor 1 which deprived her even of the works 
of Fray Luis de Granada. Though she courted 
an inquiry by the Inquisition into her spirit and 
way of prayer, she was seriously troubled when she 
learned that the manuscript of her Life was in 
the hands of the Holy Office (spring, 1575), where 
it remained until some years after her death. At 
the very time when she wrote on some verses of 
the Canticles, the saintly and learned Fray Luis 
de Leon was languishing in the prisons of the 
Inquisition at Valladolid for having translated 
the Canticle into Spanish ; he remained a prisoner 
from March 1572 till the end of 1576. What 
would have been the fate of St. Teresa if the 
Inquisition had got hold of her work, especially 
during the time when she was maligned on account 
of the quarrel between the Calced and the Dis- 
calced Carmelites ? 

1 Life, ch. xxvi. 6. The order was issued in 1559. 


But whether de Yanguas's action was rash or 
no, it did not deprive us of St. Teresa's writing. 
The story how the book came to be saved is not 
quite clear. It appears that the Saint was in 
the habit — though not an invariable one — of 
getting her books copied as soon as they were 
written, sometimes even before they were com- 
pleted. Either one of the nuns made a fair copy, 
or St. Teresa herself dictated to an amanuensis, 
taking the opportunity of making additions or 
alterations ; which accounts for certain variants 
in her works. It is quite possible that, instead of 
one, several copies may have been taken of the 
Conceptions, for, according to the sworn informa- 
tion of Dona Maria de Toledo y Colonna, Duchess 
of Alba, Fray Diego de Yanguas ordered the 
Saint " to get together the original and any copies 
that might have been taken, and burn the whole." l 

. * CEuvrcs, v. 371. On p. 369 the French Carmelites quote a 
letter of St. Teresa to the prioress of Valladolid, dated Segovia, 
May 13 and 14. 1574, in which she is represented as saying, 
" Father Dominic will show you certain papers which I am send- 
ing him," as if these papers referred to th? Conceptions. But read 
in the context the y will be found to refer to an entirely different 
matter. " 1 laughed a little at his letter," St. Teresa writes, 
free from the complaint at the time. Do not tell Padre 
Domingo this, for I wrote him a very charming note [muy 
graciosamente] which perhaps he will show you. Indeed I was 
delighted with both your letters, especially with yours, at 
knowing that saint, [i.e. Sister Beatriz of the Incarnation, see 
Foundations-, ch. xii.] is at rest, having died such a beautiful 
death." In the same letter, alluding to the mission of Fathers 
n and Mariano in Andalusia (see Foundations, Intro- 
duction, p. xxxiii. a] . note 1), she says: ' Oh, if 


A similar order had been given her years before 
by Fray Domingo Banez with regard to the Life, 
but she had asked him to reflect well on the 
matter, and then burn the book if he thought it 
necessary ; but he was satisfied with her obedience 
and humility, and on second thoughts did not 
venture to burn the volume. 1 It is true that de 
Yanguas, too, pretended afterwards that he only 
wished to try her obedience, but this seems rather 
a lame excuse, and his true motive was in all 
probability the one already explained. Be that 
as it may, at least one of the copies escaped de- 
struction. The Duchess of Alba (already men- 
tioned) says that the community of Alba de Tormes 
hid it and gave it to her safe keeping when Father 
de Yanguas ordered the work to be burnt. But 
here again there is an inexplicable difficulty. The 
order must have been given while both the Saint 
and her confessor were at Segovia, and, as we 
have seen, almost immediately upon the com- 
pletion of the work. How, then, did the com- 
munity of Alba secure a copy of it so soon, and 

you only knew what an agitation is going on secretly in favour 
of the Discalced ! There is reason to thank God for it. The 
whole stir has been caused by the two who went to Andalusia, 
Gracian and Mariano. My pleasure is tempered by sorrow at 
the pain it will give our Father General, to whom I am deeply 
attached. On the other hand I see that otherwise we should 
have lost all. Will you all pray about the matter ? Father 
Domingo and some papers I am sending you will inform you 
about what is happening." Neither passage has any connection 
with the Conceptions. 

1 Fuente, Qbras, vi, 175, n. 23. 


before the work had received any approbation ? 
It is more likely that at the moment of the de- 
struction of the original the copy in question was 
on its way to Father Banez at Valladolid for 
approbation (especially if the order to write it 
had come from him), and that he gave it to 
the nuns at Alba, as the Saint was then at Seville, 
where she remained a year. It is more than 
doubtful whether she ever knew that this copy 
had survived. 

Besides the copy of Alba there exist three 
others ; one at Consuegra, which begins with what 
it calls Chapter VII., which, however, is identical 
with Chapters III. and IV. of the printed text, 
while Chapter VIII. corresponds to Chapters V. and 
VI., and another unnumbered chapter contains 
the beginning of Chapter VII. below. 

The copy of Baeza agrees more or less with 
that of Alba, while the last, of Las Nieves, is 
akin to that of Consuegra, but contains some 
important additions not to be found elsewhere. 
The only way to account for these variants is 
to suppose that the Saint herself revised the text 
during the transcription and that copies of the 
two versions escaped the flames. 

When Fray Luis de Leon undertook the publi- 
cation of the works of St. Teresa he knew nothing 
of the Conceptions, or, if he was acquainted with 
the book, did not venture to print it, having been 
taught a lesson by his own experience. 


In the year 1611 Father Jerome Gracian, then 
at Brussels, published the first edition of the 
Conceptions from a copy which he says had been 
communicated to him. A second edition appeared 
in the following year. His text agrees, on the 
whole, with the copy of Alba, but does not contain 
the prologue, and presents some considerable 
omissions ; in many places he " improved M on 
the words of the Saint, as was his habit ; he also 
wrote a more or less extensive commentary on 
each chapter. This edition, minus the commen- 
taries which were forbidden by the Inquisition, 
has been reproduced in every issue of the works 
of Saint Teresa until 1861, when Don Vicente de 
la Fuente availed himself for the first time of 
the labours of Fathers Manuel de Santa Maria 
and Andres de la Encarnacion. Woodhead in his 
English translation of 1675, and Canon Dalton 
(who only translated four chapters) followed it. 
It goes without saying that the translation con- 
tained in this volume has been made from the 
ancient copies, and embodies the variants. 

But it is necessary to answer a question which 
must present itself to the reader. How much of 
the original work has been preserved ? The story 
of the furtive preservation of " some chapters/' 
the fact that the copy of Consuegra begins with 
Chapter VII., and a remark by Father Jerome 
Gracian to the effect that the Conceptions formed 
a " large book" — although he avers that he has 


never seen the original, — have led many writers, 
inclusive of Ribera and the Bollandists, 1 to suppose 
that only a small fragment has survived destruc- 
tion. On the other hand both the opening and the 
conclusion of the treatise present analogies with the 
openings and conclusions of the Saint's remaining 
works ; Sister Isabel of St. Dominic, who says she 
has had the autograph in her hands, and Father 
Bafiez, speak not of a large book, but of "some 
quires " ; the author of the Re forma, 2 though he is 
mistaken in assigning 1578 as the date of com- 
position, and in defending Yanguas against the 
charge of having ordered the burning of the 
manuscript, is of opinion that nothing has been 
lost. The present writer had long since come to 
the same conclusion on other grounds, and the 
French Carmelites share this conviction. 3 


Speaking of the fourth and highest degree of 
pra}'er, St. Teresa says that a soul either im- 
mediately before or after receiving the grace of 
Divine union breaks forth into words of rapturous 
love. She then proceeds to give an example of 
such an Exclamation : " O Lord," she says, "con- 
sider what Thou art doing : forget not so soon 
the evils I have done ! To forgive me, Thou must 
already have forgotten them ; yet in older that 

1 Ribera, bk. iv. ch. vi. Ada SS. St. Teresa, no. 1550-53. 

2 Reforma, bk. v. ch. xxxvii, 6-8. 3 CEuvres, v. 363-90. 


there may be some limit to Thy graces I beseech 
Thee remember them." * And so on. 

The stirring passage beginning, " O Prince of 
all the earth, Thou who art indeed my Spouse, " 2 
is accompanied by the marginal note Exclamation 
in the Saint's own handwriting in the manuscript 
of the first version of the Way of Perfection. 

Again, in the Interior Castle 3 we come across 
these words : certain secret intuitions " produce 
such overmastering feelings that the person 
experiencing them cannot refrain from amorous 
exclamations, such as : ' O Life of my life, and 
Power which doth uphold me ! ' with other as- 
pirations of the same kind." 

A collection of Exclamations in this style ap- 
peared in the first printed edition of the Saint's 
works, Salamanca, 1588, and has been repro- 
duced in all subsequent Spanish editions as well 
as in numerous translations. The authenticity 
of the book has never been questioned, as it bears 
on every line the unmistakable imprint of the 
mind and the diction of St. Teresa. Editors and 
critics have unhesitatingly accepted it as genuine. 
Yet there is a mystery about it. It is not known 
what became of the manuscript after Fray Luis 
de Leon had done with it, for it is not among the 
autographs preserved at the Escorial, nor has it 

1 Life, ch. xviii. 5-7. 

2 Way of Perfection, ch. xxvi. 5. 

3 Interior Castle, M. vii. ch: ii. 7. 


been discovered elsewhere. The work is never 
mentioned either in the correspondence of the 
Saint or in the depositions of her spiritual daughters 
and her friends on the occasion of her beatification 
and .canonisation. Only her niece, Teresa of 
Jesus (Teresita) says that the original manuscript 
of the Life as well as " many other papers in her 
handwriting " were taken from the convent of 
the Incarnation in order to be examined. But 
there is no indication that the Exclamations were 
among these "other papers." Some small frag- 
ments in her own handwriting have, however, 
been discovered. It appears that St. Teresa was 
in the habit of giving her nuns short extracts from 
her writings signed with her name, either as 
keepsakes or when they were in need of advice 
or consolation. The convent of the Carmelite 
nuns of St. Anne at Madrid possesses three of 
these, one from the fourth and two from the last 
Exclamation ; the nuns of Guadalajara, too, have 
i per containing three lines from the last 
Exclamation. All these fragments bear the sig- 
nature of the Saint. 

A more extensive manuscript belongs to the 
Convent of Granada. Until lately it has been 
considered an autograph, but the French Car- 
melites, who possess a photographic reproduction, 
have been informed by connoisseurs that it is 
not by St. Teresa herself, although in a contem- 
porary hand. The present writer, having seen 


neither the original nor the photographs, is not in 
a position to offer an opinion. It contains the 
whole of the first, ninth, tenth, eleventh and 
twelfth Exclamations (with noteworthy variants 
from the published text), as well as portions of 
the second and thirteenth. 

When were these Exclamations composed ? 
Fray Luis de Leon assigns them to the year 1569, 
without, however, giving any reason for this date ; 
but the presumption is that he found it in his copy. 
On the other hand the author of the Re forma, 1 
without a word of explanation, mentions 1579 as 
the date of the book. This may be due — as the 
French Carmelites think — to a printing mistake ; 
nevertheless his statement has been accepted by 
the Bollandists and other writers. But the 
French nuns not only adopt the former year, but 
suggest an even earlier date, namely 1559. They 
hold that the vehement desires of seeing God and 
being for ever united with Him, which form the 
principal argument of the Exclamations, belong to 
that period of the Saint's life of which she says : 
" I saw myself dying with a desire to see God, and 
I knew not how to seek that life otherwise than 
by dying." 2 Again, after describing the vision 
of hell which made so deep an impression on her 
mind : "It was that vision that filled me with 
the very great distress which I feel at the sight 

1 Reforma, bk. v. ch. xxxvii. 4. Bollandists, n. 1554. 

2 Life, ch. xxix. 10. 


of so many lost souls." 1 Without contesting the 
force of these passages, it must be averred that 
this particular frame of mind lasted much longer, 
as is proved beyond the possibility of a doubt 
by the occurrence at Salamanca at Easter 1571. 2 
This, indeed, may have been a last explosion of 
unprecedented violence. The period of vehement 
desires certainly ended at the time of her mystical 
espousals, November 18, 1572 3 ; and this is, of 
course, still more true of the state of her soul after 
being admitted to the mystical marriage. " The 
most surprising thing to me," she says, " is that the 
sorrow and distress which such souls felt because 
they could not die and enjoy our Lord's presence 
are now exchanged for as fervent a desire of serving 
Him, of causing Him to be praised, and of helping 
others to the utmost of their power. Not only 
have they ceased to long for death, but they 
wish for a long life and most heavy crosses, if 
such would bring ever so little honour to our 
Lord." And, a little ferther on : "True, people 
in this state forget this at times, and are seized 
with tender longings to enjoy God and to leave 
this land of exile, especially as they see how little 
they serve Him. Then, however, they return to 
themselves, reflecting how they possess Him con- 
tinually in their souls, and so are satisfied, offering 

1 Life, ch. xxxii. 9. 

2 Relation iv. 1 ; Interior Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. 8 ; Conceptions, 
ch. vii. 2. 

* Relation iii. 20. 


to His Majesty their willingness to live as the most 
costly oblation they can make." l 

From what has been said it follows that while 
it may be taken as an ascertained fact that the 
Exclamations were written before 1572, there is 
not sufficient evidence to prove that they date 
from 1559 rather than from 1569, or, for the 
matter of that, any other year previous to the 
" Spiritual Espousals " of St. Teresa. Nothing 
seems to militate against the date suggested by 
the French nuns except the possibility that Fray 
Luis de Leon may have had positive evidence 
for his statement. The question must therefore 
remain open. 

The number of Exclamations is variously given 
as sixteen or seventeen. We have adopted the 
division into sixteen, chiefly for the convenience 
of the English readers, because Bishop Milner had 
adopted the same. Those who count seventeen 
reckon Excl. x. 6-9 as Excl. xi., Excl. xi. as xii., 
and so on. They have been twice translated into 
English, first by Abraham Woodhead and his 
friend, and afterwards by Bishop Milner. 2 The 
former translation, literal and correct, but rather 

1 Interior Castle, M. vii. ch. iii. 5. 

2 The Exclamations of a Soul to God : or, the Meditations of 
St. Teresa after Communion. Newly translated. Together, with 
an Introductory Dedication to a Reverend Prioress on present 
practices and opinions of the times. By the Rev. John Milner, 
F.S.A. (London, Coghlan, 1790 and 1812). Reprinted in Duffy's 
Weekly Volumes of Catholic Divinity (Dublin, Duffy & Co.). See 

Gillow, Billiograph. Diction., v. 31. 


antiquated, is not easily accessible now. The 
latter is heavy and incorrect. It was not made 
direct from the original, but from the French 
translation of St. Teresa's works by the Jansenist 
Robert Arnauld d'Andilly, whom, strange to say, 
even Canon Dalton in his various translations only 
too often followed as his authority. Milner says 
that he compared d'Andilly with P. Cyprien de 
la Nativite x and found them to agree ! The 
present translation appeared first in 1906, but has 
now been revised with a view to rendering it 
more concise. It would have been easy, had it 
been considered necessary, to find parallel passages 
for nearly every phrase. 


A collection of sixty-nine short sentences attri- 
buted to St. Teresa appeared under the title of 
Avisos de la Madre Teresa de Jesus in the first 
edition of the Way of Perfection published by Don 
Teutonio de Braganza, Archbishop of Evora, at 
the request of the Saint herself in 1583, shortly 
after her death. Neither the publication itself 
nor the correspondence of St. Teresa contain any 
indication as to whether the manuscript of these 
Advices or Maxims was supplied to the editor by the 
Saint, or whether he obtained it from a different 

1 Les CEuvrcs de la Sainte Mire Tirise de Jisus. Nouvelle- 
ment traduites par le R. P. Cyprien de la NativiU de la Vierge, 
Carme dichaussS. Paris, 1644 ; and reissued in 1650, 1657 and 


quarter. All that is known is that Mother Mary 
of St. Joseph (de Salazar), successively Prioress 
of Seville and Lisbon, affirmed in her deposition 
for the beatification that Teresa had written some 
spiritual counsels for her sons and daughters. 
All subsequent editions and translations are there- 
fore based on the editio princeps of the Way of 
Perfection. Some of the historians of the Order 
have been obliged to admit their ignorance as 
to the whereabouts of the original manuscript, 
while others recorded their opinion that no manu- 
script ever existed, but that the collection was 
made from oral tradition. Don Vicente de la 
Fuente, as late as 1881, said that nobody knew 
where the original was, but at the same time he 
drew attention to some papers preserved in the 
convent of St. Anne at Madrid. Mr. Lewis, 
contrary to his usual caution, is very positive in 
his statement : " These Maxims are regarded as 
the writing of St. Teresa, though no manuscript 
has been discovered that contains them and 
nobody seems to have seen even a word of them 
in her handwriting. Their authenticity has never 
been doubted, but if it had been it might have 
been suggested that they were not written by the 
Saint, but given her by one of her confessors of 
the Society of Jesus." 1 Unless this passage con- 

1 Book of Foundations (London, 1871), p. 347 note. The in- 
clusion of the Maxims in the Book of Foundations was somewhat 
incongruous; we have therefore not hesitated in transferring 
them from the new edition of this to the present volume. 


tains a printing mistake it would even appear 
that in his opinion the Maxims might be the 
work not of St. Teresa, but of a Jesuit, and the 
Saint not the author, but the recipient of these 

Mr. Lewis was, however, egregiously mistaken, 
for in the very year when Fuente expressed his 
ignorance as to the original of the Maxims, Don 
Francisco Herrero y Bayona, the editor of the 
photographic reproduction of the Way of Perfec- 
tion, published at Madrid the facsimile of thirty 
Maxims belonging to the nuns of St. Anne, and, 
two years later, in the Appendix to the Way of 
Perfection, one more Maxim, the property of the 
Carmelite nuns of Las Mara villas of Madrid. In 
1884 there appeared a further facsimile of nine 
Maxims, but without indication of the whereabouts 
of the original. It is therefore certain that forty 
out of sixty-nine Maxims were written by St. 
Teresa. These are Nos. 1-9 (publication of 1884); 
10-26 ; 39-49 and 68-69 fr°m St. Anne's, and 
No. 62 from Las Mara villas. The rest, namely, 
27-38, 50-61 and 63-67, have so far not 
been traced. Some of these Maxims appear 
to answer personal needs, as they go beyond 
the rules laid down in the Constitutions. But 
many have a general bearing, not only in view 
of the requirements of the religious life, but 
affecting Christians of divers states of life. 
They have been commented upon by P, Alonso 


de Andrade, S.J., in his work Avisos espirituales 
Barcelona, 1647. 1 

There are three English translations besides 
the one contained in this volume, namely, those 
by Woodhead (1675, hi. 356), Canon Dalton in 
the Appendix to the Way of Perfection, and 
Mr. Lewis, already mentioned. 

Among the papers left by St. Teresa were some 
odds and ends, not easily to be brought under 
one heading, but without which no edition of 
her works would be complete. The place of 
honour belongs to her famous Bookmark Nada te 
turbe, which was found in one of her breviaries, 
formerly in the possession of the Calced Carmelite 
fathers of Lisbon. These simple axioms must 
frequently have given her wonderful strength 
and courage in the midst of her trials ; they have 
encouraged and cheered thousands of souls since 
her death. Like many aphorisms, they have 
baffled some of the most skilful translators. 

The Prayer which follows is preserved in the 
Saint's handwriting and with her signature at 
the convent of St. Anne at Madrid. It was pub- 
lished early in the seventeenth century in the 
French translation of St. Teresa's works by Father 
Eliseus of St. Bernard (1630), together with seven- 
teen prayers attributed to her. The authenticity 
of these seems not beyond doubt, and they have 
been judiciously eliminated from more recent 

1 See (Euvres, v. 469. 


editions, but the prayer printed in this volume is 
unquestionably her work. 

The Prophecy was written on the fly-leaf of 
another breviary, now at Medina del Campo ; 
the leaf, which has been detached from the book 
and framed like a reliquary, is preserved at the 
same place. The meaning is very obscure, but 
Mother Mary of St. Joseph (Dantisco) asserted 
in her deposition for the beatification of the Saint 
that her brother, Father Gracian, held the clue. 

The note about her baptism comes from the 
same breviary which contained the Bookmark. 

Another section is entitled The Last Days of St. 
Teresa. Her own works carry us almost to the 
brink of the grave. The Book of Foundations 
was completed at the end of June or the beginning 
of July 1582 (see ch. xxxi. 17) ; her last letter 
bears date Valladolid, September 15. Nineteen 
days later she rendered her soul to God. Her 
deathbed was surrounded by the community of 
Alba de Tormes, among whom were some of her 
most intimate friends ; every word falling from 
her lips was treasured up, and when the moment 
arrived for collecting all the accounts and reminis- 
cences for the purpose of completing the picture 
of her life, these deathbed recollections formed a 
not unimportant part. They have been selected 
and strung together by the translator, and it is 
felt that no excuse is needed for presenting them 
to the English reader. 


On the occasion of the beatification of the Saint, 
April 24, 1614, no Papal Bull was issued, but only 
a Brief granting the Discalced Carmelites as well 
as the town of Alba de Tormes the right to say 
the Divine Office and to celebrate mass in her 
honour on October 5, which faculty was after- 
wards (September 12, 1620) extended to the 
other branch of the Order. The solemn canon- 
isation took place on March 12, 1622, and the 
Bull, which was signed by Pope Gregory XV. and 
thirty-six Cardinals, is a masterpiece, and has 
supplied the lessons for the Divine Office in the 
Carmelite breviary. It is well worth giving in 
full in this edition. 1 

After her death Saint Teresa is said to have 
appeared to several of her spiritual children, and 
given them heavenly advice. Some of these 
posthumous sayings are very doubtful, but there 
are others which come from trustworthy sources 
and bear the stamp of the Saint's mind. These 
have been collected and placed at the end of the 
account of her death. 

The Letters of St. Teresa, of which only speci- 
mens have been published by Abraham Woodhead 
in the seventeenth, and Canon Dalton in the last, 
century, are now in preparation, and with the 

1 Bullarium Carmel. (Rome, 171 8) t. ii. 370 (Brief of Beatifi- 
cation), p. 382 (extension), p. 387 (Bull of Canonisation). The 
feast was fixed on October 1 5 on being extended to the universal 
Church, July 21, 1668 {ibid. p. 552). 


blessing of God, will appear before long. Apart 
from these, the present volume completes the 
collection of the works of the great Saint of Avila. 

Benedict Zimmerman, 


St. Luke's, Wincanton, 
October 15, 1912. 

" / am obliged to warn the reader, that he must 
not fancy he has gained an idea of Gregory's poetry 
from my attempt at translation ; and should it be 
objected that this is not treating Gregory well, I 
answer that at least I am as true to the original as 
if I exhibited it in plain prose." 

Cardinal Newman's " Church of the Fathers 
(Rise and Fall of St. Gregory Nazianzen). 


Poem i. 


Vuestro soy, para Vos naci. 

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee ! 
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me. 

sovereign Lord, of majesty supreme ! 

Wisdom, that existed from all time ! 

O Bounty, showing pity on my soul ! 

God, one sole Being, merciful, sublime, 

Behold this basest of created things, 

As thus, with hardihood its love it sings, 

And tell me, Lord, what Thou dost ask of me ! 

Lo, I am Thine ! Thou hast created me : 
And I am Thine, Thou hast redeemed me : 
And I am Thine, for Thou dost bear with me, 
And Thine, for Thou hast called me to Thee, 
And Thine, Who dost preserve me at Thy cost 
Nor leavest me to perish 'mid the lost — 
Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost will of me. 


Declare what dost decree, O Master kind ! 
If serf so vile have any fitting task, 
And tell what office by Thy will ordained 
Is work that from so base a slave dost ask ! 
Behold, sweet Love, I wait for Thy command, 
Behold me, Lord, before Whose face I stand ! 
Do Thou reveal what Thou dost will of me ? 

Behold my heart, which here I bring, and in 
Thine hand as glad entire free-offering lay, 
Together with my body, life, and soul, 
The love, the longings that my being sway ! 
To Thee, Redeemer and most gentle Spouse, 
In willing holocaust I pledge my vows, 
What is there, Lord, that I may do for Thee ? 

Bestow long life, or straightway bid me die ; 

Let health be mine, or pain and sickness send, 

With honour or dishonour ; be my path 

Beset by war, or peaceful till the end. 

My strength or weakness be as Thou shalt choose, 

For naught Thou askest shall I e'er refuse, — 

I only wish what Thou wilt have of me. 

Assign me riches, keep in poverty, 

And let me cherished or neglected dwell, 

In joy or mourning as Thou wilt, upraised 

To highest heaven, or hurled down to hell ! 

Whether the sky be bright, from cloudlets free, 

It matters not — I leave the choice to Thee, 

What lot, O Lord, wilt Thou decide for me ? 


Give contemplation if Thou wilt, or let 
My lonely soul in dryness ever pine ; 
Abundance and devotion be the gift 
Thou choosest, or a sterile soul be mine ! 
O Majesty supreme, in naught apart 
From Thy decree can I find peace of heart ! 
Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost wish of me ? 

Lord, give me wisdom, or, if love demand, 
Leave me in ignorance ; it matters naught 
If mine be years of plenty, or beset 
With famine direful and with parching drought ! 
Be darkness over all or daylight clear, 
Despatch me hither, keep me stationed here, 
Say what it is, Lord, Thou wilt have of me ? 

If Thou shouldst destine me for happiness, 

For Love's sake, joy and happiness I greet ; 

Bid me endure and labour till I die, 

Resigned, in work and pain my death I'll meet, 

Reveal the how, the where, the when ; for this 

Is the sole boon, O Love, I crave of Thee, 

That thou declare what Thou wouldst have of me ! 

Let Calvary or Thabor be my fate, 

A desert or a fertile land of rest j 

Like Job, in sorrow let me mourning weep, 

Or lie, like John, in peace upon Thy breast ; 

Bear fruit and nourish, or, a withered vine 

I'll perish fruitless, so the choice be Thine ! 

Reveal, O Lord, what Thou dost ask of me ! 


Like Joseph as he lay in shackles bound, 

Or holding over Egypt first command ; 

David chastised, atoning for his sins, 

Or David crowned as ruler o'er the land ; 

With Jonas struggling, 'mid the raging 

Submerged, or set from ills and tempests free — 

Declare, O Lord, what Thou wilt have of me ! 

Then bid me speak or bid me silence keep, 

Make me a fecund or a barren land ; 

Expose my wounds by the stern Law's decree 

Or comfort me by Gospel message bland. 

Let me in torture lie or comfort give, 

I crave alone that Thou within me live, 

And shouldst reveal what Thou wilt have of me ! 

Poem 2. 


Vivo sin vivir en mi. 

I live, but yet 1 live not in myself, 
For since aspiring to a life more high 
I ever die because I do not die. 

This mystic union of Love divine, 
The bond whereby alone my soul dotli live, 
Hath made of God my Captive — but to me 
True liberty of heart the while doth give. 


And yet my spirit is so sorely pained 
At gazing on my Lord by me enchained, 
That still I die because I do not die. 

Alas, how wearisome a waste is life ! 

How hard a fate to bear ! In exile here 

Fast locked in iron fetters lies my soul, 

A prisoner in earth's mournful dungeon drear. 

But yet the very hope of some relief 

Doth wound my soul with such tormenting grief, 

That still I die because I do not die. 

No life so bitter, none so sad as mine 
While exiled from my Lord my days are spent, 
For though to love be sweet, yet hope deferred 
Is wearisome : from life's long banishment, 
God, relieve me ! from this mournful freight 
Which crushes with a more than leaden weight 
So that I die because I do not die. 

I live, since death must surely come at last ; — 
Upon that hope alone my trust I build, 
For when this mortal life shall die, at length 
My longings then will wholly be fulfilled. 
Come, Death, come, bring life's certainty to me, 
O tarry thou no more ! — I wait for thee, 
And ever die because I do not die. 


Behold, how strong to master us is love ! 
Molest me, Life, no more ! wouldst thou attain 
Thine end, lose thou thyself, for by that loss 
Alone canst thou the life eternal gain ! 
Come, gentle Death, sweet Death, do thou delay 
No moment longer that most welcome day 
Whereon I die because I do not die ! 

We do but dream we live in earthly life ; 
Our sole true life is that of heaven on high, 
Nor can existence any true delight 
Confer until this mortal life shall die. 
O Death, I pray thee, shun me not in scorn, 
For life to me is but a death forlorn 
Wherein I die because I do not die ! 

Say, Life, what is there I can do for Him, 

My God, Who in my heart His home doth make, 

Except supremer joy in Him attain 

By forfeiture of thee for His dear sake ? 

longed-for Death, that maketh all mine own 
Him Whom my heart aspireth for alone, 

The while 1 die because I do not die ! 

Apart from Thee, my God, my one Desire 

1 long for, what is life disconsolate 
Save lengthened agony of life prolonged ? 
Ne'er have I looked upon so sad a fate. 


I grieve to see my soul's most mournful state, 
Beset with ills so wholly consummate 
That still I die because I do not die ! 

The gasping fish finds easement from its hurt 

In death, when drawn from out its native wave, 

And all the agony that dying brings 

Is cured by death itself within the grave. 

Can any death with mine in pain compare, 

Or rival this most grievous life I bear 

Wherein I die because I do not die ? 

Anon my heart begins to find relief 
While gazing on Thee in the Sacred Host, 
Yet seeing that I still enjoy Thee not 
Tis then I feel my exile from Thee most. 
Thus all I see doth but increase my pain, 
While still I languish for Thy sight in vain 
And ever die because I do not die. 

If e'er the hope of looking on Thy face 
Inspires my heart with gladness and relief, 
The dread lest I may lose Thee in the end 
Renews with twofold pang my bitter grief. 
Thus fast beset with oft-recurring fears 
I wait and hope : slow pass the weary years 
While still I die because I do not die. 


Deliver me in mercy from this death 

And grant, O God, the gift of life at last, 

Nor let me linger in captivity 

Enchained to earth with bonds and fetters fast ! 

I die with longing to behold Thee near 

And gain true life ! Without Thy presence dear, 

Behold, I die because I do not di< 

Henceforth I will bewail my living death, 
In mournful lay my woeful life lament 
While thus my sins detain me in the world 
Long exiled : from this earthly banishment, 
O God, when will the dawn of that glad day 
Deliver, when at last I truly say 
That now I die because I do not die ? 

Poem 3. 
second vers; 

Vivo sin vivir en mi. 

A life apart, estranged from myself, 

I- now my lot because I die of love; 

And since our Lord has sought me for His own. 

In Him, not in myself, I live and move. 

For when my heart to Christ I wholly gave 

Therein this epigraph did He engrave — 

That I >houLl die because I do not die ! 


This mystic union of love divine, 
This bond whereby alone my soul doth live, 
Hath made my God my Captive — yet to me 
True liberty of heart the while doth give. 
And yet my spirit is so sorely pained 
When I behold my Lord by me enchained, 
That still I die because I do not die. 

Alas ! how wearisome a waste is life ! 

How hard a fate to bear my exile here 

Where locked in iron fetters lies my soul, 

A prisoner in earth's mournful dungeon drear ! 

And yet to muse upon the day relief 

Shall come, doth wound with such tormenting grief 

That still I die because I do not die. 

Achieve thy task — forsake me utterly ! 
O Life, I pray of thee, molest me not ! 
For when I die, throughout eternity 
What but to joy and live will be my lot ? 
Delay thou not to mitigate my grief, 
O Death ! but in thy pity bring relief, 
Because I die in that I do not die ! 


Poem 4. 
I Cuan triste es, Dios mio ! 

Sadly I pine, O God of mine ! 

Afar from Thee I sigh ! 
With yearning heart, from Thee apart, 

I long to die ! 

Weary the day and long the way 

That on this earth we wend : 
A sojourn drear man passes here, 

In exile doomed to spend. 
Master adored ! () worshipped Lord, 

I for deliverance cry ! 
Craving the grace to see Thy face, 

I long to die ! 

With sorrow rife, our earthly life 

Could not more bitter be, 
Nor can life dwell within the soul 

While kept apart from Thee ! 
O Thou my sweet and only Good, 

In misery I sigh ! 
Craving the grace to see Thy face, 

I long to die ! 

POEMS. 13 

O Death benign ! upon me shine 

And succour thou my pain ! 
The blow dost deal is sweet to feel, 

Whereby we freedom gain ! 
What blissful fate, O my Beloved, 

To dwell with Thee for aye ! 
Grant me the grace to see Thy face, 

And let me die ! 

A love earth-born is ever drawn 

To life that's spent on earth — 
For life of bliss alone, doth hope 

The love of heavenly birth ! 
Ah, who can live, eternal God, 

Apart from Thee, I cry ! 
Craving the grace to see Thy face, 

I beg to die ! 

For he who dwells in this sad world 

In sorrow ever sighs, 
Since true life never can be found 

Except in Paradise ! 
Do Thou assist me, O my God, 

To win that life on high, 
And grant me grace to see Thy face ! 

Oh, let me die ! 

Then who would fear, if death drew near, 
To let it work its will, 


Since thus we buy eternally 
A joy that lasteth still ? 

For oh, to love Thee, God of mine, 
Is endless ecstasy ! 

Then grant me grace to see Thy face, 
Because I long to die ! 

My anguished soul doth faint for grief 

And utters many a moan ! 
Alas ! what heart can live apart 

From Him it loves alone ? 
Free me, oh free me, from the pain 

In which I ever lie ! 
Bestow the grace to see Thy face, 

And let me die ! 

When on the cruel, hidden hook 

The river- fish is caught, 
Its pains and struggles by its death 

Are to an ending brought. 
My only Good ! apart from Thee, 

Such is mine agony — 
Then give me grace to see Thy face, 

And let me die ! 

O Master mine ! My anxious soul 
Doth seek for Thee in vain, 

Since Thou art still invisible, 
Nor dost relieve its pain. 

POEMS. 15 

Then from my love thereby inflamed 

Breaks forth the bitter cry — 
Oh grant me grace to see Thy face, 

That I may die ! 

When Thou, my God, within my heart 

Dost deign to come as Guest, 
The instant thought of losing Thee 

Doth lacerate my breast ! 
Ah, woe is me ! my anguish keen 

Doth make me moan and sigh 
To win the grace to see Thy face, 

And seeing — die ! 

Lord, finish this long agony 

In which so long I groan, 
And render Thy poor handmaid help, 

Who craves for Thee alone ! 
Let me be happy : shatter Thou 

The chains in which I lie 
And give me grace to see Thy face, 

And then to die ! 

But no ! not so, beloved Lord ! 

My pain is the just meed 
Whereby I expiate my sins 

And many an evil deed ! 
My groans and tears plead in Thine ears 

And for Thy mercy sigh ! 
Oh grant me grace to see Thy face, 

And seeing — die ! 


Poem 5. 
Dichoso el corazon enamorado. 

How blessed is the heart with love fast bound 
On God, the centre of its every thought ! 
Renouncing all created things as naught, 
In Him its glory and its joy are found. 
Even from self its cares are now set free ; 
T'wards God alone its aims, its actions tend — 
Joyful and swift it journeys to its end 
O'er the wild waves of life's tempestuous sea ! 

Poem 6. 

j O hermosura que excedeis ! 

O Beauty, that doth far transcend 
All other beauty ! Thou doest deign, 
Without a wound, our hearts to pain — 
Without a pang, our wills to bend 
To hold all love for creatures vain. 

O mystic love-knot, that dost bind 

Two beings of such diverse kind ! 

How canst Thou, then, e'er severed be ? 

For bound, such strength we gain from Thee, 

We take for joys the griefs we find ! 

POEMS. 17 

Things void of being linked, unite 
With that great Beauty Infinite : 
Thou fill'st my soul, which hungers still : 
Thou lov'st where men can find but ill : 
Our naught grows precious by Thy might ! 

Poem 7. 

Ya toda me entregue y di. 

Now am I wholly yielded up, foregone, 

And this the pact I made, 
That the Beloved should be all mine own, 
I His alone ! 

Struck by the gentle Hunter 

And overthrown, 
Within the arms of Love 

My soul lay prone. 
Raised to new life at last 
This contract 'tween us passed, 
That the Beloved should be all mine own, 

I His alone ! 

With lance embarbed with love 

He took His aim — 
One with its Maker hence 

My soul became. 


No love but His I crave 
Since self to Him I gave, 

For the Beloved is mine own, 
I His alone ! 

Poem 8. 


En las internas entranas. 

Within my heart a stab I felt — 
A sudden stab, expecting naught ; 
Beneath God's standard was it dealt 
For goodly were the deeds it wrought. 
And though the lance hath wounded me, 
And though the wound be unto death, 
Surpassing far all other pain, 
Yet doth new life therefrom draw breath ! 

How doth a mortal wound give life ? 
How, while life-giving, yet doth slay ? 
I low heal while wounding, leaving thee 
United to thy God alway ? 
Celestial was that hand, and though 
With peril dire the fray was fraught, 
It came forth victor o'er the lance 
And goodly v. deeds it wrought. 

POEMS. 19 

Poem 9. 

Si el amor que me teneis. 

If Thy love bear 
Resemblance, O my God, to mine for Thee, 
Reveal what is it that doth hinder me, 

What keeps me here ? 

What cravest thou, O heart ? 
Naught, O my God, but to behold Thee near ! 
What is the thing that thou dost chiefly fear ? 

To dwell from Thee apart ! 

Of love I'm fain, 
That Thou mayst take possession of my breast 
To be a fitting home for Thee, a nest 

Thee to contain. 

Hid in its God, 
What other blessing can the soul desire 

Except to love Thee more, 
And ever daily learn, with love afire, 

Love's deeper lore ? 


Poem io. 


Alma, buscarte has en mi. 

Such is the power of love, O soul, 

To paint thee in My heart, 

No craftsman with such art, 
Whate'er his skill might be, could there 

Thine image thus impart ! 

'Twas love that gave thee life : 

Then, Fairest, if thou be 

Lost to thyself, thou 'It see 
Thy portrait in My bosom stamped : 

Soul, seek thyself in Me ! 

Wouldst find thy form within My heart 

If there thou madest quest, 

And with sucli life invest, 
Thou wouldst rejoice to find thee thus 

Engraven in My breast. 
Or if, perchance, art ignorant 

Where thou mayst light on Me, 

Wander not wide and fn 
Soul, if My presence wouldst attain, 

Seek in thyself for Me ! 

POEMS. 21 

Because in thee I find My house of rest, 

My dwelling-place, My home, 

Where at all hours I come 
And knock at the closed portal of thy thoughts 

When far abroad they roam. 
No need is there to look for Me without, 

Nor far in search to flee ; 

Promptly I come to thee ; 
If thou but call to Me it doth suffice — 

Seek in thyself for Me ! 

Poem ii. 

Soberano Esposo mio. 

Thou my sovereign Spouse ! To Thee 

1 come. Ah, grant me to attain, 
Nor let me wander far in vain, 
That in the depths of Thy vast sea 
This streamlet may its end obtain ! 

O gentle Spouse ! Aid with Thy grace, 
And with the palm my soul invest 
That's due to love's subservient quest, 
That in its Bridegroom's fond embrace 
My soul may find its perfect rest ! 


Thine arms for me will vic'try get, 
Nor to entreat such boon I shrink, 
Knowing that Thou wilt never think 
How little Thou dosl owe— and yet 
How deeply I am in Thy debt ! 

Lord, by Thy nuptial contract bide, 

Detach my soul from alien ties 

And make it sure of Paradise, 

Since Thou with arms outstretched wide 

Art waiting to receive Thy bride. 

Since Thou dost thus Thine arms extend 
I'll give my soul to be their prey, 
And while Thou drawest it away, 

Tim my Christ, upon me bend, 

Whose soul dost from my body rend ! 

While 1 to Thee my soul confide, 
Let Thy five wounds my comfort be 
To which my soul finds 1 
For they as heaven's portals bide 
Which, for my sake, were opened wide. 

Thy guests are of such noble sort 
I know not if my lowly state 
Gives, so beside the gi 

A lowly woman, do 1 wait, 

Apart from those that form Thy court ! 

POEMS. 23 

My life in such a sort is led, 
Obedient to the laws Love made, 
That all my hopes on Thee are stayed, 
While hangs to plead in my poor stead 
This Agnus Dei by my bed. 

Care not that I am indigent, 
But look upon my soul as Thine, 
And say if certain hope be mine ! 
Ah yes ! I see Thy head is bent 
To bow me token of assent ! 

At length the time has come to see 
How far our love doth lead in truth, 
And if we love in very sooth, 
For now I come to shelter me 
Beneath the branches of this tree. 

Since this is so, my Spouse, my King ! 
Though surging tumult round me rage 
Let Thy command my dread assuage, 
While to these wood cross-bars I cling, 
That He they hold defence may bring ! 

I do not fear the anguish rife 

In that last parting's bitter sting 

If unto Thee, my Christ, I cling, 

For in that hour of final strife 

I hold within my clasped hands — Life. 


For if I clasp Thee, Lord, behold 
Then doth our mutual delight 
My soul with Thee, O Christ, unite, 
Since God within mine arms I hold 
Who in His arms doth me enfold ! 

Poem 12. 
Caminemos para el cielo. 

Let us e'er journey on to heaven, 
Ye nuns of Carmel ! 

Let us be ever mortified, 
Of humble heart though the world gibe, 
All comfort and delight denied, 
As nuns of Carmel. 

By vow we promised to obey 
Nor let our wills assert their sway : 
Be this our aim, be this our stay, 
We nuns of Carmel ! 

The path of poverty we plod, 
For 'tis the road to earth He trod 
When from the heavens came our God, 
O nuns of Carmel ! 

For God's love waneth not at all, 
He to our souls doth ever call ; 

POEMS. 25 

Follow we Him nor fear to fall, 
O nuns of Carmel ! 

Strive to attain that blessed shore 
Where we shall suffer nevermore 
From poverty nor anguish sore, 
We nuns of Carmel ! 

Elias' pattern hath imbued 
Our courage for self-combat rude 
With burning zeal and fortitude, 
As nuns of Carmel. 

Thus, while we from self-love abstain, 
The prize Eliseus did obtain, 
The two-fold spirit, may we gain, 
We nuns of Carmel ! 

Poem 13. 


Hermana, por que veleis. 

To bid thee, sister, keep strict watch and ward, 
We, on this morn, bestowed this veil on thee, 
For heaven itself 'twill win thee in reward — 
Then watchful be ! 


Sister, the graceful veil we gave to thee 
Doth warn thee to keep steadfast watch and ward 
And faithfully to tend thy virgin-lamp, 
Until the hour the Bridegroom comes, — thy Lord , 
For sudden, like some far-famed bandit, He 
Comes unawares, when thou dost leasl ton-see — 
Then watchful be ! 

For none doth know nor can His hour decree — 
For whether in the first hour of the night 
It comes, or lingers till the next or third, 
No Christian soul there is divines aright. 
Then watch., my sister, watch, lest by surprise 
Thou shouldst be plundered of thy lawful prize ! 
Oh, watchful be ! 

Ever, O sister, in thy vigil, see 

Thou hold'st a burning lamp within thy hand, 
Wearing thy veil while thou dost mount on guard : 
Constant, with reins fast girded, shalt thou stand ! 
ire lesl thou by slumber be undone 
yet thy pilgrim-course be wholly run — 
But watchful be ! 

Then take a vial with thee : kept ever tilled 
With oil of works, and merits thou hast won, 
uel to provide thy virgin lamp 
it the flame perish ere thy vigil's done, 

POEMS. 27 

Since thou wouldst have to seek it from afar 
If empty were the vase that thou didst bear — 
So watchful be ! 

For there are none would lend the oil to thee, 
And if thou shouldst depart to purchase more 
Thou might return too late. If once the Spouse 
Has come and passed within the bridal door, 
And they by His behest the portal lock, 
Ne'er will it open more to cry or knock — 
Then watchful be ! 

So keep thou sentinel, I counsel thee, 
And let thy threefold promise made this morn 
Be kept with manful courage faithfully, 
As thou on thy profession day hast sworn. 
Thus, if on earth in vigil thou dost wake, 
Shalt with the Bridegroom joyful entrance make — 
Sister, I charge thee, ever watchful be ! 

Poem 14. 


I Quien os trajo aca, doncella ? 

Maiden, who was it brought you here 
From out the vale of misery ? 
— God and my happy destiny ! 


Poem 15. 


Sea mi gozo en el llanto. 

Henceforth I'll joy in wretchedness, 
Let startling fears be my repose, 
And reaping solace from my woes 
Take losses for my sole success ! 

May tempests fierce assault my love ; 
My feast be wounds I won in strife 
And death become for me my life ; 
Contempt to me true honour prove ! 

My riches lie in poverty, 
My triumph from my wars I wrest 
And weary toil doth make my rest, 
The while content in grief doth lie ! 

Obscurity shall be my light ! 
Exalted when I'm most abased, 
My pathway by the cross is traced, 
Wherein I glory and delight. 

In base estate mine honour shows ; 
I bear the palm to suffering due, 
While from decay I spring anew 
And profit from my losses grows 

POEMS. 29 

With hunger am I satiate, 

I hope in apprehension drear ; 

My consolation comes from fear 

And sweetness doth with bitter mate ! 

Oblivion keeps my memory ; 
I higher rise when beaten down, 
And in contempt my fame I own, 
While insults gain me victory. 

Dishonour weaves my laurel crown ; 
I strive to win the prize of pain — 
The meanest place, that all disdain, 
Brings me retirement and renown ! 

My trust in Christ hath no alloy ; 
In Him alone I find my peace 
Whose lassitudes my strength increase, 
And Whom to imitate I joy ! 

On this support do I rely, 

Wherein I find security, 

The proof of mine integrity, 

The seal that stamps my constancy ! 


Poem 16. 

j Oh que bien tan sin segundo ! 

Oh, matchless good ! 
Betrothal that with sanctity endows ! 
To-day the King of Majesty supreme 

Became thy Spouse ! 

Oh, truly blest 
The fate for thee by Providence decreed ! 
Chosen as His beloved by thy God 
Who for thy ransom on the cross did bleed ! 
Whom serve with fortitude as thou didst pledge 

In thy profession vows, 
Because the King of Majesty supreme 

Is now thy Spouse ! 

Rich are the gems 
The Bridegroom, Lord of earth and sky will give 
Of joys and consolation of His grace 
Thy Lover never will thy soul deprive. 
As richest gift of all, will He bestow 

A humble heart and meek — 
As King He can do all He will, and thee 

As bride did seek ! 

POEMS. 31 

He will infuse 
For Him so holy and so pure a love, 
That I protest, thou mayest from thy heart 
All fear of every earthly thing remove, 
And still more mayst thou scorn the fiend, for bound 

In fetters must he stay, 
Because the King of Majesty became 

Thy Spouse to-day ! 

Poem 17. 

i Oh ! dichosa la zagala ! 

Blest shepherdess ! How high her gain 
Who to that Shepherd plights her troth 
Who reigns and evermore shall reign ! 

How blest her lot, whom fate doth wed, 
To such a Spouse of goodly race ! 
My faith, good Gil ! I stand abashed, 
Nor dare to gaze upon her face 
Since she this Bridegroom doth obtain, 
Who reigneth, and Who e'er shall reign ! 

Forsooth, what did she give, to make 
That Shepherd take her to His cot ? 


Her heart she gave Him for His own — 
Aye, 'twas with right goodwill, I wot, 
For comely is that Shepherd Swain 
Who reigns, and ever more shall reign ! 

If more she had, more would she give, 
So hie thee to her, boy, and take 
This basket full, that she may choose 
What gifts she to her Love will make, 
Now she this Husband doth obtain 
Who reigneth, and Who e'er will reign. 

The damsel's dowry have we seen, 

But what the gifts the Shepherd brought ? 

He won her with His own blood-shed ! 

Oh ! at what ransom high she's bought ! 

Blissful all other brides above 

The shepherdess that wins such love ! 

How deeply must that Bridegroom love 

To do such kindness to His bride ! 

Faith ! dost thou know He gave her gown, 

Her sandals and all else beside ? 

These did she from her Bridegroom gain 

Who reigneth and Who e'er will reign ! 

Forsooth, good Gil, 'twere well we hired 
That shepherdess our flocks to tend ; 

poems. 33 

Upon the hills, with merry cheer, 
We'll win her for our right good friend, 
Since she this Bridegroom doth obtain 
Who reigns and evermore shall reign ! 

Poem 18. 

Pues que nuestro Esposo. 

Since Christ our Bridegroom doth desire 
That we, His brides, a prison share, 
Right gladly to the feast we throng, 
The while religion's yoke we bear ! 

Oh, blessed is the wedding day 
That Christ doth for His brides prepare, 
Who all are by His heart beloved, 
Who all His light and guidance share ! 
To follow where the cross doth lead 
With high perfection be our care. 
As gladly to the feast we throng, 
The while religion's yoke we bear. 

This state, above all other states, 

Is that by which our God doth choose 



Whereby He from the galling bonds 
That sin hath forged, His brides doth loose. 
Jesus doth plight His faith that He 
Solace to all such souls will give, 
Who ever with a joyful heart 
Within this prison steadfast live. 

High the reward we shall receive 
Within the realm of perfect bliss 
If for the treasures kept by Christ 
The baubles of the world we miss, 
While earth's deceptions and base dross 
We for our Bridegroom's sake dismiss, 
And joyful to the feast we fare 
The while religion's yoke we bear. 

For oh ! what blessed freedom lies 
Contained in such captivity — 
A life of perfect happiness 
Secure for all eternity ! 
My heart its fetters doth embrace, 
Nor seeks to win its liberty. 
So eager to the feast we'll fare, 
The while religion's yoke we bear ! 

poems. 35 

Poem 19. 


Todos los que militais. 

All ye who fight and fear no loss 
Beneath the standard of the cross, 
Sleep no more nor slumber now, — 
God abides not here below ! 

Like a gallant warrior brave 
God our Lord for death did crave : 
Within His footsteps let us tread, 
Since by our hands His blood was shed ! 
For oh ! what precious gifts were bought 
By that most bitter war He fought ! 
Sleep thou not nor slumber now — 
God abides not here below ! 

He for us with joy did languish, 
Freely bore the cross's anguish, 
Died to bring us sinners light 
By His own most piteous plight ! 
Oh most glorious victory ! 
How great the spoils He won thereby ! 
Sleep thou not nor slumber now — 
God abides not here below ! 


Draw not back in cowardice ; 
Tend thy life in sacrifice ; 
None so sure his life of saving 
As the loss of it when braving. 
Jesus will our Leader be, 
Our Reward in victory : 
Sleep no more nor slumber now, 
For God abides not here below ! 

Let our lives in death's libation 

Be to Christ a true oblation, 

Thus to heaven's bridals blest 

Each will come as welcome guest. 

Follow, by this standard led ! 

Within Christ's track and footsteps tread ! 

Oh, sleep no more nor slumber now ! 

Our God abides not here below ! 

Poem 20. 


Cruz, descanso sabroso de mi vida. 

Cross, thou delicious solace of my life, 

I welcome thee ! 
O standard, 'neath whose sign, the worst 

Of cowards must be brave ! 
O thou our life, who erst our death 

Didst raise from out the grave ! 


Thy strength the lion didst subdue, 
For 'twas thy power the foe that slew, — 
Welcome ! all hail ! 

Who loves thee not, lives prisoner, 

'Gainst liberty doth fight ! 
Who seeks within thy track to tread, 

Ne'er wanders from the right. 
Blest be the power that thou dost own 
Which hath the power of ill o'erthrown ! 
Welcome, all hail ! 

'Twas thou didst bring deliverance 

To us in bondage lost j 
'Twas thou the ill that didst redeem, 

Paid at so dear a cost. 
For thou, with God, wast instrument 
Of joy by . . . x 

Welcome ! all hail ! 

Poem 21. 



En la cruz esta la vida. 

The Cross contains our life 

And our sole solace : 

Therein doth lie the only road that leadeth 

To Paradise ! 

1 The original is incomplete. 



Upon the Cross is found the Lord 

Of earth and heaven, 

And perfect joy of peace profound 

(Though war be waging 

From all the ills this mortal exile holds) 

Lies in its limits, 

And by the Cross alone it is we wend 

Our way to heaven. 

'Twas of the Cross the Bride declared 

To her Beloved 

That it was like the stately palm 

Which she had mounted. 

The very God of heaven Himself 

Its fruit hath tasted, 

And by the Cross alone we wend our way 

And march to heaven. 

'Tis like a tree of leafy-green — 

The Bride's delection, 

Who sat her down to rest herself 

Beneath its shadow, 

That she might joy in her Beloved, 

The King of glory — 

And by its means alone we wend 

Our way to heaven. 

In sight like to a precious olive 
The holy Cross 

POEMS. 3g 

With its blest oil of unction doth anoint 

And doth illumine. 

Then, O my soul, embrace the Cross with 

Joy and gladness, 

For 'tis the only road whereby 

We reach to heaven ! 

The soul which to its God hath been 

Abandoned wholly, 

Being within its heart of hearts detached 

From all things earthly, 

Finds in the Cross the Tree of Life 

And of all comfort, 

And a delightsome path whereby 

It wends to heaven. 

For since upon the Cross the Saviour 

Hath freely rested, 

It hath become the source of glory 

And of honour. 

In suffering it becomes our life, 

Our consolation, 

And 'tis the safest way whereby 

To wend to heaven. 

Then let us journey on to Paradise, 
Ye Nuns of Carmel ; 
Let us with eagerness embrace the Cross 
And follow Jesus. 


For 'tis our way, our light whereby to guide us, 
Which in itself contains all consolation, 
O Nuns of Carmel ! 

If dearer than the apple of your eye you keep 

Your three-fold pledges, 

'Twill from a thousand grievous ills exempt you 

Of trials and afflictions that beset us, 

We Nuns of Carmel ! 

The vow you promised of obedience 

Although it be of very lofty science, 

Ne'er will permit you to do any evil 

If ye resist it not — from which 

May the great God of heaven e'er preserve you, 

Ye Nuns of Carmel ! 

The vow of chastity 

Observe with the most watchful vigilance : 

Seek God alone, 

And keep yourselves in solitude with Him, 

Regardless of the world 

O Nuns of Carmel ! 

What men call poverty, 

If in entirety kept when it is vowed 

Contains great riches, 

And opes the gate of heaven to our coming, 

O Nuns of Carmel ! 

POEMS. 41 

If these we practise 

We shall win victory in all our combats, 

And in the end shall rest 

With Him Who hath created earth and heaven, 

We Nuns of Carmel ! 

Poem 22. 

A shepherd's carol. 
i Ah ! pastores que velais. 

Ah, Shepherds, watching by the fold 

Your flocks upon the sward, 
To-night is born to you a Lamb, 

Son of the sovereign Lord ! 

He cometh poor, of mean estate ; 

Guard Him without delay, 
Or e'er ye joy in Him, a wolf 

Will steal the Lamb away. — 
Reach me my crook, Gil — from my hand 

I will not let it fall : 
No wolf shall steal that Lamb, I vow ! — 

Know, He is Lord of all ! 

— Well may you think that I am dazed 
Betwixt my joy and pain, 


For if this new-born Babe be God, 
Can He indeed be slain ? 

— He Who is man as well as God 
Can choose to live or die ; 

Bethink thee, 'tis the Lamb indeed, 
The Son of God most high ! 

I know not how men beg Him come, 

Then wage on Him such war : 
Should He restore us to His land, 

Sure, Gil, 'twere better far ! 
— Sin caused our exile here, and in 

His hands all good doth lie ! 
He comes to suffer here on earth, 

This God of majesty. 

Little thou carest for His pain ! 

'Tis so with all mankind : 
Men reck not of their neighbour's ill 

Wherein they profit find. 
— As Pastor of a mighty flock 

Great honour doth He gain. 
— Still, 'tis a wondrous thing that God, 

The Lord supreme, be slain ! 

poems. 43 

Poem 23. 

Mi gallejo, mira quien llama. 

See, boy, who doth call so clear ! 
— Angels, for the Dawn draws near. 

Hark ! a sound of mighty humming, 
Which, methinks, a song may be : 
Then hie thee to the Shepherdess, 
Now the morn breaks, Bras, with me. 
See, boy, who doth call so clear ! 
Angels, for the Dawn is near. 

Is she kin to the Alcalde ? 
What the damsel's name and race ? 
— She is God the Father's daughter ; 
Shineth like a star her face ! 
Look, boy, who doth call so clear ! 
Angels, for the Dawn is near ! 

Poem 24. 


Pues el amor. 

Mihi autem absit gloriari nisi in Cruce Domini nostri. 

Since love brought God to earth 

From heaven on high 
Naught should affright us more: 

Let us both die ! 


God gives His only Son 

As gift to man : 
Born in a cattle-shed 

His life began. 
Lo, God a man becomes, 

Triumph most high ! 
Naught should affright us more 

Let us both die ! 

— Whence the love, Pascual, 

For us He bore, 
Changing His royal robes 

For serge so poor ? 
— Best loves He poverty ; 

In His steps hie ! 
Naught should affright us more 

Let us both die ! 

What will men give to Him, 

Giver of all ? 
— Stripes from their scourges on 

His flesh will fall. 
Bitter our tears will drop 

With grief and sigh ! 
— If this be sooth indeed, 

Let us both die ! 

He is omnipotent — 
How shall they dare ? 

poems. 45 

— Tis writ, from cruel men 

He death must bear. 
— Let us conceal the Babe 

In secrecy ! 
— Know'st not 'tis His own will ? 

— Then, let us die ! 

Poem 25. 


shepherds' carol. 

Hoy nos viene a redimir. 

To-day there comes upon our ransom bent 
A Shepherd Who is kith to all mankind, 
For, Gil, He is our God omnipotent ! 

And thus it is that He has raised us up, 
Freed from the prison Satan held us in, 
For He, to Menga and to Llorente, 
And Bras, and all of us is truly kin, 
Because He is the Lord omnipotent ! 

— If He be God : how to be sold by men 
And hanging on the bitter cross, be slain ? 
— Dost thou not know that sin is done to death 
When Innocence endures the sinners' pain ? 
Dost thou not know He is omnipotent ? 


— My faith ! I saw Him as a new-born Babe, 
And near Him stood a lovely Shepherdess ! 
If He be God, why chooseth He to live 
With those in poverty and sore distress ? 
— Knowest thou not He is omnipotent ? 

Prithee, give o'er thine idle questionings 
And let us in His service ever vie ; 
Since He has come on earth to suffer death, 
With Him, Llorente, let us gladly die, 
For He, in truth, is God omnipotent. 

Poem 26. 

Vertiendo esta sangre. 

See, He is shedding blood. 

Dominguillo, eh ? 

Though why I cannot say ! 

I prithee tell- me why 
The Infant thus they wound, 
For He is innocent, 
No guile in Him is found — 
His Heart was wholly set, 
Though why I cannot say, 
On ardent love for me ! 
Dominguillo, eh ? 

poems. 47 

But must men pain the Babe 
Thus soon after His birth ? 
— Aye, for He comes to die, 
To save from ills our earth. 
Faith, what a shepherd brave 
That Child will make some day ! 
Shall we not love Him well, 
Dominguillo, eh ? 

Shepherd, I know not why 
On Babe so innocent 
Thou hast not cared to look ? 
— Aye, Brasil and Llorent, 
Have told me so erstwhile. 
— My faith ! 'twere ill, I say, 
Didst thou not love this Babe, 
Dominguillo, eh ? 

Poem 27. 

Este Nino viene llorando. 

E'en as the Babe comes, He is weeping sorely : 
Oh hark, Gil, hark ! that Babe is calling thee ! 

Behold the new-born Infant from the heavens 
To earth descends to free us from our foes ! 
Already is the direful strife beginning, 
For see, our Jesus' blood already flows ! 
Oh hark, Gil, hark, that Babe is calling thee ! 


So great the love He beareth for us sinners 
That little for the tears He sheds recks He, 
Steeling His infant heart to muster courage 
Since He the Leader of His flock shall be — 
Then hark, Gil, hark, that Babe doth call to thee ! 

How dear the love He bears for us doth cost Him, 
This Infant but a few days newly born, 
Whose blood already 'neath the knife is flowing ! — 
Forsooth, 'tis we and not the Babe should mourn ! 
Oh hearken, Gil, that Babe is calling thee ! 

Had He not come to earth to die for sinners 

He now were safe within His nest at home ! 

— Behold, Gil, to our earth from heaven descending 

The Babe doth as a roaring lion come : 

Oh hark ye, Gil, the Babe is calling tin 

What is it, Pascal, thou art seeking of me 

That ever in mine ear thy tale is told ? 

— To love this Babe Who loves thee, and doth tremble 

For thy sake, 'neath the bitter wintry cold : 

For hark thee, Gil, the Babe doth call to thee ! 

POEMS. 49 

Poem 28. 

Pues que la estrella. 

Since now the star above 

The crib doth shine, 
Prithee wend with the Kings, 

Good flock of mine ! 

To see Messias there 

We'll take our way, 
Now are fulfilled the things 

The prophets say: 
For in our days, to earth 

Doth God descend ; 
There, with the Kings, my sheep, 

I prithee wend. 

Gifts let us bring to Him 

Of costly store, 
Whom the Kings fervently 

Seek to adore. 
Lo, our great Shepherdess 

With joy doth shine ! 
Prithee wend with the Kings, 

O flock of mine ! 


Question not, Llorente, 

The reason why 
We hold this Babe as God 

Come from on high. 
Yield Him thy heart, as mine 

To Him I tend — 
Hence, with the Kings, my flock, 

I prithee wend ! 

Poem 29. 

Si el padecer con amor. 

If suffering endured with love upon our part 
Can so inspire with joy the stricken heart, 
What transport will the sight of Thee impart 

What will it be at length to look upon 

Th' eternal Majesty, 
Since Andrew, when he gazed upon the cross, 

Was filled with ecstasy ! 
Nor even while we suffer, can we fail 
To win fruition of the bliss we hail — 

What joy to see Thee ! 

Love that to full intensity hath grown 
Rests not in idleness, 

POEMS. 51 

As the brave warrior, for the one he loves, 

Doth on to combat press, 
And having o'er Love's self the victory gained, 
Needs must all ends it strives for be attained — 

Oh, bliss to see Thee ! 

Since all men hold in fear the thought of death, 

Why is it sweet to thee ? 
— Tis that when death shall strike, new life shall rise 

Of high sublimity. 
Thou, my God, by Thine Own death doth make 
The worst of cowards take courage for Thy sake — 

What joy to see Thee ! 

cross, now the most precious tree of all ! 

Thou most majestic wood, 
Who, being held contemptible and mean 
Didst take for Spouse thy God ! 

1 go to meet thee, jubilant of soul, 

And, though I merit not to crave such dole, 
I joy to see thee ! 

Poem 30. 

i O granie amadora ! 

O fervent votaress 

Of the eternal Lord ! 
Resplendent star ! do thou 

Thine aid afford ! 


E'en in her infancy 

A Spouse she chose ; 
Ne'er did her ardent love 

Grant her repose. 
Then let no cowards seek 

Her company, 
Who love the world and fear 

For God to die ! 

Ye cravens, gaze upon 

This maiden fair, 
Who cared naught for her wealth 

Nor beauty rare. 
In persecution fierce 

She bore her part, 
Enduring torments keen 

With virile heart ! 

The absence of her Love 
Caused her far deeper grief, 
And suffering borne for Him 
Was all that gave relief; 
She craved for death, and pain 
Alone could comfort give, 
Since, while on earth she dwelt, 
She could not truly live. 

POEMS. 53 

Let us who long 
To share a fate so blest 

Ne'er labour here 
In vain, to seek for rest. 

Oh, false deceit ! 
How loveless 'tis to sigh 

For healing here 
Where life is misery ! 

Poem 31. 

Hoy ha vencido un guerrero. 

This captain 'gainst the world and its allies 

The way to victory led, — 
Sinners, return, return ye, and within 

His footsteps tread ! 

Seek solitude, 
Nor let us crave to die 
Till we attain to live 
In perfect poverty. 
With skill supreme, the way 

This chieftain led, — 
Sinners, return, return ye, and within 

His footsteps tread ! 


He conquered Lucifer 

With penance' arms, 
With patience fought and now is free 

From all alarms. 
We also shall prevail, if by 

This captain led, 
Sinners, return, return again, and in 

His footsteps tread ! 

He had no friends 
But to the cross he clave : 
This is our light, which Christ as light 

To sinners gave. 
Oh, blessed zeal that stood 
The warrior in such stead, — 
Sinners, return, return ye, and within 

His footsteps tread ! 

His crown is won — no more 

In grief he sighs, 
But joys in the reward 

Of Paradise. 
Oh, glorious victory 
In which our soldier bled ! 
Sinners, return, oh turn again, and in 

His footsteps tread ! 

poems. 55 

Poem 32. 


When God doth the soul chastise 
Heavy are its penalties, 
Yet beneath the clouds that rise 
Purer shine the sunny skies ! 

Who on this world sets his mind 
Ne'er will true contentment find. 

He who sets on God his stay 
Knows not anguish of dismay. 

He who doth self-judgment blind 
Quickly calms his troubled mind. 

Naught doth greater solace give 
Than without desires to live. 

Bitter burden do we bear 

When for aught on earth we care. 

The cross, when borne with ready will, 
Far lighter weighs than many an ill. 

Seeking for naught, 
Life with joy is fraught. 


Best of disciplines is still 
Discipline of thy self-will. 

Let what comes, whate'er may hap, 
Ever serve to profit thee : 
Great thy profit if dost judge 
Everything is bad in thee ! 

Let naught disturb thy peace 
Which will with this world cease. 

To the soul that can endure 
Any life will easy seem ; 
Any life a living death 
The impatient soul will deem. 

A love for God but not the cross, 
Will put its hand to little work : 
A love that's strong and full of zeal 
Doth neither toil nor trouble shirk. 

What though many faults be thine ? 
Mortified, they'll soon decline ! 

He who seeks no private gain 
Always finds things to his mind : 
He who would his comfort find 
E'er sees reason to complain. 

poems. 57 


Brings grief alleviation. 

When for earthly things I sigh, 
Then, although I live, I die ! 

If thou a happy nun wouldst be, 
Let no one know thy pains but thee ! 

Poem 33. 

Nada te turbe. 

Let naught disturb thee ; 
Naught fright thee ever ; 
All things are passing ; 
God changeth never. 
Patience e'er conquers ; 
With God for thine own 
Thou nothing dost lack — 
He sufftceth alone ! 

Poem 34. 

Lleva el pensamiento. 
Keep thy thought and ev'ry wish 
Ever raised to heaven on high ; 


Let no trouble thee oppress, 
Naught destroy tranquillity. 
Follow with a valiant heart 
Jesus, in the narrow way ; 
Come what will, whate'er thy trials, 
Let naught ever thee dismay. 

All the glory of this world 
Is but vain and empty show ; 
Swiftly all things pass away, 
Naught is stable here below. 
Be thy sole desire to win 
Good divine that never wanes ; 
True and rich in promises, 
God our Lord unchanged remains. 

Love what best deserves thy love — 
Goodness, Bounty infinite — 
Lacking patience, love can ne'er 
Reach full purity and height. 
Confidence and living faith 
In the strife the soul maintain ; 
He who hopes and who believes 
All things in the end shall gain. 

Though the wrath of hell aroused 
Hard the hunted soul besets, 
He who to his God adheres 
Mocks at all the devil's threats. 

poems. 59 

Though disgrace and crosses come, 
Though his plans should end in naught, 
He whose God his treasure is 
Ne'er shall stand in need of aught. 
Go, false pleasures of the world ! 
Go, vain riches that entice ! 
Though the soul should forfeit all, 
God alone would all-suffice ! 

Poem 35. 


No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte. 

I am not moved, my God, to love of Thee 
Because Thou pledgest heaven in reward, 
Nor is my soul by fear of death so awed 
As to be moved straightway from sin to flee. 
Thou mov'st my love, my God ! to see Thee hang 
Nailed to the cross, of men the scoff, the scorn, 
Doth move my love ! Thy body scourged and torn, 
Thy mocking and affronts, Thy dying pang ! 
It is Thy love that moves me in such way 
That did no heaven exist, I'd love Thee still ! 
Dread of offence would still my spirit sway 
Were there no hell — Thy gifts move not my will, 
For though I hoped no guerdon in repay, 
The same unaltered love my heart would fill ! 


Poem 36. 


O Thou all good and sweet, 
Jesus of Nazareth, 
Let me but look on Thee, 
Then send me death ! 

Let those look who will 
On rose and jasmine fair ; 
On Thee I gaze and see 
A thousand gardens there. 
Thou Flower all seraph-bright, 
Jesus of Nazareth ! 
Let me but look on Thee, 
Then send me death ! 

■ I seek no other joy — 
My Jesus is not here ! 
All else torments the soul 
That holds His Presence dear 
Love and desire of Thee 
Are of my life the breath ; 
Let me but look on Thee, 
Then send me death ! 

POEMS. 6l 

A captive's fate is mine, 
Whilst far Thou art from me ; 
Life is but living death, 
I live not, save with Thee. 
When will that day draw near 
Which ends my exile here ? 
O Thou all good and sweet, 
Jesus of Nazareth ! 
Let me but look on Thee, 
Then send me death ! 


my God ! since Thou art charity and love itself, perfect 
this virtue in me, that its ardour may consume all the dregs 
of self-love. May I hold Thee as my sole Treasure and 
my one glory, far dearer than all creatures. Make me love 
myself in Thee, for Thee, and by Thee, and my neighbour, 
for Thy sake, in the same manner, bearing his burdens as 

1 wish him to bear mine. Let me care for naught beside 
Thee, except in so far as it will lead me to Thee. May I 
rejoice in Thy perfect love for me, and in the eternal love 
borne for Thee by the angels and saints in heaven, where 
the veil is lifted and they see Thee face to face. Grant that 
I may exult because the just, who know Thee by faith in 
this life, count Thee as their highest good, the centre and 
the end of their affections. I long that sinners and the 
imperfect may do the same, and with the aid of Thy grace 
I crave to help them. 



Poem i. — Copies of this poem, which is undoubtedly by 
St. Teresa, are preserved in the collections of the convents 
of Madrid and Guadalajara as well as in the transcriptions 
prepared by Fray Andres de la Encarnacion (now at the 
National Library at Madrid), who says in a note that " these 
verses were sung by the venerable priest Julian of Avila, 
the companion of the Saint upon her foundations, who often 
stated that they were composed by her." Fuente, Obras, 
(edit, of 1881), vol. iii. Poem 27. 

Poem 2. — This poem, known as the " Gloss " of St. Teresa, 
is the most famous of her verses. It was written at Sala- 
manca in 1571, as related by Sister Isabel of Jesus in her 
deposition in the process of canonisation : " When I was a 
novice I sang one day during recreation some verses [see 
Poem 36] describing the grief felt by the soul at its separation 
from God. During the singing our Mother went into an 
ecstasy in the presence of the nuns. They waited for a time, 
but as she did not come to herself, three or four carried her, 
looking as if she were dead, into her cell. I do not know 
what passed there, but when I saw her come out of it next 
day after dinner, she seemed quite absorbed and beside herself. 
By comparing the day and hour with what she wrote later 
on, we discovered that during this rapture our Lord had 
bestowed upon her some signal favour. The Saint then wrote 

POEMS. 63 

this poem, which she enclosed in a letter sent to her confessor." 
Yepes, Life, bk. iii. ch. xxii.; Relation iv. 1 ; Interior Castle, 
M. vi. ch. xi, 8 ; Concept, ch. vii. 2 ; Exclam. i. vi. xiv. 
xvi. ; Fuente, I.e., Poem 1. 

The last five verses of this poem, preceded by two which 
differ from St. Teresa's, are classed as an original poem 
of St. John of the Cross {Living Flame of Love, edit. 1912, 
p. 264), who, referring to this subject, says : " The third kind 
of pain — of a soul wounded by love — is like dying ; it is 
as if the whole soul were festering because of its wound. It 
is dying a living death until love, having slain it, shall make 
it live the life of love, transforming it into love. . . . Hence 
the soul is dying of love, and dying the more when it sees 
that it cannot die of love. Perceiving itself to be dying of 
love and yet not dying so as to have the free enjoyment 
of its love, it complains of the continuance of its bodily life, 
by which the spiritual life is delayed " {Spiritual Canticle, 
Stanza vii. 4, and viii. 1). 

Poem 3. — Another version of the same poem, Fuente, I.e., 
2. The first and fourth verses vary, but the second and 
third are to be found in the preceding poem. This version 
was printed in the early editions of the works of the Saint ; 
in 1884 Don Antonio Selfa published at Madrid a facsimile 
of the autograph, but as there are some differences of spelling 
its genuineness has been questioned. 

Poem 4. — This, too, was published by Don Antonio Selfa 


from what purports to be an autograph. It is not in Don 
Vicente's edition. 

Poem 5. — Fuente was the first to print this short piece 
(No. 10 in his edition) from the manuscript of Toledo. The 
second Exclamation speaks of seeking solitude in God and 
with Him, for thus alone can life be borne, because " the soul 
rests with Him Who is its true repose." This idea is more 
finely and concisely expressed in these verses. 

Poem 6. — These verses are contained in the letters written 
by the Saint to her brother Don Lorenzo de Cepeda on 
January 2 and 17, 1577, as follows : 

" I remember some verses I once wrote when immersed 
in prayer and in a state of great repose. They ran thus — 
though I am not sure if I remember them rightly — yet they 
will show you that even when I am at Toledo I wish to give 
you pleasure : [here follow the verses] ; — I can recollect no 
more. ... I think that these verses may touch you and 
kindle your devotion." 

On January 17 she refers to the matter again : 

" I hardly know what to say about the favour which you 
told me that you have received. It is certainly far greater 
than you think and will be the beginning of great things 
unless forfeited by your own fault. I have experienced this 
kind of prayer, which usually leaves the soul at peace and 
sometimes inclined to do penance, particularly if the impulse 
has been very strong, for then the soul cannot rest without 

POEMS. 65 

doing something for God. For this is a touch which gives 
love to the soul : if it increases you will be able to understand 
what you said puzzled you in my verses. It is a keen pain 
and sorrow from an unknown source, yet most delicious. 
To tell the truth, the soul here receives a wound from the 
love of God, without perceiving whence or how it comes, 
nor even that it is wounded, or what takes place, yet it 
feels a delightful pain which makes it complain, crying : 

"Thou dost deign 
Without a wound our hearts to pain — 
Without a pang our wills to bend, 
To hold all love for creatures vain ! 

" For when the heart is truly touched with this love of God, 
it weans itself painlessly from that it feels for creatures, 
so that it is bound by no earthly affection. This cannot be 
done without such a love for God, because if we care much 
for any creatures we are grieved at withdrawing from them, 
and we suffer far more if we have to leave them altogether. 
When God takes possession of the soul He gradually gives it 
the empire over all created things." 

The poem was originally longer, but the continuation has 
been lost. Fuente, I.e., No. 5. 

Poem 7. — No. 6 in Fuente. These verses are from the 
manuscript of Toledo. They are based on the words of the 
Song of Solomon, Dilectus mens mihi et ego illi (Cant. ii. 16). 

Poem 8 — rFuente, No. 26. Verses composed by St. Teresa 



on the Transverbe ration of her heart (See Life, ch. xxix. 
16-18). Fra Federigo di Sant' Antonio says in his Life of 
the Saint (written in 1754) that the autograph had been 
found at the Convent of Sevilla, but it is no longer there. 
Interior Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. 2, 4, 8. Rel. viii. 16-19. 

Poem 9. — This was first published by Fuente (No. 11) from 
the manuscript of Toledo. He considers it doubtful. 

Poem 10. — These verses are written on the words spoken by 
our Lord : " Labour not to hold Me enclosed within thyself, 
but enclose thyself in Me" (Relation iii. 9 ; see also Interior 
Castle, M. iv. ch. iii. 1). Many years later Don Francis de 
Salcedo, Julian of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Don 
Lorenzo de Cepeda each wrote an essay on these words, and 
at the command of the Bishop of Avila the Saint wrote her 
letter of January 27, 1577 (known as the Vejamen, or tryst- 
ing letter) in which she subjected their opinions to a some- 
what satirical criticism. Don Fuente, who printed the poem 
from the Toledo manuscript (No. 4 in his edition) qualifies 
the poem as " probably " genuine ; he might safely have 
said " certainly authentic." 

Poem ii. — We are indebted to the kindness of the French 
Carmelite nuns for leave to make use of their edition of 
this and three other poems, which had never been printed 
(CBuvres completes de Sainte Terhse, Paris 1910, vol. vi. 363). 
These verses to " the Christ," i.e. to a Crucifix, are from a 

POEMS. 67 

seventeenth-century manuscript in the National Library at 
Madrid and bear the title : " Song (romance) written by 
our holy Mother Teresa during the foundation of Soria." 
They belong therefore to the summer of 1581 ; Fuente did 
not know of this collection. 

Poem 12. — These verses were composed by St. Teresa when 
ill on a journey ; copies are preserved at Soria and, with 
slight variants, in the collections of Madrid and Guadalajara. 
This poem strongly resembles the last few verses of the 
Processional of the Holy Cross (Poem 20), written for the 
nuns of Soria. Fuente, who first printed it (No. 25), con- 
siders it as probably authentic. 

Poem 13. — " A gloss composed by our Holy Mother Teresa 
of Jesus for the clothing of Sister Isabel of the Angels " at 
Medina del Campo in September 1569. Fray Andres de 
la Encarnacion states that in his time (c. 1750) the original 
was in the possession of the Carmelite nuns of San Sebastian, 
but according to Fray Manuel it had been in the hands 
of Fray Jose de la Madre de Dios, Prior of Segovia. Several 
old copies are still in existence. Fuente (No. 16) entertains 
no doubt as to the authenticity. 

Poem 14. — The refrain of this poem, composed for the 
clothing of Sister Hieronyma of the Incarnation at Medina 
del Campo, January 13, 1575, is all that remains of it; it 
has been preserved by the author of the Reforma, vol. hi. 
bk. xiii. ch. xxi. ---..-. 


Poem 15. — Composed at Salamanca for the profession of 
Sister Isabel of the Angels (October 21, 1571), for whose 
clothing St. Teresa had written the verses supra No. 13. 
Fray Andres was aware of the existence of copies at Segovia 
and Las Batuecas, but was unable to consult them. They 
have been discovered at the National Library at Madrid, and 
we are indebted to the French nuns for permission to trans- 
late them from their edition (CEuvres, vi. 383). 

Poem 16. — Fuente published these verses from the collec- 
tion of Toledo (No. 14), qualifying them as probably genuine ; 
according to some copies they were written for the profession 
of Sister Isabel of the Angels, but this can hardly be correct. 

Poem 17. — Published by Fuente (No. 12, from the manu- 
script of Toledo), who, however, considers the poem as doubt- 
ful. The transcript is certainly incorrect. 

Poem 18. — From the same collection and probably genuine 
according to Don Vicente's opinion who prints it under No. 15. 

Poem 19. — Probably authentic. Fuente published it from 
the same collection under No. 13. 

Poem 20. — These verses have come down to us through 
a copy made by Sister Guiomarof the Blessed Sacrament, who 
was professed at Salamanca in 1576, and who attested that 
they were composed by St. Teresa. Copies were also kept 
at Segovia and Las Batuecas and in the archives of the 

POEMS. 69 

Order at Madrid (now in the National Library). Fuente, who 
first printed the poem from the last-named source (No. 28), 
considers it as in all probability genuine. Some words in 
the last strophe are missing. 

Poem 21. — The original of this piece of poetry is preserved 
at the Convent of Soria, and has been attested as genuine by 
Fray Manuel of Jesus, General of the Spanish Congregation 
of Discalced Carmelites. The concluding verses are almost 
identical with Poem No. 12. Fuente has printed the text 
in vol. vi. p. in, the copy having reached him too late for 
insertion among the poems. He has added the following 
explanatory note : 

" There is a very old tradition that these verses were com- 
posed by the glorious Mother St. Teresa when she founded 
the convent of the Blessed Trinity at Soria in 1581. They 
were to be sung on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 
September 14, 1581, she herself having left for Segovia and 
Avila a month previously. The verses are devout and 
affecting, and ever since that time the nuns have sung them 
on the said feast under the following circumstances. After 
midday recreation they adjourn to an oratory where a 
crucifix, candles and olive branches have been prepared. 
Having first venerated the crucifix, the sisters intone the 
hymn to a very devotional tune and, carrying the olive 
boughs, go in procession through the cloister to the mortuary 
chapel, where the hymn is concluded and is followed by a 
prayer for the dead, whereupon the olive branches are 


deposited on the sepulchre. The verses contain the fare- 
well advice of the holy Mother, who, on taking leave of 
the community said : ' Daughters, for the sake of my love 
for you, I ask of you three things. First, to keep the primi- 
tive observance, secondly to obey your superiors, and thirdly 
to preserve charity among yourselves. If you do this, I 
promise that God will give you the twofold spirit as He 
did to our Father S. Eliseus on whose feast this house was 
founded.' " 

Poem 22. — A portion of this poem is preserved in auto- 
graph at the Carmelite convent at Florence. Fuente, who 
printed it from the manuscript of Toledo (in which a line is 
missing), thinks it is probably genuine. It is No. 18 of his 

Poem 23. — From the manuscript of Cuerva. Fuente gives 
it under No. 22, but strongly doubts its genuineness. 

Poem 24. — From the manuscript of Toledo. " Probably 
genuine," says Fuente, in whose edition it is numbered 17. 

Poem 25. — Printing this as No. 20 from the Toledo col- 
lection, Fuente strongly questions its authenticity, but the 
discovery of the autograph of the first three strophes at the 
convent of Carmelite nuns at Florence seems to dispose of 
the difficulty. 

Poem 26. — This poem is from a collection (now lost) of 
which the manuscripts of Madrid, Guadalajara and Cuerva 
are more or less faithful copies. In this instance they 

POEMS. 71 

present considerable variations and also some defects. Fuente 
(No. 23) has serious doubts as to its authenticity. 

Poem 27. — These verses are from the same manuscripts 
as the preceding, and here again Fuente (No. 21) is inclined 
to disallow a claim to authenticity. The French nuns quote 
in their edition the following note from the manuscript of 
Cuerva : 

" Some more verses written by St. Teresa for the feast 
of the Circumcision for which she had a special devotion. One 
year, on the eve of that feast, while the nuns were at evening 
recreation, she came out of her cell almost beside herself with 
extraordinary fervour. Transported by her feelings, she 
danced and sang, and bade the community to join her, 
which they did with the greatest spiritual joy. Theirs was 
no set and ordinary kind of dance, nor was it accompanied 
by the guitar, but the dancers beat time by clapping their 
hands, as David describes, Omnes gentes, plaudite manibus, 
as they moved to and fro with more spiritual harmony and 
grace than human art." 

Poem 28. — Fuente (No. 19) was the first to publish this 
from the collection of Toledo ; it appears to him doubtful. 

Poem 29. — First published by Fray Antonio of St. Joachim 
in the Ano Teresiano, and afterwards by Fuente (No. 7, from 
the Toledo manuscript), who declared it probably genuine. 
The verses contain many allusions to the acts of St. Andrew 
as given in the breviary, where it is said that when the Apostle 


saw his cross at a distance, he cried out, " Hail, precious 
cross, that has been consecrated by the body of my Lord, 
and adorned with His limbs as with rich jewels ! — I come to 
thee, glad and exulting ; receive me with joy into thine 
arms ! O good cross, that hast received beauty from our 
Lord's limbs ! I have ardently loved thee : long have I 
desired and sought thee ; now thou art found by me and 
art made ready for my longing soul. Receive me into thine 
arms, taking me from among men, and present me to thy 
Master, that He who redeemed me on thee may receive me 
by thee ! " The Saint was fastened to the cross, on which 
he hung for two days, preaching without cessation the faith 
of Christ, after which he passed to Him Whose death he 
had so coveted. Before dying, the Apostle exclaimed : " O 
Lord Jesus Christ, good Master, suffer me not to be taken 
down from the cross until Thou hast received my soul. For 
Thou, O Christ, art my protector; into Thy hands I commend 
my spirit." 

Poem 30. — Fuente, who published these verses as No. 8 
from the manuscript of Toledo, considers them probably 
authentic. They there bear the incorrect motto Quemad- 
modum desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anitna mea. 
St. Teresa had a great devotion to St. Catherine the Martyr, 
to whom she dedicated a hermitage at Avila with a painting 
of the Saint. According to the legend, Catherine saw in a 
vision the Blessed Virgin ask Jesus to receive her among His 
servants, but the Divine Infant turned away because she was 

poems. 73 

not yet a Christian. After baptism Catherine saw the same 
vision, when Jesus received her with great affection, and 
espoused her in sight of the court of heaven. Having resisted 
the suit of the impious emperor Maximin II., she was put to 
death by means of a wheel, and her body is said to have 
been carried by angels to Mount Sinai, the Saint having 
prayed that no man might see or touch her body after death. 

Poem 31. — The verses in honour of St. Hilarion have in 
the manuscript of Toledo the motto Fortitudo mea et laus 
mea Dominus mihi. Fuente (No. 9) considers them as prob- 
ably genuine. St. Teresa had a great devotion to this Saint, 
who in the Carmelite breviary in use during her lifetime is 
described as " our father." She relates {Life, ch. xxvii. 2) 
how she used to recommend herself to him to be preserved 
from the illusions of Satan. She also built a hermitage 
in his honour in the convent of Avila. St. Hilarion, having 
become a Christian, renounced the world at the age of ten 
and lived for some time with St. Anthony. But finding that 
the very desert became too distracting on account of the many 
visitors and disciples of his master, he withdrew into a place 
of deep solitude, where he lived in ever increasing austerity. 
He repelled the assaults of the devil by the sign of the cross. 
At his death, which occurred at the age of eighty years, he 
thus encouraged himself : "Go forth, what dost thou fear ? 
Go forth, my soul, what dost thou dread ? Behold it is 
now three score and ten years that thou hast served Christ, 
and art thou afraid of death ? " He had scarcely finished 
these words when he expired. 


Poem 32. — Fuente published these Maxims (from a manu- 
script in the National Library at Madrid) in his first edition 
of the works of St. Teresa (Madrid, 1861), but not in the 
second. Their authenticity is doubtful. 

Poem 33. — These verses, which have become widely known, 
were written by St. Teresa at an unknown date, and were 
kept by her as a bookmark in one of her breviaries which 
afterwards became the property of the Carmelite friars at 
Lisbon ; its present whereabouts is not known. 

Poem 34. — This poem, for the Spanish text of which we 
are indebted to the French Carmelite nuns who published it 
for the first time, is kept at the Convent of Segovia. It is 
an enlargement of the " Bookmark," but the probability of 
its genuineness is extremely slender. 

Poem 35. — This poem has been claimed for St. Teresa, 
St. Francis Xavier and other authors. It would appear that, 
among contemporary critics, Don Francisco Herrero y Bayona 
is inclined to allow St. Teresa's claim, but Don Vicente de la 
Fuente, Don Marcelino Men6ndez y Pelayo, and many others, 
are of a different opinion, which is also shared by the French 

Poem 36. — These are the verses sung by Sister Isabel of 
Jesus at Salamanca which caused St. Teresa to go into an 
ecstasy (see note to Poem 2 supra, and the references there 
given). They are well known in Spain and have been re- 

poems. 75 

peatedly printed, among others by Don Miguel Mir and Don 
Vicente de la Fuente. 

Prayer of St. Teresa. — The autograph of this prayer is 
in the possession of the Carmelite nuns of Madrid. It is 
written upon an oblong sheet of paper from which the signa- 
ture at the bottom appears to have been cut off. It was 
published in a French translation as early as 1630, but the 
Spanish text was for the first time printed by Fuente. 


MUNION. A.D. 1569. 


1. Oh, life, life, how canst thou still exist, apart from 
Him Who is thy Life ? How dost thou occupy thyself 
during such solitude ? What dost thou do — thou, whose 
actions are full of faults and imperfections ? What can 
comfort thee, O my soul, in this tempestuous sea ? I 
grieve for self, and yet still more for the time when I felt 
no grief. How sweet are Thy ways, O Lord ! yet who 
can travel by them without dread ? I dare not abstain 
from serving Thee, yet my service contents me not, nor 
acquits aught of the debt I owe. Fain would I give myself 
wholly to Thy service, yet, looking on my misery, I see 
that I am incapable of good, unless Thou first give it me. 
Oh, my merciful God ! what shall I do, not to render void 
Thy great graces ? Thy works are holy, just, priceless, 



full of sublimest wisdom, for Thou, Lord, art Wisdom 
itself ! Yet while my mind ponders over this, my will 
complains ; it would have no hindrance to its loving 
Thee, for in such high matters the intellect cannot attain 
to its God, yet longs to enjoy Him, although it knows 
not how, while shut within the dreary prison of mortality. 
Now it impedes me, though, at first, meditation on 
Thy grandeurs was an aid, showing me more clearly my 
own immeasurable baseness. 

2. Why do I say this, my God ? To whom do I com- 
plain ? Who hears me, but Thou, my Father and my 
Creator ? But why speak, in order to tell Thee of my 
pain, since I see so clearly that Thou dost dwell within 
me ? Behold my folly ! But alas, my God, how can I 
be sure I am not separated from Thee ? 

3. Oh, my life ! which must be passed in such vital 
hazard, who would wish for thee ? The sole gain to be 
found or hoped for in thee is to please God in all things, 
and even this is most uncertain and beset by dangers. 


1. Often do I think, O my Lord, that if aught can 
soothe a life apart from Thee it is solitude, wherein the 
soul rests with Him Who is its true repose. Yet, unable 
as it is to enjoy Thee with full liberty, its torment often 
redoubles. Yet this is a delight compared with that of 


being forced to deal with creatures, and thus deprived of 
holding converse alone with the Creator. But how is 
it, my God, that rest wearies the soul which only seeks 
to please Thee ? 

2. O sovereign love of God, how different are thine 
effects from those of earthly love, which seeks no com- 
panion, fearing lest it should lose what it possesses ! Love 
for my God increases on learning that others love Him, 
and its joys diminish at seeing that all men do not share 
its happiness. 

3. Therefore, O my only Good, during Thy tenderest 
caresses and consolations, I grieve at remembering the 
many hearts which do not desire these joys, and still 
others who will lose them for ever. Thus my soul seeks 
company, gladly leaving its own delight, moved by the 
hope that it may incite souls to strive to attain it. But, 
O my heavenly Father ! were it not better to defer this 
care for others until the soul enjoys less of Thy favours, 
and to yield myself now wholly to enjoying Thee ? 

4. Oh, my Jesus ! how deep is Thy love for the children 
of men ! The greatest service we can render Thee is 
to leave Thee, for the sake of loving and aiding them. 
Then do we possess Thee most entirely, for, though our 
will enjoy Thee less, yet love delights to please Thee a 
During this mortal life, all worldly delights are found to 
be uncertain even though they seem to come from Thee, 
unless the love of our neighbour bear them company. 


Who loves not his brethren, loves not Thee, my Lord, 
for Thy blood, shed for us, bears witness to Thy boundless 
love for the sons of Adam. 


1. On reflecting, O my God ! on the glory prepared 
by Thee for those who persevere in doing Thy will, and 
on the many labours and pains with which Thy Son 
purchased us this glory — remembering our unworthi- 
ness and our obligation to be grateful for this immense 
love, which, at so dear a cost to self, taught us how to 
love— my soul is wrung with anguish. How is it possible, 
Lord, to forget those mercies, as souls forget them when 
offending Thee ? 

2. O my Redeemer, how oblivious are men of their 
own interest ! How excessive is Thy bounty ! Thou 
Who art ever mindful of us, when by our fall we have 
struck Thee a mortal blow, dost forget it, and stretch 
forth Thy hand anew to preserve us, 1 recalling us from 
our hopeless frenzy to petition Thee for health. Blessed 
be such a Master for His infinite mercy ; may He be 
eternally praised for His tender compassion ! 

3. My soul, do thou for ever glorify so great a God. 
How can men rebel against Him ? Do not the wicked 
stand condemned by His excessive mercies to them ? 

* Prov. xxiv. 16 : Septies cadet Justus, et re$urget. 


Redress this evil, my God ! Oh, children of men, how 
long will you be hard-hearted,* and steel yourselves 
against this most meek Jesus ? What ? Can our malice 
endure against Him for ever ? No ! for the life of man 
passes away like the flower of the field, and the Son of the 
Virgin will come at last to pronounce the terrible sentence. 
4. Almighty God of mine, Who, though we will it not, 
must be our Judge, why do we not realise the need to 
propitiate Thee before that hour ? Yet who, who indeed, 
would not desire to have so just a Judge ? • Happy the 
souls who, at that dread time, shall rejoice with Thee ! 
O my God and my Lord ! What help is there for one 
whom Thou hast raised from his sins, who, seeing how 
miserably he had lost all for the sake of a momentary 
pleasure, is now resolved with the aid of Thy grace to 
spend his life in pleasing Thee ? Thou Treasure of my 
soul, Who never forsakest those who love Thee, and ever 
hearest those who cry to Thee — how can man live and 
stave off death, at the thought of all he lost by forfeiting 
his baptismal innocence ? The happiest life for him is 
for sorrow to render his life a living death. Yet, how can 
the soul that loves Thee tenderly endure this ? 

5. What foolish questions do I ask Thee, Lord ! I 
seem to have forgotten all Thy mighty works and mercies 
— how Thou earnest into the world for sinners' sakes, 

2 Ps. iv. 3 : Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde ? 

3 Way of Perf,, ch. xl. 7, 



didst purchase us by such a precious ransom, expiating 
our evil pleasures by agonising torments and scourging. 
Thou hast cured my blindness by the blindfolding of Thy 
sacred eyes, and healed my vanity by the cruel crown of 

6. O Lord, Lord ! all this does but embitter the grief 
of one who loves Thee ! My only consolation is to think 
of the eternal praise that will be rendered to Thy mercy 
when my sins are revealed. Yet I know not if my grief 
will ever heal, until, on seeing Thee, all the miseries of 
this mortal life shall vanish. 


1. My soul, O my Lord, finds some repose in thinking 
of the happiness in store for it if, through Thy mercy, it 
is one day permitted to enjoy Thee ! Yet I long to labour 
for Thee first, 1 since Thy labour won this joy for me. 
What shall I do, my Lord, and what wilt Thou do, O 
my God ? 

2. How late has my desire for Thee caught flame, but 
how early didst Thou seek to win me, calling me to give 
myself wholly to Thee ! * Hast thou ever, O Lord, 
rejected the wretched, or turned away from the poor 
mendicant who sought to draw near Thee ? Are there 
limits to Thy power, or to Thy mighty works ? 

1 Rel. ix. 19. 

2 Castle, M. iv. ch. iii. 3. 


3. O my God, Source of mercy to me ! Now is the 
time indeed in which to prove so to Thy handmaid, for 
Thou art almighty. Now it will be shown whether my 
soul is right in believing, while recalling the wasted years 
that are past, that Thou, Lord, canst in an instant turn 
this loss to gain. I seem to rave, for men say that time 
once spent can never be recovered. Blessed be my God ! 

4. Lord, 1 acknowledge Thy sovereign power. Al- 
mighty as Thou art, what is impossible to Thee, Who 
canst do all things ? Do Thou only will it, O my God, 
do Thou but will it ! Miserable as I am, yet I believe 
firmly that Thou canst do all Thou wilt. The more I 
hear Thy wonders spoken of, the better I know Thou 
canst perform still greater things : thus my faith and 
my confidence grow stronger that Thou wilt grant my 
request. Why wonder at what is done by the Omni- 
potent ? 

5. Thou knowest, O my God, that, in spite of all my 
faults, I ever recognised the greatness of Thy power and 
mercy : O Lord, may this one thing, in which I have 
not offended Thee, stand in my favour ! Restore to me 
the time lost, giving me Thy grace, both now and in the 
future, so that I may appear before' Thee in " wedding 
garments," J as Thou canst do if it be Thy will. 

3 St. Matt. xxii. 11, 12 : Intravit autem rex ut videret discum- 
bentes, et vidit ibi hominem non vestitum veste nuptiali, et ait Mi : 
Amice, quomodo hue intrasti non habens vestem nuptialem ? At 
ille obmutuit. 



i. O my Lord ! after having served Thee so ill and 
known so little how to preserve past graces, how dare I 
ask for more ? How canst Thou trust one who has 
so often proved a traitor ? What then shall I do, Con- 
soler of the disconsolate and Refuge of all those who 
come to Thee for help ? Is it better to say nothing of 
my wants in the hope of Thy relieving them ? Not so, 
for Thou, my Lord and my joy, knowing how numerous 
would be our needs and what solace we should find in 
confiding them to Thee, didst bid us pray to Thee, for 
Thou wouldst not fail to give. 

2. Sometimes I think of the holy woman Martha's 
complaint ; she was not merely blaming her sister, but 
I am convinced that what she felt most keenly was the 
thought that Thou didst not care for her labours, nor 
wish to have her near Thee. Perhaps she thought Thou 
hadst less love for her than for her sister, which would 
have tried her more than labouring for the Lord Who 
was so dear that work for Him was but a pleasure. This 
seems clear, since she addressed Thee, and not her sister 
Mary : but, Lord, her love emboldened her to ask Thee 
why Thou hadst no care for her. 

3. Thine answer " shows that love alone gives value to 

1 St. Luke, x. 41, 42 : Martha, Martha, sollicita es, et turbaris 
erga plurima. Porro unum est necessarinm. Maria optimam 
partem elegit, qucb non auferepur ab ea, — Castle, M. vjj. eh. iv. 17, 


our actions — that " the one thing necessary " is to possess 
a love so strong that it cannot leave Thee. But, my God, 
how can we obtain a love worthy of our Beloved, unless 
Thy love lor us be united to it ? Shall I make the same 
complaint as this saintly woman ? 

4. Ah, I have no cause for that, having ever found 
in my God greater and stronger proofs of tenderness than 
I have known how to ask or even to desire. — Were I to 
complain, it could only be that Thy mercy has borne with 
me too long. — What request can so miserable a wretch as 
myself make of Thee, save that of St. Augustine : " that 
Thou wilt give me what to give to Thee," 2 to repay 
somewhat of the heavy debt I owe Thee : that Thou 
wilt remember I am the work of Thy hands, and wilt 
teach me to know Thee, my Creator, so that I may love 


1. O my Joy, Lord of all things and my God ! how 
long must I languish for Thy presence ? What solace 
wilt Thou grant to one who has so little earthly comfort , 
that she may find peace while absent from Thee ? 

2. Oh tedious, oh painful, oh dying life ! what lonely 

2 Confessions of Saint Aug., Bk. xi. ch. ii: " Give me some- 
what to offer to Thee, for I am poor and needy, whilst Thou 
art rich to all who call upon Thee." 


solitude ! How hopeless is my case ! How long, Lord, 
how long shall it endure ? What shall I do, my sovereign 
Good, what shall I do ? Shall I desire not to desire 

3. O God my Creator ! Who dost wound, yet dost 
not heal ; Who dost strike but leave no wound ; dost kill 
and give new life by it ; in a word, Who art almighty, 
and therefore dost what pleaseth Thee ; wilt Thou make 
such a wretched worm suffer these conflicting pains ? 
Be it so, my God, since it is Thy will, for I only seek to 
love Thee. But alas, alas, my Creator, bitter anguish 
wrings this complaint from me, making me speak of that 
for which there is no remedy until Thou providest one ! 
The soul, thus pent in bondage, longs for liberty, yet 
would not move one hair's breadth from the path Thou 
choosest for it. Do Thou, my Glory, either increase my 
pain, or cure it altogether. 

4. Ah, death, death, I know not why men dread thee, 
since life is found in thee ! Yet who that has not always 
loved God in the past would fear thee not ? Since I am 
such a one, what do I desire and ask ? Will death but 
bring the punishment my sins so justly merit ? Permit 
it not, my sovereign Good, for it cost Thee dear to ransom 
me ! 

5. O my soul, submit to the will of thy God : this is 
best for thee : serve Him and trust to His mercy to ease 
thy pain, when by penance thou hast won some little 


claim to pardon for thy sins : seek not to rejoice until 
thou hast suffered ! 

6. Alas, my true Lord and King, I am incapable even 
of this, unaided by Thy sovereign power and majesty, 
but with these I can do all things ! 


1. O my hope, my Father, my Creator, my true 
Lord, my Brother ! My soul overflows with joy at re- 
membering how Thou hast said : " My delight is to be 
with the sons of men." l O Sovereign of heaven and 
earth ! after such words as these what sinner should 
despair ? Canst Thou find no one else in whom to 
delight, that Thou dost seek out such a repulsive worm 
as myself ? At the baptism of Thy Son, Thy voice was 
heard to say Thou didst delight in Him. 2 Dost Thou, 
then, put us on a par with Him, Lord ? 

2. What infinite mercy ! what favour, far transcending 
our deserts ! Can we mortals forget all this ? Call to 
mind, my God, our great misery, and look upon our 
frailty, for Thou knowest all things. 

3. Ponder, then, my soul, over the great delight and 
love of the Father in knowing His Son, of the Son in 
knowing His Father, and the ardour wherewith the Holy 

1 Prov. viii. 31 : DelicicB mecs, esse cum filiis hominum. 

2 St. Matt. iii. 17 : Hie est filius mens dilectus, in quo mihi 


Ghost unites with Them, and how none of the Three 
Persons can cease loving and knowing the others, because 
They are one and the same God. These Sovereign Persons 
mutually know, love, and delight in one another. Why, 
then, do they need my love ? Why seek it, O my God ? 
What does it profit Thee ? 

4. Blessed, oh blessed for ever mayest Thou be, my 
God ! May all things praise Thee without end, O Lord, 
for Thou art infinite ! Rejoice, my soul, that there is 
One Who loves thy God as He deserves, Who knows His 
goodness and perfections : thank Him for having given 
us on earth One Who knows Him as does His only be- 
gotten Son. 

5. Under His protection, thou canst approach His 
Majesty and beseech Him, since He delights Himself 
in thee, to let no earthly thing prevent thy delighting in 
Him, and rejoicing in the perfections of thy God and in 
the thought that He deserves to be loved and praised. 
Beg Him to aid thee to further, in some small degree, the 
glory of His Name, that thou mayest truly say : " My 
soul doth magnify " and praise " the Lord ! " ■ 

1 St. Luke i. 46 : Magnificat anima mea Dominum. 



1. O Lord my God, truly " Thou hast the words of 
life," l wherein men can find all they crave, if they but 
seek it ! But what wonder is it if we forget Thy words, 
seeing the state of folly and disorder to which our sins 
have reduced us ? 

2. O my God ! God ! God and Maker of all Creation ! 
What is all this creation compared with what Thou canst 
create, dost Thou but will ? Thou art omnipotent : Thy 
works are incomprehensible. 2 Permit not Thy words 
ever to become effaced from my mind : " Come unto Me 
all you that labour and I will refresh you." ' What more 
can we desire or seek, Lord ? Why are worldlings lost, 
save through seeking happiness ? 

3. Good God ! Good God ! How is it, Lord ? How 
pitiful ! What utter blindness to seek for happiness 
where it cannot be found. Have pity, Creator, on Thy 
creatures ! Remember, we do not understand ourselves, 
or know what we want, nor do we ask aright ! Lord, give 
us light ! See ! we need it more than did the man who 
was born blind, for he longed to see the light but could 
not, while we do not wish to see it. 

1 St. John vi. 69 : Domine, ad quern ibimus ? verba vitcB ceternce 

2 Job ix. 10 : Qui facit magna et incomprehensibilia. 

3 St. Matt. xi. 28 : Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis et onerati 
estis, et ego reficiam vos. 


4. Oh ! ill past remedy, needing Thee to manifest both 
Thy power and Thy mercy. O true God of mine ! How 
hard a thing I crave of Thee ! No less than that Thou 
shouldst love those who love not Thee : shouldst open to 
those who do not knock — shouldst cure those who wish 
to ail, and who foster their maladies. 

5. Thou didst declare, my Master, that Thou earnest 
to seek sinners : 4 these are the real sinners ! Look not 
on our blindness, my God, but on the streams of blood 
shed by Thy Son for us. Let Thy mercy shine forth 
amidst such monstrous wickedness. Remember, Lord, 
we are " the work of Thy hands ; 6 " succour us by Thy 
goodness and mercy ! 


1. O compassionate and tender Sovereign of my soul, 
Who dost also say : "If any one thirst, let him come to 
Me, and I will give him to drink ! " ! How parched with 
thirst must men be who are inflamed with covetousness 
for miserable earthly goods ! Urgent is their need of this 
water, lest they be totally consumed. 

2. I know, my Lord, that out of Thy bounty Thou 

* St. Matt. ix. 13 : Non enim veni vocare justos, sed peccatores. 
6 Isaias lxiv. 8 : Opera manuum tuarum omnes nos 
1 St. John vii. 37 : Si quis sitit, venial ad me, et bibat. — Way of 
Per/., ch. xix. 4. 


wilt give it them. Thou Thyself hast promised it, and 
Thy word cannot fail — but alas ! if from having lived 
long in this furnace of passion, they have become in- 
sensible to its flames, and are too careless to realise their 
great danger, what cure is there for them, my God ? 
Thou earnest into the world to remedy such ills ; begin 
Thy work, Lord, for Thy pity is best shown in the most 
desperate evils. 

3. See, Lord, Thine enemies grow bolder — have mercy 
on those so merciless to themselves, whose miserable 
condition prevents their wishing to draw near to Thee : 
do Thou come to them, O my God ! I ask this in their 
name : I know that when they are enlightened and have 
returned to their senses, having begun to taste Thy 
sweetness, 2 they will rise from the death of sin. 

4. O Life, Who givest life to all ! refuse not this most 
delicious water, promised by Thee to all who desire it. 
Behold, I long for it, Lord ; I ask for it, I come to Thee ! 
Hide not this water from me : Thou knowest how I need 
it, since it is the only cure for a soul wounded by Thee. 

5. O Lord, how many kinds of fever inflame men's 
hearts in this life ! What cause have we for fear ! Some 
of these ardours consume the soul, yet others purify it' 
and prepare it to enjoy Thee for ever. 

6. O living waters, springing from the wounds of my 
God, how abundantly you ever flow to sustain us ! Safely 

2 Ps. xxxiii. 9 : Gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus. 


indeed, will he who drinks eagerly of this divine draught 
traverse the dangers of this wretched life. 


i. O God of my soul ! how eager are we to offend 
Thee, yet how far more eager art Thou to forgive us ! 
Why, Lord, are we so foolishly presumptuous, unless 
because, knowing Thy great mercy, we forget the strictness 
of Thy justice ? " The pains of death have encompassed 
me." ' Alas, alas, alas ! What a terrible evil is sin, 
which caused a death of such agony to God Himself ! 
How Thy tormentors surround Thee still, my God ! 
Where canst Thou turn to be free from them ? From 
every quarter they deal Thee mortal blows. 

2. Christians, it is time to defend your King and to 
rally round Him in His utter abandonment : few are His 
faithful subjects, and many the followers of Lucifer. 
Worst of all, His public friends betray Him secretly, so 
that there is hardly one whom He can trust. 

3. O true Friend, how ill such traitors requite Thee ! 
Weep, all faithful Christians, weep with your God, Who 
shed tears of pity not for Lazarus alone,' but for those 
also who would never wish to rise to life, though He called 
them forth. 

1 Ps. cxiv. 3 : Circumdederunt me dolores mortis. 
* St. John xi. 35 : Et lacrymatus est Jesus. 


4. O my supreme Good ! all the sins I have committed 
against Thee were then before Thine eyes. Prevent me, 
Lord, prevent me and all men from sinning again ! Raise 
up souls dead in transgression : call them with such 
power, that they may receive the new life they ask not 
for, and come forth from the grave of their luxuries. 
Lazarus did not beg to be restored to life — Thou didst 
recall him at the prayer of a woman who was a sinner : ' 
One far more guilty is now before Thee, my God : show 
forth Thy mercy ! Wretch that I am, I pray for those 
who will not ask it for themselves. Thou knowest my 
anguish at seeing their indifference to the endless tor- 
ments they will suffer unless they return to Thee. 

5. Ye men accustomed to pleasure, luxuries and 
feasting, who indulge your will in every way, take com- 
passion on yourselves ! Remember, that always, for 
all eternity, you will be subject to the infernal furies ! 
Reflect — the Judge Who will condemn you then is now 
your Suppliant ; * you are not sure of living here another 
moment : why do you not strive to live the true life for all 
eternity ? Oh the hardness of men's hearts ! Soften 
them in Thy boundless pity, my God ! 

6. 6 Good God ! Good God ! how I grieve at thinking 
of the feelings of a soul which has always been respected 

3 St. John xi. 32. 

4 Way of Perf. ch. xl. 7. 
£ Milner, etc., Excl. XI, 


and loved, waited on, honoured and pampered, on clearly 
realising its eternal perdition and that it is useless to try 
to turn away its thoughts from the truths of faith as 
it did while on earth. It will find itself torn from its 
pleasures before it had begun to enjoy them, for truly 
all that ends with life passes like a puff of wind. 
, 7. The soul sees itself among the hideous and merciless 
companions with whom it is to suffer for eternity, in the 
midst of a fetid pool of serpents, each of which strives to 
devour it more fiercely than the rest ; a horrible darkness, 
revealing nothing but tormenting and hideous objects, 
surrounds it, and no light appears except a gloomy flame.* 

8. Alas, this description falls short of the reality ! 
Who so blinded the eyes of such a man that he never 
realises these horrors, until plunged amongst them ? 7 
O Lord ! who stopped his ears from hearing the 
truths so often told him of the eternity of these torments ? 
Ah, never-ending life ! Oh, ceaseless tortures, ceaseless 
torments that last for ever ! How is it, that men who 
fear the discomfort of sleeping on a hard bed, do not 
dread such anguish ? 

9. O Lord my God ! I weep for the time when I ignored 
these horrors. Thou knowest my grief at seeing the 
multitude of men who turn their thoughts from eternal 

• Life, ch. xxxii. 1-9. 

7 "He will open in his torment the eyes which he long kept 
closed in sin " ! (St. Gregory, Moralia, bk. xxv. 6). 


punishment : let there be one, O Lord, at least let there 
be one who asks Thee to enlighten him, who is capable 
of leading many others to the truth ! I ask not this 
favour for my own sake, Lord, for I do not deserve it, 
but beg it of Thee by the merits of Thy Son. Look on 
His Wounds, and forgive us as He forgave the men who 
inflicted them. 


i. Why, O my God, source of all my strength, are we 
always cowards, except in rebelling against Thee ? To 
this do the sons of Adam direct all their energies. Were 
not their reason blinded they would never dare to combine 
the strength of the whole human race in taking arms 
and waging war against Him Who in an instant could 
hurl them down the bottomless abyss. With minds 
obscured, they resemble madmen, who, bent on their own 
destruction, imagine they will thus gain new life ; — in 
short, they are beside themselves. 

2. What cure is there, my God, for such frenzy ? 
Men say that madness increases strength. So it is with 
men who revolt against God : feeble as they may be, 
all their fury is spent on Thee, their greatest Benefactor. 

3. O incomprehensible Wisdom ! Thou needest all 
Thy love for creatures, to bear with such folly, and to 

1 Milner, etc., Excl. XII. 


wait until we return to our senses, whilst by a thousand 
arts and remedies Thou art striving to bring about our 

4. How marvellous, that though we lack resolution 
to conquer self in trivial matters, and persuade ourselves 
that even if we try, we cannot avoid some occasion of 
sin, or some danger by which we risk eternal perdition, 
yet we have the audacity to affront such sovereign 
majesty as Thine ! 

5. How is this, my only Good ? how is it ? Who 
gives such strength ? Is not the captain whom men 
follow in this war against Thee Thy vassal ? And he 
dwells in unquenchable flames — how can he rise up 
against Thee ? How can the vanquished inspire courage ? 
His poverty is extreme, for he is deprived of the riches of 
heaven ; why, then, do men follow him ? What can 
he give, who owns nothing but sufferings ? How can 
it be, my God ? Why is it, my Creator ? Why do men 
cowed by the devil defy Thee ? 

6. Even if, O my Lord, Thou hadst not aided Thine 
own — even if we owed some debt of gratitude to this 
prince of darkness, should we not compare the joys Thou 
hast in store for us with the false and treacherous promises 
of the evil one ? He has betrayed Thee — what will he 
do to us ? 

7. Alas, what utter blindness, my God ! what revolting 
ingratitude, my King ! What hopeless madness, to use 


Thy very gifts to serve Satan ! to requite Thy tender 
love for us by loving one who hates Thee, and will hate 
Thee to eternity ! Thou sheddedst all Thy Blood for us ; 
for us didst suffer stripes, and agony, and torturing 
anguish ! And we, instead of avenging Thy heavenly 
Father for the flagrant injuries done to Thee, His Son — ■ 
for Thou Thyself didst take no vengeance on Thine 
enemies, but didst ever pardon them — yet choose, as 
friends and companions, the very men who treated Thee 
so barbarously, since we follow their infernal leader. 
Surely we shall be of their company and share their fate, 
unless Thy mercy bring us to reason and forgive the past. 
8. Return, ye children of men, return to your senses ! 
Gaze on your King, while yet He is meek ; cease from 
such sin and spend your fury and your strength on him 
who wars against you to rob you of your inheritance. 
Return, return to your senses, open your eyes, and with 
strong cries and tears beg for light from Him Who gives 
it to all the world. For the love of God, reflect that 
you are aiming, with all your might, at slaying Him Who 
lost His life to save yours, Who is your defender against 
your enemies ! 

9. If this is not enough, let it suffice to know that you 
are helpless against His power — sooner or later you must 
atone for your insults and blasphemy in everlasting flames. 
Do you dare thus to outrage Him because you see Him 
helpless and fettered by His love for us ? What more 


did His murderers do, after they had bound Him, than 
deal Him blows and wounds ? 

10. O my God ! how Thou hast suffered for those 
who grieve so little for Thy pain ! The day will come, 
Lord, when Thy justice will be made manifest, and men 
will discover that it equals Thy mercy. Mark that, 
Christians ! Deeply as we may reflect upon it, never 
shall we realise how much we owe our Lord God and 
how magnificent are His mercies. But, if His justice 
is as great, alas, alas ! what will be their fate who deserve 
its being carried out and exemplified in them ? 


i. O ye souls free from all dread of ever losing your 
bliss, — you, who are constantly absorbed in the praises of 
my God, how blessed is your lot ! How just it is that 
you should ceaselessly adore Him ! How I envy you, 
who are delivered from the grief I feel at witnessing the 
hateful offences committed against my God in these 
unhappy days and the gross ingratitude of men's in- 
difference to the multitude of souls Satan is dragging 
down to hell. 

2. O blessed souls dwelling in paradise ! Relieve our 
miseries and intercede for us with the divine Mercy, 
that He may give us some little share of your felicity, 

1 Milner, etc., Excl. XIII. 


and of the certain knowledge you possess. Grant us 
to understand, my God, what reward Thou givest to 
those who fight valiantly during the nightmare of this 
wretched life. O souls inflamed with love, obtain for 
us grace to comprehend your delight at reflecting on the 
eternity of your bliss and your rapture at knowing it 
will never end ! 

3. Wretched creatures that we are, O Master mine ! we 
know and believe these truths, yet our old-established 
habit of not reflecting on them makes them too strange 
for souls either to realise or seek to grasp them. And 
you, self-seeking, craving for pleasure and enjoyment, 
since you will not have the patience to wait but a short 
time, when you could enjoy them in abundance — to wait 
a year, or a day, or an hour, or perhaps no more than an 
instant — forfeit them all for the ' sake of some miserable 
and momentary gratification that offers itself. 

4. Oh, oh, oh ! How little do we trust Thee, Lord ! 
far more precious riches and treasures didst Thou entrust 
to us — the three and thirty years of Thy Son's sufferings, 
His death and agony, and Thy Son Himself ! And these 
didst Thou bestow on us centuries before we were born, 
knowing at the time that we should repay Thee nothing ; 
yet Thou didst not hesitate to consign to us this in- 
estimable treasure wherewith, if we augment its value 
by the aid of Thy Son, we can purchase eternal happiness 
from Thee, O compassionate Father ! 


5. Oh, blessed souls, so wise in knowing how to make 
good use of this loan — who bought with it the matchless 
prize of so joyful and eternal an inheritance, teach us 
how you gained through Him such endless bliss ! Help 
us, you are so near the fountain-head ! draw water for 
us who perish with thirst in this world. 


1. O my Lord, very God of mine ! "He who knows 
Thee not, loves Thee not." * How true this is, but woe, 
ah, woe ! to those who seek not to know Thee ! ' The 
hour of death is an hour of terror ; but, alas, alas, my 
Creator, how terrific will be that day on which Thy justice 
shall be executed ! Often do I think, my Saviour, how 
beautiful are Thine eyes to those who love Thee, on whom 
Thou, my only Good, dost deign to gaze with affection. 
I think but one such tender glance, bent on those Thou 
holdest as Thine own, is recompense for many a year's 

2. Good God, how hard it is to make this understood 

1 Milner, etc., Excl. XIV. 

2 1 John iii. 6 : Omnis qui peccat, non vidit eum, nee cognovit 

3 " If a man loves Thee not, O Lord, he loves Thee not because 
he knows Thee not, and he knows Thee not because he does not 
understand Thee" (St. Augustine's Soliloquies. Migne, P.L. 
t. xl. c. i. col. 865). 


by one who has not " tasted and seen * how sweet the 
Lord is." O Christians, Christians, reflect on your 
brotherhood with this great God ! Realise it ; think not 
lightly of it ; for His gaze is as full of terror for His 
persecutors as of love for His friends. 

3. Oh ! we do not understand that sin is a pitched 
battle of all the senses and powers of the soul against 
God : the greater the sinner's power, the more does he 
scheme to betray his King. Thou knowest, my Lord, 
that the thought of seeing Thy divine gaze turned on 
me in wrath in that last terrible day of judgment has 
often terrified me far more than all I have heard of the 
tortures and furies of hell, 5 and I besought Thee of Thy 
mercy to save me from such misery, as I beseech Thee 
now, Lord ! What evil could happen to me in this world 
approaching this ? Give me all earthly ills, my God, 
but spare me this misery ! 6 Let me not lose my God, 
nor the peaceful contemplation of Thy beauty : Thy 
Father gave Thee to us, Lord ; let me not lose so precious 
a Jewel ! 

4. I confess, eternal Father, that I have kept it negli- 
gently, but that may still be remedied. Lord, it may be 
remedied while I still dwell in this land of exile. 

4 Ps. xxxiii. 9 : Gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus. 

5 Castle, M. vi. ch. ix. 4. 

6 " Burn me, wound me, spare me not here, that Thou mayest 
spare me in eternity " (St. Augustine). 


5. O brothers, brothers, my brethren, children of this 
God, courage ! courage ! for you know that if we repent, 
His Majesty has promised to remember our sins and 
wickedness no more. 

6. Oh, what boundless mercy ! What more could we 
desire ? Would not anyone be ashamed of asking so 
much ? Now is the time to accept what this compassion- 
ate Lord and God of ours gives us. He seeks our 
friendship : who would deny it Him Who refused not to 
shed all His blood and to lose His life for our sakes ? See, 
this is nothing He asks from us, a mere nothing, and only 
what it is best for us to give Him. 

7. Alas, O Lord ! what hard-heartedness, what folly, 
what blindness ! We grieve if we lose anything, — an arrow 
— a hawk which amuses but for a moment by its flight 
through the air — yet we care nothing if we forfeit this 
imperial eagle of the majesty of God, and a kingdom of 
endless joys. Why is it ? Why is it ? I cannot under- 
stand it. Put an end, my God, to such folly and blindness ! 


1. Alas, alas, Lord ! how long this exile lasts ! What 
torture does it give me from my yearning to possess my 
God ! Yet, Lord, what can the soul do, held fast in this 
prison ? 

1 Milner, etc., Excl. XV. 


2. Ah, Jesus, how long is mortal life, though men call 
it short ! Short, indeed, in which to gain eternal life, but 
very long and weary to the soul that desires to be in God's 
presence ! What medicine hast Thou for such suffering ? 
None, save to suffer for Thy sake ! 

3. O sweet comfort of those who love my God, never 
desert thy lovers, for thou dost increase, yet solace, the 
pain caused by the Beloved in the soul that pines for 
Him ! I desire, Lord, to please Thee, and well I know 
that I can find happiness in no human being, 2 therefore, 
Thou wilt not blame me for desiring Thee. 

4. Behold me here, Lord ! if there is need for me to 
live to render Thee some service, like St. Martin who 
loved Thee so fervently, 8 I refuse no trials that may 
await me on earth.* But alas, my Lord, he gave Thee 
works, while I only render Thee empty words, for I 
can do no more. 

5. Let my words prevail in Thy divine presence, and 
look not on my feeble merits. May we all attain to the 
love of Thee, O Lord ! Since we must live, let us live 
solely for Thee, relinquishing all desires, all self-interest, 
for what can profit us more than to please Thee ? 

6. O my joy and my God ! what can I do to please 
Thee ? My services are contemptible, however many I 

2 Life, ch. xxiv. 7, 8. 

3 See note on St. Martin, Castle, M. vi. ch. vi. 6. 

4 Way of Perf. ch. xix. 12. 


may perform for my God ! Why then should I remain 
in such utter misery ? That the will of God may be 
done : — is there aught better than that ? My soul, 
hope, hope on, for thou knowest not when the day or the 
hour will come. Keep constant watch, for all is swiftly 
fleeting, though thy longing makes thee doubt the in- 
evitable, and lengthens the brief time. Remember — 
the longer thy battle, the more thou provest thy love for 
thy God, and the greater thy never-ending bliss and 
delight with thy Beloved. 


1. O my very God and Lord ! Greatly does it comfort 
the soul wearied by the loneliness of absence from Thee, 
to reflect that Thou art present in all things ! Yet when 
the ardour of its love and the impetuous vehemence of 
its anguish increases, what does even this avail ? The 
understanding is darkened, the reason obscured, so that 
it can no longer grasp nor believe this truth. The soul 
only feels that it is separated from Thee and can find no 
solace, for the heart that loves Thee so deeply receives 
neither comfort nor help save from Him Who wounded 
it and to Whom it looks for the remedy that will assuage 
its pain. 1 

2. When Thou wilt, Lord, Thou dost quickly cure 

1 Milner, etc., Excl. XVI. 

2 Life, ch. xxix. 13-19. Rel. viii. 16, 17. 


the wound Thou hast inflicted : until then, vain is all 
hope of healing or joy save that found in suffering for 
so good a cause. 

3. O true Lover ! how tenderly, how sweetly, with 
what joy and caresses, with what infinite signs of love 
dost Thou heal these wounds, opened by Thee with the 
arrows of love itself ! 

4. O my God, comforter of all sorrows, how foolish I 
am ! What human remedy can avail those injured by 
the divine fire ? Who can penetrate the depths of this 
wound, or tell whence it came, or how such keen yet 
delicious torture can be soothed ? How senseless to 
fancy that such a precious ill could be cured by anything 
so common as human art. 

5. Well does the Bride say, in the Canticles: "My 
Beloved to me and I to my Beloved." 8 " My Beloved 
to me," for no such love could spring from love so base as 
mine. Yet if my love be base, my Bridegroom, why 
does it pass by all creatures until it reaches its Creator ? 

6. O my God ! Why, " I to my Beloved " ? Thou, 
my true Lover, didst begin this war of love, which seems 
nothing but an inquietude and failing of all the powers 
and senses, which go through the streets 4 and lanes, 
imploring the daughters of Jerusalem to tell them where 
is their God. Against whom do the powers of the soul 

8 Cant. ii. 16 : Dilectus mens mihi et ego Mi. 

4 Ibid. iii. 2 : Per vicos et plateas qucsram quern diligit anima mea. 


strive, during this contest, save Him Who has taken 
possession of the fortress they once held, — the highest 
part of the soul ? From this He has ejected them, and 
they now return to oust their conqueror ; at last, weary 
of absence from Him, they yield themselves up. Thus, 
losing all their strength, they fight far better than before, 
and by surrendering to their victor, triumph over Him 

7. O my soul ! what a blessed conflict hast thou waged 
during this trial, and how truly has this been thy case. 
Since " My Beloved is to me and I to my Beloved," who 
will strive to separate and extinguish two such ardent 
flames ? It would be labour lost, for they are now one. 8 


I. O my God, my infinite Wisdom, without measure 
and without bounds, above the understanding either of 
angels or men ; Love, Who dost love me more than I 
can love myself, or can conceive : why do I wish for more 
than Thou dost will to give me ? Why weary myself 
by praying for what I desire to Thee, W r ho knowest what 
would be the result of all my thoughts imagine or my 
heart craves for, while I am ignorant of what would 
profit me ? 

6 1 Cor. vi. 17 : Qui adhwret Deo, unus spiritus est. 
1 Milner, etc., Excl. XVII. 


2. Perhaps what my soul fancies would be its gain 
might be its ruin. If I ask Thee to free me from a cross 
by which Thou seekest to mortify me, what do I ask 
Thee, my God ? 

3. If I entreat Thee to send me such a trial, perhaps it 
may be beyond my patience which is too weak to bear 
so heavy a burden ; or, were I to endure it, but were 
wanting in humility, I might fancy I had performed some 
great deed, while Thou, my God, didst do it all. When 
I seek for greater sufferings, I do not wish for what might 
injure my good name which seems requisite for serving 
Thee, although I believe that I care nothing for my 
honour ; yet perhaps the very means I think would hinder 
me might further my one desire of labouring for Thee. 
I could say far more, O Lord, to show how little I know 
myself, but as Thou surely knowest this, why do I speak 
of it? 

4. In order that, when misery again overwhelms me, 
my God, and reason is blinded, I may find it written here. 
Often, my God, when I feel most wretched, weak, and 
cowardly, do I try to recall her, who called herself Thy 
servant, who thought the grace she had received from 
Thee would suffice to arm her against all the tempests 
of this world. 2 

5. No, my God, no ! Let me no longer trust to my 
own wishes : will for me as Thou art pleased to will, 

8 Life, ch. xxv. 23, 24. Castle, M. vi. ch. i. 21. 


for this is my will, since all my good consists in pleasing 
Thee. If Thou, my God, shouldst will to please me by 
satisfying my longings I see that I should be lost. How 
vain is man's wisdom ! How dangerous are his plans ! 
May Thy providence supply my need that I may serve 
Thee according to Thy will, not mine ! 

6. Punish me not by granting prayers or wishes at 
variance with Thy love, which I desire may ever dwell 
within me. Make me die to self ; let Another, greater 
and better for me than myself, live in me, that I may 
serve Him ; let Him live and give me life : 5 let Him 
reign that I may be His slave, — my soul seeks no other 
liberty, for how can he be free who is separated from the 
most High ? What more abject or miserable serf than the 
soul which has broken loose from the hands of its Creator ? 

7. Happy the souls imprisoned by the fetters and 
chains of God's gifts and mercy, and too strongly bound 
and helpless to free themselves. " Love is strong as 
death and hard as hell." 4 

8. Oh, that we were but slain by this love, and plunged 
in this divine hell, from whence, ah, from whence there 
is no hope of escape, or rather, no fear of being cast forth. 
But woe is me, Lord ! during this mortal life we live in 
constant danger of losing the life that is eternal. 

* Gal. ii. 20 : Vivo autem jam non ego, vivit veto in me Christus. 
4 Cant. viii. 6 : Quia fortis est ut mors dilectio, dura sicut in- 
fernus cBmulatio. 


9. O life, enemy of my joy, would that it were lawful 
to put an end to thee ! I endure thee, since God 
endures thee : I sustain thee, for thou art His ; do not 
betray nor harm me in return. And yet, Lord, " Woe 
is me that my sojourning is prolonged." 5 All time is 
short in exchange for Thine eternity, yet how long a day, 
or even an hour appears, laden with the risk and dread 
of offending Thee ! 

10. Free-will ! enslaved by thy liberty, unless established 
in the fear and love of thy Creator, when will that blessed 
day arrive in which, absorbed in the infinite ocean of 
supreme Truth, thou wilt no longer possess the power 
nor wish to sin, being freed from all misery, and united 
to the life of thy God ? 

11. God is happy, for He knows, loves, and rejoices in 
Himself, without the possibility of doing otherwise. He 
is not, nor can He be, at liberty to forget or cease to love 
Himself, nor would such power be a perfection in Him. 
Thou wilt enter into thy rest, my soul, when thou dost 
enter into closest intimacy with this Sovereign Good, 
when thou knowest what He knows, lovest what He 
loves, joying in what rejoices Him. 

12. Then thou wilt lose the fickleness of thy will ; 
then, ah then, wilt thou change no more for the grace 
of God will have been powerful enough to render thee 

8 Ps. cxix. 5 : Heu mihi, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est. 


so perfect a " partaker of His divine nature " • that thou 
wilt no longer have the power nor wish to forget the 
supreme Good, nor to cease to exult in Him and in His 
love. Blessed are those whose names are written in 
the book of life. 7 But, my soul, if thou art among their 
number, " Why art thou sad, and why dost thou trouble 


13. " Hope in the Lord, because I will yet confess to 
Him " • my sins and His mercies : of which I will make 
a song of praise, mingled with incessant sighs to Him, 
my Saviour and my God. It may be that a day will 
come when " my glory shall sing to Him " 18 and my 
conscience be no more " troubled," where all weeping 
and fears shall be no more. Meanwhile, " in hope and 
silence shall my strength be." " Rather would I live 
and die in the hope of eternal life than possess all created 
beings and riches, for they must all pass away. Forsake 
me not, O Lord, for " in Thee do I trust, let not my hope 
be confounded ! " li May I always serve Thee faithfully 
— then dispose of me as Thou wilt ! 

2 Pet. i. 4 : DivincB consortes natures. 

7 St. Luke x. 20 : Gaudete autem quod nomina vestra scripta 
sunt in ccelis. 

8 Ps. xli. 6 : Quare tristis es, anima mea ? et quare conturbas me ? 
* Ps. xli. 12 : Spera in Deo quoniam adhuc confitebor illi. 

'• Ps. xxix. 13 : Ut cantet tibi gloria mea. 

11 Is. xxx. 15 : In silentio et in spe erit fortitudo vestra. 

12 Ps. xxx. 2 : In te Domine speravi, non confundar in estemum. 



I have been a witness to the mercies that our Lord grants 
to souls He has called to these convents, which His 
Majesty has been pleased should be established according 
to the primitive Rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. So 
sublime are some of the Divine favours shown to several 
of the nuns that only those who realise the need of some- 
body explaining to them certain things which occur in 
the intercourse between Christ and the soul, can under- 
stand what these religious suffer for want of light. For 
several years He has made me take such delight in hearing 
and reading some of the texts in the Canticles of Solomon, 
that, although I cannot clearly understand the meaning 
of the Latin in Spanish, yet they impress and affect me 
more than many devotional books in my own tongue. 
This is usually the case, but although people have told 
me the sense of the words in Spanish, I do not grasp 
their meaning any better than before . . . 1 and without 
intending it, they withdraw my soul from Him. . . . 

1 The manuscript of Alba de Tormes, the only one to contain 
this Prologue, is incomplete here and at the end, part of the sheet 
being torn off. 



For the last two years, our Lord has enabled me to 
perceive unaided the doctrine contained in some of 
these texts, which I think would bring comfort to those 
sisters whom He leads in this way, and even to myself ; 
for sometimes He teaches me much on the subject that 
I should like to remember, yet I have never dared to 
write it down. By the advice of certain persons whom 
I am bound to obey, I will tell you some of the meanings 
that Christ taught me were contained in certain words in 
which my soul delighted during the state of prayer to 
which He has also raised some of the sisters in our con- 
vents, who are also my sisters. If it is given you to read, 
accept this poor little gift from her who desires for you, 
as for herself, all the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in Whose 
name I begin this book. Should I meet with any success 
in my attempt, it will not be through my own abilities. 
May His Majesty enable me to accomplish the work ! . . . 



Treats of the difficulty of understanding the meaning of 
the Holy Scriptures, especially the Canticle of Canticles. 
That some sentences contained in the latter, although 
they seem trite, homely, and unsuited to the most 
pure utterance of God and of His Spouse, yet comprise 
very holy mysteries and sublime ideas. 

1. Consolation to be found in the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures. 2. How to 
look upon these mysteries. 3. Misinterpretation of the Canticle of Canticles. 
4. Caused by our lack of love for God. 5. How the Canticles comfort 
devout souls. 6. They demonstrate God's love for us. 7. How profound 
are the mysteries of the Canticles. 8. Saint Teresa's plea for commenting 
on them. 9. Her apologies. 10. Whom the Bride addresses in the text 
quoted. 11. " Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth." 12. The 
" kiss " signifies peace. 13. The Canticles scandalise tepid souls. 14. 
They are meant for fervent souls. 


i. I have noticed especially that the soul appears by 
these words to be speaking with one person and asking 
a kiss from another. For the Bride says : " Let Him 
kiss me with the kiss of His mouth," and then appears to 

1 Cant. i. i : Osculetur me osculo oris sui : quia meliora sunt 
libera tua vino, 

8 "3 


address the person himself in the words : "for thy 
breasts are better than wine." I cannot understand 
this, and I am very glad of it. For the soul ought not 
so much to contemplate and honour God in those things 
that our grovelling intellects can master in this life, as 
in these problems that we cannot solve. When you read 
a book, or hear a sermon, or meditate on any of the 
mysteries of our holy faith, if you find you cannot clearly 
comprehend the matter, I strongly recommend you not 
to tire yourselves, nor to strain your minds by puzzling 
over it, for many of these things are not suited for women 
— nor men either, very often ! 

2. When our Lord wishes us to comprehend these 
matters, He will enlighten us with no labour of our own. 
This applies to women, and also to men who are not bound 
to defend the truth by their doctrine : those whom God 
has appointed for our teachers must necessarily study, 
and they gain by it. As for us, let us accept what He 
gives us in all simplicity, and not tire ourselves by trying 
to discover the rest ; let us rather rejoice at thinking 
that we have so great a God, Whose every word contains 
a thousand mysteries, so that its very first principle is 
beyond our grasp. This would not be surprising were 
the language Latin, or Hebrew, or Greek, but how many 
things in the Psalms of the glorious King David are as 
obscure to us in Spanish as they would be in Latin ! 
Therefore never rack your brain or tire yourselves about 


these matters ; for women need no more than what suits 
their capacity — with this, God will give us His grace when 
He chooses. He will teach us without any trouble or 
labour of our own. As for the rest, let us humble our- 
selves and, as I said, glory in having a God Whose words, 
even in the vulgar tongue, are beyond our understanding. 

3. You may think that some things in the Canticles 
might have been expressed differently. Our minds are 
so evil that this would not surprise me. I have even heard 
people say that they avoided hearing them. Alas, O 
God, what most miserable creatures we are : like veno- 
mous reptiles that turn all they eat into poison ! From 
the great favour our Lord does us in showing us the bliss 
enjoyed by the soul that loves Him and how He encourages 
it to converse with and delight in Him, we draw misgivings 
and mistaken ideas in accordance with our lukewarm 
love for Him. 

4. O my Master ! How we pervert all the blessings 
Thou bestowest on us ! Thou dost seek ways and means 
and allurements to testify Thy love for us, but we, unused, 
as it were, to love Thee, so disparage them that our 
thoughts follow their usual track, and never penetrate the 
sublime mysteries hidden in mere words, dictated as they 
are by the Holy Spirit. Could more be needed to inflame 
us with love for God than the thought that He did not 
adopt this way of speaking without a deep motive ? I 
remember once hearing a religious preach an excellent 


sermon, principally upon the joys of the bride with her 
God, and the congregation scandalised me by the way 
that they laughed at and misinterpreted his words — for 
he spoke about love because it was at the Mandatum * 
when no other subject was admissible. 

5. I am convinced, as I said, that the love of God is so 
strange a thing to us that we cannot believe that a soul 
could thus be intimate with God. But though these 
people gained no good from the words because they did 
not understand them, and I believe they fancied that 
the preacher invented them himself, yet others have 
drawn great profit and comfort and reassurance of their 
misgivings from this source, and have often thanked God 
for having left such gracious refuge and help to souls who 
love Him fervently, in words which testify how far He 
can abase Himself. Were it not for this, their fears 
could not be quieted. I am acquainted with some one • 
who felt very anxious for many years and nothing 
could reassure her until our Lord was pleased that she 
should hear certain passages from the Canticles which 
showed her that she was in the right path. For, as I 

2 The ceremony of the washing of the feet which is performed 
on Maundy Thursday in memory of our Lord's washing the feet 
of the apostles on the eve of His passion. It is called Mandatum 
(whence Maundy Thursday) from the antiphon sung on that 
ion, Mandatum novum do vobis — I give you a new command- 
ment. A sermon is sometimes preached during this ceremony. 

* The Saint evidently speaks here of her own experience. 


said, she knew that it is possible for a soul enamoured 
of the Bridegroom to experience these caresses, ecstasies, 
overmastering desires of death, and desolations, delights 
and joys with Him, once it has forsaken all worldly 
pleasures for His love and has placed itself entirely in 
His hands ; 4 resigning itself to His will — not in word 
alone as many do, but in very truth, confirmed by deeds. 

6. O my daughters, what a good Paymaster God is ! 
You have a Master and Bridegroom Whose notice nothing 
escapes, Who knows and sees everything, so do all you 
can, however little, for love of Him. He will reward you, 
for He will only look at the love which inspired your 
deeds. To conclude with, I advise you, whenever you 
meet with anything that you do not understand, either 
in the Holy Scriptures or the Mysteries of the Faith, not 
to stop to puzzle over it, as I said, nor to be shocked at the 
tender speeches which pass between God and the soul. 
I am more daunted and overcome at His love for us, 
seeing what we are, yet since He feels such affection, no 
endearing words can testify it so plainly as do His 
actions. And now, I beg you to pause a little, and think 
over the love of God for us, and what He has done for us. 
Seeing that His love was potent and resistless enough to 
make Him suffer thus, how can He amaze us by any 
words through which He utters it ? 

7. To return to what I was speaking of. There must 

* Castle, M. v. ch. ii. 5. 


needs be a deep meaning and profound mystery contained 
in the words of the Canticle of Canticles, and they are so 
precious that theologians, whom I have asked what the 
Holy Ghost signifies by them and what was their true 
purport, have told me that the Doctors of the Church 
have written many commentaries without succeeding in 
fully explaining them. 

8. Since this is the case, it seems excessively pre- 
sumptuous for me to attempt to elucidate the subject ; 
but this is not my design, nor, however wanting I may be 
in humility, do I suppose that I can penetrate the exact 
sense. My idea is, as I derive great pleasure from what 
our Lord makes me understand when I hear any part of 
the Canticles, that if I told you about it, it might perhaps 
comfort you as it does me. Though my commentary may 
not be applicable to the words of the Holy Scripture, yet 
I may take them in that sense, if I do not differ from the 
doctrine of the Church and the Saints — and men skilled 
in theology will examine my book to guard against this 
before it is shown you — I think our Lord authorises this, 
as He permits us, when meditating on His sacred Passion, 
to ponder over the many labours and torments He must 
have suffered which the Evangelists never mention. If 
we do not act from curiosity, as I said at first, but only 
accept the light God gives us, I feel certain that He will not 
resent our joy and comfort in His words and works. In 
the same way, it would please and amuse a king to see a 


simple shepherd boy, who was his favourite, standing 
amazed at the sight of the royal robes, wondering of what 
material they were, and how they were made. So we 
women need not be entirely shut out from enjoying the 
divine treasures ; as to discussing them and teaching 
others on the subject as if we thought we understood it 
without having consulted learned men — that is another 

9. God knows I do not expect such success in what I 
write — I am only like the shepherd lad I spoke of. It is a 
pleasure to relate my thoughts to you, although many of 
them are very foolish. So I will begin, with the aid of my 
Divine King, and the permission of my confessor. May 
God grant, since He has vouchsafed to let me succeed in 
aiding you (or has Himself aided you through me on 
your account) in other ways, that I may help you now. 
But if not, my time will have been well spent in writing 
and thinking over a subject so divine that I am unworthy 
even to hear it mentioned. 

10. It appears to me, as I said before, that the Bride 
is speaking of a third person who yet is the very same she 
is addressing, for in Christ there are two natures, one 
divine and the other human. I will not dwell on this, 
because I only intend writing of what appears profitable 
to us who practise prayer — yet everything serves to 
encourage and rouse to admiration the soul that fervently 
desires to love our Lord. His Majesty knows that, 


though I have heard these words expounded and they 
have been explained to me at my own request, yet this 
happened but rarely and I remember nothing at all 
about it, for my memory is very bad. Thus I can only 
say what He teaches me or what suits my purpose, and 
I cannot recall having heard anything about the beginning 
of the chapter : " Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His 

ii. O my Lord and my God ! What words for a creature 
to utter to its Creator ! Blessed be Thou for having 
taught us in so many different ways ! Who, O my King, 
who would dare to speak thus without Thy permission ? 
It is astounding ; indeed, some may be astounded at my 
saying that anyone may use such an expression. People 
may tell me that I am a simpleton — " that the bride 
would not utter such a speech," — " the words have many 
meanings and we certainly ought not to address them to 
God ; " — " it would be better that simple persons should 
not discuss such things ! " 

12. I own that the words have many meanings, yet 
the soul inflamed and intoxicated with love cares for no 
other meaning, and only desires to utter them, since God 
does not deprive her of the right of so doing. God help 
me ! Why should we be so amazed ? Is not the reality 
still more wonderful ? Do we not approach the most 
Blessed Sacrament ? I have sometimes wondered whether 
the Spouse was asking here for this favour which Christ 


afterwards bestowed on us ? At other times I have 
thought she might have meant the consummate union of 
God being made Man, that close friendship He contracted 
with the human race. Undoubtedly, a kiss is the sign of 
peace and friendship between two persons. May God give 
us grace to understand how many kinds of peace there are. 
13. Before going any farther, I have a remark to make 
which I think is important, although it would have been 
more appropriate at some other time ; however, I will 
run no risk of forgetting it. I feel sure that many souls 
approach the most Blessed Sacrament — would to God I 
were mistaken ! — laden with mortal sins. If such persons 
heard one who was dying for love of God utter the words 
I quote, they would be scandalised and would take it for 
extreme presumption. Most certainly they would never 
themselves use this expression, for it and others of the 
same sort contained in the Canticle of Canticles are uttered 
by love which speaks thus, and as such persons lack love, 
they might read the book every day and never use such 
expressions, nor even dare to pronounce the words whose 
very sound strikes one with awe, so sublime is their 
majesty. And this majesty is Thine, O my Lord ! in the 
most holy Sacrament, but as faith is no longer living 
but is dead in such souls, they, seeing Thee humbled 
beneath the species of bread and remaining silent (for 
indeed they are unworthy to hear Thee), dare thus griev- 
ously to outrage Thee. When I consider, O my God and 


my Lord ! the dignity of Thy divine Majesty and the 
greatness of Thy Sovereign bounty which lead Thee to 
communicate so intimately with base creatures, I ask 
myself how it is that they are not beside themselves with 
wonder and do not seek Thy grace and friendship with all 
their heart. For, not content with cherishing the soul 
and giving Thyself for its food and nourishment, Thou dost 
delight in its treating Thee as its tender and beloved 
Bridegroom and asking Thee to kiss it with Thy sweet 
and divine mouth. In order to bestow Thy gifts and 
favours and to draw it to Thy love, Thou dost speak 
to it and teach it with such care that the words addressed 
by Thee to souls to show them their faults, their miseries, 
and to lead them to renounce earthly things are usually 
of a kind of which the very sound penetrates the mind 
with fear. 6 

14. If these words were taken literally they might well 
awe the soul, yet to one beside herself with love of Thee, 
Lord, Thou mayest pardon this and even more, presump- 
tuous as it may be ! For if, my Lord, a kiss signifies peace, 
why should not souls ask it of Thee ? What more can we 
beg of Thee than what I plead to Thee for, O my Master, 
that Thou wilt kiss me with the kiss of Thy mouth ? 
This, daughters, is a most sublime petition, as I will 
explain to you. 

5 This paragraph, from the words "When I consider," to 
" with fear," is only found in the manuscript oJ 



Of nine sorts of false peace ; of defective love and fallacious 
prayer. This chapter contains very important teach- 
ing on genuine love, and on how souls should examine 
themselves so as to discover the defects that hinder 
them from attaining the perfection they desire. 

1 . Peace produced in souls by the devil. 2. Peace proceeding from laxity. 
3. Examples of this peace among religious. 4. Life must be a constant 
warfare. 5. Advantages of temptations and struggles. 6. Peace of soul 
and contrition. 7. Contrition a sign of spiritual life. 8. Preparation 
for this peace. 9. Dangerous peace. 10. Object of this treatise. 11. 
Riches disturb peace. 12. Peace and holy poverty. 13. Evils of flattery. 
14. Its treachery. 15. Our own nothingness. 16. Dangers of flattery. 
17. Bodily comfort and our Lord's example. 18. And that of the Saints. 
19. Consequences of self-indulgence. 20. Self-indulgence in religious. 
21. Various kinds of divine peace. 22. Peace with God. 23. Disposi- 
tions for obtaining it. 24. Habitual sin. 25. God is patient with us. 26. 
Venial sins and peace. 27. Their danger. 28. Worldliness and peace. 
29. Renouncement of the world. 30. An instance. 31. Self-deception 
difficult in religious life. 32. Human respect and perfection. 33. Peace 
disturbed by care for reputation. 34. Cautious souls. 35. Their want of 
trust. 36. The religious life and peace. 

i. God deliver you from many kinds of peace which 
the world enjoys ! may He prevent us from ever ex- 
periencing such peace, for it engenders a perpetual warfare ! 
When worldly minded people feel very placid although 
they commit heinous offences and are untroubled by their 
sins, so that conscience does not upbraid them, their peace, 
as you have read, comes from their being friends with the 
devil, who while they live will wage no war on them, for 
such is their malice that, to save themselves trouble, they 
would, to a certain extent, return to God although they 
do not love Him. Still, with such a motive as this, they 


never remain long in His service. As soon as the evil 
one notices it, he flatters their humour again, and so 
regains their friendship, until he holds them fast in the 
place where they learn how false was his peace. But it 
is needless to speak of such persons — let them enjoy 
their tranquillity — and I trust in God that no such 
harm will be found among you. 

2. The devil may give us another kind of peace re- 
specting insignificant defects, and we must fear him, 
daughters, as long as we live. When a nun begins to 
grow lax about what appear to be in themselves unim- 
portant things, and feels no remorse of conscience after 
some time, this is an evil peace, and Satan may bring her 
to a very wicked peacefulness. 

3. Such is the breach of some Constitution, which in 
itself is no sin, or carelessness in obeying the orders of a 
superior who is the representative of God, for we came 
here prepared to respect her wishes. There are other 
little matters which do not seem to be sinful, but which 
are imperfections. Such things must occur, because of 
the miseries of our nature : I do not deny this, but I say 
that we ought to be sorry for them and to know that we 
have done wrong ; otherwise the devil may bestir him- 
self and gradually make the soul insensible to these small 
defects, and when he succeeds in this, I assure you, my 
daughters, that he has gained no small victory, and \ 
fear he will not stop there. 


4. For the love of God, watch yourselves very carefully. 
There must be war in this life, for we cannot sit with our 
hands folded among so many enemies, but must keep 
constant watch over both our outward and inward con- 
duct. I assure you that even though our Lord may grant 
you favours during prayer, of which I shall speak later 
on, yet at other times there will be no lack of a thousand 
little stumbling-blocks and chances, such as breaking a 
rule through carelessness, not performing some duty as 
well as might be, besides internal troubles and temptations. 
I do not say this must always be the case, nor that it is 
very usual. Still, it is a signal mercy from our Lord when 
such trials occur l and the soul makes progress by their 
means. We cannot be angels in this world, for it is not 
our nature. 

5. Therefore I do not feel alarmed at seeing a soul 
greatly tempted, which will benefit it if it has the fear 
and love of our Lord, for I know it will come out with 
great gain. When I see anyone, like some people I have 
met, always calm and never meeting with any conflict, 
although I do not witness her offend God, yet I always feel 
misgivings about her, and, since the devil leaves her alone, 
I try to prove her in every possible way, so that she may 
discover what she really is. I have rarely known such 
cases, yet it is possible for the soul which God has raised 
to a high degree of contemplation to be in such a state. 

1 Life, ch. xxx. 17. Castle, M. iv. ch. i. 3. 


and enjoy constant interior happiness. For my part I do 
not believe that their case is thoroughly understood, and 
on investigating the matter, I have found that they have 
their little struggles at times, although not frequently. I 
have weighed the matter carefully, and I do not envy 
such persons, for I find others advance far more who 
sustain the combats that I have described, although 
their prayer is not such, in point of perfection, as we 
should expect it to be here. 

6. I do not allude to those who have attained great 
holiness and mortification by their long years of warfare ; 
they have died to the world, and our Lord usually gives 
peace, which, however, does not prevent their perceiving 
and grieving deeply over their faults. God guides souls 
in many different ways, daughters, yet I am always sorry 
when you feel no sorrow for any fault you have com- 
mitted, for you ought to take to heart every sin, even 
a venial one, as, glory be to God, I believe and see that 
you do. 

7. Notice one thing, and remember it for love of me. 
If a person is alive, however slightly you prick her with 
a needle or with a little thorn, the most slender you can 
find, does she not feel it ? Now, if the soul is not dead, but 
has a living love for God, is it not a great grace from Him 
that she should feel pained at the least infringement of 
the vows she has taken or the obligations she is under ? 
Oh ! is not the heart in which God implants such solicitude 


prepared by Him as a couch of flowers to which He cannot 
choose but come and delight Himself, long though His 
delay may be ? 

8. Alas, O my God ! Why are we nuns in our convent ? 
Why did we leave the world ? For what did we come ? 
How can we better spend our time than in preparing 
within our souls a dwelling-place for our Bridegroom, 
that we may be able to ask Him to " kiss us with the kiss 
of His mouth " ? Blessed will she be who makes this 
petition, whose lamp shall not have gone out when the 
Lord comes and who need not return to her home after 
having knocked. 2 O my daughters, in how high a state 
are we placed ! No one can prevent our saying these 
words to our Spouse, for we became His brides when we 
made our profession. 

9. Let scrupulous persons understand that I have not 
been speaking of an occasional fault, or of failings that 
cannot always be known or regretted ; I allude to a 
religious who habitually commits faults and takes no notice 
of them, thinking they are of no consequence, and who 
neither repents nor tries to amend them. I say once more 
that such a peace is dangerous, therefore beware of it. 
What, then, will become of those who are very lax about 
their Rule ? God grant there may be none of this kind 
among us ! Doubtless, the devil often gives such peace, 
and God permits it as a punishment for our sins, but there 

2 See Poem 13. 


is no need to discuss it here, as I only wished to give you 
a word of warning. 

10. We will now consider the peace which our Lord 
begins to grant us in prayer ; of this I will tell you as 
much as His Majesty shall be pleased to make me under- 
stand. On reflection, I think it best to say something 
here about the peace given by the world, and that pro- 
duced by our sensuality, for though it has been far better 
written about elsewhere, you may be too poor to buy the 
books, and perhaps no one will give them to you, but 
these writings will be kept in the convent and will contain 
both subjects. 

ii. We may be misled in many ways by worldly peace : 
from those I shall describe you may divine the rest. For 
instance — some people have all they require for their 
needs, besides a large sum of money shut up in their safe 
as well, but as they avoid mortal sin, they think they have 
done their duty. They enjoy their riches and give an 
occasional alms, yet never consider that their property is 
not their own, but that God has entrusted it to them as 
His stewards for the good of the poor, and that they will 
have to render a strict account of the time they kept it 
shut up in their money chests, if the poor have suffered 
from want on account of their hoarding and delay. We 
have no concern with this, except to ask God to enlighten 
such people lest they meet with the fate of the rich miser,* 
8 St. Luke xvi. 19-31. 


and to thank Him for making us poor, which we should 
hold as a special favour on His part. my daughters ! 
what a solace to be free from such burdens, even as re- 
gards this world's tranquillity, 4 and it is impossible to 
imagine what a difference it will make to us at the last 
day. The rich are slaves, while you are rulers : as a com- 
parison will show. Which is the more at ease, the gentle- 
man who finds his meals set ready for him or his steward 
who has to render an account of every maravedi ? The 
former enjoys his goods without counting the cost, but 
the burden falls on the poor steward's shoulders, and the 
greater the wealth, the heavier the responsibility. How 
often he must lose his sleep, especially when the time of 
reckoning comes, particularly if he has to balance up for 
several years, and has been more or less careless in the 
past. Then, if there is a large deficit, I cannot think how 
he can feel any peace. 

12. Read no further, daughters, without first thanking 
God very heartily. Be more strict than ever in your 
custom of holding no personal property. We are con- 
tented to eat whatever our Lord provides, and as He will 
let us want for nothing, we need not be anxious about 

4 Life, ch. xi. 3. Way of Perf., ch. xxxviii. 10. Castle, M. hi. 
ch. ii. 4. Letter to Don Lorenzo de Cepeda of January 2, 1577. 

5 The poverty practised by the holy Mother, says Yepes, was 
extreme, if such a word can be applied to so great a virtue. She 
often left her convent without any provision for the journey, 
yet neither the things she needed nor her trust in God ever failed 
her. She took most pleasure in those convents that were founded 



superfluities. His Majesty has taken good care that we 
sbould possess nothing we might feel constrained to give 
away. The principal point is, daughters, that we should 
be satisfied with little ; we ought not to want anything for 
which we should be bound to render a strict account, as a 
rich man must, even though his money is not in his own 
care, but in that of his major-domo. And what a strict 
reckoning that will be ! If only he realised it, he would not 
enjoy his luxurious meals so much, nor squander his 
means in useless and frivolous ways. As for you, my 
daughters, always try to be as poor as you can, both in 
your food and clothing, otherwise you will cheat yourselves, 
for God will not give you more, so you will remain un- 
satisfied. Always endeavour not to take the food of the 
poor without having served His Majesty, 6 although all 
that you can do will be but a scanty return to God for 
the peace and rest which He bestows on you because you 

deepest penury, and used to say that the only things 
required for a foundation were a small bell and a house on hire. 
Once, when founding a convent she rejected the offer of a counter- 
pane and a brasier, as she thought both these articles unsuitable 
for J >iscal< ed nuns. She also refused other gifts of greater value, 
for she shunned riches as other people seek them. An instance 
ild by the Duchess of Alva, Dona Maria Knriquez, who, 
knowing her need and poverty, gave her some valuable jewels 
which the holy Mother received with gratitude, as she did not 
i appear to despise the presents, yet on taking leave of her 
hostess she handed them to the waiting maid with an injunction 
to return them to the Duchess {Life, bk. ii. ch. 36). 
6 Way of Perf., ch. ii. 6, 7. 


will have to render no account of riches. I know that 
you understand this, but you must from time to time 
render special thanks to Him on this account. 

13. It is needless for me to warn you against the earthly 
peace which comes from honours, because the poor never 
meet with much honour. 7 However, unless you are 
careful, praise from others may harm you greatly, for 
when once it begins it never ceases, and generally ends in 
running you down afterwards. This usually takes the 
form of telling you that you are more holy than others, : 
and such-like nattering speeches which seem to have been 
inspired by the devil. Indeed, they must be, sometimes, 
for if they were said in your absence it would not matter, 
but when uttered in your hearing, what other fruit can 
they produce but evil, unless you are most wary ? 

14. For the love of God, I implore you never to find 
your peace in such speeches, for they might gradually do 
you so much mischief that at last you would come to 
believe them, or to think you had done all you need, and 
that your work was finished. Never let such things be 
said of you without strongly repudiating them ; you can 
easily do this if you make it your constant practice. Re- 
member how the world treated our Lord Jesus Christ, 
yet how it had extolled Him on Palm Sunday ! Men so 
esteemed St. John Baptist as to mistake him for the 
Messiah, yet how barbarously and for what a motive they 

7 Way of Perf., ch. ii. 5. 


afterwards beheaded him ! Never does the world exalt 
any of the children of God, save to dash them down again ! 

15. I know this well by experience. I used to regret 
that people praised me so blindly, but now I laugh as at 
the words of a madman. Remember you: sins, and that, 
even if there is some truth in what is told you, the good is 
not your own, but you are only under an obligation of 
serving God more strictly. 8 Dread lest you should take 
pleasure in this treacherous kiss given by the world ; 
look upon it as the kiss of Judas ; although no harm may 
be meant by it, the devil is always on the alert and may 
despoil your soul unless you defend yourself. 

16. Believe me, in such a case you must stand ready 
with the sword of recollection in hand. Although you 
may think that no harm is done you, do not trust to that 
— remember how many who stood on the heights have 
fallen into the abyss. There is no safety during this life, 
but for the love of God, sisters, always struggle within your 
own heart against these dangerous flatteries ; then you will 
come forth with deeper humility, and the devil, who has 
been watching both you and the world, will be crestfallen. 

17. I could say much about the peace our bodies can 
bring us, and the harm that results. I will give you some 
warnings upon certain points which will guide you about 
the rest.* The body, as you know, is very fond of comfort, 

8 Way of Perf., ch. xv. 4, 5, Rel. i. 18, 19. 
• Ibid., ch. x. 4, 5 ; xi. 4. 


and we ought to realise the great danger of pacifying it. 
I often wonder, and never can understand, how self- 
indulgent persons can feel so peaceful and at rest. Did 
the most sacred body of our great Model and Light merit 
less enjoyment than do ours ? Had He done aught to 
deserve the cruel sufferings it bore ? 

18. The Saints are in heaven, this is certain ; have we 
read of any who got there by living luxuriously on earth ? 
Then, how can we feel so easy about doing so ? Who told 
us that it was right ? How is it that some men squander 
their time uselessly in eating and sleeping well and in 
amusement and ease ? I am amazed at it. One would 
suppose there was no future world, and that this was the 
safest way to live ! 

19. Daughters, if you only knew what harm there is in 
this ! While the body grows sturdy the soul becomes so 
enfeebled that, if we saw it, we should fancy it was about 
to become extinct. Many books warn us of the injury 
done us by finding our peace in bodily comfort. If men 
only realised it was wrong, there would be some hope of 
their amending, but I fear the idea never occurs to them, 
nor am I surprised, since the habit is so universal. I 
assure you that though they may enjoy physical ease, 
they will have a thousand struggles to go through in order 
to save their souls. It would be better for them to 
understand this and to do the penance by degrees which 
will one day come upon them all at once. 


20. I have told you this, daughters, to make you thank 
God for placing you where your body could not find such 
peace, even if you sought it. Yet it could harm you un- 
consciously under the pretext of illness, and there is need 
to warn you urgently against this. For instance, it 
might injure you to take the discipline on a certain day, 
but perhaps there is no necessity to leave it off a whole 
week. Again, it would harm you not to wear linen, but 
you need not do so for several days. On another occasion 
you cannot eat fish, yet it would not disagree with you 
when your digestion became used to it. You may fancy 
you are too weak for this and a great many other things. 
I am experienced, and I know that nuns are sometimes 
unaware of how important such things are when there is no 
urgent need of such dispensations. What I say is, that 
we ought not to be content with such relaxations, but 
should, from time to time, try whether we can fulfil our 
duties : flesh and blood are very treacherous, and there is 
need for us to recognise this. May God, of His great bounty, 
give us light ! Prudence and confidence in our superiors' 
judgment instead of our own are the important points. 

21. To return to my subject. By describing the special 
peace she asks for in the words, " Let Him kiss me with 
the kiss of His mouth," the Bride shows that our Lord 
has other ways of bestowing His peace and friendship. I 
will describe some of them so that you may see the differ- 
ence and realise the, sublimity of this kind. O great God 


and Lord of ours ! How profound is Thy wisdom ! Well 
might she say : " Let Him kiss me!" Yet it seems as if 
she might have concluded her petition here, for what is 
the meaning of " the kiss of His mouth " ? Undoubtedly 
there is no superfluous letter in these words. I do not 
understand her reason, yet I will write something on the 
subject ; as I said, it matters little if it is not the exact 
meaning so long as it profits us. 

22. Our King confers His peace and friendship on the 
soul in many ways, as we see daily, both during prayer 
and at other times, but our peace with Him hangs by a 
single hair, as the expression is. Consider, daughters, the 
meaning of these words, so that you may utter them with 
the Bride, if our Lord should draw you near to Himself ; if 
not, do not lose courage. Every kind of friendship with 
God will leave you rich in gain, unless of your own accord 
you forfeit it. But how deeply should we grieve and 
regret it if, through our own fault, we do not attain to 
such close friendship with Him, but content ourselves 
with a slighter intimacy. 

23. Alas, Lord ! Do we not remember how great are 
the reward and the goal ? A reward which, when our 
friendship has attained to this grade, is bestowed on us by 
God even in this world ! How many remain at the foot of 
the mountain who might have climbed to its summit ! I 
have often told you in the other little works I have written, 
and I now repeat it : always make courageou s resolutions, 


for then God will give you grace to act accordingly. 10 
Rest assured that much depends on this. 

24. There are people who, though they have attained 
to friendship with God, for they confess their sins sincerely 
and repent of them, yet before two days are over, commit 
the same faults again. This is certainly not the friendship 
for which the Bride petitions. O daughters ! try not 
to take the same fault to confession every time. It is true 
that we cannot help committing sins, but at all events let 
them not always be identical, lest they take root, for it 
would be hard to pull them up, and they may even send out 
many off -shoots. If we set a plant or a shrub and water 
it every day, it will grow so sturdy that we shall want a 
spade and a fork to tear it up. This appears to be the 
case with any fault, however small, that we commit daily, 
unless we amend it ; though it is easy to uproot it when it 
has only grown for a day or even for ten days. We must 
pray to our Lord to grant us this amendment, for on 
our own account we can do little, except add to our sins 
instead of giving them up. Remember that this will be 
of no small consequence to us in the terrible judgment at 
the hour of death, especially to those whom the Judge 
made His brides during their lifetime. 

25. O great and marvellous condescension ! that God 
should invite us to endeavour to please our Lord and 
King ! Yet how ill do those requite His friendship who so 

10 Life, ch. xiii. 3. Way of Perf.. c\\. xxiii. 1, 3. 


soon again become His mortal enemies ! Great indeed is 

the mercy of God ! Where can we find a friend so patient ? 

When once such a severance has occurred between two 

companions it remains unforgotten and their friendship 

is never so close as before. Yet how often does such a 

breach occur between us and our Lord, and how many 

years does He await our return ! Blessed be Thou, my 

Master, W T ho art so long-suffering in Thy pity for us that 

Thou seemest to forget Thine own greatness, and dost not, 

as Thou hast the right, chastise such faithless treason ! 

The state of such souls seems full of peril, for though 

God's mercy is manifest, yet sometimes we see them die 

without confession. May He, for His own sake, deliver 

us, daughters, from such danger ! 

26. A better sort of friendship is that of persons who are 

careful not to offend God mortally — indeed, as the world 

goes, it is a great thing for souls to have got so far. Though 

such people avoid grave faults, yet I believe they fall into 

them occasionally, for they care nothing about venial 

sins, although they commit many every day, and are thus 

on the point of mortally offending God. 11 They ask : " Do 

you scruple about that ? " (as I have heard many people 

say) ; "this fault will be effaced with a little holy water 

and the remedies of our holy Mother Church." 12 How 

very sad this is ! 

» Way of Perf., ch. xK. 3. 

18 St. Teresa had great confidence in the efficacy of holy water. 
— Life, ch. xxxi. 4-5, 9-10. 


27. For the love of God, be most watchful : never let 
the thought of so simple a remedy make you careless about 
committing a venial sin, however small ; what is good 
ought not to lead us into evil. If you remember this 
resource after you have fallen — well and good ! It is a 
great thing to preserve so pure a conscience that th< 
nothing to hinder your asking for the perfect friendship 
desired by the Bride. Most certainly, the state described 
is not this amity, but a very dangerous one for many 
people, tending to self-indulgence and likely to lead to 
great tepidity, nor are they always certain whether their 
faults are venial or mortal. God deliver you from such a 
friendship ! for these souls think they have not committed 
such grievous sins as they see in others. To hold others 
worse than oneself is a want of humility, 15 while, perhaps, 
they may be far better, being deeply sorry and contrite 
for their misdeeds, and more firmly resolved than their 
critics to amend, so that in future, perhaps, they will offend 
God neither in light nor in grave matters. The first men- 
tioned, as they think that they do no serious wrong, are 
much more lax in indulging themselves : they rarely say 
their prayers devoutly, as they do not trouble themselves 
about such details. 

28. There is another kind of friendship and peace that 
our Lord bestows partially upon certain persons who 
wish not to offend Him in any way, yet who do 

18 Castle, M. iii. ch. ii. 19. 


not completely withdraw themselves from occasions of 
falling. 14 They keep their set times for prayer and God 
grants them the gift of devotion and tears, yet they 
wish to spend good and regular lives without giving up 
their pleasures, which they think will conduce to their 
living in peace even in this world. But the events of 
life bring many changes and it will be hard for such 
souls to persevere in virtue ; for, not having given up 
earthly joys and pleasures, they soon grow lax on the 
road to God, from which there are many powerful foes 
to turn us. This, daughters, is not the amity asked 
for by the Bride, nor that you wish for yourselves. 
Avoid every slight occasion of evil, however insignificant, 
if you are anxious for your soul to grow in grace and 
to live in safety. 

29. I do not know why I tell you all these things, 
except to teach you the danger of not resolutely leaving 
all worldly things, by which we should free ourselves 
from many sins and troubles. Our Lord has so many 
ways of contracting friendship with souls that I should 
never finish telling about those I know, though I am 
only a woman. Of how many more, then, must confessors 
and those who study the subject be aware ? 

30. I am astonished at some souls, for there seems 
nothing to prevent their becoming the friends of God. 
I will mention one person of this sort whom I knew 

14 Way of Perf., ch. xxxvi, 2-7. 


very intimately a short time ago. She liked to receive 
Holy Communion very frequently ; never spoke ill of 
anyone, and felt great devotion during prayer. She 
lived alone in continual solitude, for she had a house 
of her own, and she was so sweet-tempered that nothing 
that was said ever vexed her, which is a very great virtue, 
nor did she ever say anything wrong. She had never 
married, and was now too old to do so. She had suffered 
much annoyance from others, yet had kept her peace. 
These appeared to me signs of a soul far advanced in 
the spiritual life and in a high state of prayer, so that 
at first I had a very good opinion of her, for I never 
saw her offend God, and I was told that she carefully 
avoided doing so. But, on knowing her better, I began 
to discover that she was peaceful enough as long as 
nothing touched her self-interest, but when that was in 
question, her conscience lost its sensitiveness and became 
extremely lax. She bore patiently what was said to her, 
but was jealous of her honour and would not willingly 
yield one jot nor tittle of her dignity or the esteem 
of the world, so wrapt up was she in this miserable senti- 
ment. Her anxiety to know all the current gossip was 
so great that I wondered how she could remain alone 
for an hour ; besides which she was very fond of comfort. 
She gilded over all her actions so that they seemed blame- 
less, and, according to her own account of some affairs, 
I thought it would have been wrong of me to judge 


otherwise, yet in certain matters it was notorious that 
she was in the wrong ; — however, perhaps, she did not 
understand it. At first I liked her very much, and most 
people took her for a saint, yet afterwards I thought 
she ought to have owned that she herself was partly 
in fault as regards some of the persecutions she told me 
she had suffered. I did not envy her sanctity nor her 
mode of life ; indeed, she and two other persons I have 
known who considered themselves saints, when I became 
intimate with them struck me with greater fear than all 
the sinners I ever met. 

31. Let us beg God to enlighten us ; and thank Him 
fervently for having brought you to this convent, where, 
however hard the devil tries, he cannot deceive us as if 
we lived in our own homes. Some souls seem quite 
ready to soar to heaven, since they are perfect in every 
way in their own opinion and there is no one to know 
better ; yet in a religious community they are always 
detected, for there they must obey instead of following 
their own way. But in the world, although they sincerely 
wish to know themselves in order to please God, yet they 
cannot do so, because they follow their own will in 
everything they do, and although it may be crossed at 
times, yet they are not so exercised in mortification. 
Certain persons are to be excepted who for many years 
have received divine light to seek some one who under- 
stands them, to whom they submit although they may 


be more learned than he, for their great humility destroys 
all self-confidence. 

32. There are other people who have left everything 
for our Lord ; they possess neither home nor belongings, 
and care nothing for pleasure or worldly matters, but 
are penitent, because our Lord has shown them the 
worthlessness of all these things. Still, they are very 
tenacious of their honour and value their reputation ; 
they will do nothing that does not please men as well 
as God. How discreet and prudent they are ! These 
two objects are hard to reconcile, and the mischief is 
that, half-unconscious of their error, they always take 
the world's side in preference to our Lord's. They are 
generally very grieved if anything is said against them. 
They do not carry the cross but drag it after them, and 
so it pains and wearies them, but when it is loved it is 
undoubtedly sweet to bear. Neither is this the friend- 
ship the Bride asked for ; therefore, daughters, since you 
have made the sacrifice I spoke of in the beginning of 
this book, 15 do not fail or hesitate to yield the rest. 
All such things would burden you if you have forsaken 
the chief thing in giving up the world with its joys, its 
pleasures and riches, which, false as they are, still delight 
us — what have you to fear ? 

33. You do not understand the question. To free 
yourself from the vexation of being found fault with, 

16 Supra, § 7. 


you burden yourselves with a thousand cares and 
obligations. These are so numerous, if we seek to please 
society, that it would take too long to describe, nor do I 
even know them all. 

34. To conclude with, there are other souls in whom, 
if you examine them attentively, you will find many 
signs that they are beginning to make progress, yet 
they stop midway. They care little for what is said of 
them, or for honour, but are unused to mortify themselves 
or to renounce self-will, and have not yet lost all fear 
of temporal evils. Prepared to suffer all things, they 
have apparently reached perfection, yet in grave matters, 
when our Lord's honour is at stake, they prefer their 
own interests. They do not realise it, but imagine 
that they fear God and no one else. It seems as if the 
devil must suggest to them the drawbacks they prophesy 
a thousand years beforehand concerning the great 
harm that may result from some good work. 

35. These are not the souls to imitate Saint Peter when 
he cast himself into the sea, 16 or to follow many other 
of the saints. They wish to draw others to God, but 
to do so peacefully without running into danger them- 
selves, nor does their faith influence their motives very 
powerfully. I have noticed that we rarely see anyone 
in the world (I am not speaking now of religious) who 
trusts to God for maintenance ; indeed, I only know 
16 St. John xxi. 7. 


two such persons. People know that they will want 
for nothing in religion, although I believe that no one 
who enters it purely for the sake of God even thinks of 
this. Yet how many are there, daughters, who but for 
this assurance would not forsake all they possess ! 
However, as in my other writings I have spoken fully 
about such cowardly souls 17 and the harm they do 
themselves, and also of the great advantage of having 
high aims although our actions may not correspond 
with them, I will say no more about them, though I 
should never grow tired of the subject. 

36. Since God has raised souls to this high state, let 
them serve Him in it and not remain shut up in themselves. 
If religious (and nuns especially) cannot help their 
neighbour personally, they have much power to do so 
by prayer, if their resolutions are heroic and their wish 
of saving souls is sincere. Our Lord may even permit 
them to be of some service to others, either during this 
life or after death, as He did the holy friar Saint Diego, 18 
who was a lay-brother and only did manual work. Yet, 

17 Way of Per/. See chapters ii., iv., xxxiv., and xxxviii. 

18 St. Diego (or Didacus), born in Andalusia, became a Franciscan 
lay-brother at Arizafa, where he led a most holy life. Though 
uneducated, he obtained so much light in prayer that theologians 
from all parts consulted him on difficult questions. Having been 
sent to the Canary Islands, he converted many infidels. Still 
a lay-brother, he was made Guardian. He was eventually re- 
called to Spain and died at Alcala de Henares, November 12, 1463. 
Among other miracles he cured Don Carlos of a mortal wound, 


many years after his decease, God has revived his memory 
to be our example. Let us give thanks to His Majesty. 
Therefore, my daughters, if our Lord has called you to 
the religious state, there is little wanting to obtain for 
you the friendship and peace desired by the Bride. Ask 
for it unceasingly with tears and longing ; do all you can 
on your part to gain it from God. You must understand 
that the state of religion is not in itself the peace and 
amity begged for by the Spouse, although such a vocation 
is a signal and divine favour ; but this friendship is 
the result of much practice in prayer, penance, humility 
and many other virtues. May God, the Giver of all 
things, be praised eternally ! Amen. 


Of the genuine peace, oneness with Christ, and love for 
God which spring from the prayer of union, called 
by the Bride " the kiss " from the divine " mouth." 

1. Fervour produced by the " kiss." 2. Signs thai a soul has received it. 3. 
Comparison of the slave's ransom. 4. St. Paulinus of Nola. 5. Diffidence 
and contrition. 6. Holy confidence. 7. Friar Juan of Cordobilla. 8. 
Graces left by the " kiss." 9. The flesh wars against the spirit. 10. This 
appears in the Passion. 11. Strength won by determination. 12. Our 
blindness to divine love. 13. A prayer for peace. 


i. O holy Bride ! Let us now ponder over the kiss you 

for which reason the latter's half-brother, Philip II., obtained his 
canonisation in 1558. His feast is kept on November 13. 


ask for, which is that sacred peace that encourages the 
soul to wage war with the world, while yet preserving 
perfect confidence and calm within itself. What a 
happy lot for us to win this grace ! It consists in so 
close a union with God's will that He and the soul are 
no longer divided, but their will is one ' — not in words 
and wishes only, but in deeds as well. When the Bride 
sees that she can serve the Bridegroom better in any 
way, so ardent are her love and desires that she discusses 
no difficulties raised by her mind nor listens to the fears 
which it suggests, but allows faith to act, seeking no 
profit or comfort of her own, having learnt at last that 
her welfare consists entirely in this. 

2. This may not seem right to you, daughters, for 
prudence is always commendable, but the point to con- 
sider is whether, as far as you can tell, God has granted 
your petition and kissed you with " the kiss of His 
mouth." If the effects prove that He has done so, you 
should no longer curb your zeal in any way, but forget 
self altogether in order to please so gentle a Bridegroom. 
His Majesty reveals Himself by many signs to the soul 
which enjoys this favour. 2 You must examine this point 
for yourselves — at least as far as the thing is possible — 
by noticing the effects produced in the soul. Evidently 

1 Life, ch. xviii. 4 sqq. Castle, M. v. ch. ii. 4-6 ; ch. iii. 6 sqq. 
* The following passage, till " I will mention some " — is only 
in the manuscripts of Las Nieves and Consuegra. 


we cannot know for certain, for it concerns a state superior 
to the state of grace and resulting from a very special 
aid from God. I say that we can, to a certain 
degree, ascertain by the effects whether His Majesty 
has bestowed this favour on us, because God grants so 
high a blessing to the soul in proportion to the strength 
of its virtue. Such a soul, while recognising by its 
interior light that the Lord has given it the peace craved 
for by the Bride, cannot but doubt the fact at times on 
realising its own miseries. When you are aware, sisters, 
that you have received such a grace, let nothing daunt 
you, but forget self entirely in order to please so tender 
a Spouse. Perhaps you will ask me to explain myself 
more fully, and to tell you which virtues I allude to; 
and you will be right, for there are divers kinds of 
virtue. I will mention some. One is a contempt for 
all earthly things, which the mind rates at their true 
price, no longer caring for worldly possessions as it 
realises their futility. Such a person takes no pleasure 
in the society of those who do not love God, and is weary 
of life, holding riches at the esteem they deserve, and 
showing other sentiments of the same kind, taught by God 
to those whom He has led so far. Once raised to this 
state the soul has nothing to fear, except that it may 
fail to deserve that God should make use of it by sending 
it crosses and occasions of serving Him at however dear 
a cost to itself. Here, I repeat, love and faith take 


control, and the soul does not choose to take counsel 
from reason. For the union between the Bridegroom 
and His Bride has taught her things to which the mind 
cannot attain, so to say, so that she holds it subject 
beneath her feet. 

3. Let me explain this by a comparison. The Moors 
hold captive in their land a man whose only hope of 
rescue lies in being redeemed by his father or an intimate 
friend ' who is so poor that all his belongings would not 
suffice to emancipate the slave, so that this could only 
be done by the ransomer exchanging places with the 
prisoner. The strong affection of the former prompts 
him to prefer his friend's freedom to his own. Then 
discretion steps in with its many pleas, declaring: " You 
are bound to care for your own interests first ; perhaps 
you are weaker than he and you might deny your faith ; 
it is wrong to run into danger," with many other objections 
of the kind. Oh, powerful love of God ! nothing seems 
impossible to one who loves ! Happy the soul that has 

8 This comparison must have had a much greater force in the 
days of St. Teresa than it can have at present. Father Gratian, 
who first published the Conceptions, fell himself into slavery among 
the Moors, and the picture he draws in his Peregrinaciones de 
Anastasio makes one realise the horror of the situation, the 
barbarous treatment of the captives, the dangers to life, limb 
and faith, the difficulties of ransom. The church of San Juan 
de los Reyes at Toledo contains an object leseon : its walls are 
hung with thousands of heavy chains offered up in thanksgiving 
t>y ransomed captives. 


won this peace from its God ! It holds sway over all 
the trials and dangers of the world, and fears nothing 
when there is a question of rendering any service to 
its faithful Spouse and Lord. Well may it be thus 
confident, for even the father or friend of whom I spoke 
felt such love ! 

4. You have read, daughters, of a certain Saint * 
who, not for the sake of a son or a friend, but because 
he must have won the happiness of having received 
this divine grace, desired to please His Majesty and to 
imitate, in some degree, the many sufferings He bore 
for us. This holy man went into the country of the 
Moors, and exchanged places with the son of a poor 
widow who had come to him in great distress about her 
child. You know of the success and the reward with 
which he met. 5 Doubtless his mind presented to him 
many more objections than those I enumerated, for he 
was a bishop and had to leave his flock ; indeed he was 
probably beset by great misgivings. 

4 St. Gregory the Great narrates that St. Paulinus of Nola, 
having spent all the money he could raise in ransoming other 
captives, sold himself to the Vandals to redeem the son of a poor 
widow, and that he laboured as a slave, working in a garden until 
his master, discovering his merits and the spirit of prophecy with 
which he was endowed, set him at liberty {Dialogues, bk. iii. 
ch. i.). 

6 The passage beginning " Doubtless his mind," to the end 
of paragraph 6, is only in the manuscripts of Las Nieves and 


5. I must mention something which applies to those 
who are naturally timid and wanting in courage, as are 
most women constitutionally, so that, though their souls 
have genuinely been raised to this state, nature takes 
alarm. We must be on our guard, lest through our 
inborn frailty we lose a priceless crown. When these 
fears assault you, have recourse to faith and humility, 
and proceed to act with the confidence that God can do 
all things now, as when, in the past, He enabled many 
noble maidens to suffer the grievous torments they had 
resolved to undergo for His sake. What He wishes for 
is the resolution which makes Him Master of your free 
will, for He needs no strength of ours. Indeed, His 
Majesty prefers to manifest His power in feeble souls, 
where it has more scope for work, and where He can 
better bestow the graces He longs to give. Profit, then, 
by the virtues He has implanted in you, to act with 
determination and to despise the obstacles raised by 
your reason and by your natural weakness, which will 
increase if you stop to wonder " whether you had better 
venture upon this course or no, for perhaps you are too 
sinful to deserve the same aid from God that He gives 
to others " ! 

6. This is not the time to think about your sins ; 
such humility is out of time and place. When some 
great honour is offered you or the devil tempts you to a 
self-indulgent life, or other things of the same sort, then 


fear that your misdeeds would prevent your doing so 
with rectitude. But when it is a question of suffering, 
either for your God or your neighbour, feel no misgivings 
because of your sins. Perhaps you may perform this 
action with such charity that God will forgive, you all 
your bad deeds, and this is what Satan fears, and there T 
•fore reminds you of all your former wrongdoings. You 
may be sure that God will never desert those who love 
Him, when they incur danger solely for His sake. But 
let them examine whether they are influenced by selfish 
motives : I speak only of those who seek to please God 
more perfectly. 

7. I knew a man in our own times, Fray Juan of Cordo- 
billa, 6 whom you saw when he came to visit me, who 
was inspired by our Lord with such charity that he 
was bitterly grieved at not being allowed to go and 
exchange places with some captive. Juan was a lay- 
brother of the Barefooted Franciscans reformed by St. 
Peter de Alcantara, and told me himself all about it. 

6 The chronicle of the Friars of St. Peter de Alcantara says that 
Juan de Cordobilla (near Merida), who after the death of his wife 
had become a lay-brother, asked for leave to offer himself as a 
ransom for some Christian captive among the Moors. The 
superiors at first demurred, thinking him mad, but finally con- 
sented. His ship, having come within sight of the African coast, 
was driven back by a gale, and Juan, who was seized with fever, 
was landed at Gibraltar, where he died, October 28, 1566. As 
some of the nuns at Segovia had come from Avila, St. Teresa 
could well say : " You saw him when he,pme to visit me,/' 


After a great many appeals, he obtained leave from 
his General, but at about fifteen miles from Algiers, 
while on his way to accomplish his good purpose, God 
took him to Himself. Doubtless Fray Juan was gener- 
ously rewarded. How many prudent people must have 
told him that he was very foolish, and we who do not 
share his love for our Lord agree with them, yet what 
could be more unwise than to end our life's dream with 
such prudence ? God grant that we may deserve even 
to enter heaven, not to speak of ranking with souls so 
far advanced in their love for God ! 

8. I realise the need of strong help from Him that we 
may perform such deeds, therefore I advise you, my 
daughters, to persevere in begging from Him this delightful 
peace, which dominates the silly fears of the world, peace- 
fully and quietly making war on it. Is it not evident that 
God has endowed with great graces the soul which He 
has favoured so highly as to unite it to Himself in this 
close friendship ? For, most certainly, this is not our 
own doing : we can only pray and long for this mercy, 
and we need His help even for that. As for the rest, 
what power has a worm whose sins make it so cowardly 
and mean that we fancy all the virtues must be measured 
by the baseness of our human nature ? What can be 
done, daughters ? Pray with the Bride : " Let Him kiss 
me with the kiss of His mouth." 

9. If a poor little peasant wench were to marry the 


king, would not her children be of royal blood ? Then, 
if our Lord favours a soul by uniting it thus absolutely 
with Himself, what desires, what deeds, what heroic 
virtues will be the children born of the union, unless the 
soul put obstacles in the way ? ' Therefore I repeat 
it : if God shows you the grace of giving you an occasion 
of performing such actions for Him, do not recall to mind 
your past sins. Here faith must overcome our misery. 
Do not be alarmed if you are nervous and timid when 
first you determine to undertake such deeds, or even if 
these feelings should last, take no notice of them except 
to be on your guard more watchfully — let the flesh 
have its say. Remember the prayer of the good Jesus 
in the garden : " The flesh is weak," 8 and think of His 
wonderful and grievous sweat. If, as His Majesty said, 
His divine and sinless flesh was weak, how can our flesh 
be so strong, while we live in this world, as not to dread 
the persecutions and trials that menace it ? When 
they come, the flesh will become subject to the spirit ; 
for after our will has become united to the will of God, 
it will lament no more. 

10. It has just occurred to me that although our good 
Jesus showed human weakness before His sufferings, yet 
He was intrepid when plunged into the midst of them, 

7 The passage beginning " Therefore I repeat," to the end of 
paragraph it, is only in the manuscripts of Las Nieves and 

8 St Matt. xxvi. 41 : Caro autem infirma. 


for not only did He utter no complaint, but He showed 
no weakness in the way He bore them. On entering 
the garden He said: "My soul is sorrowful even unto 
death," * yet while dying on the cross He never 
murmured. He went to wake His Apostles during the 
prayer in the garden, but He had better cause to speak 
of His pain to His Mother while she watched at the foot 
of the cross, for she did not sleep — her soul suffered and 
died a bitter death. Yet the greatest consolation is 
to be found in seeking sympathy from those we know 
share our sorrows and love us most deeply. 

ii. Let us not trouble about our fears nor lose heart 
at the sight of our frailty, but strive to fortify our humility 
and be clearly convinced of how little we can do for 
ourselves, for without the grace of God we are nothing. 
Let us confide in His mercy and distrust our own strength 
in every way, because reliance on this is the root of all 
our weakness. It was not without strong reason that 
our Lord showed weakness, for it is plain that He Who is 
power itself could never feel fear. He acted thus to 
comfort us, to show that good desires must be carried 
out in deeds, and to make us recognise that when the 
soul first begins mortifying itself, it finds everything 
painful. It is a pain to give up pleasures ; a torment 
to forgo honour ; an intolerable trial to bear a hard 
word ; — in short, nothing but mortal sufferings. But 
9 St. Matt. xxvi. 38 : Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem. 


when once determined to die to this world, it is freed 
from all these ills, and no trials can make it complain. 
Now it has found the peace for which the Bride 

12. The " kiss of His mouth." Undoubtedly we should 
be enriched if we approached the most Holy Sacrament 
but once with great faith and love ; how much more as 
we receive it so often ? Apparently we frequent it 
only out of custom, and therefore gain but little light. 
O wretched world, who dost obstruct from thy dwellers 
the sight of the treasures by which they might purchase 
eternal wealth ! Ah, Lord of heaven and earth, is it 
then possible, during this mortal life, to enjoy such close 
friendship with Thee ? Clearly as the Holy Spirit states 
it in these words, we do not even wish to understand 
the meaning in the Canticle of Canticles of the caresses, 
the wooing, and the delights Thou dost bestow upon 
the soul. 

13. One speech of this sort should suffice to make us 
all Thine own. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, for nothing 
is wanting on Thy part ! In how many ways, by how 
many means and manners dost Thou show Thy love ! 
By Thy labours, by Thy bitter death, by the tortures 
and insults Thou didst bear, by the pardon Thou dost 
grant us, — and not by these alone, but by the words Thou 
dost utter and teach us to utter in these Canticles, which 
so pierce the soul that loves Thee, that I know not how 


it could endure them unless Thou didst afford it succour, 
not according to its merits, but as its weakness needs. I 
ask, then, O Lord, no more of Thee in this life except 
that Thou " kiss me with the kiss of Thy mouth," in 
such a way that, even if I wished, I could not separate 
myself from union and friendship with Thee. Grant 
that my will may be subject to and may never swerve 
from Thine, leaving nothing to prevent my saying with 
truth, O my God and my Glory, that " Thy breasts are 
better" and more delicious " than wine." 


Of the sweet and tender love of God which proceeds from 
His dwelling in the soul in the prayer of quiet, termed 
here " the divine breasts." 

1. " Thy breasts are better than wine." 2. These words apply to the 
prayer of quiet. 3. Its effects. 4. // confers happiness. 5. Other benefits. 
6. Mother and babe ; a comparison. 7. Earthly and heavenly joys. 
8. Rewards of self-surrender. 9. A prayer for divine union. 10. Insigni- 
ficance of our service. 11. Self-oblation. 


i. O my daughters ! What great mysteries are con- 
tained in these words ! May God permit us to experience 
them, for they are indescribable. When His Majesty in 
mercy answers this prayer of the Bride, He begins to enter 
into a friendship with her soul which, as I said, can be 

1 Cant, i 1 ; Meliora sunt ubera ina vino. 


understood only by those who have enjoyed it. I have 
written very fully about it in two books 2 which, if it 
be the will of God, will be given you after my death. 
The subject is there treated minutely and thoroughly, 
which I knew you would need, therefore I shall do no 
more than touch upon it now. I do not know whether 
I shall explain it here in the same words that our Lord 
was pleased that I should use then. 

2. The soul is now convinced, by a feeling of extreme 
internal sweetness, that it must be near our Lord. 3 This 
sweetness is not a simple feeling of devotion which moves 
us pleasantly so that we shed tears abundantly either 
over the Passion of our Lord or our past sins. In this 
state, which I call the ' ' prayer of quiet ' ' because of the 
peace it brings to the powers, the soul receives great 
consolations. Yet sometimes, when the spirit is not so 

2 Life, chapters xiv. and xv., xviii. and xix. Way of Perf. 
chapters xxx. and xxxi. 

3 " The soul in quietude before God insensibly imbibes the 
sweetness of His presence without reasoning about it. . . . It so 
joys in the sight of its Bridegroom's presence that reasoning on 
the subject would be superfluous. . . . The soul has no need of 
the memory during this repose, for her Lover is with her. Nor 
does she want the imagination, for what use is it to recall the 
image either exteriorly or internally of Him who is before us ? . . . 
O God, eternal God, when by Thy sweet presence Thou dost cast 
sweet perfumes within our hearts . . . the will, like the spiritual 
sense of smell, remains peacefully employed in realising, un- 
wittingly, the matchless blessing of having God present with the 
soul" (S. Francis of Sales, Treatise of the Love of God, bk. vi., 
ch. ix.). 


absorbed by sweetness, it enjoys in a different manner. 
The whole creature, both body and soul, is enraptured 
as if some very fragrant ointment, resembling a delicious 
perfume, 4 had been infused into the very centre of the 
being, or as if we had suddenly entered a place redolent 
with scents coming not from one, but from many objects ; 
we do not know from which it rises nor what it is, although 
it entirely pervades our being. 5 So it is with this most 
sweet love of our God : with the greatest suavity it 
enters the soul, which feels happy and satisfied, but 
cannot understand the reason nor how this great good 
entered it. 

3. The soul fears losing it, and is loath to move or 
speak or even to look about, lest it should disappear. 
But I have explained in my other writings how to behave 
in order to benefit by this favour, which I only mention 
here that you may understand what I am describing. 
I will therefore merely say that our Lord thus shows that 
He desires so close a friendship with the soul that nothing 
may come between them. Great truths are here im- 
parted to the mind, which, although too dazzled to realise 
what the light is, now perceives the vanity of the world. 

4 Castle, M. iv. ch. ii. 6 ; M. vi. ch. ii. 1.4. 

6 " Often, by the suddep visitation of God, we arc filled with 
perfumes sweeter than any made by man, so that the soul is 
enraptured with delight and, as it were, caught up into an ecstasy 
of spirit, becoming unconscious that it still dwells in the flesh" 
(Cassian, Conferences, iv. ch. v. Migne, P.L., t. xlix. c. 589). 


The soul does not see the good Master who teaches it, 6 
although clearly conscious of His presence. Still, it is 
left with greatly increased knowledge and such growth 
and strength of virtue as to be unable to recognise its 
former self. The one desire of such a person is to praise 
God, and while in this excess of delight she is so inebriated 
and absorbed as to appear beside herself. Indeed, she 
seems in a state of divine intoxication, and does not 
know what she wants, or says, or for what she asks. In 
short, she is unconscious of self, and yet not so absorbed 
but that she understands something of what is happening. 
4. When, however, this most wealthy Bridegroom wishes 
to enrich and caress her still more, He so draws her to 
Him that she is like a person fainting with extreme joy 
and pleasure. 7 The soul appears to itself to be upheld 
in those divine arms and pressed to His sacred side 
and divine breasts. It only knows how to enjoy, sus- 
tained as it is by the divine milk with which its 
Spouse continues to nourish it, 8 and to increase its 

6 Life, ch. xiv. 8, 9. Way of Perf., ch. xxxi. 1. ■ " The Babe 
himself gave Simeon light to recognise Him, as He enlightens the 
soul to recognise Him during the prayer of quiet." 

7 Way of Perf., ch. xxv. 1. 

8 Isaias lxvi. 12, 13 : Ad libera portabimini, et super genua 
blandientur vobis. Quomodo si cut mater blandialur, ita ego 
consolabor vos, et in Jerusalem consolabimini . St. Thomas Aquinas 
remarks that in the preceding degrees the soul loves and is beloved 
in return ; it seeks and is sought for, calls and is called. But 
in this, in some wonderful and unspeakable manner, it rises and 


virtues that He may caress it more, and that it may 
deserve daily to receive new favours from Him. On 
awaking from this slumber and heavenly inebriation, it 
feels amazed and confused, and I think that, in a sacred 
frenzy, it might then utter the words : ' ' Thy breasts are 
better than wine." 

5. For when first the spirit felt carried out of itself, 
nothing higher seemed possible of attainment ; but now, 
rinding itself in a higher state and plunged in the unspeak- 
able greatness of God, and seeing how it has been nour- 
ished, it makes the tender comparison : ' Thy breasts 
are better than wine." For, as an infant does not know 
how it grows or is nourished — indeed often, without 
any effort of its own, the milk is put into its mouth — so 
it is in this case with the graces infused into the soul ; 
it knows nothing itself, nor does anything, and is unable 
to perceive whence, nor can it imagine how, this great 
good came to it. It only realises that this is the keenest 
delight that can be felt in this life, even if all the world's 
joy and happiness could be enjoyed at once. The soul 
finds that it has been strengthened and benefited without 
knowing how it has merited such a boon. It has been 
taught great truths without seeing its Teacher, and been 
confirmed in virtue and caressed by Him Who best knows 
how, and Who has the power to do so. It knows not 

is upraised, seizes and is seized, and is united by the bond of love 
to God, in solitude with Him. Opusc. 65. 


to what to compare this except the endearments of a 
mother who tenderly loves her child, and feeds and 
fondles it. 1 

6. This metaphor is most appropriate, for the soul is 
upraised without using the powers of the mind, much 
in the same way as a babe, who when he is thus feasted 
and pleased, yet has not the intelligence to grasp the 
reason why. But the soul was not quite so passive in 
the preceding state of slumber and intoxication, for it 
was not entirely quiescent, but both thought and acted 
to a certain extent. Realising its nearness to God, 
it cries with truth : " Thy breasts are better than 
wine." 10 What a favour is this, my Spouse ! what a 
delicious banquet and what precious wine dost Thou 
give me, one drop of which makes me forget all created 
things and go forth from all creatures and from myself, 
no longer to crave for the pleasures and delights that my 
sensual heart has longed for until now ! Great is this 
favour and unmerited by me ! Since His Majesty has 

• Way of Perf., ch. xxxi. 7. Castle, M. iv. ch. iii. 9. The 
following paragraph is from the manuscripts of Las Nieves and 

10 Way of Perf., ch. xviii. 1. Castle, M. v. ch. i. 10 ; ii. n. 
" The bodily pleasures," says St. Bernard, " which used to intoxi- 
cate us like wine, are superseded by the spiritual delights that flow 
from Thy breasts. The plenitude of grace which flows from 
Thy breasts profits my soul more than the scathing rebuke of 
superiors " (On the Canticles, serm. ix. 6. Migne, P.L., t. clxxxiii. 
c. 817). See also St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 
bk. ii. ch. xxiii. 11, 12. 


increased it and drawn me still closer to Him, well may 
I cry : ' Thy breasts are better than wine." Thy 
mercies in the past were great, O my God, but this far 
surpasses them, as I take less share in it myself, therefore 
it is. much more sublime in every way. 

7. Great are the joy and delight of the soul which 
advances thus far, O my daughters ! May our Lord grant 
us to understand, or rather, I should say, taste, for in 
no other way can we understand the happiness of the 
soul in such a case. If the earth could collect together 
all its riches, its pleasures, its honours and its feasts, — 
if all these could be enjoyed simultaneously without the 
trials that accompany them (which is impossible), yet 
in a thousand years they could not bring the bliss that 
is enjoyed in a single moment by the soul God has 
brought thus far. St. Paul declares that " the sorrows 
of this world are not worthy to be compared to the 
happiness that we look for," ll but I say that they are 
not worthy to be compared nor could they earn one 
hour of this gladness, satisfaction, joy and delight here 
given to the soul by God Himself. I do not think they 
can be weighed with one another, nor can the baseness 
of earthly things merit such tender caresses from our Lord, 
nor a love so demonstrative and so tasted by the soul. 

11 Rom. viii. 18: Existimo enim quod non sunt condignae 
passiones hujus temporis ad fuiuram gloriam quae revelabitur in 


8. How trivial are our sorrows compared with this ! 
Unless borne for God, they are worthless, and even then 
His Majesty proportions them to our strength, because 
our misery and cowardice make us dread them so keenly. 
Ah, Christians ! ah, my daughters ! For the love of 
God, let us arise from sleep ! Remember how He does 
not wait until the next life to reward our love for Him, 
but begins to pay us even here ! O my Jesus ! who can 
express all that we gain by casting ourselves into the 
arms of our Lord and plighting with Him this troth : 
" I to my Beloved, and His turning is towards me," 12 
and " He cares for my affairs and I care for His." 1S 
Do not let us be so self-seeking as to put our own 
eyes out, as the proverb says. 

9. Again do I ask Thee, O God, and beseech Thee, by 
the blood of Thy Son, to grant me this grace, " Kiss 
me with the kiss of Thy mouth," for what am I without 
Thee, Lord ? What worth do I possess apart from Thee ? 
If I wander but one step from Thee, where shall I go ? 
O Lord of mercy, my only Good ! What more do I 
seek in this life than a union so close that there can 
be nothing to divide me from Thee ? With such a 
companion, what can be hard ? With Thee by my side, 
what dare I not attempt for Thy sake ? What thanks 
do I deserve ? Have I not rather incurred great blame 

12 Cant. vii. 10. Ego dilecto meo, et ad me convey sio ejus. 

13 Castle, M. vii. cb iii. 1. Rel. iii. 20. 


for my remissness in Thy service ? Thus, with my whole 
heart, I beg Thee, like Saint Augustine, to " give what 
Thou askest and ask what Thou wilt ! " 14 and with 
Thine aid I will recoil from nothing. 

10. I see indeed, 18 O my Bridegroom, that Thou art 
mine, nor can I deny it. For my sake didst Thou come 
to earth ; for my sake didst Thou undergo so many 
trials ; for me wast Thou scourged with many stripes ; 
for me dost Thou remain in the most Blessed Sacrament 
and now Thou dost show me such signal favours ! Yet, 
O holy Bride, how can I utter these words with thee ? 
What can I do for my Bridegroom ? Truly, sisters, I 
do not know how to escape from this dilemma ! What 
can I be for Thee, O my God ? What can a soul do for 
Thee which is given to such evil habits as mine, except 
lose the graces Thou hast given it ? What service canst 
Thou hope for on my part ? And even if, by Thine 
aid, I should accomplish something, what need can an 
all-powerful God have of the deeds of a wretched worm ? 

n . O Love ! In how many ways do I long to say these 
words, and it is love alone which dares to cry with the 
Bride : "I love my Beloved ! " and which gives us the 
right to believe that this our true Lover has need of us, 

14 Da quod jubes, et jube quod vis (St. August., Confess., bk. x. 
ch. xxix.). 

16 From here to the end of the chapter from the manuscripts 
of Las Nieves and Consuegra. 


and that He is my Spouse and my chief good. Then, 
since He gives us leave, daughters, let us cry again : 
" My Beloved to me and I to my Beloved." 16 Thou to 
me, Lord ? Then, if Thou comest to me, why doubt that 
I can do much to serve Thee ? Henceforth, Lord, I desire 
to forget self, to seek only how to serve Thee, and to 
have no other will but Thine. But, alas, my strength 
has no power ! Thou art all-powerful, my God ! All 
that I can give Thee is my firm resolve, and henceforth 
I give it Thee, to serve Thee by my actions. 


The strong, trustful and faithful love born in the soul 
through the consciousness that it is protected beneath 
the " shadow " of God, which knowledge is usually 
given by Him to those who have persevered in His 
love and have suffered for Him. Of the great benefits 
produced by this love. 

1. I sal down under His shadow. 2. The " shadow " of God. 3. Such favours 
rarely shown to the imperfect. 4. The prayer of union. 5. The tree of 
the Cross. 6. Further favours. 7. Our unworlhiness. 


i. Now let us question the bride. Let us learn from this 
blest soul, drawn to the divine mouth and fed at these 

16 Cant. ii. 16 : Dilectus mens mihi, et ego Mi. Exclam. xv. 5, 6. 


heavenly breasts, what we should do, and how we must 
speak and behave, if our Lord should ever bestow on 
us so great a favour. She answers : " I sat down under 
His shadow Whom I desired, and His fruit was sweet 
to my palate. 1 . . . He brought me into the cellar of 
wine, He set in order charity in me." * 

2. She says : " I sat down under His shadow Whom I 
desired." O my God ! how this soul is drawn into and 
inflamed by this Sun itself ! She declares that she sat 
under the shadow of Him Whom she desired. And 
again she calls Him an " apple tree," and says "His 
fruit is sweet to my palate." O souls who practise 
prayer, ruminate upon these words ! In how many differ- 
ent ways we can picture God ! In how many manners 
we can feed our souls on Him ! He is the Manna Who 
knows how to take whatever flavour we wish to taste. 5 
How heavenly is this shadow ! Who can explain all 
that our Lord signifies by it ? I remember how the angel 
said to our most blessed Lady : " The power of the Most 
High shall overshadow thee." 4 How safely the soul must 

1 Cant. ii. 3 : Sub umbra illius quern desideraveram sedi, et 
jructus ejus dulcis gutluri meo. St. John of the Cross, Living 
Flame, st. xxxiv. 6. 

2 Cant. ii. 4 : Introduxit me in cellam vinariam ; ordinavii 
in me charitatem. — Life, ch. xviii. 17. 

3 Wisdom xvi. 21 says that the manna had " in it all that is 
delicious and the sweetness of every taste " ; that it served every 
man's will and was turned to what every man liked. 

4 St, Luke i. 33; Virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. 


feel protected when God shows it this immense grace ! 
Well may it sit down, assured against all danger ! 

3. Notice that, except in the case of people to whom 
our Lord gives some special call, like St. Paul, whom He 
at once raised to the heights of contemplation, mani- 
festing Himself and speaking to the Saint in such a 
way as to place him at once permanently in an advanced 
state of holiness, God, as a rule — indeed, nearly always 
— keeps these very sublime caresses and consolations 
for those who have laboured greatly in His service. 
These souls have longed for His love and striven to please 
Him in every way, have fatigued themselves by many 
years of meditation and search for their Bridegroom, and 
are thoroughly weary of the world. They do indeed 
" sit down " and rest in the truth, seeking neither comfort, 
quiet nor rest except where they know these are really 
to be found. " Resting under the protection of the 
Almighty," 5 they desire no other. How right they 
are to trust in Him, for He fulfils all their desires. Happy 
he who deserves to shelter beneath this shadow, even as 
regards temporal matters, but happy in an infinitely 
greater way when such matters relate to the soul itself, 
as I have often been given to understand. 

4. During the joy which I described, the spirit feels 
itself utterly surrounded and protected by a shadow 

s Ps. xc. 1 : Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi, in protectione 
Dei coeli commorabitur. 


and, as it were, a cloud of the Godhead from whence the 
soul receives such a delicious influence and dew as, at 
once and with good reason, to lose the weariness caused 
by earthly things. This peace is so deep as to render 
even breathing troublesome, the powers being so soothed 
and quiescent that the will is disinclined to admit of any 
thought, even though it is a good one, nor does it seek 
for any, nor try to reflect.* Such a person need not 
endeavour to raise her hand, or stand to reach the fruit 
— I mean she need not make use of the reason — for our 
Lord gives her the apple from the tree to which she com- 
pares her Beloved, 7 already picked and even assimilated. 
Therefore she declares: "His fruit is sweet to my 
palate," for here the soul simply enjoys, without any 
work of the faculties. 

5. This may well be called the "shadow" of the 
Divinity, for we cannot see it clearly here below, but only 
veiled beneath this cloud, until the radiant Sun, by means 
of love, sends out a message making known to the soul 
that His Majesty is near in nearness ineffable. I know 
that anyone who has experienced it will recognise how 
truly this meaning may be ascribed to these words of 
the Bride. I think the Holy Ghost must here be the 
Medium between God and the soul, inspiring it with 

• Castle, M. v. ch. i. 3 in fine. 

7 Cant. ii. 3 : Stout mains inter ligna silvarum, sic dilectus mens 
inter filios. 


such ardent desires that it becomes ignited by the divine 
fire to which it is so close. What are these mercies, O 
Lord, that Thou dost bestow upon the soul ? Blessed 
and praised be Thou for ever, tender Lover as Thou art I 
Is it possible, my God and my Creator, that there are 
souls who love Thee not ? Unhappy creature that I am ! 
It is / who have lived so long without loving Thee ! Why 
did I not deserve to know Thee better ? Now this divine 
apple-tree bows its branches so that, from time to time, 
the soul may gather its fruit by considering Christ's 
marvels, and the multitude of mercies He has shown, 
and may see and taste the fruit that our Lord Jesus 
Christ produced by His Passion, when with wondrous 
love He watered the tree with His precious blood. 

6. The Bride told us that she joyed in the nourishment 
from His breasts, and that the Bridegroom thus sup- 
ported her when she was new to the divine mercies. Now 
that she grows older, He makes her capable of receiving 
still greater gifts, maintaining her with " apples," for 
He wishes her to understand that she must work and 
suffer. But He is not content even with this. It is a 
wonderful thing, and we should often meditate upon 
how, when He sees that a soul is all His own, serving 
Him solely and free from all self-interest, simply because 
He is its God and because of the love it bears Him, 
He never ceases imparting Himself in different ways and 
manners, befitting Him Who is Wisdom itself. After 


the kiss of peace there seemed no more to give, yet the 
favour I have just related is far more sublime. I have 
not described it thoroughly, having only touched upon 
the subject. You will find a much clearer explanation 
in the book I mentioned, 8 if God is pleased that it 
should be read. 

7. Is there anything left to wish for after all I have 
enumerated ? Alas, how impotent are our desires to 
obtain Thy wondrous gifts, Lord ! How abject should 
we remain, didst Thou merely give us that for which 
we asked ! Let us now see what else the bride says. 


Treats of the ecstasy of love, and of raptures, during which 
the soul imagines that it is idle, while God " sets in 
order charity within it," bestowing upon it heroic 

1. How God repays the soul's desire for suffering. 2. Christ the King, .'i. The 
wine. 1. lie sets in order charity, .">. The .so/;/ during dii>ine union. 
6. Love and the will. 7. Merits and grace* eomino from this j>rayer. 
X. Our Lady orershudowed. <i. Our Lord's deliijhl in the soul. 10. The 
divine Goldsmith and the jewel. 11. Secrecy of divine union. 12. Its 
effects upon the soul. 13. Zeal and love produced by it. 


i. Now that the bride is resting beneath the shadow 
that she desires — as well she might desire it — what 

8 Life, chs, xvii to xix. 


more remains for which a soul so promoted can wish, 
except that she may never lose what she possesses ? 
There seems to her nothing left for which to long, yet 
there is still far more for our most holy King to bestow, 
nor does He ever cease rilling the heart that can hold 
more. As I have already told you, daughters, and as I 
wish you never to forget, God is not content to measure 
His gifts by our petty desires. 1 I have sometimes noticed 
that when a person asks our Lord to give him some 
means of meriting and suffering for Him, although he does 
not ask for more than he thinks he can bear, 2 yet His 
Majesty, Who is able to increase our strength, repays 
the resolve to serve Him by sending him so many trials, 
persecutions and illnesses that the poor man does not 
know what to do. 3 This happened to me when I was 
very young, so that sometimes I used to say: " O God, 
I did not ask for all that ! " But He gave me such 
fortitude and patience that I am astonished now at 
thinking how I bore these crosses, which I would not 
change for all the treasures of the world. 

2. The Bride says: " The King brought me." How 
the name of the almighty King dilates the heart which 
recognises His powers and supremacy over all, and the 
eternity of His kingdom ! When the soul is in this con- 

1 Supra, ch. iii. 5 sqq. 

2 Life, ch. v. 3, 4. 

3 Way of Perf., ch. xviji. 1. 


dition, doubtless it realises something of the greatness 
of this King, though to understand it completely is im- 
possible during this mortal life. 

3. The bride exclaims: " He brought me into the cellar 
of wine, He set in order charity in me." 1 I believe that 
the grandeur of this particular favour is immense. A 
person may be given a larger or a smaller draught, either 
of a good or a superior kind, so that the soul is more 
or less intoxicated or inebriated. Thus it is with our 
Lord's favours. To one He gives a little of the wine 
of devotion, to another more, to another still He gives 
so full a cup that the spirit begins to rise above self and 
sensuality and all earthly things. Again, God bestows 
on souls either a great zeal for serving Him, impetuous 
fervour, or ardent charity for others, rendering them too 
inebriated to feel the severe trials through which they 
pass. A great deal is implied by the bride's declaring 
that " she was brought into the cellar of wine," from 
which she emerged endowed with inestimable riches. 

4. The King does not appear to bring her into the 
cellar of wine and to leave her thirsting, but wishes her 
to drink and to be inebriated as much as she chooses, 
and to be intoxicated with all the wines that are in the 
storehouse of God. Let her enjoy its pleasures, and 
admire His grandeur, nor fear to lose her life by drinking 
more than human weakness can bear, — let her die in 

4 Life, ch. xviii. 17. Castle, M. v. ch. i. 10 ; ch. ii. 11. 


this paradise of delights ! Blest is the death that pur- 
chases such a life ! Indeed, this really is the case, 5 for 
the soul, without knowing how, learns such marvellous 
truths that it is beside itself, as the Bride says in the 
words: '• He set in order charity in me ! " O words 
never to be forgotten by the soul which our Lord has 
thus caressed ! O sovereign mercy which we could 
never buy unless God gave us the purchase-money ! 

5. True, the soul is not even awake enough to love,— 
but blessed is the sleep, and happy the inebriation, which 
make the Bridegroom supply what the soul cannot 
do. He "sets" it in such wonderful "order" that, 
though all its powers are dead or asleep, love remains 
active. Without knowing how, it works, yet by the 
ordinance of God it works in so wonderful a way that 
it becomes one with the Lord of love, Who is God Him- 
self. All this takes place with infinite purity, because 
there is no obstacle in the senses or powers — I mean, 
either in the understanding or the memory — nor does the 
will assert itself.' 

6.1 have been wondering whether there is any difference 
between the will and the love. I do not know whether 
it is nonsense, but I think there must be, for it appears 
to me that love is an arrow shot by the will, which, if 

6 Castle, M. v. ch. ii. 5 ; ch. Hi. 5. 

8 Life, ch. xx. sqq. Rel. viii. 8. Way of Perf., ch. xxxii. 11. 
Castle, M. vi. ch.iv. 17. 


aimed with all its force, freed from all that is earthly, 
and directed solely towards God, must wound His 
Majesty in good earnest. When it has pierced God 
Himself, Who is Love, it rebounds, having won the 
precious prize I will describe. This is really the case, 
as I have heard from those to whom our Lord has shown 
the great favour of putting them, during prayer, into 
this state of sacred inebriation and suspension of the • 
faculties. From what can be observed, it is evident 
that, at the time, such souls are transported out of 
themselves ; yet afterwards, if questioned as to what 
they felt, they cannot describe it, for they did not 
know, nor could they understand, this operation of 
love. The great benefits thus gained by the soul are 
demonstrated by the after-effects, by the virtues, lively 
faith, and contempt of the world gained. But nothing 
is known of how the soul obtains these gifts, nor what 
it then enjoys, except in the first stage when it feels 
excessive sweetness. 

7. This is clearly what the Bride means, for the wisdom 
ci God here supplements what is lacking in the soul 
and so ordains matters that it gains extraordinary graces 
meanwhile ; or, how could the soul, being carried out 
of itself, and so absorbed that the powers are incapable 
of action, otherwise gain any merit ? Yet, is it possible 
that God, while showing it so immense a favour, should 
cause it to lose time and obtain nothing by it ? Such 


a thing is incredible. 7 Oh, these divine secrets ! We 
must submit our reason and own that it is utterly in- 
capable of fathoming the wonders of the Lord. 

8. It would be well to remember how our Lady the 
Virgin acted, wise as she was. She asked the angel : 
"How shall this be done ? " 8 and when he answered : 
" The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power 
of the Most High shall overshadow thee," she debated 
no more about it. Being possessed of strong faith and 
judgment, she recognised at once that, when these two 
Powers intervened, there was room neither for inquiry 
nor doubt. She was not like some learned men who 
have not been led by God in this way of prayer and 
cannot understand the first principles of spirituality. 
They want to reduce everything to reason, measuring 
all matters by their own intellects, so that it seems as 
if they, with their knowledge, would be able to com- 
prehend all the mysteries of God. If only they would 
imitate in some degree the humility of the most blessed 
Virgin ! O my Lady ! How perfectly Thou showest 
us what takes place between God and the Bride, according 
to the words of the Canticles ! You know, my daughters, 

7 " It is remarkable that a saint so distinguished for humility 
and circumspection when writing on spiritual matters should speak 
so decidedly on the question of the soul gaining merit during 
ecstatic union " (A. Poulain, Grdczs d'oraison, ch. xviii. ; p. 255 
French ed. of 1906). 

8 St. Luke, i. 34 : Quomodo fiet istud ? 


how many quotations there are from this book in the 
antiphons and lessons of the Office of our Lady we recite 
weekly.' As for other souls, each one can interpret 
these words for herself, in the sense in which God wishes 
her to take them, and can easily ascertain whether she 
has received any graces corresponding to the words of 
the bride : "He set in order charity within me." Such 
souls do not know where they have been nor how, during 
so sublime a happiness, they pleased God, for they 
gave Him no thanks for this favour. 

9. O soul beloved by God ! Trouble yourself no more ! 
While His Majesty raises you to this state and utters 
such tender words as He often addresses to the Bride 
in the Canticles — as for instance : " Thou art all fair, 
O my love!" 1 ' and many others, in which He shows 
how He delights in her, we may feel sure that He will 
not allow you to grieve Him at such a time, but will supply 
for your incapacity that He may take still keener pleasure 
in you. He sees that the Bride is quite lost to herself, 
bereft of her senses for love of Him, and that the 
vehemence of this affection has deprived her of the power 
of thought, so that she may love Him better, and could 

• From ancient times it was customary among the Carmelites 
to recite once a week the Office of our Lady, preferably on the 
Saturday. This commemoration was raised, in 1339, to the rite 
of a double. 

10 Cant. iv. 7 : Tola pulchra es, arnica mea. 


He bear to withhold Himself from one who wholly gives 
herself to Him ? 

10. I think that His Majesty is here enamelling the 
gold which He has refined by His gifts and tested in a 
thousand different ways (which the soul itself could 
describe), to prove the quality of its love for Him. The 
soul, symbolised by the " gold," is meanwhile as motion- 
less and as inactive as the precious metal itself. Divine 
Wisdom, content with this, for few love Him thus vehe- 
mently, sets in the ore many jewels and countless enamelled 
decorations. And what is the soul doing meanwhile ? 
Of this we know nothing, and there is no more to be 
learnt, save what the Bride tells us : "He set in order 
charity within me." 

11. If the soul actually loves at the time, it does not 
know how, nor does it understand what it loves. The 
extreme affection borne for it by the King Who has 
raised it to this sublime state must unite its love to 
Himself in a way that the mind is not worthy of com- 
prehending. These two loves have now become but one, 11 
the love of the soul having become truly incorporated 
with that of God. The intellect cannot attain so far 
as to grasp it : in fact, the mind loses sight of the spirit 
during this time, which never lasts long but passes 
quickly. Meanwhile, God "sets the soul in order" 
that it may know how to please Him, both then and 

11 Ex clam. xv. 7. 


afterwards, but, as I repeat, without the mind being aware 
of it. Yet later on the intellect recognises the fact on dis- 
covering that the soul is enamelled and set with the jewels 
and pearls of the virtues. Then in its astonishment it 
might well exclaim : " Who is she that cometh forth . . . 
bright as the sun ? " ll O true King ! Well may the Bride 
call Thee by this name, for in a single moment Thou 
canst so endow and fill the soul with riches that it enjoys 
them for evermore. What marvellous " order " love 
sets in such a soul ! " 

12. I could mention good examples of this, for I have 
witnessed several. I remember how God gave in three 
days such great graces to a certain person u that, had I 
not learnt by personal observation that they lasted 
year after year, and that she continued to make progress, 
I could not have believed in them, for they seemed to 
me beyond credence. Another person received the 
same graces in three months, — both of them were very 
young girls. I have seen others who were long before 
they obtained this favour, but I could mention several 
cases resembling the two first described, and in which 
the same thing happened. I spoke of the former to prove 
to you that there are exceptions, although our Lord 

18 Cant. vi. 9 : Quae est ista quae progredilur . . . electa ut sol ? 
18 Life, ch. xvii. 4. Way of Perf., ch. xix. 6. Castle, M. v. 
ch. ii. 10, 11. 

14 Life, ch. xxxvi. 26. Found., ch. i. 1 sqq. 


seldom grants such favours unless a soul has passed 

through long years of suffering. It is not for us to set 

limits to a Lord so great, Who longs to confer His graces. 

13. This is what usually happens when God favours 

a soul with these graces — that is, when they really are 

divine graces and not illusions or melancholia, or the 

result of any natural effort, which is always detected 

later on by the effects, as are also divine favours which 

have resulted from God thus drawing near the soul, for 

in the latter case the virtues are too vigorous and the 

love too ardent to remain concealed. 15 Such a person 

always helps other souls even when not intending to 

do so. The King " set in order charity within me," 

and He so sets the soul in order that all love for this 

world quits it, self-love changes into self-hatred and 

affection is felt for kindred solely for the sake of God. 

As for the love borne for enemies, it would be incredible 

unless proved by facts. The soul's love for God has 

grown so boundless as to constrain it beyond the limits 

endurable by human nature, and, realising that she is 

fainting and at the point of death, such a person exclaims : 

" Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with 

apples: because I languish with love." 16 

16 " The soul cannot bear with itself unless it is suffering some- 
thing for God " (Letter to Don Lorenzo de Cepeda of January 17, 


16 Cant. ii. 5 : Fulcite me floribus, stipate me mails, quia amove 



Of a zealous love for God, which belongs to a very high 
grade of love and is of two kinds. In the first, the 
soul performs great deeds in God's service solely in 
order to please Him ; in the second, it desires and 
asks for crosses in imitation of Christ crucified. 

1. The soul languishes with love. 2. As does the bodg. 3. How death is warded 
off. 4. The flowers symbolise good works. 5. Good works and self-interest. 
6. Contrasted with pure zeal for God. 7. The woman of Samaria felt 
this pure zeal. 8. Sublime favours product sublime virtues. 9. The 
apple-tree of the cross and its fruit. 10. This favour produces love for our 
neighbour. 11. Beginners do not understand this. 12. SI. Teresa's aim 
in writing this treatise. 13. Gratitude due for such favours. 


I. Oh, what divine language in which to express my 
meaning ! Are you slain, then, by this sweetness, holy 
Bride ? I have been told that sometimes it is so exces- 
sive that it exhausts the soul and seems to deprive it 
of life. And yet, you ask for flowers ! What flowers are 
these ? They would bring you no relief, unless you beg 
for them in order to end your life at once. And indeed, 
when the soul has reached this state, it has no dearer 
wish. 1 Yet, this cannot be your meaning, for you say: 
" Stay me up with flowers," and to ask to be " sustained," 
does not seem to me to ask for death, but rather to seek 

1 Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. i-6 ; M. vii. ch. iii. 14. Exclam. vi. 
and xiv. Poem, "I die because I do not die." 


for life that you may render some service to Him to 
Whom you are conscious you owe so vast a debt. 

2. Do not suppose, daughters, that I exaggerate when 
I say that such a person is in a dying state, as I repeat 
that this is really the case. Sometimes love is so strong 
as to dominate over the powers of nature. I know 
someone who during this state of prayer heard a beautiful 
voice singing, 2 and she declares that unless the song had 
ceased she believes that her soul would have left her 
body from the extreme delight and sweetness which our 
Lord made her feel. His Majesty providentially stopped 
the singer, for the person in this state of trance might 
have died in consequence, yet she could not say a word 
to check the songstress, for she was incapable of any 
bodily action nor could she even stir. Although realising 
her danger, she was like one in a bad dream who tries 
to wake from it but cannot cry out, in spite of all her 
efforts. 3 I was told for certain by a person who I know 
is incapable of falsehood, that on several occasions she 
was at the point of death in consequence of her extreme 
longing to see God, and the excessive sweetness ex- 
perienced by her at feeling herself caressed by Him and 
melted by love for Him. While plunged in this delight, 

2 This is the incident described in the Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. 8, g, 
and Rel. iv. i. See also Poems 2, 3 and 36. 

3 The following passage until the end of this paragraph is from 
the manuscripts of Baeza and Consuegra. 


her soul desired never to emerge from it, and death 
was no longer painful, but most delicious, for she lived 
by longing to die. The joys of this state of prayer and 
degree of love are incompatible with any sort of pain. 

3. The soul does not now wish to rouse itself, nor 
would death be grievous, but would bring it great joy, 
since it is for this that it longs. How blest the death 
inflicted by such love ! Did not His Majesty at times 
bestow the light to see that it is well to live, weak nature 
would succumb if this favour lasted long. Thus, to be 
delivered from this overwhelming boon, the soul petitions 
for another grace, crying : " Stay me up with flowers ! " 
These blossoms have a very different perfume from those 
of the world. 

4. I understand by this that the Bride is begging that 
she may perform great works in the service of God and 
her neighbour, 4 for the sake of which she gladly forfeits 

4 Vepes, in a long letter to Fray Luis de Leon (Fuente, Obras, 
vi. 139), says that though St. Teresa vehemently longed tor t he- 
sight of God, yet she wished to live in order t<> suffer lor Him. 
She cried, like the Bride in the Canticles : " Stay me up with 
flowers," which she thus explained: Why, Bride of God, do 
you ask to be strengthened so that you may live ? What better 
end could you desire than to die of love ? Do you love and see 
that love is killing you, and yet want to live ? " Yes, for I 
desire t<> preserve my lite in order to serve God and to suffer for 
Him." Burning with this flame of love, St. Teresa asked our 
Lord: "How can I live while I am dying?" His Majesty 
replied : " Daughter, thou canst do so by reflecting that, once 
this life is ended, thou canst no longer serve Me nor suffer for 


her own joys and consolations. This appears proper 
rather to the active than to the contemplative life, and 
apparently she would lose rather than gain by her prayer 
being granted ; yet when the soul has reached this state, 
Martha and Mary always act together, as we may say. 6 
For the soul takes its part in the outward actions which 
seem merely exterior, and which, when they spring from 
this root, are lovely, odoriferous flowers growing on the 
tree of a love for God solely for His own sake, unmixed 
with self-interest. The perfume of these blossoms is 
wafted to a distance, blessing many souls, and it is 
lasting, for it does not pass away without working great 

5. I will explain myself more fully for your benefit. 
A preacher delivers his sermon for the profit of souls, 
yet is not so free from desire of worldly advantages as 
not to try to please his audience, either to win honour 
and credit for himself, or to obtain preferment by his 
eloquence. It is the same in other ways ; certain people 
are anxious to help their neighbour notably and with a 
good intention, still they are very wary about losing 
by it or giving offence. They dread persecution, wish 
to keep on good terms with royalty, the higher classes, 

Me " (Rel. ix. 19). By means of these " flowers " and " apples " 
God strengthened her weakness and rendered life pleasant to her, 
although she was sick of love. See also Exclam. ii. 3, 4. 

5 Life, ch. xvii. 6; ch. xxii. 13. Rel. viii. 6. Way of Perf., 
ch, xvii. 4 ; ch- xxxi. 4, Ca$tle, M. vii, ch. i. 14 ; ch. iv. 17. 


and the general public, and act with the moderation 
highly rated by the world, but which screens many 
imperfections under the name of prudence. God grant 
that it is prudence ! 

6. Such people serve God and do great good, yet I do 
not think that these are the flowers for which the Bride 
begs, but that she is petitioning for an intention of seeking 
solely for the honour and glory of God in all things. 
For truly, as I have seen in several cases, souls raised by 
Him to this state are as oblivious as if they no longer 
existed, of their own loss or gain. 6 Their one thought 
is to serve and please God, for, knowing his love for His 
creatures, they delight in leaving their own comfort 
and advantages to gratify Him by helping and teaching 
their neighbour in order that they may profit his soul. 
They never calculate as to whether they will lose by 
it themselves, but think about the welfare of others 
and of nothing else, forgetting themselves for the sake 
of God in order to please Him better, — and they will 
even lose their lives if need be, as did many of the 
martyrs. Their words are interpenetrated with this 
supreme love for God, so that they never think, or if 
they think, they do not care, whether they offend men 
by what they say. Such people do immense good. 

7. Often have I thought of the woman of Samaria, 

6 Castle, M. v. ch. iii. S ; M. vii. ch. iv. 10, 11. 


who must have been intoxicated with this draught. 7 
How well her heart must have mastered our Lord's 
teaching, since she actually left Him that she might 
profit her fellow-citizens by winning them to Him ! 
How this striking instance enforces the reality of what 
I have described ! In return for her fervent charity, 
her neighbours believed her words, and she witnessed 
the great good that Christ worked in her town. I think 
that to see souls helped by our means must be one of 
the greatest joys in this world ; then it is, as it appears 
to me, that we eat the most delicious fruit of these flowers. 
Blessed are the souls on whom our Lord bestows these 
graces ! How strictly are they bound to serve Him ! 
8. The holy Samaritan, divinely inebriated as she was, 
cried aloud as she passed through the streets. I am sur- 
prised at men believing her, for she was only a woman 
and must have belonged to the lower classes, as she went 
to fetch water herself. She was indeed most humble, for 
when our Lord told her of her sins, she showed no such 
resentment as the world does nowadays, when people 
can hardly endure to hear the truth, but she told Him that 
He must be a prophet. In fact, her neighbours believed 
her word, and, with no other evidence, large numbers 
flocked out of the town to see our Lord. I maintain 
that, in the same way, those persons do great good who, 

7 St. John iv. 5-42. Life, ch. xxx. 24. Way of Perf., ch. 
xix. 4. Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. 5. Found., ch. xxxi. 42. 


after having been in intimate converse wish His Majesty 
for several years, now that they receive caresses and 
consolations from Him, do not hesitate to undergo 
fatiguing labours for Him even at the cost of these delights 
and joys. In my opinion these flowers • are good works, 
springing from and produced as they are by the tree of 
fervent love ; therefore they have a far more lasting 
perfume, and one such soul profits others in a wider 
manner by its words and actions than do the deeds 
and words of a number of people whose intentions are 
soiled by the dust of human sensuality and are not 
unmixed with self-interest. 

9. These are the flowers that produce fruit ! these are 
the apples of which the Bride cries: "Compass me 
about with apples! — Send me crosses, Lord! Send me 
persecutions!" Indeed, she sincerely desires them and 
comes forth from them with profit ; for as she no longer 
cares for her own pleasure, but solely for pleasing God, 
she delights in imitating, in some degree, that most 
painful life led by Christ. I believe that the apple tree 
signifies the tree of the cross, 9 for in another part of the 

8 Exclam. ii. 3, 4. 

9 " As it was by the forbidden tree of paradise that our nature 
was corrupted by Adam and lost, so it was by the tree of the cross 
that it was redeemed and restored. The apple tree is the wood 
of the cross where the Son of God was conqueror, and where He 
betrothed our human nature to Himself, and, by consequence, 
every soul of man. There, on the cross, He gave us grace and 


Canticles the words occur : ' ' Under the apple tree I 
raised thee up," 10 and a soul that is compassed about 
with crosses of sufferings expects to benefit greatly by 
them. As a rule it does not enjoy the delight of contem- 
plation, but finds keen joy in its trials by which the 
bodily strength is not enervated and wasted as it usually 
is by frequent suspension of the faculties during contem- 
plation. 11 

10. The Bride is right in making this request, for we 
ought not to spend all our time in joy without any work 
or suffering. I have often noticed in certain persons,— 
there are very few of them on account of our sins, — 
that as they advance farther in this prayer and receive 
more consolations from our Lord, they become more 
anxious about the happiness and salvation of their 
neighbour, especially as regards his soul, for, as I said 
above, they would sacrifice their lives again and again 
to rescue one soul from mortal sin. 

11. Who could teach this to people to whom our Lord 
is only just beginning to give consolations ? Perhaps 
they fancy the others have made but little progress and 
that to stay in a corner enjoying these favours is the 
essential thing. I believe that it is by divine Providence 

pledges of love " (St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 
Stanza xxiii. 1,2). 

10 Cant. viii. 5 : Sub arbore malo suscitavi te. 

H Castle, M. vii. ch. iv. 14-16. 


that such persons do not realise how high these other 
souls have risen, for in their first fervour they would 
rush after them. This would not be well for beginners, 
because they are still children and need to be fed with 
the milk of which I spoke. Let these souls keep close 
to those divine "breasts": our Lord will take care, 
when they are strong enough, to advance them farther, 
but at present they would not do good to others as they 
imagine, but would injure themselves. 11 

12. From the book I spoke of you will have learnt 
when the soul ought to wish to help others, and the 
danger of doing so before the proper time ; I will say 
no more about it now. 11 My intention, when I began 
to write the present book, was to show you how to enjoy 
the words of the Canticle of Canticles when you hear 
them, and the way to meditate on the great mysteries 
which they contain, obscure as they may seem to you. 
It would be audacious of me to attempt to say more. 
God grant that I have not committed this audacity 
already, although this has been written only in obedience 
to authority. 

13. May it all tend to serve His Majesty ! If there 
is anything good in these writings you may be sure it 
is not my own, as the sisters here can bear witness, for 

12 Life, ch. xiii. 11. Castle, M. i. ch. ii. 19, ji ; M. iii. ch. ii. 

13 Life, ch. xiii. 


they know how hurriedly I have written it, because 
of my many duties. Beg His Majesty to teach me to 
understand it by experience. Let any one among 
you who thinks that she has received some of these 
favours thank our Lord for them and ask Him to grant 
them to me, so that she may not be the only one who 
profits. May our Master uphold us with His hand, and 
teach us ever to fulfil His will ! Amen. 


i. Man's mind is like good ground which, left untilled, 
grows thorns and thistles. 

2. Always speak well of spiritual persons, such as 
religious, priests and hermits. 

3. Talk little when with many people. 

4. Be modest in all your words and actions. 

5. Never contend much, especially about trifles. 

6. Speak with quiet cheerfulness to everyone. 1 

7. Never ridicule anything. 

8. Correct others prudently, humbly and with self- 
abasement. 2 

9. Accommodate yourself to everyone's humour : be 
cheerful with the happy, grave with the sad, — in short, 
be all to all, that you may win all. 3 

10. Think before you speak, recommending your 
words earnestly to our Lord that you may say nothing 
displeasing to Him. 4 

1 Constitutions, 28. 

2 Ribera relates that St. Teresa corrected her nuns very gravely 
so that the offender was ashamed of her fault and anxious to 
amend, yet was neither sad nor angry, but on the contrary felt 
love and gratitude for her. But when the culprit showed resent- 
ment for several days, the Saint would kneel before her and beg 
her pardon for having spoken too hastily. Ribera, bk. iv. ch. 
xvi. and xxiv. 

3 1 Cor. ix. 22 : Omnibus omnia f actus sum ut omnes facerem 
salvos. 4 Rule, 12. 



ii. Never excuse yourself except in grave matters. 5 

12. On no account mention anything to your own 
credit, such as learning, good points or lineage, except 
with the hope of doing some good by it : then, speak 
humbly, remembering that such things are God's gift. 

13. Do not exaggerate, but state your opinion humbly. 

14. Introduce religious topics into all your talk and 
interviews, which will prevent idle gossip and detraction.* 

15. Never affirm anything of the truth of which you 
are uncertain. 

16. Unless charity requires, do not obtrude your 
opinion unasked. 

17. Listen humbly as a learner to religious conversa- 
tion, and take care to profit by it. 

18. Obtain advice and help respecting your tempta- 
tions, faults and aversions by revealing them candidly 
to your superior and confessor. 7 

19. Remain in your cell : do not leave it without good 
cause, and then beg God for grace not to offend Him. 8 

20. Do not eat or drink except at meal times and 
then give God fervent thanks. 8 

21. It is a great help to the soul to perform all your 
actions as if you saw God present. 

22. Listen to or speak ill of no one but yourself : 

6 Way of Perf., ch. xv. 1 ; Cons tit., 30. 
• Constit., 14-16. 

7 Way of Perf., ch. iv. and v. and passim. Constit., 42. 

8 Rule, 5 ; Constit., 7 • Constit., 26. 


when the latter becomes a pleasure, you are making 
good progress. 

23. Perform all your actions for God ; offer them to 
Him, begging Him that they may promote His honour 
and glory. 

24. Do not laugh immoderately when you feel cheerful : 
let your gaiety be humble, modest, genial and edifying. 

25. Look upon yourself as the servant of all : see 
Christ in others and you will show them respect and 

26. Obey as promptly as if Jesus Christ Himself spoke 
through your prioress or superior. 10 

27. Examine your conscience in all your actions and 
at all times, endeavouring by the grace of God to amend 
the failings you discover : thus you will attain perfection. 

28. Do not reflect on other people's faults, but on 
their virtues and your own defects. 11 

29. Desire with all your heart to suffer for Christ 
on every occasion and in every way. 

30. Offer yourself fifty times a day to God with great 
fervour and longing for Him. 

31. Be most careful to keep your morning meditation 

10 Rule, 16. 

11 Constit., 30. " Try to gain whatever virtue you see in each 
sister, that you may love her and benefit yourself, while over- 
looking any fault you see. This practice helped m'3 to much that 
living with a large number of nuns did me good instead of harm " 
(From a letter of ca. 1581 to an unknown nun of another Order). 



before your mind throughout the day, for it is most 
helpful. 11 

32. Be mindful of the sentiments with which our Lord 
inspires you during prayer, and act upon the desires 
He then gives you. 

33. As far as possible avoid singularity, which is a 
great evil in communities. 

34. Read your Constitutions and Rule frequently, and 
observe them strictly. 

35. Recognise the providence and wisdom of God in 
all created things, and praise Him for them. 

36. Detach your heart from all things ; seek God, 
and you will find Him. 

37. Never show outwardly devotion which you do 
not feel, but you need tell no one which devotions do 
not appeal to you. 

38. If possible avoid revealing your interior devotion. 
" My secret is for myself," said St. Francis 13 and St. 
Bernard. 14 

12 Constit., 2. 

18 Isaias xxiv. 16: Secretum meum tnihi. St. Francis of Assisi 
was in the habit of keeping silence about any divine favours he 
enjoyed, saying : " Secretum meum mihi." However, on receiving 
the impression of the stigmata, he consulted his brethren on the 
subject in general terms, and following the advice of Brother 
Illuminatus, he related to them the vision. (St. Bonaventure in 
the Life of St. Francis.) 

14 " Do not let your graces be talked about by men : remain 
secluded in your cell and reserve the knowledge of them for your- 


39. Do not discuss your food and whether it is well 
or badly cooked. Remember the gall and vinegar of 
Jesus Christ. 16 

40. Never speak at meals nor raise your eyes to look 
at anyone. 16 

41. Think of the heavenly banquet and its food, which 
is God Himself, and of the guests, who are the angels ; 
raise your mind to that feast and long to be there. 

42. Never speak in the presence of your superior, — in 
whom you must see Jesus Christ, — without need, or 
without deep reverence. 

43. Do nothing that the whole world might not see. 

44. Never compare people with one another : it is 

45. Receive reprimands with interior and outward 
humility and pray for your admonisher. 17 

46. If one superior gives you some order, do not object 
that you have received a contrary command from 
another authority, but obey, believing that they both 
acted from a good motive. 

self, ever bearing inscribed upon your thoughts and upon the 
portal of your cell the motto : Secretum meurn mihi " (From the 
Epistola ad Fratres de Monte Dei, formerly attributed to St. 
Bernard, but in reality by Blessed Guigues, fifth prior of the 
Grande Chartreuse. Migne, P.L., t. clxxxiv. c. 354). 

15 Constit., 20. 

16 Rule, 3. 

17 Constit., 47. 


47. Do not evince curiosity by talking and asking 
questions about matters which do not concern you. 

48. Keep in mind your past life and present tepidity, 
to obtain repentance ; discover why you are unfit for 
heaven : you will thus live in fear, the source of great 

49. Always accede to your sisters' requests, unless con- 
trary to obedience ; answer them humbly and gently. 

50. Ask for no special food nor clothing without abso- 
lute necessity. 18 

51. Never cease to humble and mortify yourself in 
every way as long as you live. 

52. Accustom yourself to make frequent acts of love, 
which inflame and melt the soul. 

53. Make acts of all the other virtues. 

54. Offer all things to the Eternal Father in union 
with the merits of His Son Jesus Christ. 

55. Be indulgent to others, rigorous to yourself. 

56. On the feasts of any Saint, think of his virtues and 
ask God to give them to you. 19 

57. Be very careful about your nightly examination 
of conscience. 

58. Consider during your morning prayer before Holy 
Communion that, miserable as you are, you are to receive 
God, and at night reflect that you have received Him. 

18 Constit., 21, 22. 

19 Ibidem, 1. 


59. No superior should give a correction while angry, 
but should wait until she feels calm, when her reproof 
may be beneficial. 29 

60. Strive earnestly for perfection and devotion, per- 
forming all your actions by their aid. 

61. Cultivate the fear of God, which makes the soul 
contrite and humble. 

62. Remember how soon men change and how little 
one can trust them, and cling closely to God Who never 
changes. 21 

63. Treat of your soul with a spiritual and learned 
confessor and follow his advice in everything. 22 

64. Whenever you receive Holy Communion beg 
some gift from God for the sake of His great mercy in 
visiting your poor soul. 

65. However numerous may be your Patron Saints, 
always rank St. Joseph first, for he has great power 
with God. 23 

20 Towards the end of her life (ca. 1581 ?) St. Teresa wrote to 
Mother Mary Baptist, prioress at Valladolid : "I no longer 
govern as I used to do. I now rule entirely by love. I do not 
know whether it is because no one gives me any reason to treat 
her otherwise, or if it is because I have heard that it is the best 

21 Fuente, Obras, hi. 159. From the convent of Guadalajara. 

22 Father Baltasar Alvarez, S.J., said to a lady: "Look at 
Teresa of Jesus, — what she has received from God and what she 
is ! Well, in spite of all that she obeys me like a child." Ribera, 
Life, bk. iv. ch. xx. 

23 Life, ch. vi. 9, 12 ; ch. xxx. 8. 


66. When sad or troubled do not omit your accustomed 
prayers or penances, which the devil is then striving to 
make you leave off. Pray and mortify yourself more 
than usual and you will find that God will soon come 
to your aid. 

67. Do not discuss your temptations and faults with 
the least advanced in the house, which would harm you 
both, but confide them to the holiest among your sisters. 

68. Remember you have but one soul ; you will die 
but once ; you have only one life, which is short, and 
which you must live on your own account ; there is 
only one heaven, which lasts for ever, — this will make 
you indifferent to many things. 

69. Desire to see God ; fear to lose Him ; grieve to be 
so far from Him ; rejoice to be brought near Him, — 
thus you will live in profound peace. 



i. On Wednesday, the feast of St. Berthold of the 
Order of Carmel, on March 29, 1515, at five o'clock in 
the morning, was born Teresa of Jesus, the sinner. 1 

2. On the seventeenth of November, the octave of 
St. Martin 2 in the year 1569, I have lived, for the object 
known to me, twelve years for the thirty- three years lived 
by our Lord ; twenty-one are lacking. Written at 
Toledo in the Carmel of the glorious St. Joseph. 3 

1 These papers, like the famous " Bookmark," were found in 
the breviary (edition of Venice, 1568) used by St. Teresa till the 
end of her life. The first notice presents some difficulties . The 
feast of St. Berthold was, and still is, kept on March 29, which 
in 15 15 fell on a Thursday ; but as we know from an attestation 
by her father that the Saint was born on Wednesday, March 28, 
at half-past five in the morning, it is probable that in the above 
paper she meant to say " eve of St. Berthold " instead of " feast." 

2 St. Martin, Pope and Martyr, whose feast, now kept on 
November 12, was formerly celebrated on the tenth. It had an 
octave in the Carmelite order, because one of the principal churches 
in Rome, belonging to the Carmelites, is dedicated to him, viz. 
San Martino ai Monti. 

3 The paper containing this notice is now in the possession of 
the nuns of Medina del Campo, but after St. Teresa's death it 
remained for some time in the hands of Father Jerome Gratian, 



3. I for Thee, and Thou for me thirty- three years. 

4. Twelve have I lived for me [Thee ?], and not for 
my own will. 

5. St. Chrysostom says that veritable martyrdom 
consists not only in the shedding of blood, but that a 
complete withdrawal from sin, and the practice and 
following of the Divine commandments, constitute mar- 
tyrdom. True patience in adversities also makes us 

6. Our will gains its value from union with that of 
God when we only will what His Majesty wills. 

7. To possess charity in perfection constitutes glory. 

8. Advice as to how to profit by persecution. 

To ensure that persecutions and insults should bear 
good fruit and profit the soul, it is well to consider that 
they are done to God before they are done to me, for the 
blow aimed at me has already been aimed at His Majesty 
by sin. Besides, the true lover ought to have made the 
compact with the Bridegroom that she will be wholly 
His, and care nothing for self. If, then, our Spouse bears 
with this injury, why should we not bear with it ? Our 
sorrow ought to be for the offence against His Majesty, 
as the wrong does not affect our soul but only our 
body of clay, which so richly deserves to suffer. 

who, it appears, had been told by the Saint herself what it meant ; 
but as his explanation has not come down to us, all attempts at 
interpreting these enigmatical words have failed. 


9. To die and suffer should be the goal of our desires. 4 
10. No one is tempted above what he is able to suffer. 6 
n. Nothing happens without the Will of God. " My 
father, the chariot of Israel and the driver thereof." 6 


When Saint Teresa had finished her last and, perhaps, 
her most difficult foundation, that of Burgos, she asked 
our Lord whether it was safe for her to leave the place 
yet. He answered : " What dost thou fear now that 
the foundation is made ? It is safe for thee to go at 
once," and He told her that she would soon have far 
greater sufferings to bear than any she had gone through 
there. She immediately made her preparations for 
starting, taking with her the little novice, Teresita, — the 
daughter of her brother Lorenzo, who was then sixteen 
years old and had already been a novice for six years, — 
and Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew, lay-sister, whom 
she had chosen for her companion and nurse. 1 The 

* See Life, ch. xl. 27, Way of Perf., ch. xii. 2. Castle, 
M. vii. ch. iv. 15. Also a letter to an unnamed Carmelite nun, 
dated ca. 1578. 

5 1 Cor. x. 13 : Fidelis autem Deus, qui non patietur vos tentari 
supra id quod potestis. 

8 4 Kings ii. 12 : Pater mi, currus Israel et auriga ejus, said 
Eliseus to Elias. 

1 Book of the Foundations, ch. xxix. 9 and note. 


parting with the nuns was more touching than usual, 
for she made it a rule to suppress all emotion, but now 
she allowed the prioress and sisters to kiss her hand and 
spoke a tender word to each. 

The Saint left Burgos about the end of July, 1582, 
and wished to return at once to Avila for Teresita's pro- 
fession, but the Provincial, Father Gratian, bade her 
stay for a month at the convent of Palencia, founded 
two years earlier. She was cordially received by the 
young prioress, Isabel of Jesus, and the nuns, found the 
discipline of the community all that she could desire, 
and tells in her letters how her health was improved by 
the cool cell they gave her, and the rest and peace. She 
had suffered for months with a violent fever and an 
open wound in her throat which almost prevented her 
from swallowing ; but now that was better and she 
gathered a little strength for the Via dolorosa which was 
to end in the Fatherland. It was probably from Palencia 
that she wrote to Mother Mary of St. Joseph, prioress of 
Seville: "Now, my daughter, I can make the same 
petition as St. Simeon, for ' I have seen what I desired ' 
in the Order of our Lady the Virgin, so I beg you and 
the sisters not to pray that I may live longer, but that 
I may go to my rest, for I am of no more use to you." * 

When her stay was over she set out, by direction 

* Account of the foundation of the convent of Seville, by 
Mary of St. Joseph, in Fuente, Obras, vi. p. 48 (No. 53). 


of the provincial, for Valladolid, notwithstanding the 
sultry heat of August. " God willed that the whole 
journey should be a succession of sufferings," says Anne 
of St. Bartholomew. Her brother Lorenzo had left four 
hundred ducats to St. Joseph's convent at Avila to 
build a side chapel in which he was to be buried. After 
his death the family tried to set aside the will on the 
ground of its having been found already opened. The 
prioress of Valladolid, Mary Baptist (de Ocampo), who 
was the daughter of a cousin of the Saint and who had 
herself largely contributed towards the foundation of 
that convent, sided with her relations and treated St. 
Teresa unkindly. The family lawyer called upon the 
Saint during her stay at Valladolid and grossly insulted 
her, telling her that she was not what she appeared to be, 
but that many persons in the world would have behaved 
far better. She meekly replied: "May God reward 
you for the favour you are doing me." 

Her visit ended on the fifteenth of September. Keenly 
as she must have suffered, she showed nothing but affec- 
tion and content as she blessed the community and bade 
farewell. ' ' My daughters, ' ' she said, ' ' it consoles me greatly 
on leaving this house to witness the perfection practised 
in it, and the poverty and mutual charity in which you 
live. If you persevere in this, God will grant you great 
graces. Let each of you strive to lack nothing which 
tends to the perfection of the religious life. Do not 


perform its duties out of routine, but with heroic fervour, 
daily striving to attain to higher virtue. Desire to do 
great things : this is very beneficial, even when we 
cannot carry our wishes into action." 3 

Fresh trials awaited Saint Teresa at Medina del 
Campo, her next halt on the homeward journey. In the 
refectory, on the evening of her arrival, she called the 
attention of the prioress, Mother Alberta-Bautista, to 
some slight matter which required correction. The 
prioress, who was in poor health, resented the observa- 
tion and showed marked coolness. The Mother, deeply 
grieved, was too disturbed to be able to eat, and passed 
a sleepless night. She set off, fasting, the next morning, 
not, as she had hoped, to Avila, but to Alba de Tormes, 
under the conduct of Father Antonio of Jesus, who had 
been the first Carmelite friar to embrace the Reform. 
She had found him waiting for her at Medina, at the 
urgent request of the Duchess of Alba, who had sent her 
carriage to take the Saint to her own residence at Alba, 
to make the visit promised her a year before, and also 
to bring a blessing by her presence on the duchess's 
daughter-in-law, who was about to become a mother. 
Teresita tells us that her aunt resigned herself in perfect 
peace to this change in her plans. Considering the bar- 
barous state of the inns at which she would have to stay, 
it was unfortunate that her hostess forgot to send pro- 
* Fuente, Obras, iii. 172. 


visions with the carriage. " 111 as she was," says Anne 
of St. Bartholomew, " with a mortal sickness which 
ended her life a few days later, I could get her no food 
all that day to sustain her strength. When night came, 
we reached a miserable little village, and the Mother 
became faint. She exclaimed : ' Daughter, let me have 
something to eat, I am fainting ! ' but I had nothing but 
some dried figs, and she had the fever. I gave someone 
four reales to purchase some eggs, cost what they might, 
but no money could buy them and the coins were brought 
back to me. I looked at the Saint, who seemed half 
dead, and finding that I could get nothing, I burst into 
tears. Words could not express my grief ; I was heart- 
broken, and could do nothing but weep at seeing her in 
such distress, dying before my very eyes without my 
being able to help her. But with the patience of an 
angel she comforted me, saying: ' Don't cry, daughter ; 
the figs are very good ; how many poor people are worse 
off ! God wills that it should be so.' " 4 

Next day the travellers met with no better fortune, as 
nothing could be got in the village they reached except 
some cabbage cooked with onions, of which the holy 
Mother made her only meal. They arrived at Alba about 
six o'clock in the evening of the twentieth of September. 

4 The name of the village was Penaranda, and to this day the 
Castilians reproach the inhabitants with having caused the 
Saint's death. 


Hardly had they entered the town when a messenger 
came to announce that the young duchess had just given 
birth to a son. " Thank God ! the ' Saint ' won't be 
wanted now ! " exclaimed Teresa. 8 Notwithstanding 
her promise of going straight to the castle, she was so 
utterly exhausted that Father Antonio bade her enter 
the convent at once. 

Her daughters received her with the greatest love 
and reverence. She gave them her blessing, presented her 
hand to be kissed, and spoke a tender, affectionate word 
to each. They persuaded her to retire to rest, for she 
was in a burning fever and owned that she felt utterly 
prostrate, as if all her bones were broken. As they 
undressed her and laid her worn-out body on the hard 
straw mattress, — for the rule was that no nun, however 
ill, might lie on any other, — she exclaimed : ' ' God help 
me, daughters, how tired I feel ! I have not gone to 
bed so early for twenty years ! How I thank Him for 
letting me be with you now that I am taken ill ! " 

Next morning she rose at the usual hour, heard Mass 
and received Holy Communion, and examined the whole 
convent. She attended the community duties, gave 
private interviews to the nuns, and continued to do so 
for the next eight days. Her health was sometimes better, 

* The baby, to whom the name Fernando, Duke of Huescar, 
was given, died eighteen months later (Note by Father Antonio 
of St. Joseph). 


sometimes worse, but the doctors whom the prioress 
called in declared that recovery was impossible. "It was 
a hard sacrifice for me," relates the faithful lay-sister, 
who had tended her through all her sufferings for years, 
" all the harder because we were at Alba, and because 
I knew I should have to return to Avila without her. 
But, not to speak of our love for one another, I had 
another great consolation : I constantly saw Jesus 
Christ in her soul, united to it as though they were already 
united in heaven. The sight filled me with the deep 
reverence that we ought to feel in the presence of God. 
Indeed, it was heaven to serve her, and the keenest pain 
to witness her sufferings. The fourteen years I had 
been with her might have been but a single day. The 
Saint, on her part, seemed so well pleased with my 
poor services that she would not be without me. Truly, 
during the last five days before her death I was more 
dead than alive." 

Though the holy Mother did her best to conceal the 
desperate state of her health, it soon became apparent 
to all the nuns. On September 29, during Mass, she 
became suddenly worse, and had to take to her bed, 
from which she never rose again. She asked to be put 
in a small cell in the infirmary upstairs, with a little 
window overlooking the high altar from which she 
could hear Mass. During the few days she remained 
there she spoke but little, passing the time in silent 


prayer and adoration. Teresita relates how acutely she 
suffered meanwhile both from exterior and interior trials, 
for God permitted her to feel her malady and other 
troubles most severely. She was then prioress of St. 
Joseph's convent at Avila, and the dire state of poverty 
in that house disturbed her greatly as she lay helpless. 
She used to exclaim : "How shall we get the nuns bread 
to eat ? " Four or five days before her death she said 
to her infirmarian : " Mind, my daughter, as soon as you 
see that I am a little better, you are to get a carriage, 
put me in it, and take me back to Avila." 

The nuns took it in turns to watch beside their Mother, 
and spent the rest of the time in prayer and works of 
penance, with outstretched hands imploring God not 
to take her away from them. They moved about the 
convent as under a heavy weight, vainly endeavouring 
to drive away their mournful forebodings. During the 
last year strange things had occurred which seemed to 
foreshadow some far-reaching event. Mysterious lights 
had appeared in choir during Matins and the time for 
private prayer ; in the summer a very gentle, sweet sigh 
had often been heard there : later on they recognised it 
as being like that their Mother breathed shortly before she 
gave forth her spirit. One night, not long before, Sister 
Catherine-Baptist, while praying at the foot of a cross 
in the court of the convent, had seen a star in the sky, 
much brighter than the rest, which descended until it 


rested over the high altar. 6 One sister perceived some^ 
thing bright, like crystal, pass before the window of St. 
Teresa's cell, and another beheld two lights burning in it. 
On the feast of St. Michael the Saint lay absorbed in 
ecstasy and prayer the whole day and night, during which 
our Lord revealed to her that the hour of her reward 
was near. She had long foreknown the year, but not 
the exact date. God already began to testify to her 
sanctity b}' various miracles. Her body often gave 
forth a fragrance perceived by all but herself. The 
dowager Duchess of Alba, who, as a benefactress, had 
the right to enter the enclosure, came to visit her and to 
exercise her privilege of personally nursing the invalid. 
The Duchess was announced just as the Saint had been 
rubbed with an oil prescribed by the physician of so 
disagreeable an odour that the whole room was poisoned 
directly the bottle was opened. " Our holy Mother was 
greatly disturbed at so inopportune a visit," relates Sister 
Mary of St. Francis, " but I said to her : ' Never mind, 
Mother, anyone would suppose that you had been sprinkled 
with agua de los dngeles.' 7 'Thank God, daughter!' 
she answered, ' wrap me up, wrap me up, so that the bad 
smell may not annoy the Duchess. How I wish she had 
not come just at this moment ! ' The visitor sat down 
beside her, embracing her warmly. When our Mother 

6 Fuente, Obras, vi. 302. 

7 An old-fashioned perfume used in Spain. 



begged her to move away on account of the remedy, she 
exclaimed : ' There is no scent except a most delicious 
one. I thought agua de los dngeles had been sprinkled 
about the room, which might have done you harm.'" 8 
Shortly afterwards a nun suffering from a bad headache 
knelt to pray beside the Saint, and taking the holy 
Mother's hand, laid it on her forehead, whereupon the 
pain immediately disappeared. 

Saint Teresa lay silent and peaceful, thanking her 
daughters for their care, and the doctors for their remedies, 
however painful or nauseous, with the same sweet smile. 
She slept but little on the night of October i, and sent for 
Father Antonio at daybreak to hear her confession. After 
giving her absolution, the poor old priest, who must have 
begun to regret having made her take this fatal journey, 
fell on his knees before her in the presence of all the nuns, 
imploring her to beg our Lord not to take her so soon. 
" Hush, Father," she replied, "why do you ask me such 
a thing ? There is no more need of me in this world." 

Henceforth, she began to prepare for death and to 
speak of it to others. When left alone with her devoted 
infirmarian, she said : " Daughter, the hour is come ! " 
" The word pierced my heart like a dagger," writes 
the poor sister. " From that moment I never left the 
cell. I asked the nuns for whatever she wanted and 
gave it to her ; it comforted her to have me with her." 
8 Fuente, Obras, I.e., 231. 


Although St. Teresa had always given spiritual advice 
to her daughters, she did so with more love and earnest- 
ness than ever now that she was leaving them. 

During the afternoon she was seized with an agonising 
pain in the chest ; the doctors, who were hurriedly called 
in, ordered that she should be carried to a warmer cell. 
She only smiled at their efforts, knowing their uselessness. 
Cupping was prescribed, to her great joy, for it was 
painful, and she, who had yearned for sufferings all her 
life, died as she had lived, says Yepes. 

At five o'clock on the eve of St. Francis of Assisi she 
asked for the Holy Viaticum. The nuns dressed her in 
her veil and white mantle, decorated the cell with lights, 
and all knelt around her holding lighted tapers. There 
was some delay in bringing the Blessed Sacrament, and 
while they were waiting, the Saint, with clasped hands 
and tearful eyes, said to them: "My daughters and 
sehoras, forgive me for the bad example I have set you, 
and do not imitate me who have been the greatest sinner 
in the world and the most lax member of the Order in 
keeping the Constitutions. I beg you, for the love of 
God, to observe them perfectly and to obey your Superiors. 
If you do this, as you are bound to do, no other miracles 
will be required for your canonisation." The sisters 
wept and prayed in silence until they heard the tinkling 
of the bell which announced that the priest was bringing 
the Blessed Sacrament. Although for the last two days 


the help of two nuns had been required to lift the holy 
Mother in bed, she now rose quickly of her own accord 
and knelt upon the mattress. So strong was the impulse 
of her love, says Yepes, that, had she not been prevented, 
she would have cast herself upon the ground to receive 
her Master. Her face was majestic and beautiful, and 
looked far younger than her real age. With clasped 
hands and soul aflame with love, her face illumined with 
joy, she began, like a swan of matchless whiteness, as 
her life was ebbing away, a song far sweeter than any 
she had sung before. " O my Bridegroom, my Master! " 
she exclaimed, " at last the longed-for hour has come ! 
now it is time for us to see one another ! My Master, it 
is time to set forth ! Blessed be this hour, and may Thy 
will be done ! Now is the hour for me to leave this 
desert that my soul may rejoice in Thee Whom it has so 
ardently desired." • She would have continued her. 
colloquy much longer, had not her superior bidden her 
under obedience to be silent, lest she should harm 
herself. After she had received the Viaticum, she, as a 
true daughter of Spain, thanked God with the greatest 
fervour for having made her a child of the Church and 
permitted her to die within its fold, repeating again 
and again : " After all, Lord, I am a child of the Church ! " 
And this was one of her greatest consolations as she lay 
on her deathbed. 

• Fuente, Obras, I.e., 223. 


Then she pleaded with deep contrition for forgiveness 
of her sins, saying that she hoped to be saved by the 
merits of the Blood of Christ, and begging the nuns to 
intercede with God that it might be so, and that she 
might be delivered from purgatory. 10 She frequently 
repeated the words : Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribu- 
latus, cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies. 
Ne projicias me a facie tua, et spiritum sanctum tuum ne 
auferas a me. Cor mundum crea in me, Deus. But 
more often than all the rest, and with deeper feeling, 
she reiterated : Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non 
despicies. Her daughters asked her to say some parting 
words, but she only charged them once more to keep their 
Constitutions and obey their superiors. 11 

As night drew on she asked for Extreme Unction, 
which was administered at half-past nine. She received 
it with the greatest reverence and devotion, joining in 
the responses and prayers, and thanking our Lord again 
for having made her a child of the Church. When 
Father Antonio inquired whether she wished her body 
to be taken to Avila, she seemed annoyed at the question 
and answered : ' ' What, my Father, is that for me to 
decide ? Have I anything of my own ? Will they not 

10 She had always been much distressed at being praised, and 
used to. say : "I believe that when I die they will let me stay 
in purgatory until the day of judgment, because they think I am 
a saint, and will not pray for me." 

11 Ribera, Life, bk. hi. ch. xv. 


give me a little earth here ? " One of the nuns said to 
her: 'You are right, Mother, for our Lord had no 
home of His own." — " You may well say that," replied 
the Saint, " your words comfort me greatly." ls 

She passed the night in acute pain, but uttered no 
complaint, and from time to time was heard to murmur : 
Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies, or softly 
whisper the name of Jesus. These were her last words, 
for when Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew changed her 
linen at daybreak she could no longer speak, but only 
thanked her by a smile. " Shortly afterwards," that 
sister writes, " Father Antonio told me to go and take 
some food. While I was away, the holy Mother kept 
anxiously looking from side to side, and made a sign of 
acquiescence when the Father asked if she wanted me. 
They called me and I hastened to return. When she 
saw me come back, she smiled sweetly, and with a loving 
gesture grasped my hand and placed her head within my 
arms, where I held it until she died. Meanwhile, I seemed 
more like the dying person than she did, for the Bride- 
groom so inflamed her love for Him that she only sighed 
for the moment when the bonds of her body being loosed 
she could enjoy Him for ever." 1S 

At seven o'clock in the morning her agony began, 
although she gave no signs of distress or pain. Turning 

11 Deposition of Sister Catherine Baptist, Fuente, Obras, I.e., 302. 
w Autobiography of Ven. Anne of S. Bartholomew, bk. ii. ch. %. 


on to her left side, facing the nuns, she lay like the 
dying Magdalene, gazing at the crucifix which she held, 
and still clasped after death until it was taken from 
her for her burial. Perhaps the exquisite poem, the 
!' Address of a dying nun to her crucifix," 14 which she 
had written some little time before, gives a clue to her 
thoughts as she lay dying. She remained thus during 
fourteen hours, moving neither hand nor foot, nor showing 
any signs of suffering. 

" I do not think I ever saw her look so lovely in my 
life," testified Sister Mary of St. Francis ; 1B "her face was 
very beautiful, glowing and shining like the sun, and the 
many wrinkles time, old age and suffering had stamped 
on it disappeared completely." As the hours went on, 
it brightened with a growing splendour that at length 
illuminated the whole cell, and was reflected in the face 
of Anne of St. Bartholomew. She was absorbed in 
prayer, in deepest peace and quiet, sometimes appearing 
enraptured, sometimes surprised as if something wonderful 
was shown her, and again she seemed to answer one who 
spoke to her, but she was always calm and her face 
shone like the moon in the fullness of its beauty. At 
intervals a delicious perfume came from her. Thus she 
remained, recollected in God, astonished at the new 
mysteries she was discovering, and overjoyed at the 

14 Poem ii. 

^ Fuente, Obras, I.e., 22p. 


possession already beginning to be realised of Him for 
Whom she had so fervently longed. Just before she 
died, Sister Catherine of the Conception, who was seated 
in the cloister leading to the infirmary, heard a loud noise 
as of a crowd of people rejoicing and exclaiming, and 
saw a large number of shining figures clothed in white 
enter the room. The Ten Thousand Martyrs, to whom 
the Saint had special devotion, 16 were redeeming their 
promise made to her years ago in a vision, of coming to 
fetch her to heaven. 17 

At the same moment the face of the infirmarian shone 
so brightly as she gazed at something she saw that the 
startled nuns forgot to watch their Mother as they 
looked at her. The lay-sister told afterwards how, while 
she held the Saint in her arms, in anguish about her life, 
a great glory and light descended over the dying found- 
ress, and our Lord appeared standing at the foot of the 
bed, surrounded by angels and the Blessed. It was 
revealed to her that the soul of Teresa was now to be 
fetched away unless she wished her to stay. Anne's 
pain and sorrow were changed into deep resignation, so 
that she begged pardon of God, saying : " Lord, if Thou 
wouldst consent to leave her for my consolation I would 

16 The Ten Thousand Martyrs, or the Ten Thousand Crucified, 
not to be confounded with the Eleven Thousand Virgins. Their 
feast was kept on June 22, and in 1580 the convent of the 
Incarnation obtained leave to celebrate it with an octave. 

17 Fuente, Obras, I.e., 308. 


not wish it, now that I have seen Thy glory ; therefore 
I beseech Thee not to leave her for a moment longer, 
deeply as I feel her loss ! " The light died out of Anne's 
face ; the nuns heard three very gentle sighs escape 
from their Mother's lips, so gentle that they could hardly 
be detected, — so sweet that they seemed like the breath 
of one lost in prayer, — and her soul had returned to its 

From the moment she died our Lord began to glorify 
His bride by miraculous manifestations of her holiness. 
One of the nuns saw her soul fly from her lips to heaven 
in the form of a dove of dazzling whiteness ; another 
beheld it rise in the shape of a crystal globe. Then, as the 
Bridegroom bade her " arise, for the winter is past and 
the flowers have appeared," an almond tree, long since 
dead and partly buried beneath bricks and mortar, burst 
into its lovely pink blossoms, the harbingers of spring. 18 

Thus died the great Saint of Spain, on October 4, the 
feast of St. Francis of Assisi, 1582, aged sixty-seven years 
and six months, having been professed nearly forty-six 
years, the first twenty-six of which she had spent as a 
nun of the convent of the Incarnation at Avila, and the 
remaining twenty as the foundress of the Discalced 

The doctors attributed her death to hemorrhage of 
the chest, brought on by the hardships of the journey, 
18 Fuente, Obras, I.e., 308. 


but her contemporary historian, Yepes, says that it was 
caused by a violent impulse of divine love. The Bull 
of the canonisation declares this to have been the fact. 
The Saint herself revealed the true cause to Catherine of 
Jesus, prioress of Veas, who was so ill that the nuns 
durst not inform her of St. Teresa's death ; but the 
Saint appeared to her in a vision, saying she had gone to 
enjoy the presence of God, having experienced so vehement 
a longing for Him that her soul left the bod} 7 . A prior 
of her Order was favoured with a similar revelation. She 
herself, when speaking of these impetuosities, declares 
that there is great danger of death in such a state. 1 * 

The nuns, in the deepest sorrow, knelt beside their 
Mother's couch all night, kissing her hands and even her 
habit, and imprinting on their memory the features that 
were so soon to be hidden from them. One sister was 
cured of an infirmity by touching her, another recovered 
her lost eyesight by placing the Saint's hand upon her 
eyes. The face of the holy foundress grew in peace and 
beauty, and the fragrance arising from her became so 
overpowering that the sisters were obliged to open the 
casement. Sister Catherine Baptist, who had lost her sense 
of smell, grieved at not perceiving it, reverently kissed 
the dead body, and it was instantly restored to her." 
Before daybreak of the following day, — which was 

19 Life, ch. xx. 15 ; Castle, M. vi. ch. xi. 4. 

20 Fuente, Obras, I.e., 302, 


counted October 15, owing to the reform of the Calendar, — 
the bells of Alba announced the death of Teresa of Jesus, 
and all the citizens exclaimed : " The Saint has gone to 

At a later hour Father Antonio, with the Franciscan 
fathers and the clergy of the town, entered the enclosure. 
The sacred remains were laid upon a bier covered with gold 
brocade, as the Saint had seen in a vision when she was 
thought to be dead, more than forty years before. 81 She 
was carried to the convent door, where the nuns, holding 
lighted candles, knelt and took farewell of their Mother. 
Outside were assembled the Duchess of Alba with her 
chaplain Don Sancho Davila, afterwards bishop of Jaen, 
the Marquis of Cerralvo, Juana de Ahumada (one of St. 
Teresa's sisters) with her husband and children, and 
many of the nobility, besides a large crowd of citizens. 
Those who were fortunate enough to get near the bier 
perceived the mysterious fragrance which the dead body 
continued to give forth. " God bless me," exclaimed the 
simple convent gardener, " this Saint smells like quinces, 
lemons and jasmine." 

The burial was to take place beneath the grating separa- 
ting the nuns' choir from the body of the chapel, but 
as there is no direct communication between the interior 
of the convent and the chapel it was necessary to take 
tjie body out of the convent and carry it across the 
s 1 Life, ch. v. 18. 


square into the chapel. As in many conventual chapels 
in Spain, there were two choirs in that of Alba, one 
above the other, both facing what was then the high 
altar, but is now, since the rebuilding of the church, a 
side chapel. The visitor will easily discover the portion 
which in St. Teresa's time was the entire church ; it is 
now simply one of the bays, the present church standing 
at right angles with the old one. The former choirs are 
on the Gospel side of the new church, and the old high 
altar is now a side chapel on the Epistle side. When the 
original church was being erected, the foundress, Teresa de 
Laiz, 22 had caused a deep vault to be constructed beneath 
the choir grating ; St. Teresa directed this to be reserved 
for " the deposit," which led the nuns to think that she 
referred to some great gift of the founders." The event 
proved that she foreknew that she herself was to find 
there her resting-place. After her death the body was 
not opened nor embalmed, but was simply laid in a wooden 
shell into which the nuns, fearing that Avila would claim 
the relics of the holy Mother, caused lime to be thrown 
and water to be poured over it, so that the body might 
be quickly consumed. 

The Requiem mass was celebrated with great solemnity, 
the coffin closed and lowered into the grave, and so 
enormous a quantity of earth, bricks and stones thrown 

82 Book of tha Foundations, ch. xx. 2 sqq. 
23 Ribera, Life, bk. iv. ch. v. 


on it that - the lid was broken. Some masons spent 
two entire days in cementing the vault. This done, 
there seemed to be no ground for fear that the precious 
' ' deposit ' ' could ever be removed. 

Anne of St. Bartholomew, who dressed and made 
ready the sacred body, relates how her faithful heart found 
consolation in this great loss. " I was by nature very 
affectionate, and loved her more than I can say. I was 
also fond of other nuns whom I knew to be advanced 
in perfection, and to whom the Saint was attached. 
Sometimes she warned me that such devotedness was not 
good for my soul and that I ought to free myself from 
it, yet I had not succeeded in doing so before the hour 
when God took her from me. Then she obtained this 
grace for me, and I have been detached ever since. 
Indeed I seem to possess no liberty in the choice of those 
for whom I care. Sometimes- it seems to me that I 
am all alone in the world, and that, if I love any, I love 
them in God and for God alone. I felt as calm while 
attending to her holy body as if her death had been 
nothing to me. I should have wished to remain at Alba, 
but neither the prioress nor the nuns of Avila, to whose 
community I belonged, would hear of it. When they 
summoned me there I felt rather disturbed, but the 
Saint appeared to me, saying : ' Obey, my daughter, 
and leave this place.' " 24 

24 Autobiography, I.e. 


Teresita, too, returned to Avila, where she made her 
profession on November 5, 1582. Many other con- 
vents wished to have her as the representative of her 
holy aunt, but the Saint appeared to Anne of St. Bartho- 
lomew and said Teresita was to remain in the convent 
of St. Joseph — where, in fact, she spent the remainder of 
her life, dying in the odour of sanctity on September 10, 
1610. She had led a most holy life and suffered greatly 
from interior trials, in which she never failed to be con- 
soled by Saint Teresa. Anne of St. Bartholomew says 
she saw in spirit the soul of Teresita entering paradise, 
led by her aunt. 

Ribera thus describes Saint Teresa's appearance : 
" The holy Mother was tall ; beautiful when young, she 
was still handsome in old age. She had a fine figure 
and a very white skin ; her face was round and full, 
well shaped and proportioned, pink and white in colour. 
It became flushed while she was at prayer, which rendered 
her extremely beautiful ; at other times it was very 
calm and serene. Her hair was black and curly, her 
forehead smooth and broad ; her auburn eyebrows were 
wide and very slightly arched. Her eyes, black, lively 
and charming under their heavy lids, were not very large, 
but exceedingly well set ; full of gaiety when she laughed, 
and very grave when she wished to look serious. Her 
nose was small with very little bridge, the point rounded 
and inclined to be aquiline, the nostrils were small and 


distended. Her mouth was neither large nor small, the 
upper lip thin and straight, the under one full and rather 
drooping, very pretty and rosy. She had a fine set of 
teeth, a well-made chin, ears of a moderate size, a full 
throat, rather short than long, and small, delicately shaped 
hands. Three little moles on the left side of her face 
greatly enhanced her beauty ; one was just below the 
bridge of her nose, another between the nose and the 
mouth, the third a little beneath it. On the whole she 
was very handsome and walked most gracefully ; she 
looked so sweet and amiable that everyone who saw her 
loved her." 26 

To this sketch Yepes adds : "At times rays of light 
and splendour seemed to come from her eyes and fore- 
head, filling those who watched her with awe. . . . 
When receiving Holy Communion, and even before she 
had swallowed the sacred Host, her face became extra- 
ordinarily beautiful and transparent. She looked so 
majestic and grave that I felt the deepest reverence for 
her ; it was easy to see Who was her Guest, and how she 
had received Him." 26 

Father Jerome Gratian tells the tale in his Peregrina- 
tion 27 of the only portrait painted of the Saint from life. 
" In the convent of Seville I twice mortified the Mother 

26 Ribera, Life, bk. iv. ch. i. 

26 Yepes, Life, bk. ii. ch. xxxviii., and memorandum to Luis de 
Leon (Fuente, Obras, I.e., 143, No. 67). 

27 Peregrination de Anastasio, dial. xiii. 


Teresa in a way she felt acutely. She had asked me to 
do so, and I wondered how to impose any real mortifi- 
cation on her, for the ordinary kind, such as going to 
the refectory carrying a cross on her shoulders, pleased 
and delighted her. ... It happened at the time that 
Fray Juan de la Miseria, a lay-brother, 28 was painting 
the cloister ; I ordered him to take her portrait and bade 
her sit to him. She felt this keenly, for she was extremely 
humble and did not want people to remember her or see 
her likeness. As for her discomfort, and the want of 
consideration and courtesy with which she met from 
Brother Juan, who very often would not let her turn or 
move her head for a long while at a stretch, she was 
much more indifferent on that score. The picture was 
a bad one when it was done, for the friar was not a first- 
class artist. When Mother Teresa saw it, she said to 
him, in her graceful way : ' God forgive you, Brother 
John ! after all the trouble you have given me, you have 
made me blear-eyed and ugly.' ' Father Gratian adds 
that this was the only means of getting a portrait of the 
Saint, for neither she nor he himself would have con- 
sented to its being painted in any other manner. The 
picture remains at Seville, but has been retouched ; the 
arms, omitted by the painter, have been supplied, and a 
scroll has been added, but the face has been left unaltered. 
Although the artist was not very skilled, he succeeded 
88 Book of the Foundations, ch. xvii. 5, note. 


fairly well, for Ribera declares the portrait to be true. 
According to Hye-Hoys, the original painting, for- 
merly at Pastrana, is now at the town hall of Avila ; 
others believe the one preserved at Valladolid to be the 
original, and the portrait at Seville a copy. The general 
opinion is that the one of Seville is the original. 


Saint Teresa appeared to many people after her death, 
and a record has been kept of her sayings on such occa- 
sions. At the moment of her decease several nuns were 
favoured with extraordinary experiences which they 
took as an intimation of an event which, however sad 
for themselves, could not but fill them with joy for the 
sake of the holy Mother. Besides some instances already 
quoted in the account of the death scene, nuns in distant 
parts of Spain were made acquainted with the death and 
the glory of St. Teresa. Sister Frances of Jesus, at 
Valladolid, saw a halo of light in the sky, by which she 
understood that some very holy soul had just entered 
paradise. Sister Casilda of St. Angelo, of the same con- 
vent, beheld St. Teresa seated beside St. Francis of Assisi 
and crowned with equal glory. Mother Anne of Jesus, 
lying dangerously ill at Granada, saw beside her bed a 
nun surrounded with a glory so dazzling that her features 


were indistinguishable. The invalid, while gazing at 
her, conceived a great esteem for her vocation and 
realised the importance of every detail of the rule, and 
how it would be worth while to risk even one's life for 
the least ceremony of the Church, considering the glory 
reserved for those who faithfully observe these points. 
Thinking the apparition to be a warning of her own death, 
she summoned some of the nuns, to whom she explained 
what had happened to her ; she requested that the 
prior of the house of friars should write to a certain 
convent to suppress some practices of devotion which 
she understood now to be unsuited to the Order. But 
instead of dying she recovered her health, much to the 
physician's surprise. When, a few days later, she 
learned the news of St. Teresa's death she understood 
the meaning of the vision. Great as her grief was, she 
was comforted by these words spoken to her by the 
holy Mother: " As the Church did not cease to exist 
because on one and the same day St. Peter and St. Paul 
were taken away, neither will our Order fail now. On 
the contrary it will flourish all the more, for now that 
I am in heaven I am better able to assist it." 

Saint Teresa appeared frequently to Father Jerome 

Gratian, warning him of impending danger, instructing 

him in his perplexities and cheering him in his great 

trials. Among others he relates the following instance : 

" While I was saying Matins late one night, tired out 


with having preached twice that day at the cathedral 
of Seville, on raising my eyes I saw a bright light, whiter, 
more transparent and more piercing than that of the 
sun itself. Indeed there was this difference, that while 
the light of the sun only lights up the surface of material 
objects, this seemed to penetrate the very depths of 
my heart. Yet it neither glared, nor scorched, nor 
dazzled me, but entered sweetly and deliciously, illu- 
minating and comforting me. I recognised the face of 
St. Teresa by it, resplendent and beautiful, and looking 
younger than when she died, as if she were only about 
forty years old. I heard interiorly these words : ' We 
in heaven and you on earth ought to be one in faith, and 
purity, and love; we in enjoying, and you in suffering, — 
and the same praise we render to the Divine Essence 
should be paid by you to the most Holy Sacrament. 
Tell this to all my daughters.' " 1 

Besides other messages delivered to him by St. Teresa, 
he quotes this : 

" Once while saying Mass it seemed to me that Christ, 
our Lady, and the Mother Teresa were present in my 
heart and that I heard in my soul the following words: 
first, that I should be as attentive as possible at Mass. 
Secondly, that I should seek the honour and glory of 
God in all my actions. Thirdly, that as long as I lived 
I should watch carefully over the interests of the Order. 
1 Peregrination de Anastasio, dial. xv. 


Fourthly, that extraordinary spiritual manifestations, 
such as visions, raptures and the like, do not always 
proceed wholly either from God or from Satan, whether 
those who experience them be saints or sinners, and 
that great harm arises from following any general rule 
in these matters. On another occasion, while I was 
holding a chapter in a convent of nuns, the holy Mother 
seemed to stand by my side in the manner already 
explained, invisible to the eyes, though one of the sisters 
said afterwards she had seen her bodily present. A nun 
acknowledged having committed a fault which I con- 
sidered very trivial, but St. Teresa said to me : ' Some 
faults seem very slight in this world, but are found in 
the next to be serious, inasmuch as they hinder the 
growth of charity, and we shall be severely judged for 
having held them lightly.' Another sister owned that 
she had acted without consideration and had not borne 
very patiently with the sick when they were troublesome. 
Mother Teresa seemed to me to insist that the nuns should 
ever act with due deliberation, and that it would be an 
imperfection to blame the sick for complaining and 
fretting, for they should always be tended and borne 
with affectionately in religious communities." 8 

The following document was given to Father Gratian 
by Mother Catherine of Jesus, foundress and prioress 
of the convent of Veas : 

* Peregrinacidn de Anastasio, dial. xv. 


" To the Father Provincial. 

" This day, being Low-Sunday, I was bidden by our 
holy Mother in a vision to tell you several things. It is 
now a month since she first made them known to me, 
but as they relate personally to your Reverence, I did 
not write them down, but waited for an opportunity 
of seeing you. I cannot recollect all the details, but 
shall only say what I remember lest I should forget 

' ' While I was hearing Mass and praying for your Rever- 
ence and the new foundations, I thought the holy Mother 
bade me charge you not to part with the relic of her 
finger nor give it to anybody while you live, for by its 
means you will be helped in your undertakings and your 
private affairs. She wishes you to keep it, for it will 
impart strength to you. This was so clearly delivered 
to me that I longed to possess some relic of our Mother 

"Your Reverence feels troubled at thinking that you 
are remiss in punishing those who do not perform their 
duties, as you are of a very gentle disposition and wanting 
in the firmness needed in a superior. The holy Mother 
told me to say that you were not to be distressed about 
it nor to alter the way in which you act, let people say 
what they will, but to keep the fear of God before you 
as you have always done, and to aim at forwarding His 


greater honour and glory. Thus you will render great 
service to our Lord, and will succeed in your affairs. 
Then let others say whatever they choose. As regards 
punishments, lean to charity and forgiveness as does 
God Himself, and let there be less publicity and more 
secrecy as regards other people's affairs. 

" Let preachers insist upon confessions being well made, 
which is of great importance, for the devil is always 
striving to mingle poison with our medicine. 

" It is very wrong for confessors to relate anything that 
passes in the confessional, for nothing either good or 
bad connected with it should be discussed. 

" Let the bad custom of speaking ill of Beatas 3 be 
stopped, for many of them are very pleasing to God. 

" Let no one censure the way in which others act ; 
each may be right in his own way, and great harm is 
done by such criticism. 

" Let no superior give easy credit to all that is written 
or told him of the misdemeanours of his subjects, but 
let him withhold his judgment until he is well-informed 
about the matter. 

" Do not allow temporal prosperity to be sought for 
in any convent in the same way as in the world ; let 
the religious trust in God and live in recollection. Other- 

8 Beatos and Beatas were people who, while living in the world, 
kept a strict rule of life ; they generally wore some distinctive 


wise it often happens that, under the pretext of main- 
taining the convent or benefiting souls, there is an 
excessive intercourse with seculars, which does great 
harm to the spiritual life. 

' ' Let the superior pray before deciding any grave 
matter, which generally effects excellent results, and let 
him teach his subjects to do the same. 

" As far as possible, let the superior himself settle 
affairs regarding foundations. There are many good 
reasons for this, — among others that of preventing his 
subjects from claiming a right over foundations made by 
themselves, which would lead to disputes and divisions, 
also cause the loss of much time, and foster party- 

"In a newly founded convent of nuns the prioress 
should be one experienced in government, even if she 
has to be taken from another house, for an inexperienced 
superior would do less harm in an old-established 
community than in a new one. 

" Let the prioress set over a convent be the most 
obedient of all to the Provincial, as this will teach the 
community to obey. 

" Let her teach her subjects to be detached from 
everything, both exterior and interior, as she herself 
should be, since they are all the brides of so great a King 
as Christ. Let not the superior allow convents to be 
founded without some means of subsistence, for the nuns 


cannot begin by requiring help from seculars without 
forfeiting their respect for the religious life. 

" Let the Provincial visit the convents personally ; if, 
however, he has to send a substitute, let it be some one 
with great respect for him, and who is humble, experienced 
and spiritual ; otherwise the deputy will endeavour to 
introduce new modes of government, which is a source 
of great damage to religion. Let him, wherever he may 
be sent, speak in praise of penance, and blame excess 
in eating, for, as long as the health is not injured, penance, 
austerities and self-contempt are of great benefit to the soul . 

"It is not good to change the superiors frequently in 
convents of friars, or it will sometimes be necessary to 
elect those who are inexperienced. However, as a rule, 
it is well for those who have been priors to return to 
the ranks in order to learn to obey and to humble them- 
selves. They will thus do great good to the brethren 
by their example, and be able greatly to assist the new 
priors with advice, besides fulfilling their duties all the 
better when they are re-elected. 

" Let the custom be maintained of having spiritual 
exercises and special days for recollection for the advance- 
ment of souls. Superiors will be called to render a 
very strict account on the day of judgment ; many will 
have a severe purgatory, and some will even suffer in 
hell on account of the sins of others, although not con- 
demned for their own, 


"Do not make much account of visions and revelations, 
for though some are true, many are false and deceitful, 
and it is very laborious and dangerous to separate the 
uncertain truths from manifest falsehood. Besides this, 
souls who follow private revelations are liable to deviate 
from faith, which is the certain and safe virtue. There- 
fore Saint Teresa said she would not like her daughters 
to read her books very much, particularly her Life, 
lest they should think her perfection consisted in visions 
and revelations, and should desire and try to obtain 
them, thinking that they were imitating her. She drew 
many conclusions from this, saying that she enjoyed the 
happiness of heaven not for her revelations, but for her 
virtues. She said that your Reverence was to uproot 
such an idea in nuns who have a tendency in this direc- 
tion. Although some may receive revelations which are 
indubitably true, such matters should be made little of, 
and the nuns should be taught to pay no attention to 
them, as they are of slight value and often do more harm 
than good. Our holy Mother explained this so clearly 
that I no longer desired to read her Life. She further 
remarked that imaginary visions, when combined with 
intellectual ones, may deceive in a still more subtle 
manner. For what is seen with the eyes of the soul makes 
a deeper impression than what is seen with the eyes of 
the body. And although our Lord sometimes favours 
a soul in this way, greatly to its benefit, the thing itself 


is extremely dangerous on account of the incessant 
warfare the devil wages against spiritual persons by 
this means, especially if any one has a propensity for 
such things. Safety lies in trusting rather to the opinion 
of one's superior than to one's own. The highest spirit- 
uality is to be detached from all that is proper to the 
senses. Many persons are very partial to revelations 
which are supposed to sanctify the soul receiving them. 
This is a contradiction of the order established by God 
for our sanctification, which is to be gained by the practice 
of virtue and obedience to His holy law. Women are 
credulous and therefore prone to error, and when guided 
by men of little learning and discretion, great harm may 

" Perfect impartiality should be observed in convents of 
nuns regarding the confessor, as excessive familiarity 
between him and the prioress sometimes does harm to 
the whole community. 

" Let the superior of the Discalced Carmelites watch 
carefully over the purity of the religious spirit, for 
God seeks to do much good by our Order, and carries 
out His designs by means of pure souls. 

" One day, when a sub- prioress, fearing the Order 
might lose its first fervour, was praying for the superior, 
the Mother Teresa appeared to her and bade her not be 
afraid, for God Himself would watch over it as it had 
cost her*(St. Teresa's) life-blood. But let the Provincial 


be advised to insist upon the observance of the Rule and 
Constitutions to the utmost of his power. 

" On another occasion, when the same nun asked our 
Lord to give her Mother Teresa's virtues, the Saint 
appeared to her saying God would give them to her who 
disposed herself for them, and that the Provincial was 
to assign the different virtues to various sisters so that 
all might acquire some. 

"-At another time a nun who had been a favourite 
of the Saint owing to her saintly life from childhood, and 
her practice of heroic virtue, begged our Lord for a share 
in His Passion. She saw Him in spirit place a crown 
of thorns on her head, which caused an excessive pain 
to the end of her life so that it was surprising how she 
was able to fulfil her duties without hindrance. Not 
content with this, she was favoured with a keen pain in 
her hands and feet and side. This nun was Mary of 
Jesus (de Rivas), some years prioress of Toledo. St. 
Teresa often appeared to her, giving her the following 
counsels among others : 

" The poverty in which the Order was founded was to 
be maintained, for God would bestow the ' double spirit,' 
as upon the prophet Eliseus, upon those convents that 
were poor, and, as long as they trusted in Christ the Bride- 
groom, they would never come to want. The nuns were 
always to be cheerful, for perfection and joy went hand 
in hand, and the one would last as long as the other. 


" The Provincial should not fail to found as many 
convents as possible, for they were pleasing to God ; 
let him take his own share in the foundations. Professed 
nuns should not be moved from their own house to a 
convent where the community is too small, but let fresh 
subjects be received into such a house, or let novices or 
postulants be transferred from a large convent to a 
small one. But to send those who were discontented in 
one place to another would open the door to restlessness 
and a want of religious spirit. 

" Let the Provincial make sure that all convents com- 
mand a pleasant view of the surrounding country, and let 
no austerities be introduced beyond what are prescribed 
in the Rule and Constitutions ; for if there is no recrea- 
tion inside the convent the sisters will seek it from 
people outside, and although it might not be so now, yet 
in the future it might lead to relaxation. 

" On another occasion she saw our Lord in great glory 
and beauty ; He gave her to understand that the time 
would come when St. Teresa's sanctity would become 
known ; she was to thank the Provincial for having 
treated her body with such respect, and tell him that he 
would be rewarded for it. The holy Mother also announced 
that there were to be many martyrs in the Order. 

"To another nun who was lamenting over her death, 
St. Teresa appeared, promising that she would help the 
Order more now that she was in heaven than she had 


done on earth ; the Provincial was to watch most carefully 
over it, keeping ever in spirit close to the Blessed Virgin 
and the glorious Saint Joseph, who would enlighten him. 
" One day when the same nun was grieving at having 
no one to whom she could open her soul as she had done 
to the Saint, the holy Mother appeared to her and bade 
her communicate with the prior and treat him with the 
same candour and confidence as she would have used with 
herself. She also insisted on the cultivation of concord 
among the nuns, and on their being open and frank 
with the prioress. On another occasion, seeing St. 
Teresa near a hermitage in the convent grounds, this nun 
was bidden to encourage the Provincial with reference 
to a vow of greater perfection he felt prompted to take, 
and to advise him to act in conformity with the Saint." 4 

" On the feast of the Epiphany our holy Mother told 
me to say to the Father Provincial : ' The religious com- 
plain that your Reverence does not do penance, and that 
you wear linen for which you have no good reason. Many 
of your subjects, being averse to self-indulgence, do not 
consider your needs and labours, and what you suffer 
in travelling about, when on some occasions while you 
are away from home you eat meat or take some slight 
dispensation on account of your infirmities. These 

4 All these notices are from the Peregrination, dial, xvi., sup- 
plemented by Fuente, Obras, Hi. 206 sqq. 


religious are plotting against you ; their aim is to step 
into your place. Therefore let them see you do penance 
and do not keep it too secret, for the sake of setting 
a good example. You must root up with severity, if 
mildness does not suffice, relaxation of any point of the 
Rule or Constitutions, for such things usually begin 
with little and end with much.' 

" On the feast of the Kings (Epiphany) when I asked 
our Mother, as I saw her in a vision, what book we were 
to read, she took up a manual of Christian doctrine and 
said : ' I wish my nuns to read this, night and day, 
for it is the law of God.' She then began reading the 
article on the Last Judgment in a voice that terrified 
and made me shudder, so that it sounded in my ears 
for days afterwards. She drew much teaching of the 
most sublime doctrine from this subject, and described 
to what perfection it leads the soul. Since then I do 
not care to teach high doctrine to the souls in my charge, 
but I prefer instructing them in Christian doctrine and 
impressing it upon them. I love to study its teaching on 
my own account, as there seems much to be learnt in 
it, and I cannot say what a treasure I find it. Strive 
to make the religious love humility, mortification and 
manual labour. Our Lord will give them the rest at the 
proper time. 

"One day when Mother Catherine of Jesus, already 
mentioned, lay ill, Saint Teresa appeared to her, but, 


thinking it might be an illusion, the nun took little 
notice of the vision. The Saint said : ' I am glad you 
do not give credence to it too easily, for I wish my 
daughters to make more account of virtues than of 
supernatural manifestations ; however, this vision is a 
true one.' With these words the Saint placed her hand 
on the seat of the disease and the nun was instantly cured 
from what had been thought to be a fatal affliction. 5 

" Another nun was feeling very sorrowful because she 
could not give herself so entirely to our Lord as she 
desired. One day she saw a bright light, and the holy 
Mother standing beneath an arch of flowers, holding 
in her hand a book written with beautiful golden letters. 
She said : ■ Read, daughter ! ' The nun was unable 
to lift her eyes owing to the glare of the light, but the 
Saint smilingly touched her eyes and she could distinctly 
see the words : ' My Spouse holds your will that He may 
use it in conformity with His own, by continually con- 
tradicting it.' ' Mother,' answered the nun, 'how 
can I expect to have the strength for so great a thing 
when I am so weak in little things ? ' ' Strength will 
be given you,' was the answer, ' when you least expect 
it ; by patiently overcoming ourselves in small matters 
we gain the power of overcoming in great ones.' 6 The 
sister replied : ' My Mother, am I pleasing to God ? am 

5 Ribera, Life, bk. v. ch. iv. 

6 Ibidem. 


I in the right road ? ' The Saint responded : ' Not by 
the road by which you seek to go. Avoid singularity 
and allow yourself to be guided by him who directs you, 
and all will be well.' 

" Another nun saw the holy Mother in glory, wearing 
a girdle of precious stones including many rubies. St. 
Teresa explained that it was her reward for her constant 
zeal for souls. 7 

" Appearing one day to Sister Antonia of the Holy 
Ghost (de Henao), the Saint told her that she enjoyed 
a great degree of glory and many privileges because of 
her ardent zeal for the honour of God and her deep 
sorrow for the eternal loss of heretics and infidels, which 
had led her to found convents to intercede for their 
conversion. For this reason God had bestowed upon her 
the privilege of being their advocate in heaven." 

Additional Maxims. 9 

i. Love more and act more uprightly, for " narrow 

is the way." 
2. The doctrine we should study most is the point of 

the Rule bidding us meditate day and night on the 

law of the Lord. 1 

7 Ribera, Life, bk. v. ch. iv. 

8 Extracts from Fucnte, I.e., 212, sqq. 
• Rule, 5. 


3. Purify your souls, for God loves to dwell in pure souls. 

4. Strive to practise and acquire the virtues I loved 
best in my lifetime — namely, the practice of the presence 
of God, an intention of performing all my actions in 
union with Christ, a perseverance in prayer which 
produces humility and obedience, self-abasement accom- 
panied with shame at having offended God, purity of 
conscience with a determination never to consent to any 
sin, however small, zeal for souls and a desire to draw 
as many as possible to God, a devotion to the most 
Holy Sacrament of the altar, preparation for receiving 
Holy Communion with the greatest possible perfection, 
special devotion to the Holy Ghost and the Blessed 
Virgin, patience and endurance in suffering and crosses, 
candour and uprightness of soul combined with pru- 
dence and calmness, a truthfulness which neither utters 
nor consents to any falsehood, genuine love for God 
and our neighbour, which is the summit of all perfection. 

5. Strive to be as attentive as possible during Mass 
and the Divine Office. 

6. A feeling of love for God, sweetness, or tenderness 

of soul which produces any rising of sensuality, springs 

from Satan, not from God, for the Divine Spirit is chaste. 

It is not well for men and women to be very intimate, 

since all are not like the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph, 

whose intimacy increased their purity because they kept 

with Christ. 


7. It is important for perfection that the constitu- 
tion should be kept which bids the nuns give a monthly 
account of their conscience to the prioress, hiding nothing 
from her. If this custom should be discontinued the 
true spirit for which we strive would gradually be lost. 10 
8. For the impulses I felt during life in my desire 
for death, you should strive to substitute impulses to 
perform the Will of God, to omit no tittle of your 
Rule and Constitutions, and to endeavour to obtain the 
virtues most pleasing to Him, which are Purity, Humility, 
Obedience and Love. 


As time went on, the nuns of Alba de Tormes reproached 
themselves for not having treated their holy Mother's 
body with greater respect. They felt instinctively that, 
notwithstanding all that had been done to hasten 
destruction, it remained incorrupt. Besides the many 

10 St. Teresa very frequently insists in her writings on this 
practice, expecting the nuns to make known to the prioress their 
consolations and fervent desires as well as their trials and tempta- 
tions, and to make her acquainted with their manner of prayer, 
the difficulties they experienced, the light they obtained and the 
progress they made. No one was better able than she to help 
them in all these matters. But as not every prioress nor even 
every priest has a talent for such intimate spiritual intercourse. 
Pope Leo XIII. has forbidden the practice unless it be entirely 
voluntary on the part of the subject. 


great miracles which seemed to prove her sanctity, there 
were not a few occurrences which must have almost led 
them to think that their Mother was still bodily present 
in the convent. Mysterious knocks were heard within 
the tomb ; lights were often seen near it, particularly 
when any religious was dying ; and a delicious fragrance 
came from it. Sometimes, when any sister failed in 
some point of the rule, for instance, talking in silence time, 
three knocks at the door would warn her of Teresa's dis- 

When, therefore, in 1584, the Provincial, Father Jerome 
Gratian, came to Alba for an official visitation, they 
begged him to open the grave. After several days' hard 
work the masonry was at last removed and the coffin 
discovered ; the lid was broken, the wood rotten, the 
Saint's habit decayed with damp and mildew and the 
effect of the lime, but the body itself was perfectly intact, 
and, more than that, it was as supple, fresh-coloured, 
sound and fragrant as it had been at the time of her 
death. A kind of oil flowed from her limbs, soaking the 
clothes and the very earth. Even the leather belt exuded 
it, and once, on the day of Father Gratian' s expulsion 
from the Order, was noticed to be sprinkled with drops 
like blood. At the sight of the incorrupt body the nuns 
fell on their knees and thanked God for His wonders. 
The body was washed, redressed, and laid in a fresh shell, 
and once more deposited in the same tomb, which was 


closed with more reverence than on the former occasion. 
All this had to be done with great secrecy, for although 
the foundress of the convent, Teresa de Laiz, was now 
dead, the Duchess of Alba looked upon the relics as her 
greatest treasure. 

Before replacing the body, Father Gratian detached 
the little finger of the right hand, which he always kept 
in his possession to the end of his life ; even on his death- 
bed he held it in his hand, softly singing some of the 
Saint's verses. He also severed the left hand, wrapped 
it in silk, putting it, with the key of the sepulchre, in a 
casket which he took to Avila without telling the nuns 
what it contained. But they found it out, for the Saint 
appeared one evening to Mother Anne of St. Peter in 
great glory, and pointing to the casket said: "What 
that case contains is very dear to me, for it is my own 
hand." Henceforth, when the prioress asked her blessing, 
she saw the Saint's hand before her, upraised in bene- 
diction. Later on Father Gratian, under pretence of 
taking the key, secretly removed the hand and gave it 
to the nuns of Lisbon. He detached a finger for Father 
Nicholas Doria, which he showed to the nuns at Malagon, 
who were amazed at its sweet perfume. A lay-sister 
whom St. Teresa had often been obliged to correct made 
light of the phenomenon, but was punished by such 
an increase of the fragrance that she fell to the ground 
fainting and overpowered. 


As had been foreseen, the nuns of Avila asserted their 
claim to the remains of St. Teresa as being prioress of 
their convent at the time of her death, and Don Alvaro 
de Mendoza, formerly bishop of Avila, appealed to the 
chapter, held at Pastrana in October 1585, for the ful- 
filment of a promise made him by Father Gratian during 
St. Teresa's lifetime, that her body should be buried 
at Avila, where he had built a tomb for himself. He had 
a right to choose a burial-place near hers, as without his 
co-operation this foundation could never have taken place, 
and there would have been no Reform of the Carmelite 
order. The fathers, too, were in favour of a translation, 
and the permission was willingly granted. 

The nuns at Alba had a supernatural warning of the 
impending translation. As they were at recreation in 
the room where the Saint died, they heard three knocks, 
thrice repeated at regular intervals. Fearing that some- 
one was in the church, they went to look, but found no 
one. They learned afterwards that the time corresponded 
with the moment when the decree for the removal of 
the body was signed by the chapter at Pastrana. 

In due time two religious, deputed by the superiors, 
arrived at Alba, and communicated the decision of the 
chapter to the prioress and some of the senior nuns, the 
rest of the community, engaged in choir, being left in 
ignorance. The grave was opened in great haste; the 
sacred remains were found in the same condition as before, 


the clothes saturated with fragrant oil, and a handkerchief, 
which had been placed on the mouth, full of fresh blood 
that stained whatever it touched. By direction of the 
chapter the left arm was severed, as it was to be kept at 
Alba ; when the father who presided over the disinter- 
ment began this operation — he owned afterwards it 
was the hardest task that had been imposed on him all 
his life — the arm parted from the shoulder without any 
effort on his part, — another wonderful circumstance which 
could only be explained on supernatural grounds. The 
bone was as white, the flesh as soft, as though the Saint 
had just died. The fathers hastily wrapped up their 
precious burden and departed with all speed. 

Meanwhile the nuns were in choir reciting Matins; 
to their surprise the well-known fragrance became 
stronger and stronger, and at last so powerful that they 
left the Divine Office unfinished and hurried to the holy 
Mother's tomb. They found it open, the arm covered 
with blood, carefully deposited on a sheet, but the rest of 
the body was gone, the church door closed and the friars 
were already far off. There remained no course for the 
nuns but to submit to their loss, especially as they were 
bound by their superiors to silence under severe penalties. 
But not long after one of the lay-sisters found means of 
communicating the fact to the Duchess. She obtained 
leave to make a pie for that lady, in which she secreted 
a statement of the events. The Duchess, forgetful of 


all etiquette, rushed into the street crying : " They have 
taken Santa Teresa away, they have robbed me of the 
Saint ! " The duke, her husband, was away, but his 
uncle, Don Fernando de Toledo, who was in charge of 
the estate,' dispatched a messenger to Rome praying 
for the restitution of the body. 

No less great than the grief of the nuns of Alba was the 
joy of those of Avila at the arrival of the sacred remains. 
" The number of lighted candles made the place look 
like heaven," writes Anne of St. Bartholomew; "the 
Saint caressed her daughters in a thousand ways in what- 
ever part of the house they might be, appearing to them 
and consoling them." The former infirmarian cleansed 
and redressed the body, which was enclosed in a case 
covered with black velvet, embroidered with the words : 
" La Madre Teresa de Jesus," and placed in the chapter 
room. Saint Teresa continually showed her gratitude 
to Anne, who adds : "I was worn out with work ; all 
the nuns were ill, and there was only one sister beside 
myself who was capable of doing anything I went to 
the Saint's tomb and said to her : ' Mother, help me i 
I am so exhausted that I cannot stand ; give me strength, 
I only want to be able to help my sisters ! ' I felt in my 
heart that she was aiding me, and that she said to me : 
' Go, daughter, I will do what you ask.' I went to the 
kitchen, and had hardly begun to lift the saucepans 
when I noticed the fragrance of the Saint just as though 


she had been there. A perfume came from the cinders 
like that of her sacred relics, and gave me such strength 
that all my weariness disappeared, and I felt the weight 
of my body no more than if it had been all spirit. I never 
was in the least tired again, and this supernatural force 
remained with me until all the nuns were well again." 
Although the community were bound to strict silence 
regarding the translation, the fact became known even 
at Avila. Yepes says that it reached his ears privately. 
Provided with a licence from Father Nicholas Doria, 
who was then Provincial, he set forth for Avila with the 
bishop of Cordova and the licentiate Don Francisco de 
Contreras, to view the sacred body and report its con- 
dition to King Philip II. With the bishop of Avila 
and some doctors and citizens, they arrived at the convent 
on New Year's Day, 1586 ; the sacred remains were 
brought to the enclosure door, and, kneeling with heads 
uncovered, the deputation examined the body ; it was 
still in perfect preservation, the flesh supple and the 
sinews so well knit that the body stood upright with 
but little support, though it weighed no more than a 
child of two years old, which the doctors declared to be 
incomprehensible. On receiving the report the king 
was so impressed that he forthwith granted leave for the 
foundation of a convent of nuns at Madrid, thus fulfilling 
a petition made by the Saint years ago. It was useless 
for the bishop of Avila to enjoin secrecy under pain of 


excommunication concerning the whereabouts of the 
relics, for he was the first to betray the secret by exclaim- 
ing : " Oh, what wonders we have seen ! " 

In the meantime Pope Sixtus V., who had been made 
acquainted with the fact of the translation, decided in 
favour of Alba de Tormes and gave orders to the Nuncio 
for the restoration of the remains. The priors of Pastrana, 
Mancera and Alcala proceeded to Avila and removed 
the body in the dead of night, but the fragrance exhaled 
by it betrayed the nature of their burden ; some labourers 
thrashing corn left their work and ran after them, shout- 
ing : "What are you carrying there?" At Mancera, 
where a halt was made, a friar watching by the relics 
was cured of the ague. 

When the news reached Alba that the body of Saint 
Teresa was being brought back, the clergy wished to 
meet it in solemn procession and with music, but Yepes 
says that the Carmelite friars desired to avoid any such 
publicity. The church was crowded, the Duke of Alba, 
with his mother, the gentry and clergy and the whole 
population having assembled there. The identity of the 
body having been attested in the presence of a notary by 
those who had known the holy Mother during her lifetime, 
the sacred remains were delivered to the safe custody 
of the nuns, and remained exposed for some time at the 
choir grating so that the people were able to satisfy their 
cjevotion ; in fact, had it not been for the iron rails, 


they would probably have endangered the body in their 
eagerness to secure some particles. 

The joy of Alba was equalled by the grief of Avila. 
A memoir signed by the Carmelite nuns and the citizens 
was sent to Rome in which the claim of Teresa's birth- 
place to her body was set forth. The Pope commissioned 
the Nuncio to investigate the conflicting claims, and the 
sentence in favour of Alba was finally confirmed by 
Sixtus V. on July 10, 1589. 

In 1594 the Venerable Anne of Jesus, 1 on her way 
from Madrid to Salamanca, was directed to pass through 
Alba de Tormes and to transfer Saint Teresa's body into 
a magnificent shrine presented by the duke. ' ' I noticed, 
she writes in her account, " that the shoulder was highly 
coloured, and called the attention of those present to it, 
as it looked as if some fresh blood were there. A piece of 
linen, applied to the spot, became blood-stained ; this 
I gave to the fathers, and asked for a second piece, which 
was coloured in the same way. Wondering at the marvel, 
— for the holy Mother had now been dead for twelve 
years, and, moreover, her skin at that place was un- 
broken, — I pressed my face against her body ; she 
spoke to me so tenderly, with such affectionate expressions, 
that I could not repeat them. Among other things, she 
told me that she loved me so dearly that she gave me 
her very blood, and thanked me for all I had done ." 
1 Book 0/ the Foundations, p. ;- 


It is well known how much the Venerable Anne of Jesus 
had suffered in her endeavours to maintain the Con- 
stitutions of St. Teresa. The two pieces of linen were 
taken to the king, who ordered the canonical informations 
begun some years previously to be resumed. 

It would be painful to describe all the mutilations of 
the body made to satisfy the demands for relics. " The 
hand of man did not spare the flesh which the fangs 
of death had respected," says Father Frederic of St. 
Anthony. Even before the remains were taken to Avila 
a lay-sister, — there is some uncertainty as to the name 
or names of those concerned, — had had the audacity 
to cut open the body with an ordinary knife and to 
withdraw the heart, which shows the marks left by the 
lance when it was pierced by an angel. 2 She took it 
to her cell, but was betrayed by its fragrance and the 
blood which flowed from it. She was punished by being 
sent to another convent. In 1726 the Holy See granted 
leave to the Carmelites to keep the feast of the Trans- 
verberation on August 27, with a proper office and Mass, 
and in 1733 the privilege was extended to the whole 
kingdom of Spain and its foreign possessions. 

The body of St. Teresa, or what remains of it, rests 
in a sarcophagus of jasper and marble with rich gilding, 
the gift of Ferdinand VI. and his consort, over the 
high altar in the church of the Carmelite nuns at Alba de 

2 U^e, written by herself, ch. xxix. note 17 (edit, oijgii). 


Tormes ; the heart and an arm are in the same church in 
a reliquary on the Epistle side of the altar, and are readily 
shown to visitors. Other relics are to be found in the 
Carmelite churches in Rome, Lisbon, Brussels, Antwerp 
and other places. Eventually the Order had to obtain 
a brief inflicting severe penalties on whoever should 
detach any portion of the relics kept at Alba or elsewhere 
without authorisation from the superiors. During the 
revolution of 1836, sacrilegious hands broke open the 
sarcophagus, stealing the jewels and treasures, but God 
preserved the remains of His servant from profanation. 
A witness who was forced to be present testified that 
the body was still flexible and incorrupt. 

The fame of her miracles and her books, which — with 
the exception of the Foundations — were published in 
Spain in 1588, caused steps to be taken towards the Saint's 
canonisation in Salamanca, as early as 1591. On 
July 26, 1593, by request of Philip II., the Nuncio, Mgr. 
Camillo Cajetan, ordered the formation of the Com- 
pulsorial process. The informations collected in not 
less than sixteen dioceses were completed in four years 
and forwarded to Clement VIII., accompanied with press- 
ing letters from the King of Spain, his sister, Dona Maria, 
the Cortes, Universities, princes, nobles and clergy. 
The Holy Father received the request favourably and 
the matter was again brought forward at the instance 
of Philip III. and Queen Margarita. The informations 


in genere were taken between 1604 and 1607, whereupon 
Pope Paul V. commissioned the bishops of Avila and 
Salamanca to collect the informations in specie upon 
the Saint's virtues and miracles. In all, more than five 
hundred witnesses of all classes, clergy and lay people, 
gave evidence. On April 24, 1614, the same Pope pub- 
lished the decree of beatification and authorised the 
Carmelites to celebrate their holy Mother's feast each 
year on October 5 ; this privilege was extended to the 
whole of Spain in 1617. When the joyful news reached 
Barcelona through the general of the Genoese fleet, 
Don Carlos Doria, the excitement of the people knew no 
bounds : the Cortes declared her Patroness of the king- 
dom — though the title was ultimately not adopted owing 
to the opposition of the chapter of Compostella ; the 
universities declared her Doctor of Divinity ; the army 
chose her as their Generalissimo,, and statues were erected 
at Madrid, Avila, and many other towns, representing her 
in the doctor's gown with a white tasselled hood, and a 
biretta at her feet. 

The petition for the canonisation came from the King 
of Spain, the National Council of Tarragona, the Emperor, 
the King of France and the Queen-Mother, and many 
other royal and princely personages. Pope Paul V. was 
no longer in the chair of St. Peter, but his successor, 
Gregory XV., having completed all the formalities required, 
held the solemn ceremony of canonisation on March 12, 


1622, in the basilica of the Prince of the Apostles. It was 
the first time these solemn rites were performed according 
to the new ritual, the occasion being remarkable for the 
names of the Saints who thus received the highest honours 
the Catholic Church can bestow ; for besides St. Teresa 
there were canonised St. Ignatius de Loyola, St. Francis 
Xavier, St. Philip Neri and St. Isidor of Madrid. 

Contemporary authors give a full and glowing descrip- 
tion of the splendour of the proceedings. 

The Bull of Canonisation of St. Teresa is as follows : 


Gregory, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of 

The Almighty Word of God, having descended to earth 
from the bosom of the Father to deliver us from the 
powers of darkness, and being about to leave this world 
and to return to the Father, established the Church of His 
elect, purchased by His blood, to be the teacher of the 
word of life, that the wisdom of the wise might be 
confounded, and all who exalted themselves against God 
might be overthrown. He did not choose many noble 
nor many wise, but the things that are contemptible, 
and these were to fulfil the ministry to which they had 


been predestined since the days of eternity, not by the 
sublimity of their speech, nor in word of human wisdom, 
but in simplicity and truth. 

In the early centuries, when from time to time He 
vouchsafed to visit His people by means of trusty servants, 
He generally selected the lowly and the humble by whom 
to bestow immense benefits upon the Catholic Church. 
To whom also He revealed the secrets of the kingdom 
of heaven which are hidden from the wise and prudent, 
and adorned them with the highest gifts of grace to such 
an extent that they edified the Church by the example 
of their good works, and glorified her by the splendour 
of their wonders. 

But in our own days He hath wrought salvation by 
the hand of a woman, for He has raised up in His Church 
the Virgin Teresa, like a second Debora, who after a 
most wonderful victory over the flesh by perpetual 
virginity, over the world by admirable humility, and 
over the snares of the devil by her many and great 
virtues, aspiring still higher and surpassing her sex by 
her greatness of soul, girded her loins with strength and 
fortified her arm, and trained an army of the strong to 
fight, with the armour of the spirit, for the house of the 
God of hosts and for His law and commandments. In 
view of the great work she had to do, God filled her with 
the spirit of wisdom and of understanding and so en- 
riched her with the treasures of His grace, that her 


splendour, like a star in the firmament, shines in the house 
of the Lord for all eternity. 

Since God and His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ 
have deigned to manifest this soul to His people by 
the glory of miracles, as a bride decked with her crown 
and adorned with her jewels, We have deemed it meet 
and just that We, in Our pastoral solicitude for the 
universal Church over which We preside, unworthy as 
We are, should present her to the faithful, by Our Apos- 
tolic authority, to be honoured and venerated as a saint 
and as one of the elect of God, in order that all nations 
may confess the Lord in all His wondrous works, and all 
flesh may know that His mercies have not ceased in our 
days. Although our sins have forced Him to visit us 
with the rod of His indignation, yet His wrath has not 
made Him withhold His favours ; in our afflictions He 
provides us with fresh aid, and multiplies His friends, 
who, by their merits and intercession protect and defend 
His Church. That all the faithful of Christ may under- 
stand how abundantly God has poured forth His spirit 
upon His handmaid, and that their devotion to her may 
daily increase, We have thought it well to insert in 
this document some of her greatest virtues, and some 
of the most wonderful miracles wrought by God by her 

Teresa was born at Avila, in the kingdom of Castile, 
in the year 1515, of parents as distinguished by the 


nobility of their race as by their blameless lives. Trained 
by them in the fear of the Lord, while yet in her early 
childhood she gave a surprising presage of her future 
sanctity. Through reading the lives of the holy martyrs, 
the lire of the Holy Spirit so inflamed her heart that, 
with one of her brothers who was still a boy, she left 
her home in order to go to Africa and to give her blood 
and her life for the faith of Jesus Christ. She was met 
and led back by her uncle, but she never ceased to weep 
because the better part had been taken from her. She 
satisfied her ardent desires for martyrdom by almsgiving 
and other good works. 

At twenty years of age she consecrated herself entirely 
to Christ. Following the divine call, she joined the 
nuns of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of the Mitigated 
Observance, where, planted in the house of the Lord, she 
" flourished in the courts of the house of our God." 
After her profession in this convent she was, for eighteen 
years, afflicted with grave maladies and various tempta- 
tions, without receiving any divine consolations. By the 
help of God she bore this cross so bravely that the trial 
of her faith, much more precious than gold which is 
tried by the fire, was found unto praise and glory and 
honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 

As the foundation of faith must be laid before erecting 
the sublime edifice of the Christian virtues, Teresa set 
up hers so firmly and immutably that s)ie might be 

J 7 


compared, according to our Lord's words, to a wise man, 
who founded his house upon a rock. So steadfastly did 
she believe in, and venerate, the most holy Sacraments 
of the Church and the dogmas of the Catholic Religion, 
that she often said there was nothing about which she 
could feel greater certainty. Illuminated by this light 
of faith, she beheld the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ 
so clearly in the most Blessed Eucharist with her mental 
sight as to declare that she had no reason to envy those 
who had had the joy of looking on Him with their bodily 
eyes. Yet so lively was her trust in God that she con- 
tinually mourned over her detention in this mortal life 
which prevented her being ever with the Lord. While 
meditating on the joys of her heavenly country she was 
often rapt in ecstasy and raised to their enjoyment while 
still in the flesh. 

First among Teresa's virtues ranked the love of God, 
which so inflamed her heart that her confessors admired 
and praised her charity as more like that of a cherub than 
of a human being. Our Lord wonderfully increased it by 
a number of visions and revelations. One day, giving her 
His right hand and showing her the nail which had trans- 
pierced it, He took her for His spouse and deigned to 
say to her: "Henceforth as a true bride thou shalt 
regard My honour as thine ; I am now all thine and thou 
art Mine." On another occasion she saw an angel 
pierce her heart with a flaming dart. These divine gifts 


so ignited her heart with divine love that she made the 
arduous vow of always doing what she believed to be most 
perfect and most for the honour of God. So much so 
that she appeared after her death in a vision to a certain 
nun and revealed that she had died, not of disease, but 
of the unbearable fervour of divine love. 

She showed her constant charity for her neighbour 
in many ways, chiefly by her ardent desire for the salva- 
tion of souls. She often wept over the darkness of 
infidels and heretics, not only continually praying God 
to enlighten them, but offering for them fasts, disciplines 
and other bodily mortifications. This holy virgin made 
a secret resolution of allowing no day to pass without 
performing some act of charity : God helped her to fulfil 
it, and, thanks to Him, she never lacked some opportunity 
of practising charity. 

She also imitated the love of our Lord Jesus Christ 
for His enemies in a marvellous manner. Although 
violently persecuted and tried, she loved those who 
harmed her, and prayed for those who hated her. Indeed, 
the slanders and injuries she endured nourished her love 
and charity, so that men of authority used to say that 
to win Teresa's love, one must defraud or injure her. 

She kept her vows made to God at her religious pro- 
fession with extreme perfection and zeal. Not only did 
she most diligently carry out all her superiors' orders in 
her outward actions, but she firmly resolved to subject 


even her thoughts to their will. She offered some remark- 
able proofs of this. By the command of some of her 
confessors who suspected that she was deluded by the 
devil, she humbly made signs of derision and contempt 
to our Lord Jesus Christ, Who often appeared to her, 
but He rewarded her amply for her absolute obedience. 
She also, at the bidding of another confessor, threw 
into the fire a most devout treatise she had written on 
the Canticle of Canticles. She used to say that she might 
be mistaken in believing in visions and revelations, but 
she could not be mistaken in obeying her superiors. 

Her love of poverty led her not only to gain her own 
living by her handiwork, but to exchange garments 
promptly with any nun she saw wearing a shabbier 
habit than her own. She was greatly delighted at 
lacking any necessities, and thanked God as for a signal 

Her inviolable chastity shone forth among the many 
virtues with which God had decorated His bride. She 
cherished it so dearly that, besides keeping until death 
her resolution of virginity made in childhood, she pre- 
served her angelic purity of heart and body stainless. 

Her humility, which cast a lustre on her eminent 
virtues, was so wonderful, that, although the gifts of 
divine grace daily increased in her soul, she often be- 
sought God to limit His favours, and not to forget her 
flagrant sins so quickly. She eagerly yearned after 


contempt and ridicule, dreading not only earthly honours, 
but even that men should know anything of her. 

Her invincible patience is testified by her frequent 
aspiration to God : " Lord, either to suffer or to die ! " 

Besides all these gifts of His divine munificence, the 
jewels with which the Almighty decorated His beloved 
as with precious stones, He bestowed on her numerous 
graces and favours. He filled her with the spirit of 
understanding, so that, not only did she leave to the 
Church of God the fame of her good works, but she also 
watered it with the dew of her heavenly wisdom by 
writing most devout books on mystic theology and other 
subjects. These produce abundant fruits of piety in 
the minds of the faithful, exciting in them an ardent 
longing for their heavenly home. 

Endowed and enlightened by these celestial gifts, 
she undertook a great and most difficult work for any 
one to perform, yet one extremely beneficial and opportune 
for the Church of Christ, by initiating the reform of the 
Carmelite Order, which she successfully accomplished, 
both for the nuns and friars. She founded convents of 
both sexes, not only throughout the Spanish dominions, 
but also in other parts of Christendom, though, for 
want of money and resources, she depended solely on 
the help of God. Not only was she destitute of human 
aid, but she met with enmity and contradiction from 
princes and the civil power. Yet her work, divinely 


established, took root and flourished, bringing forth 
abundant fruit in the house of God. 

Even during her lifetime God glorified Teresa's virtues 
by many miracles, some of which We insert in this 

During a great corn famine in the diocese of Cuenca, 
there was hardly enough flour in the convent of Villanueva 
de la Jara to nourish its eighteen nuns for a month. Yet 
by the merits and intercession of this holy virgin, the 
Almighty, Who feeds those who trust in Him, so multiplied 
the wheat that, although supplying for six months all 
the bread required by these servants of God, its quantity 
never diminished until the next harvest. 

Sister Ann of the Trinity, a nun of the convent of 
Medina del Campo, was suffering severely from erysipelas 
in the face, and fever. Teresa caressed her, and gently 
touching the affected part, said : " Courage, my daughter, 
I hope that God will soon cure you." The fever and 
erysipelas disappeared at once. 

Mother Alberta, prioress of the same house, was 
attacked with pleurisy and fever which threatened her 
life. The holy virgin Teresa, touching the side which 
was affected, declared that she was well and bade her 
get up. The invalid rose from her bed in perfect health, 
praising God. 

The time came for Teresa to receive the crown of glory 
from the hand of God, in reward for her labours in His 


honour and her many good works in the service of the 
Church. She fell very ill at Alba. Throughout her 
malady she frequently spoke to her sisters most admirably 
about the love of God, continually thanking Him for 
making her a member of the Catholic Church, and com- 
mending poverty and religious obedience as the greatest 
of blessings. She received the holy Viaticum of her 
journey and the Sacrament of Extreme Unction with 
deepest humility and celestial charity, and, holding the 
crucifix in her hands, took her flight to her heavenly 

By various signs the Almighty manifested to what a 
supreme degree of glory He had raised Teresa in heaven. 
Many devout and God-fearing nuns saw her in the 
splendour of her glory. One beheld a multitude of 
heavenly lights above the roof of the church, in the choir, 
and over the room in which she lay ; a second witnessed 
Christ our Lord in a halo of light, accompanied by a 
large number of angels, standing near her bed. A re- 
ligious perceived a number of persons robed in white 
enter Teresa's cell and surround her couch ; another saw 
a white dove fly from Teresa's mouth to heaven at the 
moment she died, while yet another nun noticed some- 
thing bright like crystal pass through the window at the 
same instant. A tree planted near her cell, which had 
been covered with lime and built over by the wall so 
that it had died long before, burst into bloom at the hour 


of her death, against all the laws of the seasons and of 

Her dead body was most beautiful ; its wrinkles dis- 
appeared, it became dazzlingly white and, together with 
all the clothes and linen she had used during her illness, 
it gave forth a delicious fragrance which struck the by- 
standers with admiration. Her entrance into paradise 
became a veritable triumph on account of the many 
miracles God wrought through the merits of His hand- 
maid. A nun who had long suffered with her head and 
eyes took the dead virgin's hand, and on applying it to 
her head and eyes, was immediately cured. Another who 
kissed her feet recovered her lost sense of smell and 
perceived the delightful odour with which the Lord had 
perfumed Teresa's sacred body. 

Without having undergone any sort of embalming, 
her remains were enclosed in a wooden coffin and buried 
in a deep vault which was filled up with large stones and 
lime. Yet such a strong and wonderful perfume came 
from her sepulchre that it was resolved to exhume the 
sacred body. It was found entire, incorruptible and 
flexible as though it had only just been laid in the tomb, 
and impregnated with a sweet scented liquid such as God 
causes to flow from it until this day, thus attesting the 
sanctity of His servant by a perpetual miracle. After 
having been reclothed in fresh garments and enclosed 
in a new coffin, both the former having fallen to decay, 


she was reburied in the same spot. When, three years 
later, the tomb was reopened in order to transfer the 
sacred remains to Avila, and frequently afterwards 
when the body was examined by order of the Apostolic 
Commissioners, it was always found incorruptible, 
flexible and saturated with the same liquid, giving forth 
a delicious fragrance. 

In the course of time, God manifested His glory by 
numerous benefits accorded by His handmaid's interces- 
sion to those who confidently recommended themselves 
to her prayers. The limbs of a boy of four years old 
were so contracted and contorted that he could neither 
stand nor move. This infirmity, with which he was 
born, caused him no pain and was, for that very reason, 
considered incurable. However, after he had been carried 
for nine consecutive days to the cell in which the holy 
virgin had lived, he felt strength come to him, and, to 
everyone's surprise, he suddenly rose in perfect health 
and vigour and began to walk, crying out that Mother 
Teresa of Jesus had quite cured him. 

A nun named Ann of St. Michael, with three cancers 
in her breast, had for two years suffered excruciating 
pain and sleeplessness, being unable to bend her head or 
lift her arms. On applying to her chest a small relic 
of St. Teresa, to whose protection she earnestly com- 
mended herself, not only did the wounds at once dis- 
appear from her body, but she was at the same time 


delivered from an interior trouble which had long 
molested her. 

Francis Perez, a parish priest, had an abscess on the 
breast-bone, besides being prevented for five months 
from celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass by the 
contraction of one of his arms. All human remedies 
having failed, he had recourse to heavenly aid and looked 
to the Mount of God, whence he obtained salvation. 
A letter written by the virgin Teresa's hand being placed 
upon his chest at once removed the abscess ; some time 
after, while on a pilgrimage to her tomb at Alba, he 
touched, with his contracted arm, the arm of Teresa 
which is kept there : he felt within himself a divine power 
by which the limb was perfectly healed. 

John de Leyva suffered from a malady of the throat 
which almost completely closed the respiratory organs ; 
when in a dying state, full of trust in Saint Teresa, he 
placed a handkerchief which had belonged to her upon 
the seat of the disease. He fell asleep at once, and waking 
shortly afterwards, exclaimed that he had been restored 
to health instantly by the merits of Blessed Teresa. 

The sanctity of Teresa thus became famous in every 
land and nation, and her name was honoured among 
the faithful in consequence of the many miracles worked 
by God through her intercession. By Apostolic authority 
information was collected in different parts of Spain and 
forwarded to the Holy See. At the request of Philip III, 


the Catholic king of Spain of illustrious memory, after 
the cause had been seriously discussed by the Sacred 
Congregation of Rites and the Tribunal of the Rota, Our 
predecessor, Paul V of happy memory, permitted the 
Divine Office to be celebrated in honour of Teresa, as of 
a blessed virgin, throughout the whole Carmelite Order. 
On the same king, Philip III, for the second time begging 
Our predecessor that the Blessed Virgin Teresa should be 
canonised, Paul again confided the process to the Car- 
dinals of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. By Apostolic 
authority they decreed that the new process should be pro- 
ceeded with and deputed Bernard de Rojas, late Cardinal 
archbishop of Toledo, of happy memory, and Our vener- 
able brethren, the Bishops of Avila and Salamanca, to 
see to the matter. After diligently accomplishing their 
mission, they sent the acts to Our said predecessor. Three 
auditors of the causes of the Apostolic Palace, Francis, 
titular archbishop of Damascus, now Cardinal of the Holy 
Roman Church, John Baptist Coccino, dean, and Alphonsus 
Manzanedo, were ordered by the Pope to examine the 
evidence with the greatest care and to give him their 
opinion about it. After a minute examination befitting 
the importance of the case, they declared to Paul V., 
Our predecessor, that the sanctity and miracles of the 
Blessed Virgin Teresa were plainly proved ; that all 
that the sacred canons required for her canonisation was 
abundantly supplied, and that the cause might proceed. 


In order to conduct the matter with all due deliberation, 
Paul commissioned Our beloved sons, the Cardinals of 
the Congregation of Rites of the Holy Roman Church, 
once more to inspect the process diligently and thoroughly 
master its details. 

However, Paul V finished his earthly pilgrimage, and 
We, not on account of any merit of Our own, but solely 
by divine grace, were called upon by God to govern 
the Church. We believed it to be for the greater increase 
of the divine honour and for the good of the Church that 
the cause should be forwarded, considering that the best 
remedy for the calamities of the present time is to increase 
the devotion of Christ's faithful people for the Saints 
and elect of God, that they may intercede for us in our 
dire need. We, therefore, bade the aforesaid Cardinals 
to terminate, as soon as possible, the duty laid upon 
them by Our predecessor. Having done this with all 
due diligence, they have unanimously voted for the 
canonisation of that blessed virgin. Our venerable 
brother, Francis Maria, Bishop of Porto, Cardinal del 
Monte, laid before Us, in Our consistory, the digest of 
the whole process together with the advice of himself 
and his colleagues, whereupon the other Cardinals present 
decided, by common suffrage, that the matter should be 

Then Our beloved son, John Baptist Millini, consistorial 
advocate at our Court, humbly petitioned in Our presence 


in a public consistory, in the name of Our well-beloved 
son in Jesus Christ, Philip, the Catholic King of Spain, 
that the canonisation might be proceeded with. We 
replied that on an affair of such importance We must 
consult Our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the 
Roman Church and the bishops present at Our court. 
Meanwhile, for the love of Jesus Christ, We earnestly 
begged the Cardinals and bishops present in the Curia 
to persevere with Us in prayer and in humbling their 
souls before God in fasting and almsgiving, that the 
Lord of all enlightenment might send down upon Us His 
light and truth, that We might know and carry out His 
will and good pleasure. We summoned to a semi- 
public consistory, held immediately after, not only the 
Cardinals, but also the patriarchs, archbishops and 
bishops then present in Our court. There, in presence 
of the no taries of the Apostolic See, and the auditors of 
the causes of the Holy Apostolic Palace, We spoke of the 
eminent sanctity of the handmaid of God, of the number 
and fame of her miracles, and of the devotion shown her 
by all Christian nations ; We mentioned the petitions 
made Us on her account not only by the greatest kings, 
but also in the name of Our well loved son in Christ, 
Ferdinand, King of the Romans and Emperor-elect, and 
also of several other Christian princes. All there present 
with one voice praised God, Who honours His friends, 
and declared that Blessed Teresa ought to be canonised 


and her name numbered among those of holy virgins. 
At this unanimous consent, Our heart exulted in the 
Lord and rejoiced in His salvation, giving thanks to 
God and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who had 
looked in mercy upon His Church and had decreed for it 
such great glory. We then decided upon the date of 
the canonisation and admonished Our brethren and sons 
to persevere in prayer and almsgiving, that, in so important 
a work, the light of the Lord our God might shine upon 
Us and direct the work of Our hands according to His will. 
Finally, having performed all that is prescribed by 
the constitutions and customs of the Roman Church, 
We have met to-day in the most holy Basilica of the 
Prince of the Apostles, together with Our venerable 
brethren the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, the 
patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, prelates of the Roman 
Curia, Our officials and household, the clergy secular 
and regular, and a large number of people. There, 
through the medium of Nicholas Zanbeccari, advocate 
of Our court of Consistory, Our well-beloved son Aloysius 
Cardinal Ludovisi, titular of Santa Maria Traspontina, 
Our nephew, repeated his petition for the canonisation in 
the name of Our dearest son in Jesus Christ, the Catholic 
King Philip (IV). Then, after chanting the prayers 
and litany, and humbly invoking the grace of the Holy 
Spirit, — in honour of the Holy and undivided Trinity, 
and for the exaltation of the catholic faith, by the 


authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost, also by the authority of the holy Apostles and 
by Our own, with the unanimous advice and consent of 
Our venerable brethren the Cardinals of the Holy Roman 
Church, also the patriarchs, archbishops and bishops 
present at Our court, We defined and declared that 
Teresa of Avila, of pious memory, whose holy life, loyal 
faith and wonderful miracles are plainly proved, is a 
saint and is to be inscribed on the list of holy virgins, as 
We now by this document define, decree and declare. 
We order and decree that she is to be honoured and 
venerated as truly a saint by all Christ's faithful people ; 
We declare that throughout the Church, churches and 
altars may be dedicated in her honour for the offering 
to God of the Holy Sacrifice. We desire that every 
year, on October 5, the anniversary of her passing to 
the glory of heaven, her Office may be celebrated accord- 
ing to the rite of holy Virgins as prescribed by the Roman 

In virtue of the same authority, We have Granted and 
grant to all the faithful who are truly contrite and have 
confessed their sins and who each year visit, on her 
festival, the tomb where Teresa's body rests, an indulgence 
of one year and one quarantaine of the penances they have 
incurred and for which they are answerable to Divine 
Justice ; also forty days to those who resort to her grave 
pluring the octave. 


Then, after having rendered God thanks for having 
deigned to illuminate His Church with this new and 
brilliant luminary, and solemnly chanted the prayer of 
Holy Virgins in honour of Saint Teresa, We celebrated 
Mass at the altar of the Prince of the Apostles, with 
a commemoration of this sacred Virgin, granting to all 
the faithful there present a plenary indulgence of the 
penance due for their sins. 

It is right that in return for so great a benefit We 
should now most humbly bless and glorify Him to Whom 
is due all blessing, glory and power for ever and ever. 
Let us persevere in beseeching Him, by the intercession 
of this His elect, to turn away His eyes from our offences, 
to look upon us in pity, to show us the light of His 
mercy, to inspire with fear those nations which know 
Him not, that they may learn that there is no God but 
our God. 

As it would be difficult to carry Our present letters 
to every place in which they are needed, We desire that 
all copies of them, not excepting those printed which 
are signed by a public notary and stamped with the seal 
of some dignitary of the Church, should receive the same 
credit as would these present were they exhibited every- 

Let no man, therefore, have the audacity to contradict 
the text of Our definition, decree, inscription, command, 
statute, indulgence or wishes, If anyone should dar§ 


to attempt such a thing, let him know that he would incur 
the wrath of God Almighty and of His Blessed Apostles 
Peter and Paul. 

Given at Rome at St. Peter's, in the year of the Incar- 
nation of our Lord, 1622, on the fourth of the Ides of 
March, the second year of Our Pontificate. 

I, Gregory, Bishop of the Catholic Church. 

(Here follow the signatures of thirty-six Cardinals.) 



The letter P. refers to the Poems, E. to the Exclamations, C. to the 
Conceptions , and M. to the Maxims. Figures without letters prefixed 
refer to the pages of this volume. 

Abandonment to the Will of God, 

E. xvi. i, 2 
Account to be rendered, C. ii. n 
Ahumada, Juana de, the Saint's 

sister, 219 
Alba, duke of, 249 

— dowager duchess of (Maria 
Enriquez), C. ii. 12 ; 204, 209, 
219, 246 

— duchess of (Maria de Toledo y 
Colonna), xxiv, xxv, 204, 244 

Alberta-Bautista, nun, 204, 262 
Alvarez, Baltasar, S. J. M. 63 
Andres de la Incarnacion, xvi, 

xxvii, 62, 67, 68 
Andrew, St., P. 29, 71 
Anne of St. Bartholomew, Ven., 

nun, 201, 203, 205, 207-8, 210, 

214-6, 221-2, 246 

— of the Incarnation (de Arbizo), 
nun, xxi 

— of Jesus (Lobera), Ven., nun, 
225, 250 

— of St. Michael, nun, 265 

— of St. Peter, nun, 244 

— of the Trinity, nun, 262 
Anthony, St., 71 

— -of Jesus, 204,206,210,213-14, 

— of St. Joachim, 69 

Antonia of the Holy Ghost, nun, 

Appeal to the saints, E. xii. 5 ; 

to sinners, E. x. 5 

Apple tree, C. v. 2, 4-5, vii. 9 

Arrow, C. vi. 6 

Asking for labours, C. vi. 1 ; 

vii. 9 
Augustine, St., E. v. 4 ; C. iv. 9 
Avila, Julian de, Chaplain, xviii, 

62, 66 

Babe, C. iv. 4-6 

Bafiez, Dominic, xx, xxii, xxiv-vi, 

Beatriz of the Incarnation, nun, 

Bernard, St., xiii, M. 7,7 

Berthold, St., 199 

Blindness of those who seek hap- 
piness apart from God, E. viii. 3 

Braganza, don Teutonio de, xxxiv 

Cajetan, Camillo, 252 
Call to return to God, E. xi. 8 
Captives among the Moors, C. iii. 3 
Carelessness about the Rule and 

Constitutions, C. ii. 3, 4, 9 
Carlos, Don, C. ii. 36 
Casilda of St. Angelo, nun, 225 
Catherine, St., P. 30 ; 72 
Catherine-Baptist, nun, 208, 214, 


— of the Conception, nun, 216 

— of Jesus, nun, 218, 228, 238 
Cellar of wine, C. vi. 3 

Cepeda, Lorenzo de, the Saint's 

brother, xiv. 64, 66, 201, 203 
Cerralvo, Marquis de, 219 




Christ, the two natures of, C. i. 

10, 12 
Christians, traitors, E. x. 2 
Clement VIII., Pope, 252 
Coccino, John Baptist, 267 
Confidence in God's omnipotence, 

E. iv. 4 ; viii. 2 ; want of, C. 

iii. s 
Contempt of earthly things, C. 

iii. 2 
Contreras, Francisco de, 248 
Cordobilla, Juan de, C. iii. 7 
Cowardice, C. iii. 8 
Cross, the, P. 19-21 ; dragging the, 

instead of carrying it, C. ii. 32 
Crucifix, P. 11, 35, 36; 215 

Danger of death through excess 
of Divine love, C. vii. 2 ; 218, 
259 ; of free will, E. xvi. 10-12 
David, King, 69 ; C. i. 2 
Davila, Sancho, 219 
Death, fear and desire of, E. vi. 4 
Devil, fear of the, C. ii. 2 
Didacus (Diego), St., C. ii. 36 
"Die and suffer," 201, 261 
Dispensations, unnecessary, C. 

ii. 20 
Doria, Carlos, 253 
— Nicholas, 244, 248 
Dying to self, in order to live for 
God, E. xvi. 6 

Ecstasy, C. vi. 11 

Effects of love of God and earthly 
love, E. ii. 2 

Eliseus, St., 68, 201, 235 

Example of a devout but self- 
willed lady, C. ii. 30 

Exclamations, C. iv. 9 ; 212 

Faults, habitual, C. ii. 24 
Favours, greatest, generally the 

last to be bestowed, C. v. 3 
Federigo di Sant' Antonio, 66, 251 
Ferdinand VI., King of Spain, 

— Emperor elect, 269 

Fernando, duke de Huescar, 206 

— de Toledo, 246 
Fever of sin, E. ix. 5 
Frances of Jesus, nun, 225 
Francis of Assisi, St., xiii, M. 38 ; 


— Cardinal, 267 

— Xavier, St., xiv, 74, 254 

Gifts of grace in the nuns of Car- 
mel, C. Introd. 

God, " eyes " of, E. xiii. 2 ; His 
mercies, poor requital of, E. 
xii. 4 ; His mercies, E. iii. 1 ; 
more eager to forgive than sin- 
ners to offend Him, E. x. 1 ; 
patience of, C. ii. 25; present 
in all things, E. xv. 1 ; raises the 
fallen, E. iii. 2 ; seeks the love 
of men, E. vii. 3, 5 ; services 
to be rendered to, E. xiv. 4-6 ; 
" shadow " of, C. v. 2 ; strikes 
and heals, E. vi. 3 ; submission 
to the will of, E. vi. 5 ; His 
tenderness, E. v. 4 

Goldsmith, the divine, C. vi. 10 

Gracian, Jerome, xix, xx, xxiv, 
xxvii, C. iii. 3 ; 199, 202, 223, 
226 sqq. ; 243-5 

Granada, Luis de, xxiii 

Gregory, St., C. iii. 4 

— XV., Pope, xxxix, 253 

Grief at remembering souls in 
danger, E. ii. 3 ; at the thought 
of the Passion of our Lord, E. 
iii. 5-6 

Guiges, Bl., M. 38 

Guiomar of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, nun, xviii, 68 

Hell, state of souls in, E. x. 6-8 ; 

threat of, E. xi. 9 ; xiii, 3 
Hieronyma of the Incarnation, 

nun, 67 
Hilarion, St., P. 31 ; jt, 
Hope, E. xvi. 3 
Humility, true and false, C. iii. 6 

Ignatius, St., 254 



Illuminatus, Bl., M. 38 
Impatience the root of many sins, 

E. xii. 3 
Isabel of the Angels, nun, P. 13, 

15; 67-8 

— of St. Dominic, nun, xxviii 

— of Jesus, nun, P. 36; C. vii. 
2 ; 62, 74, 202 

Isidor of Madrid, St., 254 

Jesus crucified anew, E. x. 1 ; to 

be our Judge, E. iii. 4 ; x. 5 ; 

His love of men, E. ii. 4; vii. 

1 ; His love of our neighbour, 

E. ii. 4 
John Baptist, St., C. ii. 14 
■ — of the Cross, St., xiii, 63, 66, 

226, 237 
Jose de la Madre de Dios, xviii, 67 
Joseph, St., M. 65 
Juan de la Miseria, 224 

Laiz, Teresa de, 220, 244 

Languishing soul, C. vii. 1, 2 

" Late have I known Thee," E. 
iv. 2, 3 

Lazarus, E. x. 3, 4 

Leon, Luis de, xiii, xxiii, xxvi, 
xxix, xxxi, xxxiii 

Leyva, John de, 266 

Locutions of our Lord : " After 
death thou canst not labour," 
C. vii. 4 ; " What dost thou 
fear ? " 201 ; "Asa true bride," 

— of St. Teresa, 221-2, 226 sqq., 
247, 250 

Ludovisi, Cardinal, 270 

Magdalen, St., 215 
Manna, C. v. 2 

Manuel a Jesu-Maria, General in 
1754. 69 

— a Sta. Maria, xxvii, 67 
Manzanedo, Alphonsus, 267 
Margarita, Dona, Queen of 

Philip III., 252 

Maria, Dona, Sister of Philip II., 


— Bautista (Ocampo), nun, xxiv, 
M. 59, 203 

Mariano of St. Benedict, xxiv 
Martha, St., E. v. 2, 3 
Martin, St., of Tours, E. xiv. 4 

— Pope, St., 199 
Martyrdom, divers kinds of, 200 
Mary of Bethany, St., E. v. 2 ; 

x. 4 ; C. vii. 4 

— of St. Francis, nun, 209, 215 

— of Jesus, nun, 235 

— of St. Joseph (Dantisco), nun, 

— of St. Joseph (de Salazar), nun, 
xxxv, 202 

Maundy Thursday, C. i. 4 
Mendoza, Alvaro de, bishop, 66, 

24 5 
Millini, John Baptist, 268 
Monte, del, Francisco Maria, 268 

Name, good, sacrifice of a, E. 
xvi. 3 

Obscurity of Holy Scripture, C. 

i. 2, 6 
Office of our Lady, C. vi. 8 

Passion of our Lord, C. iv. 2 
Paul, St., C. iv. 7 ; v. 3 ; 226 

— V., Pope, 253, 267, 268 
Paulinus of Nola, St., C. iii. 4 
Peace, false, C. ii. 1-20 ; imper- 
fect, C. ii. 10, 22, 28 ; perfect, 
C. iii. 1 ; effect of, C. iii. 2 

Perez, Francis, 267 
Perfume, spiritual, C. iv. 2 
Persecution, how to profit by, 200 
Peter, St., C. ii. 35 ; 226 

— of Alcantara, St., C. iii, 7 
Philip Neri, St., 254 

— II., C. ii, 36; 248, 252 

— III., 252, 266-7, 269 

— IV., 270 

Poverty, praise of, C. ii, 12 



Praise, dangerous to nuns, C. ii. 
13 ; like the kiss of Judas, ib. 


Prayer of quiet, C. iv. 1 ; sweet- 
ness in, ib. 2 

— of union, C. v. 4 ; vi. 1 1 

Preacher, C. vii. 5 

Rebellion of man, E. xi. 1-3 
Recollection of mercies in times 

of desolation, E, xvi. 4 
Resolutions, generous, C. ii. 23 
Rich and poor, C. ii. 11 
Rojas, Bernard de, 2 

Sacrament, the Blessed, C. i. 12, 
13 ; strength in, C. iii. 12 ; de- 
votion to, 227, 258 
Safety of religious life, C. ii. 31 
Saints, appeal to, E. xii. 5 ; envy 
of, E. xii. 1 ; example of. ( . ii. 
18 ; feasts of, M. 56 
Salcedo, Francis de, 66 
Samaritan woman, ('. vii. 7, 8 
Satan, rebel and traitor, E. xi. 

4-6; serving him, E. xi. 7 
Self-indulgence, C. ii. 17, 19, 20 
Sensitiveness of honour, C. ii. 30 

Shepherd boy, C. i. 8 
Simeon, Holy, C. iv. 3 ; 202 
Sin and sinners, E. x. 4 
Sixtus V., Pope, 249, 250 
Sorrow, tempered, C. iv. 8 
Standards, the two, E. x. 2 
Suffering, strength in, C. iii. 10 

Ten thousand martyrs, 216, 263 
Teresa, St., her confidence in God's 
power, E. iv. 5 ; supernatural 

fragrance of her body, 218 sqq. ; 
243 sqq. ; 264 ; her grief at the 
thought of the Passion, E. iii. 
5,6; implores God's mercy on 
sinners, E. ix. 3 ; her desire of 
labouring for God, E. iv. 1 ; her 
weariness of life, E. i. 1,3; vi. 
2 ; xiv. 1,2; xvi. 9 ; her wish 
for solitude, K. ii. 1 ; her wish 
that God should call those who 
know Him not, E. viii. 4, 5 ; 
her intention in writing this 
book, C. i. 8 
Teresita (Teresa of Jesus, niece of 
the Saint), xxx, 201-2, 204, 
Time lost, E. iv. 2, 3, 5 
Transverberation of St. [\ 

heart. P. S ; 66, 251, 258 
Trinity, Blessed, E. vii. 3, 4 
Troth, a heavenly, ( . iv. 8 

Uncertainty of state of grace, E. 

i. 2 
Union, divine, E. xv. 5-7 

Venomous creati 

C 1. 3 

Water, heavenly, E. ix. 1, 2, 6 

— holy, C. ii. 20 
Weakness, C. iii. 9 
Wicked, the, stand self-con- 
demned, E. iii. 3 

Yanguas, Diego de, xix, xxii, xxiv, 

xxv, 260 
Yepes, Diego de, 243, 248 

Zanbeccari, Nicholas, 270 

Printed by Maxell. Watson & Vinty, Ld., London and Aylesbury 

UniVersity of Toronto 








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