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Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO. 
Eeipjtg: F. A. BROCKHAUS 

gorfe: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 
JSom&ag anto Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND Co., LTD. 

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Reproduced by kind permission of Mr E, Nash 


From the portrait in the possession of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Valladolid 

Father Jerome Gracian, being her Superior, caused the original to be 
made, as he says, "to mortify her and because otherwise there would have 
been no portrait of her at all," by a lay Brother, Juan de la Miseria, who 
was but a poor artist. It is said that when the Saint saw it, she said 
laughingly to the artist, "God forgive you, Brother John.; after making 
me go through no one knows what, you have turned me out ugly and 

blear eyed." 




Translated from the Spanish 


with a Preface by 


at the University Press 



OCT3 11831 











IN the first volume of the works of Saint Teresa de Jesus, 
published by the pious care of D. Vicente de la Fuente, 
are contained the autobiography of this wonderful woman 
and the series of chapters in which she narrates the incidents 
that accompanied her successful efforts to establish convents 
and monasteries of the reformed rule of the Carmelite order. 
The juxtaposition is significant. In the one we have the 
history of a soul, in its growth towards maturity, in the other 
that of the practical work accomplished by the personality in 
which that soul was enshrined, after it had emerged from the 
chrysalis stage into that of the perfect saint. Taken together 
they teach the invaluable lesson that holiness of character on 
this earth finds its aim and object realized in practical work 
for the good of others. 

Teresa de Ahumada as she was called in the world was 
born, the daughter of pious parents, at Avila in the year 
1515. Her father, she tells us, was of great charity to the 
poor and pitifulness for the sick and for servants. No one 
had ever been able to persuade him to own a slave, for he 
pitied them too much; one belonging to a brother of his 
being in the house, he was as good to her as if she had been 
one of his children. He said that her not being free over- 


viii Preface 

whelmed him with pity. He was most truthful ; no one ever 
heard him swear or grumble; and most honourable. Her 
mother a woman of many virtues, and a great invalid. 
Though of great beauty it was never heard that she made 
account of it; sweet-tempered and highly intelligent. She 
took great care to teach her children to pray, and to be 
devoted to Our Lady and to certain saints. Teresa was one 
of twelve children, all of whom, she says, except herself, 
resembled their parents in virtue. One of her brothers, 
nearest herself in age, was the dearest, though she loved them 
all and they her. They used to read together the lives of the 
saints, and when she saw what sufferings they underwent for 
God, she thought they bought very cheaply the privilege of 
going to enjoy Him, and wished greatly to die like them, not 
because she loved Him, but in order so speedily to enjoy the 
great happiness that she read there was in heaven. She 
consulted with her brother about the means of obtaining it. 
They agreed to go to the land of the Moors, begging their 
way thither, in order that there they might be beheaded. 
They were frightened when they found in what they read 
that punishment and glory lasted for ever ; they used to talk 
much of this, and took pleasure in repeating 'for ever, for 
ever, for ever.' "When I saw it was impossible to go where 
they would kill me for God's sake, we arranged to become 
hermits, and in a garden attached to the house we tried, as 
well as we could, to build us hermitages of little stones, 
which immediately tumbled down, and so we found no way 
of attaining our desires. I gave alms as well as I could, but 
it was little. I sought to be alone in order to say my 
prayers, which were many, especially the rosary, to which 
my mother was much attached, and she made us so also. 
I was very fond of playing at convents with other little 

Preface ix 

girls and of pretending to be nuns, and it seems to me that 
I wished to be one, though I did not wish it as much as 
the other things of which I have spoken." The simplicity 
and sincerity of the saint are transparent in these stories of 
her childhood. 

Her mother died when she was twelve years of age. The 
saint records how after this she fell under the influence of a 
relation, and fell away from her early religious inclinations. 
Then she contracted a friendship with a wise and holy nun, 
and was gradually attracted towards a conventual life. At 
the age of eighteen she entered the noviciate at the monastery 
of the Incarnation close to Avila, and took the veil a year 
later. Then she fell ill, and had to be taken home. Her life 
was despaired of, and she returned to the Convent, where for 
three years she lay helpless, till at last her health was 
restored to something like what it had been before. There 
she remained for another eighteen years, becoming more and 
more dissatisfied with the semi-worldly life of a nun under the 
relaxed rule, till at last she was inspired with the will to 
issue forth and live a life of poverty and self-denial in the 
first convent founded by herself in accordance with the 
ancient strict rule of the Carmelites, dedicated to Saint 
Joseph of Avila. The following pages relate the history of 
the other foundations she carried out in the sequel, up to that 
of Saint Joseph of Saint Anne at Burgos, whence she started 
to return to Avila, but died at Alba de Tormes, literally, so 
say the pious chroniclers, in the odour of sanctity, on the 
4th October 1582. 

The most famous of books of devotion was written by a 
monk for the use of monks, but it has nevertheless for 
centuries past been the favourite spiritual reading and 
inseparable companion of innumerable lay people, both men 

a 5 

x Preface 

and women. Saint Teresa, in the course of her narrative, 
turns aside to instruct the prioresses how to govern those 
whom they have to guide in the path of perfection. She 
dwells on the necessity of endeavouring to conform the will to 
the Divine Will, of sacrificing self-love and self-satisfaction, 
of complete detachment from all worldly things, on the danger 
of sentimentalism and exaggeration in religion, to which she 
thinks women are especially prone. She does not shun the 
use of homely language, as where in speaking of obedience, 
she says "if you have to be employed in domestic duties, as 
for instance in the kitchen, remember that the Lord goes 
about among the pots and pans, helping you in all things." 
The counsels of Saint Teresa are of practical value, not 
only for nuns, but also for those who live in the world, not 
only for Roman Catholics, but also for ourselves. 

JULY 1909. 


THE History of the Foundations is a sequel to Saint 
Theresa's Life, written by herself in obedience to her 
confessor. The Life brings the story up to the completion 
of the first foundation, that of St Joseph's Convent at Avila; 
and here the History of the Foundations takes it up. 

While the Life is the more important work as regards 
instruction in the spiritual life, the Saint's great treatise on 
Prayer being intercalated between two narrative chapters, the 
Foundations is the more interesting from the point of view 
of secular history. The same qualities which make St 
Theresa's teaching priceless to those who desire instruction in 
spiritual things give also a very high value to her accounts of 
ordinary matters. She not only loved truth for its own sake 
and spoke it readily against herself; but she also was able to see 
it as few people can, in both inner and outer matters. She had 
a quite extraordinary insight : an absolute accuracy in noting 
detail, together with a keen logical faculty for appreciating 
the bearings of the facts she noted. And she also possessed 
in a high degree the power of putting her thoughts into words 
clear and vigorous, if not always concise. She was determined 
that her readers should understand exactly what she meant, in 
matters of any importance, and she cared little what might be 

xii Translator's Note 

thought of her style. If need be, she would write parenthesis 
within parenthesis to guard against misunderstanding. If 
there are passages which are really obscure, this is, no doubt, 
because, as she says, she wrote in odd scraps of time and 
never read over her MS. Hampered though she was by the 
psychology of the time, which she obediently and humbly 
accepted, although her own was far in advance of it, she yet 
describes (e.g.) the difference between one state of trance and 
another just as a modern observer describes the behaviour of 
plant tissues under different stimuli. And what she could 
accomplish in matters so exceedingly difficult to speak of at 
all, she effected with ease in the ordinary matters of life. So 
that her accounts of events and people and things are of quite 
first-rate interest, both directly and indirectly. Directly, for 
the reasons given above ; indirectly, from the light they throw 
on her own character and on what Dr Sidgwick would have 
called the Common Sense of the time : its moral judgements 
and ways of looking at things. 

Spain, too, in her time the time of Mary and Elizabeth, 
which in England is so familiar to us is not known to us 
ordinary English people as it deserves to be. And among 
contemporary writings there can be none, I think, which 
give more vivid pictures, more interesting or more amusing 
glimpses of Spanish life, not only in the cloister, but in all 
sorts of society: for the Saint, in her journeys and negotia- 
tions, came across all sorts, from the king to the peasant. 

For the following translation a better text has been 
available than could be had before 1881 ; for in 1880 Don 
Vicente de la Fuente, who had already been working at Saint 
Theresa's writings for twenty years or more, brought out a 
facsimile reprint of the original: and of this he made most 

Translator's Note xiii 

careful use for his edition published in 1881. Of the con- 
siderable number of restored readings in this edition, a good 
many are of real and substantial interest; and taken together, 
they shew clearly that the Saint's writings had, from early 
times, been "edited" with a view to the edification of the 
faithful. It is from this 1881 edition, with la Fuente's notes, 
that the present translation has been made. 

My thanks are due first of all to the Bishop of Gibraltar 
for much help and encouragement without which I should 
probably not have attempted the work : to Mr Cunninghame 
Graham for help in shewing each Foundation on the map, and 
for other information : to Major Martin Hume for two 
valuable notes : to Miss Ellen Conant, for photographs which 
she made on purpose for this book: to Messrs Garzon for 
permission to reproduce their photograph of Granada: to 
Senor Arteaga for his translations of a few obscure passages : 
but above all to Sir Ernest Satow, who has allowed me to 
consult him on all sorts of difficulties, especially in the 
translation, sparing no time or pains to get the smallest point 
right. I know that there are clumsinesses, and I cannot 
hope that there are no slips in the translation : but that 
there are not more is owing to his knowledge and care. 

Community of the Holy Family. 

JULY 1909. 






Prologue ........ 3 

I The Foundation of St Joseph of Carmel at Medina 

del Campo. How this and the other Founda- 
tions came to be made ..... 7 

II How our Father General came to Avila, and what 

came of his visit ...... 12 

III How the Convent of St Joseph at Medina del 

Campo came to be planned . . . .16 

IV Of certain graces which the Lord bestows on 

the nuns in these Convents. Counsel to the 
Prioresses in dealing with them ... 25 

V In which certain cautions are given concerning 

prayer and revelations. It is profitable reading 

for those who are occupied in active work . 29 

VI Of the harm it may do spiritual people not to 

know when to resist the spirit. Of the soul's 
desire for Communion, and the delusions there 
may be in this. Contains matters important to 
those who are in charge of these Convents . 38 

xvi Contents 


VII How to deal with melancholic nuns. Needful for 

Prioresses 51 

VIII Counsels in regard to revelations and visions . 58 

IX Of the Foundation of St J'oseph's at Malagon . 63 

X Of the Foundation at Valladolid of the Convent of 

the Conception of our Lady of Carmel . . 65 

XI Continues the story of Dona Casilda de Padilla 

and how she succeeded in carrying out her holy 
desires for the Religious Life .... 73 

XII Of the life and death of Beatriz of the Incarnation, 

a nun whom the Lord led to this same house. 
She lived so perfect a life arid her death was 
such that she ought to be had in remembrance 79 

XIII How and by whom was founded the first House of 

Barefoot Carmelite friars, in 1568 ... 84 

XIV Continues the account of the first Foundation of 

friars : and tells something of the life which 
they led there, and of the good work which our 
Lord began in those parts, to the honour and 
glory of God .88 

XV Of the Foundation of the Convent of the glorious 

St Joseph in the city of Toledo, in 1569 . . 94 

XVI In which, to the honour and glory of God, are 

narrated some things which took place in the 
Convent of St Joseph at Toledo . . . 103 

XVII Of the Foundation of the two Monasteries at 

Pastrana, the monks' and the nuns'. This was 

in 1569 107 




XVIII Of the Foundation of St Joseph's at Salamanca, 

in 1570. Weighty counsels for Prioresses . 116 

XIX Continues the account of the Foundation at 

Salamanca. ....... 124 

XX Of the Foundation of the Convent of our Lady of 

the Annunciation at Alba de Tormes, in 1571 . 132 

XXI Of the Foundation of the Carmelite Convent of 
the glorious St Joseph, at Segovia. It was 
founded on St Joseph's Day, 1574 . . .141 

XXII Of the Foundation of the Convent of the glorious 
St Joseph del Salvador at Veas, on St Matthias' 
Day, 1575 146 

XXIII Of the Foundation of the Carmelite Convent of 
the glorious St Joseph in the city of Seville. 
The first mass was said on the Feast of the 
Blessed Trinity, 1575 158 

XXIV Continuation of the Foundation at Seville 



Continues the account of the Foundation at 
Seville. Of the first nun who joined the 
Convent, and of her remarkable history. 


Continues the account of the Foundation at 
Seville, and what took place in moving into 
a house of the nuns' own 175 


XXVII Of the Foundation of Caravaca, on the first of 
January, 1576. The Convent was dedicated to 
St Joseph 189 

XXVIII The Foundation of Villanueva de la Jara 








Of the Foundation of St Joseph's of our Lady of 
the Street, at Palencia, on King David's Day, 

lOoU . 

The Foundation of the Convent of the Blessed 
Trinity, at Soria, in 1581. The first mass was 
said on the Day of our Father Saint Elisha 




Of the Foundation of the glorious St Joseph of 
St Anne's, at Burgos. The first mass was said 
on April 19th, within the Octave of Easter 
Day, 1582 246 




Portrait of Saint Theresa ..... Frontispiece 
Carmelite Monastery at Avila to face p. 4 

Medina del Campo ....... 16 

Toledo ......... n n 94 

Segovia ......... 142 

Cordova Bridge . . . . . . . 170 

Palencia ......... 224 

Torre de la Vela, Granada ..... 246 

Carmelite Convent at Granada . . . 250 

Carmelite Convent at Granada . . . . 252 

Map .......... At end 

The Foundation at Granada was made in January 1582, under 
St Theresa's direction, by Sister Anne of Jesus. 




The original MS. in the Escorial bears in a clear hand-writing 
the following inscription : ORIGINAL BOOK OF THE HOUSES 
RULE, written with her own hand : Library of the Escorial, for a 
perpetual memorial. The original is, however, not kept in the 
library, but in the relic chamber. 


BESIDES what I have read in many places, I have seen by 
experience the great blessing which it is for a soul to continue 
in the practice of obedience. In this, I believe, lies the secret 
of continually making progress in virtue and covering the pro- 
gress with humility : in this lies our security from the doubt, 
which it is well for us mortals to be exposed to during this 
life, whether we are wandering from the path to heaven. In 
this is to be found that peace so highly prized by souls who 
desire to please God. Because if they have really given them- 
selves up to this holy obedience, and yielded their judgement to 
it, seeking to have no other opinion than that of their confessor, 
or, if they are in Community, that of their Superior, the devil 
ceases to assail them with his incessant disquietudes, because 
he finds that he comes off loser rather than gainer thereby. 
Likewise our own restless motions, so eager to get their own 
way and even to overmaster our good sense in matters of 
liking, even these cease when they remember that the will 
is definitely surrendered to God's will, through being subjected 
to one whom they have chosen as God's representative. 

Since His Majesty, in His goodness, has given me light to 
recognize the great treasure contained in this precious virtue, 
I have sought, however weakly and imperfectly, to possess 


4 Prologue 

myself of it. Often, however, I am hindered by the scant 
virtue which I find in myself : for I see that it does not suffice 
for some things which are commanded me. May the Divine 
Majesty supply what is lacking for this present task ! 

While I was at St Joseph's at Avila, in 1562, the same 
year in which this Convent was founded, I was ordered by 
Father Fray Garcia de Toledo, a Dominican, who was then my 
confessor, to write an account of its foundation 1 , together with 
a good many other matters, which, if it should ever see the 
light, whoever reads it will read there. Now, eleven years 
later, in 1573, at Salamanca, my present confessor, Maestro 
Ripalda, Father Rector of the Company of Jesus, having seen 
the book about the first foundation, thought it would be to our 
Lord's service if I wrote the story of the seven other convents 
which, by our Lord's goodness, have since then been founded, 
and also the beginning of the monasteries of Barefoot Fathers 
of the primitive Rule : so he ordered me to do it. 

It seemed to me an impossibility, because of the many 
things I had to do, letters and other works which I was bound 
to go on with because my Superiors had laid them upon me. 
I was commending the matter to God, feeling it press rather 
hardly, because I am good for so little, and have such poor 
health that even without this additional burden I often felt 
hardly able to endure my labours, poor creature that I am. Then 
our Lord said to me, "My child, obedience gives strength 2 ." 
May it please His Majesty that so it may prove, and may He 
give me grace enabling me to write, to His glory, the great 
things He has done for our Order in these foundations ! 

1 [This book was her Life. Tr.] 

3 In the original MS. these words are underlined and enclosed between 
vertical lines. 


Prologue 5 

It may be held for certain that they will be related with 
absolute truthfulness, without the least exaggeration to the 
best of my knowledge but exactly as they took place. For 
even in the most trifling matters I would not tell an untruth 
for anything in the world. And in this which I am writing 
to the praise and glory of God, it would be altogether against my 
conscience; and I should feel that I was not only wasting time 
but deceitfully handling the things of God ; and it would be 
a grave treason that He should be offended thereby instead of 
being honoured. May it please His Majesty, lest I do so, to 
hold me in His hand ! 

Each foundation shall have its separate story ; and I will 
try to be brief, if I can : but my style is so heavy, that, with 
all my good will, I am afraid I shall both weary myself and be 
wearisome. My daughters, however, to whom this writing will 
belong after my death, will be able to put up with this for the 
love they bear me. In nowise herein do I nor have I any 
reason to seek my own profit, but His praise and glory alone ; 
for there will be found herein many things for which to praise 
Him. May it, then, please our Lord that anyone who reads 
this may be very far from attributing any of these things to me ; 
for that would be against truth : but let them pray to His 
Majesty to forgive me for having profited so little by all these 
gracious acts. My daughters have much more cause to com- 
plain of me for this than to thank me for what has been 
done in the foundations. Let us all, my daughters, give 
thanks to the Divine goodness for all the great things He 
has done for us. For the love of Him, I beg of everyone who 
may read this, one Hail Mary to help me to come out of 
purgatory and to attain to the vision of Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, 
world without end. Amen. 

6 Prologue 

My memory being very poor, I have no doubt that I shall 
leave out a good many really important things, and mention 
others which might well be left out : indeed, it will all be what 
could be expected from my stupidity and clumsiness, together 
with my scanty leisure for writing. 

I am bidden also, if opportunity presents itself, to treat of 
some matters concerning prayer, and of the delusions about it 
which sometimes keep Sisters who practise it from making 
progress. I submit myself without reserve to what is held by 
our Mother the Holy Roman } Church, and I intend that learned 
and spiritual men shall see this writing before it comes into 
your hands, my sisters and daughters. I begin in the name of 
the Lord, invoking the aid of His glorious mother, whose 
habit I wear, though unworthy, and of my glorious father and 
lord St Joseph, in whose house I am : for to him is dedi- 
cated this convent of Barefoot nuns, by whose prayers I 
have been continually aided. In the year 1573, on the 24th 
of August, which is the Day of St Louis, King of France. 

To God be praise. 

1 The word Romano, appears to be written over the y (and) ; and both 
y and Eomana appear to be written by a different hand, in a writing 
thicker and of later date. 




How this and the other Foundations came to be made. 

FOR five years after the foundation of St Joseph's at Avila, 
I lived there : and I think, as I now see, that they were 
the most peaceful in my life ; for my soul often greatly misses 
the tranquillity and repose I then enjoyed. 

During that time there came in to he nuns several girls, 
young in years, whom the world, as it seemed, held already as 
its own, to judge from their style of dressing and living: but 
the Lord drew them away quickly from those vanities and 
brought them to His- house, endowing them with such per- 
fection that it covered me with confusion. They made up the 
number of thirteen, the number which it had been determined 
not to exceed. I delighted to be among souls so holy and 
pure, who had no other care but how to serve and praise our 
Lord. His Majesty sent us there, without our begging, all 
that we needed : and whenever we were in want, which was very 

8 Chapter I 

seldom, their joy was the greater. It made me praise our 
Lord to see such high virtues, especially their disregard of 
everything but His service. 

I, who was Superior there, never remember troubling my 
head about our necessities, for I held it for certain that the 
Lord would not fail those who had no other care but to 
please Him. And if sometimes, when there was not enough 
for us all, I said that those must have it who most needed 
it, each thought that she was not one, and so it went on until 
God sent enough for us all. As regards the virtue of 
obedience which I prize most highly, although I did not 
know how to practise it until these servants of God taught me 
so that I could not fail to learn if I had any goodness in me, 
I could tell of a great many things which I saw them do. 
Here is one which presents itself to me at this moment. One 
day when we were in the refectory, we were helped to 
cucumbers, and to me was given a very poor one, all rotten 
inside. To test her obedience, and without really intending 
it to be done, I called one of the cleverest and most sensible 
Sisters there, and told her to go and plant the cucumber in 
a little garden we had. She asked me, Was she to plant it 
upright or sideways? I said, Sideways. She went and 
planted it without its ever coming into her head that the 
cucumber could only decay ; for doing it in obedience blinded 
her natural understanding so that she thought it a very 
reasonable thing to do. Another time I happened to give 
one of them six or seven incompatible pieces of work, and 
she accepted them in silence, esteeming it possible to do 
them all. 

We had a well of very bad water, according to those who 
had tried it ; and it seemed impossible to get it to flow, 
because it was very deep. When I sent for workmen to 

Medina del Campo 9 

attempt it, they laughed at me, saying that I should be 
throwing away money for nothing. I asked the Sisters what 
they thought. One of them said, "Let us try: our Lord 
has to provide us with someone to bring us water and with 
something with which to provide him food : it would cost His 
Majesty less to give us water in the house, and therefore He 
will not fail to do so." I, considering the great confidence and 
boldness with which she said this, could not doubt; and I 
ordered the work to be done, contrary to the wish of the man 
who understood springs and had experience of water. And 
it pleased the Lord that we should lead a pipe from the well 
which brought us quite sufficient water, and fit to drink : and 
they have it still. I do not relate this as a miracle for I 
could tell other things of that sort but to shew what faith 
those Sisters had; for all took place just as I have told it: 
nor is it my first intention to praise the nuns of those mon- 
asteries; for by the Lord's goodness, they all continue like 
this up to the present day. And of these things and many 
others I could write at great length, and indeed not unprofit- 
ably, for it might sometimes animate those who come after to 
imitate them : but if this should be to the Lord's service, the 
Superiors might order the Prioresses to write it. 

So I 1 miserrima was living among these angelic souls for 
indeed they seemed to me nothing less and they hid from 
me no fault, even of thought. The graces and great aspira- 
tions and detachment which the Lord gave them were very 
great. Their joy was to be in solitude, and they assured me 
that they never had enough of being alone; and so they 
disliked visits, even from their relations. The one who was 

1 In the original, the words esta miserable are scratched out and yo 
substituted in an apparently different hand. 

10 Chapter I 

able to spend most time in a hermitage thought herself the 
most lucky. 

When I considered the strength and excellence of these 
souls, and the courageous spirit, certainly passing that of 
women, which God gave them to suffer and to serve Him, 
I often thought that it must be for some great purpose that 
the Lord committed to them such treasures. But what has 
since come of it never entered my mind; for there was no 
beginning which could have suggested the idea, and it would 
have seemed an impossible thing. However, as time went on, 
my desires to be of some good to some soul somewhere went 
on increasing ; and I often felt like someone who is in charge of 
a great treasure and desires that all should benefit by it, but 
his hands are tied so that he cannot give it out. So it ap- 
peared to me my soul was bound ; for the favours which the 
Lord gave it during those years were very great, and it all 
seemed ill bestowed upon me. With my own poor prayers 
I continually served the Lord, and I took pains to get the 
Sisters to do the same and to care for the good of souls 
and the increase of the Church. Everyone who had to do 
with them was always edified; and in this my great desires 
found their satisfaction. 

After about four years, or I think rather more, there came 
to see me a Franciscan Friar, Fray Alonso Maldonado, a great 
servant of God. He had the same desires as I for the good 
of souls, and he was able to put them in practice, which 
made me envy him greatly. He had lately come from the 
Indies : and he began to tell me of the many millions of souls 
who were perishing there for lack of teaching, and he gave us 
a sermon and address exhorting us to do penance, and he 
went away. He left me so sorely distressed at the perdition of 
so many souls that I could not contain myself ; I betook myself 

Medina del Campo 11 

with many tears to a hermitage, and cried to our Lord, be- 
seeching Him to grant me the means of doing something to 
gain some soul for His service, since the devil was carrying off 
so many; and that my prayer might avail something, since 
that was all I could give. I greatly envied those who for the 
love of our Lord could employ themselves in this work, even 
if they suffered a thousand deaths. And so it is that when 
we read in the lives of the saints how they converted souls, it 
raises in me more ardour, more emotion, and more emulation 
than all the martyrdoms which they suffered : for this is the 
disposition which the Lord has given me. And it seems to 
me that He values one soul which, through His mercy, we 
might gain for Him by our labours and prayers, more than all 
other services we could render Him. 

Well, while I was going on in this great distress, one night 
when I was in prayer, our Lord appeared to me in His accus- 
tomed manner, and shewing me much affection, as though He 
wished to comfort me, He said, "Wait a little, my daughter, 
and you shall see great things." These words remained so 
deeply imprinted on my heart that I could not put them from 
me: and though for all my thinking over them I could not 
guess what this might be, nor see any way in whicfy to imagine 
it, yet they left me greatly comforted and with full assurance 
that those words would come true. But in what way never 
entered my imagination. Another half-year, I think, went by 
in this way ; and then came to pass what I will now relate. 


How our Father General came to Avila, and what came 

of his Visit. 

OUR Generals always live at Rome, and none of them had 
ever come to Spain 1 , so it seemed impossible that one should 
come now : but as nothing which our Lord wills is impossible, 
His Majesty appointed that what had never yet been done 
should be done now. When I knew of it, I was sorry, I think ; 
because as I have already said in the history of the foundation 
of St Joseph's, that house, for the reason I there gave, is not 
subject to the Carmelite Friars. I feared two things : first, 
that he would be angry with me, and reasonably so, not 
knowing how everything had come about ; next, that he might 
order me to return to the monastery of the Incarnation, which 
keeps the mitigated Rule. This would have been a distress 
to me, for several reasons which I need not give. One will 
suffice, which is that there I could not keep the strictness 
of the primitive Rule, and that there are more than a 
hundred and fifty Sisters there ; and certainly when there are 
fewer, there is more order and quiet. 

Our Lord ordered these things for me better than I thought : 
for the General is so great a servant of God and so wise and 
learned that he considered it a good work, and in no respect 
did he shew himself displeased with me. His 2 name is Fray 

1 Two Generals had been to Spain and held Chapters there : Fray 
Juan Alerio at Barcelona in 1324, and Fray Eaimundo de Grasa at 
Perpignan in 1354. But these Chapters were only for the Kingdom 
of Aragon, where the Order of Carmelites was widely extended. 

2 The surname Rubeo is latinised from Rossi, after the fashion of the 
time. He came to Spain in 1566, at the instance of Philip II., and with a 
Bull of St Pius VI., who had recently come to the Papacy. He held a 

Medina del Campo 13 

Juan Bautista Rubeo de Ravenna, and he is a person very 
highly thought of in the Order, and justly so. 

Well, when he arrived at Avila, I got him to come to 
St Joseph's ; and the Bishop thought good that all honour 
should be shewn to him, as if it had been to himself. I gave 
him an account of everything with all sincerity and simplicity ; 
for it is natural to me to deal thus with Superiors, come what 
may, since they stand in the place of God, and with confessors 
too ; and I should not feel iny soul safe, if not. And so I gave 
him an account of my soul, and almost of my whole life, very 
bad though that is. He comforted me much, and assured me 
that he would not order me to leave St Joseph's. It gave him 
pleasure to see our way of living, a copy, however imperfect, 
of the early days of our Order; and to see that the primitive 
Rule was kept in all its strictness. (For in the whole Order 
there was not another house where they kept this and not the 
mitigated Rule.) He desired that this beginning should go 
forward ; and so he gave me complete licences to found more 
monasteries, with penalties to prevent any Provincial from 
hindering me. I did not ask for these ; but he understood 
from what I told him of my manner of praying how great were 
my desires of doing what I could that some soul might draw 
nearer to God. 

I did not seek for myself these means of service ; rather 
it would have seemed to me absurd : for I saw very well that 
a poor woman with so little influence as I had could do 
nothing. But when such desires come to the soul, it is not in 
its power to put them away. The ardent desire to serve God 
and the Faith make possible that which according to natural 

Provincial Chapter in Andalusia, and then went on to Castile. Fray 
Alonso Gonzalez was appointed Provincial, Fray Angel de Salazar 
remaining Prior at Avila. 

14 Chapter II 

reasoning is impossible. And so when I saw our Reverend 
General's great wish that more convents should be founded, 
I seemed to see them already established ; for, remembering 
the words which our Lord had said to me, I saw now some 
beginning of what up till then I could not understand. 

I felt it very much when I saw our General returning to 
Rome. I had conceived a great affection for him, and I seemed 
to be left very desolate. He shewed me the greatest affection, 
and much kindness ; and when he could get leisure, he used to 
come to St Joseph's to treat of spiritual matters, for he was a 
person to whom the Lord must have given great graces. It 
was a great comfort to us to listen to him on these subjects. 

The Lord Bishop, Don Alvaro de Mendoza, who is always 
thinking how he can help those whom he sees to be desirous 
of serving God more perfectly, tried, even before the General's 
departure, to get his leave to have some monasteries of Bare- 
foot Friars of the primitive Rule founded in his diocese. 
Other people also asked for this. He would have wished to 
do it ; but he met with opposition in the Order, and so, not to 
stir up strife in the province, he let it drop for the time. 

When some days had passed, I reflected how necessary it 
was, if there were to be convents of nuns, to have Friars also 
of the same Rule ; and seeing how few there were in the 
province, it seemed as if they were dying out. Commending 
the matter greatly to our Lord, I wrote to our Father General 
a letter begging this of him in the best way I could. I gave 
him reasons why it would be greatly to the service of God, and 
said that any difficulties which might arise were not serious 
enough to be a reason for leaving undone so good a work ; and I 
set before him the service he would do to our Lady, to whom 
he had a great devotion. It must have been she who brought 
this to pass. He was at Valencia when my letter came into 

Medina del Campo 15 

his hands, and thence as one who desired the stricter obser- 
vance of the Rule of the Order he sent me licences to found 
two monasteries. In order that there might be no opposition, 
he stipulated for the consent of the present and the late 
Provincial, which was very difficult to obtain : but now that 
I saw the chief thing done, I hoped that the Lord would do 
the rest ; and so it was, for by the aid of the Lord Bishop, 
who made our cause his own, both of them agreed to it. 

Well, now that I was encouraged by having the licence, 
my anxieties increased ; for there was no Friar that I knew of 
in the province who would take up the task, and no secular 
person willing to make such a beginning. I did nothing but 
pray to our Lord that at least one person might be stirred up 
to it. Neither had I a house, nor means to get one. Behold 
a poor Barefoot nun with no help on any side, except from 
the Lord, furnished with licences and with good desires, but 
with no possibility of putting them in practice ! But my spirit 
did not fail, nor my confidence that since the Lord had given 
the one He would also give the other : indeed all seemed 
possible to me ; and so I began to set to work. 

Oh greatness of God ! And how Thou shewest Thy power 
in giving boldness to an ant ! And how, my Lord, it is not 
Thy fault, but the fault of our cowardice and pusillanimity 
that those who love Thee do not carry out great works ! 
Because we never make resolutions without being full of 
a thousand fears and human cautiousness, therefore Thou, 
my God, dost not work Thy wonders and great deeds. Who 
is more desirous to give, if Thou dost find anyone willing to 
receive, or who more ready to accept services at Thine own 
cost ! May it please Thy Majesty that I may have done Thee 
some service, and may I not have a greater account to give 
for all that I have received. Amen. 


How the Convent of St Joseph at Medina del Campo 
came to be planned. 

WELL, when I was thinking anxiously over all these things, 
it occurred to me to seek the help of the Fathers of the Company 
of Jesus, who were in high esteem at Medina. As I have 
said in the account of the first foundation, these Fathers had 
guided my soul many years : and I always hold them in special 
reverence for the great good which they did me. I wrote what 
our Father General had enjoined on me to the Rector there, 
who happened to be the one who had heard my confessions 
for many years ; as I said, although I did not give his name : 
it was Baltasar Alvarez, who is now Provincial. He and the 
others said they would do what they could in the matter : and 
they made great efforts to obtain the leave of the townspeople 
and of the Bishop for it is always difficult to get leave to 
establish a house founded without endowment : and so the 
business took some days to arrange. 

To see to this there went a priest, Julian of Avila, a great 
servant of God, singularly detached from the world and much 
given to prayer. He was chaplain of the convent in which 
I was living, and God had given him the same desires that 
He had given me ; and so he has been a great help to me, as 
will presently be seen. Well, though I now possessed the 
licence, I had no house nor a penny to buy one, nor any 
securities on which to get credit. If the Lord did not give it, 
how could a pilgrim like me possess it ? The Lord ordained 
that a very excellent girl for whom there had not been room 
at St Joseph's, hearing that another house was to be established, 






Medina del Campo 17 

came and asked me to take her in there. She had some money, 
very little, not enough to buy a house, but enough to rent one, 
and to help with the expenses of the journey. So we looked 
out for a hired house. With no more than this to depend 
upon, we set out from Avila, two nuns from St Joseph's and 
I, and four from the Incarnation, the convent of the mitigated 
Rule where I lived before St Joseph's was founded. Our 
chaplain, Father Julian of Avila, was with us. 

When it was known in the town, there was a great deal 
of talk. Some said 1 was mad; others would wait to see 
the end of this nonsense. To the Bishop, as I was afterwards 
told, it seemed great folly, although at the time he did not let 
me know this, because, having a great affection for me, he did 
not like to hamper me or cause me pain. My friends gave 
me their opinion roundly : but I attached little weight to it ; 
because to me that which they thought hazardous seemed so 
easy that I could not persuade myself that it could fail to 
turn out well. 

When we left Avila I had already written to a Father of 
our Order, Fray Antonio de Heredia, to buy me a house. He 
was at that time Prior of St Anne's, a monastery of monks of 
our Order at Medina. He opened negotiations with a lady 
who was much attached to him, who had a house. Its walls 
were in a ruinous state, all but those of one apartment ; but 
it was in a very good situation. She was so kind as to 
promise to sell it without demanding security for the pay- 
ment, on the strength of his word alone : for we could not 
have given any security. The Lord ordered all this for us : 
and so they made the agreement. The walls of the house 
were in such a ruinous state that we had to hire another 
until it was repaired, for there was a great deal to be done 
to it. 

T. F. 2 

18 Chapter III 

Then at the end of our first day's journey, it was already 
dark, and we were tired because of our bad equipage. As we 
were nearing the town by way of AreValo, there came out to 
meet us a friend of ours, an ecclesiastic, who had got rooms 
for us in the house of some devout women : and he told me 
privately that we should not get our house, because it was 
near a monastery of Augustinians, and they would resist our 
taking possession, and there would certainly have to be a law 
suit. 0, valame Dios ! when Thou, Lord, art pleased to 
give courage, how little does any opposition avail ! Rather 
it seemed to encourage me, because I felt that if the devil 
was already beginning to make a disturbance, it must be 
because this convent would be to the Lord's service. Any- 
how I asked him to say nothing, in order not to disturb my 
companions, especially the two 1 from the Incarnation ; for the 
others would have gone through any troubles for my sake. 
One of those two was sub-prioress there, and the Sisters did 
all they could to stop her. Both of them were of good family ; 
and they came against their relations' wish, for all the Sisters 
thought it absurd; with ample reason, as I afterwards saw. 
For when it is the Lord's will that I should found one of these 
houses, nothing seems able to get into my head which seems 
to me sufficient to make me give it up, until I have actually 
done it. Afterwards the difficulties present themselves to me 
all at once, as will presently be seen. 

When we got to the lodging, I found that there was in the 
place a very great servant of God, a Dominican friar, who had 

1 The Saint had said above that she took four from the Incarnation. 
Doubtless two of these were less to be trusted than the other two. [Or, 
more probably, the explanation is that, according to a limitation imposed 
by the General, she took only two, technically speaking : but two more 
had gone from the Incarnation to St Joseph's a few days before her de- 
parture. Eibera, bk. n. ch. vii. Tr.] 

Medina del Campo 19 

heard my confessions while I was at St Joseph's. As in my 
account of that foundation I have spoken much of his 
goodness, I will here only say his name, the Master Fray 
Domingo Banez. He is very learned and wise, and I always 
took his advice. And to his thinking this was not so difficult 
a work as others that I had had to do : for the more 
anyone knows of God, the more easily he does God's work : 
and because he knew how gracious God had been to me in 
certain matters, and from what he had seen in the foundation 
of St Joseph's, it all seemed to him quite possible. It gave 
me great encouragement when I saw him ; for I felt sure that 
with the help of his advice all would go well. Well, when he 
came, I told him in great secrecy what was going on : and he 
thougth we could speedily come to terms with the Augus- 
tinians. But to me any delay was distressing because I 
did not know what to do with so many nuns. All who 
were in our lodging soon heard everything : and so we all 
spent an anxious night. 

Early in the morning the Prior of our Order, Fray 
Antonio, arrived, and said that the house which he had 
agreed to purchase would do for us, and had an entrance 
which we could turn into a little chapel with the help of some 
hangings. We determined to go there : to me at least it seemed 
the best thing : for the shorter the time the better, as we 
were out of our own convents ; also, having learned my lesson 
in the first foundation, I feared some opposition. So my plan 
was that before any one got wind of it we should already 
have taken possession ; so we determined to do it at once. 
The Master Father Fray Domingo agreed with us. 

We arrived at Medina del Campo on the Vigil of the 
Assumption at midnight. We alighted at St Anne's, so as 
not to make any noise, and went on foot to the house. It 


20 Chapter III 

was just the time when the bulls which were to fight next 
day were being driven to the enclosure, and it was a great 
mercy that some of them did not toss us. As for us, our 
minds were so taken up that I never thought of such a 
thing ; but the Lord, Who is always mindful of those 
who are desiring as I certainly was to serve Him, kept us 

We arrived at the house and went into the patio 1 . The 
walls looked to me very ruinous, but not so bad as by day- 
light I afterwards saw them to be. The Lord seems to have 
been pleased to blind that good Father so that he should 
not see how unfit it was to place the Blessed Sacrament 

I went to see the entrance. There was a good deal of 
earth to be shovelled out, it had an open roof, and the walls 
were unplastered. The night was short; and we had only 
brought with us a few hangings, I think three, which were not 
nearly enough to cover the length of the entrance : and I 
did not know what to do, for I saw it was not fit to set an altar 
there. It pleased the Lord for He desired that it should be 
done at once that the lady's steward' had in his house a 
great deal of tapestry of hers, and some blue damask bed- 
hangings : and she had told him to give us anything we 
wanted ; for she was very good. When I saw such good 
garniture, I gave praise to the Lord, and so did the others. 
We did not know what to do for nails, nor could we buy them 
at that hour ; but we hunted in the walls, and at last with a 
good deal of trouble we found plenty. Some put up the 
hangings ; we nuns cleaned the floor : and we worked with 

1 [The house was built as an ordinary Spanish house, round a square 
court-yard or patio, into which all the windows looked. The entrance 
was something like that of an old English inn. Tr.] 

Medina del Campo 21 

such a will that when morning dawned the altar was set up, 
and the little bell in a passage; and mass was said at once. 
This sufficed to take possession : but as at the time we did 
not know this, we also had the Blessed Sacrament reserved. 
"We nuns saw mass through the chinks of a door opposite ; 
for there was nowhere else for us to be. 

Up to this time I was very happy : for it is my greatest 
pleasure to see one more church where the Blessed Sacrament 
is reserved. But my joy was shortlived ; for when mass was 
over, I went to look at the patio through a little window, and 
I saw that all the walls were fallen to the ground in places, so 
that it would take many days to repair them. 

Oh vdlame Dios ! what anguish filled my heart when 
I saw His Majesty set in the street in a time of so much 
danger from these Lutherans l ! And together with this arose 
in my mind all the difficulties which those who disapproved of 
our venture had spoken of, and I saw clearly that they were 
right. It seemed impossible to go forward with what I had 
begun : because, just as up till now all had appeared easy, 
since it was for God that it was done, so now I was tempted 
to think so little of His power that it seemed as if I had 
never received any grace from Him : my own littleness and 
impotence was all that was present to my mind ; and when 
success depended on such a wretched creature, what could be 
hoped for ? I think 1 could have borne it better had I been 
alone ; but what was so dreadful was to think of my companions 
having to go home after the opposition which their departure 
had raised. It seemed to me too, that now this beginning 
had gone wrong, there was no possibility of all that I 

1 [Especially at Medina del Campo, in which, being one of the greatest 
foreign marts in Spain, there would always be merchants from the 
countries which had broken with Eome. Tr.] 

22 Chapter III 

had understood our Lord meant to do further. And an 
added fear at once arose that what I had understood in 
my prayer was a delusion. This was not my least distress, 
but my greatest ; because it made me exceedingly afraid that 
the devil had deceived me. Oh my God ! what a thing it is 
to see a soul whom Thou art pleased to leave to suffer ! 
Certainly, when I remember this misery and some others 
which I have suffered in these foundations, it seems to me 
that the bodily sufferings, severe though these have been, 
were nothing to be compared to them. 

Of all this burden of distress which weighed me down 
I said nothing to my companions, because I did not want to 
give them any more distress than they already had. I went 
on in this unhappiness until the evening, when the Rector of 
the Jesuits sent a Father to see me, who greatly comforted 
and encouraged me. I did not tell him all my troubles, but 
only the distress which it was to find ourselves in the street. 
I began to see about finding a hired house, at whatever cost, 
to go into while this one was being repaired. Then I began 
to take comfort from seeing how many people came to the 
house, and that none of them found fault with our folly ; 
which was a mercy : for I felt certain they would take away 
from us the Blessed Sacrament. Now I see that I was foolish 
and others were thoughtless in not consuming the Host : but 
at that time I thought that all would be undone if we did so. 

For all we could do, we could not find a house in all the 
place : so I spent very troubled days and nights ; for although 
I always had men to watch over the Blessed Sacrament, I was 
always anxious lest they should go to sleep ; so I kept getting 
up in the night to look through the window, and I could see 
well because there was very bright moonlight. During all 
those days a great many people came ; and not only were 

Medina del Campo 23 

they not offended, but it moved their devotion to see our 
Lord again in an outhouse : and His Majesty, never tired of 
humbling Himself for our sake, did not seem to desire to 
leave it. It was not until after a week that a merchant who 
lived in a very good house, seeing our necessity, asked us to 
move to the upper part of it, to dwell there as in our own 
house. There was a great gilded hall there which he gave us 
for a chapel ; and Dona Elena de Quiroga, a lady who lived 
close to the house which we had bought, a great servant of 
God, said she would help me to begin at once to make a chapel 
for the Blessed Sacrament to be reserved, and would also fit 
up the house for our enclosure. Other people gave us plenty 
of money for our food : but it was this lady who helped 
me most. 

This being arranged, I began to be in peace, because 
where we were, we could be completely enclosed; and we began 
to say the office. And the good Prior made great haste about 
the house, taking a great deal of trouble. For all that, the 
work took two months, but it was done so well that we were 
able to live there fairly comfortably for some years ; after that 
our Lord provided something better for us. 

While I was there, I was always thinking over the 
monasteries of friars ; and since, as I said, I had not one 
friar, I did not know what to do. So I determined to talk 
to the Prior about it in strict confidence, to see what he 
would advise ; and so I did. When he heard of it he was 
very glad, and promised to be the first himself. I took this 
for a jest, and so I told him : for although he was a very good 
Brother, recollected and very studious and a lover of his cell, 
and was learned, I thought he would not have the energy, nor 
be able to endure the necessary hardships ; for he was delicate, 
and not used to them. He earnestly assured me that he 

24 Chapter III 

could : and he declared that, for some time, the Lord had 
been calling him to a stricter life ; and so he had determined 
to join the Carthusians, and they had already promised to 
receive him. For all this, I was not quite satisfied, although 
I was glad to hear it : and I asked him to let us put it off for 
some time, during which he should practise the things which 
he would have to promise : and so he did. A year passed, 
during which he had to endure so many troubles and the per- 
secutions of so many false accusations that it seemed our Lord 
desired to prove him : and he bore it all so well and made 
such progress that I gave praise to our Lord, and I thought 
His Majesty was preparing him for this. 

A little later, there happened to come a young Father who 
had been studying at Salamanca. Another priest accom- 
panied him, who told me great things of the life which this 
Father lived. His name was Brother John of the Cross. 
I gave thanks to our Lord. When I talked to the Father, 
I was much pleased with him. He told me that he also 
meant to become a Carthusian. I told him my projects, and 
earnestly begged him to wait until the Lord should give us 
a monastery, pointing out that if he meant to better himself, 
it would be a great gain to do so within his own Order, and 
much more to the Lord's service. He gave me his word that 
he would, if he had not to wait too long. 

When I saw that I already had two friars l to begin with, 
I thought the thing already done. However, as I was not 
altogether satisfied with the Prior, and also we had nowhere 
to commence in, I waited some time. 

The Sisters kept growing in favour with the people, and 
gaining their affection ; and, as I felt, justly : for they 

1 "A friar and a half" St Theresa used to call them, because of the 
diminutive stature and youth of St John of the Cross. 

Counsels to Prioresses 25 

thought of nothing but how each could best serve our Lord. 
They went on exactly as at St Joseph's at Avila ; for they 
had the same Rule and Constitutions. The Lord began to 
call some in the neighbourhood to take the habit ; and He 
bestowed on them such great graces that it amazed me. 
May He be blessed for ever. Amen. For He seems to re- 
quire nothing but to be loved, to love. 


Which treats of certain graces which the Lord bestows on the nuns 
in these convents, and gives counsel to the prioresses in dealing 
with them. 

As I do not know how long a life the Lord may give me, 
nor what time for writing, and now I seem to have a little, it 
seems a good thing, before going any further, to set down 
some instructions so that Prioresses may understand their 
office, and may guide their nuns to the greater profit of their 
souls, although less to their own satisfaction. 

It must be remembered that, when I was ordered to write 
the history of these foundations, there were besides the first, 
that of St Joseph's at Avila, whose story was written imme- 
diately seven monasteries founded, by the help of our Lord, 
including that of Alba de Tormes, which was the last of them. 
The reason why more were not founded was that my superiors 
set me to another work, as will be seen later. 

It is from considering the course of spiritual affairs in 
those monasteries during these years that I have seen the 
need of saying what I am going to say. May it please the 

26 Chapter IV 

Lord that it may succeed in meeting that need ! And since 
the things which have taken place are not delusions, people's 
minds must not be alarmed : for, as I have said elsewhere in 
certain little writings 1 I have made for the Sisters, if we pro- 
ceed in obedience and with a clear conscience, the Lord never 
allows Satan so free a hand that he can injure our soul by 
deceiving us. On the contrary, it is he who finds himself de- 
ceived ; and, as he is aware of this, I do not believe he does us so 
much harm as our own imaginings and evil tempers, especially 
melancholic tempers. Women are weak by nature, and the self- 
love which prevails in us is very subtle. Thus many people have 
come to me, both men and many women, as well as the nuns of 
these houses, in whom I could plainly see that, without intend- 
ing it, they often deceived themselves. I quite believe that the 
devil may take part in this to mock us : but of the many of 
these women whom, as I say, I have myself seen, there are 
none that I know of who, by the Lord's goodness, have not 
been kept safe. May be He is pleased to try them with these 
failures that they may come out wiser. Prayer and perfection, 
through our sins, are so decayed in the world that it is neces- 
sary to make this plain statement. For if people are afraid 
to walk in this way even when they do not see its dangers, 
how will it be if we should shew them some? Although 
indeed there is really danger everywhere ; and so long as we 
live we shall always have to walk in fear, and to entreat the 
Lord to teach us and not to forsake us. But, as I think I 
have said before, if there is one way which is less dangerous 
than another, it is the way of those who attain most nearly to 
keeping God in mind and to seeking to live in perfection. 

my Lord, when I see that Thou dost often deliver us even 
from the dangers into which we run by going against Thy 
1 [The Way of Perfection, ch. LXX. Tr.] 

Counsels to Prioresses 27 

will, how can I believe that Thou wilt not deliver us when 
we are caring for nothing but to please Thee and find our joy 
in Thee? I can never believe this. It may be that God for 
some other hidden ends may permit certain things to fall out 
thus and thus. But good has never brought evil. So that 
such falls may serve to make us walk on our way better, to 
please our Spouse the better and find Him the sooner, but 
not to make us give up the journey; to animate us to walk 
bravely through the rugged passes of this life, but not to make 
us cowards for the rest of it. For if we walk humbly, in the end, 
through God's mercy, we shall arrive at that city of Jerusalem 
where all that we have endured will appear little or nothing 
in comparison with our joy there. 

Well, when these little dovecotes of our Lady the Virgin 
began to be filled, His Divine Majesty began to shew His great- 
ness in these poor women, weak in themselves, but strong in 
their desires and in their detachment from all created things. 
And this must be what most closely unites a soul with its Creator, 
given a conscience void of offence. This condition I need 
hardly mention : because if the detachment is sincere, I think 
it is not possible for a soul that has it to offend the Lord: 
and as the soul in all its sayings and doings is unchange- 
ably centred in God, so His Majesty seems to be unwilling to 
withdraw His presence from it. This is what I see at the 
present time, and I can say it with all truth. Let those who 
come hereafter and read this be in fear: and if they do not 
see what may be seen now, let them not put it down to the 
times ; for it is always a time when God will give great graces 
to anyone who serves Him truly. And let them try to see 
whether there is any failure in this, and amend it. 

I have sometimes heard it said about the early days of 
Orders that, because those our Saints of old were the founda- 

28 Chapter IV 

tions of the edifice, the Lord gave them more abundant graces. 
So it is. But it must be remembered that they were the 
foundation for those who should come after. And if we who 
are now living did not fall away from the holiness of the past, 
and those who shall come after us likewise, the building 
would always stand firm. What good is it to me that the 
Saints of old were such as they were, if I, coming after, am so 
bad that I leave the building ruined with my evil ways ? For 
it is plain that new comers do not think so much about those 
who lived a long time ago as about those whom they actually 
see. A fine thing indeed to put down my badness to my not 
being one of the first; and not to lay to heart the difference 
there is between my life and virtues and that of the founders 
to whom God granted such great graces! Alas, my God! 
how crooked are these excuses, how glaring these delusions! 

I am not speaking of the founders of Orders : for, as God 
chose them for a great work, He gave them greater grace. It 
is a distress to me, my God, to be so bad, and of so little 
use in Thy service; but well do I know that it is my own 
fault that Thou givest me not the graces which Thou gavest 
to those who have gone before me. It grieves me, Lord, 
when 1 compare my life with theirs; and I cannot say it 
without tears. I see that I have wasted what they laboured 
for; but in no wise can I complain of Thee. Nor is it right 
that any of us should complain; but that if we should see our 
Order in any way decaying, we should each try to become a 
stone such that it may serve for building up the edifice again : 
for the Lord will give His aid in this. 

Then to return to what I was saying for I have made 
a long digression the graces which the Lord gives in these 
houses are so great that, though there may be one of the 
Sisters whom the Lord is leading by the way of meditation only, 

Counsels to Prioresses 29 

all the rest are arriving at perfect contemplation, and some 
advanced as far as raptures. To some the Lord gives grace in 
a different manner, together with revelations and visions 
which can clearly be known to have come from God, At 
the present time there is not one house where there are not 
one or two or three such nuns. I know very well that this is 
not what sanctity consists in: nor is it my object only to praise 
them, but rather to shew that the instructions which I intend 
to write down are not beside the mark. 


In which certain cautions are given concerning prayer and revela- 
tions. It is profitable reading for those who are occupied in 
active work. 

I DO not intend or suppose that what I am now going to 
say will be so precise as to afford an infallible rule: that 
would be folly in matters so difficult. But, as there are 
many ways in the way of the Spirit, it may be that I shall 
succeed in explaining some points of some of them. If those 
who are not walking by that way do not understand me, that 
will be because they are going by another way. And if I do no 
good to anybody, the Lord will accept my good will; for He 
knows that if I have not experienced it all myself, yet I have 
observed it in other souls. 

In the first place I want to shew, according to my poor 
understanding, what is the essence of perfect prayer : for I 
have met with some people who suppose that the whole 
matter consists in thoughts; and if, even though by doing 

30 Chapter V 

themselves great violence, they can for the most part keep 
their thoughts on God, they at once think themselves spiritu- 
ally minded. And if they cannot help being distracted, even 
though it may be on account of right things, they are at once 
dreadfully unhappy and think themselves lost. Learned men 
do not suffer from these mistakes and ignorances though 
indeed I have met with one who did so but we women need 
to be warned of all such ignorances. I do not deny that it is 
a gift from the Lord to be able to meditate continually on His 
works, and it is good to make the attempt. But it must be 
borne in mind that not all minds are able by nature to do 
this, but all souls are able to love Him ; and that perfection 
consists in loving Him rather than in thinking. I have else- 
where spoken of the causes of this wandering of the mind of 
some, at least; not of all, for that would be impossible so I 
will not speak of it here : but I want it to be understood that 
the soul is not thoughts ; nor ought the will to be controlled by 
them, for it would be in evil case, as I have said above : be- 
cause the soul's good does not consist in thinking much, but 
in loving much. And if you ask, How is this love to be 
gained? I answer, By a soul's resolving to work and suffer 
for God, and doing so when it gets an opportunity. 

It is quite true that reflecting on what we owe to the 
Lord, what He is, and what we are, is efficacious in fixing the 
soul's determination; and that this is an excellent practice, 
and very helpful in the beginnings. But with this proviso- 
that this exercise does not interfere with matters of obedience 
or of the good of our neighbour which charity requires of us. 
For in such cases, either of these two things has the first 
claim on our time, and we must give up what we crave to 
give to God ; that is to say, the meditating on Him in solitude 
and rejoicing in the joys which He gives us. To give up this 

Counsels to Prioresses 31 

for either of those two things is to give joy to the Lord ; and 
it is done for Him, as He said with His own mouth, Inasmuch 
as ye have done it unto one of these little ones, ye have done 
it unto Me. And as to matters of obedience, He would not 
have us walk in any other way than the way in which He 
Himself was well pleased to walk. Follow Him, for He was 
obediens usque ad mortem 1 . 

Then if this is really true, whence comes that vexation 
which we mostly feel when we have not spent a great part of 
the day quite alone and absorbed in God, although we were all 
the time occupied in works of obedience and charity? From 
two sources, I think. The first and chief, from a self-love 
which is here so very subtly mingled that we do not perceive 
that it is ourselves we are wanting to please rather than God. 
For it is clear that when a soul is beginning "to taste and 
see how gracious the Lord is," it must be more to its taste 
to be enjoying this communion, and the body not toiling 
but at rest. 

Oh the charity of those who sincerely love our Lord and 
know their own state ! How little rest can they take if they see 
that they can ever so little help a single soul to advance and 
love God more, or can in any way comfort it or liberate it 
from any danger ! How little rest could such an one take in 
any selfish repose! And when he cannot help by deeds, he 
will by prayers, pleading with the Lord for the many souls 
which he grieves to see being lost. Such a soul loses its own 
enjoyment and counts it well lost, because it does not 
think about its own happiness but about how best to do the 
Lord's will. 

So it is also in matters of obedience. It would be un- 
seemly behaviour if God plainly told us to go and do 

1 [Phil. ii. 8. Tr.] 

32 Chapter V 

something which He wanted done; and we would riot, but 
remained gazing upon Him because that was more to our 
pleasure. A fine advance in the love of God, to bind His 
hands by believing that He can do us good in only one way ! 
Besides what I myself, as I have said, have experienced, 
I know several people with whom I have conversed, who 
taught me this truth, when I was troubled at having so little 
time myself, and so was sorry for them when I saw them 
continually occupied in business and many affairs laid upon 
them in obedience. And I thought within myself, and even 
said so to them, that in such a racket it was not possible to 
grow in spirituality for at that time they had no large measure 
of it. Lord, how different are Thy ways from what we 
imagine! When a soul is simply set upon loving Thee and 
is left in Thy hands, Thou requirest of it nothing but to obey, 
and carefully to learn what is most to Thy service, and to 
desire this. It has no need to seek out its own paths or 
choose them : for its will is simply Thine. Thou, my Lord, 
takest upon Thyself the charge of guiding it in the way that 
is best for it. And even if the Superior does not concern 
himself about our soul's good, but only about getting the 
business done which he thinks is for the Community's good, 
Thou, my God, dost keep our soul, and dost continually 
dispose it and its doings in such wise that, without our 
knowing how, but only faithfully obeying our orders for God's 
sake, we presently find ourselves so much better and more 
spiritually minded that we are filled with wonder. 

So it was in the case of someone to whom I was talking 
a few days ago. For about fifteen years his obedience had 
laid upon him such hard work in offices and the oversight of 
others that in the whole of that time he could not remember 
that he had had one day to himself; although he secured 

Counsels to Prioresses 33 

some time in the day, as best he might, for prayer and to 
keep his conscience clear. He is one of the most obediently dis- 
posed souls that I ever saw, and so he communicates that virtue 
to all whom he has to do with. The Lord has well rewarded 
him: for, without knowing how, he finds himself to have 
gained that liberty of spirit, so greatly prized and desired, 
which is possessed by the perfect, wherein lies all the felicity 
that can be desired in this life ; because, seeking nothing, he 
possesses all things. Such souls neither fear nor desire any- 
thing upon earth; troubles do not perturb them, nor do 
pleasures excite them : whatever may happen, no one can take 
away their peace, for it rests on God alone; and as no one 
can take away God from them, nothing can cause them anxiety 
but the fear of losing Him : for everything else in the world 
is to them as though it were not, for it can neither make nor 
mar their happiness. Oh blessed obedience, and blessed dis- 
traction for obedience's sake, which can win so great a good ! 
That person is not the only one I have known : for there have 
been others like him, whom I had not seen for many years; 
and when I asked them how these years had been spent, it 
was all in works of obedience and charity, and on the other 
hand I could see that they had made most marvellous progress 
in spiritual things. 

Well then, my daughters, let there be no repining, but 
when obedience keeps you employed in exterior works, re- 
member that even if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks 
among the pitchers, aiding us both in body and soul. 

I remember a monk's telling me that he had resolved and 
firmly made up his mind that he would never refuse anything 
which the Superior might require of him, whatever trouble it 
gave him. And one day he had been working so hard that he 
was quite done up and could hardly stand, and he was going to 

T. F. 3 

34 Chapter V 

sit down and rest a little. It was already late. The Superior 
met him and told him to take the spade and go and dig in the 
garden. He kept silence, although it seemed hard to the flesh, 
because he did not know how he should get through it. He 
took the spade and was going into the garden by a path which 
I saw many years after he told me this ; for I happened to be 
founding a house in that town. There our Lord appeared to 
him with the cross on His shoulders, so wearied and worn out 
that he very well could see his own fatigue was nothing in 
comparison of that. 

I believe that it is because the devil sees there is no way 
which leads more quickly to the highest perfection than that 
of obedience, that he sets up in it so many distastes and diffi- 
culties under the colour of good. Let this be carefully thought 
over, and it will be seen clearly that what I say is true. As to 
what constitutes the highest perfection ; it is clear that it is 
not interior satisfaction, nor great raptures, nor visions, nor 
the spirit of prophecy, but it is the entire conformity of our 
will to the will of God, so that there is nothing which we see 
He desires which we do not also desire with our whole will, 
and we accept the bitter as cheerfully as the sweet, when we 
see it to be His Majesty's good pleasure. This seems exceed- 
ingly difficult not the mere doing God's will, but the taking 
pleasure in what is wholly and entirely contrary to our own 
natural wishes. And so indeed it is. But love, if it is perfect, 
has virtue to make us forget our own pleasure in the pleasure of 
pleasing one whom we love. And as a matter of fact so we find 
it; for when we see we are pleasing God, even the greatest suffer- 
ings become sweet to us : and those who have attained to this 
state love God thus amidst persecutions and dishonours and 

This is so certain, and is so well known and plain, that I 

Counsels to Prioresses 35 

need not dwell on it. What I wish to shew is the reason why, 
as I think, obedience acts most quickly or is the chief means 
there is of attaining to this so blessed condition. It is this. 
As we are by no means masters of our own will, so as to be 
able to employ it purely and simply and wholly for God, until 
we have subjected it to reason, so obedience is the true way 
thus to subject it. For this cannot be done by good reasons, 
because our natural temperament and our self-love produce so 
many that we should never arrive there : and they very often 
make what is most reasonable seem unreasonable, if we are not 
inclined to it, only because we are not inclined to act on it. 
(I had so much to say here that we should never get done 
with this internal contest and with describing all that the 
devil, the world, and the flesh do to warp our reason.) What, 
then, can be done ? This : that just as in a very doubtful 
matter of law, the litigants, weary of strife, choose an 
arbitrator and put the matter into his hands ; so should 
our soul choose one, whether Superior or confessor, resolving 
to strive no longer nor take thought for itself, but to trust the 
Lord's words when He said "He that heareth you heareth 
Me," and to put aside its own will. Our Lord counts this 
submission a great thing ; and justly so, because it makes Him 
master of the free will which He has given us. So we exer- 
cise ourselves in this ; and, sometimes completely conquering 
ourselves, sometimes with a thousand conflicts, thinking what 
is decided for us foolish, we come to submit ourselves to what 
is enjoined on us, through this painful exercise ; but, painfully 
or not, at last we do it. And the Lord on His part aids us 
greatly, so that just as we come to submit our will and reason 
for His sake, so He makes us masters of them. Then, being 
masters of ourselves, we are able to give ourselves over perfectly 
to God, offering Him a pure will that He may unite it to His 


36 Chapter V 

own ; beseeching Him to send down the fire of His love from 
heaven to consume the sacrifice, giving up everything which 
might displease Him ; because now there is nothing left to us 
which, although with sore struggles, we have not laid on the 
altar, so that, so far as in us lies, it no longer touches the earth. 

It is plain that no one can give what he does not possess ; 
but he must needs first possess it. Then believe me, there 
is no better way of winning this treasure than by digging and 
toiling to get it out of the mine of obedience ; for the more we 
dig the more we shall find ; and the more we submit ourselves 
to human beings, having no will but that of our betters, the 
more we shall be masters of our will so as to be able to conform 
it to the will of God. 

See now, Sisters, whether the giving up the pleasure of 
solitude is not amply rewarded. I can tell you that the lack 
of solitude will be no hindrance to you in training yourselves 
for the attainment of that true union which, as I have said, 
consists in making my will one with the will of God. This is the 
union which I myself desire, and would wish you all to possess, 
and not occasional very enjoyable raptures which take place, to 
which people give the name of union : and they will really be 
union, if afterwards the condition which I have described 
ensues. But if when the suspension is over, very little 
obedience is found, and self-will remains, then I think the 
self-will will be united to self-love and not to the will of God. 
May His Majesty grant that I may practise what I know in 
this matter ! 

The second source of this dislike is, I think, that, as in 
solitude there are fewer occasions of offending God, some 
there always must be, as the evil spirits and ourselves are 
never absent the soul seems to keep itself purer : and if it is 
apprehensive of offending Him, it is a great comfort not to 

Counsels to Prioresses 37 

have occasions of stumbling. And certainly this seems to me 
a more adequate reason for wishing not to converse with any- 
one than the former the great delights and spiritual sweet- 
nesses which solitude affords. 


Here, my daughters, is where true love is to be seen : not 
in corners, but in the midst of temptations. And believe me 
that although there may be more faults committed, or even 
some slight falls, yet our gain is incomparably greater. 
Remember, in what I say it is always taken for granted that 
it is in obedience and for charity's sake that you go into 
temptation. If not, I grant that solitude is best. And indeed 
we ought to be desiring it even while we are doing as I say. 
In truth this desire is ever present in souls which really love 

I say that it is a gain for this reason that it makes us see 
what we are, and how much our strength is capable of. For 
when a person is continually in solitude, however saintly he 
may seem to himself to be, he does not know whether he has 
any patience or humility, nor has he any means of knowing. 
It is as if a man were very valiant, how could he know it if he 
had not proved it in battle ? St Peter was sure he was so, but 
see what he was when the temptation came ! But he came out 
from that fall with no trust in himself, and from that he went 
on to put his trust in God, and afterwards suffered martyrdom, 
as we know. 

Alas, my God, if we only knew how great is our wretched- 
ness ! If we do not know it, there is danger in everything : 
therefore it is good for us to be made to do things which shew 
us how abject we are. And I consider one day of humbling 
knowledge of ourselves which has cost much sorrow and pain 
to be a greater boon from our Lord than many days of prayer: 
how much more when the true lover loves wherever he is, and 
always keeps his beloved in mind ! It would be a poor thing 

38 Chapter V 

if prayer could be carried on only in corners. I myself find 
that- 1 cannot now spend many hours in it. But, my Lord, 
how powerful before Thee is one sigh, sent forth from a spirit 
which is troubled because not only are we in exile, but have 
not even opportunities of being alone, that we might enjoy 
communion with Thee ! 

This is what shews .clearly that we are His bondservants, 
for love of Him willingly sold to the virtue of obedience, since 
for its sake we give up, in a measure, the joy of communion 
with God Himself. But that is nothing, when we consider 
that He in obedience came from the bosom of the Father to 
become our bondservant. How then can this gift be repaid or 
requited ! We must walk warily in our active works, even of 
obedience and charity, lest we should be careless, not continually 
turning to God in our inmost heart. But believe me, what 
helps a soul to advance is not the spending long hours in 
prayer, but it is a great help to be employed also in active 
works, so that the soul is better disposed to enkindle its love 
in a very short space of time than by spending many hours in 
meditation. All must come from His hand. May He be blessed 
for ever and ever ! 


Of the harm it may do spiritual people not to know when to 
resist the spirit. Of the soul's desire for Communion, and the 
delusions there may be in this. Contains matters important 
to those who are in charge of these Convents. 

I HAVE long and carefully tried to find out whence proceeds 
a sort of great absorption in thought which I have observed in 
certain people to whom the Lord gives great sweetness in 
prayer, and who do not neglect to prepare themselves for 

Counsels to Prioresses 39 

receiving His graces. I am not speaking now of a soul's being 
suspended and enraptured by His Majesty, for I have elsewhere 
spoken of this at some length : and of such things as this there 
is really nothing to be said, because we ourselves can do 
nothing, even if we do our utmost to resist, if it is a real 
rapture. It is to be observed that in this case the force which 
deprives us of all power over ourselves lasts but a short time. 
But it often happens that a prayer of quiet begins, as it were 
a spiritual slumber, which absorbs the soul in such wise that, 
if we do not know what ought to be done in this case, we may 
waste much time and, by our own fault, spend our strength 
and gain little. 

I wish I knew how to explain myself on this point, but it 
is so difficult that I do not know whether I shall succeed : but 
I know very well that if the souls who have been in this 
delusion are willing to believe me, they will understand me. 
I know of some, and very virtuous souls too, who have been 
seven or eight hours in this state, and think it all to have 
been a rapture : and any other religious exercise has laid such 
hold upon them that they have yielded themselves to it 
immediately, thinking they must not resist the Lord ; and so 
little by little they might die or turn silly, if they got no help. 

"What I know about the matter is that, when the Lord 
begins to bestow joys on the soul, we being by nature so fond 
of delights, it gives itself up to that pleasure so entirely as 
not to be willing to move or lose it on any account ; for it 
really is a greater pleasure than any worldly pleasures. This 
takes place sometimes in a soul by nature weak, or whose 
mind or rather, imagination is not lively but of a sort which, 
when it has once laid hold on something, dwells on it without 
distraction (as is the case with many people who, when they 
begin to think of something, not necessarily of God, remain 

40 Chapter VI 

absorbed and, as it were, gazing at something without knowing 
what they are gazing at a sort of people slow by nature, who, 
from inattention, forget what they were going to say). And so 
it is when they are thinking of God, agreeably to their own 
disposition or nature or weakness. Or suppose they are given 
to melancholia, they will entertain a thousand pleasing 

Of a melancholic humour I will say a little by and bye. 
But even without that, what I have described takes place, and 
even in the case of people who are worn with penance : when, 
as I have said, love begins to afford them a sensible pleasure, 
they let themselves be carried away by it overmuch, as I have 
said. To my mind, it would be a much better loving if they 
did not let themselves go on mooning : for they could very well 
resist it at this point in their prayer. For just as in bodily 
weakness we experience a faintness which does not allow of 
our speaking or moving, so it is here, if we do not resist ; for 
if our natural temperament is weak, the vehemence of the 
spirit lays hold on it and overcomes it. 

I may be asked, What is the difference between this and 
rapture ; for to all appearance it is the same ? So it is, in 
appearance ; but not in reality : for rapture or the union 
of all the powers of the soul lasts but a short time, as I say ; 
and leaves behind it great effects, interior light, and many 
other benefits ; and the understanding does not work at all, 
but it is the Lord Who is working in the will. In the present 
case it is very different : for although the body is made captive, 
the will and memory and understanding are not, but their 
operation is irregular, and if by chance they alight on some 
subject, there they will stop and stay. 

I see no advantage in this physical weakness for it is 
nothing else except that it comes from a good beginning : it 

Counsels to Prioresses 41 

would be better to employ the time profitably than to be so long 
half asleep. More can be gained by one act, or by often arousing 
the will to love God, than by letting it remain passive. Therefore 
I would advise Prioresses to do their utmost diligence to stop 
these long drowsinesses : for all they do, in my opinion, is to 
blunt the faculties and the understanding so that they cannot 
perform the soul's bidding, and therefore deprive her of the 
benefits which they ordinarily reap when they are taking care 
to please the Lord. If the Prioresses see that it comes from 
weakness, they should put a stop to their fasts and disciplines 
I mean, such as are not of obligation and the time may come 
when they will be able to give them all up with a good 
conscience and they should set them tasks which will take 
off their minds from themselves. 

And even if Sisters are not subject to these swoonings, yet 
if their mind is too much engrossed, even with deep matters 
of prayer, it must necessarily happen that they often are not 
mistresses of themselves. In particular, if they have received 
some unusual grace from the Lord or seen some vision, they 
will be always thinking they are seeing it, when that is not 
the case, but it was only once they saw it. Anyone who finds 
herself going on in this dreamy torpor for long must try to 
change the current of her thoughts ; for so long as she is 
occupied with things Divine there is no harm in this : but let 
her thoughts be first of one thing, then of another, just as they 
employ themselves in her own affairs. And God is as well 
pleased with our thinking sometimes of His creatures and of 
His creative power, as with our thinking on the Creator Him- 

Oh wretched misery of man, which is such through sin 
that even in what is good we require rule and measure lest we 
bring ruin on our health so as to lose the fruition of our good ! 

42 Chapter VI 

And indeed many of us, and especially those of weak head or 
imagination, need self-knowledge ; and it is more to our Lord's 
service, and very necessary. So if anyone sees that, when 
her thoughts are fixed on some mystery of the Passion, or the 
glory of heaven, or any such thing, she goes on for a long time 
without being able, even if she wishes it, to turn them on 
anything else, or leave off being immersed in this, let her 
realise that she must divert them as best she may, or the time 
will come when she will realise the harm of it, and that its 
origin was what I have said great weakness either of the 
physical frame, or else of the mind, which is much worse. 
For just as a lunatic, if he gets anything fixed in his mind, is 
not master of himself, and cannot distract himself, nor think 
of anything else, nor can any reasoning influence him, because 
he is not master of his reason ; so it may happen in this 
case, although it is a pleasurable madness. 

Oh what harm may such an one do himself if he has a 
melancholic temperament ! I can see no good whatever in it. 
For the soul has a capacity for delighting in God Himself. If, 
then, it is not for one of the reasons I have given above, why 
should the soul, since God is infinite, be chained to only one 
of His mysteries or attributes, when there are so many for us 
to dwell upon ? And the more things of God we meditate on, 
the more of His greatnesses we come to see. I do not say that 
in one hour or even in one day we should meditate on many 
subjects, for this would probably mean that we should not get 
the good of any of them. As these questions are very nice, 
I would not have you misunderstand, or think I am saying 
what it has never entered into my head to say. I am sure 
that it is so important to understand this chapter rightly, 
that although it gives me trouble to write, I do not grudge it. 
And I hope that anyone who does not understand it at the 

Counsels to Prioresses 43 

first reading will not grudge reading it over and over, especially 
Prioresses and Novice mistresses who have to guide Sisters in 
their methods of prayer. For if they are not careful at the 
beginning, they will find how long it takes to set right such 
weaknesses as these. 

If I were to narrate the many instances of this evil which 
have come to my knowledge, it would be seen what cause there 
is for my making so much of it. I will only relate one ; and 
from this the rest can be gathered. There were in one of our 
monasteries a choir nun and a lay Sister. Both were highly 
advanced in prayer, together with mortification and humility 
and other virtues. The Lord shewed Himself very gracious to 
them, and revealed to them His perfections. Above all, they 
were so detached and so engrossed in His love that, though 
we watched them closely, we saw no trace of failure to corre- 
spond as our weakness can to the graces which our Lord 
bestowed upon them. I have said so much of their goodness in 
order that those who do not possess it may be the more in fear. 

They began to have great impetuous longings for our Lord, 
which they could not control. They thought these longings 
were satisfied when they made their Communion : and so they 
prevailed with their confessors to let them communicate 
frequently. Thereby their pain came to increase so greatly 
that they thought they would die if they were not given their 
Communion daily. Their confessors seeing such souls with 
such great longings thought although one of them was very 
spiritually minded that that was the right remedy for their 
suffering. It did not stop here : for the tension came to such 
a pitch in one of them that they had to give her her Communion 
early in the morning to keep her alive, according to her own 
view. And they were not people who would feign, nor would 
they have told a lie for anything in the world. 

44 Chapter VI 

I was not there at the time, and the Prioress wrote to tell 
me what was going on. She said she could do nothing with 
them ; and that such and such people said that, as there was 
nothing else to be done, they should be relieved in this way. 
By the Lord's will, I understood the matter at once : but for 
all that, I said nothing until I could go to them, for fear I 
might be mistaken ; and it would not have been right to oppose 
the confessor's approval of it, until I could give him my reasons. 
He was so humble that when I went there and spoke to him, 
he believed me at once. The other was not so spiritual, 
nothing indeed to compare with him ; and there was no means 
of persuading him : but I cared little for that, because I was not 
under the same obligation in regard to him. I began to talk 
to the two Sisters, giving them many and, to my mind, 
sufficient reasons to make them see that it was a mere fancy 
to think they would die without this relief. But they had it 
so firmly fixed in their minds that nothing in the way of 
reasoning sufficed or could suffice to move them. I soon saw 
it was useless : so I told them that I had the same longings as 
they, and that I would abstain from Communion so that they 
might believe that they also need not communicate except 
when all the Sisters did : that we would all three die together ; 
for I thought that would be much better than that a custom 
of that kind should take root in our houses, where there were 
Sisters who loved God quite as much as they did, and would 
desire to do just as they did. 

The harm which their custom had already done them had 
come to such a pitch and the devil must have had a hand in 
it that when they did go without making their Communion, 
they really seemed as if they would die. I shewed great 
severity : for the more I saw that they did not because they 
thought they could not accept submissively what obedience 

Counsels to Prioresses 45 

required of them, the more clearly I saw it was a temptation. 
They got through that day with great difficulty, the next with 
rather less ; and thus it went on lessening : so that, even when 
I made my Communion (because I was ordered to do so ; for, 
seeing them so weak, I would not have done it) they endured 
it very well. By and bye they and all the nuns saw that it 
was a temptation. And a good thing it was that it was set 
right in time : for shortly after, there arose in that house, not 
by the Sisters' fault, difficulties with the ecclesiastical superiors 
of which I may perhaps speak hereafter and they would have 
been displeased with such a custom and would not have 
allowed it. 

Oh how many instances of this kind I could give ! I will 
give only one more. It was not in one of our monasteries, 
but in a Cistercian. There was a nun, quite as good as those 
of whom I have spoken. Through many disciplines and fasts, 
she came to be so weak that, every time she made her 
Communion or whenever there was an occasion to inflame her 
devotion, she used to fall on the ground, and there to remain 
for eight or nine hours, in what she and everyone else thought 
to be a trance. This happened so often that I believe great 
harm would have come of it, if it had not been stopped. The 
fame of these trances spread about all the neighbourhood. 
I myself was sorry to hear of it, because it pleased the Lord 
that I understood what it really was, and I was afraid of what 
might come of it. The nun's confessor was like a father to 
me, and he came to tell me the story. I told him what I 
thought : that it was waste of time ; that it could not possibly 
be a trance, but was only weakness ; and that he should make 
her give up the fasts and disciplines, and should cause her 
thoughts to be distracted. She obediently did as he bid her : 
and after a little while, as she gained strength, there was 

46 Chapter VI 

no shadow of a trance. While if it had really been a trance, 
there would have heen no stopping it until it was God's will 
that it should cease; because the force of the spirit is so 
great that our own strength cannot cope with it. Also, as I 
have said, a trance leaves behind it great fruit in the soul ; 
while this other experience leaves no more than if it had 
never taken place, but only fatigue in the body. 

Then let us learn from this to hold in suspicion anything 
which so overcomes us that we see it does not leave our 
reason free ; and remember that we shall never gain liberty of 
spirit by such means. For one of the properties of this 
liberty is the being able to think about all kinds of things and 
find God in them. Anything but this is bondage of spirit : 
and, let alone the harm it does to the body, it binds the soul 
so that it cannot grow. It is as when people on a journey 
come to a bog or quagmire which they cannot pass. So, in a 
way, is it with the soul ; which, to advance through this, would 
have not only to walk, but to fly. Oh when they say or think 
they are engrossed with God, and cannot help it because they 
are so rapt, and can by no means divert their thoughts and 
this is a common experience let them consider what I repeat 
again. There is no need for fear if this state lasts for only 
one day, or four, or a week ; for it is no wonder that a weak 
nature should remain in a maze for so long : but if it persists 
beyond this, it must be stopped. What is good in all this is 
that there is no sinful guilt in it, nor loss of merit ; but it 
has the disadvantages which I have mentioned, and many 

In the matter of Communions, it is very serious if a soul, 
because of its love, is not submissive to the confessor and the 
Prioress in this matter : if, although it feels its loneliness, it 
is not enough to make it go to them. In this matter, as in 

Counsels to Prioresses 47 

others, the Sisters must be continually mortified, and must be 
made to understand that it is better to give up their own will 
than to take their own pleasure. Our self-love also may be 
mingled in this. It has been so with me : for at one time it 
often happened that when I had made my Communion, even 
while the Host must still have been whole, if I saw others 
communicating, I wished I had not done so in order that I 
might communicate again. At the beginning I did not think 
I need attend to this. But when it happened so often, 
I afterwards came to reflect, and saw that it was more for my 
own satisfaction than for the love of God : because when we 
go to Communion, we usually feel a certain emotion and 
sweetness ; and this was what drew me. Because if it had 
been in order to have God within my soul, I had Him already ; 
if to obey what is commanded us in regard to Communion, 
I had done so already ; if to receive the graces which are 
given to us in the Blessed Sacrament, I had already received 
them. In short, I came to see clearly that there was nothing 
in it but the desire of experiencing that sensible sweetness 
over again. 

This reminds me that in a place where I lived, where 
there was one of our monasteries, I knew a woman who was a 
great servant of God, according to popular estimation, and so 
she must have been. She had no confessor in particular, and 
she made her Communion daily, going for it sometimes to one 
church, sometimes to another. I noticed that ; and I would 
rather have seen her obeying one confessor than making so 
many Communions. She lived alone, and, as it seemed to me, 
did what she pleased : only that, as she was a good woman, all 
she pleased was good. I spoke to her about it more than 
once, but she paid no attention, and justly so, because she was 
much better than I am. However, I thought I was not 

48 Chapter VI 

mistaken in this. The saintly Brother Peter of Alcantara 
came to the place, and I got him to talk to her, and I was 
not satisfied with the direction he gave her. But that might 
have been because, wretched that we are, we are never 
thoroughly satisfied with any but those who go on in the same 
way as we do : for I believe that that woman did more 
penance and served our Lord more in one year than I in many. 
After a time she fell into a mortal sickness this is what I am 
coming to and she took pains to get mass said daily in her 
house and to receive the Blessed Sacrament. As her sickness 
proved to be protracted, a certain ecclesiastic, a great servant 
of God, who had often said the mass, at last thought it was 
not right that she should communicate daily in her house. 
It must have been the devil who suggested this ; for that day 
happened to be her last, on which she died. When she saw 
mass over and herself left without the Lord, she was so angry 
and went into such a passion with the priest that he came, 
greatly scandalized, to tell me about it. I was very unhappy 
about it ; for even now I do not know whether she was ever 
reconciled. I believe she died immediately. 

From this I came to understand the harm of doing our 
own will in anything, especially in so great a thing as this. 
For anyone who so often approaches to the Lord ought to be 
so alive to her own unworthiness that she would not do it 
on her own judgement, but would let the obedience of 
following direction supply what is lacking in our fitness to 
approach so great a Lord a lack which must always be great. 
This good woman had an opportunity of greatly humbling 
herself, and it might have done more for her than that 
Communion, if she had thought that the priest was not in 
fault, but that the Lord, seeing how wretched and unworthy 
she was to receive Him in so poor a lodging, had thus ordered 

Counsels to Prioresses 49 

it. Thus did a certain person 1 whose wise confessors often 
kept her from her Communion, because her rule was to make 
it often 2 . Although she felt this very keenly, she, on the 
other hand, desired God's glory more than her own ; and so 
did nothing but praise Him for awakening her confessor's 
watchfulness over her, so that His Majesty should not enter 
so wretched a lodging. And by the help of such considerations 
she obeyed with great peace in her soul, although with a 
loving and tender pain. But not for all the whole world 
would she have gone against what was bidden her. 

Believe me, the love of God I mean, what seems to us 
love, but it is not which stirs our passions in such wise that 
we commit any sin, or that the peace of our soul is troubled, 
and it is so full of feeling as to be inaccessible to reason this 
sort of affection is plainly self-seeking. And the devil will 
not be asleep, but will attack us when he thinks it will do us 
the most harm, as he did to this woman. Indeed it frightened 
me terribly, not that I believe it sufficed to hinder her salva- 
tion, for God's goodness is great, but the temptation came at 
a very bad time. 

I have spoken of it here that the Prioresses may take 
warning, and that the Sisters may fear- and consider and 
examine themselves on their motives in approaching to receive 
so great a gift. If it is to please God, they know already that 
He is better pleased with obedience than sacrifice. Then if 
this is so and I gain more, why should I be troubled ? I do 
not mean that a humble sorrow would be wrong : for not all 
have attained to the perfection of feeling none, only because 

1 From St Theresa's rather depreciatory way of speaking of this person, 
and from her praise of her confessors, it may safely be conjectured that 
she was speaking of herself. 

2 [Daily. Tr.] 

T. F. 4 

50 Chapter VI 

they are doing what they understand to be more to God's 
pleasure. For it is plain that none will be felt if the will is 
entirely detached from all selfish likings : but on the contrary, 
the soul will greatly rejoice because it has an opportunity of 
pleasing the Lord by so costly a sacrifice ; and it will humble 
itself and will abide as well satisfied with communicating 
spiritually. But as in the beginnings and even more at the 
last these strong desires of drawing near to the Lord are a 
gift from Him, some emotion and pain may well be permitted 
to souls when they are deprived of Communion, although 
they should abide in peace and should draw from it matter 
for acts of humility. I say, in the beginnings, because this is 
the most important, for the Sisters are not so strong in the 
other points of perfection of which I have spoken. 

But if there should be with this desire any strong feeling 
or anger or temptation to think wrongly of the Superior or 
the confessor, believe me that it is a manifest temptation. 
And if anyone should make up her mind to communicate in 
spite of her confessor's telling her not, I should be sorry to 
have the gain she would get by it : for in such matters we are 
not to be our own judges. He who holds the keys for binding 
and loosing is to be judge. May it please the Lord to give 
us light to be wise in matters so important: and may we 
never lack His help, that we may not turn His gifts into 
occasions of displeasing Him. 


How to deal with melancholic nuns. Needful for Prioresses. 

THESE my Sisters of St Joseph's at Salamanca, where I am 
living while writing this, have earnestly begged me to say 
something about how melancholic 1 nuns should be treated. 
Because although we are always extremely careful not to 
admit those who suffer from it, it is so cunning that it feigns 
death when this serves its purpose, so that we do not find it 
out until it is too late. I think I have said something about 
it in a little booklet of mine 2 , but I cannot remember. There 
is no harm, anyhow, in speaking of it here, if the Lord is 
pleased that I should speak aright. It may be that I have said 
it at some other time : I would say it a hundred times over if I 
thought I could succeed in saying anything profitable. The 
devices which this temperament invents to get its own way 
are so many that they have to be studied so as to be able 
to endure it and control it, so that it may not do harm to 

It must be observed that not all people of this tempera- 
ment are so troublesome: for when it lights on humble 
and gentle subjects, though they are troublesome to them- 

1 [It would perhaps be too great a liberty to render St Theresa's 
" melancolia " by hysteria. Nevertheless, if this rendering is kept in 
mind, much light is thrown on what she says. Tr.] 

2 It has been conjectured from these words that St Theresa had written 
some other treatise now lost. But in my opinion she is referring to the 
first copy of The Way of Perfection, & quarto volume (which is in the 
Escorial) instead of being a folio like the other writings. 


52 Chapter VII 

selves, they do no harm to others, especially if they are of 
good understanding. And besides, there are different degrees 
of this temperament. I fully believe that in some people the 
devil takes it as his handle for getting them into his power; 
and that if they are not exceedingly careful, he will do so. 
For, as the chief effect of this temper is to overcome the 
reason, and so this becomes obscured ; what then, under such 
conditions, will not our passions do ? 

Not having the use of one's reason seems the same as 
being mad, and so it is : only that in those of whom we are 
speaking the evil has not come to such a pitch, and it would 
be a much less evil if it had. For having to behave as a 
reasonable being, and having to treat some one as such when 
she is not so, is an intolerably difficult situation. For to those 
who are altogether sick of this malady, compassion is to be 
shewn, but the) 7 do no harm; and if there is any way of 
keeping them under control, it is to put them in fear. Those 
in whom this malignant evil is only begun but has not taken 
such firm hold, yet must be treated in the same way, when 
other means fail ; as the evil is of the same quality and root, 
and springs from the same stock. The Prioresses must avail 
themselves of the penances in use in the Order; and must 
aim at so bringing them under control that they may re- 
cognize that they will not succeed in getting everything nor 
anything they want. For if they find that their clamour and 
the desperate things which the devil says in them to ruin 
them have sometimes succeeded, then they are lost. And 
one of such is enough to disquiet a whole monastery. For 
as the poor creature has in herself nothing with which to 
defend herself from the devil's suggestions, the Prioress must 
take the greatest pains to direct her, not only outwardly but 
inwardly. As reason is obscured in the sick nun, it must be 

Counsels to Prioresses 53 

the clearer in the Prioress, so that the devil shall not begin 
to obtain power over that soul, by means of this malady. 

It is a dangerous thing. For this temper is sometimes 
of such violence as to overcome the reason altogether; and 
when this is so, they are not to blame, as madmen are not, 
whatever follies they commit. But people are to be blamed 
when their reason is not quite overcome, but only weakened, 
and they are at times quite well. They must not be allowed 
to take liberties when they are at their worst, lest when they 
are well they should not be able to master themselves: for 
this artifice of the devil's is much to be dreaded ; and thus, if 
we consider it, what they are mostly at is the getting their 
own way, and saying whatever comes into their head, and 
finding out faults in others to hide their own with, and 
pleasing themselves with whatever they have a fancy for: 
acting, in short, as one who has in himself no power to 
control himself. Then, with passions unmortified and every 
one of which wants to get its own way, what will happen if 
there is no one to control them ? 

I repeat, as one who has seen and dealt with many 
people suffering from this malady, that there is no other 
remedy for it but to bring them into subjection by all possible 
ways and means. If words will not suffice, then punishments ; 
if slight ones will not suffice, then severe ; if one month's im- 
prisonment will not suffice, then four: for no greater good 
can be done for their souls. Because, (as I have said, and say 
again, for it is important that the nuns themselves should 
understand it) : although once or more than once they may be 
really not responsible for their actions; as it is not a con- 
firmed madness of a kind which makes wrong-doing blameless 
(although it may be so at times, yet not habitually), the soul 
is in great danger. Except it is, as I say, a case of such 

54 Chapter VII 

entire loss of reason that the nun is constrained to do what 
she says or does when she cannot help herself. It is a great 
mercy of God to those who suffer under this malady, when 
they submit themselves to some one who can control them ; 
for this is their only safety in the danger of which I have 
spoken. And for the love of God, if any of them should 
read this, let her consider that her salvation may depend 
on it. 

I know some whose understanding is all but completely 
unsound, but who are so humble-minded and fearful of offend- 
ing God that, although they dissolve in tears when they are 
alone, they do nothing but what they are told, and bear their 
infirmity as others do : but this being a greater suffering, their 
glory will be the greater; and having their purgatory here, 
they will not have it hereafter. But I repeat that those who 
will not do this of their own accord must be compelled to it 
by the Prioress, and must not be led on by imprudent kind- 
nesses till they come to upset everyone by their disorderliness. 

For besides the danger to the nun herself of which I have 
spoken, there is another most serious evil: that when the 
other Sisters see her, as they think, in good health, but do 
not realise what inward struggles she goes through, our nature 
is so wretched that every one will be tempted to affect melan- 
cholia, so that she may be borne with ; and in fact the devil 
will make her actually think herself melancholic. And so the 
devil will succeed in making a havoc which, by the time it is 
found out, will be difficult to undo. And this is so important 
that no negligence must be tolerated in a melancholic Sister : 
but if she disobeys the Superior, she must be punished for it 
like the sane, and must never be let off; if she speaks wrongly 
to any of her Sisters, the same ; and so in everything else of 
the kind. 

Counsels to Prioresses 55 

It may seem unjust that the sick should suffer as the 
sane, when they cannot help what they do : so must it be, 
then, to confine and beat madmen, but they ought to be 
allowed to kill everybody. Believe me; for I have proved 
it, and, having tried all sorts of remedies, find none but this 
to answer. And a Prioress who out of pity allows such as 
these to begin to do as they please at last, at last, it will be 
unendurable, and when it comes to setting it right, that will 
only be after much harm has been done to the others. And 
if madmen are confined and punished in order that they may 
not kill people, and it is right to do so, although we are very 
sorry for them because they cannot help it, how much greater 
precautions must be taken that these Sisters may not injure 
souls with their wilfulnesses ? 

And I really believe that very often, as I have said, it is 
not so much their malady which makes some of them act thus 
as their natural disposition, wilful, proud, and ill-disciplined : 
for I have seen them control themselves and behave properly 
for some one whom they feared ; then why cannot they do so 
for God? 

I am afraid that the devil is seeking to make prey of 
many souls under colour of this temper, as I have said. For 
it is more common than it used to be; and the reason is that 
all self-will and licence are now called melancholia. So I have 
thought that, in our houses and in all religious houses, we 
ought not to take this word on our lips, because it seems to 
carry with it licence ; but that it should be called a dangerous 
illness and how dangerous it is ! and be treated as such. 
For it is sometimes quite necessary to use some sort of medical 
treatment to dissipate the violence of the malady and make it 
endurable, and the patient should be kept in the infirmary. 
But she must recognize that when she comes out to join the 

56 Chapter VII 

Community she will have to be submissive like the rest ; and 
if she is not, her malady will not avail as an excuse ; because, 
for the reasons given above, this is necessary: and I could 
give more. 

Without the Sisters themselves perceiving it, the Prior- 
esses should help them along with tender compassion, just 
like a true mother, and should keep thinking of ways of 
doing them good. I seem to be contradicting myself, because 
so far I have said that they are to be treated with severity. 
So I say again, that they must not suppose that they can get 
their own way, nor must they get it. It must be clearly laid 
down that they are to obey ; for it is in their feeling they need 
not that the evil lies. Still, as they have not the strength to 
do violence to themselves, the Prioress may refrain from com- 
manding them to do anything which she knows they will 
refuse, but try to lead them on discreetly and by affection to 
all that is really necessary; so that, if possible, they may 
obey her from affection, which will be much better : and this is 
usually the case if she shews them much affection, and makes 
them see it by her words and deeds. 

And it must be borne in mind that the best remedy at the 
Prioresses' disposal is to give them plenty to do, so that they 
may have no opportunity for idle imaginations ; for the whole 
evil comes from these. And although they may not do the 
work so well, yet let some faults be put up with, that other 
worse faults may not have to be endured in them when they 
are past help. For I know this to be the most efficacious 
remedy that can be used. And it must also be arranged that 
they shall not spend much time in prayer, not even so much 
as others spend; because they mostly have a weak imagina- 
tion, and it is very bad for them : and if this is not done, 
they will be fancying things which neither they nor any- 

Counsels to Prioresses 57 

one who listens to them will be able to make sense of. Care 
must be taken that they eat fish but seldom ; also they must 
not be allowed to keep such prolonged fasts as the others. 

It may seem disproportionate to give so much advice 
about this evil and about no other, when in our wretched 
life there are so many serious evils, especially in the weak- 
ness of women. I have done it for two reasons: the first, 
that they seem to be in good health, because they will not 
own to this malady. And as, having no fever, they are not 
obliged to stay in bed nor send for the doctor, the Prioress 
must be their physician; because this malady is more inimical 
to all excellences than those which keep people in bed in 
peril of death. The second reason is that in other sicknesses 
people get well or die : in this, it is a wonder if they recover, 
nor do they die of it; but they come to lose their reason 
completely a sort of dying which is the death of everybody 

They suffer death enough within themselves with their 
miseries, fancies, and scruples: and thus they may reap 
exceeding spiritual gain, although they always call them 
temptations: but if they could once understand that these 
come from nothing but their malady, it would be a great 
relief to them because they might be able to disregard it. 
Indeed I am very sorry for them; and so ought all to be 
who live with them, considering that they themselves might 
be thus dealt with by the Lord, and helping them along 
without their perceiving it, as I have said. May it please 
the Lord that I have hit the mark in what has to be done 
for so grievous a sickness ! 


Counsels in regard to revelations and visions. 

IT seems to frighten some people only to hear the word 
vision or revelation. I do not know why they reckon it so 
dangerous a road when God leads a soul by this way, nor 
whence has arisen this terror. I do not now intend to treat 
of the difference between good and evil visions, nor of the 
marks which very learned men have given me to know them 
by; but of what anyone who finds herself in such circumstances 
had better do : because there are few confessors she can go to 
who will not frighten her. For it is a fact that they are not 
so shocked to hear that the devil has been setting before us 
all sorts of temptations, of the spirit of blasphemy, of foolish 
and ugly things, as they are scandalized to hear that some 
angel has appeared or spoken to us or that we have seen in a 
vision Jesus Christ our Lord on the cross. 

No more do I mean now to treat of the great blessings 
brought to the soul by revelations which come from God, for 
this is well known : but of images produced by the devil to 
deceive us, making use of the likeness of Christ our Lord or 
His saints. For my part, I hold that His Majesty will not 
permit this, nor give him power to deceive anyone by such 
images, unless it is by the person's own fault ; but that it is 
the devil himself who will be mistaken. I mean that no one 
will be deceived if he is humble : so there is nothing to be 
terrified about, but we should trust in the Lord, and pay 
little attention to such things, except by turning them to His 
greater praise. 

Counsels to Prioresses 59 

I know of some one 1 whose confessors caused her sore 
distress over such things, when afterwards, they were seen to 
have come from God, because of the great fruit and good 
works which resulted from them. It was hard for her when 
in some vision she beheld His likeness, to cross herself and 
treat it with contempt ; for so she had been told to do. 
Afterwards, when she spoke of it to a very learned Dominican, 
Master Fray Domingo Banez, he told her that it was wrong 
for anyone to do so ; because it is right to reverence the 
likeness of our Lord wherever we may see it, even if the 
devil had depicted it for he is a great artist ; and that, 
intending to do us harm, he would, on the contrary, have done 
us good service if he depicted a crucifix or some other 
likeness of our Lord so life-like that it remained engraved in 
our heart. 

This reasoning greatly commended itself to me : because 
when we see a very good picture, we should not fail to think 
highly of it, even if we knew that it was painted by a bad 
man ; nor should we so make account of the painter as to lose 
our edification. For the good or evil is not in the vision, but 
in whoever beholds it and does not humbly profit by it : for if 
he is humble, it can do him no harm even if it is from the 
devil ; and if he is not, it can do him no good even if it is 
from God. Because if he is puffed up by that which is meant 
to make him abase himself, seeing that he is unworthy of that 
favour, it is like the spider, who turns all that he eats into 
poison, and not like the bee, who turns it all into honey. 

I must explain myself more fully. If our Lord of His 
goodness is pleased, in order that some soul may know and 
love Him better, to appear to it, or to reveal to it some secret 

1 Herself. Life, ch. xxix. Not only Banez condemned this, but also 
the venerable Juan de Avila, as he has recorded. 

60 Chapter VIII 

of His, or to bestow on it any special consolations or graces ; 
and if, as I have said, that soul, because of what ought to 
humble it and make it feel how unworthy of this favour is its 
abjectness, should consider itself straightway as a saint, and 
should suppose that this favour has been done it on account 
of some service it has rendered, then it is plain that, like the 
spider, it turns to evil the great good which it might thence 
have derived. 

Then say that the devil, in order to stir up pride, produces 
these apparitions. If then the soul, thinking they come from 
God, humbles itself and acknowledges itself to be unworthy of 
so great a favour, and strives earnestly to serve God better : 
because it sees itself enriched while it is unworthy to eat the 
crumbs which fall from the table of those people to whom, as 
it has heard, God has granted such favours unworthy, I 
mean, to be the servant of any of them if it humbles itself 
and begins in earnest to do penance and to be more in prayer, 
and to be more careful not to offend our Lord, because it 
thinks this favour comes from Him, and to obey Him more 
perfectly : then I can answer for it that the devil will not do 
it again, but will go away ashamed, leaving no harm done to 
the soul. 

"When a Sister is told to do something or told the future, 
in that case she must tell it to a sensible and learned confessor, 
and not do or believe anything but what he tells her. She 
should tell the Prioress of it, that she may appoint her such a 
confessor. And she may rest assured that if she does not 
do what the confessor tells her and allow herself to be 
guided by him, her experiences come from an evil spirit or a 
terrible melancholia. For, supposing that the confessor were 
mistaken, she would not be mistaken in keeping to what he 
said, even if it had been an angel of God that had spoken to 

Counsels to Prioresses 61 

her: for His Majesty will" give light to the confessor or will 
otherwise provide for the accomplishment of His word. And 
there is no danger in acting thus ; but in acting otherwise 
there may be great danger and great harm. 

Let it be considered that the weakness of nature is very 
weak, especially in women, and shews more in this way of 
prayer ; so we must be careful not at once to suppose every 
little fancy to be a vision : for, believe me, when it really is so, 
there can be no question about it. Where there is any touch 
of melancholia, much greater caution is necessary : for I have 
known of things about such fancies which have made me 
wonder and wonder how people can possibly believe in such 
good faith that they have seen what they have not seen. 

Once there came to me a highly esteemed confessor, who 
heard the confessions of a certain person ; and she had told him 
that our Lady often came and sat on her bed, and stayed 
more than an hour talking to her, and telling her things to come 
and much besides. Out of such a number of follies one came 
true ; and so all the rest were firmly believed. I saw at once 
what it was, but I dared not say so ; for we live in a world 
where we have to consider what people may think of us, for 
our words to have any effect. So I said to the confessor that 
he should wait to see whether those prophecies came true, and 
ask about other effects of the visits, and find out what sort of 
life that person lived. In the end, when he came to find out, 
it was all folly. 

I could tell so many things of this kind as would be 
ample proof of my point : that a soul should not readily give 
credence, but should keep its judgement in suspense, and 
know its own mind very well before it speaks, lest, without 
intending it, it should deceive the confessor : for, however 
learned he may be, that does not suffice for understanding 

62 Chapter VIII 

these things, if he has no experience in them. Not many 
years ago, but quite lately, a man made fools of some very 
learned and spiritually minded people with things of this 
kind, until he came to speak with someone who had experience 
in such favours of the Lord, and who saw clearly that it was 
madness, together with delusions, although at that time it was 
not acknowledged, but carefully concealed. Shortly after- 
wards, the Lord made it plainly manifest; but the person who 
had perceived it had much to suffer first, from not being 

For these and similar reasons, it is important that each 
Sister should clearly describe to the Prioress her manner of 
prayer. And the Prioress should carefully consider her 
disposition and spiritual attainments, in order to inform the 
confessor, so that he may understand better : and she should 
choose her a suitable confessor, if the ordinary one is not 
capable of dealing with such things. She must take great 
care that matters of this kind do not get abroad (not though 
they may really come from God and be confessedly miraculous) 
nor be made known to confessors who have not the sense 
to keep silence about them : for this is most important, more 
so than they know. Nor must Sisters talk among themselves 
about these things. But the Prioress must always be ready 
to listen to them discreetly, inclining rather to commend 
those who are distinguished for humility and mortification 
and obedience than those whom God is leading by this very 
supernatural way of prayer, even though they also may have 
all these virtues. For if it is the spirit of the Lord, it will 
bring with it the humility to relish being thought little of; so 
it will do them no harm, and it will be good for the others. 
Because as these cannot attain to that way of prayer for God 
grants it to whom He will they may feel discouraged about 

Malagon 63 

having only those virtues : and although these too are the 
gift of God, yet more can be done towards the attainment of 
them, and they are of great value in the Religious life. May 
His Majesty bestow them upon us ! He will not deny them to 
anyone who, with perseverance and carefulness and prayer, 
seeks for them with trust in His mercy. 


Of the Foundation of St Joseph's at Malagon. 

How I have wandered from my purpose ! And yet the 
counsels I have given may be more to the purpose than the 
accounts of the foundations. "Well, I was at St Joseph's of 
Medina del Campo, very happy at seeing the Sisters tread in 
the same steps as those at St Joseph's of Avila, of sincere 
religion, fraternity, and zeal ; and happy at seeing how our 
Lord provided what was necessary for His house, both for the 
church and for the Sisters. Some women entered the convent 
whom our Lord seemed to have chosen as being the right sort 
for the foundation of such a house ; for I have learned that 
on the good beginning of a house depends its subsequent well- 
doing ; for later comers go on in the ways they find there. 

There was at Toledo a lady 1 , sister of the Duke of 
Medinaceli, in whose house, by order of my Superiors, I had 
stayed, as I have narrated more at length in the account of 
the foundation of St Joseph's 2 . This had made her conceive 
a special affection for me, which must have had something to 
do with the interest which she took in my doings : for His 

1 Dona Luisa de la Cerda, widow of Arias Pardo and owner of 

2 Life, ch. xxxiv. 

64 Chapter IX 

Majesty often brings about such effects from things which to 
us, who know not the future, seem of little use. This lady, 
understanding that I had a licence to found convents, began 
begging earnestly that I would establish one in her own town, 
Malagon. I was not at all inclined to consent ; because the 
place is so small that we could not be maintained there 
without an endowment, to which I was strongly opposed. 

When I discussed the matter with learned men and with 
my confessor, they told me that I was doing wrong : that 
since the Holy Council 1 permitted endowment, I ought not to 
refuse to found a convent where the Lord might be so well 
served, because of my own opinion. To this was added the 
lady's urgent requests ; so that I could not help accepting the 
foundation. She granted us a sufficient endowment : for I 
always like convents to be either altogether without means, or 
else with enough to supply the nuns with necessaries without 
their having to beg of anyone. I took all possible precautions 
that no Sister should be able to possess anything of her own, 
but that the Constitutions might be kept in every respect as 
in the houses founded in poverty. 

When all the legal documents were completed, I sent for 
some Sisters to begin the foundation, and we went with that 
lady to Malagon. There the house was not ready for us, so we 
were more than a week in an apartment in the Castle. On 
Palm Sunday, 1568, the procession of the place came for us, 
and we went, with our veils over our faces and our white 
cloaks, to the parish church, where a sermon was preached ; 
and thence they carried the Blessed Sacrament to our convent. 
It moved everyone to devotion. I stayed there some time. 
One day when I was in prayer, after my Communion, I under- 

1 [Of Trent. Tr.] 

Valladolid 65 

stood from our Lord that He would be greatly served in that 
house. I think I was there not quite two months ; for my 
spirit was urging me to make haste to found the house of 
Valladolid, for the reason which I will now relate. 


Of the Foundation at Valladolid of the Convent of the Conception of 

our Lady of Carmel. 

FOUR or five months before the foundation of the Convent 
of St Joseph at Malagon, a young man of noble family who 
was talking to me said that, if I liked to found a convent at 
Valladolid, he would be very glad to give me a house of his, 
with a very large and good garden, which contained a large 
vineyard, and he would like to give me possession of it at 
once. It was of considerable value. I accepted it, although 
I had not quite made up my mind to found a convent there, 
because it was about a quarter of a league from the town. 
However, I thought that when once we had taken possession 
there, we might be able to move into the town. And as he 
made the offer so spontaneously, I did not like to refuse to 
carry out his good work or hinder his devotion. 

About two months after this, he was taken ill so suddenly 
that he could not speak nor make his confession clearly, 
although he made many gestures shewing that he was praying 
to the Lord for forgiveness. He died very shortly, a long 
long way off from where I was staying. The Lord told me 
that his salvation had been in grave peril ; but that He had 
had mercy on him on account of the service he had done 
to His Mother in giving that house for a convent of her 
Order : he would be kept in purgatory until the first mass 

T. F. 5 

66 Chapter X 

was said there; when he would be released. The grievous 
pains of that soul were so continually borne home to me, that 
although I was wishing to found a house at Toledo, I gave it 
up for the time, and made all the haste I could to found at 
Valladolid as best I might. 

I could not be so quick as I wished, because I was 
unavoidably detained for a good time at St Joseph's at Avila, 
of which I was in charge, and afterwards at St Joseph's at 
Medina del Campo, for I travelled that way. There one day 
while I was in prayer, the Lord told me to make haste, for 
that soul was in great suffering. So although I was not very 
well equipped for it, I put it in hand, and entered Valladolid 
on the Feast of St Lawrence. 

But when I saw the house, I was filled with dismay, for 
I saw it would be foolish to let nuns live there, unless a great 
deal was spent upon the place. And although it was a very 
pleasant place, the garden being so delightful, it could not 
fail to be unhealthy ; for it was close to the river. Tired 
though I was, I had to go to Hear mass at a monastery of our 
Order, at the entrance of the town : and it was such a long 
way that it redoubled my distress. For all that, I said nothing 
to my companions, so as not to discourage them : for, though 
weak, I had some confidence that the Lord Who had told me 
what I have said, would make it come right. I sent for 
workmen in great secrecy, and began to have mud walls built 
for purposes of enclosure and whatever was necessary. 

The ecclesiastic of whom I have spoken, Julian of Avila, 
was with us, and one 1 of the two friars who, as I have said, 
wished to become Barefoot brothers. He was learning our 
way of living in these houses. Julian of Avila employed 
himself in getting the Ordinary's licence, which he had given 

1 St John of the Cross. 

Valladolid 67 

me good hopes of, before I set out. It could not be accom- 
plished so quickly but that a Sunday came before it was 
obtained : but we were given leave to have mass said in the 
room which we had for a chapel ; and so it was said for us. 

I was very far from imagining that what had been told me 
of the young man's soul would be accomplished then : for, 
although I had been told it would be at the first mass, 
I supposed this meant the mass when the Blessed Sacrament 
would be reserved. But when the priest came with the 
Blessed Sacrament in his hands to where we were to communi- 
cate, and when I came up to the priest to receive It, I saw in 
a vision this young man, his face shining and full of joy, with 
clasped hands, and he thanked me for what I had done to 
enable him to come out of purgatory, and depart into heaven. 
And certainly, when I first heard that he was in the way of 
salvation, I was very far from thinking so, and was in great 
distress, considering that such a life as his demanded a 
different kind of death. For, though there was much good in 
him, he was much mixed up in worldly matters. It is true, 
he had said to my companions that he continually had death 
before his mind. It is wonderful what pleasure our Lord takes 
in any service done to His Mother ; and great is His mercy. 
May He be praised and blessed for all, Who thus rewards with 
eternal life and glory the poverty of our works, and makes 
them great though they are worth little. 

Well, on the Day of the Assumption of our Lady, the 
15th of August, 1568, possession was taken of the convent. 
We did not stay there long, because we almost all fell ill. 
There was a lady there, Dona Maria de Mendoza, wife of the 
Knight Commander Cobos, and mother of the Marquis of 
Camarasa, a good Christian, and very liberal, as her abundant 
alms testified. She had done me kindnesses in past times 


68 Chapter X 

when I had had to do with her, because she was sister to the 
Bishop of Avila, who helped us much with our first convent, 
and has done so in all the affairs of the Order. She saw our 
plight, and that we could not stay there without serious 
difficulties, because of being too far off for alms, and because 
of sickness. And, being so charitable, she proposed to us to 
give that house to her, and she would buy us another : and 
so she did, one which was worth much more; and she has 
provided us with all necessaries up to the present time, and so 
she will do as long as she lives. 

On St Blaise's Day we moved into it, with a great pro- 
cession, amidst the devotion of the people, which is still 
maintained, because the Lord grants many mercies in that 
house and has drawn to it souls whose sanctity will be known 
in His good time to the praise of the Lord Who makes use of 
such means to advance His works and give blessings to His 

For a very young Sister entered that house who shewed 
what the world is worth by despising it. And I think good to 
narrate it here in order to shame those who love the world, 
and that girls into whose hearts the Lord may put good 
desires and inspirations may learn from her example to carry 
them out. 

There was at Valladolid a lady named Dona Maria de 
Acufia, sister of the Count de Buendia, and wife of the 
Governor 1 of Castille. He died, leaving her with one son and 
two daughters, and very young. She began to lead a life of 
such sanctity, and bringing up her children so virtuously as 
to deserve that the Lord should choose them for Himself. 
I am wrong : she had three daughters. One soon became a 
nun ; another would not marry, but lived a very edifying life 
with her mother. The son began very early to see what the 

1 [Adelantado. Tr.] 

Valladolid 69 

world was, and to be called by God to the Religious life so 
strongly that no one was able to put him off. His mother, 
however, was delighted, and must have helped him much with 
her prayers to the Lord ; although not openly, because of his 
relations. Indeed, when the Lord chooses a soul for Himself, 
no creatures can prevail to hinder it. So it happened here : 
for when by much persuasion they had kept him back for 
three years, he entered the Company of Jesus. Dona Maria 
told one of her confessors, who told me, that never in her life 
had such joy come to her heart as on the day when her son 
was professed. Lord, what a mercy Thou grantest to those 
to whom Thou givest such parents, who so truly love their 
children that they would have them possess their estates and 
inheritances and riches in that blessed life which has no end ! 
It is a matter deeply to be regretted that the world is so 
wretched and blind that parents reckon their honour to 
consist in the continuance of the memorials of their possession 
of the dunghill of this world's goods, which sooner or later 
must come to an end and all temporal things, however 
lasting, come to an end, and are to be held of no account 
and desire to keep up their vanities at the expense of their 
poor children, and audaciously rob God of souls whom He 
desires for Himself. And these souls they rob of so great a 
good that, although there were no eternity in which God 
invites them to dwell with Him, it would be a great happiness 
to find themselves free from the weary customs of the world, 
which are the more wearisome the greater their possessions. 
Open their eyes, my God. Shew them what their love 
should be for their children, that they may not deal so ill with 
them ; and that their children may not bring it up against 
them before God in the last judgement, where, however un- 
willingly, they will understand what everything is really worth. 

70 Chapter X 

As then, God in His mercy drew out of the world Don 
Antonio de Padilla, the son of Dona Maria de Acuna, at the 
age of ahout seventeen, the property came to the eldest 
daughter, Dona Luisa de Padilla. The Count of Buendia 
had no children, and Don Antonio inherited his title as well as 
the governorship of Castille. Since that is not to my point, 
I will not enter on all that he suffered at the hands of his 
relations before accomplishing his purpose : those who know 
what worldly people feel about having an heir to their family 
will realise this well enough. 

Jesus Christ our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, true 
King of creation, what didst Thou leave in the world for us 
Thy children to inherit ? What hadst Thou, my Lord, but 
toil and suffering and insult ? And even to go through the 
anguish of death Thou hadst nothing but the hard wood. 
Surely, my God, we who aspire to be Thy true children and 
not renounce our inheritance it does not beseem us to fly 
from suffering. The arms Thou bearest are five wounds. Ah 
then, my daughters, this must be our device also if we are to 
inherit His kingdom. Not with ease, not with pleasures, not 
with honours, not with riches can we gain that which He 
purchased with so much blood. 

. ye of high birth, for the love of God open your eyes ! 
Mark the true knights of Jesus Christ and the princes of 
His Church. A St Peter, a St Paul did not take the way 
which you are taking. Do you think, peradventure, that a 
new way is to be made for you ? Believe it not. See how 
our Lord began shewing you the way through people so youth- 
ful as those of whom we are now speaking. Don Antonio 
I have sometimes seen and spoken with : he would gladly have 
had greater possessions in order to renounce them. Blessed 
youth and blessed damsel, who, at an age at which the world 

Valladolid 71 

is used to ruling over those who dwell in it, were counted 
worthy by God of grace to reject it ! Blessed is He Who so 
abundantly wrought in them ! 

When, then, the family honours devolved on the elder 
daughter, she cared as little for them as her brother : for from 
a child she had been so much given to prayer, through which 
our Lord gives light to know the truth, that she esteemed it 
all as lightly as her brother. Alas, my God, what difficulties 
and vexations and law suits and even risk of life and honour 
many would have gone through for the succession to this 
inheritance ! But these two went through not a little to gain 
permission to renounce it. Such is this world ; it would shew 
us its own absurdities plainly enough, if we were not blind. 
With a very good will, that she might be left free from this, 
inheritance, did she renounce it in favour of her sister, who 
was about ten or eleven : for there was no other heir. Her 
relations, in order that their wretched family name might not 
perish, immediately arranged to marry the little girl to an 
uncle, brother of her father ; and they got a dispensation 
from the sovereign Pontiff, and betrothed them. 

It was not our Lord's pleasure that the daughter of such 
a mother and the sister of such a brother and sisters should 
remain more mistaken than they were ; and thus what I am 
about to relate came to pass. The child had begun to take 
pleasure in her worldly dress and adornments, which would 
naturally please one of her tender years : but in less than two 
months after her betrothal, our Lord began to give her light, 
although at the time she did not understand it. Having 
spent a day very happily with her betrothed, whom she cared 
for with an affection beyond her years, a great sadness came 
over her on considering that as this day had come to an end, 
so would every day. Oh, how great is God ! From the very 

72 Chapter X 

pleasure which the pleasures of perishing things gave her, she 
was led to turn against them. She began to experience a 
sadness so deep that she could not conceal it from her 
betrothed ; nor did she know whence it arose, nor what to tell 
him about it, although he questioned her. 

At that time her betrothed had to take a journey which 
obliged him to go very far away; and she felt it keenly, 
because she cared for him so much. But suddenly our Lord 
revealed to her the cause of her sadness, which was that her 
soul was attracted to that which has no ending; and she 
began to reflect that her brother and sister had taken the 
safer course, and had left her amid the perils of the world. 
This on the one hand ; and on the other hand the thought that 
there was no help for it for she did not know until later, 
when she made enquiries, that it was possible for her, although 
betrothed, to become a nun this kept her in sadness; and 
above all, the affection which she had for her betrothed kept 
her undecided ; and so she went on sorrowfully. But as our 
Lord had chosen her for Himself, He kept lessening this 
affection and increasing her desire of giving up all. 

At that time she was only moved by the desire to save her 
soul and to find out the best means for this ; for she thought 
that if she were more immersed in worldly things, she might 
forget to seek that which is eternal. At this tender age God 
imbued her with wisdom to seek how she might gain that 
which has no end. Happy soul, so early to emerge from the 
darkness in which so many who are old die ! 

When she saw her heart was at liberty, she resolved to give it 
entirely to God, and began to speak of it to her sister : for hither- 
to she had kept silence. Her sister, thinking it a childish fancy, 
dissuaded her from it, and told her, among other things, that 
she could very well be saved in the estate of matrimony. The 

Casilda de Padilla 73 

child answered, " Then why did you yourself renounce it ? ' 
And for some time her desire went on increasing, although her 
mother dared not say anything : but perhaps it was she who, 
by her holy prayers, was carrying on the conflict. 


Continues the story of Dona Casilda de Padilla and how she succeeded 
in carrying out her holy desires for the Religious life. 

AT that time it happened that the habit was given to 
a lay Sister, Sister Estefania of the Apostles, in the Convent of 
the Conception. I may perhaps later on tell the story of her 
vocation; because, although these two were in different 
positions for Sister Estefania was a labourer's daughter yet 
the great graces which God bestowed on her deserve to be 
recorded of her, to the glory of His Majesty. When she took 
the habit, Dona Casilda for that was the name of this 
beloved of our Lord went to the service with her grand- 
mother, the mother of her betrothed. She took a great liking 
to the convent, thinking that the nuns there could serve the 
Lord better from being few and poor. However, at that time 
she had not made up her mind to quit her betrothed ; for, as 
I have said, it was the giving him up which most held her 

She reflected that before her betrothal she used to observe 
times of prayer, because her mother in her goodness and 
saintliness observed them and brought up her children to it : 
from the age of seven she used to make them go into the 
oratory at certain times, and she taught them how to meditate 
on the Passion of our Lord, and made them go often to 
confession. Her desire was to dedicate them to God : and 

74 Chapter XI 

thus she saw the good fruit of her longing. She has told me 
that she used continually to offer them to God, beseeching 
Him to take them out of the world; for she was already 
disenchanted as to the world's value. I sometimes think when 
they find themselves in the fruition of everlasting joy, knowing 
that they owe it to their mother, what thanks they will give 
her, and what her special joy will be in seeing them there. 
And I think of those whose parents, on the contrary, have not 
brought them up as the children of God Whose they are more 
than their parents' and what cursing and despair there will 
be when they see each other in hell. 

Then, to return to what I was saying, when she found that 
it was irksome to her even to recite the Rosary, she was sorely 
afraid that she would grow worse and worse. And she seemed 
to see clearly that her salvation would be assured if she came 
into this house; and so she quite made up her mind. And 
one morning when she and her mother and her sister together 
came thither, it happened that they went inside the house, 
without the least idea of what she was going to do. When 
she found herself within, nobody could get her out again. 
Her weeping and entreaties to be allowed to stay were such 
that they did not know what to do. Her mother, although 
secretly rejoicing, was afraid of the relations, and did not wish 
her to remain, as things were, lest they should say it was by 
her persuasion : the Prioress also was of the same mind, 
thinking her a child, and that she needed more probation. 
This was in the morning. They had to stay until the evening; 
and they sent for her confessor, and for the master Father 
Fray Domingo, who was mine, the Dominican whom I men- 
tioned at the beginning. I was not there myself. This Father 
saw at once that it was the work of the Spirit of God. (And he 
helped her greatly, going through much at the hands of her 

Casilda de Padilla 75 

relations. So indeed ought all those who profess to serve 
God to do, when they see a soul to be called by God, and 
they ought not to be so much influenced by worldly prudence.) 
He promised to help her to return some other day. And he 
got her to go away for this time, with great persuasion, lest 
the blame should be laid on her mother. 

Her desires kept increasing in strength. Her mother began 
to speak of it to her relations ; privately, so that the secret 
should not come to the knowledge of the betrothed. They 
said it was childishness, and she must wait until she was old 
enough ; for she had not completed her twelfth year. The child 
said, They had thought her old enough to be married and left 
in the world ; how was it they did not think her old enough 
to give herself to God ? She so spoke that it was plain to see 
it was not herself who was speaking. The thing could not be 
kept so secret but that the betrothed got to know of it. When 
she heard that, she felt she could bear to wait no longer. So 
one day, on the Feast of the Conception, when she was staying 
with her grandmother, who was also her mother-in-law, who 
knew nothing about this, she begged and besought her to let 
her go into the country with her nurse for a little amusement. 
Her grandmother, to content her, did so, sending her in a 
carriage with her servants. The child gave some money to 
one of them, asking him to get some vine-branches or faggots 
and wait with them at the door of this convent, and she had 
the carriage driven round by a way which brought her back 
past the house. When it arrived at the door, she told the 
servants to ask at the grating for a jar of water, without 
saying who it was for, and she herself hastily alighted. They 
said they would give it to her outside ; but that she would not 
have. The faggots were already there ; and she told the 
servants to ask the Sisters to come to the door for them. 

76 Chapter XI 

She stood close by : and when they opened the door, in 
she went, and went and threw her arms round the statue of 
our Lady, weeping and imploring the Prioress not to send her 
away. Loud were the cries of the servants and their knocking 
at the door. She went and spoke to them through the grating, 
and said she would not come out for anything in the world, 
and they must go and tell her mother. The women who had 
gone out with her made piteous lamentations ; but she cared 
for none of it. When they told the news to her grand- 
mother, she went there immediately. But neither she, nor an 
uncle, nor her betrothed, who, when he came, succeeded in 
talking to her at the grating, could do more than distress her 
while they were with her ; but they left her more determined 
than before. Her betrothed, after many piteous lamentations, 
told her that she could serve God more by giving alms. She 
answered that he might give them himself : and in answer to 
the rest she told him that her strongest obligation was her 
own salvation, that she knew herself to be weak, and that 
among the temptations of the world she would not be saved ; 
and that he could not complain of her, since it was only for 
God she had left him, and this was doing no wrong to him. 
When she found that nothing convinced him, she got up and 
left him. He made no impression upon her; rather on the 
whole he put her against him. For when God gives the light 
of truth to a soul, the devil's temptations and obstacles only 
help it the more, because it is God Himself Who fights for it. 
Thus in this case it was clearly seen, for it appeared not to be 
herself who was speaking. 

When her betrothed and her relations saw of how little 
use it was to try to get her out by her own consent, they took 
measures for doing so by force. So they obtained an order 
from the King to take her out of the convent and restore her to 

Casilda de Padilla 77 

liberty. During all this time, from the Feast of the Conception 
until Holy Innocents' Day, when they took her out, she was 
never given the habit; but she kept all the observances of 
the Rule, just as if she had received it, with the greatest 
satisfaction. On Holy Innocents' Day, the officers of the law 
came for her, and took her to the house of a nobleman, she 
weeping abundantly and asking why they tormented her, 
seeing it would avail them nothing. There much persuasion 
was brought to bear on her, both by members of Religious 
Orders and others; some thinking it was childishness, and 
others wishing her to enjoy her worldly position. It would 
take me too long to recount the arguments used and the way 
in which she extricated herself from them all. She amazed 
everyone with the things she said. When at last they saw 
it was of no use, they placed her in her mother's house, to be 
kept there for some time. Her mother was fairly tired of all 
this disquiet, and gave her no help, but rather seemed to be 
against her. It may be that this was in order to test her 
better: at least, this is what she has since told me, and she is 
so saintly that whatever she says is to be believed. But the 
child did not understand this. Her confessor, too, was strongly 
opposed to her desires ; so that she had no help but from 
God, and from a maidservant of her mother's, who comforted 

Thus she went on in great trouble and affliction until she 
had completed her twelfth year, when she heard that as they 
could not now hinder her from taking the veil, they were 
talking of taking her to the convent where her sister was, 
because it was not so severe. When she heard that, she 
determined to carry out her purpose by any possible means. 
So one day, when she had gone to mass with her mother, and 
her mother had gone into a confessional in the church to make 

78 Chapter XI 

her confession, the girl asked her nurse to go and request one 
of the Fathers to say a mass for her. As soon as she saw her 
back turned, she put her clogs up her sleeve, picked up 
her skirts, and went off as fast as ever she could go to this 
convent, which was a long way off. Her nurse, finding she was 
gone, went after her, and when she got near her, she begged a 
man to stop her for her. The man afterwards said that he 
had found himself unable to stir : and so he let her go. She 
ran through the outer gate of the convent and shut it and 
began to call out ; and by the time the nurse arrived she was 
inside the house; and they gave her the habit immediately. 
Thus the good beginning which our Lord had wrought in her 
was brought to its completion. 

His Majesty speedily began to reward her with spiritual 
graces, and she to serve Him with the greatest joy and the 
deepest humility and detachment from all things. May He 
be blessed for ever Who made her, once so fond of the most 
elaborate and richest garments, to take pleasure in the poor 
habit of serge ! Not that this could conceal her beauty : for 
our Lord had endowed her with natural graces as well as 
spiritual; her personal qualities and intelligence being so 
attractive as to move everyone to praise God for them. May 
it please His Majesty that many may thus respond to His 
call! 1 

1 St Theresa wrote some very interesting letters, published in her 
Correspondence, about this nun. The one most worthy of attention is 
one to Father Banes, written at Salamanca, on her way to make the 
foundation at Segovia in 1574. And, after all, this nun, yielding perhaps 
to the insidious suggestions of her relations, quitted the Carmelite habit, 
and betook herself to a Franciscan convent at Burgos, where she died, not 
without being very sorry for what she had done in her fickleness. 


Of the life and death of Beatriz of the Incarnation, a nun whom the 
Lord led to this same house. She lived so perfect a life and her 
death was such that she ought to be had in remembrance. 

A GIRL called Beatriz Onez, some relation to Dona Casilda, 
entered this convent as a nun. She came some years earlier. 
Her spirit filled everyone with amazement, seeing what great 
virtues the Lord was working in her. The nuns and the 
Prioress declare that in all her life there they never saw in 
her anything which could be considered an imperfection : 
nor, whatever might happen, did they ever see her behave but 
with a cheerful modesty which indicated clearly the inward 
happiness of her soul. A silence without gloom : for, although 
she spoke very little, it was so done that it could not be noticed 
as a singularity. She never was found to have spoken a word 
which could be found fault with : nor was any obstinacy found 
in her ; nor did she ever make an excuse, although the Prioress, 
to try her, used to blame her for things she had not done, as 
is the custom in our houses by way of mortification. She 
never complained of anything, nor of any Sister ; nor did she 
ever by word or look give offence to anyone, whatever office 
she held, nor give anyone occasion to think ill of her : nor was 
there ever any fault to accuse her of in chapter, although the 
correctors of faults in that house say they used to take notice 
of the most trifling things. In all circumstances, her outward 
and inward composure were extraordinary. This arose from 
her continually having eternity present to her thoughts, and 
the end for which God has created us. The praises of God 
were ever in her mouth, and an overflowing thankfulness; in 
a word, she was continually in prayer. 

80 Chapter XII 

In the matter of obedience she never failed, but did all 
she was told promptly, exactly, and cheerfully. The greatest 
charity towards her neighbour: so that she used to say she 
would let herself be cut into a thousand pieces for anyone, if 
thereby he might not lose his soul and the fruition of her 
Brother Jesus Christ for thus she used to call our Lord. 
Her very severe sufferings, from terrible sicknesses and sharp 
pains, of which I shall presently speak, she bore with as much 
goodwill and satisfaction as if they had been great pleasures 
and delights. Our Lord must have given her courage ; for no 
otherwise would it have been possible to bear them with such joy. 

It happened at Valladolid that certain people, for great 
crimes, were taken to be burnt. She must have heard that 
they were going to their death not so well prepared as was 
fitting " 3 and she was so terribly distressed that she went to our 
Lord in great sorrow and earnestly besought Him for the salva- 
tion of their souls ; and prayed that instead of the punishment 
they had deserved, or, that she might be worthy to obtain her 
request for I do not accurately remember her words she 
might suffer all her life all the pains and sufferings she could 
bear. That same night she had her first attack of fever ; and 
until her death she was never without suffering. The criminals 
made a good end: whereby it appears that God heard her 

Directly after this, an internal abscess formed, so acutely 
painful that it took all the courage our Lord had given her to 
bear it patiently. Being internal, no remedies they could give 
could do any good, until, in the Lord's good pleasure, it broke 
and discharged, which gave her some relief. Her appetite for 
suffering was not easily satisfied. Thus, on one Holy Cross 
Day, while listening to a sermon, the desire waxed so strong 
that, when the sermon was over, she went and threw herself 

Beatriz Onez 81 

on her bed in a passion of weeping; and when they asked 
what it was, she begged them to pray that God would send 
her severe sufferings, and then she would be satisfied. 

To the Prioress she spoke of all the affairs of her soul; 
and that was a comfort to her. 

In all her sickness she never gave the least trouble in the 
world, nor did anything but what the infirmarian wished, even 
to the drinking a little water. 

It is a very common thing for souls who are given to 
prayer to desire sufferings when they are without them : but 
it is not many who, when those same sufferings are upon them, 
can rejoice in bearing them. Some of the Sisters were there 
at a time when she was so worn out that she had not long to 
live, and had most acute pains, and an abscess in the throat, 
so that she could not swallow ; and she told the Prioress, who 
was encouraging her to bear her great pain, that she was 
not suffering at all, and that she would not on any account 
exchange with any of the Sisters who were in good health. 
She was so conscious of the presence of the Lord for Whom 
she was suffering, that she dissimulated her sufferings as well 
as she could, that no one might perceive how great they were : 
so she made very little sign of suffering, except when the 
pain forced it out of her. 

She thought there was nobody in the world worse than 
herself; and thus, in everything that we could judge of, her 
humility was deep. She took great delight in speaking of 
other people's virtues. 

In matters of mortification she was very severe with her- 
self. From anything in the nature of recreation she withdrew 
herself so quietly that no one who was not on the look out for 
it would notice it. She seemed not to live or converse with 
creatures, so little did she concern herself about them; for, 

T. F. 6 

82 Chapter XII 

however things might turn out, she went through them so peace- 
fully that she was always the same : so much so that a Sister 
once told her that she was like the people who make such 
a point of their honour that, if they were hungry, they would 
rather die of it than have anyone know. For the Sisters 
could not believe that she really minded certain things so 
little as she seemed to mind them. 

All her work and her duties were done with but one end- 
not to miss the good of them. Thus she used to say to the 
Sisters, "The least thing we do is priceless, if done for the love 
of God. We should not so much as move our eyes, Sisters, 
but for love of Him and to please Him." She never meddled 
with anything which was not her business ; and so she never 
noticed anybody's faults but her own. She so disliked being 
well spoken of herself that she was careful not to speak of 
others in their presence, so as not to give them pain. 

She never sought relief by going into the garden or by means 
of any created thing ; because, as she used to say, it would be a 
sort of discourtesy to distract herself from the pains which our 
Lord gave her. So she never asked for anything besides what 
was given her, but was content with that. She said too, that 
it would really have been a cross to her to receive comfort from 
anything but God. It is a fact that, when I questioned the 
Sisters of that house, there was not one who had perceived in 
her anything but what befitted a soul of high perfection. 

When, then, the time came when our Lord was pleased to 
take her from this life, her pains increased : and the Sisters 
used from time to time to visit her, in order to praise God for 
the contentedness with which they saw her endure so many 
afflictions together. In particular, the chaplain who was the 
confessor of the convent, a great servant of God, was very 
anxious to be present at her death; for, having heard her 
confessions, he reckoned her a saint. It pleased God to fulfil 

Beatriz Onez 83 

his desire : for, while she was still in possession of her faculties, 
though having received unction, they sent for him to be at 
hand that night, if necessary, to absolve her and help her to 
die. A little before nine, about a quarter of an hour before 
her death, the chaplain and all the Sisters being present, all 
the pains left her, and she lifted up her eyes in a profound 
peace. An expression of joy, as it were a shining, overspread 
her countenance, and she seemed to be beholding some glad 
sight, for she smiled twice. So great was the spiritual joy and 
bliss experienced by all who were present, including the priest, 
that they could only say they felt as if they were in heaven. 
And in that same joy, with eyes raised to heaven, she expired. 
Her countenance was like an angel's : and so, according to our 
faith and according to her life, may we believe that God took 
her to rest in reward for her earnest desires to suffer for His sake. 
The chaplain declares, and has repeated it to many people, 
that at the moment when her body was laid in the tomb he 
perceived a strong and very sweet odour arising from it. The 
sacristan Sister also declares that of all the candles which 
were burnt for her funeral rites and burial not one suffered 
any diminution of the wax. All can be believed of the mercy 
of God. When I spoke of these things to one of her confessors, 
a Jesuit, who had been her confessor and spiritual adviser for 
many years, he said it was no wonder, and he was not sur- 
prised, because he knew that our Lord held frequent converse 
with her. May it please His Majesty, my daughters, that we 
may learn to profit by the example of so good a companion, 
and by many others which our Lord gives us in these houses ! 
Perhaps I may say something about the others, in order that 
Sisters who are somewhat slack may bestir themselves to imi- 
tate them, and that we may all give thanks to our Lord, Who 
thus makes His greatness shine forth in a few poor weak women. 



How and by whom was founded the first House of Barefoot 

Carmelite friars, in 1568. 

BEFORE I went to that foundation at Valladolid, I had 
already agreed, as I have before said, with the Father Fray 
Antonio of Jesus, then Prior of the Carmelite Monastery of 
St Anne's at Medina, and with Fray Juan of the Cross, 
that if a friars' monastery of the primitive Rule were founded, 
they should be the first to enter it. As I had no means of 
getting a house, I did nothing but commend it to our Lord. 
For, as I have said, I was well satisfied with those Fathers; 
because in the year after I had spoken about it to Brother 
Antonio of Jesus, the Lord had tried him with difficulties and 
he had borne them with great perfection: while of Brother 
John of the Cross, no trial was needed, because, even while 
he was living among the unreformed Fathers of the Cloth 1 , 
he always lived a life of great perfection and strictness. 

It pleased our Lord, having given me the chief thing, 
brothers to begin with, to provide for the rest. A gentleman 
of Avila, Don Rafael, to whom I had never spoken, came to 
know I do not know or remember how that we desired to 
found a monastery of Barefoot friars, and he came to me 
to offer to give me a house he had in a little place of perhaps 
not twenty inhabitants. He used it for a farmer who col- 
lected the rent in kind from that part of his property. I gave 
praise to our Lord and thanked him much, although I saw 
what sort of a house it must be. He told me that it was on 
the way to Medina del Campo ; and as I was going there for 

1 The Calced Carmelites were spoken of as Fathers of the Cloth (del 
Pano) because their habit and cloak were usually of cloth, instead of serge, 
which was worn by the Discalced. 

Duruelo 85 

the foundation at Valladolid, since it is on the direct route, 
I could see it. I said I would: and so I did: for I set out 
from Avila in June with one companion and the chaplain 
of St Joseph's, Father Julian of Avila, the priest who, as I 
have said, helped me in these journeys. 

We started early in the morning. As we did not know 
the way, we went wrong : and as the place is little known, we 
could not get much information about it. So we travelled 
that day with great weariness, for the sun was very strong: 
when we thought we were close to the place, we found we had 
as far again to go. I shall never forget the fatigue and per- 
plexity we went through in that journey. So we arrived but 
little before nightfall. When we went into the house, it was 
in such a condition of extreme dirtiness that we dared not 
spend the night there : also there were a great many harvesters 
there. It had a fair entrance 1 , and a room with an alcove 
with a garret above, and a little kitchen : this was the whole 
of the .edifice which was to serve as our monastery. On think- 
ing it over, I thought that the entrance might be made into 
a chapel and the attic into a choir for saying Office, for it 
would do well for that, and the room to sleep in. My com- 
panion, although she was much better than I, and much given 
to penance, could not bear to think of my making a monastery 
there ; and so she said to me, " Assuredly, Mother, there is 
no one, however good, whose spirit could stand this : do not 
think of it." The Father who was travelling with me thought 
the same as my companion : but when I told him what I 
planned, he did not oppose me. 

We went to spend the night in the church, because we 
were so very tired that we did not want to spend it watching. 

1 [The entrance had no floor above it, but went up to the roof, and the 
attic had openings or squints into it. The house had only two stories. 

86 Chapter XIII 

When we got to Medina, I spoke at once to Father Fray 
Antonio and told him what had taken place, and said that if he 
had the courage to live there for a time, I was certain that God 
would soon make things better : it was everything to make a 
beginning. That which the Lord has now done seemed to me, 
so to say, as present and as certain as I now see it : and indeed 
much more than what I have seen up to the present : although 
at the time that I write this there are, by God's goodness, ten 
monasteries of Barefoot 1 friars. I told him that I did not 
believe the late Provincial or the present one would give us a 
licence (for the foundations had to be with their consent, as I 
said at the beginning) if they saw us in a very well-appointed 
house let alone that we had no means of getting one; but 
that in that little place and house they would think it did not 
matter. He answered for to him God had given more courage 
than to me that he was ready to live not only there but in 
a pigsty. Fray Juan of the Cross was of the same mind. 

Now we sought to obtain the leave of those two Fathers 
whom I have mentioned; for it was on that condition that 
our Father General had given us the licence. I trusted in 
our Lord to obtain it: and so I bade Father Fray Antonio 
take pains to do all he could to get together something for the 
house, while I went with Fray Juan of the Cross to the founda- 
tion of Valladolid, which I have narrated: and as we were 
there some days with workmen to repair the house, without 
enclosure, I had an opportunity of shewing Father Fray Juan 
of the Cross all our ways of going on, so that he should carry 
away a thorough knowledge of everything, of our mortification 
as well as of our sisterliness, and of our Recreation which we 
have all together, which is all so quietly done that it serves 

1 The first were Duruelo and Mancera, then Pastrana (1569), Alcala 
(1570), Baeza (1572), Seville (1573). Afterwards some unreformed 
monasteries accepted the reform. 

Duruelo 87 

but to shew the Sisters' faults and to afford a little refresh- 
ment to enable us to endure the rigour of the Rule. Fray 
Juan was so good that I, at least, could have learned much 
more from him than he from me: but this was not what I did; 
I only shewed him the Sisters' way of going on. 

God was pleased that Fray Alonso Gonzalez, the Provincial 
of our Order, whose leave I had to get, should be at Valla- 
dolid: he was an old man, of very good stuff and straight- 
forward. When I asked him, I said so much to him of the 
account he would have to give to God if he hindered so good 
a work, and His Majesty so disposed him to agree, that he 
softened greatly towards our projects. When Dona Maria de 
Mendoza came with her brother the Bishop of Avila, who has 
always favoured and protected us, they succeeded in arranging 
it with him and with Father Fray Angel de Salazar, the late 
Provincial, from whom I feared all the difficulty. But after- 
wards there arose circumstances which necessitated the good 
offices of Dona Maria de Mendoza. And these friends, I believe, 
helped us much: notwithstanding, even without this timely 
help, the Lord, I believe, would have disposed his heart to- 
wards us, as He did that of the Father General, far though it 
had been from his mind. 

Oh, valame Dios ! how many things I have seen in these 
foundations which seemed impossible, and how easy it has 
been to His Majesty to make the ways plain ! And how am I 
covered with confusion that, having seen all that I have seen, 
I am not better! Now that I see it written down, I am 
amazed, and I desire that our Lord should make everyone 
understand how in these foundations what we creatures have 
done is nothing. The Lord has ordered it all, working from 
such poor beginnings that His Majesty alone could have 
raised it to what it is now. May He be blessed for ever ! 


Continues the account of the first Foundation of friars: and tells 
something of the life which they lead there, and of the good 
work which our Lord began in those parts; to the honour and 
glory of God. 

SINCE I had won over the wills of these two, I felt as if 
nothing was now lacking. We arranged that Fray Juan of 
the Cross should go to the house and get it ready so that 
they might get into it somehow; for I was in a great hurry 
for them to begin, because I was much afraid that something 
might happen to hinder us: and so he did. Father Fray 
Antonio had already collected some of what was necessary. 
We helped him as we could, but that was not much. He 
came to speak to me at Valladolid, very happy, and told me 
what he had got. It was very little. Only with hour-glasses 
was he well provided: for he was taking five, to my great 
amusement. He said he did not like to go without the means 
of keeping the appointed Hours. I do not believe he had got 
anything to sleep on. 

There was little time spent in furnishing the house be- 
cause, however much they might have wished to do, he had 
no money. When he had done, Father Fray Antonio resigned 
his Priorship and promised to observe the primitive Rule: 
for, although they advised him to make trial of it first, 
he would not. He went off to his little house with the 
greatest content in the world : Fray Juan was already there. 

Father Fray Antonio has told me that when he came in 
sight of the little place it gave him a great inner joy: it 
seemed to him that he had already done with the world, in 
leaving all and stationing himself in that solitude. Neither 

Duruelo 89 

one nor the other of them felt the house uncomfortable ; but 
rather they seemed to themselves to be living very pleasantly. 

Oh, valaine Dios, how little difference these edifices and 
luxuries make to one's mind ! For the love of Him I beseech 
you, my Sisters and Fathers, never leave off being very circum- 
spect in this matter of large and sumptuous houses : let us keep 
before us the example of our true founders, those holy fathers 
from whom we are descended : for we know that by that road 
of poverty and humility they attained to the fruition of God. 
Truly I have seen more ardour and also more inward joy 
where bodily conveniences have seemed to be wanting than 
later when these had been acquired and a large house. What 
good does its size do us when one cell is all that we habitually 
use? What can it matter to us that it should be spacious 
and well built? Nothing: for we are not to spend our time 
gazing at the walls. If we consider that it is not an ever- 
lasting habitation, but is only for the short span of this life 
at its longest, it will be good enough for us ; seeing that the 
less we possess here, the more joy we shall have there in that 
eternity, where according to the love with which we have 
imitated the life of our good Jesus will our mansions be. 
Since we say that these beginnings are meant to reform the 
Rule of His mother the Virgin, our Lady and Protectress, let 
us not do to her, nor to our holy fathers who have gone before, 
so great a wrong as to fail to live after their pattern. And 
although, through our weakness, we cannot do so in every- 
thing, yet in things which neither make nor mar health, we 
must be very careful ; for at the most it is only a little bit of 
pleasant toil, as those two Fathers found it: and when we 
have once made up our mind to go through it, the difficulty 
is over; for all the hardship is only a little at the beginning. 

On the first or second Sunday of Advent in the year 1568 

90 Chapter XIV 

I do not remember which of these Sundays it was the first 
mass was said in that little porch of Bethlehem for I think 
it was no better. In the following Lent, when I was going to 
the foundation of Toledo, I went that way. I arrived one 
morning. Father Fray Antonio of Jesus was cleaning out the 
doorway of the chapel with the happy face which he always has. 
I said to him, "How is this, Father? What has become 
of your dignity?" He answered, telling me his great happi- 
ness, in these words, "I execrate the time when I possessed it." 

As I entered the chapel, I stood amazed to see the spirit 
which the Lord had inspired there: and not only I, but two 
merchants, friends of mine, who had come with me from 
Medina, did nothing but shed tears. There were so many 
crosses, so many skulls ! I shall never forget a small wooden 
cross there was for holy water, which had fastened to it a 
paper image of Christ which seemed to excite more devotion 
than if it had been of the finest workmanship. The Office 
choir was the garret, half of which was lofty enough for 
standing to say the Hours: but they had to stoop a great 
deal to enter it and to hear mass. They had made at the 
two extreme corners next the chapel two hermitages, where 
they could only be prostrate or sitting : these were filled with 
hay, because the place was very cold and the roof was close 
over their heads ; they had two openings facing the altar ; and 
two stones to rest their heads on : and there were their crosses 
and skulls. I found that when Matins was finished they did 
not go away again before Prime, but remained there in prayer, 
so absorbed in it that sometimes when they returned to their 
places for Prime their habits were covered with snow, and they 
had not noticed it. 

They said the Hours with another Father of the unre- 
formed Rule, who went with them to live there but did not 

Duruelo 91 

change his habit because he was very delicate; and with 
another young Brother, not in orders, who lived there also. 
They used to go to preach at many neighbouring places which 
were destitute of any teaching : and that was another reason 
why I was pleased that the house should have been founded in 
that place ; for they told me that there was no monastery near, 
nor any means of maintaining one, which was a great pity. 
In so short a time they had gained such great esteem that 
it gave me the greatest joy when I heard of it. They used to 
go, as I said, to preach a league and a half or two leagues off, 
barefoot for at that time they wore no sandals, although 
they were afterwards made to wear them and in much snow 
and frost; and when they had preached and heard confessions, 
they returned home to their meal very late. They were so 
happy that they minded all this very little. Of food they 
had plenty, for the people of the neighbourhood provided 
them with more than they needed; and some gentlemen who 
lived in those parts and came to them for confession, offered 
them better houses and situations. 

Among these was one Don Luis of Cinco Villas. This 
gentleman had built a chapel for a picture of our Lady, 
which was indeed worthy of veneration. His father had 
sent it from Flanders by the hand of a merchant to his 
grandmother or mother, I forget which. He liked it so much 
that he kept it for himself many years ; and then, at the hour 
of death, he directed that it should be placed in a great altar 
piece, one of the finest things that I have ever seen in my life 
and many other people say the same. Father Fray Antonio 
of Jesus, when, at Don Luis' request, he went to the place 
and saw the picture, liked it so much and quite rightly 
that he consented to move the monastery to Mancera (that 
was the name of the place), although there was no well-water 

92 Chapter XIV 

there, nor did there appear any possibility of obtaining it. 
Don Luis built them a monastery, a small one, agreeably to 
their Rule ; and fitted it up. He did it very nicely. 

I cannot refrain from telling how the Lord gave them 
water; for it was considered a miracle. One day after 
supper, when Father Fray Antonio was in the cloister with 
his Brothers, and they were talking about their need of water, 
the Prior rose and took up a staff, and carried it in his hands, 
and he made the sign of the cross over it, I think ; but I do not 
remember for certain whether he made the cross. Anyhow, he 
made a sign with the staff and said, "Now dig here": and 
when they had dug a very little depth there issued forth a 
spring so abundant that it is difficult to get rid of it when the 
well has to be cleaned, and it is inexhaustible ; and it is very 
good drinking water. They use it for every purpose, and, as I 
said, it never fails. Afterwards when they had enclosed a 
garden, they tried to obtain water in it, and made a well, and 
spent a great deal; but up to the present time they have 
found none worth speaking of. 

Well, when I saw that little house, in which, only a short 
time before, one could not have remained, now full of such a 
spirit that, whichever way I looked, I found something to 
edify me ; and when I learned what manner of life theirs was, 
and their mortification and prayer and the good example they 
set (for a gentleman and his wife whom I knew, who lived 
near, came to see me there, and could not say enough of their 
saintliness and the good which they did in those villages) 
when I learned this, I could not sufficiently thank our Lord, 
and I felt within me the greatest rejoicing; because I thought 
I saw initiated a beginning which would be to the great good 
of our Order and to the service of our Lord. May it please 
His Majesty to carry it on as it is now going on, and my 

Duruelo 03 

anticipation will indeed come true. The merchants who had 
gone with me told me that they would not have missed going 
for all the world. What a thing virtue is, that such poverty 
gave them more pleasure than all the wealth they possessed, 
and satisfied them and rejoiced their soul ! 

The Fathers and I discussed several matters. In parti- 
cular, I, being weak and worthless, besought them not to be so 
severe in their penance ; for they carried it to extremes. And 
I told them that I had spent much earnest desire and prayer 
on the work, that the Lord would send me some one to begin 
it ; and that now I saw so good a beginning, I feared that the 
devil was seeking to kill them before that which I hoped for 
was effected. Being faulty and of little faith, I did not suffi- 
ciently consider that it was God's work, and therefore His 
Majesty would see to carrying it on. The Fathers, as they 
had those qualities which were lacking in me, paid little 
attention to my advice to give up their exercises. So I 
departed in the very greatest joy; although I did not give 
God worthy thanks for mercies so signal. May it please His 
Majesty that, in His goodness, I may be worthy to do Him 
some service for all that I owe Him! Amen. For I well 
understood that this was a much greater favour than that 
which He had granted me in enabling me to found convents 
of nuns. 


Of the Foundation of the Monastery of the glorious St Joseph 
in the city of Toledo, in 1569. 

THERE was in the city of Toledo a merchant, a man much 
respected and a servant of God, who chose never to marry, 
but lived the life of a very good Catholic. He was a very 
truthful and honest man ; and by legitimate trade he increased 
his wealth with the intention of using it for some work 
which should be pleasing to the Lord. His name was Martin 
Ramirez. A mortal sickness seized him. There was at Toledo 
a Father of the Company of Jesus, Paul Hernandez, who, while 
I was staying there, had heard my confession at the time 
when I was arranging for the foundation at Malagon. He 
had a great desire that a convent of our nuns should be 
founded at Toledo. Hearing of Martin Ramirez' illness, he 
went to speak to him, and told him how greatly to the Lord's 
service it would be to make this foundation, and that he 
could leave to its charge the chapelries and chaplainships 
which he desired to found ; and that in it could be celebrated 
certain festivals ; and all the rest which he had made up his 
mind to leave to one of the town parishes. He was already 
so ill that he saw he had not time to arrange for this, so he 
left it all in the hands of a brother of his, Alonso Alvarez 
Ramirez; and, this done, God took him. He acted wisely; 
for this Alonso Alvarez is a very discreet and God-fearing 
man, very truthful and liberal and accessible to reason. And 
as I have had a great many dealings with him, I can say 
this most truthfully as an eyewitness. 

When Martin Ramirez died, I was making the foundation 
of Valladolid, where Father Paul Hernandez of the Company 

Toledo 95 

wrote to me, and Alonso Alvarez himself, giving me an ac- 
count of what had taken place, and telling me to come quickly, 
if I wished to accept that foundation : and so I started soon 
after the repairs of the house were completed. I arrived at 
Toledo on the eve of Lady Day, and I went to the house of 
Dona Luisa 1 , the foundress of Malagon, which is where 1 had 
stayed at other times. I was most joyfully welcomed, because 
her affection for me is very great. I took with me two com- 
panions, great servants of God, from St Joseph's of Avila. 
An apartment was at once given us, as usual, where we lived 
enclosed just as in a monastery. 

I began at once to talk over the business with Alonso 
Alvarez and a son-in-law of his, Diego Ortiz, who, although 
a very good man and a theologian, was more wedded to his own 
opinion than Alonso Alvarez, and did not yield so quickly to 
reason. They began to demand of me a great many conditions 
which I did not think suitable to consent to. We kept 
going on with the negotiations, and seeking a hired house 
to take possession of; and, although they hunted a great 
deal, they could never find one that would do. No more 
could I prevail with the Governor to give me the licence 
-for there was no Archbishop 2 at this time although 
the lady with whom I was staying earnestly solicited it, and 
also a gentleman who was a Canon of the church, Don Man- 
rique, son of the Governor of Castille 3 . A great servant of 
God was he, and is, for he is still alive ; and, some years after 

1 De la Cerda. See ch. ix. 

2 The Archbishop was the celebrated Dominican, Bartolom^ Carranza : 
but his office was in abeyance, because he had been since 1557 in the prison 
of the Holy Office at Valladolid. Thence he was sent to Home, where he 
died in 1576. So St Theresa says there was no Archbishop in 1569, 
meaning that practically there was none. 

3 [Adelantado. Tr.] 

96 Chapter XV 

the foundation of that house, he, although of very weak health, 
entered the Company of Jesus, where he is now. He was a 
great person in Toledo, because of his great capacity and 
worth. For all this I could not succeed in obtaining the 
licence; for when they had got the Governor to be a little 
propitious, the members of the Town Council 1 were not so. 
On the other hand, Alonso Alvarez and I could not come to 
terms because of his son-in-law, to whom he left too much. 
At last we came to disagree altogether. 

I did not know what to do : for I had come for no other 
purpose but to found ; and I saw that if I went away without, 
it would be much noticed. In all these difficulties I minded 
not getting the licence more than anything else: because I 
believed that, when possession was taken, the Lord would 
provide, as He had done in other places. So I determined to 
speak to the Governor. I went into a church which was close to 
his house, and sent to beg that he would be so good as to speak 
to me. It was already more than two months that we had been 
trying to persuade him, and things only got worse every day. 
When I found myself in his presence, I said that it was an 
evil thing that there should be women who desired to live in 
such strictness and perfection and enclosure, and that those 
who were enduring nothing of the kind, but were living in 
luxury, should desire to hinder works so well pleasing to our 
Lord. These and many other things I said to him, with great 
decision, which was given me by the Lord. It so moved him 
that before I parted from him he gave me the licence. 

I went away well content : for I felt as if I had got every- 

1 The Council was originally formed to deal with political and feudal 
cases ; but through the Archbishop's Primacy and his landed property 
he being a member of the Council it became an ecclesiastical court for 
administration and litigation. 

Toledo 97 

thing, when really I had nothing, for it might have been as 
much as three or four ducats that I had in hand. With this 
I bought two pictures, for we had no sort of image to put on 
the altar, and two straw mattresses and a blanket. Of a house 
there was no sign : with Alonso Alvarez I had already broken 
off. There was a friend of mine, a merchant, of the same 
place, who never had wished to marry, nor cared for anything 
but to do good to the prisoners in the gaol and many other 
good works. His name was Alonso de Avila. He told me 
not to be anxious about a house, for he would seek one for 
me. He fell me ill. 

Some days before this, a very saintly Franciscan friar, 
Brother Martin of the Cross, had come to Toledo. He stayed 
some days, and when he went away, he sent me a young 
man 1 , called Andrada, whose confessions he heard, begging 
him to do whatever I asked him. The young man was not 
rich, but very poor. One day when I was in church at mass, 
he came and spoke to me, and told me what that excellent 
man had told him, and assured me that anything whatever 
that he could do for me, he would, though he had nothing 
but himself to help us with. I thanked him; and it amused 
me much, and my companions more, to see what sort of as- 
sistance the holy man had sent us; for his appearance was 
not that of a person for Barefoot nuns to associate with. 

Well, when I found myself with the licence and without 
anyone to help me, I did not know what to do, nor whom 
I could ask to seek a hired house for me. I remembered the 
young man whom Brother Martin of the Cross had sent me, 
and I spoke of him to my companions. They laughed at me 
a great deal, saying that I must do no such thing, that it 
would only serve to make our affairs public. I would not 

1 [A student. Tr.] 
T. F. 7 

98 Chapter XV 

listen to them; for I trusted that his being sent by that 
servant of God was not without significance, and that he 
was meant to do something. So I sent to fetch him, and 
told him, with all the secrecy that I could enjoin on him, 
what had taken place, and that therefore I begged him to 
seek a house for me, and I would give the name of a surety 
for the rent. The surety was that good Alonso de Avila, who, 
as I said, had fallen ill. He thought it an easy thing, and he 
said he would seek one. 

Early next morning, when I was at mass in the Jesuits' 
church, he came to speak to me and said that he had already 
got a house and had brought me the keys, that the house 
was near at hand and that we should go to see it. So we 
did: and it was such a good one that we lived in it about 
a year. Often when I think over this foundation, the ways of 
God amaze me. For about three months at least more than 
two, for I do not remember exactly such wealthy people had 
gone up and down Toledo hunting for a house, and had no 
more found one than if there had been no houses in the town : 
and all at once came this young man, who was not rich but 
very poor, and it pleased the Lord that he should find it at 
once. And it pleased Him that when it might have been 
founded without difficulty if Alonso Alvarez and I had agreed, 
this was not the case, but very far from it, in order that 
the foundation might be made in poverty and difficulty. 

Well, as we were satisfied with the house, I at once gave 
orders to take possession before anything was done in it, so 
that there might be no hindrance ; and in a very short time 
the said Andrada came to tell me that that day the house 
would be cleared out so that we could take our furniture 
there. I told him that there was but little to be done, since 
we possessed nothing but two mattresses and a blanket. He 

Toledo 99 

must have been astonished. My companions were vexed at 
my telling him, and said, How could I have done such a 
thing ! for he would not care to help us, when he saw how poor 
we were. I paid no attention to this : nor did he think any- 
thing of it ; for He who gave him that good will must needs 
lead him on until he had finished his work. And indeed in 
all that he did in getting the house in order and bringing in 
workmen, I do not think we were a bit more earnest than he 

We borrowed what was necessary for saying mass ; and we 
went with a workman 1 at nightfall with a little bell for taking 
possession, of the sort which they ring for the elevation, for 
we had no other ; and we spent the whole night I in great 
apprehension getting ready: and we found nowhere to 
make the chapel but in a room to which the entrance was 
through another adjoining cottage occupied by some women, 
which the lady who owned it had let to us also. 

We had not dared to say anything to the women, lest they 
should tell of us: and when we had everything ready just 
before dawn, we began to open the door, which was blocked 
up and opened into a tiny court. When the women, who 
were in bed, heard the knocks they arose in terror. We did 
our best to soothe them, but it was almost time for mass. 
Although they were rude, they did us no harm; and when 
they saw what it was for, the Lord pacified them. After- 
wards I saw how badly we had done: for at the time, with 
the preoccupation which God sends in order that the work 
may be done, one does not think of what may go wrong. 

Well, the trouble came when the lady to whom the house 
belonged heard that a chapel had been made in it; for she 
was the wife of a country gentleman. She made a great to-do. 

1 A mason. 


100 Chapter XV 

It pleased the Lord that she was pacified on bethinking 
herself that, if she did not annoy us, she might sell us the 
house advantageously. Then, when the members of the 
Council heard that the monastery was established for which 
they had never been willing to grant a licence, they were 
furious, and they went to the house of a church dignitary, to 
whom I had imparted my plans in confidence, telling him 
what they meant to do to us. It was because the Governor, 
after he had given me the licence, had slipped off on a journey 
and was not in the town, that they betook themselves to this 
gentleman, indignant at such audacity as that an insignificant 
woman should have founded a convent there against their will. 
He made as though he knew nothing about it, and appeased 
them as well as he could, saying that I had done the same in 
other places, and surely in this case not without sufficient 

They sent us I forget how many days after an in- 
junction forbidding mass to be said until we had shewn them 
the authorization by which we had founded. I answered 
them very mildly that I would do what they bid me, although 
I was not obliged to obey in this matter : and I begged Don 
Pedro Manrique, the gentleman of whom I have spoken, to go 
and speak to them and shew them the papers. He smoothed 
them down 1 , the foundation being already made: for if not, 
we should have had trouble. 

We went on some days with the mattresses and the 
blanket, without more to cover us, and one day we had not 
even a bit of wood enough to broil a sardine, when the Lord 
moved some one, I know not whom, to put in chapel for us 
a little faggot, with which we did better. At night we 

1 He shewed them, that is, that it would not look well to forbid it when 
it was already done. 

Toledo 101 

suffered a little from cold, for it was cold: however, we 
covered ourselves with the blanket and with the serge cloaks 
which we wear over our hahit, which have often been useful to 
us. It will be thought impossible that, being in the house 
of a lady who cared so much for me, we should have begun 
in such poverty. I do not know how it was, except that it 
pleased God that we should find out the good of that virtue. 
I did not ask her for anything, because I do not like giving 
trouble; and she perhaps did not think of it for I owe her 
more than what she might have given us then. 

It was a very good thing for us : because the interior 
consolation and happiness which we experienced was so great 
that it often makes me call to mind what the Lord keeps 
locked up in virtues. As it were a kind of sweet contem- 
plation was caused by that want we were in: although it 
lasted but a short time ; for very soon Alonso Alvarez 
himself and others provided us with what we wanted : more, 
indeed ; for I felt so sad that it seemed just as if I had found 
many jewels of gold, and they had taken them from me and 
left me poor, so distressed was I that our poverty was come to 
an end. So were my companions : for, seeing them look sad, 
I asked what was the matter, and they said, "What is the 
matter, Mother ? That we seem to be no longer poor." 

From that time forward there grew within me the desire 
to be very poor, and there remained with me a sovereign 
contempt for worldly wealth : since the lack of it increases 
our interior wealth, which certainly brings with it' a very 
different sufficiency and peace. 

At the time when I was negotiating with Alonso Alvarez 
about the foundation, there were many people who disap- 
proved of it and told me so, because the Alvarez family were 
not noble or gentle; although, as I have said, they were 

102 Chapter XV 

thoroughly good people of their estate, and in so consider- 
able a town as Toledo I should not lack what was wanted. 
I did not pay much regard to what they said, because, glory 
be to God, I have always esteemed virtue above lineage. 
But there had been so much said about it to the Governor 
that he only gave me the licence on condition that I should 
found here as I had done in other places l . 

I did not know what to do, because when the convent 
was founded, the Alvarez family began again to treat of their 
business ; but as it was already founded, I took advantage of 
this to give them the principal chapel, but said they should 
have no voice in what concerned the convent; which is the 
arrangement to this day. 

It was a difficult matter to settle : for there was already 
a great personage who desired to have the principal chapel, 
and there were many different opinions about it. Our Lord 
was pleased to give me light on this question, and thus one 
day He said to me, Before the judgement seat of God of how 
little account will be those lineages and dignities! and He 
blamed me severely for having given ear to those who had spoken 
of this : for it was not a matter for such as already held the 
world in contempt. With these and many other considera- 
tions I made myself heartily ashamed, and I determined to 
arrange to give them the chapel as I had begun to do. And 
I have never repented it ; for we have seen clearly what diffi- 
culty we should otherwise have experienced in buying a house; 
for with their help we bought the one where the nuns now 
live, which is one of the best houses in Toledo, and cost 
12,000 ducats. And as so many masses and festivals are 
celebrated there, it is a joy to the nuns and brings joy also 

1 [In other places the founders were of gentle birth . Tr.] 

Toledo 103 

to the people of the town. If I had given weight to the vain 
opinions of the world, it would have been impossible, so far as 
we can see, to have been housed so advantageously, and 
we should have done a wrong to him who with such good 
will did us this charity 1 . 


In which, to the honour and glory of God, are narrated some 
things which took place in the Convent of St Joseph at Toledo. 

IT seems a good thing to narrate some instances of the 
practice of certain nuns in our Lord's service, so that those 
who come after may endeavour always to imitate these good 

Before the house was bought, there came in a nun, Anne of 
the Mother of God, who was about forty, and had spent all 
her life in the service of His Majesty. And although in her 
house and way of living there was no lack of comfort, for she 

1 The house to which they removed was in the quarter of St Nicholas, 
opposite the Mint. They went there in 1570. Alonzo Earairez and his 
son-in-law gave 12,000 escudos for it from what Martin Ramirez had left. 
Certain chapelries and obligations to keep such and such festivals were 
made a condition of the foundation, until the visit of the Father General 
Eossi. These obligations brought on the nuns so many annoyances that 
they had to leave that chapel, and in 1594 they removed to the house of 
Alonso Franco, close to the Misericordia, in the plaza of Saiicho Minaya. 
Neither did they succeed in settling there, the neighbourhood being very 
low and noisy. Finally, in 1607, St Theresa's niece, Beatrix of Jesus, 
being Prioress, bought a house in the parish of St Leocadia, close to the 
Cambron Gate, and there the convent has been ever since. The first 
chapel was kept under the name of St Joseph's Oratory or Martin 
Eamirez' Chapelries. 

104 Chapter XVI 

was wealthy and lived alone, yet she chose rather the 
poverty and obedience of our Order, and so came to speak to 
me. She was far from strong : but when I saw a soul so good 
and so resolute I thought it a good beginning for a new foun- 
dation; and so I admitted her. It pleased God to give her 
much better health amidst her austerities and obedience than 
she had when she was in liberty and comfort. 

What edified me, so that I mention her here, was that 
before the time for her profession, she made a deed of gift of 
all that she possessed and she was very rich to this mon- 
astery, as an act of almsgiving. I did not like her doing this, 
and was not willing to consent, telling her that perhaps either 
she might repent of it, or we might not be willing to let her 
be professed, so that it was a bad thing to do ; although, if she 
should go away, we should not let her go without taking back 
what she had given us. I purposely made the worst of it: 
first, that it might not prove an occasion for some tempta- 
tion ; and next, to prove her spirit the better. She answered 
that, if this did happen, she would beg her bread for the love 
of God : and I could never get anything more out of her than 
that. She lived in great happiness and with much better 

The nuns in this convent practised obedience and morti- 
fication to such a degree that, at one time when I was staying 
there, the Superior had to be very careful of her words, 
for even if she spoke without reflection the nuns would 
carry it out at once. Once they were looking at a pond 
there was in the garden, and the Superior said, "Now, sup- 
pose I told her (a Sister who was standing by) to throw herself 
in!" No sooner said than the nun was in, and got so wet 
that she had to change her clothes. I was there on another 
occasion, when the nuns were going to confession, and the one 

Toledo 105 

whose turn came next went, while she was waiting, to speak 
to the Superior 1 . The Superior said, Why, how was this? 
was this a good method of recollection 1 ? She should put her 
head into the well, and there think over her sins. The Sister 
understood that she was to throw herself into the well, and 
went off in such a hurry to do it that if they had not gone 
after her quickly she would have done it, thinking to do to 
God the greatest service in the world. 

Other such things could be told, and instances of great 
mortification : so much so that it became necessary for 
certain learned men to explain to them the limits of obedi- 
ence, and put restraints on them : for they were doing some 
out of the way things which, but for their good intention, 
would have been demerits rather than merits. This has 
occurred to me to say in this place ; but it is not only in this 
convent, but in all, that such things are done that I could 
wish I myself had nothing to do with the nuns, that I might 
tell of them to the honour of our Lord in His handmaids. 

While I was there, one of the Sisters was taken with 
mortal sickness. When she had received the Sacraments 
and Extreme Unction had been administered, her joy and 
peace were so great that we could speak to her almost as if 
she were in the next world, begging her to commend us in 
heaven to God and to the Saints to whom we had a devotion. 
A little before her death I went in to stay with her. I had 
been praying, to our Lord before the Blessed Sacrament to 
grant her a good death. When I went in, I saw His Majesty 
at her pillow, in the middle of the bed's head. He was hold- 
ing His arms a little open, as though protecting her ; and He 
said to me that I might be quite certain He would thus 

1 St Theresa wrote at first to speak to me, then scratched it out and 
wrote as in the text. 

106 Chapter XVI 

protect all the nuns who died in these convents, and that 
they need have no fear of temptations in the hour of death. 
This made me very recollected and comforted. After a little 
time I went and spoke to her, and she said, "Oh, Mother, 
what great things I have to see!" Thus she died, like an 
angel. And in some nuns who since then have died, I have 
observed a quietude and repose as if they were in a trance 
or in the prayer of quiet, shewing no sign of any temptation. 
So I trust that in the goodness of God He will give us this 
grace through the merits of His Son and of His glorious 
mother, whose hahit we wear. Therefore, my daughters, 
let us strive to be true Carmelites, for our day's journey 
will soon be at an end : and if we realised the misery which 
many suffer at that hour, and the wiles and deceits with 
which the devil tempts them, we should highly esteem this 
gracious promise. - 

One thing which comes into my mind I should like to tell 
you, because I knew the person concerned, who was in some 
way akin to kinsmen of mine. He was a great gambler, and 
he had a certain amount of learning, which the devil made use 
of to deceive him, beginning to make him believe that a death- 
bed repentance availed nothing. He held this so stoutly that 
in no wise could they prevail on him to make his confession : 
nothing sufficed. Yet the poor fellow was extremely repentant 
and sorry for his sinful life ; but he said, what was the use 
of confessing when he knew that he was damned? His con- 
fessor, a learned Dominican, did nothing but argue with him, 
but to no purpose, the devil taught him such subtle answers. 
This went on some days, and the confessor did not know what 
to do : but he and others must have earnestly prayed to the 
Lord for him : for he found mercy from Him. When the 
disease, which was a pain in the side, became very severe, the 

Pastrana 107 

confessor came once more, and he must have thought out 
more arguments to ply him with : but it would have availed 
little if the Lord had not had pity on him and softened his 
heart. When the confessor began to talk and reason with 
him, he sat up in bed as if he had not been ill, and said, " To 
make short, do you say that my confession may avail me? 
Well, then, I will make it." And he sent for a clerk or notary 
I do not remember which and made a solemn oath to gamble 
no more and to amend his life : of this they were to be wit- 
nesses. And he made a very good confession, and received 
the Sacraments with such devotion that, so far as we can 
judge, according to our faith, he was saved. May it please 
our Lord, my Sisters, that we may live our life as true 
daughters of the Virgin, and keep our Rule, that our Lord 
may give us this grace which He has promised us. Amen. 


Of the Foundation of the two Monasteries at Pastrana, the monks 
and the nuns'. This was in 1569. 

WELL, as soon as the house at Toledo was founded, I had 
spent a fortnight up to Whitsun Eve, furnishing the chapel, 
and putting up gratings and other things, and there had been 
a great deal to do for, as I said, we lived for about a year in 
that house and I was fatigued with going about with the 
workmen ; and at last, all was finished. That morning, when 
we sat down to breakfast in the refectory, it was such a great 
comfort to see that I had nothing more to do and that at that 
Whitsuntide I could for a space rejoice with our Lord, that I 
could hardly eat, my soul felt so happy. 

108 Chapter XVII 

I did not deserve this happiness ; for while I was enjoying 
it, they came to say that a servant of the Princess of Eboli 1 , 
Ruy Gomez de Silva's wife, was there. I went to him : and it 
was to say that she was sending for me ; for she and I for some 
time past had been talking about founding a convent at Pas- 
trana. I did not think it would have been so soon. I was sorry : 
for it was very risky to leave a convent founded so recently and 
against opposition ; and so I determined at once not to go, and 
told him so. He said that that could not be suffered ; because 
the Princess was there 2 already, and had come for no other 
purpose : it would be putting a slight on her. For all this, it 
did not enter my head to go ; and so I told him to go to break- 
fast, and I would write to the Princess, and he might go. 
He was a very just man, and although it did not please him, 
yet he accepted it, when I had given him my reasons. 

The nuns who had just come to live in the convent could not 
see that it was in any way possible to leave the house so soon. 
I went before the Blessed Sacrament to ask of the Lord that 
I might so write as not to give offence ; for that would have 
been a very bad thing for us, because the friars were just 
beginning. And on all accounts it was a great thing to keep 
Ruy Gomez' favour, because he had so much influence with 
the king and with everyone. I do not remember whether 
I thought of this ; but I know that I was very anxious not to 
displease the Princess. While I was praying, it was said to 
me from our Lord, That I must not fail to go, that my going 
would effect more than that foundation, and that I must take 
with me the Rule and Constitutions. 

When I heard this, although I saw strong reasons for not 
going, I dared not do otherwise than as I was used in similar 

1 Dona Ana de Mendoza. 2 [At Pastrana. Tr.] 

Pastrana 109 

matters; that is, to be guided by the advice of the confessor. 
So I sent for him, without telling him what I had heard in 
prayer : for I am always better satisfied not to do this, but to 
beseech the Lord to give them light according to what they 
can know of their own knowledge; and His Majesty, when 
He desires a thing to be done, puts it into their heart. This 
has often happened to me : and so it was now ; for taking all 
into consideration, he thought I had better go, and so I deter- 
mined to go. I left Toledo on the second day of Whitsuntide. 
The way was through Madrid: and my companions and I 
lodged at a Franciscan convent with the lady who built it 
and lived in it, Dona Leonor Mascarenas, a great servant of 
our Lord, who had been the King's governess. I had lodged 
there before, at other times when there had been occasion to 
pass that way, and she had always shewn me much kindness. 

This lady told me that she was glad I had come at that 
time, because there was a hermit there who greatly desired to 
know me, and she thought that the life which he and his 
companions lived was very much the same as what our Rule 
prescribed. As I had only two friars, it came into my mind 
that it would be a great thing if he possibly might be one ; so 
I begged her to arrange an interview. He was living in an 
apartment which she had given him, with another young 
Brother, Juan de la Miseria, a great servant of God, but very 
simple in worldly matters. Well, having opened communi- 
cations, he came to tell me that he was intending to go to 

And before I proceed further, I desire to narrate what 
I know of this Father, Mariano de San Benito. He was 
an Italian physician and was of great skill and ability. 
Being in the service of the Queen of Poland, steward of all 
her household, he never was inclined to marry, but held a 

110 Chapter XVII 

Commandery of St John 1 . Our Lord called him to leave all 
for the better saving of his soul. Then he had to go through 
troubles ; for he was accused of being concerned in a murder, 
and was kept two years in prison. He sought the assistance 
of no lawyer, nor of anyone to undertake his defence, but only 
God and His justice. They got witnesses who said that he 
had sent for them to murder the man. It happened just as 
with Holy Susanna's old men, that when they were asked 
separately where he was at the time, one said he was sitting 
on a couch, and the other said he was at a window. At last 
they came to confess how they had got it up : and he assured 
me that it had cost him a great deal of money to save them 
from punishment; and that the very man who had planned 
the attack on him had fallen into his hands, for he had certain 
information laid against him, and that in the proceedings he 
had done all he could not to harm him. 

These and other virtues for he is a pure and chaste 
man, shy of having dealings with women must have won for 
him the light which our Lord gave him on the character of 
the world, that he might be led to leave it. So he began to 
consider which Order he would enter, and, as he told me, when 
he thought over first one and then another with a view to his 
own needs, in every one he found some drawback. He heard 
that near Seville there were some hermits living together in 
a stretch of waste ground called the Tardon, with a very 
saintly man, Father Mateo 2 , for their Superior. Each lived 

1 [Of Jerusalem. Tr.] 

2 The Venerable father Mateo de la Fuente, the restorer of the Order 
of St Basil in Spain. He was born about 1524 at Alminuete, near Toledo, 
and studied at Salamanca. He began living as a hermit near Cordova, 
but, finding himself to be gaining admiration, withdrew into the wilds of 
the Sierra Morena. At the command of his director, Juan de Avila, he 
took others with him, and they inhabited a waste place full of thistles 

Pastrana 111 

apart in his own cell without saying the Divine Office, but 
they had an oratory where they met for mass. They neither 
had any endowment nor asked or received alms, but lived by 
the work of their hands, and each ate alone, very poorly. 
When I heard of it, it seemed to me the very picture of our 
holy founders. He went on eight years in this manner of life. 

When the Holy Council of Trent took place, and it was 
decreed that all hermits were to join some Order, he was 
minded to go to Rome to request that these might be left 
as they were, and this was his intention when I spoke to him. 
Then when he told me his manner of life, I shewed him our 
primitive Rule, and told him that without putting himself to 
so much trouble he might keep all his, since it was the same 
as ours; especially in the matter of living by the work of his 
hands, which was what he cared much for, telling me that the 
world was lost through idleness, and that it was their idleness 
which made it think so little of monks. As I was of the same 
mind, we agreed at once, and indeed altogether; for when I 
had given him my reasons for believing that he could please 
God greatly in our habit, he said he would think over it that 
night. I saw that he had already almost made up his mind, 
and I concluded that this was what I had heard in prayer, 
That I was going for more than to found a convent of nuns. 
It gave me the greatest satisfaction : for I felt sure it would 
be greatly to our Lord's service if he entered the Order. 

His Majesty, desiring this, so moved him during that night, 
that next day he sent for me, quite determined, although sur- 
prised to find his intention so quickly changed, and that by a 

[cardos], thence called Cardon, afterwards Tardon. They cultivated the 
ground, on the principle " He that will not work, neither let him eat." 
When St Pius V ordered all hermits to adopt the Kule of some Order, they 
took that of St Basil. 

112 Chapter XVII 

woman (as even now he sometimes tells me) ; as if this were 
the cause, arid not the Lord, Who has power to change the 
heart. Great are His judgements. For he had been so many 
years without knowing what estate to take upon himself (for 
the life which he was then living was no estate, for they took 
no vows and were under no obligation but to live there in retire- 
ment). And so suddenly did God move him and gave him to 
understand how much he would serve Him in our estate, and 
that His Majesty had need of him to carry forward what was 
begun. For he has helped us much, and up to the present it 
has cost him many labours, and will cost him more before he 
has done with it, so far as one can judge from the present 
hostility to the primitive Rule. For through his ability, skill, 
and good life, he has great influence with many people who 
help and protect us. 

Then he told me how Ruy Gomez had given him at 
Pastrana the very place to which I was going a good 
hermitage and site to make a settlement of hermits, and 
that he would like to make it one of our Order, and take 
the habit. I thanked him and gave great thanks to our 
Lord, because with the two licences which our most reverend 
Father General had given me for two monasteries, there was 
only one made. And from thence I sent a messenger to the 
aforesaid two Fathers, the Provincial and the late Provincial, 
entreating them to give me a licence, since the foundation 
could not be made without their consent: and I wrote to 
Don Alvaro de Mendoza, the Bishop of Avila, who was our 
great friend, begging him to obtain it of them. It pleased 
God that they thought it well. They must have deemed 
that in so remote a place it could not do them much harm. 
Father Mariano gave me his word to go there as soon as the 
licence came : with this I departed well content. 

Pastrana 113 

I found there the Princess and Prince Ruy Gomez, who 
gave me a warm welcome. They allotted to us a separate 
apartment, in which we stayed longer than I had expected; 
for the house was so small that the Princess had ordered 
a good deal of it to be pulled down and built up again : not 
the walls, however, but a good many things. 

There I remained three months, going through consider- 
able difficulties because the Princess asked of me several 
things which our Rule does not admit of; so I determined 
to come away without founding rather than do it. But 
Prince Ruy Gomez with his good sense for he possesses 
much, and is open to reason prevailed on his wife to give 
way, and I yielded on some points : for I was more eager to 
have the monastery of the monks than that of the nuns, for I 
knew how important -it was, as has since been seen. During 
this time, the aforesaid hermits, Mariano and his companion, 
arrived; and, the licence having come, the Prince and 
Princess consented that the hermitage which they had given 
should be established for hermits of the Barefoot friars. 
I sent for Father Fray Antonio of Jesus, who was the first 
there was at Mancera, to begin the foundation of this mon- 
astery. I prepared them habits and cloaks and did all that 
I could that they might be able to take the habit without 
delay. During that time 1 I had sent to the convent of 
Medina del Campo for more nuns, for I had not taken with 
me more than two. At Medina there was a Father already 
in years, for although he was not very old, he was not young, 
but he was a very good preacher. His name was Brother 
Baltasar of Jesus. When he heard that this monastery was 
to be founded, he came with the nuns with the intention of 
becoming a Barefoot friar himself; and so he did when he came. 

1 [Before Brother Antonio arrived. Tr.] 
T. F 8 

114 Chapter XVII 

When he told me his intention, I praised God. He gave 
the habit to Father Mariano and his companion, both of 
them as lay Brothers: for neither would Father Mariano 
hear of being a priest, but wanted to enter the Order to 
be least of all, nor could I persuade him. Afterwards, at 
the command of our most reverend Father General, he was 
ordained priest. 

Well, when both monasteries were founded, and Father 
Fray Antonio of Jesus had arrived, novices began to come in to 
the monks' house (of what sort, some of them, will be told 
hereafter), and to serve the Lord in such reality as, if it please 
God, will be written by one who knows how to tell it better 
than I ; for about these matters I know very little. As for the 
nuns, their convent was in great favour with the Prince and 
Princess, and the Princess was assiduous in taking care of 
them and shewing them kindness, until Prince Ruy Gomez 
died. Then the devil or it may have been that the Lord 
permitted it, His Majesty knows why in a sudden passion of 
grief at his death, the Princess entered the convent as a nun 1 . 
In the grief which she was in, the rules of enclosure, to which 
she was not used, cannot have been much to her taste : and 
in consequence of the Holy Council's decrees, the Prioress 2 
could not give her the freedom she desired. The Princess 
came to be so displeased with her and with them all, that 

1 This violent fit of grief and devotion blazed up and cooled down in 
three days. It pleased Providence that all communications between 
Theresa and the Princess should be broken off. When Mother Isabel de 
Santo Domingo heard that the Princess was turning nun, she exclaimed, 
* ' The Princess a nun ! It is all over with the convent. " And so it was. 

2 St Theresa, writing to Bafiez, says "The nuns of Pastrana, although 
the Princess has now returned to her own house, are like prisoners. The 
Prior of Atocha, who has been there, did not venture to see them. The 
friars too are in evil case. I do not see why such vassalage should be 

Pastrana 115 

even after she had taken off the habit and was in her own 
house, they were an offence to her; and the poor Sisters 
lived in such uneasiness that I tried in every way I could, 
with entreaties to the Superiors, that they would move the 
convent from Pastrana and establish one in Segovia, as will 
presently be narrated. Thither they went, leaving behind 
them whatever the Princess had given them 1 , and taking with 
them some nuns whom she had ordered them to receive with- 
out dowry. The beds and trifling articles which those same 
nuns had brought in, they took with them. They left the 
people of the place very sorry for their departure. 

It gave me the greatest satisfaction in the world to see 
them in peace : for I knew perfectly well that it was not at all 
their fault that the Princess was offended, but that when she 
was wearing the habit they treated her just as before she took 
it. The occasion was only what 1 said above ; and the Prin- 
cess's distress and that of a servant whom she took with her 
was, so far as is known, to blame for it all. To make short of 
it, the Lord Who permitted it must have seen that this 
convent was out of place there, for His judgements are deep 
and contrary to our understanding. I should not have ven- 
tured there on my own judgement alone without that of 
learned and saintly people. 

1 Before starting for Segovia the nuns gave into the hands of the 
mayor of Pastrana an inventory of everything the Princess had given 



Of the Foundation of St Joseph's at Salamanca, in 1570. Weighty 

counsels for Prioresses. 

WHEN those two foundations were accomplished, I returned 
to the city of Toledo, where I remained some months, until 
the aforementioned house was bought and all could be 
left in order. While I was attending to this, a Rector of the 
Company of Jesus wrote to me from Salamanca telling me, 
and giving his reasons, that it would be a good thing to 
have, a convent of our nuns there. Although the great 
poverty of the place 1 had kept me from founding a monastery 
in poverty there, yet I considered that so is Avila poor, and 
yet we had never wanted there, nor do I believe that God will 
allow His sevan ts to want. And our needs being so modest, 
with the fewness of the nuns, and their helping to support 
themselves by the labours of their hands, I determined to 
make the foundation: and I betook myself from Toledo to 
Avila, and thence I sought to obtain the licence from the 
Bishop of Salamanca 2 . When the Father Rector told him 

1 This remark of Theresa's is very striking. The bull of Pope 
Alexander IV, authorizing the university, gives a very different account. 
But the multitude of convents, colleges, hospitals, parochial foundations^ 
chapelries, and entailed charges had left hardly a yard of land in private 
hands. Agriculture and trades had disappeared, people got their living by 
teaching, and morals were corrupted. St Theresa, being a daughter of 
Avila, hardly 20 leagues from Salamanca, could not have been ignorant of 
the difficulties and straits which such and such convents were beginning 
to experience ; since, though much was given in alms, it came to little for 
each. For the rest, the city and country are by no means poor, but 
among the richest in Spain. 

2 The Bishop was Don Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, son of the Duke 

Salamanca 117 

about our Order, and that the foundation would be to God's 
service, he behaved so well as to give it at once. 

It seemed to me that, having the Ordinary's licence, I had 
the convent founded, so easy did it appear. So I sought at 
once to rent a house, and a lady whom I knew let me have 
one. There were difficulties, because it was not the time for 
hiring houses, and some students were occupying it : but she 
got them to agree to give it up as soon as whoever was to 
come into it arrived there. They did not know what it was 
to be taken for: for I took the greatest care that nothing 
should be known until we had taken possession, because I 
know by experience what the devil does to hinder one of 
these convents. And although in this instance God did not 
permit him to hinder it at the beginning, because it pleased 
Him that the house should be founded, yet the troubles and 
opposition which we have since gone through have been so 
great that even now they are not altogether overcome, al- 
though at the time I am writing the house has been founded 
some years. So I believe God is greatly pleased with it, since 
the devil cannot bear it. 

Well, having the licence, and being sure of the house, and 
trusting in God's mercy for there was no one there to help 
me in any way, and much to be done in preparing the house 
-I started for Salamanca, taking with me only one companion, 
in order to go with greater secrecy: because I found it was 
better not to bring the Sisters until possession was taken; for 
I had learned a lesson from what had befallen me at Medina 
del Campo, having found myself in great difficulties there. 

del Infantado. He was appointed by Philip II, and consecrated in 1560. 
He took part in the Council of Trent. He was Bishop of Salamanca 14 
years. Three other convents besides St Theresa's were founded there in 
his time. 

118 Chapter XVIII 

Because, if there should be any obstacles, nobody but myself 
would have to go through the difficulty, with no more than 
one nun, without whom I could not go. We arrived on the 
Eve of All Saints, having travelled a good piece of the way 
on the preceding night in bitter cold, and having slept at a 
village, I being very unwell. 

I do not set down in these foundations the great hardships 
of the journeys, with cold, with heat of the sun, with snow- 
for it happened once to us to have it snow the whole day long 
sometimes with losing our way, sometimes with great sick- 
nesses and fevers. For, glory be to God, it is only my usual lot 
to be in poor health ; but I saw clearly that our Lord used to 
give me strength. Because it has sometimes happened to me, 
when a foundation was on hand, to find myself in such sick- 
nesses and pains that I was greatly distressed, for even in my 
cell I seemed not to be fit for anything but bed. And I 
would turn me to our Lord, complaining to His Majesty and 
saying, How could He desire me to do what I was not able 
to do? And then His Majesty gave strength to do it, al- 
though with difficulty; and with the zeal with which He filled 
me, and the anxiety, I seemed to forget myself. 

So far as I remember, I never refrained from founding for 
fear of the trouble, although I had a great dislike to the jour- 
neys, especially the long ones ; but when I had once set out, I 
thought little of them, seeing in Whose service they were 
undertaken, and considering that in that house the Lord 
would be praised, and the Blessed Sacrament would be there. 
To see one church more is a peculiar joy to me, when I call 
to mind the many which the Lutherans are doing away with. 
I do not know how any trouble, however great, can be feared, 
in consideration of so great a benefit to Christendom : for al- 
though many of us do not recognize Jesus Christ, very God and 

Counsels to Prioresses 119 

very Man, to be, as He is, in the Blessed Sacrament in many 
places; to us who do so, it must be a great joy. Certainly it 
often is so to me in chapel, when I see souls so pure as these 
engaged in praising God : for their purity cannot fail to be 
perceived in many ways, such as their obedience, and the 
happiness which it gives them to be in such strict enclosure 
and solitude, and their rejoicing when some opportunity of 
mortification presents itself. When the Lord gives the most 
grace to the Prioresses to practise them in this, I see the 
greatest happiness; and it is the case that the Prioresses 
sooner weary of giving them mortifications than they of 
obeying, for they never can have enough of it. 

Although it is not connected with the story of the foundation 
of which I have begun to speak, some considerations on this 
subject of mortification present themselves to me, and it may 
be, my daughters, that they will be useful to the Prioresses ; 
so, in order not to forget it, I will put them down here. For 
as there are different talents and virtues in the Superiors, so 
they seek to guide their nuns by these different ways. The 
one who is very ascetic will think anything which she com- 
mands in order to bend the will an easy thing, as it would be 
to herself, and yet perhaps it may do the Sisters a great deal 
of harm. This we must bear well in mind, that what we 
ourselves should feel harsh, we must not lay upon others. 
Discretion is a great matter in ruling, and in our Houses it 
is very needful; I may say, more so than in others, because 
the Sisters have to give a stricter account to the Prioress, 
both as regards internal and external matters. 

Other Prioresses who are very spiritually minded would 
like to have nothing but praying. Indeed, the Lord leads 
souls by different ways. But the Prioresses must remember 
that they are not set there to choose the way according to their 

120 Chapter XVIII 

own taste, but to guide the nuns by the way of their Rule 
and Constitution, although they themselves may have to do 
violence to themselves, and would rather pursue another course. 

I was once in one of these Houses with a Prioress who 
was very ascetic and guided all the nuns in that way. On 
one occasion the whole convent had to take the discipline 
during the seven penitential Psalms with prayers, and other 
things of the same sort. So does it befall them, if the Prioress 
is engrossed in prayer, although it is not the time of prayer, 
but after Matins, that then she keeps the whole convent, when 
it would be much better for them to go to bed again. If, as 
I say, she thinks much of mortifications, everything has to be 
kept up to the mark; and these little sheep of the Virgin are 
silent like so many little lambs, and certainly it rouses in me 
great emotion and shame, and is sometimes a great trial : for 
the Sisters do not notice it, because they are occupied entirely 
with God ; but I fear for their health, and I would have them 
only to fulfil the Rule, which is plenty for them to accom- 
plish ; and that anything beyond this should be mildly done. 

This matter of mortifications is specially important, and, for 
the love of our Lord, let the Prioresses look to it : for in these 
Houses discretion is a very important thing, and the consider- 
ation of each one's ability; and if the Prioresses do not walk 
very carefully in these matters, instead of doing the Sisters good, 
they will do them great harm and bring them into disquiet. 
They have to remember that this matter of mortifications 
is not of obligation : this is the first thing they have to con- 
sider ; and although it is very necessary if the soul is to gain 
liberty and high perfection, yet this is not accomplished in 
a short time; but they ought to keep helping each one little 
by little, according to the measure of understanding and 
spirituality which God gives to each. 

Counsels to Prioresses 121 

Probably they may think that understanding is not neces- 
sary for this. They are mistaken; for there are some who 
have much ado first to come to the understanding of per- 
fection and also of the spirit of our Rule; and afterwards 
perhaps these will become the most saintly : because at first 
they did not know when it was right to exculpate themselves, 
and when not, and other small points which, when they under- 
stand them, they will perhaps carry out with ease. But if 
they are not able to understand them, they will not even see 
that these things belong to their perfection; which is worse. 
There is in one of these Houses a nun who is one of the 
greatest servants of God there is in them, so far as I can 
judge, great in spirituality, and in the graces which His 
Majesty bestows on her, humble and given to penance: yet 
she cannot succeed in understanding some points in the 
Constitutions. Our accusing each other of Faults in Chapter 
seems to her uncharitable, and she says that she cannot say 
anything against the Sisters. And there are other things 
of this kind which I could relate of some other Sisters who 
are great servants of God; who in other matters, as I see, 
could give odds to Sisters who understand these things very 

And the Prioress must not think that she understands 
souls straight off: let her leave this to God, Who alone is able 
to comprehend them : but let her seek to lead each one in the 
way in which His Majesty leads her, always provided that 
she does not fail in obedience or in the more essential points 
of the Rule and Constitutions. That one of the eleven thou- 
sand virgins who hid herself did not fail to be a saint and a 
martyr, but rather suffered more, perhaps, than the other 
virgins, in coming afterwards all alone to offer herself for 

122 Chapter XVIII 

Well, now, to return to mortifications. Sometimes the 
Prioress commands a Sister, to mortify her, something which, 
though small in itself, is serious to her: and suppose she 
does it, it leaves her so troubled and upset that it would have 
been better not to have commanded it. Let the Prioress at 
once take warning by this not to attempt to make her perfect 
by main force; but let her conceal her own views and go on 
little by little until the Lord works in her soul, lest that 
which she does to perfect her should only cause her disquiet 
and bring misery to her spirit, which is a very terrible 
thing ; while she might be a very good nun without that 
particular perfection. And when she sees what the others 
do, little by little she will come to do the same f as we often 
have seen: and even if not, she will be saved without that 
virtue. For I know one of them who all her life has had 
great virtues and has served our Lord many years already, 
and in many ways ; and yet she often has such imperfections 
and wrong feelings that she can do nothing with herself, and 
she knows it and mourns over it with me. I think God lets 
her fall into those faults without sin for there is no sin in 
them that she may humble herself and may have something 
to shew her that she is not altogether perfect. So, as some 
will bear great mortifications, and the greater the happier 
they will be, because the Lord has given to their souls strength 
to conquer their will; so others cannot bear even little ones, 
and to impose them would be like loading a child with two 
bushels of corn: not only could he not carry them, but 
would break down and fall to the ground. So, my daughters 
(to the Prioresses I am speaking), forgive me: for it is the 
things which I have seen some do which have made me en- 
large so much on this point. 

Another thing I could impress upon you, and it is very 

Counsels to Prioresses 123 

important, that, although it should be only as a test of obedi- 
ence, you should not command anything which, if it were done, 
might be a venial sin and I have known of some things which 
would have been mortal sins if they had done them : at least 
the Sisters themselves might perhaps have been saved as having 
done them in their simplicity; but not the Prioress. For 
there is nothing she tells them which they do not immediately 
carry out. And as they hear and read of the things which 
the Saints in the desert did, so all things whatsoever seem 
right to them when commanded them, at least right that they 
should do them. Moreover let the Sisters be instructed that 
anything which would be a mortal sin if done not in obedience, 
they cannot do in obedience, except it were such a thing as 
omitting to hear mass or to keep Church fasts ; for the Prioress 
may have good reasons for such as these. But throwing them- 
selves into a well and things of that sort are wrong to do, 
because nobody has a right to think that God will perform 
a miracle for her as He has done for the Saints. There are 
plenty of things by which perfect obedience can be trained : 
and I would commend anything which keeps off from these 

Once when a Sister at Malagon asked leave to take the 
discipline, the Prioress (no doubt others had been asking the 
same) said, " Let me alone." When she went on begging, she 
said, "Go along 1 , let me alone." The Sister with great 
simplicity went and walked for some hours, until a Sister asked 
her, Why was she walking so much ? or some such words and 
she said that she had been told to do it. At that moment the 
bell rang for Matins, and when the Prioress asked why she had 
not come, the other Sister told her what had taken place. 

1 [Lit. "Go and walk." Tr.] 

124 Chapter XVIII 

So it is necessary, as I said before, for Prioresses to be very 
careful with souls, having charge of those whom they see 
to be so obedient, and to take care what they do. 

To another Prioress a nun went to shew her one of those 
very large worms, telling her to look how pretty it was, and 
the Prioress said joking, Then let her eat it. She went off 
and fried it very well. The cook asked her, Why she was 
frying it ? and she said, To eat it : and so she meant to do ; 
while this was very far from the Prioress' intention : and it 
might have done her much harm. It pleases me the more 
that the nuns should possess this virtue of obedience to an 
extreme degree, because I have a special love of it : and so I 
have done all I could that they might have it : but it would 
have been of little use if the Lord had not of His great mercy 
given grace to all the Sisters in common to desire it. May it 
please His Majesty still to increase it. 


Continues the account of the Foundation at Salamanca. 

I HAVE made a long digression, because when something 
occurs to me which it has pleased the Lord I should know by ex- 
perience, I do not like not setting it down. It may be that what 
I think right is right. Always ask counsel, my daughters, of 
learned men ; for in learning you will find the way of perfection 
with discretion and truth. It is very necessary for Prioresses, 
if they would fulfil their office aright, to make their confession 
to learned men. If not, they will make blunders enough, 
thinking them sanctity. Also they ought to arrange for their 
nuns to go to confession to learned men. 

Salamanca 125 

Well, on the Eve of All Saints, in the year which I have 
said above, about midday, we arrived in the city of Salamanca. 
From our lodging I sent for a good man there, called Nicholas 
Gutierrez, of whom I had requested that he would get the 
house cleared for us. He was a great servant of God, who by 
his good life had gained from His Majesty peace and content- 
ment amid great troubles, for he had been through many : he 
had seen great prosperity, and had come to poverty, and bore 
himself in it as cheerfully as in his riches. He laboured much 
in this foundation with abundant devotion and good will. 

When he came, he told me that the house was not yet 
empty, for he had not been able to get the students to turn 
out of it. I told him how important it was that they should 
give it up to us at once, before it became known that I was in 
the town ; for I always went in fear of some hindrance, as I 
have said. He went to the lady who owned the house, and 
made such efforts that it was left empty that very evening ; 
and about nightfall we entered it. It was the first convent 
which I founded without reserving the Blessed Sacrament; 
because I used to think that it was not taking possession if It 
was not reserved, but now I had learned that that did not 
matter. This was a great comfort to me, seeing how unfit for 
it the students had left the place. They cannot have been at 
all nice in their ways : for the house was in such a state that 
we had no little work that night 1 . Next morning early the 
first mass was said, and I sent to fetch more nuns, who were 
to come from Medina del Campo. 

1 One of these students was afterwards a Bishop, Don Juan Moriz, of 
Barbastro. In the fifth volume of the Ano Teresiano, p. 74, there is an 
interesting letter by him, in which (he was asking for St Theresa's 
canonization) he says, " Forty years ago, when I was a student at Sala- 
manca, I turned out of the house where I was lodging that she might come 
in to found a convent." 

126 Chapter XIX 

The night of All Saints' Day I and my companion remained 
in the house alone. I can tell you, Sisters, that it makes me 
inclined to laugh when I think of the terror of my companion, 
Maria of the Sacrament, who was a nun older than I, a great 
servant of God. The house was very large and rambling, and 
had many garrets 1 , and my companion could not get the 
students out of her head, thinking that, as they were so angry 
at having to go out of the house, one of them might have 
hidden in it. They could very well have done so as regards 
hiding places. We locked ourselves into a room where there 
was straw, which was the first thing I had provided for 
founding the house, because with it we could do without a 
bed. We slept in it that night with a blanket apiece which 
had been lent us. 

Next day some nuns who lived next door, who, we had 
thought, would not like our coming, lent us bedclothes for our 
companions who were coming, and gave us alms : and all the 
time that we were in that house they bestowed on us many 
kindnesses and alms. The name of their house was Saint 
Isabel 2 . 

When my companion found herself locked into that room, 
she seemed to be a little reassured as to the students ; yet 
notwithstanding, she did nothing but look from one side to 

1 The house, which to this day bears St Theresa's name, is between 
the churches of San Juan de Barbalos and that of St Thomas, now 
demolished. The house is even worse and more inconvenient than in St 
Theresa's time, the entrance to it being across an open sewer. 

2 They were Franciscan Tertiaries. Although the house was suppressed 
in 1857, it has since been re-established. There were houses of this Bule 
at B6jar and other places : and they still exist at Alba de Tormes, where 
the cell is still shewn in which St Theresa slept when she went to make 
her foundation there. The habit is violet or mulberry, in memory of the 
queen St Elizabeth. 

Salamanca 127 

the other : and the evil spirit must have helped to put 
thoughts of dangers into her mind in order to upset me ; for 
with my weak heart, a little suffices. I asked her why she 
was looking about, when nobody could get in. She said, 
" Mother, I am thinking, if I died here now, what would you do 
all alone ? ' This, if it should come to pass, seemed to me a 
dreadful thing. It made me reflect a little, and be frightened 
too ; for even when I am not nervous, dead bodies always give 
me a curious feeling, even when I am not alone. And with 
the tolling of the bells into the bargain for, as I said, it was 
the night of All Souls the devil got a good start for making 
us lose our wits with childish trifles : when he sees that people 
are not afraid of him himself, he seeks other devices. I 
answered her, " Sister, when this comes to pass, I will think 
what to do : now let me go to sleep." As we had had two 
bad nights, sleep soon drove away our fears. Next day they 
were ended by the arrival of more nuns. 

The convent was in that house three years, or it may have 
been four ; for I remember very little about it, because I was sent 
to the Incarnation at Avila 1 . I never, of my own will, would 
leave any convent, nor have I ever left one, until I could 
leave it in a house of its own, enclosed and fitted up to my 
liking. For in this God has given me the grace to like to be 
always foremost in the labour of it, and I have got together 
everything, even to the most trifling things, for the nuns' 
comfort and convenience, just as if I myself had to live all 
my life in that house : and so it has always given me great 
pleasure when they were settled in very well. 

I felt deeply for what those Sisters suffered at Salamanca : 
not for lack of maintenance, for I saw to that from where I 

1 This was in 1571. She was sent for to be Prioress. 

128 Chapter XIX 

was, because the house was quite out of the way for alms ; but 
for want of health, because the house was damp and very cold, 
and as it was so large this could not be remedied ; and the 
worst was, that the Blessed Sacrament was not reserved, 
which, under such strict enclosure, is a great deprivation. 
This was not the Sisters' feeling, but they bore all with a 
contentment to praise God for : and some of them said to me 
that it seemed to them wrong to wish for another house, for 
they lived there as happily as if they had had the Blessed 

Well, the Superior, seeing their goodness and the troubles 
which they endured, and moved with pity, sent to the 
Incarnation for me. The nuns had already arranged with a 
gentleman there to let them have a house, only it was one 
which needed more than a thousand ducats to be spent on it 
before they could go into it. It was entailed property, but 
the owner agreed that we should be allowed to enter it, even 
if the king's licence should not have arrived, and that we 
might very well put up walls. Father Julian of Avila, the 
one who, as I have said, used to go with me to these founda- 
tions, had come with me, and I arranged that he should 
accompany me that we might see the house, to say what had 
to be done ; for I understand these matters well by reason of 
my experience. 

We went in August, and with all the haste we could 
make, we had come to Michaelmas, which is the time when 
houses in those parts are let, and yet the house was not 
finished by a long way ; but as we had not hired the one we 
were in for another year, another tenant had already taken it, 
and was hurrying us. The whitewashing of the chapel was 
all but finished. The gentleman who had sold us the house 
was away. Certain people who wished us well told us that we 

Salamanca 129 

were acting unwisely in departing so soon : but where needs 
must, counsels can ill be taken if no remedy is provided. We 
removed on Michaelmas Eve, a little before daybreak. It 
was already made known abroad that Michaelmas would be 
the day when the Blessed Sacrament was to be reserved, and 
who the preacher was to be. It pleased the Lord that in the 
evening of the day when we removed there was such violent 
rain that carrying across the necessary things was done with 
difficulty. The chapel was newly built, and it was so badly 
roofed that most of it let the rain through. I can tell you, 
daughters, that I found myself very imperfect that day : for 
as the date had been given out, I did not know what to do ; 
but I kept on lamenting, and I said to our Lord, as it were 
complaining, That I would He would either not command me to 
engage in these works, or would set this trouble right. That 
good man Nicholas Gutierrez, in his equanimity, as if it were 
nothing, told me very gently not to distress myself, for God 
would set it right. And so it was : for on Michaelmas Day, at 
the time when the people were to come, the sun began to shine. 
This moved me to devotion, and I saw how much better that 
dear good man had done with his trust in our Lord than 
I with my worry. There were a great many people and there 
was music, and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved with great 
solemnity. And as this house was well situated 1 , the convent 
began to be known and cared for : in particular, the Countess 
of Monterey, Dona Maria Pimentel, favoured us greatly, and 
a lady named Dona Mariana, whose husband was mayor. 

1 It was opposite the Convent of the Madre de Dios, therefore near the 
beautiful but now dismantled Palace of Monterey. St Theresa stayed in 
this palace for some time, and in it she worked a great miracle. The 
convent was afterwards demolished when the Count de Fuentes built the 
magnificent convent of Eecollet Augustinians. 

T. F. 9 

130 Chapter XIX 

The very next day, to temper our joy at having the 
Blessed Sacrament, came the gentleman who owned the house, 
so furious that I did not know what to do with him, and the 
devil would not allow him to listen to reason for we had 
fulfilled all our agreement with him. Of little use was it to 
try to tell him so. When certain people had talked to him, 
he was a little pacified, but afterwards went back to his former 
mind. I made up my mind to leave the house to him, but 
this pleased him no better, because he wanted the money 
given him immediately 1 . It was his wife's house, and she had 

1 [The fundamental laws of Castile (the Siete Partidas) and the Leyes 
de Toro which were in operation almost unchanged in the Nueva 
Eecopilacion of the time of Philip II, gave to married women absolute 
right to the enjoyment of all property belonging to them, whether 
entailed (de Mayorazgo) or not, during their life. There existed, 
however, a certain right of the husband after the death of his wife to 
a life interest in a portion (one-fourth) of the usufruct of the estate, and 
this of course gave the husband a pretext in some cases for interfering 
in the disposal of the property by the wife to whom it belonged. 

This I gather is what happened in the case of Pedro de la Vanda. 
He was absent from Salamanca when his wife made the bargain to sell 
the house to Ana de la Encarnacion, but when he returned as the Nuns 
were moving in St Teresa having then arrived he apparently, con- 
sidering that the purchase price ought to be paid down instead of by 
instalments, raised the objections he did to the terms and plunged the 
poor Nuns into the long and ruinous litigation that ensued. St Teresa 
herself in one of her letters says that the origin of the trouble was a 
dispute between D. Pedro and his ivife, the latter being content to abide 
by the bargain that she herself had made, whilst her husband was not. 
When a mayorazgo was what is called a "Mayorazgo Eegular," in 
CASTILE only, the succession of the entail followed the old Spanish 
tradition by which females inherited after males (as in the case of the 
crown of England) and this form of entail could only be broken by 
obtaining a royal license on the petition of the owner and the heirs in 
tail then in existence. 

This was, however, purely a matter of payment and form when the 
parties interested were agreed. I do not know, but it is possible that 

Salamanca 131 

wished to sell it for the benefit of two daughters, and it was 
on this ground that they had asked for the licence. The 
money had been deposited with the person whom he had 

It has turned out that, although this was more than three 
years ago, the purchase is not yet completed, nor do I know 
whether the convent will stay there 1 (that is why I mention this), 
I mean to say in that house, or where it will settle. What I 
do know is that in no convent of the primitive Rule which 
the Lord has yet founded have the nuns been through so much 
by a long way. Those who are there are, by God's mercy, so 
good that they bear it all cheerfully. May it please His 
Majesty that this may be to their advancement! For it 
matters little whether we have a good house or not: rather 

Pedro de la Vanda by marital right and by his claim for a share of the 
income of the house in case of his wife's death, may have tried to stop 
the granting of the King's license to break the mayorazgo. So far as I 
know, the ground of his objection to the bargain that his wife had made 
with the Nuns and Ana de la Encarnacion was that the purchase money 
ought to be paid down and not by instalments. 

I think I should add that the " Licencia Marital " of the husband was 
necessary before a wife could legally alienate the property belonging to 
her, not only because in case of her death he had a fourth life interest 
in the usufruct but also by derecho marital. If the husband unreasonably 
withheld this license the wife had the right of recourse to the tribunals, 
which could if necessary authorise the sale if desired by the wife-owner 
independently of the husband's permission. 

"What happened in the present case, as I gather, was that Pedro de la 
Vanda did not desire to quash the sale but to exert his right to modify 
the terms which his wife had made with the nuns. MARTIN HUME.] 

1 As a matter of fact, it did not ; and in letters written by the Saint 
in latter years can be seen what difficulty there was in finding a house, 
until they built the convent which they still possess outside the walls. 
This was partly laid in ruins by the Portuguese last century during the 
wars of succession, with the rest of the suburb of Villamayor. 


132 Chapter XIX 

it is a great pleasure when we find ourselves in a house which 
we can be turned out of, remembering how the Lord of the 
world had no house. The being in a house which was not 
our own has sometimes happened to us, as may be seen in the 
story of these Foundations ; and it is the truth that I have 
never seen a nun distressed about it. May it please His 
Divine Majesty that we may not fail to attain the eternal 
mansions, of His infinite goodness and mercy. Amen, amen. 


Of the Foundation of the Convent of our Lady of the Annunciation 

at Alba de Tormes, in 1571. 

NOT two months after the All Saints' Day when we had 
taken possession of the house at Salamanca, I was entreated 
on behalf of the Duke of Alba's bursar and his wife to make 
a foundation and convent at Alba ; and I was not much 
inclined to do it, because the place was so small that the 
convent would have to be endowed, and I would rather that 
no convent was endowed. The Father Master Fray Domingo 
Banez, my confessor, of whom I have spoken at the be- 
ginning of this book, who happened to be at Salamanca, chid 
me, and said that, since the Council [of Trent] had sanctioned 
endowments, it would be wrong to refrain from founding a 
convent on that account : and that I did not understand ; for it 
would make no difference to the nuns' being poor and very 

Before I go farther, I will say who the foundress was, and 
how the Lord led her to found it. 

Alba de Tormes 133 

Teresa de Layz, the foundress of the convent of the Assump- 
tion 2 of our Lady at Alba de Tormes, was the daughter of noble 
parents, very aristocratic 3 and of good descent. As they 
were not so wealthy as the position of their family required, 
they had taken up their abode in a village called Tordillos, 
two leagues from the said town of Alba. It is such a pity 
that, because worldly affairs are held in such vain estimation, 
people will rather endure the lack which there is in such 
small villages of good teaching and many other things which 
are means of giving light to the soul, than sacrifice one jot of 
the punctilios which what they call honour 4 carries with it I 

Well, as they already had four daughters, when Teresa de 
Layz came to be born, it was a great distress to her parents 
to find that she also was a girl. It is certainly much to be 
lamented that mortals, without understanding what is best 
for them, as though they were altogether ignorant of God's 
counsels, not knowing the great advantages which may come 
from daughters nor the great evils from sons, yet do not seem 
to be willing to leave these things to Him Who made all and 
knows all, but are dreadfully disappointed at what they should 
rejoice over. Like people whose faith is slumbering, they do 
not go on to consider nor remember that it is God who thus 
ordains it, so as to leave it all in His hands. And even if 
they are too blind to do this, it is great ignorance not to see 
how useless it is to make lamentations. Oh, my God, how differ- 
ently we shall judge of these things in the day when the truth 

1 In the original MS. there is this break, the story recommencing with 
the monogram. 

2 [A slip for Annunciation. Tr.] 

3 [" Muy hijos de algo." Tr.] 

4 [Honra. See note to p. 187. Tr.] 

134 Chapter XX 

of all things shall be known ! And how many fathers will find 
themselves going to hell because they have had sons, and how 
many mothers in like manner will find themselves in heaven 
through their daughters ! 

Well, to return to what I was saying, things came to such 
a pass that, as if the little girl's life were a thing which mat- 
tered little to them, on the third day from her birth she was 
left alone and without anyone's giving a thought to her from 
morning to night. In one thing they had done well, that 
they had had her baptized by an ecclesiastic directly she was 
born. At night, when a woman who had the care of her 
came, and heard what had happened, she went running to see 
whether she was dead, and with her some other people who 
had been to see the mother, who were witnesses of what I am 
about to relate. The woman took her up in her arms weeping, 
and said, "How is this, my child, are you not a Christian?" 
meaning, How cruel it had been ! The baby lifted up her head 
and said, "Yes, I am 1 " : and she spoke no more until the age 
when children usually speak. Those who heard her were left in 
astonishment; and from that time forth her mother began to 
care for her and make much of her, and she often said thus, 
That she would like to live to see what God would do with 
this child. She brought up the girls excellently, teaching 
them all that belongs to a good life. 

When the time came for them to seek a marriage for her, 
she did not desire it, nor was she willing. But she came to 
hear that Francisco Velasquez, her present husband, who also 
is the founder of this convent, had proposed for her; and 
when she heard his name, she determined to marry, if they 
would marry her to him, although she had never seen him in 
her life. But the Lord saw this to be fitting, in order that 

1 [In Spanish, Si soy. Tr.] 

Alba de Tormes 135 

the good work might be done which they both together have 
done to His Majesty's service. For besides being a good 
man, and wealthy, he loves his wife so much that he does her 
pleasure in everything : and with good reason ; for everything 
which can be desired in a married woman the Lord bestowed 
on her in abundance. 

She takes great care of her household ; and her goodness 
is great. When her husband took her to Alba, his native 
place, and the billeting officers of the duke happened to billet 
a young gentleman in her house, she disliked it so much that 
she began to hate the place. For she being young and very 
good looking, the devil began to put evil thoughts into his 
mind: and if she had not been so good, some harm might 
have come of it. But when she perceived it, she begged her 
husband, without telling him anything, to take her away from 
Alba. He did so, and took her to Salamanca, where they 
lived very happily, and with many of the good things of this 
world, because he held an office which made everyone wish to 
please and entertain them. They had only one sorrow that the 
Lord had given them no children : and great were the devotions 
and prayers which she offered that she might have them : and 
she never besought the Lord for anything else but to give her 
offspring in order that when she herself was dead they might 
continue praising His Majesty; for it seemed to her a grievous 
thing that His praises should end with her life, and there 
should be no one after her to praise His Majesty. And she 
herself told me that she never set before her any other reason 
for desiring it : and she is a w^oman of great truthfulness, and 
such a good Christian and so good that it often makes me 
praise our Lord to see what she does and to see a soul so 
desirous of pleasing Him continually. She never ceases to 
employ her time well. 

136 Chapter XX 

Well, she went on desiring this for many years, and 
commending it to St Andrew, who, she was told, was an 
intercessor in such matters. After she had offered many 
prayers, one night when she was in bed, it was said to her, 
Do not seek to have children, for thou wouldst destroy 
thy soul. This left her astonished and afraid; yet for all 
this the desire did not leave her, because she thought, when 
her end was so good, why should she be destroying her soul? 
And so she went on imploring it of our Lord, and in 
particular making special prayers to St Andrew. 

Once when she was desiring this same thing she knows 
not whether awake or asleep : however it may have been, the 
vision is shewn to have been a true one by what followed- 
she thought she found herself in a house where in the patio, 
under the gallery, there was a well, and she saw in that place 
a meadow and green grass, with white flowers here and there 
in it, all so beautiful that she could not say enough of what 
it was to look at. Beside the well St Andrew appeared to her 
in the form of a very venerable and beautiful person, so that 
it gave her great delight to behold him : and he said to her, 
Other children are these than those whom thou desirest. 

She wished that the great joy which she felt in that place 
might never come to an end ; but it did not last long. And 
she understood clearly that that Saint was St Andrew, without 
anyone's telling her; and likewise that it was the will of our 
Lord that she should found a convent. By which we may 
know that it was an intellectual as well as an imaginary 
vision, and could not be a fancy nor an illusion of the devil. 
In the first place, it was not a fancy, because of its great effect ; 
for from that moment she never again desired children ; but 
she remained so convinced in her heart that this was the will 
of God that she neither asked for them nor wished for them any 

Alba de Tormes 137 

more. Likewise it is seen not to have been the devil, both by 
the effect which it caused, for nothing in which he is concerned 
can do good; and here is the convent established, in which 
our Lord is greatly served: and also because this was more 
than six years before the convent was founded ; and he is not 
able to know the future. 

Being deeply impressed by the vision, she said to her 
husband that, since God was not pleased to give them 
children, they had better found a convent of nuns. He, 
being so good and loving her so much, was well pleased 
with this, and began to consider where it should be. She 
wished it to be in the place where she was born: but he 
set before her certain real difficulties, that she might see it 
would not be wise to make it there. 

While they were considering this, the Duchess of Alba 
sent for him ; and when he came, she asked him to return to 
Alba to hold a certain office and position which she would 
give him in her household. He, when he had been to see 
why she had sent for him, and had been told about it, ac- 
cepted it, although it was much less profitable than the office 
which he held at Salamanca. His wife, when she heard of 
it, was miserable, because, as I have said, she hated the place; 
but when he assured her that she would be given no more 
guests, she was a little comforted, though for all that she was 
very unhappy, because she liked living at Salamanca better. 
He bought a house and sent for her. She came very un- 
happy, and was more so when she saw the house, because 
although it was well situated and spacious, it had no out- 
buildings. So she spent that night very unhappy. 

Next day early when she went into the patio, she saw the 
well in the very same place where she had seen St Andrew 
beside it, and everything else just exactly as she had seen it : 

138 Chapter XX 

I mean the place, not the Saint, nor meadow or flowers, al- 
though in her imagination she retained them and retains 
them still. Having seen this, she was astonished, and she 
determined to found the convent there ; and she was in great 
comfort and peace, no longer wishing to go elsewhere : and 
they began buying other houses adjoining until they had 
got ample space. She was very anxious as to what Order it 
should be of, because she wanted the nuns to be few in 
number and strictly enclosed. When she spoke of it to two 
monks of different Orders, very good and learned men, they 
both told her that it would be better to do some other good 
work, because nuns for the most part were discontented : arid 
plenty of other things they said ; for as the devil disliked the 
foundation, he wished to prevent it, and he made them think 
the reasons they gave very reasonable. And, since they in- 
sisted so strongly on its not being a good thing, and the devil 
took still more pains to hinder it, it made her doubt and fear 
and decide not to do it : and so she told her husband. And 
they made up their minds, since men such as these had told 
them it was not a good thing, and their own intention was only 
to please our Lord, that they would let it alone. And so they 
agreed to marry a nephew of hers, the son of one of her sisters, 
whom she loved much, to a niece of her husband's, and to give 
them a great part of their property, and to leave the rest for 
the good of their own souls. They chose this nephew because 
he was very good and was young in years. 

They were both quite resolved on this, and had altogether 
settled it. But since our Lord had ordained otherwise, their 
agreement availed little; for in less than a fortnight the 
nephew fell into an illness so severe that in a very few days 
our Lord took him to Himself. In this great extremity she 
was convinced that it was her determination to leave undone 

Alba de Tormes 139 

what God desired of her, in order to give money to her 
nephew, which had been the cause of his death; and so she 
was in great fear. She called to mind the prophet Jonah and 
what had befallen him for not being willing to obey God ; and she 
thought God had punished her in like manner by taking from 
her that nephew whom she so dearly loved. From that day 
she determined that nothing should prevent her from founding 
the convent ; and her husband the same : although they did 
not know how to carry it out. For it seems that God put 
into her heart that which now is actually done : but when she 
told it to other people and pictured to them what she wanted 
the convent to be like, they laughed at her, supposing that 
she could not find the kind of things she required. So in 
particular did a confessor of hers, a Franciscan, a man of 
learning and high character: and she was very disconsolate. 

At that time this friar happened to go to a certain place 
where he was told of the convents of our Lady of Carmel 
which were in course of foundation. He inquired very care- 
fully about them, and came back and told her that he had now 
discovered that she could found the convent, and just as she 
wished. He told her what was being done and that she had 
better arrange to discuss it with me ; and so she did. 

We had difficulty enough in coming to an agreement : 
because I have always maintained that convents which are 
founded with an endowment should have sufficient for 
the nuns not to be dependent on their relations or anyone 
else ; but that they should be given in the house all that is 
needful for food and clothes and a very good provision for the 
sick : because many inconveniences arise from the lack of 
necessaries. For founding many convents in poverty without 
endowment, I have never lacked heart and confidence, 
being convinced that God will not fail them : but for founding 

140 Chapter XX 

them with an insufficient endowment, I do altogether lack it. 
I consider it better that they were not founded at all. 

In the end they came to reason, and gave endowment 
enough for the numbers ; and what cost them much they 
left their own house to give it to us, and went to another very 
bad one. The Blessed Sacrament was reserved and the foun- 
dation made on the day of the Conversion of St Paul, in the 
year 1571, to the honour and glory of God ; and there, to 
my thinking, is His Majesty well served. May it please Him 
ever to carry it forward ! 

I had begun to narrate some particulars about some 
Sisters of these convents, thinking that, when these came to 
be read, those who are now living would no longer be alive, 
and that those who came after might be animated to carry 
forward such good beginnings. Afterwards I thought that 
there would be some one who would tell it better and more in 
detail, and without the fear which I have had, for I feel that 
I may be considered prejudiced in their favour; and so I have 
left out many things which anyone who has seen and heard 
them cannot but hold for miraculous, because they are super- 
natural. Of these I have not wished to tell any, nor of 
things which our Lord has clearly been seen to accomplish 
through their prayers. 

I rather suspect that in my reckoning of the dates of 
these foundations there may be some error, although I have 
done my best to remember. As it is not very important, and 
can be corrected later, I give them from memory as well as I 
can ; it makes little odds if there should be some mistake. 


Of the Foundation of the Carmelite Convent of the glorious 
St Joseph, at Segovia. It was founded on St Joseph's Day, 

I HAVE already told how, after the convents of Salamanca 
and Alba were founded, and before the one at Salamanca was 
settled in a house of its own, the Master Father Fray Pedro 
Fernandez, who was at that time Apostolic Commissary, 
ordered me to go to the Incarnation at Avila for three years, and 
how, seeing the extreme need of the house at Salamanca, he 
ordered me to go back there, that they might move to a house 
of their own. While I was there one day in prayer, it was 
said to me by our Lord that I was to go and found at Segovia. 
To me this seemed an impossibility, because I could not go 
unless I was sent, and I had understood from the Apostolic 
Commissary, Master Fray Pedro Fernandez, that he did not wish 
me to make any more foundations ; and I saw too, that as the 
three years which I had to spend at the Incarnation were not 
completed, there was great reason not to wish it. 

While I was thinking over this, the Lord told me to tell 
him, and he would do it. He was at Salamanca at the time, 
and I wrote to him saying that he already knew that I held 
instructions from our Most Reverend General not to omit 
making a foundation whenever I saw a suitable opening 
anywhere ; that at Segovia the Bishop and the town council 
had consented to the foundation of a convent ; that if his 
Paternity ordered me to do so, I would found it : that I 
informed him of this in order to satisfy my own conscience ; 
and that I should be at rest or content with whatever he 
commanded. I believe these were my words, or thereabouts, 

142 Chapter XXI 

and that I thought it would be to the service of God. Well 
did it appear that His Majesty desired it: for he at once 
told me to found it, and gave me the licence : which greatly 
surprised me, from what I had heard him say in regard to 
this matter. From Salamanca I arranged to have a house 
hired for me : because, since the foundations of Toledo and 
Valladolid, I had seen that it was better to seek one of our 
own after we had taken possession, for many reasons, the first 
one being that I had not a penny to buy houses ; but when a 
convent is already founded, the Lord soon provides it. 
Besides, one can thus choose a situation more to our 

There was a lady there named Dona Ana de Jimena, who 
had been the wife of a country gentleman. She had once 
been to see me at Avila, and she was a great servant of God, 
and her vocation had always been to be a nun. So, when the 
convent was established, she entered it, with a daughter of 
hers who was leading a very good life ; and for the unhappiness 
which she had been through as a wife and a widow, the Lord 
rendered her double happiness when she found herself in 
Religion. The mother and daughter had always lived in 
retirement and in the service of God. This saintly woman 
took the house and provided all that she saw was needful for 
us, both for the chapel and for ourselves ; so that I had little 
trouble about this. But in order that there might be no 
foundation without some, He permitted me to go there with 
severe fever and loathing of food, and excessive interior troubles 
of dryness and darkness in my soul, and bodily ills of many 
kinds, which continued at their worst for three months : and 
the half year that I was there, I was ill all the time. 

On St Joseph's Day we reserved the Blessed Sacrament. 
I would only enter the town secretly at night on the Eve, 

Segovia 143 

although I had the permission of the Bishop and of the town 
council. The permission had been given long ago; but 
as I was at the Incarnation and had a Superior other than 
our Father the Generalissimo, I had not been able to make 
the foundation. And I had the permission of the Bishop the 
one who was Bishop when the town council gave its consent 
-by word of mouth, as he gave it to a gentleman who asked 
it for us, by name Andres de Jimena. He did not concern 
himself to get it in writing : nor did I think it mattered. 
But I was mistaken: for when it came to the knowledge 
of the Vicar-general 1 that the convent had been founded, he 
came at once, very angry, and would not consent to let mass 
be said any more, and wanted to send to prison the priest who 
had said it, a Barefoot friar 2 who had gone with Father Julian 
of Avila, and another servant of God who went with me, by 
name Antonio Gaytan. 

This Antonio Gaytan was a gentleman of Alba, and our 
Lord had called him when he was living much mixed up in 
the world : and a few years later he had it so under his feet 
that he only thought how he could do it greater service. Since 
in the account of subsequent foundations he will have to be 
mentioned, because he has helped me much and toiled much, 
I have said who he is: but if I had to say his virtues, I 
should not have done so soon. What profited us most on this 
journey was his being so ready to endure hardness that 
amongst the servants who travelled with us there was not 
one who did so much as he did of what had to be done. He 
is always much in prayer, and God has given him such grace 
that everything which would have put out anyone else gave 
him pleasure and came easy to him. So it was with all his 

1 [The Bishop being absent. Tr.] 

2 [St John of the Cross. Tr.] 

144 Chapter XXI 

trouble in these foundations: so that it is plain that God 
called him and Father Julian of Avila to this work- 
Father Julian, however, has been in it from the foundation of 
the first convent. It must have been on account of such 
companions that it pleased our Lord all should go well with 
me. Their discourse on the journeys consisted in speaking of 
God and teaching those who went with us and those whom 
we met : and so in every way they kept doing service to His 
Majesty. It is well, my daughters, those of you who shall 
read the story of these foundations, that you should learn 
what you owe them; so that, since for no advantage to 
themselves they so toiled for the good which you enjoy of 
living in these convents, you may commend them to our 
Lord and they may reap some profit through your prayers. 
For indeed, if you knew the weary nights and days they have 
passed, and their hardships on the road, you would do this 
with a very good will. 

The Vicar-general would not leave our chapel without 
setting a constable at the door. Why, I know not. It a 
little served to frighten those who were there : but as for 
me, nothing which happened after taking possession ever 
troubled me much ; my fears were all beforehand. I sent 
for some people, relations of one of the Sisters whom I had 
taken with me, who were some of the chief people of the 
town, that they might speak to the Vicar-general, and tell 
him that I had the Bishop's permission. He knew that very 
well, as he afterwards said; but he would have wished us 
to inform him beforehand. I believe it would have been 
much worse if we had. At last they settled with him to 
leave us in possession of the house, but he took away the 
Blessed Sacrament. This we did not mind. 

We lived thus for some months until we bought a house, 

Segovia 145 

and with it lawsuits in plenty. We had had one with the 
Franciscans about a house which was bought near .theirs: 
about this other we had one with the Ransomers, and with 
the town council, because they held a mortgage on the house. 
Oh Jesus, how troublesome it is to contend with many 
opinions ! When at last all seemed to be settled, it began 
over again ; because it did not suffice to give them what they 
asked for, but straightway some other difficulty was made. 
It seems nothing as I relate it, but to go through, it was 
a great deal. 

A nephew of the Bishop's who was Prior and a Canon of 
the church did all he could for us, so also did a Licentiate, 
Herrera, a very great servant of God. At last, by paying 
a great sum of money, that difficulty was settled. We still 
had the Ransomers' suit against us : so that we had to move 
into the new house with the greatest secrecy. When they 
found we were there we went a day or two before Michael- 
mas they thought good to come to terms with us for a 

The chief distress which these hindrances gave me was that 
it wanted only seven or eight days to the end of my three years 
at the Incarnation, and at all costs I was bound to be there 
at the end of them. It pleased the Lord that all was so well 
settled that there remained no contentions, and in two or 
three days more I was off to the Incarnation. For ever 
blessed be His name Who has done me so many favours, and 
may all His creatures praise Him ! Amen. 

T. F. 10 


Of the Foundation of the Convent of the Glorious St Joseph del 
Salvador at Veas, on St Matthias' Day, 1575. 

AT the time when, as I have said, I had been sent from 
the Incarnation to Salamanca, while I was there, a messenger 
came from the town of Veas with letters for me from a lady 
of that place and from the parish priest and from other people, 
begging me to go and found a convent there, because they 
already had a house for it, and there was nothing wanting 
but to go and found it. I questioned the man. He told me 
great things of the country, and rightly, for it is most delight- 
ful, and the climate good: but seeing how many leagues it 
was off from Salamanca, I thought it out of the question, 
especially as it would have to be done by order of the 
Apostolic Commissary: for, as I have said, he was against 
foundations, or at least not in favour of them. So I intended 
to answer that I could not, without saying anything to him. 
Afterwards I reflected that as he was at Salamanca at the 
time, it would not be right to do so without asking his 
opinion, because of the injunction which our Most Reverend 
Father General had laid upon me not to omit to found. 

When he had seen the letters he sent to tell me that he 
did not think their feelings should be hurt; that he was 
edified by their devotion; and that I should write to them 
saying that when they had obtained leave from their Order 1 , 
we would be ready to make the foundation. I might be 
certain, he said, that they would not get leave; for he had 

1 [The Knights of St James. Tr.] 

Veas 147 

heard of the Knights Commanders from other parties who 
had tried for many years and not succeeded in getting it : and 
they should not be answered harshly. 

I sometimes think of this, and how it comes to pass that 
of what our Lord wills, even when we will it not, we become 
the instrument without intending it, as in this case was the 
Father Master Fray Pedro Fernandez, the Commissary. And 
so when they had obtained the licence, he could not refuse, 
but the foundation was made in that way. 

This convent of the Blessed St Joseph of the town of 
Veas was founded on St Matthias* Day in the year 1575." It 
had its origin in the following manner, to the honour and 
glory of God. There was at Veas a gentleman of noble 
lineage and abundance of worldly wealth, called Sancho 
Bodriguez de Sandoval. He was married to a lady named 
Dona Catalina Godinez. Among other children whom the 
Lord gave them were two daughters ; the elder, Dona Catalina 
Godinez, the younger, Dona Maria de Sandoval, who were the 
foundresses of the said convent. 

The elder girl was fourteen when our Lord called her for 
Himself. Up to that age she was very far from giving up the 
world, but rather held so high an opinion of herself that any 
marriages which her father attempted to arrange for her 
seemed to her not good enough. 

One day when she was in a chamber within the one where 
her father was (although he was not yet up), by chance she 
happened to read on a crucifix which was there the title 
which is written over the cross; and suddenly, as she read 
it, the Lord entirely changed her. For she had been thinking 
over a match which was proposed for her, which was an ex- 
ceedingly good one, and saying within herself, "With how 
little my father is satisfied, with just an eldest son ! While 


148 Chapter XXII 

I myself intend my family to begin with me." She was not 
inclined to marry, because she thought it beneath her to be 
subject to anyone. Nor did she know whence this pride arose. 
Our Lord very well knew whence to cure it, blessed be His 
mercy ! 

Thus when she read the title, a light seemed to have 
come into her soul to know the truth, just as though the 
sunlight had come into a dark room: and in this light she 
fixed her eyes on the Lord Who was on the cross dripping 
with blood, and she thought how evil entreated He was, and 
thought of His great humility, and what a different way she 
was taking, walking in pride. She must have spent some time 
thus ; for the Lord threw her into a trance. In this trance 
His Majesty gave her a genuine and deep knowledge of her 
own wretchedness, and she would have had everyone know of 
it. He gave her a desire to suffer for God so great that she 
could have wished to suffer all that the martyrs had gone 
through, and with this, so profound a self-abasement of 
humility and self-abhorrence that, if it had not been for 
offending God, she could have wished to be an outcast 
woman, that everyone might abhor her. And thus she be- 
gan to abhor herself, with a great desire for penance, which 
she afterwards put in practice. Then and there she vowed 
poverty and chastity, and desired to see herself in such 
subjection that she would have been pleased if she could have 
been carried off to the Moors' country for it. All these 
virtues have so endured in her that it can well be seen to- 
have been a supernatural favour of our Lord, as will presently 
be told in order that all may praise Him. 

For ever blessed be Thou, my God, Who in one moment 
unmakest a soul and makest it anew ! What is this, Lord ? 
I would fain ask here what the Apostles asked Thee when 

Veas 149 

Thou healedst the blind man, saying, Did his parents sin? 
I ask, Who had merited so sovereign a favour? Not she, for 
I have already said what were the thoughts from which Thou 
didst deliver her when Thou didst thus deal with her. Oh 
the depth of Thy judgements, Lord! Thou knowest what 
Thou doest, and I know not what I am saying, forasmuch 
as Thy works and judgements are unfathomable. Be Thou 
for ever glorified Who canst do even more; where should I 
be, if this were not! But it might be in part her mother; 
for she was so good a Christian that it may be Thy goodness 
was pleased, in lovingkindness, that in her life-time she should 
see such great virtue in her daughters. Sometimes I think Thou 
bestowest such favours on those who love Thee : doing them 
the grace of giving them something wherewith to serve Thee. 

While she was in this state, there came such a loud noise 
overhead in the room that it seemed as if it was all tumbling 
down. . All the noise seemed to come down through a corner 
to where she was, and she heard loud roars which went on 
some time; so that her father, who, as I have said, was not 
yet up, began to shake with fear, and, as though beside him- 
self, put on a gown and took his sword and went in and looking 
very white he asked her what it was? She answered that she 
had seen nothing. He looked into another room within hers, 
and seeing nothing, he told her to go to her mother ; and to 
her mother he said that she must not let her be alone, telling 
her what he had heard. 

Well can it be understood from this what the devil must 
feel when he sees a soul lost out of his power whom he reckons 
already as his prey. As he so hates our good, I am not sur- 
prised that, when he saw the pitiful Lord doing so many 
mercies together, he was taken by surprise and made so great 
a demonstration of his feeling : especially as he must have 

150 Chapter XXII 

known that, through the wealth of graces contained in that 
soul, he would have to go without other souls which he con- 
sidered his own. For it is my own belief that our Lord never 
does so great a favour without its extending to others besides 
the person himself. 

She never told anything of this : but it left her with the 
greatest desire for the Religious life, and she greatly besought 
it of her parents. They would never give consent. At the 
end of three years during which she had greatly besought it, 
when she saw that they would not allow this, she dressed 
herself, one St Joseph's Day, in plain sober clothes. She told 
only her mother, whom it would have been easy to persuade 
to let her be a nun : her father she dared not. In this dress 
she went to church, in order that, since she had been seen in 
it publicly, it might not be taken from her : and so it turned 
out, for they said nothing about it. 

During those three years she kept hours of prayer, and 
mortified herself in every way she could, as the Lord taught 
her. She used to go into the yard and wet her face and 
set herself in the sun, so that for her ill looks she might cease 
to be harassed with offers of marriage. She had a great dis- 
like to giving orders to anyone, yet, as she kept house for 
her parents, she had to give orders to the women servants, be- 
cause she could not do otherwise. Then, when she thought of 
this, she would watch until they were asleep, and go and kiss 
their feet, being distressed that, being better than her, they 
should serve her. As in the daytime she was kept occupied 
with her parents, when the time for sleep came she would 
spend the whole night in prayer ; so that for a long time she 
went with so little sleep that it would seem impossible if it 
were not supernatural. Her penances and disciplines were 
many; for she had no one to keep her in check, nor did she 

Veas 151 

speak of it to anyone. Among other things, during the whole 
of one Lent she wore next her skin one of her father's coats 
of mail. She used to go apart to pray in a lonely place where 
the devil played strange tricks upon her. Often she began 
her prayers at ten in the evening, and was not aware of the 
hour until day broke. 

In these exercises she spent about four years, when the 
Lord began to let her serve Him in other greater ones, giving 
her most serious sicknesses and very painful, such as continual 
fever, dropsy, and heart disease, and a cancer which was 
excised. These sicknesses lasted about seventeen years j for 
she was hardly ever well. Five years after God had done her 
that favour, her father died: and her sister, who was then 
fourteen (that is, a year after she herself had made that 
change) also put on a plain dress, though she was very fond 
of amusements, and also began to practise devotion. Her 
mother aided her in all her good practices and desires. 
Thus she approved of their employing themselves in one 
work which was most virtuous, but very foreign to their 
quality; namely, teaching girls to sew and read, without 
payment, but only for the sake of teaching them to pray 
and to. know the Faith. They did much good; for many 
resorted to them, and even to this day can be seen in these 
the good habits which they learned when they were little. 
But it did not last long ; for the devil, being annoyed by the 
good work, made the parents consider it mean to allow their 
daughters to be taught gratis 1 . This together with the in- 
firmities which began to oppress her, brought the work to an 


1 This touch is expressive and hits off the stupidly quixotic character 
of Spaniards then and now. It is unlikely that there was any teacher of 
little girls there. But the gentry, rather than that their children should 
take their turn with the children of the poor or be taught gratis, preferred 
that they should grow up ignorant. 

152 Chapter XXII 

Five years after the death of the girls' father, their mother 
died. And, as it had always been Dona Catalina's vocation 
to be a nun, only that she had not been able to persuade 
them of it, she immediately sought to go and be a nun. 
Since there was no convent at Veas, her relations advised her, 
as the sisters had fairly sufficient to found a convent, to try to 
found one in her own town ; for that this would be more to 
our Lord's service. As the town was under the Order of 
St James, the licence of the Council of Orders was requisite, 
and so she began diligently to set to work to get it. It was 
so hard to obtain that four years passed, during which they 
went to much expense and trouble, and until they presented 
a petition beseeching it of the King himself, nothing was of 
any avail : so much so that, seeing how great was the diffi- 
culty, her relations told her it was folly and she should let 
it alone. And, since she was almost always in bed, with 
such great infirmities, as I have said, they told her that no 
convent would admit her as a nun. She answered that if our 
Lord gave her good health within one month, they should 
recognize that the foundation would be to His pleasure, and 
she herself would go to Court to obtain it. 

When she said this, it was more than six months since 
she had got out of bed and about eight since she had been 
able to move without help. At that time she had had con- 
tinual fever for eight years, wasting and consumption, dropsy, 
with inflammation of the liver which burnt her up in such sort 
that even through her clothes the heat could be felt, and it 
singed her shift a thing which seems incredible, but I myself 
heard from the doctor about the sicknesses which she had at 
that time ; and I was greatly astonished. She had also arthritic 
gout and sciatica. 

On the Eve of one St Sebastian's Day, a Saturday, our 
Lord gave her such perfect health that she did not know how 

Veas 153 

to conceal it so that the miracle should not be known. She 
says that when the Lord was about to heal her, He sent her 
an interior trembling such that her sister thought her life 
was coming to a close ; but she perceived in herself a complete 
change, and she says that in her soul she felt the difference, 
so much better was she. And she was much more pleased at 
having the health to be able to carry out the affair of the 
convent than she was to have her sufferings cease : because 
from the first moment when God called her, He had given her 
such self-abhorrence that for suffering she cared nothing. 
She says she had so strong a desire to suffer that she used 
to pray to God from her heart to exercise her in it in every 
way. His Majesty did not fail to accomplish this desire: for 
in those eight years she was bled more than five hundred 
times, besides so many cuppings as can be seen by the scars. 
Sometimes they rubbed salt into them, because a physician 
said it was good for drawing the poison out of a pain in the 
side; so this was done more than twenty times. What is 
most wonderful is that, when the doctor prescribed one of 
these remedies, she was eager for the moment when it should 
be carried out, without any dread; and she encouraged the 
doctors to the cauteries which were frequent for the cancer and 
on other such occasions. She says that what made her desire 
it was to prove the sincerity of her desire for martyrdom. 

When she found herself suddenly well, she spoke to her 
confessor and doctor about moving her to another town, so 
that it might be said that the change of air had done it. 
They were not willing: rather the doctors told it abroad, 
because she was already considered incurable on account of a 
hemorrhage through the mouth so bad that they said it was 
the lungs themselves. She stayed in bed three days, not 
daring to get up, lest her good health should be known : but 

154 Chapter XXII 

as that could no more be concealed than had been her sick- 
ness, it was of little use. 

She told me that in the previous August, one day when 
she was imploring our Lord either to take from her the great 
desire she had to be a nun and found the convent, or else to 
grant her the means of doing so, she was assured with great 
certainty that she would be well in time to go in Lent to ob- 
tain the licence. And so she says, that during that period, 
although her infirmities oppressed her much more, she never 
lost hope that the Lord would do her that favour. And 
although she received unction twice : once so much in extremis 
that the doctor said it was no good going for the oil, for she 
would be dead before it came, she never lost her confidence in 
the Lord that she would die a nun. I do not mean to say 
that it was in that time between August and St Sebastian's 
Day that she twice received unction, but before. 

When her brothers and relations saw the mercy and the 
miracle which the Lord had done in giving her health so 
suddenly, they dared not hinder her going, although it seemed 
folly. She spent three months at Court, and in the end the 
licence was not given her. But when that petition was pre- 
sented to the King, and he heard it was for Barefoot Carmel- 
ites, he ordered it to be given at once. When it came to 
founding the convent, it was well seen that she had ob- 
tained its acceptance with God, by the Superiors' being willing 
to accept it, even though it was so far off, and the endow- 
ment very small. That which His Majesty desires cannot 
fail to be accomplished. 

So the nuns arrived at the beginning of Lent, 1575. The 
people went forth in procession to receive them with great 
solemnity and rejoicing. The satisfaction was universal: 
even the very children shewed it to be a work with which 

Veas 155 

the Lord was pleased. The convent was founded that 
same Lent, on St Matthias' Day, and called St Joseph's 
of the Saviour 1 . The two sisters took the habit in the same 
day, to their great joy. The health of Dona Catalina im- 
proved. Her humility, obedience, and desire to be thought 
little of shew clearly that her desires for the service of our 
Lord were genuine. May He be glorified for evermore ! 

This Sister told me among other things that, about twenty 
years ago, she lay down one night desiring to find the most 
perfect religious Order in the world, to become a nun in it. 
And she began to dream that she was walking along a way 
very strait and narrow, and dangerous for fear of falling inta 
great ravines which she could see. And she saw a Barefoot friar 
such that, when afterwards she saw Brother Juan de la Miseria,, 
a poor little Lay Brother of our Order who came to Veas while 
I was there, she thought he was the one she had seen. He 
said to her, Come with me, Sister. And he led her to a 
house where were a great number of nuns, and there was na 
other light in the house but that of the lighted candles which 
they were holding in their hands. She asked what Order it 
was ; but they all kept silence, and lifted up their veils, and 
their faces were happy and smiling. And she declares that 
the faces she saw were those of the same Sisters whom she 
has now seen. And the Prioress took her by the hand, and 
said, Daughter, I want you here; and she shewed her the 
Constitutions and Rule. And when she awoke from this 
dream, it was with such content that she felt as if she had 
been in heaven : and she wrote down what she remembered of 
the Rule. 

1 This convent no longer exists. The Community was dispersed 
during the civil war, several of the nuns going to the convent at Jaen. 
The chapel is used for public worship, serving as a parish church. 

156 Chapter XXII 

A long time passed before she told her confessor or any- 
one; and nobody could tell her about that Order. 

There came to Veas a Father of the Company [of Jesus] 
who knew her desires, and she shewed him the paper and said 
that if she could find that Order, she would be happy; for she 
would enter it at once. He knew of our monasteries and told 
lier that that was the Rule of the Order of our Lady of Carmel- 
al though he did not clearly make her understand this, but 
only told her about the monasteries which I was founding: 
and so she arranged to send me a messenger, as I have said. 
When the answer was brought her, she was so ill that her 
confessor told her she might make herself easy: for even if 
she were in the convent, they would turn her out ; much 
less would they take her now. She was greatly distressed, 
and turned to our Lord with earnest longing and said, "My 
Lord and my God, I know by the Faith that Thou art He 
Who can do all things; then, Life of my soul, do Thou 
take from me these desires, or give me the means of accom- 
plishing them ! " 

This she said with exceeding confidence, imploring our 
Lady by the grief she felt when she saw her Son dead in her 
arms, to intercede for her. She heard a voice within her 
saying, Believe and hope; for I am He Who can do all 
things : Thou shalt have health. For to Him Who has had 
power to keep thee from dying of so many sicknesses, all mortal 
in their nature, and has forbidden them to work their natural 
effect, it will be more easy to take them away. She says that 
these words were said with such force and assurance that 
she could not doubt but that her desire would be accom- 
plished, although many more infirmities weighed upon her, 
until our Lord gave her the health of which I have spoken. 
What has taken place certainly seems something incredible : 

Veas 157 

and if I had not myself gained my information from the doctor 
and from the women who lived in the house and from other 
people, it would have been little wonder, wicked as I am, if I 
had thought that it was somewhat exaggerated. 

Although she is not strong, she has health enough to keep 
the Rule, and looks well, and is very cheerful and so humble 
in every way, as I have said, that she makes us all praise our 
Lord. The sisters gave to the Order all they had, without 
any reservation ; for their only condition was that we should 
be willing to receive them as nuns. Her detachment from 
friends and country is great, and she always greatly desired 
to go far away, so she earnestly begged it of the Superiors j 
although she is so obedient that she remains there contentedly. 
Just in the same way, when she took the veil 1 she would not 
hear of being a choir Sister but a lay, until I wrote to her, 
saying many things and rebuking her for desiring anything 
but the will of the Father Provincial, saying that that was not 
the way to greater merit, and other such things, speaking 
harshly to her. And it is her greatest satisfaction when she is 
so treated. By this means I prevailed with her, much against 
her will. 

Of this soul I know nothing which is not such as to please 
God : and this is the experience of us all. May it please His 
Majesty to keep her in His hand and increase her virtues and 
the grace which He has given, to His greater service and 
honour. Amen. 

1 [In Profession. Tr.] 


Of the Foundation of the Carmelite Convent of the glorious St 
Joseph in the city of Seville. The first mass was said on the 
Feast of the Blessed Trinity, 1575. 

WELL, while I was at the town of Veas, waiting for the 
licence of the Council of Orders for the foundation at Caravaca, 
there came to see me a Barefoot Father of our Order, called 
Master Fray Gerdnimo of the Mother of God, Gracian, who 
had taken our habit a few years before, at Alcala. He was 
a man of great learning, uoderstanding, and modesty, to- 
gether with great virtues practised through all his life: so 
that our Lady seems to have chosen him out for the good of 
the Primitive Order, when he was at Alcala, very far from 
taking our habit, although not from joining an Order. For 
though his parents had other views for him on account of his 
great ability and their being in high favour with the King, he 
himself was far from being of their mind. 

As soon as he became a student, his father wished to set 
him to study law; but he, although he was very young, 
minded this so much that by force of weeping he prevailed 
upon him to let him attend the courses of theology. As soon 
a,s he had taken his Master's degree, he treated with the 
Jesuits 1 about entering the Company, and they had accepted 

1 In point of fact, the character of Father Gracian was rather that of 
a Jesuit than of a Barefoot Carmelite. His great liking for the pulpit 
and the confessional, his erudition, ability, and other qualifications for 
the active life, seem to belong more to a Jesuit than to a member of a 
religious Order given almost exclusively to the contemplative life. For 
all that, the reform of the Carmelite Order required a man of great 
activity, intelligence, and readiness ; and Providence gave this to St 
Theresa in the person of Father Gracian. On the other hand, St Theresa, 

Seville 159 

him, but for certain reasons they said he should wait some 
time. He has told me that every pleasure he had was a 
torment to him, because he felt that that was not a good way 
to heaven: and he always kept hours of prayer and his 
recollection and purity of thought with extreme care. 

At that time a great friend of his, Fray Juan of Jesus, 
who likewise had a Master's degree, entered our Order as a 
lay Brother at the monastery of Pastrana. I do not know 
whether it was through a letter which he wrote to him about 
the greatness and antiquity of our Order, or what the begin- 
ning was : but something gave him such a great taste for 
reading everything about it and verifying it by the writings of 
great authors, that he says he often had an uneasy conscience, 
feeling that he was neglecting the study of other things be- 
cause he could not tear himself away from these; and his 
hours of recreation he employed in these. 

wisdom and power of God! how little can we escape 
from what He wills ! Well did our Lord see the great need 
there was of a person such as him for the work which His 
Majesty had commenced. I often give Him praises for the 
favour He has done us in this : for if I had taken great pains 
to request of His Majesty such a person as could set in order 
all the affairs of the Order in these their beginnings, I could 
not have succeeded in asking so much as His Majesty gave us 
in him. Blessed be He for ever ! 

Well, while it was very far from his mind to take our 
habit, he was asked to go to Pastrana to speak to the Prioress 

accustomed as she was to be directed by Jesuits, found within her young 
Order a priest with such qualities as theirs, and at once made a vow of 
obedience to him. When the reform was accomplished and St Theresa 
was dead, Gracian seemed to be out of place, and he was expelled from 
the Order. He wished to join the Jesuits; but they would not accept 

160 Chapter XXIII 

of the convent of our Order there (for it had not yet been 
removed thence) ahout receiving a nun. What means does 
not the Divine Majesty employ ! For if he had meant to go 
there to take the habit, probably there would have been so 
many people to oppose it that he would never have done it. 
But our Lady the Virgin, to whom he is extremely devoted, 
desired to reward him by giving him her habit, and so I think 
it was through her intercession that God did him this favour. 
And indeed the cause of his having conceived such affection 
to the Order and taken the habit, was this glorious Virgin, 
who would not leave one so desirous of serving her without 
the opportunity of carrying it into effect : for it is her wont to 
favour those who seek her protection. 

When he was a boy at Madrid he used often to go to an 
image of our Lady to which he had a special devotion. 
I forget where it was. He called it his lady-love, and visited 
it constantly. It must have been she who obtained from her 
Son the purity in which he has always lived. He says that 
sometimes the image seemed to him to have its eyes swollen with 
weeping for the many offences done against her Son. Thence 
there sprang up in him a great desire driving him to the cure 
of souls, and a very great distress when he witnessed offences 
against God. He is so strongly bent on this desire for the good 
of souls that any trouble whatever seems little to him if he 
thinks it can bear some fruit. This I have found by experi- 
ence in many troubles which he has undergone. 

Well, the Virgin led him to Pastrana as one caught with 
guile, he thinking that he was going in order to obtain the 
habit for a nun, and God was leading him there to give it to 
him himself. Oh secrets of God! And how, without our 
seeking, does He keep disposing our ways to shew us loving- 
kindness : and how thus did He reward this soul for the good 

Seville 161 

works he had done and the good example he had always given 
and his earnest desire to serve His glorious Mother; for His 
Majesty must always repay this with great rewards. 

So, when he got to Pastrana, he went to speak to the 
Prioress in order to get her to receive this nun; and it would 
seem as though he spoke in order that she might gain from 
our Lord his own reception. For when she saw him, his 
conversation is so agreeable that, for the most part, all who 
have to do with him love him it is our Lord's grace and 
thus he is loved extremely by all the monks and nuns who 
are under him. For though he overlooks no fault, for he is 
extremely particular about this, his way of seeing to the good 
of the Order is so mild and agreeable that no one is able to 
complain of him. 

Well, it happened to the Prioress as to others; and it 
gave her the strongest wish that he should enter the Order. 
She told the Sisters to consider how important it was for 
them, because at that time there were in the Order very few 
or, one might say, nobody like him: and so they should all 
beseech our Lord not to let him go, but that he might take 
the habit. This Prioress is a very great servant of God, so 
that I think her petition alone would have been heard by His 
Majesty, how much more that of souls so good as the Sisters 
who were there. 

All took it much to heart, and with fasting, discipline, and 
prayer they continually besought it of His Majesty: and so 
He was pleased to do us this loving kindness. For when 
Father Gracian went to the Brothers' monastery and saw so 
much religion and such good arrangements for the service of 
our Lord, and above all, knew it was the Order of His glorious 
Mother, whom he so desired to serve, his heart began to be 
moved not to return to the world. The devil set before him 

T. F. 11 

162 Chapter XXIII 

plenty of difficulties, especially the distress it would be to his 
parents, who loved him greatly, and who built their hopes 
on his helping the fortunes of their children 1 : for they had 
many sons and daughters. But he, leaving this charge to 
God, for Whom he was giving up everything, determined to 
become one of the Virgin's subjects and take her habit. 
So they gave it him, to the great joy of all, especially the 
nuns and Prioress, who gave great praises to our Lord, 
deeming that it was through their prayers that God had done 
them this favour. 

He went through his year of probation with the humility 
of the most insignificant novices. His virtue was specially 
tried during a time when, the Prior being away, there was left 
as Senior a very young and ignorant Brother, who had not 
the least ability or sense for ruling : and as for experience, he 
had none, because he had only entered the monastery a short 
time before. The way he led them and the mortifications he 
made them do were something quite excessive, so that when- 
ever I think of it I wonder how they could stand it, particularly 
people such as Fray Ger6nimo. He had need, to bear it, of the 
enthusiasm which God gave him. And it has since been seen 
that that Brother is afflicted with melancholia, and wherever 
he has been there have been difficulties with him, even when 
under obedience ; how much more when he had to rule ! For 
his moods are master of him, although, he is a good monk. 
And God sometimes permits such mistakes as that of putting 
people like him in office, in order to perfect the virtue of 
obedience in those whom He loves. So it must have been in 

1 Considering that Gracian's father was secretary to Philip II and that 
the king was very fond of him, he was by no means well off. Several of 
his daughters, for want of money, had to enter convents which accepted, 
them without dowry, as a charity. 

Seville 163 

this case. And by virtue of this trial, God has given Father 
Fray Jerdnimo of the Mother of God the greatest light in 
matters of obedience, to teach those who are under him, as 
one who had such good practice in it at the beginning. And 
in order that he might not lack experience in anything which 
is needful for us, he had great temptations three months 
before his Profession; but, like the good captain he was to 
be of the Sons of the Virgin, he defended himself well against 
them: and when the devil more strongly urged him to give 
up the habit, he defended himself by promising not to give it 
up and promising to make his vows. He gave me a certain 
work 1 which he had written during those great temptations, 
which edified me greatly, and shews well what strength the 
Lord gave him. 

It may appear unsuitable that he should have communi- 
cated to me so many particulars about his soul. It may be 
that the Lord willed it in order that I might set it down here, 
for praised be He in His creatures : for I know that he has 
not opened himself so freely to his confessor nor to anyone 
else. The reason why he sometimes did so was that he had 
reason to think that, from my age and from what he had 
heard of me, I must have some experience. A propos of 
other things of which we happened to be speaking, he told 
me these things and others which are not for writing down, 
or I could say much more. I have indeed restrained myself 
lest it might pain him if this ever came into his hands. 

I have not been able to write more, nor have I thought it 
necessary ; because this writing will not, if ever, be seen for a 
long time ; and it will be long before the memory is forgotten 
of one who has worked so well for the reformation of the 

1 What this work was, is not known. 


164 Chapter XXIII 

primitive Rule. For, although he was not the first to begin 
it, he came at the right moment; for sometimes I should have 
been sorry that it had begun before if I had not such great 
trust in God's mercy. I am speaking of the monks' Houses : 
for the nuns' Houses, through His goodness, have always done 
well up to the present. And those of the Brothers had not 
done badly: only they carried in them seeds of quick decay; 
because, as they had no separate Province, they were governed 
by the unreformed Carmelites. To those who might have 
governed that is, Father Fray Antonio of Jesus, who began 
the reform was not given this power; no more had they 
Constitutions given by our Most Reverend Father General. 
In each House they did as seemed good to them. Until the 
Constitutions came, or they were governed by the reformed 
Order, there was continual trouble: for to some one thing 
seemed good and to others another. It sometimes distressed 
me sorely. 

Our Lord set it right by the hand of Father Master Fray 
Jer6nimo of the Mother of God: because he was made Apo- 
stolic Commissary, and was given authority and rule over 
the Discalced monks and nuns, and made Constitutions for 
the Brothers. For we nuns had them already from our Most 
Reverend Father General: so he did not make them for us, 
but for them; through the Apostolic authority which he held, 
and through the good abilities which, as I have said, the Lord had 
given him. The first time he visited them he set everything 
in such order and reasonable ways, that it plainly shewed him 
to be aided by the Divine Majesty, and to have been chosen 
by our Lady for the good of her Order. Of whom I earnestly 
entreat that she would prevail with her Son to favour him 
continually and give him grace to advance in His service. 


Continuation of the Foundation at Seville. 

WHEN, as I have said, Father Master Fray Jerdnimo 
Gracian came to see me at Veas, we had never met, although 
I had greatly desired it; sometimes written, however. It gave 
me great pleasure when I heard he was there, for I greatly desired 
to see him on account of the good which had been told me of 
him. But very much more was I delighted when I began to 
talk with him: for he pleased me so much that I felt as if 
those who had extolled him to me had not really known him. 
I had been so sorrowful ; but when I saw him it seemed as if 
the Lord were making me see the good which was to come to 
us by means of him. And so during those days I went 
about in such exceeding joy and satisfaction that truly I my- 
self was surprised at myself. At that time he only held a 
commission for Andalusia; but while he was at Veas, the 
Nuncio sent for him to see him, and then he gave it to him 
for the Barefoot monks and nuns of the Province of Castille 1 . 

1 [The circumstances were as follows. The battle between the 
Observant Carmelites and the Keformed Descalzos had just begun. 
Gracian was selected by the latter as the best man to lead them. Vargas, 
the Dominican, had at the request of Philip II been appointed by the 
Pope Apostolic Visitor of the Order in Andalusia with very wide 
authority. He was in favour of reform and had transferred his powers 
to Gracian late in 1573, whereby the latter secretly was invested with 
authority over the Order in the Province even greater than that of the 
General and the Provincial. As soon as this was discovered by the latter 
they obtained from the new Pope Gregory XIII a revocation of Vargas' 
powers (though the revocation was not made public at the time). The 
reform party with the aid of Philip II obtained from the Nuncio, 
Ormaneto, in the meanwhile a confirmation of Vargas' powers (22 Sept. 
1574). So that when Gracian went to Veas in the spring of 1575, after 
Lent, he was, by Apostolic authority and the transference of Vargas' 

166 Chapter XXIV 

My spirit was so full of joy that, during those days, I could 
not give thanks enough to our Lord, nor did I want to do 
anything else. 

At that time the licence to found at Caravaca was brought 

Commission, supreme in the Order in Andalusia ; and as such and also 
because of her admiration and affection for him was the recipient of 
Sta Teresa's obedience. He was summoned to Madrid by the Nuncio 
whilst he was at Veas to take possession of the new brief that had been 
made out for him investing him direct with the powers formerly held by 
Vargas (April 1575). A month afterwards the General Chapter of the 
Order by virtue of the Pope's revocation denounced Vargas' Commission, 
and that held by his colleague Fernandez for Castile, and fulminated their 
edicts against the reformers. The issue was thus joined. On the one 
hand was the King, the Nuncio, Sta Teresa, Gracian, the Court and the 
Beformers ; on the other the Pope, the General and Provincial of the 
Carmelites and the old Observants. The next move (a disastrous one for 
Gracian) was for the King and the Nuncio to invest Gracian with full 
powers as "Visitor over the Descalzos Houses of Castile and Andalusia, 
and Apostolic Commissary over the Observant Houses of Andalusia." 
This was in the autumn of 1575. When Sta Teresa says that she was 
brought under his obedience by reason of his Apostolic Commission for 
Castile she meant that this was in regard of her foundations in Castile 
(Avila, Salamanca, Valladolid, etc.) as she had already been under his 
obedience in respect to her foundation in Veas, by reason of his Apostolic 
Commission for Andalusia. Teresa, writing her Fundaciones some time 
afterwards, rather confused matters. Gracian was summoned from Veas 
by the Nuncio not primarily to be made Commissary for Castile : that 
appointment was made some months afterwards as a retort to the action of 
the Carmelite Chapter, but to receive the direct brief from the Nuncio 
appointing him Visitor of Andalusia, in order that the Papal revocation 
of the powers held by Vargas might in no case divest Gracian of his 
authority there. Gracian thenceforward therefore held the authority by 
a double tenure : i.e. by Vargas' transfer and by the direct brief of the 
Nuncio. The authority over Castile was given to him four months later 
for the reasons stated above. 

It is curious that Sta Teresa herself did not know until a few months 
before she saw Gracian that Veas was for ecclesiastical purposes in 
Andalusia. She first learnt it from her Prioress at Valladolid, Maria 
Bautista. MAKTIN HUME.] 

Seville 167 

me, but different from what was necessary for my purpose, 
and so it had to be sent back to the Court again. For I had 
written to the foundresses saying that in no wise could it be 
founded unless permission were obtained for a certain parti- 
cular thing which was here lacking ; so it had to go back to 
the Court. I myself did not at all like waiting at Veas so 
long, and I wanted to go back to Castille. But, as Father 
Fray Jer6nimo was there, to whom that convent was already 
subject, he being Commissary of all the Province of Castille 1 , 
I could do nothing without his will ; so I communicated with 
him. He thought that, once I was gone, the foundation at 
Caravaca would drop through. Also that it would be greatly 
to the service of God to found a convent at Seville : which 
seemed to him very easy, because certain people had asked 
him for it who were very well able to give a house at once ; 
and the Archbishop of Seville was so much in favour of the 
Order that he felt certain it would be doing him a great 
pleasure. So it was agreed that the Prioress and nuns whom 
I was taking for Caravaca should go to Seville. 

For certain reasons I had always greatly resisted the foun- 
dation of convents in Andalusia. (For when I went to Veas, 
if I had known that it was in the Province of Andalusia, I 
should never have gone : but the mistake was that, although 
it is not in the country of Andalusia, but, I think, about four 
or five leagues before that begins, it is in that [ecclesiastical] 
Province.) Yet, when I found that that was the mind of 
the Superior, I immediately fell in with it: for our Lord 
gives me grace to think that they are right in every- 
thing. Although I had settled to found elsewhere, and 
although I had certain very serious reasons against going to 

1 [A slip for Andalusia. Tr.] 

168 Chapter XXIV 

Seville, I began to prepare for the journey quickly, because 
it was beginning to be very hot. 

Father Gracian, the Apostolic Commissary, being sent for 
by the Nuncio, went off by himself, and we to Seville with 
my good escort, Father Julian of Avila and Antonio Gaytan 
and a Barefoot Brother. We went well covered up in carts, 
which was always our manner of travelling, and when we went 
into the inn we took an apartment good or bad as there might 
be, and a Sister took in at the door whatever we needed; for 
not even those who travelled with us came in. We made such 
haste that, although we did not travel on feast days, we got 
to Seville on the Thursday before the Feast of the Blessed 
Trinity, having endured the greatest heat on the journey. 
For I can tell you, Sisters, that when the whole force of the 
sun was beating down on the carts, going into them was like 
going into a purgatory. What with sometimes thinking on 
hell, at other times feeling that they were doing and suffering 
something for God, the Sisters travelled very contentedly and 
cheerfully : for six of those who went with me were souls such 
that I think I could have ventured to go with them into the 
land of the Turks and they would have had courage, or more 
properly speaking, the Lord would have given it them to suffer 
for Him. For such were their desires and their conversation, 
well trained as they were in prayer and mortification. Because, 
as they had to remain so far away, I had arranged that they 
should be of those who seemed to me most fitted for the purpose. 
And they needed it all, they had to go through such troubles: 
some of which, and the greatest, I will not relate, because a 
certain person might be concerned. 

One day before Whitsuntide, God gave them a grievous 
trouble, which was the giving me a very bad fever. I believe 
that it was their crying to God which availed to arrest the 

Seville 169 

sickness : for never in my life have I had a fever of that kind 
which did not go on to worse. It was of such a sort that 
I seemed like one asleep, I was so light-headed. They took 
to throwing water on my face, but so hot from the sun that it 
gave but little refreshment. I will not omit to tell you what 
a bad lodging we had in this extremity : that is, they gave us 
a little room with an unceiled roof. It had no window ; and 
if the door was opened, the full sun poured in. You must 
remember that the sun there is not like the sun of Castille, 
but much more harassing. They had me laid in a bed, but 
I thought it better to lie on the floor, because the bed was so 
uneven that I did not know how to lie in it, for it seemed to 
be made of sharp stones. What a thing is sickness! for in 
health everything is easy to bear. At last I thought it best 
to get up and go on : for the sun seemed more bearable in the 
open air than in that little room. What must it be for the 
wretched people in hell, who can never make a change, for ever ! 
For although it be from hardship to hardship, a change seems 
some alleviation. I have sometimes happened to have a severe 
pain somewhere, and if I got one somewhere else, although 
quite as painful, the change seemed an alleviation. So it was 
in this case. It gave me no distress that I can remember to 
find myself ill: the Sisters suffered much more than I did. 
It pleased the Lord that the worst of it did not last more 
than that day. 

A little before that it may have been two days some- 
thing else happened which put us in a little difficulty while 
we were crossing the Guadalquivir in a ferryboat. At the 
time when the carts crossed, it was not possible to go straight 
across where the rope was, but slanting down the stream, 
although the rope partly helped us, slanting it also. But 
those who were holding it chanced to let it go, or somehow 

170 Chapter XXIV 

it happened that the ferryboat floated away with the cart 
without rope or oars. Seeing the ferryman's distress I 
minded very much more than the danger. We fell to 
prayer, all aloud. There was a gentleman watching us 
from a castle near at hand, and, moved with pity, he sent 
someone to help us, while we still had the rope, and our 
brethren were holding on to it with all their might ; but the 
force of the current carried them all away, so that some of 
them tumbled down. A son of the ferryman caused me such 
edification that indeed I shall never forget it he looked about 
ten or eleven he was so unhappy at seeing his father in trouble 
that it made me give praise to our Lord. But as His Majesty 
always tempers afflictions with mercy, so it was here; for the 
boat happened to ground on a sandbank, and there was not 
much water between it and the bank, and so all came right. 
We should have had difficulty in finding our way out to the 
road, for it was already dark, if the men from the castle had 
not guided us. I did not mean to speak of these things, which 
are of little importance, or I might have told of plenty of 
misadventures by the way: I have been begged to narrate 
this one at some length. 

A far greater trouble to me than the above was what 
befell us on the last day of Whitsuntide. We had made 
great haste to arrive early at Cordova, so as to hear mass 
without anyone's seeing us, and we were directed to a church 
across the river, for greater retirement. When we came to 
cross, we had no licence for carts to cross, for the mayor has 
to give it: and more than two hours passed before it came, 
because they were not up ; and many people kept coming to 
find out who was travelling there. This we did not much mind, 
because they could not ; for we travelled very closely shut in. 
When at last the licence came, the carts could not get through 

Seville . 171 

the door of the bridge, and had to be cut smaller or something 
in which more time was spent. 

When at last we arrived at the church where Father 
Julian of Avila was to say mass, it was full of people, because 
it was the Feast of its dedication to the Holy Spirit, of which 
we did not know ; and there was a great festival and a sermon. 
When I saw this, I was greatly concerned ; and to my thinking 
it would have been better to go away without hearing mass 
than to go down into such a hurly-burly. Father Julian 
thought not; and as he is a theologian, we Sisters all had 
to bow to his judgement; for the rest of our escort perhaps 
would have followed mine, which would have been very im- 
proper : although I do not know that I should have trusted 
my judgement alone. We alighted close to the church. And 
although nobody could see our faces, for we always wore long 
veils over them, it was enough to see us in them and the 
white serge cloaks which we always wear, and sandals, to stir 
them all up : and so it did. The shock of this it must have 
been for assuredly it was a severe one to me and to us all 
that quite drove away my fever. 

As soon as we entered the church, a good man came up to 
me to keep off the people. I earnestly begged him to take us 
into some chapel. He did so, and locked it, and did not 
leave us until we started again to get out of the church. 
A few days after this he came to Seville, and he told a 
Father of our Order that he thought God had done him a favour 
on account of that good deed of his; for he had been given 
a large property of which he had no expectation. 

I can tell you, daughters, that although this may seem 
nothing to you, it was for me one of the worst moments that 
I have passed ; for the uproar among the people was as if bulls 
had come into the church. So I was longing to get out of the 

172 Chapter XXIV 

place. Although there was no place near at hand wherein to 
spend the festival, we kept it under a bridge 1 . 

When we had arrived at Seville at a house which Father 
Mariano had hired for us, for he had been told beforehand to 
do so, I thought everything was accomplished. For, as I have 
said, the Archbishop was greatly in favour of the Barefoot 
Carmelites ; and he had sometimes written to me, shewing me 
great affection. This did not suffice to shield me from much 
trouble; for God so willed it. The Archbishop is much 
against convents of nuns without endowment; and he has 
good grounds for his view. That was the mischief or 
rather the good, that this work might be accomplished for 
if they had told him of it before I set out, I am certain he 
would never have agreed to it. But the Father Commissary 
and Father Mariano, being perfectly certain that my going 
would give him the greatest satisfaction, and that they were 
doing him the greatest service through my going, did not tell 
him beforehand. And, as I say, it might have been a great 
mistake, they thinking that they were right. For, in the rest 
of the convents, the first thing which I sought to obtain was 
the licence of the Ordinary, as the Holy Council 2 [of Trent] 
commands. In this case we not only took it as given, but, as 
I say, thought we were doing him a great service, as indeed it 
was, and he has since seen it. But it has been the Lord's 
pleasure that no foundation should be made without much 
trouble to me, some in one way, some in another. 

Well, when we arrived at the house which, as I have said, 
had been hired for us, I thought to take possession immediately, 

1 And to get possession of even this they had to turn out some pigs, as 
the Venerable Julian of Avila relates in his Life of the Saint. 

2 The Council ordered that the Ordinary's leave was to be prlus 
obtenta obtained beforehand. 

Seville 173 

as we were used to do, in order to say the Divine Office. But 
Father Mariano for it was he who was on the spot began 
to put me off; for he did not like to tell me the whole truth, 
not to distress me. But as his reasons were insufficient, I 
saw what the difficulty was that we had not got the licence. 
Thus he told me he thought it had better be an endowed 
convent, or other things of that kind ; I forget what. At 
last he told me that the Archbishop did not like a convent 
for nuns to be established by his leave, nor since he had been 
Archbishop had he ever given leave for any. (He had been 
many years there and at Cordova, and he is a great servant 
of God 1 .) Particularly for a convent without endowment: 
and he would not give it. This was as much as to say that 
the convent would not be founded. For one thing, its being 
in the city of Seville would have gone much against the grain 
with me : because the places where I have founded endowed 
Houses are little villages, where they must either be founded 
in this way or not at all, because there is no means of sup- 
porting them. For another thing, we had only one half- 
penny left over from the cost of the journey, nor had we 
brought any goods with us except the clothes we wore, and 
some tunics and hoods, and what was necessary for travelling 
hidden up and comfortably in the carts: and for the return 
journey of those who had come with us we had to try to 
borrow money. A friend of Antonio Gaytan's lent him this ; 
and Father Mariano tried to borrow some for fitting up the 
house; nor had we a house of our own. So it was an im- 

1 The Archbishop was the celebrated Don Cristobal de Eojas y 
Sandoval, formerly Bishop of Oviedo and of Cordova. He was pro- 
moted to Seville in 1571, and died in 1580. He was present at the 
Council of Trent, and he was distinguished by his strictness in matters 
of ecclesiastical order and discipline and his charity to the poor. 

174 Chapter XXIV 

It must have been for the aforesaid Fathers' great im- 
portunity that the Archbishop allowed us to hear mass for 
the Day of the Blessed Trinity, which was our first day 
there. He sent to say that no bell was to be rung; nor even 
put up, he said, unless it was put up already. In this way 
we went on more than a fortnight ; and I know my mind 
was, that if it had not been for the Father Commissary and 
Father Mariano, I should have returned with my nuns to 
Veas for the foundation of Caravaca, with small sorrow. 
Much more did I endure during that time as my memory 
is bad, I do not remember how long it was, but I think over 
a month. For the going away in the end would have been 
worse to bear than going right away at once; because 
people had heard about the convent. Father Mariano would 
never let me write to the Archbishop, but little by little he 
kept getting him to relent, being aided in this by letters from 
the Father Commissary from Madrid. 

One thing relieved me myself from much doubt : and that 
was our having had mass said with his leave ; and we always 
said the Divine Office in Choir. He did not omit to send 
people to visit me, and to say that he would soon see me; 
and it was one of his own servants he sent about saying the 
first mass. Whence I saw clearly that all this served no 
purpose but to keep me in distress; although my distress 
was not for myself, nor for my nuns, but for the Father 
Commissary's distress; for it was great, as it was he who 
had commanded me to go: and it would have been very 
great if any disaster had taken place, for which there were 
abundant occasions. 

During that time the Calced Fathers also came, to know 
by what authority we were founding. I shewed them the 
patents I had from our Most Reverend Father General; and 
with this they were satisfied: but I think this would not 

Seville 175 

have sufficed, if they had known about the Archbishop. But 
nobody thought of this; for everyone believed that it was 
much to his liking and satisfaction. At last it pleased God 
that he should come to see us ; and I told him what harm 
he was doing us. In the end he said that what I wished 
should be done, and as I wished: and from that time forward 
he has always favoured us and done us kindnesses at every 


Continues the account of the Foundation at Seville, and what 
took place in moving into a house of the nuns' own. 

NOBODY could have supposed that in so chief a city as 
Seville, and with such rich inhabitants, there would be less 
of the wherewithal for founding than in any other place where 
I had been. So much less was there that I sometimes thought 
it would be better for us not to have a convent in that town. 
I do not know whether it is the climate of the country, but 
I have always heard say that the devils have a freer hand to 
tempt us there ; which must be given them by God : and thus 
they set upon me, for I never in my life felt myself more 
pusillanimous and cowardly than I found myself there; in- 
deed I hardly recognized myself. The trust, indeed, which 
I am accustomed to put in our Lord did not fail me; but my 
natural self was so different from what I usually am since 
I have been occupied in these matters, that I could see that 
the Lord was partly withdrawing His hand, to remain in His 
own Being, and that I might see that, if I had possessed 
courage, it was not my own. 

Well, we had been there from the time that I said until 

176 Chapter XXV 

a little before Lent, and there was not the slightest prospect 
of buying a house: neither wherewithal; nor anyone who 
would be surety for us, as elsewhere. For those who had said 
so much to the Father, the Apostolic Visitor, about entering 
the Order, and had begged him to bring nuns, must afterwards 
have thought our strictness excessive, and more than they 
could stand : and only one entered, as I shall presently tell. 
It was already time to send for me to come from Andalusia, 
because other affairs were presenting themselves here 1 . It 
caused me the greatest distress to leave the nuns without 
a house; although I saw very well that I was of no use there ; 
for the favour which God shews me here, of having someone 
to help me in these works, was not shewn me there. 

It pleased God that at that moment there came from the 
Indies one of my brothers, Lorencio de Cepeda, who had been 
out there thirty-four years: and he took it to heart even 
more than I that the nuns should remain without a house of 
their own. He helped us a great deal, particularly in man- 
aging to get the house in which they now are. I also at that 
time urged it much more earnestly on our Lord, beseeching 
Him not to let me go away without leaving them a house; 
and I made the Sisters pray for it, and ask it of the glorious 
St Joseph, and we made many processions and prayers to our 
Lady. And what with this and with seeing my brother bent 
on helping us, I began to negotiate about buying certain 
houses. But when, it seemed, it was just going to be settled, 
it was all unsettled again. 

One day when I was in prayer, beseeching of God that, 
since they were His spouses and so greatly desired to serve 

1 [At Toledo. She had been ordered to leave Andalusia and to remain, 
as she says, "as a sort of prisoner," in any convent she chose, in 
Castille, until further orders. Tr.j 

Seville 177 

Him, He would give them a house, He said, Let me be; 
I have heard thee. This left me well content, feeling I 
had the house already. So it was. His Majesty saved us 
from buying one with which everybody was satisfied because 
it was in a good situation: but it was so old and so badly 
arranged that we should have been buying nothing but the site, 
and for little less money than the house which they now have. 
And when it was already settled, and nothing to be done but 
sign the papers, I was not at all satisfied, feeling that this did 
not agree with the last words which I had heard in my prayer ; 
because I thought those words meant that we were to be given 
a good house. And so it proved; for the seller himself, 
though he was to get a good price for it, made difficulties 
about signing the papers, although he had promised to do so ; 
and we were able, without any wrong-doing, to get out of the 
agreement. This was a great mercy ; for they would not have 
finished working at the house during the life time of the 
Sisters who are there ; and they would have had a great deal 
to do and little wherewithal. 

This was greatly due to a servant of God who, almost 
from the time we first got there, when he heard that we had 
no mass, came every day to say it for us, although his house 
was a long way off, and the sun tremendous. His name was 
Garci Alvarez. He was a very good man, esteemed in the 
city for his good works, which were the only thing he ever 
occupied himself with : and if he had been well off, we should 
have lacked nothing. 

As he knew the house well, it seemed to him folly to give 
so much for it, and so he kept telling us every day, until he 
succeeded and there was no more talk of it. He and my 
brother went to see the one in which the nuns now live. 
They came back saying they liked it very much, and with 

T. F. 12 

178 Chapter XXV 

good reason ; and our Lord desired it : and in two or three 
days the papers were signed. 

A good deal happened before we got into it : for the 
tenant was not willing to quit: and the Franciscan friars 1 
living close at hand came at once to require us not on any 
account to move into it. And if the deeds had not been 
so securely made, I should have thanked God that they could 
be annulled; for we found ourselves in peril of paying the price 
of the house, six thousand ducats, without being able to go 
into it. The Prioress 2 would not have desired this, but rather 
she thanked God that they could not be annulled : for His 
Majesty gave to her much more faith and courage than to me, 
in all that concerned that house. So indeed she has in every- 
thing, for she is a great deal better than me. 

We were more than a month in this hard case. At last it 
pleased God that the Prioress and I and two other nuns went 
in with great fear, one night, so that the friars should not know 
of it until we had taken possession. The men who went with 
us said that every shadow they saw they thought was a friar. 
At daybreak, the good Garci Alvarez, who went with us, said 
the first mass in it ; and so we were left without fear. 

Jesus, what fears I have been through while taking posses- 
sion ! I reflect that if such great dread is experienced in going 
not to do harm, but in the service of God, what must it be 
for those who go to do harm, against God and against their 
neighbour. I cannot think what profit they can have or what 
pleasure they can seek, with such a counterpoise. 

1 The Canon law forbids the establishing of new monasteries close to 
old ones, for very good reasons. 

2 Maria de San Jos6 of Molina. She was a very able woman. 
St Theresa had a very high opinion of her: and from this year onwards 
she carried on a copious correspondence with her. 

Seville 179 

I had not even my brother there: for he had taken sanctuary, 
on account of a certain mistake which had been made in the 
papers, they having been drawn up in such haste, and the 
convent stood to lose much by it : and as he was surety, they 
sought to take him to prison; and as he was not a native of 
the place, it would have given us a great deal of trouble. And 
so it did even as it was : for he was in difficulties until he had 
given them a property on which they took security. After- 
wards the business went on smoothly : although there was some 
time wasted in the legal proceedings, that I might have more 

We were enclosed in some rooms on the ground floor : and 
he spent all the day there with the workmen, and he gave us 
our food, and so indeed he had done for some time : because, 
since everyone did not know that it was a convent, as we were 
in a private house, there was but little alms, except from a 
saintly old man, a great servant of God, who was Prior of 
the Carthusian monastery of Las Cuevas. He was one of the 
Pantojas of Avila. God put into his heart a great affection for 
us from the time we went there; and I believe he will go on 
doing us good in every possible way so long as his life lasts. 
Because it is right, my daughters, that you should commend 
to God anyone who has so greatly helped us, if you should 
read this, be they living or dead, I set it down here. We owe 
much to that saintly man. 

This went on, I think, more than a month: but my 
memory is bad in the matter of time, so I may be wrong : 
always understand that it may be a little more or less ; for it 
is of no importance. During this month my brother worked 
hard in making a chapel out of some rooms, and in so fitting 
it all up that after he had finished we had nothing more to do. 
I wanted to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved very quietly, 


180 Chapter XXV 

because I do not at all like giving trouble when it can be 
helped; and so I told Father Garci Alvarez. He talked it 
over with the Prior of Las Cuevas, for they were quite as 
anxious about our affairs as if they had been their own ; and 
they thought that this could not be allowed, but that it must 
be done solemnly, in order that the convent might become 
known in Seville. So they went to the Archbishop. Between 
them all they agreed that the Blessed Sacrament should be 
brought from a parish church with great solemnity; and 
the Archbishop ordered the clergy to take part in it, and 
some Confraternities, and the streets to be decorated. 

The good Garci Alvarez decorated our cloister, which, as 
I have said, served at that time as a passage, and the chapel 
most elaborately, with very fine altars and devices. Among 
them was a fountain of orange-flower-water. This he made 
without our seeking or even liking it, although afterwards we 
were much edified. And we were rejoiced to see our festival 
ordered with such solemnity, and the streets so decorated and 
so many instruments of music and minstrels that the saintly 
Prior of Las Cuevas told me that he had never seen the like at 
Seville; and it was clearly seen to be the work of God. He 
himself went in the procession, contrary to his custom 1 . The 
Archbishop set the Blessed Sacrament in its place. You see 
here, my daughters, the poor Barefoot Carmelites honoured 
by everyone, when a little time before it would have seemed 
there was not even water for them although there is plenty 
in that river. It was quite extraordinary, the number of 
people who came. 

One thing happened which all who saw it say is worth 
noting. Although there had been so many salvoes of artillery 

1 Carthusians, being bound to a solitary and retired life, do not take 
part in processions. 

Seville 181 

and rockets, yet after the procession was over, which was about 
dusk, it came into their heads to let off more, or somehow it 
happened that a little powder took fire and they think it a 
great wonder that it did not kill the man who was holding it. 
A great flame rose up to the roof of the cloister, the arches of 
which were covered with silks, which they thought must have 
been burnt to ashes ; but though they were yellow and crim- 
son, it did them no damage whatever. And the wonderful 
thing which I have to tell you is that the stone of the arches, 
underneath the silk, was blackened by the smoke, while the 
silk which was over it was just as if the fire had not been near 
it. Everyone was astonished when they saw it : and the nuns 
thanked the Lord, for we had no money to pay for more silk. 
The devil must have been so enraged at the solemn festival which 
had taken place, and at seeing another house of God, that he 
must have wanted to revenge himself somehow ; but His 
Majesty did not give place to him. May He be blessed for 
ever and ever ! Amen. 


Continues the account of the Foundation at Seville. Of the first 
nun who joined the Convent, and of her remarkable history. 

You may well imagine, my daughters, the joy we felt that 
day. My own, I can tell you, was very great, especially in 
seeing that I was leaving the Sisters in so good a house in so 
good a situation, and that the monastery was known; and 
that there were nuns in the house who had money enough to 
pay the greater part of the price of the house, so that with 
those who should be received to make up the number 1 , if they 

1 [i.e., thirteen. Tr.] 

182 Chapter XXVI 

brought in only a little, they would be left free of debt. And 
above all, it cheered me to have enjoyed the fruit of our 
labours. But, when I ought to have taken some rest, I went 
off. For this festival was the Sunday before Whitsunday, 
1576, and I started immediately on the following Monday, 
because the heat was becoming great, and in order, if possible, 
not to travel at Whitsuntide, but to spend it at Malagon ; for 
I had desired to stay there some day: and therefore I hastened 
my movements. I should have liked to hear mass once in the 
chapel, but this was not the Lord's will. 

The Sisters' joy was tempered by my departure; for they 
felt it much, as we had been together that year and gone 
through so many troubles. As I have said, the worst troubles 
I do not set down here. For I think (except the foundation 
at Avila, for with that there is no comparison) that no 
foundation has cost me so much as this one, because my 
trials were mostly interior. May it please the Divine Majesty 
that He may always be served therein, for then the troubles 
are as nothing. And so I hope He will be ; for His Majesty 
began to draw good souls to that house: and about those 
who remained there of the nuns whom I took with me, 
which was five, I have already told you what can be told 
which is the least part of how good they were. 

Of the first who entered there I wish to speak, because it 
will give you pleasure. She is a girl who was the daughter 
of very good Christian parents. Her father came from the 
mountains. When she was very young, about seven, an aunt 
of her's who was childless begged her of her mother to live 
with her. She took her home, and made much of her, shewing 
her all due affection. Some of her women must have been 
in hopes that she would leave them her property ; and it was 
clear that, if she cared for the child, she would wish it rather 

Seville 183 

to go to her. So they agreed to avert that contingency by 
a devil's deed. They accused the child of wishing to kill her 
aunt: and said that for this purpose she had given one of 
them I do not know how many maravedis to get her some 
corrosive sublimate. When they told the aunt, as they all 
three said the same thing, she at once believed them: and 
so did the child's mother, who is a most virtuous woman. 
She took the child and brought her home, thinking she 
was bringing up a girl who would be a very wicked woman. 
Beatrice of the Mother of God for that is her name told 
me that every day for more than a year she beat and punished 
her, and made her sleep on the floor, to make her confess such 
a great sin. As the little girl said she had not done it, and 
did not know what corrosive sublimate was, she thought 
much worse of her, seeing her obstinate enough to deny it. 
The poor woman was miserable at seeing her so stubborn in 
denying it, thinking that she could never amend. It was a 
wonder that the little girl did not accuse herself in order to 
escape such torments ; but as she was innocent, God enabled 
her always to speak the truth. And as His Majesty always 
protects those who are not to blame, He sent two of these 
women such a grievous sickness that it seemed as if they had 
raging madness. They sent secretly for the little girl to come 
to her aunt, and begged her pardon; and, seeing themselves at 
the point of death, they retracted their charge : and the third, 
who died in childbirth, did the same. Finally all three died 
in torments, in requital of what they had made that innocent 
child suffer. This I have heard not only from herself: for her 
mother, when she saw her a nun, being distressed to think of 
all her illtreatment of her, told it me together with other 
things for great were the girl's sufferings. Though she was 
a very good Christian, God permitted her, knowing no better, 

184 Chapter XXVI 

to be so cruel to her daughter, though she greatly loved her. 
She is a very truthful and religious woman. 

When the child was perhaps just over twelve, she con- 
ceived a great devotion towards the Saints of Mount Carmel, 
from reading a book about the life of St Anne : for it says there 
that St Anne's mother (I think her name was Merenciana) 
often went to speak with them ; and hence she conceived such 
a great devotion to the Order of our Lady that she immedi- 
ately vowed chastity and to be a nun in that Order. She 
observed many times of solitude and prayer, when she could. 
God gave her great graces in her prayer, and so did our Lady, 
and very special ones. She would have liked to become a nun 
without delay, but dared not because of her parents : no more 
did she know where to find this Order; for it was a curious 
thing that, though there was at Seville a convent of the 
Mitigated Rule, she never knew of it until she heard of our 
convents, which was many years later. 

When she came to the age for marrying her, her parents 
arranged a marriage for her, though she was full young for 
her age ; but she was the only child they had. (For though 
they had had others, they all had died ; and this one, who was 
the least beloved, remained to them. For when there befell 
her what I have narrated, she had one brother living, who took 
her part and said they ought not to believe it.) They had 
already completely arranged the marriage, never thinking that 
she would do anything else : and when they came to tell her, 
she told them of the vow she had made not to marry, and 
that she would not do it for anything they could do to her, not 
if they killed her. 

The devil blinded them, or God permitted it, that she 
might suffer as a martyr, but they thought she must have 
misbehaved herself in some way, and therefore was unwilling 

Seville 185 

to marry. And as they had already given their word, and 
they felt what an affront it was to the other party, they gave 
her so many beatings and inflicted such tortures, even to 
hanging her up and throttling her, that it was only a chance 
they did not kill her. God Who had need of her for other 
things preserved her life. She told me that towards the end 
she hardly felt anything, because she called to mind what 
St Agnes had suffered, for the Lord brought it to her memory, 
and it was a happiness to her to suffer something for Him, 
and she kept offering it up to Him. They thought she would 
die ; for she was three months in bed, unable to move. 

It seems a very strange thing how her parents could have 
thought such evil of a girl who never left her mother's 
side, and whose father, as I heard, lived very quietly. For 
she was always religious and virtuous, and so charitable 
that she gave away everything she could get. If our Lord 
wills to bestow the favour of suffering on any one, His means 
are many. However, for some years God had kept shewing 
them the virtues of their daughter, so that they gave her what- 
ever she wanted to give in alms; and their persecutions were 
turned into kindnesses. Nevertheless, all was wearisome to 
her, for the mind she had to be a nun: and so, as she told 
me, she lived dissatisfied and sad. 

Thirteen or fourteen years before Father Gracian went to 
Seville, when there was no thought of Barefoot Carmelites, some- 
thing happened. She was with her father and mother and two 
other neighbours, and a Brother of our Order, habited in serge, 
as they now are, and barefoot, entered the room. They say his 
countenance was ruddy and venerable, but he was so ancient that 
his long beard was like threads of silver 1 . He placed himself 
close to her, and began to say a few words in a language which 
neither she nor anyone else understood; and, when he had done 
1 Thus the Prophet Elijah was usually represented. 

186 Chapter XXVI 

speaking, he made the sign of the cross over her thrice, saying, 
' * Beatriz, God mak e thee strong, "and departed . Nobody stirred 
while he was there, but were as in a maze. Then her father 
asked her who it was. She supposed that her father knew 
him. In great haste they arose to seek for him, but he was 
seen no more. She was left greatly comforted, and all were 
amazed : for they saw that the thing was from God : and so 
they began, as I have said, to think great things of her. 
After this, all those years went by, I think fourteen, in which 
she continued steadfast in serving our Lord and praying that 
He would accomplish her desire. 

She was in great sadness, when Father Master Fray Ger6nimo 
Gracian went to Seville. One day she went to hear a sermon 
at a church at Triana, where her father lived, not knowing who 
would be the preacher. It was the Father Master Gracian. 
She saw him come out to receive the benediction : and when she 
saw the habit and the bare feet, at once it recalled the monk 
whom she had seen ; for the habit was the same, though the 
countenance and the age were different, for Father Gracian was 
not yet thirty. She told me that she almost fainted with the 
excess of joy. For though she had heard that a monastery 
had been founded at Triana, she did not know that it was of 
the Carmelite Order. 

From that day she set to work at once to get Father 
Gracian to hear her Confessions : and it pleased God that this 
also should cost her much ; for she went about a dozen times, 
more or less, and he would never hear her. She was young 
and good looking, for she was not then seven and twenty; 
and he, being very reserved, kept off from any communi- 
cations with people like her. At last one day when she was 
in the church crying for she too was very shy a woman 
asked her what was the matter, and she said that for so long 
she had been wanting to speak to the Father who was then 

Seville 187 

hearing Confessions, and could not tell how. The woman 
took her to him and begged that he would hear this girl. 
And so he came to be her ordinary confessor. When he saw a 
soul so richly endowed, he was glad ; and he comforted her by 
telling her that possibly Barefoot nuns might be coming there, 
and he would see that they received her at once. And so it 
was : for the first thing he bade me was that she should be the 
first we received, for he was satisfied with the state of her soul; 
and so he told her. 

When we went there, she made a great point of her 
parents' not hearing of it, because if they did, she would not 
succeed in coming to us. And so on that very day, Trinity 
Sunday, she left the women who went with her (for her mother 
did not go to Confession with her, and it was a long way to 
the Barefoot monastery, where she always went to Confession, 
and gave away much in alms, and her parents through her). 
She had arranged with a lady, a great servant of God, to fetch 
her to us. This lady was well known in Seville as a servant 
of God, occupied in good works. So the women who went 
with her let her go, on her saying that she would soon come 
back. She took her habit and her serge cloak, so heavy that I 
do not know how she could move ; but it was nothing to her 
for the joy she felt. Her only fear was lest it might be 
noticed how loaded she was, and she might be stopped : for it 
was very different from her usual way of going about. What 
will not the love of God effect ! And since she already had 
given up human respect 1 nor thought of anything but the fear 

1 [Honra. Often wrongly translated honour, whereby St Theresa has 
been made to teach that religion and honour are opposed. Honour, as 
an inner principle, is honor. There is the same sort of distinction 
between our English honour, the inward, and honours, the outward 
dignity. Tr.] 

188 Chapter XXVI 

lest her desire should be baulked, we opened the door to her 
without delay. I sent to tell her mother. She came as one 
beside herself, but she said that she already saw what a 
favour God was doing to her daughter. And, although 
sorrowfully, she accepted it without taking to extreme courses 
such as refusing to speak to her daughter, as some others do : 
on the contrary she continually gave us large alms. The 
spouse of Jesus Christ began to enjoy the fruition of her 
great desire. She was so lowly and such a lover of work that 
we had enough ado to get the broom away from her : though 
she had been so waited upon at home, all her pleasure was 
in hard work. Her happiness quickly made her grow much 
fatter ; and her father thought a great deal of this, so that her 
parents soon were pleased at her being with us. 

That she might not have such complete rejoicing without 
sufferings, some two or three months before the time for her 
Profession, she experienced great temptations : not that she 
determined to give up her Profession, but it seemed to her a 
very dreadful thing. All the years of her suffering for the 
sake of what she now enjoyed were forgotten : the devil so 
fiercely beset her that she could do nothing with herself ; but 
in spite of all, doing the greatest violence to herself, she so 
overcame him that in the midst of the storm she covenanted 
to be professed. Three days before her Profession, our Lord, 
Who must have been only waiting to prove her constancy the 
more, visited her and put the devil to flight and comforted 
her very specially. This left her so happy that those three 
days she seemed beside herself with joy, and with great 
cause, for it was a great mercy. Not many days after 
her Profession, her father died, and her mother took the 
habit in the same convent, and bestowed on it everything 
she possessed : and mother and daughter are living in the 

Caravaca 189 

greatest happiness, to the edification of all the nuns, and 
serving Him Who had shewn them such great mercy. Before 
another year had gone by, another girl also came, greatly 
against the will of her parents. And thus the Lord keeps 
peopling His house with souls so desirous of pleasing Him 
that no rigour nor enclosure puts them from it. May He be 
for ever blessed and praised for ever. Amen. 


Of the Foundation at Caravaca, on the first of January 1576. 
The Convent was dedicated to St Joseph. 

WHEN I was at St Joseph's of Avila, prepared to start for 
the foundation at Veas of which I have spoken, and ready all 
but putting on the clothes we were going in, there arrived a 
special messenger, sent by a lady of Caravaca named Dona 
Catalina 1 because there had come to her house, after a sermon 
they had heard preached by a Father of the Company of Jesus, 
three young ladies, resolved not to leave the house until a 
convent should be founded in the town. It must have been 
arranged beforehand between them and the lady, for she it 
was who helped them towards the foundation. They were 
daughters of the foremost gentlemen of the town. The father 
of one of them was Rodrigo de Moya 2 , a very great servant of 
God, and of excellent judgement. Between them all they had 
enough money to attempt such an undertaking. They had 

1 In St Theresa's MS. there is a blank left for the surname [de 
Otalora], which she could not remember. 

2 His daughter's name (for daughters did not always bear the same 
name as their father) was Francisca de Cuellar, afterwards Sister 
Francisca of the Cross. 

190 Chapter XXVII 

heard of the work which our Lord was doing in the founding 
of our convents, for they had been told by Fathers of the 
Company of Jesus, who always have helped and furthered it. 

When I saw the fervent desire of these souls, and that 
they were coming from so far to seek the Order of our Lady, it 
stirred me and made me wish to further their good intention. 
And hearing that Caravaca was near Veas, I took with me 
more nuns than I had been about to take, intending to go on 
there, when the foundation of Veas was accomplished ; for, 
from the letters, I thought this other foundation could not 
fail to be arranged. 

But as the Lord had appointed otherwise, my plans were 
of little avail, as I have said in my account of the foundation 
at Seville : for when the licence of the Council of Orders was 
brought, it was so made out that, although I had already 
settled to go, I did not. It is true that when, at Veas, I found 
out where Caravaca was : and found that it was so out of the 
way and such a bad road from one place to the other that 
those who had to visit the nuns would have trouble in doing 
so, and that the superiors would not be best pleased, I felt 
very little inclination to go and found there. But, as I had 
given them good hopes of it, I begged Father Julian of Avila 
and Antonio Gaytan to go there and see how matters stood, 
and to break it off, if they thought fit. 

They found the affair very lukewarm, not on the part of 
the intending nuns, but on that of Dona Catalina, on whom 
the whole thing turned. She was keeping them in an apart- 
ment by themselves as being already enclosed. 

The nuns were so resolute I mean those who purposed to 
be nuns and knew so well how to gain over Father Julian of 
Avila and Antonio Gaytan, that before they came away they 
left the papers signed, and came away leaving the nuns well 

Caravaca 191 

contented : and they came back so full of the country and of 
the nuns and of the mishaps of their journey l that they could 
not stop talking about it. 

When I saw that it was already settled, but the licence 
was long in coming, I sent the good Antonio Gaytan back 
again ; and he took all this trouble with a very good will, out 
of affection for me. Besides, those two had a mind that the 
convent should be founded : for indeed, it is they who are to 
be thanked for this foundation ; for if they had not gone and 
arranged for it, I should not have cared to make it. I told 
him to go and put up a turn 2 and gratings wherever they were 
going to take possession ; and that the nuns should stay there 
until a suitable house could be found. So he stayed there 
some time : and Rodrigo Moya, who, as I have said, was the 
father of one of the girls, gave them part of his own house. 
And Antonio Gaytan stayed there some time arranging this 
with a very good will. 

When they brought the licence and I was upon the point 
of starting, I found that the licence provided that the house 
should be subject to the Knights Commanders, and the nuns 
be under their obedience : a thing which was not in my power 
to do, since it was to be a house of the Order of our Lady of 
Carmel. So they went back to petition afresh for a licence: for 
otherwise there was no means of having a house either there or 
at Veas. But the King was so gracious to me that, on my writing 
to him, he ordered the licence to be given. For the King, who 

1 In his Life of St Theresa, Father Julian of Avila describes at great 
length their misfortunes on the journey. Their guide was drunk, and 
Father Julian tried to instruct him in Christian doctrine, which muddled 
him the more, and he led them wrong. 

2 [Torno. A revolving shutter with a floor on which things could be 
placed and conveyed from without to within and within to without, 
while those who thus delivered them could not see each other. Tr.] 

192 Chapter XXVII 

is Don Felipe, takes pleasure in doing benefits to members of 
Religious Orders, and understands that they ought to keep 
their Rule ; and as he had heard of the customs of our 
monasteries and that they kept the primitive Rule, he has 
shewn us favour in every matter. Therefore, daughters, I 
earnestly beseech you always to make special supplications 
for his Majesty, as we do now. 

Well, as they had to go back again for the licence, I started 
for Seville by command of the Father Provincial, who, as I 
have said, was then and still is Father Master Fray Jer<5nimo 
Gracian of the Mother of God. And there were the poor 
damsels shut up until the New Year's Day following : and it 
was February when they sent to Avila. Shortly after my 
departure the licence came : but I was so far away and with so 
much to do, that I could not help them. I was very sorry for 
them : for they often wrote to me mournfully ; and so at last 
I could not bear to make them wait longer. Since it was 
impossible for me to go, being so far away, and the foundation 
at Seville not being completed, Father Master Fray Jer<5nimo 
Gracian, who, as I have said, was the Apostolic Visitor, agreed 
that, although I could not go, the nuns should go who 
were destined for that foundation, and had been staying at 
St Joseph's at Malagon. 

I had arranged that one should be prioress whom I could 
trust to do very well, for she is much better than me ; and 
they started, taking every precaution, with two of our Discalced 
Fathers : for Father Julian of Avila and Antonio Gaytan had 
returned to their own places some time ago; and I did not 
want them to go, because it was so far and such a bad time of 
year, being the end of December. 

When the nuns arrived, they were received with great joy 
by the people, especially by the girls who were shut up. They 

Caravaca 193 

founded the Convent, bringing in the Blessed Sacrament, on the 
Day of the Name of Jesus 1 , 1576. Two of the girls took the 
habit immediately. The other had a very melancholic tem- 
perament, and it must have been bad for her to be shut up at 
all, how much more in such great strictness and austerity. 
She agreed to go home again with a sister of hers. 

Consider, my daughters, the judgements of God, and under 
what obligation we are to serve Him, when He has allowed us 
to persevere up to our Profession and to remain ever in the 
house of God and as daughters of. the Virgin. For His 
Majesty made use of this girl's good will and of her wealth ; 
and just at the moment when she should have entered into the 
enjoyment of what she had so greatly desired, her courage 
failed her and she was overcome by her natural disposition- 
on which, daughters, we often put the fault of our failings and 
ficklenesses. May it please His Majesty to grant us the 
abundance of His grace : for with this, there will be nothing 
which can hinder our steps in advancing continually in His 
service. And may He defend us all and be favourable to us, 
lest through our weakness might be wasted a beginning so 
great as He has been pleased should be initiated by such a 
poor sort of women as we. In His Name I entreat you, my 
sisters and daughters, always to entreat this of our Lord ; and 
so let each do of those who come hereafter, for each is making a 
new beginning of keeping this primitive Rule of the Order of our 
Lady the Virgin : and in no wise consent to any relaxation. 
Consider that by very small things the door is opened to very 
great ones, and that, without your observing it, the world will 
be coming in upon you. 

Call to mind in what poverty and trouble has been estab- 
lished that which you now enjoy at your ease. And if you take 

1 [The Circumcision. Tr.] 
T. F. 13 

194 Chapter XXVII 

notice, you will see that most of these houses have been 
founded, not so much by man as by the mighty hand of God : 
and that His Majesty takes pleasure in carrying forward His 
own works, if they are not hindered by us. Whence think 
you that an insignificant woman like me could have had power 
to do such great works, being under obedience and without so 
much as a maravedi or any one who could help me with any- 
thing ? (For that brother of mine who helped in the foundation 
at Seville, having some money and a good heart and a mind 
to give some help, was in the Indies.) Behold, behold, my 
daughters, the hand of God. And then the favour shewn me 
has not been on account of illustrious birth : in every way, 
however you please to look at it, you will see that it is His 
work. It is not right that we should in any way lower it, even 
if it cost us our life, esteem, or peace. How much more when 
here we possess all these together ! For life is to live in such 
wise that neither death is feared nor any chances of this life, 
and to abide in the habitual joy which now is common to you 
all, and a prosperity than which none can be greater, which is, 
to desire poverty instead of fearing it. Then what can be 
compared to the inward and outward peace in which you live? 
In your own- hands it is to live and die in it, as you see those 
nuns die whom we have seen dying in these houses. Where- 
fore if you always pray to God to further the work and in no 
wise trust in yourselves, He will not deny you His mercy, if 
you have confidence in Him, and courageous souls : for His 
Majesty loveth such. 

Fear not that you will lack anything. If you are satisfied 
with the motives and abilities of those who come to be nuns, 
and that they are coming not for their own advantage, but in 
order to serve God more perfectly, and if they are endowed 
with virtues, never hold back from receiving them because they 

Caravaca 195 

are not endowed with this world's goods. For from some 
other quarter God will send you double what you would have 
received from them. I have great experience in this. Well 
does His Majesty know that, so far as I can remember, I have 
never held back from receiving anyone for want of money, if 
otherwise I was satisfied with her. Witness the many who 
have been received for God's sake alone, as you know. And 
I can assure you that it has not given me so much pleasure 
when I have received one who has brought in much as when I 
have taken them for God's sake alone : on the contrary, I have 
been in fear about those ; but the poor ones have cheered my 
heart, and it has given me a rejoicing so great that it has 
made me weep with joy. This is the truth. And then if 
when the houses had to be bought or built, God helped us 
even to do this, how should He not afterwards do so, giving 
us the means of living in them ? Believe me, daughters, that 
whereby you might think to gain, you would lose. When one 
who comes has money, not having other obligations, as of 
giving it away to others, because there happens to be no one 
who needs it, it is well that she should give it you as alms, 
and I confess that I should think it lack of affection if she did 
not. But always see that one who enters the convent acts 
according to the advice of learned men, telling her what will 
be to the greater service of God : for it would be quite wrong 
that we should accept the property of anyone who entered, if 
she did not come for that end. We gain much more by her 
doing her duty towards God I mean, doing it more perfectly, 
than by whatever she might bring in ; since we all seek nothing, 
and may God never give us the opportunity of seeking any- 
thing but that His Majesty's will may be done in all and 
through all. 

And although I am wretched and bad, yet for God's 


196 Chapter XXVII 

honour and glory I say it, and that you may take pleasure 
in thinking of how these houses were founded that never 
in my dealings about them nor in any matter concerning 
them which presented itself, even if I expected not to succeed 
at all unless I deviated somewhat from my principle never 
would I, nor have I done anything whatsoever (I mean to say 
in these foundations) which I understood to deviate by one 
point from the Lord's will, as I understood it from my 
confessors, (who, ever since I have been engaged in this, 
have been, as you know, very learned and servants of God) : 
nor that I can remember did it ever come into my mind to do 
otherwise. Perhaps I am deceiving myself : and I may have 
done many things which I am not aware of, and my failures 
doubtless are beyond number. This is known to our Lord, for 
He is the true judge : I speak of myself so far as I have been 
able to see. And moreover I see very well that this did not 
spring from myself, but of God's desiring that this work should 
be done ; and as being His undertaking He was favourable to 
me and shewed me this mercy. And I say it, daughters, for 
this purpose that you may understand your greater obligation, 
and may know that up to the present these things have been 
done without doing any wrong to anyone 1 . Blessed be He 
Who has done it all, and has aroused the charity of the people 
who have helped us ! May it please His Majesty ever to 
protect us and give us grace, that we may not be ungrateful 
for so many and great mercies ! Amen. 

You have already seen, daughters, that some troubles have 
been gone through, although I think I have only written down 

1 [It may be worth reminding ourselves that current morality in 
Spain in the 16th century differed considerably from ours now. And, as 
St Theresa says above, in doubtful matters she left decisions to whatever 
" learned servant of God," secular, Jesuit, Dominican, or Carmelite, 
happened to be her confessor at the time. Tr.] 

Caravaca 197 

the smallest part of them : for if they had to be narrated in 
detail, it would be a great labour, both the journeys as well as 
the floods and snow and losing the way, and above all my often 
being so unwell. Something once befell me I do not know 
whether I have mentioned it 1 in the first day's journey when 
we set out from Malagon to Veas. I had fever and so many 
sicknesses all together that, considering the long distance I 
had to go and seeing myself so ill, it seemed to remind me of 
our father Elijah when he was fleeing from Jezebel, and I said, 
Lord, consider ; how can I possibly bear this ? And true it is 
then when His Majesty saw me so weak, suddenly He took 
from me the fever and the sickness ; so much so that until 
later when I understood it, I thought it must have been 
because a servant of God, an ecclesiastic, had entered the 
place : and perhaps it was that ; anyhow He took away from 
me both the outward and inward ills. 

In time of health, I went through the bodily labours cheer- 
fully. Then again, it was no little difficulty to accommodate 
oneself to the dispositions of many people, which had to be 
done in every place. And I can tell you that, loving my 
daughters so dearly, it has not been my smallest cross to have 
to quit them when I went away from one place to another : 
especially when I thought that I should not return to see them, 
and I saw their great emotion and weeping : for though they 
are detached from other things, this detachment God has 
not given them, may be in order to give me the keener pain. 
For no more am I detached from them, although I used to find 
fault with them and put all the force I could on myself not to 
shew it : but little did it avail me ; for the love we bear each 
other is great, and by many proofs can well be seen to be 

1 It is not mentioned in eh. xxii, where it belongs. This shews how 
rapidly and simply St Theresa wrote : for she did not revise her writing. 

198 Chapter XXVII 

You have also heard how it was not only with the leave of 
our Most Reverend Father General but under his instructions 
or command subsequently laid down that these foundations 
were made : and not only this, but on the foundation of each 
house he wrote to me that it gave him the greatest satisfaction 
that such and such a house was founded. And certainly my 
greatest comfort in these labours was to see the satisfaction it 
gave him, because I thought that our Lord must be pleased 
with this, he being my Superior : and I greatly love him, into 
the bargain. 

Whether His Majesty was pleased to give me some repose, 
or whether the devil was annoyed at so many houses being 
founded in which our Lord was served. It could very well be 
seen not to have been by the wish of our Father General : for 
when I had besought him, and that, not many years before, 
not to order me to found any more houses, he had written to 
me refusing, because, he said, he wished me to found as many 
as I had hairs on my head. But before I came away from 
Seville, there was brought me from a General Chapter which 
had been held, where one would have thought that what had 
brought credit to the Order would have been reckoned a 
service there was brought me an order made in Chapter, not 
only that I was to make no more foundations, but also that I 
was by no means to quit the house which I might choose to 
live in. Which was a kind of imprisonment : for there are no 
nuns whom the Provincial cannot order to go from one place 
to another I mean from one convent to another, for reasons 
expedient for the good of the Order. But the worst, and the 
thing which distressed me, was that our Father General was 
displeased with me, entirely without cause, but on the reports 
of prejudiced people. Together with this I was told of two 
other matters, two very serious accusations which were brought 
against me. 

Caravaca 199 

I tell you, sisters, that you may see the mercy of our Lord, 
and how His Majesty does not forsake those who desire to serve 
Him, that this not only did not give me pain, but a joy so 
unexpected that I could not contain myself ; so that I do not 
wonder at what King David did when he went before the ark 
of the Lord, for I at that time should have liked to do nothing 
less, for joy ; for I did not know how to keep it in. I do not 
know why this was ; for in great obloquy and opposition in 
which I have found myself at other times, it has not been so. 
Moreover, at least one 1 of the accusations they brought against 
me was most serious. As for the making no more foundations, 
if it had not been for the displeasure of the Most Reverend 
General, it would have been great peace for me, and a thing 
which I often desired, to end my days in quiet : although 
those who brought this about did not think this, but imagined 
that they were causing me the greatest distress in the world. 
And perhaps they had other good intentions. 

At other times also I have received pleasure from the great 
oppositions and gainsayings which I have met with in going 
to make foundations, some with a good intention, some with 
other aims. But such great gladness as I felt in this, I never 
remember to have felt in any other trouble that has come 
upon me : for I confess that, at some other time, any one of 
the three things which came upon me all together would have 
been trouble enough for me. I believe my chief joy was 
in thinking that, since creatures rewarded me thus, the 
Creator was pleased with me. For I do understand that 
anyone who finds his happiness in earthly things or the 
sayings and praises of men is greatly deceived, let alone the 

1 One was the manner of her return journey from Seville. Her 
brother Lorenzo took her, and the comfort and state in which he 
caused her to travel was made a reproach against her. [She was also 
accused of heresy. Tr.] 

200 Chapter XXVII 

little profit there is in them : to-day they think one thing, 
to-morrow another ; what they speak well of at one time, they 
quickly change and speak evil of. Blessed be Thou, my God 
and Lord, Who art for ever immutable ! Amen. He who will 
serve Thee to the end shall live without end in Thine eternity. 

As I said at the beginning, I began to write the account of 
these foundations by order of the Father Master Ripalda of the 
Company of Jesus, who was at that time Rector of the College 
at Salamanca and heard my Confessions. While I was in the 
Convent of the glorious St Joseph at Salamanca, I wrote some 
of them. Then with my many occupations I had let it drop, 
and did not want to go on with it : because, being away in 
different places, I was no longer making my Confessions to 
Father Ripalda, and also because of the great toil and trouble 
which what I have written costs me ; although I consider that 
well bestowed, as it has always been commanded me under 
obedience. When I had quite determined not to go on, 
Master Fray Ger6nimo Gracian of the Mother of God, who 
is at this present time Father Apostolic Commissary, ordered 
me to finish them. 

I told him how little leisure I had, and other things which 
came into my mind to say for I spoke as one shockingly poor 
in obedience : because this writing fatigued me greatly on the 
top of other things which I had to do. For all that, he told 
me to finish them little by little, or as best I could. So I have 
done it, submitting it entirely to those who are of under- 
standing, that they may cross out what is wrongly said. For 
it may be that what seems to me the best may be wrong. I 
have finished to-day, the Eve of Saint Eugenius, the fourteenth 
of November, 1576, in the Convent of St Joseph at Toledo, 
where I now am living by order of Master Fray Ger<5nimo 

Villanueva de la Jara 201 

Gracian of the Mother of God, Father Apostolic Commissary, 
whom we now have as Superior of the Barefoot monks and 
nuns of the primitive Rule, being also Visitor of the monks of 
the mitigated Rule in Andalusia, to the glory and honour of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns and shall reign for ever. 

For the love of the Lord I beseech the Brothers and 
Sisters who shall read this to commend me to our Lord, that 
He may have mercy on me and deliver me from the torments 
of purgatory, and may permit me to enjoy Him, if I may 
attain to dwell in Him : that, since during my lifetime you 
are not to see this, after my death I may in some way profit 
by the toil this has given me, and by my great desire in 
writing it to succeed in saying something which may help you, 
if it is thought fit that you should read it. 


The Foundation of Villanueva de la Jara 1 . 

WHEN the foundation at Seville was completed, the 
foundations ceased for more than four years. The reason was 
that great persecutions arose all of a sudden against the 
Discalced monks and nuns. For although there had been 
plenty of such before, they were not so severe as now, when 
they almost made an end of us. It shewed very plainly what 
the devil felt about this holy beginning which our Lord had 
initiated ; and also that it was His work, since it did continue. 
The Barefoot Brothers suffered greatly, especially the chief of 

1 The following forms as it were a second part of the book written 
after the interruption mentioned in the text. 

202 Chapter XXVIII 

them, from serious accusations, and from the opposition of almost 
all the Fathers of the mitigated Rule. They so represented 
matters to our Most Reverend Father General that he insisted 
on the foundations of Discalced Brothers being discontinued. 
(He was always friendly to those of the Sisters.) This was 
in spite of his being very saintly and of its being by his own 
licence that all the monasteries had been founded except the first, 
that of St Joseph of Avila ; for that was done by the Pope's 
licence. And because I had helped in this, he was put against 
me, which was the greatest trouble I have suffered in these 
foundations, though I have been through plenty. For the men 
of great learning who heard my Confession and advised me would 
not allow me to cease helping forward a work which I clearly 
saw was to the service of our Lord and the increase of our Order : 
yet to go against what I saw my Superior wished was like death 
to me ; for, let alone my duty to him as Superior, I loved him 
very tenderly, and of good right I owed him affection. It is 
true that, even if I had thought well to give him satisfaction 
in this matter, I could not ; because of having Apostolic 
Visitors, whom I had perforce to obey. The Nuncio died, a 
saintly man 1 , who shewed favour to virtue, and therefore 
appreciated the Barefoot friars. Another 2 came who seemed to 
have been sent by God to exercise us in suffering. He was 

1 Monsenor Nicolas Ormaneto, one of the most zealous Bishops of 
the 16th century. He spent some time in England with Cardinal Pole, 
and was afterwards present at the Council of Trent. St Charles 
Borromeo made him his Vicar- General, and he afterwards became 
Bishop of Padua. He came to Spain as Nuncio in 1572. He died in 
June 1577, in such poverty, through his abundant almsgiving, that 
Philip II had to defray his funeral expenses. 

2 Monsenor Filipo Sega. He had been in Belgium with Don John of 
Austria, and thence came to Spain. Before he left Italy for Belgium, 
the Italian [unreformed] Carmelites ingratiated themselves with him 

Villanueva de la Jara 203 

some connection of the Pope, and must have been a servant 
of God, only that he had begun to have it much at heart to 
shew favour to the Fathers of the Mitigation : and agreeably 
to their reports of us, he quite made up his mind that it was 
not a good thing that our beginnings should go forward. So he 
began to carry this out with the greatest rigour, censuring those 
who he thought might be able to resist him, imprisoning and 
banishing them. 

Those who suffered most severely were Father Fray 
Antonio of Jesus, the one who began the first monastery of 
Barefoot Carmelites, and Father Fray Ger6nimo Gracian, 
whom the late Nuncio had made Apostolic Visitor of the 
Fathers of the Mitigation. He was greatly displeased with 
him and with Father Mariano de San Benito. These 
Fathers I have described in the account of the former 
foundations. Others of the more considerable Fathers he 
punished, but not so severely. These he bound under heavy 
penalties not to take any part in the affairs of the Order. It 
can be well seen that all this came from God, and that His 
Majesty permitted it for the best and that the virtue of these 
Fathers might be better known ; as in fact it has been. He 
appointed one of the mitigated Rule as Superior, to visit our 
monasteries of nuns and friars : and a grievous trouble it 
would have been if all that he proposed had come to pass. 
And so we suffered exceedingly, as will be told by someone 
who knows how to say it better than I. 

I am only touching on it, so that nuns to come may 
understand how great is their obligation to keep up their 
perfection, since they find smooth and easy what has cost 

through his relation, Cardinal Boncompagni, a patron of theirs, nephew 
of Pope Gregory XIII. Thence the prejudice of the Nuncio against 
St Theresa and her reform. 

204 Chapter XXVIII 

the present nuns so dear : for some of them suffered greatly 
during that time from serious accusations, for which I was 
much more sorry than for what I myself suffered : for my own 
sufferings were a great happiness to me. It seemed to me 
that I was the cause of all this storm ; and that if they 
threw me into the sea like Jonas, the tempest would cease. 

Praised be God Who defends the truth ! He did so now : 
for when our Catholic King Don Felipe heard what was 
taking place, and was told of the life and Rule of the 
Barefoot Carmelites, he took up our cause in this way, that 
he would not allow the Nuncio alone to decide our case, but 
gave him four assistants, men of weight, three of them 
members of Religious Orders, in order that our right might 
be fairly considered. One of them was Father Master Friar 
Pedro Fernandez, a man of very holy life and of great learning 
and understanding. He had been Apostolic Commissary and 
Visitor of the Friars of the Mitigation in Castille. To him 
we Barefoot Carmelites also were subject, and he very well 
knew the truth as to how each sort lived : and all of us desired 
nothing but that this should be known 1 . Therefore when I 
heard that the King had appointed him, I reckoned the affair 
as settled, as indeed by the mercy of God it is. May it please 
His Majesty that it may be to His honour and glory. 
Although there were many Lords of the realm and Bishops 
who hastened to tell the Nuncio the truth, little would it all 
have availed if God had not made employment of the King. 

We all, sisters, are under a great obligation to commend 

1 He was appointed by St Pius V, at the request of Philip II, who 
was not altogether satisfied with the work of Father Bossi. Father 
Fernandez made his visitation on foot, with a companion. While he 
was at Pastrana he lived like the Barefoot friars, following all their Bule. 
No wonder therefore that St Theresa put such confidence in him. 

Villanueva de la Jara 205 

him continually to our Lord in our prayers, and the others, 
too, who have helped forward the cause of our Lord and of 
our Lady the Virgin : therefore I earnestly commend it to 
you. You can well see, sisters, what opportunity there was for 
making new foundations ! We all occupied ourselves without 
ceasing in prayers arid penances that God would preserve and 
continue the already existing foundations, if they were to be to 
His service. 

These great troubles, narrated so briefly, will seem small to 
you ; but having been endured such a long time, they really 
were very great. 

At the time of their beginning I was at Toledo, for I had 
come from the foundation at Seville, in the year 1576. There 
a cleric of Villanueva de la Jara brought me letters from the 
Corporation of that town, and came to negotiate with me about 
accepting as a Convent nine women who, some years before, 
had entered all together into a hermitage of the glorious St 
Anna in that place, which had a little house next door. They 
lived there with retirement and sanctity so great that it made 
the whole town wish to obtain the accomplishment of their 
desire ; which was, to become nuns. There wrote to me also 
the parish priest, Doctor Augustin Ervias, a learned and 
virtuous man. His virtue made him help as much as he could 
in this holy undertaking. 

To me it seemed not by any means fitting to accept the 
Convent, for the following reasons. The first, that there were 
so many of them, and it seemed to me very difficult for them, 
when they were fashioned to their own way of living, to 
accommodate themselves to ours. The second, that they 
possessed hardly any means of subsistence, and the town had 
little more than a thousand inhabitants, which is little to 
reckon on for living on alms ; and although the Corporation 

206 Chapter XXVIII 

offered to maintain them, that did not seem to me a lasting 
security. The third, that they had no house. The fourth, 
that it was a long way from the other convents. And 
although I was told that they were very good, yet as I had 
not seen them, I could not tell whether they possessed the 
qualifications which we require in our convents. So I 
resolved to decline altogether. With this view I sought first 
to speak to my confessor, who was Dr Velasquez, a Canon and 
Professor at Toledo, a very learned and good man, now Bishop 
of Osma ; for my custom always is to do things not according 
to my own judgement, but that of people such as he. When 
he saw the letters and understood the affair, he told me not 
to decline, but to give a favourable answer ; because when 
God united so many hearts in one purpose, it was clear 
that it was to be to His service. So I did ; for I neither 
altogether accepted nor declined. They went on asking 
for the foundation and getting people to persuade me to 
make it ; and so the time went by until the year 1580, I all 
the time thinking it would be foolish to accept. When I an- 
swered them, I never could answer altogether unfavourably. 

It happened that Father Fray Antonio of Jesus, in 
fulfilment of his sentence of banishment, went to the 
Monastery of our Lady of Succour, which is three leagues from 
the town of Villanueva ; and he used to preach at Villanueva, 
and the Prior of the Monastery, Father Fray Gabriel of the 
Assumption, a very clear-sighted man and a servant of God, 
also went a great deal to Villanueva ; for they were friends of 
Dr Ervias. They began to speak with those saintly Sisters : 
and being much taken with their goodness, and being persuaded 
by the townspeople and by the Doctor, they made the affair 
their own, and began persuading me very vigorously by letter. 
And when I was at St Joseph's at Malagon, which is twenty- 

Villanueva de la Jara 207 

six leagues or more from Villanueva, the Father Prior him- 
self came over to speak to me about it, telling me in detail 
what could be done, and how, after it was done, Dr Ervias 
would give three hundred ducats a year out of what he got 
from his benefice : and that leave could be got from Rome. 
This seemed to me very doubtful, as there might be slackness 
in payment after the Convent was made : for it was quite 
enough together with the little the Sisters possessed. There- 
fore I gave the Father Prior many and to my mind sufficient 
reasons for him to see that it was not fitting to make the 
foundation. I told him to consider it well, together with 
Father Antonio ; and that I left it to their conscience. For 
I thought that what I had said was sufficient to prevent them. 
After he was gone, I considered how much he was taken with 
the idea, and I felt almost sure he would persuade our present 
Superior, Master Fray Angel de Salazar, to accept the foun- 
dation. So I made great haste to write to the Superior, 
begging him not to give the licence, and telling him my 
reasons. And as he has since told me in writing, he would 
not have given it, except with my approval. 

About six weeks passed, or it may have been a little more. 
When I fairly thought I had got it stopped, a messenger was 
sent me with letters from the Corporation, formally under- 
taking that the Sisters should not lack necessaries; from 
Dr Ervias, promising what I have mentioned ; and most urgent 
letters from the two Reverend Fathers. I greatly dreaded 
accepting so many Sisters, thinking there would be sure to be 
some party, as usually happens, against the Sisters who went 
from us. Also I did not see sufficient security for their 
maintenance ; for what they offered was not entirely secure. 
So I was greatly perplexed. Afterwards I saw that it was the 
devil : for, although the Lord has given me courage, I was at 

208 Chapter XXVIII 

that time so pusillanimous that I seemed not to have any 
confidence in God. But the prayers of those saintly souls at 
last prevailed. 

One day I had made my Communion, and was commending 
the thing to God, as I often did. (For what had made me answer 
favourably at first was my fear of hindering some good to any 
souls; for my desire always is for any means whereby our 
Lord may be praised and may have someone more to serve Him.) 
Then His Majesty gave me a severe rebuke, asking, With what 
riches had all been accomplished which had been accomplished 
so far ? And that I was not to hesitate to accept this house ; 
for it would be greatly to His service and the benefit of souls. 

The words of God are so powerful that not only does the 
understanding understand them, but they also enlighten it to 
understand the truth, and they dispose the will to desire to 
practise it. Thus was it with me : for not only did I think 
with pleasure of accepting the Convent, but I felt I had been 
to blame in delaying so long, and being so wedded to human 
reasonings, since that which I have seen of His Majesty's work 
for our holy Rule has been so much above reason. Having 
determined to accept this foundation, I thought I would go 
with the nuns who were to live there. This was for many 
reasons which came into my mind, although it was much 
against the grain ; for I had come from Malagon very unwell, 
and was so still. But, thinking it would be to our Lord's 
service, I wrote to the Superior to order me to do whatever he 
thought best. He sent the licence for the foundation and 
instructions to me to go in person, and to take whichever 
nuns I thought best. This was a serious anxiety to me, 
because of their having to live with those who were there 
already. Earnestly commending it to our Lord, I took two 
from the Convent of St Joseph at Toledo, one of them as 

Villanueva de la Jara 209 

Prioress ; and two from that of Malagon, one as Sub-Prioress, 
And, having been the subject of so many prayers to His 
Majesty, it all turned out well, which I thought no small 
matter for in foundations begun with our own Sisters alone, 
they all fit in well together. 

There came for us Father Fray Antonio of Jesus and 
the Father Prior, Fray Gabriel of the Assumption. Having 
obtained all necessary securities from the town of Villanueva, 
we started from Malagon on the Saturday before Lent, 
February 13th, 1580. It pleased God to give us such fine 
weather, and to me such good health, that I seemed never to 
have been ill. And I was amazed, and considered of what 
great moment it is, in any matter which we see is to the 
Lord's service, not to pay attention to our own weakness and 
the difficulty which that opposes to us : since He has power to 
make the weak strong and the sick whole. And should He 
not do so, it will be better for our soul to suffer and to forget 
ourselves, fixing our eyes on His honour and glory. What is 
life and health for, but to lose it for so great a King and Lord ? 
Believe me, Sisters, that if you go by that way it will never 
go ill with you. I confess that my badness and weakness 
have often made me fear and hesitate : but I cannot remember 
a single time, since the Lord gave me the Barefoot habit, nor 
for some years before that, that He has not, of His sole mercy, 
given me grace to overcome such temptations and to throw 
myself into what I saw was to His greater service, however 
difficult it might be. I quite clearly understand how little was 
what I on my part did : but God requires nothing beyond such 
a resolve in order to do everything Himself. May He be for 
ever blessed and praised ! Amen. 

We had to go to the monastery of our Lady of Succour, 
which, as I have said, is three leagues from Villanueva, and to 

T. P. 14 

210 Chapter XXVIII 

wait there to give notice of our arrival : for so they had arranged, 
and it was right that I should obey the Fathers with whom we 
were going in every particular. This monastery is situated in 
a most delightfully wild uninhabited country. And when we 
came near, the friars came out in very orderly array to receive 
their Prior. As they advanced barefooted and in their poor 
serge cloaks, they touched the hearts of us all, and me they 
moved deeply, making me feel as though we were in the spring 
time of our holy forefathers. They looked like so many white 
fragrant flowers in that field ; and so I believe they are in 
God's sight, for I think He is served there with genuine 
sincerity. They entered the chapel with a Te Deum, sung 
with very subdued voices. The entrance is underground as 
through a cave, representing that of our father Elias. I entered 
in a state of such inward rejoicing that indeed I should have 
thought it well worth a longer journey : although I felt deep 
regret that the saint through whom our Lord had founded 
this house was already dead. It had not been vouchsafed me 
to see her, though I greatly desired it. 

I think it will not be idle to relate something of her life 
and under what conditions our Lord was pleased to have the 
monastery founded there, which, as I am told, has been so 
profitable to many souls in the neighbouring villages. And I 
tell it that, hearing of that saint's penance, you, my Sisters, 
may see how far behind we lag, and may make efforts to serve 
our Lord anew. For we have no excuse for doing less than 
she, since we are not sprung of a race so gentle and noble 
as hers : for, although this is of no importance in itself, I say it 
because she had led a luxurious life, agreeably to her estate, for 
she was of the family of the Duke of Cardona : thus her name 
was Dona Catalina de Cardona. After she had written me a 
few letters, she used to sign herself only The Sinner. Of her 

Catalina de Cardona 211 

life before the Lord gave her such graces, those who write her 
Life will speak, and will relate in greater detail all that there is 
to be told of her. In case that should not come into your 
hands, I will here set down what I have been told by various 
trustworthy people who had dealings with her. 

While this saint was living among people and ladies of high 
rank, she always was very careful of her soul, and did penance. 
The desire for penance increased greatly in her, and for going 
away by herself where she could enjoy communion with God and 
be occupied in doing penance, without anyone to hinder her. 
She spoke of this to her confessors, and they would not 
consent. And, as the world is now so very prudent and we 
have all but forgotten the great graces which God has bestowed 
on holy men and women who served Him in the deserts, I do 
not wonder at their thinking it folly. But, as His Majesty 
never fails so to assist sincere desires that they may be carried 
into effect, He appointed that she should go to confession to 
a Franciscan Father, Fray Francisco de Torres, a man whom I 
used to know well, and I consider him a saint. He has lived 
these many years in great fervour of penance and prayer, and 
in abundant persecutions. He must have known very well 
what grace God gives to those who will do themselves violence 
to receive it : so he told her not to delay, but to follow His 
Majesty's call. I do not know that those were his exact words ; 
but that was what she understood, for she put it in practice 
immediately. She told her secret to a hermit who lived at 
Alcala, and begged him to go with her, and never to tell 
anyone : and they arrived at the place where the monastery 
now stands. There she found a little cave which hardly gave 
her shelter ; and there he left her. But what love must have 
borne her there ! for she felt no anxiety about what she would 
have to eat, nor about the dangers that might befall her, nor 


212 Chapter XXVIII 

about the evil that might be said about her when she was found 
to be missing. How inebriated that saintly soul must have 
been, engrossed with the desire of enjoying undisturbed 
communion with her Spouse, and resolved to care no more for 
the world, since she thus fled from all its pleasures ! Let 
us think well over this, Sisters, and consider how she overcame 
all at one blow. For, although what you do is no less than 
what she did when you enter our holy Order, and offer to God 
your will, and vow such constant enclosure, yet I could not 
say that in some of us our first fervour does not pass away, so 
that in some points we fall back under the sway of our own 
self-love. May it please the Divine Majesty that thus it may 
not be, but that as we have imitated this saint in choosing to 
flee from the world, we may live in every way very far from it 
in spirit. 

I have heard a good many details of the great severity of 
her life, and what is known of it can only be a small part : for, 
living so many years as she did in that solitude, and having 
no one to restrain her, and with such strong desires for 
penance, she must have illtreated her body terribly. I will 
relate what she herself told various people, especially the 
nuns of St Joseph of Toledo, into which she went to see the 
nuns, and talked to them as to sisters, with all openness. 
So she did to other people ; for her simplicity was great, and 
so must have been her humility. And as one who knew as a 
matter of course that she had nothing of herself, she was very 
far from vainglory, but delighted in telling of the graces 
which God bestowed on her, that through them His Name 
might be praised and glorified : a dangerous thing for those 
who have not attained to her condition, because it may at 
least seem to be to their own praise. That openness and holy 
simplicity of hers must have kept her free from this ; for I 
have never heard her charged with this fault. 

Catalina de Cardona 213 

She said she had spent eight years in that cave. For 
many days she lived on wild herbs and roots. The hermit 
who went with her left her three loaves ; but when those were 
finished, she had no more until a shepherd lad passed that 
way, who from that time provided her with bread and flour. 
This was what she had to eat, little cakes baked on the ashes, 
and nothing else ; this every third day. And it is certainly 
true, for the friars who live there are also witnesses thereof : 
for although when she went about to try to found a monastery, 
when she was already much worn out, they sometimes made 
her eat a sardine or something, it did her more harm than 
good. She never drank wine that I heard of. Her disciplines 
were taken with a sort of thick chain, and she often went on 
with them two hours or an hour and a half. Her hair shirts 
terribly sharp. For a certain person, a woman, told me that 
once, on her return from a pilgrimage, she had stayed for 
the night with her, and had pretended to be asleep, and saw 
her take off her hair shirt soaked with blood, and wash it. 
According to what she told the St Joseph's nuns, the worst 
she went through was from the evil spirits ; for they appeared 
to her like so many great mastiffs and jumped on her 
shoulders, and sometimes like snakes : but she was not in the 
least afraid of them. After she had founded the monastery, 
she went just the same to her cave to live and sleep, except 
for attending the Divine Office. Before it was founded, she 
used to go to mass at a monastery of the Ransomers, a quarter 
of a league off, and sometimes went there on her knees. Her 
dress was of coarse cloth with a tunic of serge, and was so 
fashioned that she was taken for a man. After those years 
during which she lived there so lonely, it pleased the Lord 
that it should be made known and people began to honour her 
so highly that she did not know what to do, for the crowds 

214 Chapter XXVIII 

they came in. She spoke to all with great charity and 
kindness. The longer this went on, the greater the concourse 
of people who resorted to her ; and anyone who succeeded in 
getting speech of her thought no little of it. She got so tired 
with it, she said they were killing her. The time came when 
all the plain was fall of carriages. Just after the friars were 
settled there, there was nothing else to be done but to lift 
her up on high to give the people the blessing, and so dismiss' 

After the eight years when she was living in the cave 
(which now was larger, because those who resorted there had 
made it so) she had a very serious illness of which she 
thought she should die ; and she went through it all in that 
cave. She began to entertain desires for a monastery of friars 
in that place ; and this continued for some time, she not 
knowing of what Order to make it. But one day while she 
was reciting her prayers before a crucifix which she always 
carried with her, our Lord shewed her a white cloak, and she 
understood that it was the cloak of the Discalced Carmelites ; 
and yet she had never heard that there were such Brothers in 
the world : and at that time there were only two monasteries 
founded, those of Mancera and Pastrana. After this, she 
must have got information about them. She heard that there 
was one at Pastrana : and as the Princess of Eboli, Prince 
Ruy Gomez' wife, to whom Pastrana belonged, was a very old 
friend of hers, she started for Pastrana to see how to found 
this monastery which she so greatly desired. There in the 
chapel of St Peter for so it was called in the monastery of 
Pastrana, she took the habit of our Lady, although not with 
the intention of being a professed nun. For as the Lord was 
guiding her by another way, she never was inclined to be a 
nun, but thought it would mean her having to give up on 

Catalina de Cardona 215 

obedience her purposes of mortification and solitude. In the 
presence of all the Brothers, she received the habit of our 
Lady of Carmel. Father Mariano, of whom I have before 
spoken in my account of these foundations, happened to be 
there : and he told me myself that it put him into a trance 
or suspension so that his senses were quite gone. And that, 
in this state, he saw many friars and nuns dead, some 
decapitated, others with their legs and arms cut off, as 
martyrs : for so in this vision he understood they were. 
And he is not a man who would say it if he had not really 
seen it ; no more is he accustomed to such suspensions : for 
God does not lead him by that way. Ask of God, Sisters, 
that it may come true, and that in our time we may be 
worthy to see so great a good, and have part in it ourselves. 

From that time at Pastrana the saintly Cardona began to 
work towards founding her monastery, and for that purpose she 
returned to the Court whence she had so gladly departed. 
This can have been no slight torment to her. Nor were there 
lacking slanders and troubles ; for whenever she went out 
of the house, she did not know what to do for the mob that 
followed her. This was the case wherever she went. Some cut 
off pieces from her habit, some from her cloak. After that, 
she went to Toledo, where she stayed with our nuns. They all 
have assured me that there was about her so strong an odour 
as of relics that, even after she left them there, the habit 
and cincture retained it very strongly, moving the nuns to 
praise the Lord. And the nearer the nuns came to her, the 
better the odour ; when naturally the odour of such garments, 
with the heat, which was great, would rather have been un- 
pleasant. (The nuns took her habit from her, and gave her 
another.) I know that they would not say anything that was 
not quite true. Thus she left them greatly edified. 

216 Chapter XXVIII 

At the Court and elsewhere she was given the means to 
make her monastery, and when she had obtained the licence, 
it was founded. The chapel was built where her cave had 
been, and they made another cave for her in a retired spot, 
where she had a stone tomb, and there she spent most of the day 
and night. This did not last long ; for she only lived about five 
and a half years after she had the monastery there. And 
indeed, that she should have lived even so long seems a 
supernatural thing, considering the austerity of her life. Her 
death took place in 1577, if I remember rightly. Her last 
honours were performed with great solemnity ; for there was a 
gentleman named Fray Juan de Leon who was greatly devoted 
to her, who made a great point of this. She is now buried 
temporarily in a chapel of our Lady, to whom she had a great 
devotion, until a larger chapel than they now possess shall be 
built to receive her blessed corpse, as is fitting. Great is the 
devotion of the monastery and of the whole neighbourhood to 
her memory ; especially because of her solitude and the cave 
where she lived before she resolved to found the monastery ; 
and therefore her body has rightly been left there. 

The monks assured me that she was so wearied and distressed 
at finding what a number of people came to see her that 
she wanted to go somewhere else where nobody had heard of 
her : and she sent for the hermit who had brought her there 
to come and fetch her; but he was dead. And our Lord, 
having purposed that this house of our Lady should be 
established there, gave her no chance of departing ; for, as I 
have said, I know that He is greatly served there. They are 
very careful in their observance, and it can well be seen 
that they like being withdrawn from human habitation, 
particularly the Prior. For God brought him out from a life 
of great enjoyment to take the habit, and so He has well 

Catalina de Cardona 217 

rewarded him with spiritual joys. He was very kind to me 
there. They gave us some of their chapel furniture for the 
chapel which we were going to found : for, as that saintly 
woman was beloved by many great people, the chapel was well 
provided with fittings. 

I was very happy while I stayed there, although filled with 
shame and it has not left me. For I saw that she who there 
had done such sharp penance was a woman like myself, but 
more delicate, being of such high estate, and not a great 
sinner as I am ; and that in this there is no comparison 
between us : and I have received of our Lord much greater 
favours in many ways ; and my not being already in hell, by 
reason of my great sins, is a very great one. The thought of 
imitating her, if I could, was the only thing which comforted 
me, but not much : because all my life has gone by in desires, 
but the works I do not. May God's mercy help me, in Whom I 
have always trusted through His Most Blessed Son, and the 
Virgin our Lady, whose habit I wear through the goodness of 
the Lord ! 

One day when I had made my Communion in that 
hallowed chapel, I fell into a deep abstraction and a sus- 
pension which took away my senses. During this state, that 
saintly woman appeared to me in an intellectual vision as a 
glorified body, and some angels with her. She told me not to 
be discouraged, but to endeavour to go forward with these 
foundations. I know, although she did not expressly say so, 
that she was aiding me before God. She said something else 
as well, which I need not write down. 

This left me greatly consoled and with a desire for work ; 
and I hope in the goodness of the Lord, that with such good 
aid as her prayers, I may be able in some degree to serve Him. 

You see hereby, my Sisters, how her troubles were already 

218 Chapter XXVIII 

ended, and the glory which is now hers will be without end. 
Let us, for the love of our Lord, make an effort to follow this 
our Sister, hating ourselves as she hated herself; let us 
accomplish our day's work, since it is so short, and all will 
be at an end. 

On the first Sunday of Lent, which was St Barbacian's 
Day, the Eve of the Festival of the Chair of St Peter, 1580, we 
arrived at Villanueva de la Jara. That same day the Blessed 
Sacrament was brought into the chapel of St Anne, at the 
time of High Mass. All the Corporation came out to meet us, 
and Dr Ervias and some others, and we went and alighted at 
the parish church, which is a long way from St Anne's. 

All the people were rejoicing greatly, and it made me 
happy indeed to see the joy with which they received the 
Order of the Blessed Virgin our Lady. From afar off we 
could hear the pealing of the bells. As we entered the 
church, they began singing the Te Deum, the choir chanting 
one verse and the organ the next. When that was over, they 
carried the Blessed Sacrament shoulder high on a bier, and 
an image of our Lady in like manner, with crosses and 
banners. The procession travelled with great pomp. We in 
our white cloaks and our veils over our faces walked in the 
middle, next to the Blessed Sacrament, and next to us our 
Barefoot Brothers for a great many came from the monastery. 
The Franciscans for there is a Franciscan monastery in the 
town went in the procession, and a Dominican Brother 
who happened to be in the place ; and although he was 
alone, it gave me pleasure to see that habit there. As 
it was a long distance, there were many altars on the 
way : and they stopped from time to time, reciting poems 
about our Order. We were greatly touched by this and by 
seeing that all the poems were in praise of the great God 

Villanueva de la Jara 219 

Whom we were bearing with us, and that for His sake so much 
was made of us seven poor insignificant Barefoot nuns who 
were walking along there. It filled me with confusion when I 
considered all this, seeing that I was walking among them, 
and that if I had what I deserved, everyone would be turning 
against me. 

I have given you a long account of these honours done 
to the habit of the Virgin, that you may praise our Lord 
and pray that He may make use of this foundation. For I 
am happier when a foundation is begun amidst persecution 
and troubles, and I narrate those with a better will. 

It is true that the Sisters who were living there had been 
through many during those six years or at least five and a 
half since they entered that house of the glorious St Anne ; 
besides their deep poverty and their toil in earning their living. 
For they never liked to ask for alms, because they did not wish 
people to think they had gone there that they might feed them. 
They lived very austerely, fasting much, eating little, with 
uncomfortable beds, and in a very tiny house, which last was a 
real hardship for people so strictly enclosed as they always were. 
They told me that the hardest thing to bear was their sore desire 
to see themselves in the habit : for day and night this troubled 
them sorely, fearing it would never come to pass. So their 
constant prayer to God, with frequent tears, was that He would 
bestow that favour upon them. And when they saw that there 
was some hitch, they were in great affliction and redoubled 
their penances. They went without food in order to save from 
their earnings the pay of the messengers whom they sent to 
me, and to make such presents as their poverty permitted to 
those who could in any way help forward their cause. I see 
very well, since I have spoken with them and seen their 
saintliness, that it was their prayers and tears which effected 

220 Chapter XXVIII 

their reception into the Order. Therefore I hold it a greater 
treasure to have such souls within the Order than if they had 
possessed an ample endowment; and I hope the house will 
advance greatly. 

. Well, when we entered the house, they were all at the 
inner door, each in her own costume : they had gone on 
dressing just as when they came in; for they had never chosen 
to adopt the dress of beatas 1 , but were waiting in hopes of our 
habit. However, their apparel was very sober : and the little 
care they took of themselves was shewn by their being so 
badly dressed ; and most of them were so weakly that it 
shewed how severe a life they had led. They received us with 
abundant tears of joy. These were obviously genuine, and 
so was their goodness, their cheerfulness and humility and 
obedience to the Prioress : and they did not know how to do 
enough to please the nuns who had come for the foundation. 
All their fear was lest, when they saw their little house and 
their poverty, they might go away again. None of them was 
head ; but with great Community spirit each worked as hard 
as she could. Two who were older than the others, transacted 
any necessary business : the others never spoke to anyone, 
nor wished to do so. They had no lock to the door, but only 
a bolt ; and no one ventured to go to the door but the eldest, 
who answered. They slept very little in order to work for 
their food and not to lose their prayer time : for they kept 
long hours, on Festivals the whole day. They guided them- 
selves by the books of Fray Luis of Granada and Fray Pedro of 
Alcantara. Most of their time they spent in reciting the Divine 
Office, though they could read but little for there was only one 
of them who could read well and had not Breviaries alike. 

1 [Devotes ; women who lived at home but spent their time at church 
and among the poor. Tr.] 

Villanueva de la Jara 221 

Some they had of the old Roman 1 Use, given them by priests 
because they were of no use to themselves, others they had 
got as they might : and, as they could not read, they spent 
many hours at it. They did not recite it where anyone from 
outside could hear them. God no doubt accepted their good 
intention and laborious effort ; for they can have said very 
little sense. 

When Father Fray Antonio of Jesus began to have 
dealings with them, he made them recite only the Office of 
our Lady. 

They had an oven in which they baked their bread : 
and they did everything in as orderly a way as if they had 
had someone over them. It made me give praise to our 
Lord : and the more I saw of them, the more glad I was to 
have come. I feel that I would not have failed to satisfy the 
desire of such souls, whatever troubles I might have had to 
endure. Those of my companions who remained there told 
me that just the first few days they felt some repugnance, 
but when they got to know them and realized their goodness, 
they felt great affection for them and were delighted to be 
remaining with them. Saintliness and goodness accomplish 
much. It is true that our Sisters were of such a sort that, 
even if they had met with many difficulties and troubles, 
they would have borne it well, by the Lord's grace, because 
they desire to suffer in His service. And any Sister who 
should not feel in herself this desire, let her not reckon her- 
self a true Barefoot ; seeing that our desires are not to be for 

1 At that time a reform of Missals and Breviaries was taking place, 
conformably with the decisions of the Council of Trent ; and the clergy 
had to do away with their old Breviaries of any diocesan Use. St Theresa 
calls them " old Eoman " because they were of the Eoman or secular 
type, not of the monastic type, and were unreformed. 

222 Chapter XXVIII 

repose but for suffering, that we may in some wise follow our 
true Spouse. May it please His Majesty to give us the grace 
for it ! Amen. 

This hermitage of St Anne had its origin as follows. 
There was living in the town of Villanueva de la Jara an 
ecclesiastic named Diego de Guadalajara, a native of Zamora, 
who had been a Carmelite Brother. He had a devotion to 
the glorious St Anne; so he built this hermitage adjoining 
his own house, and kept it up for hearing mass in : and, 
moved by his great devotion, he went to Rome and brought 
back a Bull with many indulgences for this chapel or hermitage. 
He was a virtuous and unworldly man. When he died, he 
directed in his will that the house and all he possessed should 
be for a convent of Carmelite nuns ; and that, if this could not 
be carried into effect, there should be a chaplain to say so 
many masses a week; and that if and whenever a convent 
was established, the obligation of saying mass should cease. 
So it went on more than twenty years, with a chaplain who let 
the property fall into decay. For though those girls went to 
live in the house, they had only the house. The chaplain 
lived in another house belonging to the same chapelry, which 
he now will give up with the rest, and very little that is : but 
the mercy of God is so great that He cannot fail to shew 
favour to the house of the glorious mother of His Mother. 
May it please His Majesty that He may be always served 
therein, and may all creatures praise Him for ever and ever ! 


Of the Foundation of St Joseph's of our Lady of the Street, 
at Palencia, on King David's Day, 1580. 

WHEN I came away from making the foundation of 
Villanueva de la Jara, I was ordered by the Superior to go 
to Valladolid. This was at the request of the Bishop of 
Palencia, Don Alvaro de Mendoza, who had accepted and 
always befriended our first convent, St Joseph's, at Avila, 
and who always befriends the Order in all its concerns. He 
had now resigned the See of Avila and been translated to 
Palencia, and our Lord put it into his heart to have another 
convent of this holy Order founded there. When I got to 
Valladolid, I became so ill that they thought I should die ; 
and the illness left me with so little energy, and feeling it so 
impossible to do anything that, although the Prioress of 
our convent at Valladolid, who was anxious the foundation 
should be made, urged me to it, she could not persuade me, 
nor did I think it reasonable ; for the convent was to be 
founded without endowment, and I was told that the place 
was too poor to support it. 

This foundation, together with one at Burgos, had been 
under consideration for about a year : and formerly I had not 
been so averse to it; but now, although I had gone to 
Valladolid for that very purpose, many were the difficulties I 
found. I do not know whether it was my severe illness and 
the weakness it had left, or whether it was the devil, seeking 
to hinder the good which has since been done. Indeed, it 
frightens and grieves me and I often complain of it to our 
Lord to see what a great share the poor soul has in the 

224 Chapter XXIX 

weakness of the body ; so that it appears to have nothing to 
do but observe its rules, laid down according to its needs and 
sufferings. This seems to me one of the greatest troubles and 
miseries of this life, when the spirit is not so high as to master 
it. For I reckoned nothing to be ill and suffer great pain- 
though it is a trial if the soul is vigorous ; for the soul knows 
that this comes from the hand of God and continues to praise 
Him. But to be on the one hand suffering and on the other 
inactive is a fearful state, especially for a soul which has 
experienced strong desires never to rest inwardly or outwardly, 
but wholly to employ itself in the service of its great God. 
There is no help for it in this state but in patience and the 
confession of its own wretchedness, and in resigning itself to 
God's will, to be made use of as He pleases and for what ends 
He pleases. This was my condition at that time : for although 
I was already convalescent, yet I was so weak that I had lost 
even the confidence which God is wont to give me when I have 
to begin any of these foundations. Everything seemed 
impossible to me. If at that time I had happened to meet 
with anyone to encourage me, it would have done me much 
good ; but some only encouraged my fears, and others, though 
they gave me some hope, yet could not overcome my pusil- 
lanimity 1 . 

There happened to come that way a Father of the 
Company, Doctor Ripalda, a great servant of God, who at one 
time used to hear my confession. I told him how it stood 
with me, and asked him to tell me what he thought, for that I 
wished him to stand towards me in the place of God. He 

1 [In that year, 1580, there swept through Europe a disease very much 
like the present influenza : and it was this which St Theresa caught at 
Valladolid. It seems to have been like influenza, at any rate in her 
case, in its peculiar sequelae of depression and lack of energy. Tr. ] 

Palencia 225 

began to urge me on ; and he told me that my cowardice 
carne just from old age. But I saw very well that this was 
not the case ; for I am older now and not cowardly : and he 
too must have known this quite well, but said it to rebuke me 
and to shew me that it was not of God's sending. At that 
time the foundations of Palencia and of Burgos were being 
prepared for together, and I had nothing to make either with ; 
but this had nothing to do with it, for I am used to beginning 
with less. Doctor Ripalda told me on no account to give it up. 
So had Baltasar Alvarez, a Provincial of the Company, told me, 
at Toledo ; but at that time I was in good health. This was 
enough to have decided me : but, although it made a great 
difference, it did not altogether decide me ; because, as I have 
said, either the devil or my sickness held me bound : still, I 
was the better for it. The Prioress of Valladolid helped me as 
well as she could, because she strongly desired the foundation 
at Palencia ; yet she also had her fears when she saw me so 

Now let the true fire come; for no human beings, not 
even servants of God, will do the work ! Hence it may be 
seen over and over that it is not I who effected anything in 
these foundations, but He alone Who is Almighty. 

One day, while in doubt and not resolved to make either 
foundation, I besought our Lord, just after I had made my 
Communion, to give me light, that I might do His will in 
everything : for my lukewarmness was not such as to make me 
falter one hair's breadth in this desire. Our Lord said to me, 
as it were reproaching me, What dost thou fear ? When 
have I ever failed thee ? What I have always been, that same 
am I now. Thou must not fail to make these two foundations. 
Great Gocl, how different are Thy words from human words ! 
These words left me with such resolution and spirit that the 

T. P. 15 

226 Chapter XXIX 

whole world would not have been strong enough to oppose me ; 

and I began at once to set to work, and the Lord to give me 

the means. I received two nuns, that we might have money 

to buy a house. And, although people told me it was 

impossible to live on alms in Palencia, it was as though they 

had not told me : because, as to founding the house with an 

endowment, I saw that at that time it could not be done ; 

and, since God commanded it to be founded, His Majesty 

would provide. Accordingly, although my health was not 

quite restored, I determined to go : in an inclement season 

too, for I left Valladolid on Holy Innocents' Day in the 

aforesaid year 1 . For a nobleman of Palencia, who had gone 

to live elsewhere, had said he would lend us until Midsummer 

Day a house at Palencia which he had rented. I wrote to a 

Canon in the city, although I did not know him : but a friend 

of his had told me that he was a servant of God, and I had a 

presentiment that he would be of great assistance to us. For 

our Lord Himself, as has been seen in the accounts of other 

foundations, selects in every place some one to help us, 

because His Majesty sees how little I can do. I wrote to beg 

him to get the house left free for us for it was tenanted as 

quietly as he could, and without saying who it was for : 

because, although some of the chief people there had shewn 

goodwill towards us, and the Bishop's goodwill was so great, 

yet I knew it was on the safe side to let nobody know. 

Canon Reinoso for this was his name did it so well that 
he not only had the house cleared for us, but we also found 
beds and many comforts abundantly provided ; and indeed we 
needed them, for it was bitterly cold, and the preceding day 
had been difficult, with a fog so thick that we could hardly see 
one another. It is true, we rested but little until we had got 

C 1 1580. Tr.] 

Palencia 227 

the place ready for saying mass next day, before anyone knew 
we were there ; because this is what I have found to be the 
best plan in making these foundations : for if things begin 
to be left to discussion, the devil disturbs everything; and 
although he cannot succeed in anything, he causes anxiety. 
So it was done; for early, just about dawn, an ecclesiastic 
named Porras, a great servant of God, who went with us, said 
mass, and also another priest, Agustin de Vitoria, a friend of 
the nuns at Valladolid, who had lent me money to furnish the 
house, and given us many comforts for the journey. 

There went, counting myself, five choir nuns, and one who 
has been my companion this long time, a lay Sister, but such a 
true servant of God and so sensible that she can help me more 
than other Sisters can 1 . That night we slept but little, 
although, as I say, the journey had been tiring because of the 
wet. I was much pleased at having the foundation made on 
that day, because it was the day on which King David is 
commemorated 2 , and I have a special devotion to him. That 
morning I at once sent to tell the Most Illustrious Bishop; 
for not even he knew that I had come that day. He came at 
once, with that great kindness which he has always shewn 
towards us. He said he would give us all the bread we 
wanted, and he told his steward to supply us with many 
things. The Order owes him so much that whoever reads the 

1 The Venerable Anna of St Bartholomew, who went about with her 
until her death and acted as her secretary. It is told of her that she did 
not know how to write, and St Theresa happened to say that if she did, 
she could be of use to her. She begged the Saint to write out some lines 
for her ; and by tracing them over and over, she taught herself to write 
in one night. There are preserved several letters in her writing signed by 
St Theresa. 

a [Dec. 29, kept as the Feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, with a 
commemoration of King David. Tr.] 


228 Chapter XXIX 

history of these foundations is bound to pray to our Lord for 
him, living or dead, and so I beg them to do of their charity. 

The satisfaction shewn by the people was so great and so 
general as to be quite remarkable ; for there was no one who 
was dissatisfied. The knowledge that it was the wish of the 
Bishop went a long way towards this, he being greatly beloved 
there : but the whole population is the most generous and of 
the best stuff that I have ever seen ; and so I am more and 
more glad every day to have made a foundation there. 

As the house was not our own, we began at once to see 
about buying another : for although that house was for sale, 
it was in a very bad situation. And, with what I had 
received from the nuns who were to go there, we seemed to 
have something to bargain with ; for, though it was but little, 
it would go far at Palencia. However, if God had not given 
us the good friends He had sent us, nothing would have been 
of any use. The good Canon Reinoso brought us another, 
Canon Salinas, a friend of his, a man of great charity and good 
sense ; and between them both, they took upon themselves 
the charge of the affair as if it had been their own, or even, I 
believe, more earnestly. And they have always continued to 
look after the interests of the house. 

There was in the town a house held in great devotion, a 
sort of hermitage, dedicated to our Lady and called Our Lady 
of the Street. It was resorted to by a great many people, and 
held in reverence through all the town and the surrounding 
country. To his Lordship and to us all, it seemed that we 
should be well placed close to this chapel. There was no 
house belonging to it ; but there were two next door which, if 
we bought them, would be large enough for us, together with 
the chapel. This the Chapter and a certain Confraternity 
would have to give up to us : and this we began to arrange. 

Palencia 229 

for. The Chapter at once made us a present of it, and although 
I had some difficulty in coming to an understanding with the 
people of the Confraternity, they also willingly did so : for, as 
I have said, if I have ever seen good people in my life, it is 
the people of Palencia. When the owners of the houses saw 
that we were disposed to buy them, they raised the price, very 
naturally. I thought well to go and see them : and to me and 
to those who went with us they seemed so poor that I would 
not on any account have them. Afterwards it was clearly 
seen that a good deal of this was the devil's doing, because 
it annoyed him that we should go there. To the two Canons 
who were acting for us it seemed too far from the cathedral ; 
and so it is, but it is in the most thickly peopled part of the 
city. Finally we all agreed that that house would not do, and 
we must look for another. 

This the two Canons began to do with a care and diligence 
which made me give thanks to the Lord, not letting anything 
go by which might chance to suit us. They came at last to be 
satisfied with one belonging to a man called Tamayo. Some 
parts of it were particularly well suited to our needs, and it 
was close to the house of one of the first gentlemen, Suero de 
Vega, who was very well disposed towards us, and who, 
together with others in that quarter, very much wished us to 
settle there. The house itself was not large enough, but with 
it he offered us another, although not such that we could very 
well join both together. 

Any way, from the account they gave me of it, I wished the 
purchase to be effected ; but the two men would not buy the 
house, unless I saw it first. I so much disliked going out in 
the town, and I so thoroughly trusted them, that they could 
hardly persuade me. At last I went, and also to the houses 
of our Lady ; not, however, with any intention of buying them, 

230 Chapter XXIX 

but lest the owner of the other house should think that we 
had no choice but to buy his. They appeared, as I have 
said, to me and to the Sisters who went, so poor that now we 
cannot understand how they can have appeared so poor. In 
this mind we went to the other house, quite determined to 
have it and no other : and, although we found serious draw- 
backs, we passed over them, notwithstanding that it would 
be very difficult to overcome them ; for in order to make the 
chapel and a poor one too we should have to lose all of the 
house that was well fitted to live in. What a strange thing 
it is to go into a matter with one's mind already made up ! 
Indeed it taught me the lesson of how little I could trust to 
my own judgement though on this occasion it was not I 
alone who was under a delusion. Any way, we came away 
determined to buy no other than that house, and to give the 
owner what he had asked, which was a great deal, and to 
write to him ; (for he lived not in the town, but near it). 

It may seem irrelevant to have given such a long account 
of the purchase of the house, until it is seen what the devil 
must have had in view, in hindering us from going to the 
house of our Lady. It frightens me every time I think of it. 
We all having made up our minds, as I have said, to buy no 
other house but that one, next morning at mass I began to be 
extremely anxious as to whether I had done right, arid the 
disquiet hardly let me remain tranquil during the whole of 
mass. I went to receive the Blessed Sacrament, and just as I 
received It, I heard these words, This is the right house for 
thee, in such a way that I quite determined not to buy the 
one I was thinking of, but the house of our Lady. I began to 
consider what a bad thing it would be to draw back in a 
negotiation which had gone so far, and which our zealous 
helpers had so much at heart. Our Lord answered me, They 

Palencia 231 

do not know how grievously I am offended in that place : and 
this will put it right. 

It came into my mind to wonder whether this might be a 
delusion, but not to believe it so : for I well knew by the effect 
it worked in me that it was the Spirit of God. He said to me 
at once, It is I. These words left me quite calm, and rid 
of the commotion I had been in. Yet I did not know how to 
undo what had been done, and the bad account I had given 
my Sisters of that house ; for I had made the most of its 
badness, and said that I would not for anything in the world 
have had them go there, without seeing it first. This> 
however, I did not so much concern myself about, because 
knew that whatever I did they would think right : but I was 
concerned about the others who wished to buy Tamayo'a 
house. I thought they would consider me light and change- 
able, since I had so quickly altered my mind a thing which I 
greatly abhor. 

These were not the sort of considerations to move me 
much or little to give up going to the house of our Lady ; 
nor did I even remember that it was not a good one : for 
if the nuns could put a stop to one venial sin, all the rest 
was trifling in comparison ; and any of them who knew what I 
knew, would have been of my mind. 

The means I took was this : I was at that time going to 
confession to Canon Reinoso, one of our two helpers ; but I 
had not hitherto spoken to him of spiritual matters of this sort, 
because there had been no occasion to do so. But, as I have 
been accustomed in these matters always to do what my 
confessor advises, as being the safest way, I determined to tell 
him this in great secrecy : although I could not feel sure that 
I should give up doing what I had been told without great 
heaviness of heart. But any way I should have done so : 

232 Chapter XXIX 

because I trusted in our Lord to do what in my experience He 
has often done to change the confessor's mind, so that he may 
do what He desires, although his own judgement might be 
opposed. I told him first about the many times that our Lord 
had been used to teach me in this way, and that up to that 
time many things had happened which proved it to have been 
the work of His Spirit. Then I told him what had taken place ; 
but said I would do what he thought right,, although it would 
give me pain. 

He is very discreet and religious, and of good judgement 
in all sorts of matters, though he is young : and although he 
saw there would be remarks about the affair, he did not decide 
that I must give up doing what I had been told. I told him 
that we had better wait for our messenger's return, and he 
agreed : for I indeed trusted in God that He would set it 
right. And so it was : for the owner of the house, when we 
had consented to give him all he wanted and asked for, now 
asked three hundred ducats more, which was absurd, for it was 
excessive. So we saw that this was God's doing : for it was 
much to the man's interest to sell ; and to ask more when the 
bargain was made was not the way to do so. This was a great 
help, for we told him that we should never come to terms with 
him : yet it did not altogether settle the matter, because it 
was clear that for a matter of three hundred ducats we ought 
not to give up a house which appeared suitable for a convent. 
I told my confessor not to concern himself about my credit, 
since in his opinion we should buy this house ; but to tell his 
friend that, good or bad, cheap or dear, I was determined to 
buy the house of our Lady. His friend is of an exceedingly 
quick understanding; and, seeing so sudden a change, I feel 
sure that, although nothing was said to him, he guessed the 
cause ; and so he pressed me no further in the matter. 

Palencia 233 

Well have we all since seen the great mistake we should 
have made if we had bought the other : for now we are sur- 
prised to see the superior advantages of our present house. 
Let alone the greatest of all, which is easy to see that there 
our Lord and His glorious Mother are served, and many 
occasions of sin removed : for as many nightly vigils were 
kept there, and as the chapel was only a hermitage 1 , many 
things might be done there which the devil was not pleased to 
have stopped ; and we ourselves have the joy of being able to 
do some service to our Mother and Lady and Patroness. And 
very ill we should have acted if we had not gone there ; for 
this was all we needed to take into account. It shews clearly 
how the devil blinds us in many matters ; for in that house 
there are many conveniences which we should not have found 
elsewhere. Also it is the greatest satisfaction to all the 
inhabitants, who wanted us to go there : even some who did 
wish us to go to the other house afterwards quite approved of 
it. Blessed for ever be He Who gave me light therein ! And 
if in any matter I happen to do well, it is He Who gives the 
light. For every day I am more astonished at the little ability 
I have for anything. And this must not be supposed to be 
humility ; for every day I keep seeing it more plainly. For 
our Lord would seem to desire that I and everyone else should 
have to acknowledge that it is His Majesty alone Who does 
these works ; but that, as He with clay gave sight to the blind 
man, so to so blind a creature as I He will find means of giving 
sight. Certainly in this matter I was, as I have said, very 
blind indeed ; and every time I think of it, it makes me desire 
to thank our Lord afresh. But even this I cannot do; and I do 
not know how He can bear me. Blessed be His mercy ! Amen. 

1 [Being in the midst of a town, it was not, properly speaking, a 
hermitage, but it was on the footing of one. The abuses of such chapels 
hinted at in the text caused them to be suppressed from time to time. Tr.] 

234 Chapter XXIX 

Well then, those saintly friends of the Virgin at once made 
haste to buy the houses ; and, in my opinion, they got them 
cheap. They worked hard. For in each one of these foundations 
it pleases God that there shall be some who do well in helping 
us ; and I am the one who do nothing, as I have said elsewhere 
-and I never mean to leave off saying it, for it is the truth. 
They did a great deal, then, in getting the house ready, and 
in giving money towards it, because I had not enough ; and 
also in becoming sureties for it. For in other places, until I 
can find a surety and not for so large a sum either I am 
always harassed : and it is very reasonable : for if they do not 
trust to our Lord for it, I myself have not a penny. But His 
Majesty has always been so gracious to me that no one has 
ever lost anything by trusting me, nor failed to be paid 
liberally : and I count that as a very great favour done me. 

As the owners of the houses were not satisfied with those 
two as sureties, the Canons went to find the Vicar-general, 
whose name was Prudencio at least so they tell me now, but 
I am not sure that I remember it ; for, as we used to speak of 
him as the Vicar-general, I did not hear his name. He has 
been so good to us that we owed and still owe him much. 
He asked them where they were going ; and they said, To 
find him, that he might sign the bond. He laughed and said, 
! Well, so this is the way you ask me to become surety for so 
large a sum ? " And without getting off his mule, he signed 
it on the spot : a notable thing for such times as these. I 
cannot help speaking in great praise of the kindness I met with 
in Palencia, in general and in particular. Indeed it seemed 
to me just like the ways of the primitive Church at any rate 
not at all usual now-a-days that when we had no endowment 
and they had to provide us with food, they not only permitted 
us to come, but said that God was giving them the greatest 
privilege. And, looked at in the right light, that was true : 

Palencia 235 

for, if it were only the having one church more wherein is the 
Blessed Sacrament, it is a great thing. 

May He be for ever blessed ! Amen. For it is shewn 
more and more that it is His good pleasure to be there : and 
that unseemlinesses must have taken place, which have now 
been put a stop to : for as many people kept night-vigils there, 
and the hermitage was lonely, not all of them went out of 
devotion l . This is coming right. The image of our Lady 
was in a very unfitting place. The Bishop, Don Alvaro de 
Mendoza, built a chapel for it ; and, little by little, things are 
coming to be done to the honour and glory of the glorious 
Virgin and of her Son. May He be praised for ever ! Amen, 

Then when the fitting up of the house was finished, ready 
for the nuns to go in, the Bishop wished their entry to be 
made with great solemnity, and so it was done on the Octave 
of Corpus Christi. He himself came from Valladolid, and he 
was attended by the Chapter and the Religious Orders and 
almost all the people of the place, with a great deal of music. 
We all went in procession from the house where we were, in 
our white cloaks, with our veils over our faces, to a parish 
church close to the house of our Lady. There her image itself 
met us, and thence we took the Blessed Sacrament and set It 
in our chapel with great ceremony and solemnity, which 
stirred up much devotion. Some more nuns went with us who 
had gone there to make the foundation at Soria; and we all 
had candles in our hands. I believe our Lord was greatly 

1 Probably these abuses did not completely cease even after the nuns 
were settled there : for they left the house ten years later, but this may 
have been partly on account of some difficulty with the Confraternity. 
The Jesuits took the chapel and enlarged the church, and it continued to 
be a much frequented place of worship. 

236 Chapter XXIX 

praised that day at Palencia. May He grant that all creatures 
may so praise Him for ever ! Amen. 

While I was at Palencia, it pleased God that the separation 
of the Barefoot Carmelites from the Carmelites of the Mitigated 
Rule should take place, making them a separate province, 
which was all that we desired for our peace and quiet. At 
the request of our Catholic king, Don Philip, a very ample 
Brief was brought from Rome to effect this : and his Majesty 
helped us very greatly, as he had done from the beginning. A 
Chapter was held at AlcaU by mandate of a Reverend Father, 
Fray Juan de las Cuevas \ a Dominican, who was at that time 
Prior at Talavera. He was appointed from Rome on the 
King's nomination. He was a saintly and wise person, as was 
fitting for such an office. The King bore the cost of the 
Chapter, and at his command the whole University shewed 
kindness to the friars. 

The Chapter was held at St Cyril's, our College of Barefoot 
friars at Alcala, and in great peace and concord. They elected 
as Provincial Father Master Fray Jer<5nimo Gracian of the 
Mother of God. Those Fathers will narrate elsewhere what 
took place there; so I need not speak of it here. I have 
mentioned it because it was while I was founding the house at 
Palencia that our Lord brought to pass an event so closely 
concerning the honour and glory of His glorious Mother, as it 
concerned her Order, she being our Lady and Patroness. 
And it gave me one of the greatest happinesses and satisfactions 
I could have in this life. For the troubles and persecutions 

1 His real name was Juan Velasquez de las Cuevas, but he was 
usually called by his mother's surname, Juan de las Cuevas. His family 
was of Coca. He was a Brother of the Monastery of St Stephen at 
Salamanca. He was made Bishop of Avila in 1596, and died ten years 

Palencia 237 

and distresses which I had gone through for more than twenty- 
five years would take too long to tell ; and our Lord alone can 
enter into' them. And" now to see the end of them all, no one 
who did not know the troubles I had undergone could under- 
stand the joy which filled my heart, or the desire which 
possessed me that all the world should praise our Lord, and 
that we should pray for our saintly king Don Philip, through 
whose instrumentality God had brought our affairs to so good 
an end. But for him, all would have been ruined, so cunningly 
had the devil gone to work. 

Now we are all in peace, Mitigated and Reformed : no one 
hinders us in the service of our Lord. Therefore, my Brothers 
and Sisters, since His Majesty has so graciously heard your 
prayers, up and haste to serve Him ! Let the present genera- 
tion, who are eyewitnesses of it, consider the mercies He has 
done us and the troubles and disquiet from which He has 
delivered us : and those who are to come after, since they find 
the way made plain, let them, for the love of our Lord, never 
suffer a single thing which belongs to perfection to slip away. 
Let it not be said by their fault as is said of some Orders, 
that their beginning was praiseworthy 1 . Now we are beginning : 
but let them try to keep on beginning to go on from good to 
better continually. Let them remember that the devil keeps 
using very small faults with which to bore holes through 
which the very greatest may find entrance. Let them never 
catch themselves saying, "This does not matter : they are over 
particular." Oh my daughters, everything matters which 
hinders our progress. For the love of our Lord I entreat them 
to remember how soon all will be over, and what a mercy our 
Lord has done us in leading us into this Order, and what a 
heavy penalty will be incurred by anyone who initiates any 
relaxation. Nay, let them keep their eyes ever fixed on the 

1 A euphemism, implying that later the developments are not so. 

238 Chapter XXIX 

race of holy prophets from which we are sprung. What Saints 
have we in heaven who wore this habit ! Let us aspire with a 
holy audacity, by the grace of God, to be ourselves like unto 
them. Short will be the battle, my Sisters ; the issue is 
eternal. Let us put aside those things which are really 
nothings, for only those are realities which lead us to our 
true end, to serve and love Him more, seeing He liveth for 
evermore. Amen. Amen. To God be thanksgivings ! 




The Foundation of the Convent of the Blessed Trinity at Soria, 
in 1581. The first mass was said on the Day of our Father 
Saint Elisha. 

WHILE I was at Palencia, making the above-mentioned 
foundation, a letter was brought me from Doctor Velasquez, 
Bishop of Osma. With him, at the time when he was Professor 
and Canon of the Cathedral at Toledo, and when I was troubled 
by certain fears, I had sought communication, because I knew 
him to be a most learned man and a great servant of God. 
So I besought him to hear my confession and take upon 
him the care of my soul. Although he was a very busy man, 
yet when I begged this for the love of our Lord and he saw my 
necessity, he did it so willingly that I was surprised ; and he 
was my confessor and director all the time I was at Toledo, 
which was a long while. I told him of the state of my soul 
quite plainly, as I always do. He did me so much good that 
from that time I began to suffer less from those fears. It is 

Soria 239 

true that there was another cause for this, not to be told here. 
Still he did me a great and real good, because he reassured me 
by means of passages from Holy Scripture, which is the thing 
that has most weight with me, when I am certain that he who 
makes use of them thoroughly understands them. I well knew 
this of him ; and knew his good life too. 

He wrote me this letter from Soria, where he was staying. 
He told me that a lady whose confession he heard there had 
spoken to him about founding a convent of our nuns, and that 
he approved of it : that he had promised to persuade me to go 
and make the foundation there, and that I must not leave him 
in the lurch : that if I thought it suitable I must let him 
know, and he would send for me. I was much pleased : for, 
let alone its being a good foundation to make, I wanted to tell 
him some matters concerning my soul, and to see him ; for I 
bore him a great affection for the good he had done me. 

The lady foundress' name was Dona Beatriz de Veamonte 
and Navarre, for she was sprung from the Kings of Navarre. 
She was the daughter of Don France's de Veamonte, of illus- 
trious and high descent. She had been married some years, 
and was left with no children and great wealth, and had an 
ardent desire to found a convent of nuns. When she mentioned 
this to the Bishop and he told her of the Order of our Lady, 
the Barefoot Carmelites, it was so exactly what she wanted 
that she was in great haste to carry it out. She is a person 
of gentle disposition, generous and lowly ; in a word, a true 
servant of God. She owned at Soria a good solidly built house 
in a very good situation ; and she said she would give us that 
together with whatever might be needed for the foundation : 
and with this she gave a sum of money which at two per cent, 
would bring in five hundred ducats a year. The Bishop 
offered to give a very good parish church all built of hewn 

240 Chapter XXX 

stone, close at hand, which we could make use of with a 
covered way. He could rightly do this because there were 
many churches in the town, and this one was poor, so that he 
could join the parish to another church. In his letter he set 
forth all this. I discussed it all with the Father Provincial, 
who was there at the time ; and he and all my friends there 
decided to write by a special messenger to say they might 
come to fetch me, because the foundation at Palencia was 
accomplished. And I was much pleased about this, for the 
reasons I have given. 

I began to collect the nuns whom I was to take with me. 
There were seven, because the foundress wished to have more 
rather than fewer, and a lay sister, and my companion and 
myself. A very suitable person came for us without delay. 
I told him that I would take with me two Barefoot Fathers : 
so I took Father Fray Nicolas of Jesus Maria 1 , a Genoese, a 
man of great discretion and perfection. He was over forty 
when he took the habit, I think : at any rate he is so now, 
and that was not long ago. But the progress he has made in 
this short time shews clearly that our Lord chose him to come 
to the aid of the Order in those troublous times of persecution. 
He was a great help : for of the others who could have helped, 
some were banished, some in prison. Having been, as I have 
said, such a short time in the Order, he held no office, and so 
less notice was taken of him ; this was the work of God's 
providence, that such valuable help might be left me 2 . He is 
so discreet that he was able to stay in the monastery of the 

1 The celebrated Father Doria, afterwards first Vicar-general of the 
Order in Spain. 

2 The Dorias were bankers and contractors, and the King of Spain 
had borrowed heavily of them : so Nicholas Doria had considerable 
influence at court. 

Soria 241 

Mitigation at Madrid, as it were for other businesses, and hid 
ours so well that they never found out what he was there for, 
and so let him stay. We wrote to each other continually, for 
I was in the monastery of St Joseph at Avila, and discussed 
what was to be done ; for this was a relief to him. It shews 
how badly off our Order was, that so much was made of me, 
as the saying is, " For want of better people 1 ." In all those 
vicissitudes I made proof of his discretion and perfection ; so 
he is one of those whom I greatly love in the Lord and highly 
esteem in our Order. 

Well, he and a companion went with us at once. I had 
little difficulty on this journey, because the Bishop's envoy 
caused us to travel in great comfort, and helped us to obtain 
good lodgings : for when once we were within the diocese of 
Osma, the Bishop is so much beloved that people gave .us 
good lodgings on hearing that it was his errand we were on. 
The weather was fine, and our stages were short : so there was 
no toilsomeness, but only pleasure ; for it gave me the greatest 
pleasure to hear what people said of the Bishop's sanctity. 
We arrived at Burgo 2 the day before the Octave of Corpus 
Christi. We made our Communion there next day, Thursday, 
the Octave Day, and we dined there, because we could not reach 
Soria next day. That night we spent in a church, because 
there was no other lodging, but we were none the worse for it. 
Next day we heard mass there, and we arrived at Soria about 
five in the evening. The saintly Bishop was at a window of 
his house when we passed by : and thence he gave us his 

1 St Theresa is referring to the old proverb, " For want of a better, 
my husband is mayor." 

2 Burgo de Osma, the seat of the Episcopal palace and Cathedral of 
the diocese to which Soria belongs, Soria having only a Collegiate 

T. F. 16 

242 Chapter XXX 

blessing, which was a great comfort to us ; for the blessing of 
a Bishop and a saint is not to be lightly esteemed. 

Our lady foundress was waiting for us at the door of her 
house, for it was there that the monastery was to be established. 
We did not see how to get in, the crowd was so great. This 
was nothing new ; for the world is so fond of novelties that, 
wherever we go, there are such crowds that, if we did not wear 
veils over our faces, it would be a great annoyance : with our 
veils, it is not unbearable. Dona Beatriz had had a large hall 
very well fitted up for saying mass, because the covered way 
to the church which the Bishop had given us had yet to be 
made : and without delay it was said next day, the festival of 
our father Saint Eliseus. The foundress provided us most 
amply with all that we needed, and settled us in those quarters, 
where we were enclosed, until the passage was made ; that is, 
until the Transfiguration. On that day the first mass was 
said in the church, with great solemnity and with a large 
congregation. A father of the Company of Jesus preached, 
the Bishop having already gone to Burgo for in his work he 
never loses a day nor an hour although he was not in good 
health, for he had lost the sight of one eye. This sorrow I 
had there : for I felt it such a grievous pity that eyesight so 
valuable in the service of our Lord should be lost. The Lord's 
judgements are His own. This must have been allowed in 
order to give His servant more to gain ; for he ceased not to 
labour as before : and in order to try his submission to His 
will. He told me that it gave him no more concern than if it 
had befallen his neighbour : and that he sometimes felt he 
would not be sorry if he lost the sight of the other ; for then 
he would go and serve God in a hermitage with no more 
responsibility 1 . 

1 In the end Senor Velasquez' desire was accomplished. Having been 

Soria 243 

This had always been what he felt himself called to before 
he was made Bishop ; and he sometimes spoke to me of it, 
having almost made up his mind to give up everything and be 
gone. I could not bear him to do this, because I thought he 
would be of great use in the Church of God, and so I wished 
him to be what he is now. For all that, on the day when he 
was offered the bishopric, when he sent to tell me, it at once 
put me into great perturbation, imagining I saw him under a 
heavy burden, and I did not know what to do with myself or 
how to keep quiet. I went into the choir to commend him to 
our Lord. His Majesty calmed me at once, telling me that it 
would be greatly to His service ; and so indeed it is continually 
shewn to be. In spite of the disease of the eye and other 
painful infirmities, and his round of work, he fasts four days 
in the week and does other penances ; his food is by no means 
luxurious. When he visits the diocese, he goes on foot : his 
servants cannot bear it, and have complained to me. The 
servants must lead a good life or not remain in his service. 
He does not entrust important affairs to his Vicars-general, 
but they go through his own hands : and so I think do all. 
During the first two years he was at Osma he underwent a 
fierce persecution of false accusations, which amazed me, for 
he is upright and just in administering justice. This has now 
been coming to an end : for although they have been to court 
and to wherever they thought they could do him injury, they 
have little power to harm him, because the good he is doing in 
all the diocese is getting to be well known. And he has borne it 

promoted in 1583 to the metropolitan see of Santiago, and being in very 
bad health, he obtained permission to resign. The King wished to 
assign him a pension of 12,000 ducats, but 6,000 was all he could be 
made to accept. He died in 1587, and his body was taken to his native 
place, Tudela de Duero. 


244 Chapter XXX 

all so perfectly that he has put them to shame, doing good to 
those who he knew were doing evil to him 1 . For all that he 
has to do, he does not fail to find time for prayer. 

I seem to have been carried away in speaking the praises of 
this saintly man and I have said but a small part but that 
it may be known who it was that began the foundation of the 
Convent of the Blessed Trinity at Soria, and that its future 
nuns may take comfort from that, it has been no waste of 
time. The nuns who are there now know it well. Although 
he did not give the endowment, he gave the church ; and, as 
I say, it was he who put it into the heart of our foundress, who 
was, as I have said, a very good Christian, virtuous and humble. 

Well, when we had made the passage to the church and 
arranged everything needful for our enclosure, it became 
necessary for me to go to the Convent of St Joseph at 
Avila : so I started at once in the great heat, and such road 
as there was, was very bad for wheeled conveyances. There 
went with me a prebendary of Palencia, named Bibera. He 
had been extremely helpful to me in the work of making the 
covered way, and in everything else ; Father Nicolas of Jesus 
Maria having departed as soon as the papers relating to the 
foundation were done with, because he was greatly needed 
elsewhere. Bibera had business to transact at, Soria when 
we went there, and he went with us. From that time forth 
God gave him such an effectual desire to do us good that we 
may well commend him to God amongst the benefactors of the 
Order. I did not want anyone else to go with me and my 
companion, because he was so careful that he sufficed, and the 
quieter the better for me in travelling. 

1 The proceedings were largely on account of the attempts made to 
have a cathedral at Soria. See Loperaez, History of the Diocese of 

Soria 245 

In this journey I paid for the comfort in which I had 
travelled to Soria ; for although our driver knew his way to 
Segovia, he did not know the carriage road, and so the youth 
took us into places where we often had to alight, and led the 
cart along deep precipices where it almost went over. If we 
engaged guides, they took us just so far as where they knew 
there was a plain road ; and left us, saying they had another 
engagement, just before the way became difficult. Before 
reaching any lodging place, as we did not know the country, 
we had to endure the sun for long hours, and often the danger 
of the cart's overturning. I was sorry for our escort : for 
sometimes when we had been told we were on the right way, 
we had to turn and retrace our steps. But his goodness was 
so deeply rooted that I do not think I ever saw him out of 
temper : which made me marvel and thank God that tempta- 
tions have so little power where anyone is radically good. I 
thank God that He was pleased to deliver us from the dangers 
of that journey. 

On the eve of St Bartholomew we arrived at Segovia, 
where our nuns were in anxiety because of the delay ; which 
indeed was great, the journey having been what it was. 
There they made much of us ; for God never sends me trouble 
but He repays me at once. I rested there a week or more. 
But this foundation was made with so little trouble that the 
journey back is not worth thinking of, for it was nothing. 

I came away well content, because it seemed to me a 
neighbourhood where, by God's mercy, the foundation will be 
to His service, as indeed is being shewn already. May He be 
praised and blessed for ages upon ages. Amen. Deo gracias 1 . 

1 From this conclusion it is apparent that she wrote the two preceding 
chapters soon after making the foundations at Palencia and Soria ; and 
thought to have ended the book with them, having made her last 


Of the Foundation of the glorious St Joseph of St Anne's, at Burgos. 
The first mass was said on April 19th within the Octave of Easter 
Day, 1582. 

MORE than six years before this time, certain people who 
had long been professed in the Company of Jesus, very 
religious, learned and spiritual, had said to me that it would 
be greatly to the service of our Lord if there were a house of 
our holy Order at Burgos ; and they gave me certain reasons 
which moved me to desire it. What with the many troubles 
of the Order and with other foundations, I had had no 
opportunity of carrying it out. While I was at Valladolid in 
the year 1580, the Archbishop of Burgos 1 passed that way. 
He had been Bishop of the Canaries, and now had been given 
this archbishopric, and was on his way to it. 

I have before spoken of the Bishop of Palencia, Don Alvaro 
de Mendoza, and all he has done for our Order : that he was 
the first to accept the Convent of St Joseph at Avila, he 
being Bishop then ; and that ever since then, he has shewn us 
great kindness, making the interests of the Order his own, 
especially those which I have commended to him. I begged 
him to ask the Archbishop's leave to make a foundation at 
Burgos, and he very willingly consented ; because, as he believes 
that our Lord is served in our houses, he is much pleased 
when any is founded. The Archbishop would not come into 
Valladolid, but lodged at the monastery of San Geronimo, 
where the Bishop of Palencia entertained him sumptuously, 

1 Don Crist6bal Vela, son of Don Blasco Nunez Vela, Viceroy of 
Peru. He was appointed Bishop of the Canaries in 1575. 

3.* I 

Burgos 247 

and went to dine with him and give him a girdle 1 or some 
such ceremony, which was to make him Bishop. There he 
asked him for the licence to found the convent. He said 
he would grant it most willingly; for indeed he would have 
liked to have one in the Canaries, and he was wanting to get 
one founded, because he knew how well our Lord was served 
in them, for he came from a place where there was one, and 
he knew me well 2 . So the Bishop told me that as he was so 
delighted to have the foundation, we were not to wait for the 
licence : this could be considered as already granted, since the 
Council 3 did not specify that it was to be in writing, but only 
that it was to be with the Bishop's consent. 

In iny account of the previous foundation at Palencia I 
have spoken of the great repugnance I had at that time for 
making foundations, because I had been so ill that I was not 
thought likely to live, and was not yet recovered. This, 
however, is not my wont when I see that something is to the 
service of God : so I do not understand the reason of such 
unwillingness as I then felt. If it had been for want of 
means, I have had less in making other foundations. To my 
thinking, now that I have seen the sequel, it was the devil's 
doing. And so it has regularly happened that every time 
,1 was to have difficulties in making a foundation, our Lord, 
knowing what a poor creature I am, has helped me by words 
and by deeds. I sometimes think over it how in some 
foundations in which there were no difficulties, His Majesty 
apprised me of nothing. So it was in this one, that, as He 
knew what I should have to go through, He began to inspirit 

1 The Metropolitan's pallium. 

2 For he was of a family of Avila. 

3 The Council of Trent, Cap. 3. 25, de Eeform. Kegul. "licentia prius 

248 Chapter XXXI 

me from the first. May He be praised for all ! So it was 
here as I have said in my account of the foundation at 
Palencia, which was arranged at the same time for as though 
reproving me, He said, What was I afraid of ? When had He 
ever failed me ? "I am the same : do not fail to make these 
two foundations." I have before spoken of the courage which 
such words infused into me, so I need not speak of it again. 
All my sloth at once vanished : which shewed that the cause 
of it was not infirmity or old age ; so I set about making both, 
as I have said. 

It seemed better to make the foundation at Palencia first, 
as it was nearer, and because the weather was so severe and 
Burgos so cold, and also to please the good Bishop of 
Palencia ; and so this was done, as I have said. And since, 
while I was there, the opportunity for founding a convent at 
Soria presented itself, it seemed best to go there first, as 
everything was made ready for us ; and thence to go on to 

I begged the Bishop of Palencia, and he thought it right, 
to keep the Archbishop informed of what was going on ; so 
after I had gone to Soria, he sent a Canon, Juan Alonso, to 
the Archbishop, for this and no other purpose. The Arch- 
bishop wrote to me that he was affectionately desirous of my 
coming, and had talked over it with the Canon and was 
writing to his Lordship, putting himself into his hands ; that 
he was acting in this way because he knew Burgos, and that 
I should need the town's consent to come in. The practical 
outcome was that I was to go there and treat first with the 
city ; and if the city refused leave, that should not tie his 
hands to hinder him from giving it ; that he was there at the 
first foundation at Avila and remembered the great commotion 
and opposition there had been, and so he wished to prevent 

Burgos 249 

the like here : that it would not be fitting to found the convent 
except with the consent of the city, unless it were endowed 
a condition which he mentioned because it was not one which 
I liked 1 . 

The Bishop naturally considered the thing settled when 
the Archbishop said I was to go there, so he sent to tell me to 
go. But to me there seemed a certain lack of courage in the 
Archbishop ; and I wrote thanking him for his kindness to 
me, but saying that it seemed to me worse to make the 
foundation against the will of the city than to do so without 
telling them, and would bring more trouble upon his Lordship. 
I seem to have divined how little we could expect from him if 
there should be any opposition to my getting the licence: 
and I thought there would be difficulty in getting it because 
of the contrary opinions there usually are in such matters. 
I wrote also to the Bishop of Palencia begging him to let the 
matter stand over for the present, there being so little of the 
summer left, and I being too unwell to stay in so cold a part of 
the country. I did not mention my doubts of the Archbishop, 
because he was already vexed at his having made difficulties 
after having shewed such eagerness for it ; and I did not want 
to sow discord, as they were friends. So I went off from 
Soria to Avila, without any idea at the time that I should 
have to go so soon to Burgos. And for certain reasons it was 
very necessary that I should go to St Joseph's 2 . 

There was at Burgos a saintly widow, Catalina de Tolosa, 

1 There is something of ambiguity in these provisions of the Archbishop. 
They seem to shew that he wished for the foundation, but was not 
resolutely determined to have it made. 

2 [The convent had grown slack, and alms had fallen off. The 
Provincial, Fray Jerome, had just been to visit the convent : the Prioress 
resigned at once, and the nuns elected St Theresa in her place, " through 
sheer hunger," she says. Tr.] 

250 Chapter XXXI 

a Biscayan by birth, whose virtues would take me a long time 
to tell, so great were her austerities and her devotions, her 
alms and charity, so good her understanding and courage. 
She had placed two daughters as nuns in the Convent of 
Our Lady of the Conception at Valladolid, I think four years 
before this, and had just placed two more at Palencia ; for she 
was waiting until that house was founded, and brought them 
there before I departed. All four have turned out as children 
brought up by such a mother, like angels. She gave them 
good dowries and everything very perfect, for she herself is so, 
and all that she does is handsomely done, and she can make 
it so, for she is rich. 

When I went to Palencia, we considered the Archbishop's 
licence so certain that there seemed no need for cautious 
delay : so I asked her to get me a hired house to take 
possession of, and to put up some gratings and a turn, and 
put it to my account. It never entered my head that she 
would spend money of her own, but I meant her to lend it. 
She so much desired the foundation that she was distressed at 
its standing over ; and so, after I had gone to Avila, as I 
have said, without any thought of making the foundation 
then, she did not let it rest ; but, thinking there was nothing 
needed but the city's permission, she began, without telling 
me, to set to work to get it. 

Dona Catalina had two neighbours, mother and daughter, 
great people, and good servants of God, who earnestly desired 
the foundation. The mother was Dona Maria Manrique. 
She had a son, Don Alonso de Santo Domingo Manrique, who 
was a town councillor. Her daughter was called Dona 
Catalina. These two ladies talked to him about his asking 
the council's leave. He spoke to Catalina de Tolosa, asking, 
What means of subsistence should he say we possessed ? For 


Burgos 251 

if we had none, the council would not consent. She told him 
that she would pledge herself (and so she did) to give us a 
house if we needed one, and our food, and thereupon she 
gave in a petition signed with her name. Don Alonso went 
so prudently to work that he got the leave of all the 
councillors, and went to the Archbishop taking him the 
written licence. 

Directly Dona Catalina had set to work, she wrote to me, 
saying that she was in treaty about it. I did not take it 
seriously, knowing how unwilling people are to permit 
convents founded without endowment ; and as I did not 
know, nor did it enter my head, that she was so binding 
herself, I thought that much more had to be done. However, 
one day within the Octave of Martinmas, while I was 
commending the matter to our Lord, I considered what was to 
be done if the licence were given. As for going to Burgos 
myself, that seemed out of the question, considering my 
infirmities ; for, being so chilly as I am, cold is very bad for 
me : and it seemed rash to set out on so long a journey 
when I had only just made a journey so trying as that from 
Soria, of which I have spoken : nor would the Father 
Provincial allow me to go. I thought the Prioress of 
Palencia might well go ; for, everything being plain and 
easy, there would be nothing to do. 

While I was considering this, and quite decided not 
to go myself, our Lord said to me the following words, from 
which I saw that the licence was already granted : Pay 
no regard to the cold, for I am the true warmth. The 
devil is putting out all his strength to hinder this founda- 
tion ; put out all thine on My side, that it may be made ; 
and fail not to go thyself, for great fruit will come of it. 
This made me change my mind. Although nature sometimes 

252 Chapter XXXI 


hangs back in laborious undertakings, yet my resolution 
to suffer for our great God never flags : and so I pray 
Him not to regard the feelings which come from my weak- 
ness, but to bid me do whatsoever may please Him, for 
with His help I shall not fail to carry it out. 

There was snow at the time : but what made me most 
cowardly was my poor health ; for, with good health, I think 
I should have made nothing of it. This was what all along- 
weighed me down in making this foundation : the cold was 
so little, at least I felt it so little, that I really think I felt it 
no more than I did at Toledo. Well did our Lord fulfil His 
word in this. 

Only a few days later the licence was brought me, with 
letters from Catalina de Tolosa and her friend Dona Catalina, 
bidding me make great haste, because she was afraid there 
might be some mischance: for at that very time the Order of 
the Vitorinos 1 had come to make a foundation, and the 
Carmelites of the Mitigation had been there a long time also 
trying to make a foundation. The monks of St Basil had 
come since. And this made a great difficulty ; and it was 
a remarkable thing that so many of us should have come 
all together at the same time : and yet one could only thank 
God for the great liberality of the place ; for the city gave its 
consent most willingly, although it was not so prosperous as 
it was wont. I have always heard the city well spoken of for 
its liberality; but I did not suppose it would come to so much 
as this. Some were in favour of one Order, some of another. 
But the Archbishop, considering all the difficulties it might 

1 The Minims of St Francis de Paula, who in Spain are commonly 
called Frailes Vitorios or Frailes de la Victoria, because their coming 
into Spain coincided with the taking of Granada. 


Burgos 253 

cause, hindered it 1 , thinking that it might be doing a wrong to 
the existing Houses which were without endowment, taking 
away their means of support. Perhaps these themselves had 
made representations to him, or it may have been suggested 
by the devil in order to prevent the great good which God 
works in places to which He brings many monasteries: for He 
is able to maintain many as easily as few. 

This, then, was the reason why those saintly women 
hurried me on : and, if I had done as I pleased, I should have 
started immediately, only I had other business to do : for I 
considered how much more I was bound not to miss an oppor- 
tunity for myself than those whom I saw to be so zealous. 

The words which I had heard apprised me that there 
would be great opposition. I could not tell from whom, nor 
wherefore : for Catalina de Tolosa had already written to me 
that she had secured the house in which she was living for us 
to take possession of; the city had agreed, and the Archbishop 
also. I could not imagine from whom the opposition was to 
come which the demons were going to raise: yet I did not 
doubt that the words I had heard were from God. But God 
gives more light to Superiors : for when I wrote to the Father 
Provincial about going to Burgos on account of what had been 
said to me, he did not forbid me, but he asked whether I had 
the Archbishop's licence in writing. I answered that they 
had written to me from Burgos saying that they had arranged 
with him; and that the city's licence had been obtained and 
the Archbishop was satisfied with it: this together with all 
that he had said about the affair, seemed to leave no doubt. 

1 The Canon law prescribes that monasteries which live by alms are 
not to be founded without consultation with the Mendicants and other 
Regulars in the place, to see whether the new foundation would be likely 
to injure their welfare. 

254 Chapter XXXI 

The Father Provincial was pleased to go with us to this 
foundation. This must have been partly because he was 
disengaged at the time; for he had just finished preaching in 
Advent, and he had to visit the Convent at Soria, which he 
had not seen since its foundation, and this was not much out 
of his way. Partly it was to look after my health on the 
journey, the weather being so bad, and I so old and infirm, 
and my life seeming to them of some consequence. And this 
was certainly God's ordering : for they were such roads, with 
a great deal of water out, that it was quite necessary that he 
and his companions should go on ahead to see where we could 
pass, and to help to get the carts out of bogs, especially on 
the way from Palencia to Burgos. It was really foolhardy to 
set out from Palencia when we did. It is true that our Lord 
had said to me that we could very well go, that I need not 
fear, for He would be with us. I did not tell this to the 
Father Provincial at the time ; but to me it gave assurance 
in the great difficulties and dangers which we met with. 
Especially at a certain crossing near Burgos called The 
Pontoons, where, on account of the frequent floods, the water 
was out so high that the passage could not be seen nor guessed 
at: nothing but water; and on either side of the road it 
was very deep. Indeed it is very rash to go that way, 
especially with carts, with which, if they go but a little to one 
side, it is all over with them; and accordingly one of ours did 
get into danger. From a wayside inn before we came to this 
place we took a guide who knew the passage; but it certainly 
is very dangerous. 

Then the inns I 1 For we could not go a full day's journey 

1 " They at least are in no way altered this link, at all events, between 
now and then is not missing. You can see it any day, the wretched 
wayside venta, dark as a cave inside, its mud floor trodden into a puddle 

Burgos 255 


because of the bad state of the roads. It was a quite common 
thing for the carts to sink into the mud so that they had to 
take the mules from one cart to help to drag out another. 

The Fathers who went with us had a great deal to go 
through, for we happened to have got drivers who were young 
and careless. To be travelling with the Father Provincial 
was a great comfort, for he took care of everything, and was 
so even tempered that no difficulties seemed to put him out, 
but what was really serious he made nothing of, so that it 
seemed of no account. Not at The Pontoons, however : there 
he was in considerable fear. For to see ourselves go into 
a world of water without a way or a boat, even though our 
Lord had given me an assurance, I was not without fear, 
what then must my companions have felt! 

There were eight of us travelling, two who were to return 
with me, and five who were to remain at Burgos, four choir 
Sisters and one lay. I do not think I have said who the 
Father Provincial was : it was Fray Gertfnimo Gracian of the 
Mother of God, whom I have mentioned elsewhere. I myself 
was suffering from a very bad sore throat, which I got on the 
journey to Valladolid, and from continued fever : the pain was 
so severe that it prevented me from entering as I otherwise 
should into the amusement of the adventures of the journey. 
I have the sore throat still ; (that is, at the end of June,) not 
nearly so severe as it was, but still extremely painful. All 
the nuns enjoyed the journey; because when any danger was 
past, it was a pleasure to talk over it. It is a great thing to 

by the passage in and out of men and beasts. A little straw or dried 
dung, perhaps, if a little better-to-do, some dried vine-shoots, burn in the 
midst of the floor, the smoke going out through a hole in the roof. The 
misery of the roads and weather nothing to the intolerable misery, fleas, 
and dirt within." Cunninghame Graham, Santa Teresa, vol. ii. p. 349. 

256 Chapter XXXI 

suffer for obedience' sake when anyone, like those nuns, lives 
under it continually. 

In spite of this bad road we arrived at Burgos, passing 
through a great deal of water which was out near the town. 
The Father would have us first go to visit the Holy Crucifix 1 , 
to commend our undertaking to Him, and to wait for night- 
fall; for it was early. It was a Thursday, January 26th, the 
day after the Conversion of St Paul, when we arrived. We 
came determined to make the foundation immediately, and I 
took with me several letters from Canon Salinas, of whom I 
have spoken in my account of the foundation at Palencia- 
and this foundation cost him no less trouble and from 
influential people, earnestly requesting their relations and 
other friends to help on our undertaking. This they did; 
for at once, next day, they came to see me, and came as 
delegates from the City Council, saying that they did not 
repent of what they had said, but were glad that I had come, 
and I must see what they could help me in. If we had had 
any fears, it was about the city's mind, so we thought all was 
now made smooth : and indeed we had intended before anyone 
else could know of our coming (but because of the floods no 
one could well get to the house of the good Catalina de 
Tolosa) to inform the Archbishop, so that the first mass 
might be said without delay, as is my practice almost 
everywhere ; but because of this it was left undone. We 
rested that night in great comfort, by the kindness of that 
saintly woman. But it brought me some suffering: for a 
great fire was made for us to dry our things ; and although it 
was in a chimney, it did me so much harm that next day I could 
not raise my head, so that I had to talk lying down to those 

1 The celebrated Christ of Burgos, which was at that time in the 
Convent of St Augustine. 

Burgos 257 

who came to see me. I spoke through a grated window, over 
which we stretched a curtain. As it was a day when I was 
absolutely obliged to transact business, it was very uncomfort- 
able for me. 

Early next morning the Father Provincial went to the 
Most Illustrious to ask his blessing ; for we thought that was 
all there was to be done. He found him perturbed and 
angry at my having come without his licence, as if he had 
never told me to come nor had anything to do with the 
matter. So he spoke to the Father Provincial very angrily 
about me. He admitted indeed that he had bid me come, 
but said that he only meant me to come alone to make 
arrangements; but to come with so many nuns, God deliver 
us from the annoyance it gave him ! It was of no use telling 
him that the matter was already arranged with the city, as he 
had required ; that there was nothing left to be done but make 
the foundation; nor that, when I had asked the Bishop of 
Palencia whether it would be right to come without first 
informing his Lordship, he had said there was no need, as he 
had already said he wished it. It had taken place thus, 
because God willed that the house should be founded : and so 
the Archbishop himself has since said; because if we had 
plainly told him we were coming, he would have forbidden it. 
Thereupon he dismissed the Father Provincial, saying that 
unless we had an endowment and a house of our own he would 
on no account give the licence, and we might as well go back. 
Pretty roads indeed, and lovely weather for it ! 

my Lord, when anyone has done Thee some service, 
how certain it is to be at once repaid with a heavy cross! 
And what a precious reward it is to those who truly love 
Thee, if at once it is given us to realise its value! But at 
that time we did not welcome our gain, because it seemed to 

T. F. 17 

258 Chapter XXXI 

make everything impossible ; for the Archbishop said besides 
that the endowment and purchase-money were not to be 
drawn from any dowry the nuns might bring us. Then, as 
such a thing was not to be thought of in these present days, 
there was clearly nothing to be done. I however did not 
think so : because I remained assured that all was for the best, 
and only devices of the devil to hinder us, but that God would 
make His work succeed. 

Upon this the Provincial came away in very good spirits, 
and not discomposed. God so ordained it, causing him not 
to be angry with me for not having obtained the licence in 
writing, as he had asked. 

There had been with me some of the friends to whom, as 
I have said, Canon Salinas had written. They and his 
relations came at once, and they resolved that the Arch- 
bishop's leave should be asked to have mass said in our house, 
so that we need not go through the streets, for they were deep 
in mud, and it was not fitting for Barefoot nuns to go. In our 
house, too, there was a suitable room, which had been the 
chapel of the Company of Jesus when first they came to 
Burgos, where they had been more than ten years ; and this 
being the case, we thought there was nothing against our 
taking possession there until we had a house of our own. 
Never could the Archbishop be prevailed upon to let us hear 
mass there, although two Canons went to beg it of him. All 
that we obtained from him was that, when we had got the en- 
dowment, we might make the foundation there until we had 
bought a house ; and for the purchase of the house we were 
to give sureties, and that we were not to move from where we 

The sureties we found at once: for Canon Salinas' friends 
volunteered that ; and Catalina de Tolosa to give the 

Burgos 259 

endowment. In the discussion of ways and means, more 
than three weeks must have gone by, and there were we not 
hearing mass except very early on festivals, and I with a fever 
and very unwell. However, Catalina de Tolosa took such 
care of us that I was in great comfort ; and she gave all of us 
our meals during that month, in an apartment which we had 
to ourselves, with as good a will as if she had been the mother 
of every one of us. The Father Provincial and his companions 
stayed in the house of a college friend of his, Doctor Manso, 
who was a Canon preacher of the Cathedral. It was a great 
annoyance to him to be detained there so long, yet he did not 
see how he could leave us. 

Well, when the sureties and the endowment had been 
arranged for, the Archbishop told us to put it into the hands 
of his Vicar-general, that it might be settled at once. The 
devil must have got at him : for when all had been thoroughly 
gone into, and we thought there could be no further cause of 
delay, having spent about a month in getting the Archbishop 
to be satisfied with what we were doing, the Vicar-general sent 
me a memorandum saying that the licence would not be given 
until we had a house of our own; that the Archbishop did 
not like us to make the foundation in the house we were in, 
because it was damp and in a noisy street; and all sorts of 
rigmaroles about the securities of the property and other such 
things, just as if the negotiations were only just beginning: 
there was to be no more discussion ; and the house must be to 
the satisfaction of the Archbishop. 

Strongly roused was the Father Provincial's feeling when 
he heard this, and so with us all : for everyone knows that it 
must be a long business to buy a place for a convent; and 
it distressed him to see us going out to hear mass. For, 
though the church was not far off, and we heard mass in a 


260 Chapter XXXI 

chapel where nobody could see us, yet to His Reverence and 
to us the turn things had taken was a great distress. 

Indeed at that time, I think, he came to the conclusion 
that we must go away. I could not bear to do this, when I 
remembered what our Lord had said to me, that I was to do 
my best to make this foundation for His sake ; and I was so 
confident that it would be accomplished that these things 
hardly distressed me, only I was grieved for the distress of the 
Father Provincial, and very sorry that he had come with us, 
not knowing how much his friends would help us, as I shall 
soon relate. While I was in this trouble (and my companions 
also were in great trouble; but I did not mind theirs, but 
only the Provincial's) our Lord, without my being in prayer, 
said to me these words, Now, Theresa, stand firm. Upon 
this, I more earnestly pressed the Father Provincial to go 
away and leave us : (and His Majesty must have brought this 
home to him) for it was already near Lent, when he was bound 
to go and preach. 

He and his friends arranged that we should be given 
certain rooms in the Hospital of the Conception; for the 
Blessed Sacrament was there, and daily mass : and with this 
arrangement he was fairly satisfied. However, there was not 
a little to be gone through in getting this : for a widow in the 
town had hired one of the best apartments ; and although she 
was not going into it until the half-year, she not only refused 
to lend it to us, but also was angry because we were given 
some attic rooms, one of which opened into her quarters. She 
was not satisfied with locking it from outside, but also had 
bars put across on the inside. Besides this, the Confraternity 
imagined that we were going to appropriate the hospital : an 
absurdity ; but God would have us merit more thereby. They 
made the Father Provincial and me promise before a notary 

Burgos 261 

that when we were given notice to quit, we would do so 
immediately. This I thought the greatest difficulty, because 
I was afraid of the widow, who was rich and had relations 
there; lest whenever the fancy took her, she would make us 
go. The Father Provincial, however, being wiser than I, 
would have us do whatever they wished, to get in quickly. 
They only gave us two rooms and a kitchen. But the 
superintendent of the hospital, Hernando de Matanza, was a 
great servant of God ; and he gave us two more for a parlour, 
and was most kind to us, as indeed he is to everyone, and he 
does a great deal for the poor. So also was Francisco de 
Cuevas, who has a great deal to do with the hospital, and is 
postmaster of Burgos: he always has shewed us kindness at 
every opportunity. 

I am naming our benefactors in these beginnings, because 
our nuns present and to come ought to remember them in 
their prayers. This they owe still more to founders. And, 
although I never meant Catalina de Tolosa to be one, nor did 
it enter my head; yet her good life obtained this from our 
Lord, Who so ordered matters that she is undeniably our 
foundress. For, let alone paying for the house, which we 
could not have done, no words can say what the shifts of the 
Archbishop cost her. For it was a terrible distress to her to 
think that the foundation might not be made. And she was 
never weary of doing us good. The hospital was a long way 
from her house, but almost every day she came to see us most 
willingly, and sent us all we needed. And because of this 
people kept continually saying disagreeable things to her, 
enough to make her give it all up, if she had not been the 
courageous woman she is. It was a sore grief to me to see all 
that she went through ; for, although she mostly concealed it, 
she could not always hide it, especially when they appealed to 

262 Chapter XXXI 

her conscience ; for she had so delicate a conscience that, 
amidst all the great provocations she received from certain 
people, I never heard from her a word which could offend God, 
They told her that she was on the way to hell, for how could 
she, when she had children of her own, act as she was doing? 
All that she did was with the approval of learned men : for, 
even if she had wished it, I would not for anything in the 
world have consented to her doing what she ought not, not 
for a thousand convents, much less one. But, as the plan 
we were discussing was kept secret, I am not surprised that 
people's imagination was the more active. She answered with 
a prudence which she possesses abundantly, and bore it so 
well that it shewed God was teaching her the art of pleasing 
some and putting up with others, and was ^giving her courage, 
to bear it all. How much more courage for great things have- 
the servants of God than the highborn people who are not His 
servants! Not but that Catalina herself was of the purest 
descent; for she is very much of a hidalgo 1 . 

Well, to return to what I was saying, when the Father 
Provincial had found us a place where we could hear mass and 
be enclosed, he took heart, and went off to Valladolid, where 
he had to preach, although very unhappy at not seeing in the 
Archbishop any sign from which we might hope he would give 
the licence. And though I always maintained he would, he 
could not believe it, and indeed he had great reasons which I 
need not tell for thinking as he did : and if he had little hope,, 
his friends had less, and made him still more disheartened.. 
It was a real relief to me to see him gone, because, as I have 
said, my greatest trouble was his. 

He left instructions to get a house to have for our own ; a 

very difficult matter, for up to that time we had not found one 

1 [Hijadalgo : daughter of a somebody ; lit. daughter of something. Tr.} 

Burgos 263 

which could be bought. Our friends, especially the Father 
Provincial's, now felt themselves more responsible for our 
affairs; and they all agreed not to say a word to the Arch- 
bishop until we had got a house. The Archbishop always said 
that he desired the foundation more than anyone; and I 
believe it : for he is such a good Christian that he would not 
say it if it were not true. His conduct did not shew it; for 
he imposed conditions which, to all appearance, we could not 
possibly fulfil: this was the devil's device to prevent the 
foundation. But, Lord, how well is it shewn that Thou art 
mighty! For the very means which he devised to stop it, 
Thou didst adopt for making it better. Blessed be Thou for 

From the Eve of St Matthias, when we went into the 
hospital, until the Eve of St Joseph, we kept inquiring about 
this and that house. They all had so many drawbacks that 
none which was for sale would do for us to buy. I had been 
told of one belonging to a gentleman which had been for some 
time for sale : and though so many Orders had been looking for 
houses, it pleased God that none of them liked it at which 
they all are now astonished, and some indeed greatly regret 
it. One of the two people had mentioned it to me ; but so many 
people had described it as bad that I had quite put it out of 
my thoughts as unsuitable. 

One day when the licentiate Aguiar, one of our Father's 
friends, was with me, and was telling me about some houses he 
had seen, for he was making a careful search for us and 
saying there was not one suitable in all the place, nor did it 
seem possible to find one, from what they told me I re- 
membered this one which, as I have said, we had given up 
thinking of ; and it occurred to me that, even if it was as bad 
as they said, it might serve as a refuge in our need, and we 

264 Chapter XXXI 

might afterwards sell it ; so I asked the licentiate Aguiar if he 
would do me the kindness of looking at it. He thought this 
not a bad plan. He had not seen the house; and he chose 
to go at once, although it was a rough stormy day. 

There was a tenant in it who was unwilling that it should 
be sold and would not shew it him ; but he was much pleased 
with the site and what could be seen of the house, and so we 
resolved to see about buying it. The gentleman who owned 
it was not at Burgos, but he had given authority to sell it to 
an ecclesiastic, a servant of God, into whose heart God put the 
desire to sell it us, and to deal quite fairly with us. It was 
agreed that I should go to see it. I was so extremely pleased 
with it that if they had asked twice as much as what we 
understood they did, I should have considered it cheap : and 
that is not saying much, for, two years before, that sum had 
been offered to the owner, and he would not sell. Immediately 
on the next day the ecclesiastic came, and the licentiate, who, 
when he saw what the ecclesiastic was satisfied with, would 
have wished to conclude the bargain at once. I had told 
some friends about it, and they had said that, if I gave that, 
I should be giving five hundred ducats too much. I told him 
this ; but he thought the house was cheap even if I gave as 
much as was asked. So did I, and that I need not delay, 
because the house seemed to be almost given away : yet as the 
money belonged to the Order, I felt some scruple. This 
meeting took place on the Eve of the glorious St Joseph, before 
mass : I said we would meet again after mass and settle it. 
The licentiate is a man of very clear understanding, and he saw 
plainly that if the thing got abroad, we should find we had to 
pay much more or not get the house. So he pushed the 
matter on, and made the ecclesiastic promise to come back 
after mass. 

Burgos 265 

"We nuns went to commend the matter to God; and He 
said to me, Art thou holding back for money 1 ? giving me to 
understand that it was the right house for us. The Sisters 
had often besought St Joseph that they might have a house 
by his Day ; and, although they had no idea it could be done 
so quickly, their desire was fulfilled. Everyone urged me to 
conclude the bargain : and so it was done ; for the licentiate 
met a notary at the door, which seemed providential, and 
came in with him and said we must settle it, and brought in 
a witness; and having locked the door of the room, that 
nobody might know for that was what he was afraid of the 
purchase was effected in all legal security, on the Eve of 
St Joseph, as I have said, through the energy and intelligence 
of this kind friend. 

Nobody thought it would be sold so cheap : and so when 
the news began to get abroad, purchasers began to come 
forward saying that the ecclesiastic who made the bargain had 
sold it below its value, and that the sale must be set aside 
because it was a great fraud. The good ecclesiastic had much 
to bear. It was at once reported to the owners of the house ; 
who were, as I said, a gentleman of considerable position and 
his wife. But they were so delighted at their house being 
made into a convent that they gave their approval though 
indeed they had no choice. Immediately on the day after, 
the deeds were executed, and the third part of the price was 
paid, exactly as the ecclesiastic asked : for in some points of 
the contract they pressed us unduly, but for his sake we 
accepted it all. 

It may seem to be going out of my way to spend so much 
time in. narrating the purchase of a house : but really the thing 
seemed nothing less than a miracle to those who considered it 
carefully : both the low price, and also that so many members 

266 Chapter XXXI 

of Religious Orders who had seen it had been blinded so that 
they did not take it. Those who afterwards saw it were 
amazed, as if it had not been all the time in Burgos, and 
blamed them and called them foolish. There was a convent of 
nuns engaged in seeking a house, and two more: one which 
had only lately been founded, and one which had come into 
the city from outside because their house had been burned 
down. And there was another wealthy person seeking to 
found a monastery, who had seen this house a little before, 
and had set it on one side. All these were now bitterly 
repenting it. The talk in the city was such that we saw 
clearly how wise the good licentiate had been in keeping it 
secret and hastening it on : for we may truly say that, under 
God, it was he who gave us the house. A good head for 
business is worth much. His is first rate; and God gave him 
the good will : and so the work was accomplished by means of 

He spent over a month in helping us and making plans 
for fitting up the house conveniently and cheaply. It seemed 
indeed that our Lord must have reserved this house for 
Himself; for it all seemed almost to have been made on 
purpose for us. Indeed, directly I saw it, all just as if it had 
been made for us, it seemed like a dream that it should be 
done so quickly. Well did our Lord repay us for what we had 
been through, by bringing us into a paradise for with its 
garden, its views, and its water it seems no less. May He be 
blessed for ever ! Amen. 

The Archbishop heard of it immediately, and was delighted 
that all had turned out so well, and put it down to his own 
obstinacy and quite rightly. I wrote to him that it gave me 
great pleasure to hear that it was to his satisfaction, and 
I would make haste in fitting up the house, so that I might at 

Burgos 267 

last gain his gracious permission. At the same time that I 
thus wrote, I made haste to get into the house; because I 
was warned that otherwise we should be detained where we 
were until all sorts of papers were signed. And so, although 
the tenant was still there, and it took a little time to get him 
out, we went into a part of it. I was told at once that the 
Archbishop was very indignant at this. I appeased him as 
best I might : and being a good man, even if he is angry, it 
soon passes off. He was angry too, when he heard that we 
had got gratings and a turn ; for he thought it meant that I 
meant to found, whether or no. I wrote to him saying I did 
not, but that in a house of enclosed nuns there were always 
these things : and that I had not even ventured to put up a 
cross, lest it might have that appearance: which was the 
truth. With all the goodwill which he shewed, there was no 
making him willing to grant the licence. 

He came to see the house, and was 'much pleased with it, 
and was very gracious to us, not so gracious, however, as to 
give us the licence. But he did give us more hope, saying 
there had to be some papers or other signed between us and 
Catalina de Tolosa. There were great fears that he would not 
give it at all: but Doctor Manso, the other friend of the 
Father Provincial whom I have mentioned, being very intimate 
with the Archbishop, watched for opportunities of reminding 
him and persuading him ; for it grieved him to see us living 
as we were living. For even in this house, although there 
was a chapel which had never been used by the owners for 
anything but saying mass, the Archbishop would not let us 
have mass said in the house; on festivals and Sundays we 
had to go out to hear it at a church which luckily was close at 
hand. Yet it was about a month, more or less, from the time 
when we went to the house, to the time when the foundation 

268 Chapter XXXI 

was made. All the learned men said that there was no valid 
obstacle. The Archbishop is very learned, and knew this 
too : so there seems to have been no reason for it but that our 
Lord wished us to suffer. I, however, did not mind so much ; 
but there was one nun who shook with misery when she 
found herself in the street 1 . 

We went through not a little in drawing up the deeds; 
for at one time they were satisfied with sureties, and at 
another they required the money ; and many other such 
vexatiousnesses. This was not so much the fault of the 
Archbishop as of a Vicar-general, who fought hard against us ; 
so that if God had not opportunely sent him on a journey, so 
that his office devolved on another, I think we should never 
have got through. Oh, what Catalina de Tolosa suffered no 
words can say ! She bore it all with marvellous patience, and 
never wearied of providing for us. She gave us all the 
furniture we required for setting up house, beds and many 
other things, for she had plenty in her house ; and even if she 
went without something in her own house, there was no 
question of allowing us to go without. Some other women 
who have founded convents for us have given us much 
more money; but there is not one to whom it has cost a 
tenth part of the trouble she had : and if she had had no 
children, she would have given us all she had to give. But 
she so earnestly desired to see the thing accomplished that she 
thought nothing of all she did. 

I, when I saw such long delays, wrote to the Bishop of 

1 Not finding any better means of worrying St Theresa, he stipulated 
that she must get the Nuncio's leave before she had mass said in the 
Chapel. The Jesuits had had the Blessed Sacrament reserved for fourteen 
years in the house which St Theresa first occupied ; and yet he would not 
allow her to have mass said there. 

Burgos 269 

Palencia, begging him to write again to the Archbishop : for 
he was much put out with him ; because he felt all that the 
Archbishop did against us, as though done to himself. (And 
what astonished us was that the Archbishop never seemed to 
think he was doing us the least injury.) I begged him to 
write again asking him to give his consent, now that we had 
a house and what he required was done. He sent me, open, 
such a letter to the Archbishop that if I had forwarded it, all 
would have been lost for us. So Doctor Manso, who was my 
confessor and adviser, would not let it go. For, although it 
was exceedingly courteous, it conveyed certain truths which, 
considering the Archbishop's temper, were enough to offend 
him ; and so indeed he had been already by certain messages 
the Bishop had sent him. And they were great friends. 
And to me he said that, as through the death of our Lord 
those had been made friends who were not so before, so now 
through me these two had been made enemies. I answered 
that by this he might see what sort of a person I was. I had, 
as I thought, taken special care that they should not fall out. 
I again entreated the Bishop, pleading the best arguments I 
could, that he would write another very friendly letter, setting 
before the Archbishop the service he would be doing to God. 
He did what I asked, which was no light matter. But more 
because he saw that it would be to God's service, and it was 
doing me a kindness for he has been uniformly kind to me. 
Finally, he did violence to himself, and he wrote to me saying 
that all he had done for the Order was nothing to compare 
with this letter. In short, the letter was such that, together 
with Doctor Manso's insistence, it made the Archbishop give 
the licence, and he sent it by the good Hernando de Matanza, 
who came with no little rejoicing. That day the Sisters had 
been much sadder than ever, and there had been no consoling 

270 Chapter XXXI 

the good Catalina de Tolosa, and I myself, who had never 
been hopeless, had been so the night before. It seemed that 
our Lord was pleased to give us greater affliction just when He 
was going to send us joy. Blessed be His Name for ever and 
praised, world without end ! Amen. 

The Archbishop gave leave to Doctor Manso to say mass 
next day, and to reserve the Blessed Sacrament. He said the 
first mass, and the High Mass was sung by the Father Prior 
of St Paul's, of the Order of St Dominic, to which, and to the 
Company of Jesus, our Order has always been greatly in- 
debted. He, the Father Prior, sang it, with great magnificence 
of musicians, who came of their own accord. All our friends 
were rejoicing, and so was almost the whole city, for everyone 
pitied our plight: and they so strongly condemned the 
Archbishop's conduct that sometimes I minded what I 
heard said of him more than what I myself was suffering. 
The joy of the good Catalina de Tolosa and of the Sisters was 
so great as to move my devotion, and I said to God, " Lord, 
what other aim have these Thy handmaidens save that of 
serving Thee and being enclosed for Thy sake in a cloister 
whence they are never more to go out ! " 

No one who has not experienced it could believe the 
fulness of satisfaction we feel in these foundations when at 
length we find ourselves enclosed where no secular person may 
enter; for however dearly we may love them, it does not 
prevent us from being delighted to find ourselves alone. It 
seems to me like as when a number of fishes are taken out of 
the river in a net, which cannot live unless they are put back 
into the water. So it is with souls which are used to living 
within the flowing waters of their Spouse : when they are 
drawn out thence and find themselves in the net of 
worldly affairs, they really do cease to live until they find 

Burgos 271 

themselves back again. This I see always in all these Sisters; 
this I know by experience : that nuns who find in themselves 
any desire to go out among seculars, or to have much converse 
with them, may well fear that they have not found that 
living water of which our Lord spoke to the woman of 
Samaria ; and that the Spouse has hidden Himself from 
them, seeing that they are not content to dwell with Him. 
I fear this arises from two causes : either that they have taken 
upon themselves this estate not for His sake alone ; or that 
since they took it, they have not recognised the greatness of 
the favour which God has done them in choosing them for 
Himself, and freeing them from subjection to a human being, 
who often wears out their life, and pray God he may not 
destroy their soul too ! Thou, Very Man and Very God, Who 
art my Spouse, is this a favour which can be lightly esteemed ! 
Let us praise Him, my daughters, for having granted it to us ; 
and let us never be weary of praising so great a King and 
Lord, Who, for a light endurance of hardship surrounded 
with a thousand joys and lasting but a day, has prepared for 
us a kingdom without end. Be He blessed for ever! Amen. 

Some time after the house was founded, the Father 
Provincial and I came to think that in the endowment which 
Catalina de Tolosa had given the house there were certain 
drawbacks ; for there might be some law-suit, and some 
annoyance might come upon her : and we felt we would rather 
trust to God than let there remain any chance of her being in 
any way troubled. So for this and for certain other reasons, 
all we nuns, with the Father Provincial's sanction, renounced 
before a notary the property which she had given us, and 
returned her all the papers. This was done with great 
secrecy, that the Archbishop might not hear of it; for he 

272 Chapter XXXI 

would have thought it an injury done him: whereas the 
injury really is to the house. For when it is known that a 
house is dependent on alms there is no fear, for everyone 
helps it: but there is an apparent risk when a house is 
thought to be endowed ; and it may be left for a time without 
anything to eat. 

So Catalina de Tolosa took means to ensure our support 
after her death. Two daughters of hers who were to be 
professed that year in our Convent at Palencia, had signed a 
deed to renounce their property in her favour when they 
should be professed. She caused them to revoke this, and to 
renounce it in favour of the Convent at Burgos. And another 
daughter, who desired to take the habit here 1 , left to this 
house what she inherited from both father and mother. This 
came to as much as the endowment ; the only drawback being 
that the convent does not come into possession at once. But 
I have always held that the Sisters will never be in want; 
because our Lord, Who moves people to give alms to the 
other convents which live by alms, will stir up people to do so 
here, or give other means of maintenance. 

However, as in no other house had such an arrangement 
been made, I sometimes besought Him that, as the foundation 
had been His will, so He would order affairs to the relief of its 
necessities ; and I did not like to go away until I saw whether 
anyone would enter it as a nun 2 . But one day when I was 
thinking about this after my Communion, our Lord said to 
me, Why dost thou doubt? This is already done with; thou 
mayest safely depart : giving me to understand that their 
needs would be supplied. For it was said in such a way that 
I never troubled myself again any more than if I had been 

1 [At Burgos. Tr.] 2 [i.e., bringing a dowry. Tr.] 

St Joseph's, Avila 273 

leaving them amply endowed : but I at once arranged to be 
going ; for I felt I was no longer doing anything here, except 
enjoying myself in this house which I so much like; while 
elsewhere, although with more difficulty, I might be doing 
more good. 

The Archbishop and the Bishop of Palencia remained very 
good friends; for the Archbishop soon shewed himself very 
gracious towards us, and gave the habit to Catalina de 
Tolosa's daughter, and to another nun who presently entered 
the convent. And up to the present time certain people have 
not failed to take care of us, nor will our Lord let His brides 
suffer, if they serve Him as they are in duty bound. May His 
Majesty, of His great mercy and goodness, grant them the 
grace to do this ! 


I have thought it good to set down here how it is that 
the nuns of St Joseph's at Avila, our first convent, whose 
foundation is narrated elsewhere and not in this book, having 
been founded under the Bishop's jurisdiction, afterwards passed 
under that of the Order. 

When it was founded, the Bishop was Don Alvaro de 
Mendoza, who is now Bishop of Palencia. All the time he 
was at Avila, the nuns were very well cared for. And when 
the convent was placed under his jurisdiction, I understood 
from our Lord that it was fitting so to place it. And so it 
has since proved : because in all the disagreements within the 
Order, we received great help from him ; and on many other 
occasions too this was quite clear. And he never allowed 
Visitations of the convent to be made by a secular priest ; 

T. F. 18 

274 Chapter XXXI 

nor did the nuns do anything beyond what I asked of him. 
Thus it went on for seventeen years more or less, so far 
as I remember, nor did I meditate any change of juris- 

At the end of this time, the Bishopric of Palencia was 
given to the Bishop of Avila. At that time I was staying at 
the convent at Toledo: and our Lord said to me that it 
would be a good thing that the nuns of St Joseph's should 
come under the jurisdiction of the Order; and that I must 
bring this to pass, because otherwise the house would fall 
into laxity. As I had formerly understood that it was better 
for it to be under the Bishop, there seemed to be a con- 
tradiction, and I did not know what to do. I told my 
confessor, the present Bishop of Osma, a most learned man. 
He said that this did not matter; but that one thing must 
have been needful in the past, and another thing now. He 
saw that it would be better for that convent to be united 
with the others, and not to stand alone. And what he said 
has already been very clearly shewn to be true, in many 

He made me go to Avila to arrange for it. I found the 
Bishop of a very different opinion, and he would by no means 
agree to it. But, when I told him certain reasons why harm 
might come to the nuns, he, having a great affection for them, 
thought it over carefully : and having a very sound judgement, 
and God helping him, he thought out other reasons more 
weighty than what I had given him, and resolved to do it. 
Although some secular priests went to try to dissuade him, 
they did not prevail. 

The votes of the nuns were necessary for this change: 
some very much disliked it; but, as they loved me well, 
they yielded to my reasonings : to this, especially ; that now 

St Joseph's, Avila 275 

the Bishop to whom the Order owed so much, and whom I 
loved, was gone, they would not again have me with them 
otherwise. This came home to them forcibly. Thus was 
concluded a matter so important that, as they and everyone 
else now see, the house would have gone to ruin if it had not 
been carried out. Oh, blessed be our Lord Who with so great 
solicitude considers all that concerns His handmaidens! 
Blessed be He for evermore ! Amen. 



Acuna, Dona Maria de, 68 70 
Aguiar, 263, 264 

Ahumada, Teresa de (Saint The- 
resa), viiff. 
Alba, Duke of, 132 

Duchess of, asks Saint to make 
foundation at Alba de Tormes, 
132, 137 

de Tormes, death of Saint at, 
ix, 25; foundation at, 132 ff., 

Alcala, monastery of Barefoot friars 
at, 86 note, 158, 211 ; Chapter 
held at, 236 

Alerio, Fray Juan, 12 note 
Alexander IV, Pope, 116 note 
Alonso, Canon Juan, sent to Arch- 
bishop of Burgos, 248 
Alvarez, Baltasar, 16, 225 

Garci, helps Saint in founda- 
tion of Seville, 177 ff. 

Ana de la Encarnacion, 130 note 
Andalusia, 165 and note; Veas in 

ecclesiastical province of, 167, 

176 note 
Andrada, 97 ; finds house for Saint 

at Toledo, 98 

Angel de Salazar, Fray : see Salazar 
Anna of St Bartholomew, The Ven. , 

227 and note 

Anne of the Mother of God, 103 
Antonio, Fray : see Heredia 
Aragon, 12 note 

Are"valo, Saint passes through, 18 
Atocha, Prior of, 114 note 
Augustine, St, Convent of, 256 note 
Augustinians, Kecollet, Convent of, 

129 note 

Austria, Don John of, 202 note 
Avila, town of, Saint's early life at, 

vii ; Bishops of : see Mendoza 

and Cuevas 

Convent of the Incarnation at, 
Saint enters, ix ; Saint ordered to 
go to, 141, 145, 146 

Convent of St Joseph at, ix, 
xi, 4, 7, 12 ff . ; Saint leaves, 17, 
25, 66, 85, 95, 166 note, 182, 
189, 192; founded by Pope's 
licence, 202, 223, 241; Saint's 
journey to, 244, 245, 248, 249 ; 
Prioress resigns and Saint elected, 
249 note ; passes from Bishop's 
jurisdiction to that of Order of 
Barefoot Carmelites, 273 ff. 

Juan de, 59 note 

Baeza, Monastery of Barefoot friars 

at, 86 note 
Baltasar Alvarez : see Alvarez 

de Jesus, becomes Barefoot 
friar, 113 

Banez, Fray Domingo, 19 ; opinion 
about visions, 59 ; advises Dona 
Casilda de Padilla, 74, 78 note, 
114 note, 132 



Barcelona, 12 note 

Basil, St, Order of, 110 note ; at 

Burgos, 252 
Beatrice of the Mother of God, 

history of, 182 ff. 
Beatrice of Jesus, niece of St 

Theresa, 103 note 
Be* jar, Franciscan Convent at, 126 


Boncompagni, Cardinal, 203 note 
Borromeo, St Charles, 202 note 
Buendia, Count of, 68, 70 
Burgo de Osma, 241 and note 
Burgos, Franciscan Convent at, 78 

note, 223, 225 ; foundation at, 

246 ff. 
Archbishop of: see Vela 

Camarasa, Marquis of, 67 

Canaries, Bishop of: see Vela 
Caravaca, 158 ; licence for founda- 
tion at, 166, 167, 174; foundation 
at, 189 ff . 

Cardona, Dona Catalina de, history 
of, 210 ff . 

Carranza, Bartolome', 95 note 

Carthusians, 24, 180 note 

Castille, Governor of, 68 and note, 
95 ; laws of, respecting married 
women's property, 130 note ; 
Father Gracian given commis- 
sion for, 165 and note, 167 ; 
Saint as " a sort of prisoner " in, 
176 note 

Cepeda, Lorencio de, Saint's 
brother, helps in foundation at 
Seville, 176 ff., 194, 199 note 

Cerda, Dona Luisa de la, Saint 
visits, 63 and note ; endows 
Convent of St Joseph at Mala- 
gon, 64, 95 

Cifico Villas, Don Luis of, builds 
chapel at Mancera, 91 ; builds 
monastery for Barefoot friars at 
Mancera, 92 

Cloth, Fathers of the, 84 note 

Cobos, Knight Commander, 67 

Coca, 236 note 

Conception, Hospital of the, Burgos, 

260, 261 
Cordova, Saint and Sisters arrive 

at, 170 ; Father Julian says mass: 

disturbance caused by arrival of 

Sisters, 171173 
Cuellar, Francisca de, of the Cross, 

189 note, 189 ff. 
Cuevas, Francisco, postmaster of 

Burgos, shews kindness to Saint, 


Fray Juan Velasquez de las, 
Prior at Talavera, 236; Bishop 
of Avila, 236 note 

Las, Prior of Carthusian 
monastery at : see Pantoja 

Doria, Fray Nicolas of Jesus Maria, 
240 and note, 244 

Duruelo, foundation of Barefoot 
friars at, 88-93 ; moved to Man- 
cera, 92 

Eboli, Prince of : see Gomez 

Princess of : see Mendoza 
Ervias, Dr Augustin, helps Saint in 

foundation at Villanueva de la 

Jara, 205 ff. 
Escorial, 51 note 
Estefania of the Apostles, lay Sister, 


Fernandez, Fray Pedro, Apostolic 
Commissary, orders Saint to go 
to Convent of Incarnation for 
three years, 141; consents to 
foundation at Veas, 147 ; Apos- 
tolic Visitor in Castille, 166 note ; 
appointed by King to consider 
cause of Barefoot Carmelites, 
204 and note 

Francis de Paula, St, Order of 
Minims of, 252 note 

Franciscans, 126 note ; lawsuit 
with, 145, 178 

Franco, Alonso, 103 note 

Fuente, Mateo de la, Father, 110 
and note 



Fuente, Vicente de la, publishes 
vol. i of Saint's works, vii, xii, xiii 
Fuentes, Count of, 129 note 

Gabriel of the Assumption, Fray, 
Prior of Our Lady of Succour, 
helps Saint in foundation at 
Villanueva de la Jara, 206 ff. 

Gaytan, Antonio, accompanies 
Saint to Segovia, 143 ; to Seville, 
168, 173 ; sent to Caravaca to 
prepare for foundation, 190-192 

Ger6nimo : see Gracian 

Geronimo, San, monastery of, 

Godinez de Sandoval, Dona Cata- 
lina, 147 

Dona Catalina, daughter of 
above, history of, 147 ff. 

Dona Maria, sister of above, 
147 ff. 

Gomez de Silva, Ruy, Prince, gives 
hermitage at Pastrana, 112, 113 ; 
death of, 114, 214 

Gonzalez, Fray Alonso, appointed 
Provincial, 13 note ; gives licence 
for foundation at Duruelo, 87 

de Mendoza, Don Pedro, 116 
and note 

Gracian, Fray Geronimo of the 
Mother of God, meets Saint at 
Veas, 158; visits Prioress at 
Pastrana, 161 ; becomes Barefoot 
friar at Pastrana, 162, 163; 
father of, 162 note ; made Apos- 
tolic Commissary, 164, 165 note, 
168 ; advises Saint to found Con- 
vent at Seville, 167, 174, 185; 
preaches at Triana, 186; sends 
Saint to Seville, 192; orders 
Saint to finish account of founda- 
tions, 200 ; persecution of, 203 ; 
elected Provincial at Chapter of 
Alcala, 236 ; visits St Joseph's, 
Avila, 249, 251 ; escorts Saint to 
Burgos, 254 ff. ; expelled from 
Order, 159 note 

Granada, 252 note 

Grasa, Eaimundo de, Fray, at 

Perpignan, 12 note 
Gregory XIII, 165 note, 203 note 
Guadalquivir, crossing of, 169 
Gutierrez, Nicolas, gets ready house 

at Salamanca, 125, 129 

Heredia, Antonio de, of Jesus, 
Fray, helps Saint in foundation 
at Medina del Campo, 17, 19 ; 
resigns Priorshipand joins Bare- 
foot friars, 84 ff . ; sent for to 
found monastery at Pastrana, 
113, 114, 164 ; persecution of, 
203 ff. ; helps Saint in founda- 
tion at Villanueva de la Jara, 
206 ff. 

Hernandez, Paul, Father of the 
Company of Jesus, advises Ra- 
mirez to found Convent at Toledo, 

Herrera, helps to found at Segovia, 

Incarnation, Convent of the : see 


Infantado, Duke of, 117 note 
Isabel, de Santo Domingo, Mother, 

114 note 

Saint, Convent of, 126 

Jaen, Convent at, 155 note 
James, St, Knights of, 146 and note, 

Jimena, Andres de, 143 

Dona Ana de, helps Saint in 
foundation at Segovia, and enters 
Convent, 142 

John of the Cross, St, 24 and note, 
66 and note; becomes Barefoot 
friar, 84; visits Saint at Valla- 
dolid, 86 ; prepares house at 
Pastrana, 88 ; accompanies Saint 
to foundation at Segovia, 143 
and note 

Juan de la Miseria, lay Brother, 
paints portrait of Saint, frontis- 
piece, 109, 155 



Juan of Jesus, Fray, enters mon- 
astery at Pastrana as lay Brother, 
159 ' 

Julian of Avila, chaplain of St 
Joseph's Convent, 16, 17 ; ob- 
tains licence for foundation at 
Valladolid, 66 ; accompanies 
Saint to found first monastery 
of Barefoot friars, 85 ; at Sala- 
manca, 128; accompanies Saint 
to Segovia, 143, 144 ; to Seville, 
168 ; says mass in Cordova, 171, 
172 note ; sent to Caravaca to 
inquire about making foundation 
there, 190-192 

Knights Commanders, 191 

Layz, Teresa de, history of, 133 ff . 
Leon, Fray Juan de, 216 
Leucadia, St, parish of, 103 note 
Luis of Granada, 220 
Lutherans, 21 and note, 118 

Madre de Dios, Convent of, 129 note 

Madrid, Saint lodges at, 109 ; 
Gracian at, 160, 166 note, 174 ; 
Saint's desire to found at, 241 

Malagon, foundation at, 63 ff., 95, 
123, 192, 197, 206, 208, 209 

Maldonado, Fray Alonso, inter- 
views Saint, 10 

Mancera, foundation, 86 note ; 
monastery moved from Duruelo 
to, 91, 92, 113, 214 

Manrique, Don Alonso de Santo 
Domingo, Town Councillor, gets 
leave from Council for foundation 
at Burgos, 250, 251 

Dona Catalina, helps in founda- 
tion at Burgos, 250 ff. 

Dona Maria, helps in founda- 
tion at Burgos, 250 ff. 

Don Pedro, 95, 100 

Manso, Dr, helps in foundation at 
Burgos, 259 ff. 

Maria, Bautista, Prioress of Valla- 
dolid, 166 note, 223, 225 

Maria de San Jos6, of Molino, 
Prioress of Seville, 178 and note 

Maria of the Sacrament, 126 

Mariana, Dona, 129 

Mariano de San Benito, Father, 
history of, 109 ff. ; helps to make 
foundation at Seville, 172 ff. ; per- 
secution of, 203; sees vision, 215 

Martin of the Cross, Brother, 

Mascarenas, Dona Leonor, 109 

Matanza, Hernando de, Superin- 
tendent of Hospital of Concep- 
tion, provides Saint with rooms 
at Burgos, 261 ; conveys licence 
for foundation at Burgos, 269 

Medina del Campo, foundation at, 
16-25, 63, 66, 84, 86, 90, 113, 117, 

Medinaceli, Duke of, Saint stays 
with sister of, 63 

Mendoza, Don Alvaro de, Bishop of 
Avila, seeks to establish mon- 
asteries of Barefoot friars, 14, 
68, 87, 116 and note ; asked by 
Saint to obtain licence for Con- 
vent at Pastrana, 112 ; translated 
to Palencia, 223, 274; builds 
chapel in Convent at Palencia, 
235 ; helps Saint in foundation 
at Burgos, 246 ff. ; care for St 
Joseph's Convent, Avila, 273 

Dona Ana de, Princess of 
Eboli, sends for Saint, 108, and 
note ; receives Saint at Pastrana, 
113 ; kindness to nuns, 114 ; be- 
comes nun at Pastrana, 114 and 
note ; takes off habit, 115, 214 

Dona Maria de, sister of Don 
Alvaro, 67 ; helps foundation at 
Duruelo, 87 

Don Pedro Gonzalez de, 116 
and note 

Monterey, 129 note 

Moriz, Don Juan, Bishop of Bar- 

bastro, 125 note 
Moya, Eodrigo de, 189 ; lends part 

of his house at Caravaca, 191 



Navarre, Dona Beatriz de Veamonte 
and: see Veamonte 

Onez, Beatriz, history of, 79-83 
Ormaneto, Nicolas, Nuncio, takes 

side of Reformed Carmelites, 165 

note, 202 and note 
Ortiz, Diego, 95 

Osma, Bishop of : see Velasquez 
Otalora, Dona Catalina de, 189 

note, 189 ff. 
Oviedo, Bishop of, 173 note 

Padilla, Don Antonio de, takes the 
habit, 69, 70 

Dona Luisa de, sister of above, 

Dona Casildade, sister of above, 
history of, 71-79 

Padua, Ormaneto, Bishop of, 202 

Palencia, Bishop of : see Mendoza 

Foundation at, 223-238, 240, 
244, 247, 248, 250; Prioress of, 
251; Saint's journey to Burgos 
from, 254, 272 

Pantoja, Prior of Carthusian mon- 
astery at Las Cuevas, helps Saint 
at Seville, 179, 180 

Pardo, Arias, 63 note 

Pastrana, 86 note; foundation of 
two monasteries, 107-115; Gra- 
cian at, 159-161, 204 note; 
Catalina de Cardona's visit to, 
214, 215 

Peter of Alcantara, St, advice of, 
48, 220 

Philip II, King of Spain, 12 note, 
117 note; supports Reformed 
Order in struggle with Mitigated, 
165 note, 204 and note, 236, 237 ; 
interest in Religious Orders, 192, 
202 note 

Pimentel, Dona Maria, Countess of 
Monterey, 129 

Pius V, 111 note, 204 

Pius VI, 12 note 

Poland, Queen of, 109 

Pole, Cardinal, 202 note 
Pontoons, The, Burgos, 254, 255 
Porras, 227 
Prudencio, Vicar- General, 234 

Quiroga, Dona Elena de, helps 
Saint in foundation at Medina 
del Campo, 23 

Rafael, Don, offers house for first 
monastery of Barefoot friars, 84 

Ramirez, Alonso Alvarez, 94 ; 
negotiates with Saint respecting 
foundation at Toledo, 95 ff. 
Martin, brother of above, ad- 
vised on his death-bed to found 
Convent at Toledo, 94 ; Chapel- 
ries of, 103 note 

Ransomers, lawsuit with, 145, 213 

Reinoso, Canon, helps Saint in 
foundation at Palencia, 226 ff. 

Ribera, escorts Saint to Segovia, 

Ripalda, Father Rector of the 
Company of Jesus, orders Saint 
to write account of Foundations, 
4, 200; Saint consults, 224, 

Rojas y Sandoval, Don Cristobal 
de, Archbishop of Seville, 173 
and note 

Rossi : see Rubeo 

Rubeo, Fray Juan Bautista, Father 
General, 12 note, 13, 86, 103 

Ruy Gomez : see Gomez 

Salamanca, 4; St John of the 
Cross student at, 24,51, 78 note; 
foundation at, 116 ff., 135, 137; 
Saint ordered by Apostolic Com- 
missary to return to, 141, 142, 
146, 166 note, 200, 236 note 

Salazar, Fray Angel de, 13 note, 
87, 207 

Salinas, Canon, helps Saint in 
foundation at Palencia, 228, 256, 



Sandoval, Dona Maria de: see 

Don Sancho Rodriguez de, 147 
Santiago, Bishop of, 243 note 
Sega, Filipo, Nuncio, 202 and note 
Segovia, 78 note ; Convent moved 

from Pastrana to, 115 and note; 

foundation at, 141 ff., 245 
Seville, monastery of Barefoot 

friars at, 86 note ; foundation 

at, 158-189, 190, 192, 194, 198 ; 

Saint's return journey from, 199 

note, 201, 205 
Soria, 235 ; foundation at, 238-245, 

248, 251 ; visited by Gracian, 


Talavera, Prior of, 236 

Tamayo, 229, 231 

Tardon, hermitages in, 110 and 

Toledo, Saint stays with Dona 
Luisa de la Cerda at, 63, 66, 90 ; 
foundation at, 94 ff. ; Town 
Council of, 96 and note, 103, 
107, 109, 116, 142 ; Saint sent 
to, as imprisonment, 176 note, 
200, 205, 208, 212, 238, 252, 274 

Fray Garcia de, orders Saint to 
write account of foundation at 
Avila, 4 

Tolosa, Dona Catalina de, helps 

Saint in foundation at Burgos, 

250 ff. 

Tordillos, 133 

Torres, Fray Francisco de, 211 
Trent, Council of, 111, 117 note, 

132, 172, 173 note, 202 note, 221 

note, 247 note 
Triana, Carmelite monastery at, 


Valencia, 14 

Valladolid, foundation at, 65-68, 
80, 84-88, 94, 95 note, 142, 
166 note ; Prioress at, 166 
note; Saint's illness at, 223, 224 
note, 226, 227, 235, 246, 250, 255, 

Vanda, Pedro de la, objects to con- 
ditions of purchase of house, 130 
and note 

Vargas, Apostolic Visitor of Car- 
melites in Andalusia, 165 note 

Veamonte, Beatriz de, founds Con- 
vent at Soria, 239 ff. 

Don Frances de, 239 

Veas, foundation at, 146 ff. ; Saint 
meets Gracian at, 158, 165 and 
note ; in ecclesiastical province 
of Andalusia, 166 note, 167, 174, 
189, 190, 191, 197 

Vega, Suero de, 229 

Vela, Don Cristobal, Archbishop 
of Burgos, formerly Bishop of 
Canaries, 246 note, 246 ff. 

Don Blasco Nunez, Viceroy of 
Peru, father of above, 246 note 

Velasquez, Doctor, Canon and Pro- 
fessor at Toledo, afterwards 
Bishop of Osma, Saint consults, 
206 ; writes to Saint asking her 
to found Convent at Soria, 238 ff., 
242 note ; Saint consults about 
St Joseph's at Avila, 274 

Francisco, husband of Teresa 
de Layz, 134 

Villamayor, 131 note 

Villanueva de la Jara, foundation 

at, 201 ff. 
Vitoria, Augustin de, helps Saint 

in foundation atPalencia, 207, 227 
Vitorinos, Order of, foundation at 

Burgos, 252 and note 

Zamora, 222 



^ HI AS 8 
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SPA I N & 

S' Theresa's foundations 
are underlined. 



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