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of the Order of Our Lady of Carmel . 



The Life, Relations, Maxims and Foundations 
Written by the Saint 


A History of St. Teresa s Journeys and Foun 
dations, with Map and Illustrations 



Coll. C. 









A Hymn to the Name and Honour of the Admirable 

Saint Teresa by Richard Crashaw ix 

Introduction by Rev. Walter Elliot, C. S. P. . xv 

Preface to the Life by David Lewis .... xxix 

Preface to the Book of Foundations by David Lewis xliii 

Annals of the Saint s Life Ixix 

Prologue 1 

CHAP. I. Childhood and early Impressions 1 

II. The Saint is placed in a Monastery 6 

III. The Blessing of being with good People ... 10 

IV. Our Lord helps her to become a Nun .... 13 
V. Illness and Patience of the Saint 20 

VI. The great Debt she owed to our Lord for His Mercy 

to her 27 

VII. Lukewarmness 33 

VIII. The Saint ceases not to pray % 40 

IX. The Means whereby our Lord quickened her Soul 53 

X. The Graces she received in Prayer ..... 57 
XL Why Men do not attain quickly to the perfect Love 

of God 63 

XII. What we can ourselves do 72 

XIII. Of certain Temptations of Satan 76 

XIV. The second State of Prayer 87 

XV. Instructions for those who have attained to the 

Prayer of Quiet 94 

XVI. The third State of Prayer 103 

XVII. The third State of Prayer 108 

XVIII. The fourth State of Prayer 113 

XIX. The effects of this fourth State of Prayer . . .120 

XX. The Difference between Union and Rapture . . 129 
XXI. Conclusion of the Subject . . . e . . _ . .143 
XXII. The Security of Contemplatives lies in their not 
ascending to high Things if our Lord does not 

raise them 149 

XXIII. The Saint resumes the History of her Life ... 160 

XXIV. Progress under Obedience 169 

XXV. Divine Locutions . . 173 

XXVI. How the Fears of the Saint vanished .... 184 

XXVII. The Saint prays to be directed by a different Way 188 

XXVIII. Visions of the Sacred Humanity 198 

XXIX. Of Visions 208 

XXX. S. Peter of Alcantara comforts the Saint . . .216 
XXXI. Of certain outward Temptations and Appearances of 

Satan 228 

XXXII. Our Lord shows S. Teresa the Place which she had 

by her Sins deserved in Hell 240 

XXXIII. The Foundation of the Monastery hindered . . 248 
XXXIV. The Saint leaves her Monastery of the Incarnation 

for a time 257 

XXXV. The Foundation of the House of S. Joseph . . 268 

XXXVI. The Foundation of the Monastery of S. Joseph . 275 

XXXVII. The Effects of the divine Graces in the Soul . . 290 

XXXVIII. Certain heavenly Secrets, Visions, and Revelations 297 

XXXIX. Other Graces bestowed on the Saint . . . .310 

XL. Visions, Revelations, and Locutions .... 323 




I. Sent to S. Peter of Alcantara 337 

II. To one of her Confessors 349 

VI. The Vow of Obedience to Father Gratian . . 370 

VII. Made for Rodrigo Alvarez, S.J., 373 

VIII. Addressed to F. Rodrigo Alvarez 381 

IX. Of certain spiritual Graces she received in Toledo 

and Avila 389 

X. Of a Revelation to the Saint at Avila .... 398 
XI. Written from Palencia in May, 1581 399 

III. Of various Graces granted to the Saint 

IV. Of the Graces the Saint received in Salamanca 
V. Observations on certain Points of Spirituality 


Prologue 405 

I. How this and the other Foundations came to be made 409 

II. The General of the Order comes to Avila . . . 413 

III. How the Monastery of S. Joseph in Medina del 

Campo was begun 417 

IV. Of certain Graces bestowed on the Nuns of these 

Monasteries 427 

V. Directions about Prayer and Revelations most pro 
fitable for the Active Li e 430 

VI. Of the Harm it may do Spiritual Persons not to know 

when they are to resist the Spirit .... 438 

VII. Treatment of Melancholy Nuns 448 

VITI. Of Revelations and Visions 453 

IX. The Foundation of S. Joseph, Malagon . . . 458 

X. The Foundation in Valladolid 460 

XI. Dona Casilda de Padilla ........ 467 

XII. Life and Death of Beatriz of the Incarnation . . 473 
XIII. The Foundation of the First House of Friars under 

the Primitive Rule 477 

XIV. Foundation of the Monastery of the Barefooted 

Friars in Duruelo 481 

XV. The Foundation of the Monastery of S. Joseph in 

Toledo 487 

XVI. Of certain things that took place in the Monastery of 

Toledo 495 

XVII. The Two Monasteries of Pastrana . . . . .499 

XVTII. The Monastery of S. Joseph, Salamanca . . 510 

XIX. Monastery of S. Joseph, Salamanca 
XX. The Monastery of our Lady of the Annunciation 

Alba de Tormes 

XXI. The Monastery of S. Joseph, Segovia, 1574 



XXII. The Foundation of the Monastery of S. Joseph in 

Veas f . 536 

XXIII. The Foundation of the Monastery of S. Joseph in 

Seville 547 

XXTV. The Foundation of S. Joseph in the City of Seville 554 

XXV. S. Joseph of Seville 564 

XXVT. S. Joseph of Seville 570 

XXVII. The Foundation of the Monastery of S. Joseph in 

Caravaca 576 

XXVTTI. The Foundation of Villanueva de la Jara . . . 589 
XXIX. The Foundation of S. Joseph in Palencia . . .615 



XXX. The Foundation of the Monastery of the Most Holy 

Trinity in Soria 630 

XXXI. The Foundation of S. Joseph in Burgos .... 639 




INDEX . 713 



Portrait of S. Teresa Frontispiece 

Avila, St. Teresa s Home 20 

Avila, St. Teresa s Childhood 46 

Avila, St. Teresa s Youth 62 

Avila, Monastery of the Incarnation, 1 87 

Avila, Monastery of the Incarnation, II 112 

Avila, Monastery of St. Joseph 128 

Medina del Campo, Monastery of St. Joseph 148 

Malagon, Monastery of St. Joseph 168 

Valladolid, Monastery of the Conception of Our Lady 
Duruelo, Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 

Toledo, Monastery of St. Joseph 

Pastrana, Monastery of Our Lady of the Conception 

Pastrana, Monastery of St. Peter 

Salamanca, Monastery of St. Joseph 


Alba de Tormes, Monastery of the Incarnation 

Segovia, Monastery of St. Joseph 334 

Veas, Monastery of St. Joseph of the Saviour 360 

Seville, Monastery of St. Joseph 380 

Map 408 

Caravaca, Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel . . . 428 

Villanueva de la Jara, Monastery of St. Anne 454 

Palencia, Monastery of St. Joseph of Our Lady of the Street . 510 

Soria, Monastery of the Holy Trinity 536 

Granada, Monastery of St. Joseph 562 

Burgos, Monastery of St. Joseph and St. Anne 588 

St. Teresa s Death and Principal Relics 614 

St. Teresa s Beatification and Canonization; Lesser Relics . . 640 




Known as the "Teresian" Poet. 

Love, thou art absolute sole lord 

Of life and death. To prove the word 

We ll now appeal to none of all 

Those thy old soldiers, great and tall, 

Ripe men of martyrdom, that could reach down 

With strong arms, their triumphant crown; 

Such as could with lusty breath 

Speak loud into the face of death, 

Their great Lord s glorious name, to none 

Of those whose spacious bosoms spread a throne 

For Love at large to fill: spare blood and sweat; 

And see him take a private seat, 

Making his mansion in the mild 

And milky soul of a soft child. 

Scarce has she learn t to lisp the name 

Of. martyr: yet she thinks it shame 

Life should so long play with that breath 

Which spent can buy so brave a death. 

She never undertook to know 

What Death with Love should have to do: 

Nor has she e re yet understood 

Why to show love, she should shed blood, 

Yet though she cannot tell you why, 

She can love and she can die. 

Scarce has she blood enough to make 
A guilty sword blush for her sake; 
Yet has she a heart dares hope to prove 
How much less strong is death than love. 



Be Love but there; let poor six years 
Be posed with the maturest fears 
Man trembles at, you straight shall find 
Love knows no nonage, nor the mind; 
Tis love, not years or limbs that can 
Make the marytr, or the man. 
Love touched her heart, and lo! it beats 
High, and burns with such brave heats, 
Such thirsts to die, as dares drink up 
A thousand cold deaths in one cup. 
Good reason: for she breathes all fire; 
Her white breast heaves with strong desire 
Of what she may with fruitless wishes 
Seek for amongst her mother s kisses. 

Since tis not to be had at home 

She ll travail to a martyrdom. 

No home for her confesses she 

But where she may a martyr be. 

She ll to the Moors; and trade with them 

For this unvalued diadem; 

She ll offer them her dearest breast, 

With Christ s name in it, in change for death; 

She ll bargain with them; and will give 

Them God; teach then how to live 

In Him; or, if they this deny 

For Him she ll teach them how to die: 

So shall she leave amongst them sown 

Her Lord s blood; or at least her own. 

Farewell then, all the World! adieu! 
Teresa is no more for you. 
Farewell, all pleasures, sports, and joys 
(Never till now esteemed toys) 
Farewell, whatever dear maybe, 
Mother s arms or father s knee: 
Farewell house, and farewell home! 
She s for the Moors, and martyrdom. 

Sweet, not so fast! lo thy fair Spouse 
Whom thou seekest with so swift vows; 
Calls thee back, and bids thee come 
To embrace a milder martyrdom. 

Blest powers forbade, thy tender life 
Should bleed upon a barbarous knife; 
Or some base hand have power to raze 
Thy breast s chaste cabinet, and uncase 
A soul kept there so sweet: O no, 


Wise Heaven will never have it so. 

Thou art Love s victim; and must die 

A death more mystical and high: 

Into Love s arms thou shalt let fall 

A still-surviving funeral. 

His is the dart must make the death 

Whose stroke shall taste thy hallow d breath; 

A dart thrice dipped in that rich flame 

Which writes thy Spouse s radiant name 

Upon the roof of Heaven, where ay 

It shines; and with a sovereign ray 

Beats bright upon the burning faces 

Of souls which in that Name s sweet graces 

Find everlasting smiles: so rare, 

So spiritual, pure and fair 

Must be the immortal instrument 

Upon whose choice point shall be sent 

A life so loved: and that there be 

Fit executioners for thee, 

The fair st and first-born sons of fire, 

Blest seraphim, shall leave their choir, 

And turn Love s soldiers, upon thee 

To exercise their archery. 
O how oft shall thou complain 
Of a sweet and subtle pain: 
Of intolerable joys: 
Of a death, in which who dies 
Loves his death, and dies again 
And would for ever so be slain. 
And lives, and dies; and knows not why 
To live, but that he thus may never leave to die. 

How kindly will thy gentle heart 
Kiss the sweetly-killing dart! 
And close in his embraces keep 
Those delicious wounds, that weep 
Balm to heal themselves with: thus 
When these thy deaths, so numerous 
Shall all at last die into one, 
And melt thy soul s sweet mansion; 
Like a soft lump of incense, hasted 
By too hot a fire, and wasted 
Into perfuming clouds, so fast 
Shall thou exhale to Heaven at last 
In a resolving sigh, and then 
O what? Ask not the tongues of men; 
Angels cannot tell; suffice 
Thyself shall feel thine own full joys, 
And hold them fast forever there. 
So soon as thou shalt first appear, 
The moon of maiden stars, thy white 


Mistress, attended by such bright 
Souls as thy shining self, shall come 
And in her first ranks make thee room; 
Where mongst her snowy family 
Immortal welcomes wait for thee. 

O what delight, when reveal d Life shall stand, 
And teach thy lips Heaven with His hand; 
On which thou now mayest to thy wishes 
Heap up thy consecrated kisses. 
What joys shall seize thy soul, when she, 
Bending her blessed eyes on Thee, 
(Those second smiles of Heav n) shall dart 
Her mild rays through Thy melting heart. 

Angels, thy old friends, there shall greet thee 
Glad at their own home now to meet thee. 

All thy good works which went before 
And waited for thee, at the door, 
Shall own thee there; and all in one 
Weave a constellation 

Of crowns, with which the King thy Spouse 
Shall build up thy triumphant brows. 

All thy old woes shall now smile on thee, 
And thy pains sit bright upon thee, 
All thy sorrows here shall shine, 
All thy sufferings be divine: 
Tears shall take comfort, and turn gems 
And wrongs repent to diadems. 
Ev n thy death shall live; and new 
Dress the soul that erst he slew. 
Thy wounds shall blush to such bright scars 
As keep account of the Lamb s wars. 

Those rare works where thou shalt leave writ 
Love s noble history, with wit 
Taught thee by none but Him, while here 
They feed our souls, shall clothe thine there. 
Each heavenly word, by whose hid flame 
Our hard hearts shall strike fire, the same 
Shall flourish on thy brows, and be 
Both fire to us and flame to thee; 
Whose light shall live bright in thy face 
By glory, in our hearts by grace. 
Thou shalt look round about, and see 
Thousands of crowned souls throng to be 
Themselves thy crown; sons of thy vows 
The virgin-births with which thy sovereign Spouse 
Made fruitful thy fair soul. Go now 
And with them all about thee, bow 
To Him; put on (He ll say) put on 
(My rosy love) that thy rich zone 
Sparkling with the sacred flames 


Of thousand souls, whose happy names 
Heav n keep upon thy score: (Thy bright 
Life brought them first to kiss the light, 
That kindled them to stars,) and so 
Thou with the Lamb, thy Lord, shalt go, 
And whereso ere He sets His white 
Steps, walk with Him those ways of light, 
Which who in death would live to see, 
Must learn in life to die like thee. 


THE fascination and influence of a great personality 
stretch throughout time with a message for every age. Teresa 
of Jesus, truest and soundest of mystics, rich in subjective 
experiences, yet richer in self-effacement before the glory of 
the most High God ; most independent yet most submissive of 
women, untiring in labours, exalted in prayer the message 
of such a one to our times is too obvious to need comment. 
A reprint of her works needs no explanation. The test of 
three and a half centuries of trial has been applied to her 
books and has proved them worthy of the life-long reading 
of all spiritually-minded Christians. Her sympathetic and 
unconventional style is a crystal medium of communication 
between herself and any human soul. Given a reader with any 
degree of devout receptivity and St. Teresa s writings are 
quickly established among his master books, to be used oc 
casionally all through life, in many cases to be used unceas 
ingly. They may, therefore, be read by persons in all states 
and conditions of life in Holy Church, who are in the least 
degree desirous of Christian perfection. Nor is this privilege 
the monopoly only of the more perfect Christians; a soul 
but newly converted from the most degrading vice, if he be 
only intensely converted, can get some profit and very practi 
cal profit from every page of these messages of a fellow- 
mortal raised to the highest sanctity. 

Her literary abilities make this reading a delight. Her 
words written as they were in the golden age of her native 
tongue are ranked among the best Castilian classics. The 
style is flowing yet terse. There is not the faintest suspicion 
of verbiage, yet she possesses the diffusivenesses of description 
so necessary in discoursing of topics where the least shade 
of meaning ministers to the essential needs of integral in 



In so typical a contemplative one might expect to find 
a retiring timorous soul : Teresa was retiring, indeed, and 
craved passionately to be alone with God. But in reading her 
"Life" and "Letters," and especially her "Book of Founda 
tions," we become acquainted with an independent even an 
aggressive temperament, full of initiative, venturesome, re 
sourceful, even bold to the verge of audacity all this ex 
hibited not simply as a result of the supernatural gift of 
fortitude ; but, in a certain degree, of her native and instinctive 

Some little girls forecast their future vocation by 
playing nun; she did so by actually striving to become 
a martyr for Christ. Her s was naturally the reverse of a 
yielding, pliant nature. During her early years, both at home 
and at boarding school, though a sweet-tempered guileless 
child, she was self-willed. When her father refused his con 
sent to her entering the convent, she left her home and 
joined the Sisters against his will. From the beginning to 
the end of her life she exhibited great self-poise of character. 
Even after God had terribly chastened her by interior an 
guish and bodily illness extending over many years, and had 
begun to illumine her soul with a miraculous guidance, He yet 
did not hinder her from thinking for herself. Though, as 
we shall see, He granted her heroic grace of obedience to 
superiors. After he had elevated her motives and had be 
stowed on her the rarest gifts of infused prayer, she still 
retained the original native force; and she responded to His 
inspiration for introducing the Carmelite reform by a strik 
ingly fearless plan of action. Fortified with the counsel of 
the wisest confessors she could find, she undertook the task 
of reforming an old and decadent religious order, a harder 
task by far than the founding of a new one in original fervour 
"a purpose" to quote the language of Holy Church in the 
Saint s Office, "in which blossomed forth the omnipotent 
blessing of the merciful Lord. For this poor Virgin destitute 
of all human help, nay very often opposed by the great ones 
of this world, established thirty-two monasteries." 

In almost every case she was forced to defend herself 
against numerous and powerful enemies. Her holy pur 
poses were maligned; her friends persecuted, and she, her 
self, often in danger of bodily harm. But she struggled 
on undauntedly, now against the wild passions of the towns- 


people, now against the jealousy of other communities, or 
the dark suspicions of prelates; again hindered by the cold 
ness of associates, or half-heartedness of friends, sometimes 
held back even by the timidity of her confessors brave men 
enough but appalled by the obstacles she so fearlessly faced. 
Her age was the last glorious era of Spanish knight 
hood whose exploits in the old and new world filled men s 
souls with wonder, and established the mightiest empire of 
modern times. But no cabellero or conquistador among her 
dauntless countrymen could excel her in daring. She battled 
valorously in the peaceful field of the Gospel, where victories 
are won by love of enemies and by holy patience. She 
thirsted for those conflicts ; and she exhibited a spirit of 
adventure in the cause of God during the twenty years of her 
career as a founder, which makes her achievements read 
like a romance. 

Furthermore, this nun, rated by non-Catholic writers as a 
dreamy mystic, was a good business manager. Though so 
often rapt into the celestial regions of holiest thought and 
love, St. Teresa was the reverse of a dreamer, knew how to 
drive a good bargain, borrowed money advantageously, 
quickly fathomed weakness of character in the men and women 
with whom she dealt. Cardinal Wiseman, in his preface to the 
English version of "St. John of the Cross," calls attention to 
the matter-of-fact expression of St. Teresa s face in her authen 
tic portrait, the solid sense, the keen observation, the well-rec 
ognized traits of countenance of a capable woman of affairs. 

Read her letters to her brother about family concerns, 
and the many other letters about business matters, if you 
would see how good a head she had for plain, everyday work 
that head so filled with divine thoughts, and yet so shrewd 
for the earthly duties incident to her vocation as a foundress. 
She was the advance agent and the first and final manager 
in all such things as title deeds and purchases, debts and lega 
cies, as well as the current support of each of her many mon 
asteries ; a sane woman of immense positiveness and great 
business foresight, yet often lifted up into the heavens in 
raptures and again restored to earth a wondrous duplex 
life of inspiration wholly miraculous and of good sense en 
tirely reliable. Her practical decisions were very rarely at 
fault. She had a marvelous mingling together of the truest 
earthly with the sublimest heavenly guidance. 


The memorable calm of her master mind is as well dis 
played in her "Letters" as in the "Book of Foundations," 
a feminine spirit enthralled by the knowledge of God closely 
viewed and utterly devoid of feminine fussiness. 

The entire gentleness of the sex is there, every sweet 
virtue of sympathy, kindness and patience, yet with all a 
queenly purpose to stand her ground for God and right against 
all comers. She ruled the male sex as simply as she did the 
female, and dealt no less masterfully with able, holy men than 
she did with the great-souled women who were her close 
associates. Her coadjutors, or rather her auxiliaries, were 
indeed, oftener men than women, noblemen and men of wealth 
or of learning, or sanctity, and of states of life varying from 
petty shopkeepers to archbishops and grandees. Not seldom 
she became spiritual adviser to the many saints and sages who 
from first to last were her directors. But if she mastered 
these men with great power, it was never at the expense of 
her womanly kindness, nor with the least semblance of man- 
nishness. St. Teresa always thinks for herself and yet is 
never free from the sense of another s approval. One half 
of her outward history tells of the great works of God she 
both originated and achieved; the other half is the narrative 
of her dealings, most submissive, with every grade of superior. 
And never was any saint called on by God to obey so many 
unlawful superiors, so many lawful superiors quite misin 
formed, oflen enough totally stampeded by the basest 
calumnies, or again far transgressing their canonical limits of 
authority. Yet she responded with entire compliance ; in 
every case submitting sadly but fully to inspiration, just as 
she did joyfully to legitimate guidance. Fools in high places 
received her allegiance as well as the wisest men in Spain ; she 
obeyed scoundrels as promptly as saints. During many years 
she was led by an interior guidance so plainly divine that 
she solemnly and repeatedly affirms she would have cheer 
fully died to witness to its validity. Yet when anyone hold 
ing authority over her in the external order crossed the divine 
will thus made known to her, she never faltered in obedience 
to the representatives of God s outward rule, though some 
times she felt a pain in doing so that threatened to be her 

As in her practice so in her precepts, she advances the 
essential need of this virtue of obedience, so renowned in 


the little commonwealths of absorbed prayer and sacrificial 
suffering she was engaged in founding. The following words, 
taken from the fifth chapter of the "Book of Foundations," 
and addressed to all of her nuns, may be a description of her 
own struggles, while emphasizing in practise the supreme 
dogma of obedience: "Our Lord makes much of this sub 
mission, and with perfect justice; for it is by means of it 
that we make Him master of the free-will He has given us. 
We practise it sometimes quickly and completely, thereby 
winning an immediate self-conquest; at other times it is only 
after a thousand struggles that we succeed, constantly think 
ing that the decisions made by superiors in our case are 
nothing but folly. But finally, being drilled and practised 
by this painful exercise, we conform to what is commanded 
painfully or not, we do it. Upon this our Lord, having helped 
us all the time, now seeing that we submit our will and our 
reason for His sake, gives us the grace to become masters 
of both." The uses and the philosophy of obedience could 
hardly be better stated. 

The most cursory acquaintance with our saint reveals, as 
we have shown, a nature impulsive indeed but not headlong, 
a steadfast soul, full of initiative, yet by obedience made pru 
dent to the verge of caution. But once set agoing by the 
instincts of zeal, it bore down opposition by the force of 
holiness of motive and an extraordinary power of persuasion. 
All through her "Book of Foundations," as well as in her 
"Life" and "Letters," she shows that her resistless will to 
do right was wholly adjusted to the strictest obedience. Men 
and women conscious of a great mission (or of a little one they 
think to be great) will find in her a perfect illustration of 
how obedience does not hinder individuality, but, on the con 
trary, only tames the soul s wildness, chastens its pride, 
purges it of lower motives, enriches it with the counsel of good, 
wise, and peaceable advisers, and hinders both precipitancy 
and tardiness. While constantly checking self-conceit, obed 
ience blesses and adorns a strong nature s activity with the 
supreme merit of humility. 

One is at a loss to decide whether such virtues as courage 
and constancy are more plainly St. Teresa s characteristics 
than conformity to lawful authority. If her obedience is 
magnificent, yet her fearlessness is often yet more magnificent. 


If a model of obedience, yet is she a living lesson that a life of 
perfection is not for the chicken-hearted. 

To her obedience, primarily, but also to her fearlessness 
we owe her most famous work her autobiography. It nar 
rates the principle events of her life up to, and including, 
the founding of the first monastery of her reform at Avila. 
Its chief purpose was to specify dates, places, persons and all 
the other accompaniments of her earlier supernatural expe 
riences. It is the chronicle of the Saint s novitiate under the 
Holy Spirit as Novice Master. The personal element is power 
ful in the "Life" for during several years of her divine visita 
tions she was suspected of being bewitched by Satan ; in fact 
this was the deliberate decision of several learned and devout 
priests, and St. Teresa was treated accordingly. After a 
dreadful interval of suffering she met with better informed 
confessors and her vindication was truly dramatic in its sud 
denness and completeness. The "Life" is vivid in its interest 
and valuable in its instructiveness. 

The eleven "Relations" of her spirit and method of prayer 
made to different ecclesiastics reiterate and confirm details 
found both in the "Life" and the "Book of Foundations" which 
was also written under obedience, and is truly a continuation 
of her autobiography. 

"The Book of Foundations" holds a unique place in litera 
ture as a minute disclosure of the relation of the interior 
guidance of God to His external ordering of affairs. It is the 
faithful, elaborate history of the providential happenings con 
nected with the beginnings of nearly all her convents of men 
or of women, a narrative of the events of her career from the 
start of the reform at Avila till shortly before her death. Be 
cause so essential a sequel of the "Life," so necessary for an 
integral, finished study of her career and character we have 
been prompted to publish it in the same volume hoping 
thereby to preserve for the reader greater continuity of 
thought and unity of conception in the singularly powerful 
and impressive history of one of God s greatest Saints, the 
greatest woman of the sixteenth century. 

The "Book of Foundations" was composed by the saint 
from her own imperishable memories of her supernatural 
experiences in the establishment of these houses of solitude 
and penance, every one of them dear to her as her heart s 
blood almost every one a victory won by a hard-fought 


battle over the allied forces of petty jealously, human greed 
and official timidity. Its peculiar value is in the golden thread 
which runs through it of the daily supernatural history of 
the author. Hardly anything important was ever done except 
from the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit. These are 
described with the same artless and entrancing simplicity as 
the curious and often startling adventure accompanying the 
outward work of the establishment of the different houses. 
One passes from the promptings of her divine interior Guide 
to her counsellings with external guides and her conflicts 
with many opponents. We read now of her shrewd dealings 
with lawyers and property-owners, and then of her ecstasies 
and visions. From conferences with magistrates and prelates 
we pass to interviews with the holy angels. We see how 
marvelously both orders of life, the earthly and heavenly, were 
ordered and mingled together by God for the founding of 
communities of austere, prayerful friars and nuns, interme 
diaries for uniting and carrying out God s temporal and ex 
ternal purposes among men. 

We are indebted to Mr. David Lewis, a distinguished 
Tractarian convert, for the admirable English translations 
used in this volume. He has edited the books elaborately, 
offering valuable suggestions, historical and critical, with a 
surprisingly full contribution of references to parallel records 
of events and teachings found in other writings. 

All Teresians of our tongue feel that Lewis book could 
hardly be touched without injury to sense or spirit of the 
original ; and plainly Father Zimmerman is of the same mind, 
for in his latest edition of St. Teresa s works, by which he 
has placed every lover of the Saint in his debt, he is austerely 
reticent, even reverent. Father Zimmerman s deep research 
and untiring labour have added much to our knowledge of 
the Saint s life and her associates. We refer the reader to 
his volumes for a more extensive and deeper knowledge of 
St. Teresa s writings. We wish to acknowledge our gratitude 
to Messrs. Burns and Gates of London, England, for permis 
sion to use the Lewis translations of 1870 and 1871 and also 
to recognize the debt of all lovers of St. Teresa to the Bene 
dictine nuns of Stanbrook, England, who have done so much 
to extend the knowledge of this marvellous choir-mistress of 
the praises of God on earth. 

In conection with the "Life," "Relations," and the "Book 


of Foundations," the present volume presents for the first 
time in English a unique French work entitled "L Espagne 
Theresienne ou Pelerinage d Un Flamand a Toutes les Fond- 
ations de Ste. Therese." It was published in folio, second edi 
tion, 1893, at the Carmelite monastery in Ghent. In the publi 
cation in English of this volume and the reproduction of its 
valuable map and illustrations we were greatly aided by Father 
Albert of the Infant Jesus, Prior of the Discalced Carmelites 
of Ghent, Belgium and by Madam Hye Hoys, the widow of 
the esteemed author. This faithful itinerary of the Saint s 
life as a founder is illustrated in minute detail. These valuable 
illustrations which enable the reader to make his pilgrimage 
in the footsteps of St. Teresa, are reproduced here with ex 
planatory notes and keys from the Prologue of the original 
French edition. The following account is given of the author s 
travels and labours : 

On March 1, 1866, M. Hye Hoys, a pious layman quitted 
Ghent, his native town, accompanied by his wife, and jour 
neyed towards Spain. Furnished with authority from eccle 
siastical and municipal dignitaries, he purposed to visit every 
spot where the Seraphic reformer of the Carmelites had dwelt; 
to collect with the aid of pen and pencil everything tending 
to promote the glory of that great servant of God. He was 
fully aware of the difficulties he would encounter in the pur 
suit of his aims, but resolutely resolved to overcome them. 

The Sovereign Pontiff had given him permission to enter 
the monasteries of Discalced Carmelites founded by the dis 
tinguished Castilian as well as those of the Mitigated Rule 
in which she first consecrated herself to God. 

At the end of the diary of his journey he says: "I have 
visited all the monasteries founded by St. Teresa ; I have seen 
nearly all the localities honoured by her presence. True I 
have not been permitted to enter all the monasteries still 
existing, but I have collected notes, documents and sketches, 
far superior in numbers and importance to what I could have 
hoped for." 

This valuable result was achieved at the cost of privation, 
fatigue and suffering. As the greater part of the foundations 
are in neighbourhoods far removed from railways, the pil 
grims spent days in diligences, post-carriages or clumsy, un 
comfortable carts of^en with the dried bed of a torrent for a 
road, often searching for a fording place over a swollen river ; 


they crossed mountain ranges on mule back and, ascending 
from the warm valleys, would often find themselves half frozen 
by the bitter northerly winds which blew about their summits. 
The means of transportation had not changed since St. 
Teresa s day. 

M. Hye Hoys examined also the libraries and galleries 
of the great cities. When he had thoroughly explored Spain, 
he visited France, Austria and Italy to increase his booty. 
Then with the courage which never failed him, he undertook 
the great task of reviewing, classifying and connotating the 
materials he had gathered in such various ways. With per 
severance and devotion he pursued his arduous work; but, 
like the husbandman whom death carries off just as his harvest 
is ready for the sickle, M. Hye Hoys was not to see the com 
pletion of his task. God called him to His presence on De 
cember 15, 1884, before he could put the final touch to the 
monument he desired to raise to the memory of St. Teresa. 
His death was, happily, not the abandonment of his work. 
His drawings were completed and the essential part of his 
research work compiled. The book, therefore, might be pub 
lished without the personal supervision of the author. Five 
of the finished engravings of this volume were awarded a gold 
medal at Salamanca during M. Hye Hoy s lifetime on the 
occasion of the three-hundredth anniversary of St. Teresa s 

It is generally admitted there is but one authentic por 
trait of St. Teresa existing, that executed in Seville in 1576 
by Brother Juan de la Miseria by order of Father Gratian, 
then Apostolic Commissary to the Carmelite Monasteries 
of Andalusia and Castile. Historians and critics differ as to 
where it may be found. M. Hye Hoys believes it hangs in 
one of the rooms of the Hotel de Ville at Avila His opinion 
is based on the fact that the portrait at Avila seems to be 
by the same hand as the Ecce Homo in the Discalced Mon 
astery at Pastrana, known to be by Juan de la Miseria ; also 
because it conforms more closely than the others to the minute 
description of St. Teresa s appearance left by the two writers 
who knew her, de Ribera and Yepes. It is full length and life 

Even to the distant onlookers like the present writer and 
the average reader the higher ways of God are curiously 
interesting. Although we may have scant comprehension of 


the heights of holiness yet the saints are our brethren. We 
are proud of their greatness. It is ours even by virtue of 
kinship in the human family, still more by unity in the house 
hold of Faith. To read of St. Teresa s mystical experiences 
arouses a holy envy in our hearts since she was of the same 
clay as ourselves, and the motives which inspired her, espe 
cially in the beginning, are identical with our own in our 
better religious moments. Then, too, among mystical hap 
penings devout readers always meet with some things of 
highly practical and even elementary use in God s daily serv 
ice. The Saint is pleased to lead us with her through the 
"Way of Perfection" even into the "Interior Castle" of her 
soul. She rejoices in our company there, for from among 
the mass of mere gazers upon this revelation of the divine 
Majesty, God, by just such reading, may select some whom 
He will inspire to emulate her in seeking closer union with 
Him, and the number of these is much larger than many 

In the Life" and in the "Book of Foundations" one is 
struck with the large number of saintly contemplatives sanc 
tifying secular states of life in St. Teresa s day. 

In a home full of holiest prayer, she herself learned not 
only the rudiments but something more of that heavenly 
science of which Holy Church has proclaimed her a Master in 
Israel. From a layman, a friend of her family, she gathered 
both the incitement to a contemplative life and the chief rules 
to be observed therein. She speaks of such souls in the 
"Interior Castle" (III. Mansions ch. 1). "Through God s 
goodness I believe there are many such people in this world ; 
they are very desirous not to offend His Majesty, even by 
venial sins ; they love penance and spend hours in meditation ; 
they employ their time well ; exercise themselves in works of 
charity to their neighbours; they are well ordered in their 
conversation and dress, and those who own a household gov 
ern it well. This certainly is to be desired and there appears 
to be no reason to forbid them entrance to the last Mansions; 
nor will Our Lord deny it them if they desire it, for this is 
the right disposition for receiving all His favours." By the 
expression "the Last Mansion" the Saint means the very 
highest contemplative states. 

Let us hope there are in our own day and living among us 
men and women in the secular world who are called by God 


to such precious spiritual favours. We are persuaded that 
the plainest indication of this is given by the response that has 
been made everywhere to the legislation of the present Holy 
Father concerning frequent and daily Communion. 

The pages of St. Teresa s works have ever been and are 
still the trysting place of the Holy Spirit with His more ardent 
lovers in all conditions of Christian society. Especially are 
they a wonderful help to priests occupied, even over-occupied, 
with parish and missionary labours ; to the members of Sister 
hoods upon whom Holy Church so largely depends for the 
schooling of her children, and the care of the poor, the sick, 
and the fallen ; to the more devout among the laity, including 
married people, and busy workers in professional and com 
mercial life, among whom many clients of our Saint may be 
discovered. All these are happily and safely piloted along 
the gentle streams of affective prayer and the paths of perfect 
Christian virtue by this masterful teacher of holy living. 
She dwelt, indeed, much of her time among the angels, yet 
she trod also the dull earth of our daily life, a perfect guide 
in the highways and by-ways of ordinary prayer. She trained, 
alike, lowly virgins and high prelates in the A. B. C. of medi 

Not meditation, however, but contemplation is St. 
Teresa s peculiar field of instruction. What St. Ignatius was 
to the active-minded prayer of meditation that was St. Teresa 
to the quiet-minded prayer of contemplation. But she knew, 
also, as we have seen, how to direct minds to orderly thought 
about divine things. Her letter to the Bishop of Osma, con 
sidered by Bishop Palafox, "the most spiritual and the most 
important" of all her letters, proves how mistaken is the 
notion that the simplest rudiments of a devout life may not 
be learned from this great mystic. But she teaches always 
that not only the lowly ways but a high state of union with 
God, may in all humility of heart be aspired to by all good 
Christians; or, at least, that admiration of its glorious privi 
leges may take on a yearning, petitioning spirit. She exclaims, 
"Since, O my God, Thou dost see of what grave import is this 
peace to us, do Thou incite Christians to strive to gain it" 
(Interior Castle VII. Mansions ch. iii.), and shortly before this 
in the same work (VI. Mansions ch. iv.) : "I cannot help feeling 
keenly grieved at seeing what we lose by our own fault. It is 
true His Majesty grants these favours to whom He chooses; 


yet if we were to seek Him as He seeks us, He would give 
them to all of us. He only longs for souls on whom He may 
bestow them, for his gifts diminish not His riches." 

After all the highest contemplation is the development 

under divine grace of that natural capacity of the soul its 

thirst for the Infinite God. Thus to develop and perfect the 
soul is the work of supernatural gifts and wholly the act 
of God. The life of every Christian, according to St. Teresa, 
is one long and continuous movement of the purer affections 
towards the Eternal Goodness. All our happiness consists 
in thirsting for God and this thirst is fed by prayer. 

In the sphere of popular devotions there can be little 
doubt that to St. Teresa s heavenly influence the Church is 
indebted for the well-nigh universal spread of the devotion 
of the scapular, as wonderful in its ordinary spiritual benefits 
as in its occasional miracles. The devotion to St. Joseph 
also received a powerful impetus from her advocacy the 
first of her reformed houses, St Joseph s, Avila, being in all 
probability the first monastery or Church to be named in 
honour of our Saviour s foster-father. 

Of the dawning apostolate for the conversion of Amer 
ica, St. Teresa became a special patron. Father Hecker, an ex 
ceedingly active missionary, yet essentially a contemplative, 
was her life-long, devoted disciple. He prayed to her con 
stantly and always referred to her as one of the greatest 
authorities on mystical prayer ever given by God to Holy 
Church. St. John of the Cross, her novice and pupil, was 
his daily reading and, through his influence, was officially as 
sociated with St. Teresa as patron of his community whose 
primary vocation is the conversion of America. St. Teresa s 
was an age of great missionaries of whom she was second 
to none in zeal. Well, then, may we rely on her convert- 
making prayers, who by them in her own day, brought scores 
of thousands of heretics and infidels to the light of truth. 

In one of her letters, speaking of herself in the third 
person and referring to her foundations, she says: "Her 
prayers and those of the houses she founded were always 
animated with an ardent desire for the propagation of the 
faith. It was for this object as well as for the good of the 
Order that she commenced these foundations." Addressing 
her readers at the close of her great work "The Interior 
Castle," she says : "For the sake of my strong desire to aid you 


PIFp Tr; * 

in serving Him, my God and my Lord, I implore you whenever 
you read this book, to praise His Majesty fervently in my 
name, and beg Him to prosper His Church. . . May Our Lord 
God be forever praised and blessed. Amen, amen." 



S. TERESA was born in Avila on Wednesday, March 28, 1515. Her 
father was Don Alfonso Sanchez de Cepeda, and her mother Dona 
Beatriz Davila y Ahumada. The name she received in her baptism 
was common to both families, for her great-grandmother on the 
father s side was Teresa Sanchez, and her grandmother on her 
mother s side was Teresa de las Cuevas. While she remained in 
the world, and even after she had become a nun in the monastery of 
the Incarnation, which was under the mitigated rule, she was known 
as Dona Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila Ahumada; for in those 
days children took the name either of the father or of the mother, 
as it pleased them. The two families were noble, but that of Ahumada 
was no longer in possession of its former wealth and power. 1 Dona 
Beatriz was the second wife of Don Alfonso, arid was related in the 
fourth degree to the first wife, as appears fr-om the dispensation 
granted to make the marriage valid on the 16th of October, 1509. 
Of this marriage Teresa was the third child. 

Dona Beatriz died young, and the eldest daughter, Maria de 
Cepeda, took charge of her younger sisters they were two and was 
as a second mother to them till her marriage, which took place in 1531, 
when the Saint was in her sixteenth year. But as she was too 
young to be left in charge of her father s house, and as her education 
was not finished, she was sent to the Augustinian monastery, the nuns 
of which received young girls, and brought them up in the fear of 
God. 2 The Saint s own account is that she was too giddy and care 
less to be trusted at home, and that it was necessary to put her 
under the care of those who would watch over her and correct her 
ways. She remained a year and a half with the Augustinian nuns, 
and all the while God was calling her to Himself. She was not 
willing to listen to His voice; she would ask the nuns to pray for her 
that she might have light to see her way; "but for all this," she 
writes, "I wished not to be a nun." 3 By degrees her will yielded, 
and she had some inclination to become a religious at the end of the 
eighteen months of her stay, but that was all. She became ill; her 
father removed her, and the struggle within herself continued, on 
the one hand, the voice of God calling her; on the other, herself 
labouring to escape from her vocation. 

Fr. Anton, de S. Joseph, in his note on letter 16, but letter 41, vol. 
iv. ed. Doblado. 

2 Reforma de los Descalqos, lib. i. ch. vii. 3. 3 Ch. iii. 2. 



At last, after a struggle which lasted three months, she made up 
her mind, and against her inclination, to give up the world. She 
asked her father s leave, and was refused. She beseiged him through 
her friends, but to no purpose. "The utmost I could get from 
him," she says, "was that I might do as I pleased after his death." 1 
How long this contest with her father lasted is not known, but it is 
probable that it lasted many months, for the Saint was always most 
careful of the feelings of others, and would certainly have endured 
much rather than displease a father whom she loved so much, and 
who also loved her more than his other children. 2 

But she had to forsake her father, and so she left her father s 
house by stealth, taking with her one of her brothers, whom she 
had persuaded to give himself to God in religion. The brother and 
sister set out early in the morning, the former for the monastery 
of the Dominicans, and the latter for the Carmelite monastery of the 
Incarnation in Avila. The nuns received her into the house, but 
sent word to her father of his child s escape. Don Alfonso, how 
ever, yielded at once, and consented to the sacrifice which he was 
compelled to make. 

In the monastery of the Incarnation the Saint was led on, with 
out her own knowledge, to states of prayer so high that she became 
alarmed about herself. In the purity and simplicity of her soul, she 
feared that the supernatural visitations of God might after all be 
nothing else but delusions of Satan. 3 She was so humble, that she 
could not believe graces so great could be given to a sinner like 
herself. The first person she consulted in her trouble seems to have 
been a layman, related to her family, Don Francisco de Salcedo. 
He was a married man, given to prayer, and a diligent frequenter 
of the theological lectures in the monastery of the Dominicans. 
Through him she obtained the help of a holy priest, Gaspar Daza, to 
whom she made known the state of her soul. The priest, hindered 
by his other labours, declined to be her director, and the Saint 
admits that she could have made no progress under his guidance. 4 
She now placed herself in the hands of Don Francis, who encouraged 
her in every way, and, for the purpose of helping her onwards 
in the way of perfection, told her of the difficulties he himself 
had met with, and how by the grace of God he had overcome them. 
But when the Saint told him of the great graces which God 
bestowed upon her, Don Francis became alarmed; he could not 
reconcile them with the life the Saint was living, according to her 
own account. He never thought of doubting the Saint s account, 
and did not suspect her of exaggerating her imperfections in the 
depths of her humility: "he thought the evil spirit might have some 
thing to do" with her, 6 and advised her to consider carefully her way 
of prayer. 

Don Francis now applied again to Gaspar Daza, and the two 
friends consulted together; but, after much prayer on their part and on 
that of the Saint, they came to the conclusion that she "was deluded 
1 Ch. iii. 9. 3 Ch. i. 3. 3 Ch. xxiii. 2. 4 Ch. xxiii. 9. 
8 Id. 12. 


by an evil spirit," and recommended her to have recourse to the 
fathers of the Society of Jesus, lately settled in Avila. 

The Saint, now in great fear, but still hoping and trusting that 
God would not suffer her to be deceived, made preparations for a 
general confession, and committed to writing the whole story of 
her life, and made known the state of her soul to F. Juan de 
Padranos, one of the fathers of the Society. F. Juan understood it 
all, and comforted her by telling her that her way of prayer was 
sound and the work of God. Under his direction she made great 
progress, and for the further satisfaction of her confessors, and of 
Don Francis, who seems to have still retained some of his doubts, 
she told every thing to S. Francis de Borja, who on one point 
changed the method of direction observed by F. Juan. That father 
recommended her to resist the supernatural visitations of the spirit 
as much as she could, but she was not able, and the resistance pained 
her; 1 S. Francis told her she had done enough, and that it was 
not right to prolong that resistance. 2 

The account of her life which she wrote before she applied to the 
Jesuits for direction has not been preserved; but it is possible 
that it was made more for her own security than for the purpose of 
being shown to her confessor. 

The next account is Relation I., made for S. Peter of Alcantara, 
and was probably seen by many; for that Saint had to defend her, 
and maintain that the state of her soul was the work of God, against 
those who thought that she was deluded by Satan. Her own con 
fessor was occasionally alarmed, and had to consult others, and thus, 
by degrees, her state became known to many; and there were some 
who were so persuaded of her delusions, that they wished her to be 
exorcised as one possessed of an evil spirit, 3 and at a later time 
her friends were afraid that she might be denounced to the Inquis 
itors. 4 

During the troubles that arose when it became known that the 
Saint was about to found the monastery of S. Joseph, and therein 
establish the original rule of her Order in its primitive simplicity 
and austerity, she went for counsel to the Father Fra Pedro Ibanez, 
the Dominican, a most holy and learned priest. That father not 
only encouraged her, and commended her work, but also ordered her 
to give him in writing the story of her spiritual life. The Saint 
readily obeyed, and began it in the monastery of the Incarnation, 
and finished it in the house of Dona Luisa de la Cerda, in Toledo, 
in the month of June, 1562. On the 24th of August, the feast of 
S. Bartholomew, in the same year, the Reform of the Carmelites 
began in the new monastery of S. Joseph in Avila. 

What the Saint wrote for Fra Ibariez 8 has not been found. It is, 

1 Ch. xxiv. 1. 2 Id. 4. 

3 Ch. xxix. 4. 4 Ch. xxxiii. 6. 

8 The Saint held him in great reverence, and in one of her letters 
lett. 355, but lett. 100, vol. ii. ed. Doblado calls him a founder of her 
Order, because of the great services he had rendered her, and told 


no doubt, substantially preserved in her Life, as we have it now, and 
is supposed to have reached no further than the end of ch. xxxi. 
What follows was added by direction of another Dominican father, 
confessor of the Saint in the new monastery of S. Joseph, Fra 
Garcia of Toledo, who, in 1562, bade her "write the history of that 
foundation, and other matters." 

But as the Saint carried a heavy burden laid on her by God. a 
constant fear of delusion, she had recourse about the same time 
to the Inquisitor Soto, who advised her to write a history of her 
life, send it to Juan of Avila, the "Apostle of Andalusia," and 
abide by his counsel. As the direction of Fra Garcia of Toledo 
and the advice of the Inquisitor must have been given, according 
to her account, about the same time, the Life, as we have it now, 
must have occupied her nearly six years in the writing of it, which 
may well be owing to her unceasing care in firmly establishing the 
new monastery of S. Joseph. The book at last was sent to Juan 
of Avila by her friend Dona Luisa de la Cerda, and that great master 
of the spiritual life wrote the following censure of it: 

"The grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you always. 

"1. When I undertook to read the book sent me, it was not so 
much because I thought myself able to judge of it, as because I 
thought I might, by the grace of our Lord, learn something from 
the teachings it contains: and praised be Christ: for though I have 
not been able to read it with the leisure it requires, I have been 
comforted by it, and might have been edified by it, if the fault had 
not been mine. And although, indeed, I may have been comforted 
by it, without saying more, yet the respect due to the subject and to 
the person who has sent it will not allow me, I think, to let it go 
back without giving my opinion on it, at least it general. 

"2. The book is not fit to be in the hands of everybody, for it is 
necessary to correct the language in some places, and explain it in 
others; and there are some things in it useful for your spiritual life, 
and not so for others who might adopt them, for the special ways by 
which God leads some souls are not meant for others. These points, 
or the greater number of them, I have marked for the purpose of 
arranging them when I shall be able to do so, and I shall not fail to 
send them to you; for if you were aware of my infirmities and 
necessary occupations, I believe they would make you pity me rather 
than blame me for the omission. 

"3. The doctrine of prayer is for the most part sound, and you 
may rely on it, and observe it; and the raptures I find to possess the 
tests of those which are true. What you say of God s way of teach 
ing the soul, without respect to the imagination and without interior 
locutions, is safe, and I find nothing to object to it. S. Augustine 
speaks well of it. 

"4. Interior locutions in these days have been a delusion of 

her nuns of Seville that they need not be veiled in his presence, though 
they must be so in the presence of everybody else, and especially the 
friars of the Reform. 


many, and exterior locutions are the least safe. It is easy enough 
to see when they proceed from ourselves, but to distinguish between 
those of a good and those of an evil spirit is more difficult. There 
are many rules given for finding out whether they come from our 
Lord or not, and one of them is, that they should be sent us in a 
time of need, or for some good end, as for the comforting a man 
under temptation or in doubt, or as a warning of coming danger. 
As a good man will not speak unadvisedly, neither will God; so, con 
sidering this, and that the locutions are agreeable to the holy writings 
and the teaching of the Church, my opinion is that the locutions 
mentioned in the book came from God. 

"5. Imaginary or bodily visions are those which are most doubt 
ful, and should in no wise be desired, and if they come undesired 
still they should be shunned as much as possible, yet not by treating 
them with contempt, unless it be certain that they come from an 
evil spirit; indeed, I was filled with horror, and greatly distressed, 
when I read of the gestures of contempt that were made. 1 People 
ought to entreat our Lord not to lead them by the way of visions, 
but to reserve for them in heaven the blessed vision of Himself and 
the Saints, and to guide them here along the beaten path as He 
guides His faithful servants, and they must take other good meas 
ures for avoiding these visions. 

"6. But if the visions continue after all this is done, and if the 
soul derives good from them, and if they do not lead to vanity, but 
to deeper humility, and if the locutions be at one with the teaching 
of the Church, and if they continue for any time, and that with inward 
satisfaction better felt than described there is no reason then for 
avoiding them. But no one ought to rely on his own judgment 
herein; he should make every thing known to him who can give him 
light. That is the universal remedy to be had recourse to in such 
matters, together with hope in God, who will not let a soul that 
wishes to be safe lie under a delusion, if it be humble enough to 
yield obedience to the opinion of others. 

"7. Nor should any one cause alarm by condemning them forth 
with, because he sees that the person to whom they are granted is 
not perfect, for it is nothing new that our Lord in His goodness 
makes wicked people just, yea, even grievous sinners, by giving 
them to taste most deeply of His sweetness. I have seen it so my 
self. Who will set bounds to the goodness of our Lord? espe 
cially when these graces are given, not for merit, nor because one is 
stronger; on the contrary, they are given to one because he is weaker; 
and as they do not make one more holy, they are not always given 
to the most holy. 

"8. They are unreasonable who disbelieve these things merely 
because they are most high things, and because it seems to them 
incredible that infinite Majesty humbles Himself to these loving 
relations with one of His creatures. It is written God is love, and 
if He is love, then infinite love and infinite goodness, and we must 

1 See Life, ch| xxix. 6. 


not be surprised if such a love and such a goodness breaks out into 
such excesses of love as disturb those who know nothing of it. And 
though many know of it by faith, still, as to that special experience 
of the loving, and more than loving, converse of God with whom He 
will, if not had, how deep it reaches can never be known; and so I 
have seen many persons scandalised at hearng of what God in His 
love does for His creatures. As they are themselves very far away 
from it, they cannot think that God will do for others what He is 
not doing for them. As this is an effect of love, and that a love 
which causes wonder, reason requires we should look upon it as a 
sign of its being from God, seeing that He is wonderful in His works, 
and most especially in those of His compassion; but they take occa 
sion from this to be distrustful, which should have been a ground of 
confidence, when other circumstances combine as evidences of these 
visitations being good. 

9. It seems from the book, I think, that you have resisted, and 
even longer than was right. I think, too, that these locutions have 
done your soul good, and in particular that they have made you see 
your own wretchedness and your faults more clearly, and amend 
them. They have lasted long, and always with spiritual profit. 
They move you to love God, and to despise yourself, and to ao 
penance. I see no reasons for condemning them. I incline rather to 
regard them as good, provided you are careful not to rely altogether 
on them, especially if they are unusual, or bid you do something 
out of the way, or are not very plain. In all these and the like 
cases you must withhold your belief in them, and at once seek for 

"10. Also it should be considered that, even if they do come from 
God, Satan may mix with them suggestions of his own; you should 
therefore be always suspicious of them. Also, when they are known 
to be from God, men must not rest much on them, seeing that holiness 
does not lie in them, but in a humble love of God and our neigh 
bour: every thing else, however good, must be feared, and our efforts 
directed to the gaining of humility, goodness, and the love of our 
Lord. It is seemly, also, not to worship what is seen in these visions, 
but only Jesus Christ, either as in heaven or in the Sacrament, or, 
if it be a vision of the Saints, then to lift up the heart to the Holy 
One in heaven, and not to that which is presented to the imagina 
tion: let it suffice that the imagination may be made use of for the 
purpose of raising me up to that which it makes me see. 

"11. I say, too, that the things mentioned in this book befall 
other persons even in this our day, and that there is great certainty 
that they come from God, whose arm is not shortened that He can 
not do now what He did in times past, and that in weak vessels, for 
His own glory. 

"12. Go on your road, but always suspecting robbers, and asking 
for the right way; give thanks to our Lord, who has given you His 
love, the knowledge of yourself, and a love of penance and the cross, 
making no account of these other things. However, do not despise 
them either for there are signs that most of them come from our 


Lord, and those that do not come from Him will not hurt you if you 
ask for direction. 

"13. I cannot believe that I have written this in my own strength, 
for I have none, but it is the effect of your prayers. I beg of 
you, for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, to burden yourself with 
a prayer for me; He knows that I am asking this in great need, and 
I think that is enough to make you grant my request. I ask your 
permission to stop now, for I am bound to write another letter. 
May Jesus be glorified in all and by all! Amen. 

"Your servant, for Christ s sake, 


"Mantilla, \2th Sept., 1568." 

Her confessors, having seen the book, "commanded her to make 
copies of it," 1 one of which has been traced into the possession of the 
Duke and Duchess of Alva. 

The Princess of Eboli in 1569 obtained a copy from the Saint 
herself after much importunity; but it was more out of vanity or 
curiosity, it is to be feared, than from any real desire to learn the 
story of the Saint s spiritual life, that the Princess desired the boon. 
She and her husband promised to keep it from the knowledge of 
others, but the promise given was not kept. The Saint heard within 
a few days later that the book was in the hands of the servants of 
the Princess, who was angry with the Saint because she had refused 
to admit, at the request of the Princess, an Augustinian nun into the 
Order of Carmel in the new foundation of Pastrana. The contents of 
the book were bruited abroad, and the visions and revelations of the 
Saint were said to be of a like nature with, those of Magdalene of 
the Cross, a deluded and deluding nun. The gossip in the house of 
the Princess was carried to Madrid, and the result was that the 
Inquisition began to make a search for the book. 2 It is not quite 
clear, however, that it was seized at this time. 

The Princess became a widow in July, 1573, and insisted on 
becoming a Carmelite nun in the house she and her husband Ruy 
Gomez had founded in Pastrana. When the news of her resolve 
reached the monastery, the mother-prioress, Isabel of S. Dominic, 
exclaimed, "The Princess a nun! I look on the house as ruined." 
The Princess came and insisted on her right as foundress; she had 
compelled a friar to give her the habit before her husband was 
buried, and when she came to Pastrana she began her religious life 
by the most complete disobedience and disregard of common pro 
priety. Don Vicente s description of her is almost literally correct, 
though intended only for a general summary of her most childish 

"On the death of the Prince of Eboli, the Princess would become a 
nun in her monastery of Pastrana. The first day she had a fit of 
violent fervour; on the next she relaxed the rule; on the third she 
broke it, and conversed with secular people within the cloisters. 

1 Rel. vii. 9. 

2 Reforma de los Descalgos, lib. ii. c. xxviii. 6. 


She was also so humble that she required the nuns to speak to her 
on their knees, and insisted upon their receiving into the house as 
religious whomsoever she pleased. Hereupon complaints were made 
to S. Teresa who remonstrated with the Princess, and showed her 
how much she was in the wrong, whereupon she replied that the 
monastery was hers; but the Saint proved to her that the nuns were 
not, and had them removed at once to Segovia." 1 

The nuns were withdrawn from Pastrana in April, 1574, and then 
the anger of the Princess prevailed; she sent the Life of the Saint, 
which she had still in her possession, to the Inquisition, and de 
nounced it as a book containing visions, revelations, and dangerous 
doctrines, which the Inquisitors should look into and examine. The 
book was forthwith given to theologians for examination, and two 
Dominican friars, of whom Banes was one, were delegated censors of 
it by the Inquisition. 2 

Fra Banes did not know the Saint when he undertook her defence 
in Avila against the authorities of the city, eager to destroy the 
monastery of S. Joseph; 3 but from that time forth he was one of her 
most faithful friends, strict and even severe, as became a wise director 
who had a great Saint for his penitent. He testifies in the process 
of her beatification that he was stern and sharp with her; while she 
herself was the more desirous of his counsel, the more he humbled 
her, and the less he appeared to esteem her. 4 When he found that 
copies of her Life were in the hands of secular people, be had 
probably also heard of the misconduct of the Princess of Eboli, he 
showed his displeasure to the Saint and told her he would burn the 
book, it being unseemly that the writings of women should be made 
public. The Saint left it in his hands, but Fra Banes, struck with 
her humility, had not the courage to burn it; he sent it to the 
Holy Office in Madrid. 5 Thus the book was in a sense denounced 
twice, once by an enemy, the second time by a friend, to save it. 
Both the Saint and her confessor, Fra Banes, state that the copy 
given up by the latter was sent to the Inquisition in Madrid, and 
Fra Banes says so twice in his deposition. The Inquisitor Soto 
returned the copy to Fra Banes, desiring him to read it, and give his 
opinion thereon. Fra Banes did so, and wrote his "censure" of the 
book on the blank leaves at the end. That censure still remains, and 
is one of the most important, because given during the lifetime of 
the Saint, and while many persons were crying out against her. 
Banes wished it had been published when the Saint s Life was given 
to the world by Fra Luis de Leon; but notwithstanding its value, 

1 Introduccion al libro de la Vida, vol. i. p. 3. 

2 Jerome Gratian, Lucidario, c. iv. 

3 Life, ch. xxxvi. 15. 

4 The Saint says of herself, Rcl. vii. 18, that "she took the 
greatest pains not to submit the state of her soul to any one who she 
thought would believe that these things came from God, for she was 
instantly afraid that the devil would deceive them both." 

5 Rel. vii. 16. 


and its being preserved in the book, which is in the handwriting of 
the Saint, no one before Don Vicente made it known. It was easy 
enough to praise the writings of S. Teresa, and to admit her sanctity, 
after her death. Fra Banes had no external help in the applause of 
the many, and he had to judge the book as a theologian, and the 
Saint as one of his ordinary penitents. What he wrote, he wrote 
like a man whose whole life was spent, as he tells us himself, "in 
lecturing and disputing." 1 

That censure is as follows: 

"1. This book, wherein Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite nun, and foun 
dress of the Barefooted Carmelites, gives a plain account of the state 
of her soul, in order to be taught and directed by her confessors, has 
been examined by me, and with much attention, and I have not 
found any where in it any thing which, in my opinion, is erroneous 
in doctrine. On the contrary, there are many things in it highly 
edifying and instructive for those who give themselves to prayer. 
The great experience of this religious, her discretion also and her 
humility, which made her always seek for light and learning in her 
confessors, enabled her to speak with an accuracy on the subject of 
prayer that the most learned men, through their want of experience, 
have not always attained to. One thing only there is about the book 
that may reasonably cause any hesitation till it shall be very carefully 
examined: it contains many visions and revelations, matters always 
to be afraid of, especially in women, who are very ready to believe 
of them that they come from God, and to look on them as proofs of 
sanctity, though sanctity does not lie in them. On the contrary, 
they should be regarded as dangerous trials for those who are 
aiming at perfection, because Satan is wont to transform himself 
into an angel of light, 2 and to deceive souls which are curious and of 
scant humility, as we have seen in our day: nevertheless, we must 
not therefore lay down a general rule that all revelations and 
visions come from the devil. If it were so, S. Paul could not have 
said that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, if the angel 
of light did not sometimes enlighten us. 

"2. Saints, both men and women, have had revelations, not only 
in ancient, but also in modern times; such were S. Dominic, S. Francis, 
S. Vincent Ferrer, S. Catherine of Siena, S. Gertrude, and many 
others that might be named; and as the Church of God is, and is to 
be, always holy to the end, not only because her profession is holi 
ness, but because there are in her just persons and perfect in holiness, 
it is unreasonable to despise visions and revelations, and condemn 
them in one sweep, seeing they are ordinarily accompanied with 
much goodness and a Christian life. On the contrary, we should 
follow the saying of the Apostle in 1 Thess. v. 19-22: Spiritum 
nolite extinguere. Prophetias nolite spernere. Omnia [autem] pro- 

1 "Como hombre criado toda mi vida en leer y disputar" (De la 
Fuente, ii. p. 376). 

2 2 Cor. xi. 14. 


bate: quod bonum est tenete. Ab omni specie mala abstinete vos/ 
He who will read S. Thomas on that passage will see how care 
fully they are to be examined who, in the Church of God, manifest 
any particular gift that may be profitable or hurtful to our neighbour, 
and how watchful the examiners ought to be lest the lire of the Spirit 
of God should be quenched in the good, and others cowed in the 
practices of the perfect Christian li e. 

"3. Judging by the revelations made to her, this woman, even 
though she may be deceived in something, is at least not herself a 
deceiver, because she tells all the good and the bad so simply, and 
with so great a wish to be correct, that no doubt can be made as to 
her good intention; and the greater the reason for trying spirits of 
this kind, because there are persons in our day who are deceivers 
with the appearance of piety, the more necessary it is to defend 
those who, with the appearance, have also the reality, of piety. For 
it is a strange thing to see how lax and worldly people delight in 
seeing those discredited who have an appearance of goodness. God 
complained of old, by the Prophet Ezekiel, ch. xiii., of those false 
prophets who made the just to mourn, and who flattered sinners 
saying: Mcerere fccistis cor justi mendaciter, quern Ego non con- 
tristavi: et confortastis manus impii. In a certain sense, this may 
be said of those who frighten souls who are going on by the way of 
prayer and perfection, telling them that this way is singular and 
full of danger, that many who went by it have fallen into delusions, 
and that the safest way is that which is plain and common travelled 
by all. 

"4. Words of this kind, clearly, sadden the hearts of those who 
would observe the counsels of perfection in continual prayer, so far as 
it is possible for them, and in much fasting, watching, and disciplines; 
and, on the other hand, the lax and the wicked take courage and 
lose the fear of God, because they consider the way on which they 
are travelling as the safer: and this is their delusion, they call that a 
plain and safe road which is the absence of the knowledge and 
consideration of the dangers and precipices amidst which we are all 
of us journeying in this world. Nevertheless, there is no other 
security than that which lies in our knowing our daily enemies, and 
in humbly imploring the compassion of God, if we would not be their 
prisoners. Besides, there are souls whom God, in a way, constrains 
to enter on the way of perfection, and who, if they relaxed in their 
fervour, could not keep a middle course, but would immediately fall 
into the other extreme of sins, and for souls of this kind it is of the 
utmost necessity that they should watch and pray without ceasing; 
and, in short, there is nobody whom lukewarmness does not injure. 
Let every man examine his own conscience, and he will find this 
to be the truth. 

"5. I firmly believe that if God for a time bears with the lukewarm, 
it is owing to the prayers of the fervent, who are continually crying, 
et ne nos inducas in tentationem. I have said this, not for the pur 
pose of honouring those whom we see walking in the way of contem 
plation; for it is another extreme into which the world falls, and a co- 


vert persecution of goodness, to pronounce those holy forthwith who 
have the appearance of it. For that would be to furnish them with 
motives for vain-glory, and would do little honour to goodness; on 
the contrary, it would expose it to great risks, because, when they 
fall who have been objects of praise, the honour of goodness suffers 
more than if those people had not been so esteemed. And so I look 
upon this exaggeration of their holiness who are still living in the 
world to be a temptation of Satan. That we should have a good 
opinion of the servants of God is most just, but let us consider them 
always as people in danger, however good they may be, and that 
their goodness is not so evident that we can be sure of it even now. 

6. Considering myself that what I have said is true. I have 
always proceeded cautiously in the examination of this account of 
the prayer and life of this nun, and no one has been more incredulous 
than myself as to her visions and revelations, not so, however, as to 
her goodness and her good desires, for herein I have had great 
experience of her truthfulness, her obedience, mortification, patience, 
and charity towards her persecutors, and of her other virtues, which 
any one who will converse with her will discern; and this is what 
may be regarded as a more certain proof of her real love of God than 
these visions and revelations. 1 do not, however, undervalue her 
visions, revelations, and ecstasies; on the contrary, I suspect them to 
be the work of God, as they have been in others who were Saints. 
But in this case it is always safer to be afraid and wary; for if she is 
confident about them, Satan will take occasion to interfere, and that 
which was once, perhaps, the work of God, may be changed into 
something else, and that will be the devil s. 

"7. I am of opinion that this book is not to be shown to every one, 
but only to men of learning, experience, and Christian discretion. 
It perfectly answers the purpose for which it was written, namely, 
that the nun should give an account of the state of her soul to those 
who had the charge of it, in order that she might not fall into delu 
sions. Of one thing I am very sure, so far as it is possible for a man 
to be, she is not a deceiver; she deserves, therefore, for her sincerity, 
that all should be favourable to her in her good purposes and good 
works. For within the last thirteen years she has, I believe, founded 
a dozen monasteries of Barefooted Carmelite nuns, the austerity 
and perfection of which are exceeded by none other; of which 
they who have been visitors of them, as the Dominican Provincial, 
master in theology, 1 Fra Pedro Fernandez, the master Fra Her- 
nando del Castillo, and many others, speak highly. This is what 
I think, at present, concerning the censure of this book, submit 
ting my judgment herein to that of Holy Church our mother, and her 

"Given in the College of S. Gregory, Valladolid, on the sixth day 
of July, 1575. 


1 The other theologian appointed by the Inquisition, with Fra 
Banes to examine the "Life." 


The book remained in the keeping of the Inquisition, and the 
Saint never saw it again. But she heard of it from the Archbishop of 
Toledo, Cardinal Quiroga, President of the Supreme Court of the In 
quisition, when she applied to him for license to found .a monastery in 
Madrid. Jerome of the Mother of God was with her; and heard the 
Cardinal s reply. Mis Emi- cnce said he was glad to see her; that a 
books of hers had been in the Holy Office for some years, and had been 
rigorously examined; that he had read it himself, and regarded it as 
containing sound and wholesome doctrine. He would grant the license, 
and do whatever he could for the Saint. When she heard this, she 
wished to present a petition to the Inquisition for the restitution of her 
book; but Gratian thought it better to apply to the Duke of Alba for 
the copy which he had, and which the Inquisitors had allowed him to 
retain and read. The Duke gave his book to Fra Jerome, who had 
copies of it made for the use of the monastery both of men and 
women. 1 

Anne of Jesus, in 1586, founding a monastery of her Order in 
Madrid, the Saint had died in 1584, made inquiries about the 
book, and applied to the Inquisition for it, for she was resolved 
to publish the writings of her spiritual mother. The Inquisitors 
made no difficulty, and consented to the publication. In this she 
was seconded by the Empress Maria, daughter of Charles V. and 
widow of Maximilian II., who had obtained one of the copies which 
Fra Jerome of the Mother of God had ordered to be made. Fra 
Nicholas Doria, then Provincial, asked Fra Luis de Leon, the Augus- 
tinian, to edit the book, who consented. He was allowed to com 
pare the copy furnished him with the original in the keeping of the 
Inquisition; but his edition has not been considered accurate, not 
withstanding the facilities given him, and his great reverence for the 
Saint. It was published in Salamanca, A. D. 1588. 

With the Life of the Saint, Fra Luis de Leon received certain 
papers in the handwriting of the Saint, which he published as an 
additional chapter. Whether he printed all he received, or merely 
made extracts, may be doubtful, but anyhow that chapter is singu 
larly incomplete. Don Vicente de la Fuente, from whose edition 
(Madrid, 1861, 1862) this translation has been made, omitted the 
additional chapter of Fra Luis de Leon, contrary to the practice of 
his predecessors But he has done more, for he has traced the para 
graphs of that chapter to th^ir sources, and has given us now a col 
lection of papers which form almost another Life of the Saint, to 

1 This took place in the year 1580, according to the Chronicler of 
the Order (Reforma de los Dcscalqos, lib. v. c. xxxvi. 8); and the 
Bollandists (n. 1536) accept his statement. Fra Jerome says he was 
Provincial of his Order at the time; and as he was elected only on the 
4th of March, 1581, according to the Chronicler and the Bollandists, 
it is more likely that the audience granted to them by the Cardinal 
took place in 1581. 


which he has given their old name of Relations, 1 the name which 
the Saint herself had given them. 2 Some of them are usually printed 
among the Saint s letters, and portions of some of the others are 
found in the Lives of the Saint written by Ribera and Yepes, and in 
the Chronicle of the Order; the rest was published for the first time 
by Don Vicente: the arrangement of the whole is due to him. 

The Relations are ten in the Spanish edition, and eleven in the 
translation. The last, the eleventh, has hitherto been left among 
the letters, and Don Vicente, seeemingly not without some hesitation, 
so left it; but as it is of the like nature with the Relations, it has 
now been added to them. 

The original text, in the handwriting of the Saint, is preserved 
in the Escurial, not in the library, but among the relics of the 
Church. Don Vicente examined it at his leisure, and afterwards 
found in the National Library in Madrid an authentic and exact 
transcript of it, made by order of Ferdinand VI. His edition is, 
therefore, far better than any of its predecessors; but it is possible 
that even now there may still remain some verbal errors for future 
editors to correct. The most conscientious diligence is not a safe 
guard against mistakes. F. Boux says that in ch. xxxiv. 12, 
the reading of the original differs from that of the printed editions; 
yet Don Vicente takes no notice of it, and retains the common 
reading. It is impossible to believe that F. Bouix has stated as a 
fact that which is not. Again, in ch. xxxix. 29, the printed 
editions have after the words, "Thou art Mine, and I am thine," "I 
am in the habit .... sincerity;" but Don Vicente omits them.. This 
may have been an oversight, for in general he points out in his 
notes all the discrepancies between the printed editions and the 
original text. 

A new translation of the Life of S. Teresa seems called for 
now, because the original text has been collated since the previous 
translations were made, and also because those translations are 
exceedingly scarce. The first is believed to be this it is a small 

"The Lyf of the Mother Teresa of Jesus, Foundresse of the 
Monasteries of the Descalced or Bare-footed Carmelite Nunnes and 
Fryers of the First Rule. 

"Written by herself at the commaundement of her ghostly father, 
and now translated into English out of Spanish. By W. M. of the 
Society of Jesus. 

"Imprinted in Antwerp by Henry Jaye. Anno MDCXI." 

Some thirty years afterwards, Sir Tobias Matthew, S.J., dissatis 
fied, as he says, with the former translation, published another, with 
the following title; the volume is a small octavo in form: 

1 Re forma de los Descalqos, lib. v. c. xxxv. 4: "Relaciones de su 


"The Flaming Hart, or the Life of the glorious S. Teresa, Founcl- 
dresse of the Reformation of the Order of the All-Immaculate Vir 
gin Mother, our B. Lady of Mount Carmel. 

"This History of her Life was written by the Saint in Spanish, 
and is newly translated into English in the year of our Lord God 

Aut mori aut pati: 

Either to dye or else to suffer. Chap. xl. 

"Antwerpe, printed by Johannes Meursius. Anno MDCXLII." 

The next translation was made by Abraham Woodhead, and pub 
lished in 1671, without the name of the translator, or of the printer, or 
of the place of publication. It is in quarto, and bears the following 

"The Life of the Holy Mother S. Teresa, Foundress of the Re 
formation of the Discalced Carmelites according to the Primitive 
Rule. Printed in the year MDCLXXI." 

It is not said that the translation was made from the Spanish, 
and there are grounds for thinking it to have been made from the 
Italian. Ch. xxxii. is broken off at the end of 10; and ch. xxxiii. 
therefore, is ch. xxxvii. That which is there omitted has been 
thrown into the Book of the Foundations, which, in the transla 
tion of Mr. Woodhead, begins with 11 of ch. xxxii. of the Life, as 
it also does in the Italian translation. It is due, however, to Mr. 
Woodhead to say that he has printed five of the Relations sepa 
rately, not as letters, but as what they really are, and with that 

The last translation is that of the Very Reverend John Dalton, 
Canon of Northampton, which is now, though twice published, almost 
as scarce as its predecessors. The title is: 

"The Life of Saint Teresa, written by herself, and translated from 
the Spanish by the Rev. John Dalton. London, MDCCCLI." 

The present translation the fifth has not been made because 
the former translations are inaccurate, or in any way unfaithful to 
the original; and he who made it cannot refrain from saying, in his 
own defence, that it was a task laid upon him by those whom he is 
bound to obey, and one that he never would have undertaken of 
his own will, partly because of the nature of the subjects of which 
the Saint treats, mirabilibus super me, and partly because of the 
extreme difficulty of the work. 

Septuagesima, 1870. 


WHEN S. Teresa had taken possession and founded the first monas 
tery of her nuns in Avila, August 24, 1562, she was summoned back 
to the monastery of the Incarnation, where she had made her pro 
fession, for that monastery was thrown into trouble by the act of the 
Saint, and the nuns were very angry with her. She was made to 
give an account of her conduct, and the provincial was sent for, 
before whom she had to make what defence she could: that defence 
she made in the presence of the nuns her sisters, and so successfully 
that no one was found to blame her. When she had appeased her 
sisters she had to meet other troubles: the people of Avila had 
been also disturbed, and a new house of religion seemed for the 
moment to be an offence to them. The magistrates of the city 
resolved to suppress the monastery, but on finding that it was law 
fully established with the consent of the bishop they had recourse to 
the courts of law. But out of all their efforts nothing came, and the 
Saint, with the consent of the provincial, left the monastery of the 
Incarnation, and joined her sisters in the new house of S. Joseph. 

She went to that house, according to the chronicle of the order, 
before the end of the year; but Ribera says, and his account is more 
likely to be true, that she did not return before the middle of Lent 
1563. Fra Francisco de Santa Maria, the chronicler, rests his state 
ment that she went back in December on the expression in the 
Prologue to the Foundations, "In the year 1562 the very year in 
which this house of S. Joseph in Avila was founded I was ordered 
when in that house, by my confessor, the Dominican friar, father 
Garcia of Toledo, to write the history of the foundation of the 
monastery." He says that Fra Garcia could not have given her 
the commandment to write before she returned to the Incarnation, 
because she was summoned thither at once, and was not allowed to 
remain the whole day in S. Joseph s: she must therefore, he says, 
have left the Incarnation after the summons, and returned to S. 
Joseph s before the end of the year. 

If it was impossible for Fra Garcia to speak to her on the day of 
the foundation, there is no difficulty in supposing that he had spoken 
to her frequently during the time she was staying in that house and 
making it fit for a monastery. He may have told her to write the 
history even before the day of the foundation, for he knew what a 
work it was, and had read the history of her life, which she had pre 
pared for Fra Pedro Ibanez, her confessor. 

But, be that as it may, it was during the first year of her stay in 



S. Joseph s that she was ordered by Fra Garcia of Toledo to write the 
history of its foundation. It is to Fra Garcia, and to the inquisitor 
Don Francisco de Soto y Salazar, afterwards bishop of Salamanca, 
whom at this time she consulted, that we are indebted for the history 
of her life as we have it at present. 1 While rewriting her Life she 
was probably busy also wth her treatise on the Way of Perfection, 
which was written at the commandment of Father Banes, her con 
fessor, and throughout her life her constant friend: that was meant 
for the use of her own nuns of S. Joseph s, and has only lately been 
published as she first wrote it. It seems, then, that these two books, 
with the constitutions of the nuns, were written by her during her 
rest in her monastery in "the most tranquil years of my life," as 
she says in the first chapter of the Foundations. 

In the year 1560, while still in the monastery of the Incarnation, 
the Saint made a vow always to do that which was most perfect and 
to the greater glory of God. Father Ribera 2 says he never heard of 
any saint who had made such a vow. Her confessors in 1565, Fra 
Garcia and Fra Antonio de Heredia, Carmelite and prior of Avila, 
considering that the vow thus general was a possible source of 
scruples, recommended her to apply to the provincial, Fra Angel de 
Salazar, to make it void, and allow her to renew it in another form 
which should be less an occasion of scruples than the form in which 
she had so heroically made it. The Saint, always obedient to her con 
fessors, made the application at once, and Fra Angel, then in Toledo, 
issued his commission in this form: 

"Fra Angel de Salazar, provincial of the province of Castille, of 
the order of our Lady of Carmel, &c. 

"By this present writing we authorise and appoint the most 
reverend the father prior of our house of Carmel in Avila, and the 
most reverend Fra Garcia of Toledo of the order of S. Dominic, and 
either of them, having first administered the sacrament of penance 
and confession to our most dearly beloved sister Teresa of Jesus, 
mother of the nuns of S. Joseph s, to release her from any vow she 
may have made, or to commute it as to them it shall seem best for 
the service of our Lord, and for the quieting of the conscience of our 
sister aforesaid. We grant them hereby our authority, and the 
power we possess in virtue of our office and ministry. Done in 
Toledo, March 2, 1565. 


The Saint, having received the sanction of the provincial, gave 
his letter to Fra Garcia, who executed his commission, and on the 
back of the letter wrote thus: 

"I have heard your confession according to the directions of the 
father provincial herein contained and for the peace and quiet of 

1 See Relation, vii. 8, 9, at the end of the Life. 

2 Lib. iv. ch. 10. 


your conscience and of that of your confessors which is one and the 
same thing I make void and of none effect the vow you have made, 
in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti Amen." 

Fra Garcia having released her from the obligations of her 
vow, the Saint was at liberty to renew it in another form, but 
subject to three conditions necessary to its validity. The Saint 
when in doubt was to consult her confessor, and having done so 
was to follow his advice, in order to avoid all scruples on his part as 
well as on hers. The vow, therefore, was binding on her under these 
three conditions, and not otherwise: The first, the fact of the vow 
was to be made known to the confessor; the second, she was to ask 
his direction; the third, he was to tell what was the most perfect 
course. She seems also to have made another vow, that of perfect 
obedience to Fra Jerome of the Mother of God. This she made 
about ten years after the commutation of her great vow by Fra 
Garcia, when she was on her way to Seville to make the foundation 
there; but it does not appear from her account of it that she made it 
known to Fra Jerome. 

In the fourth year of her residence in the monastery of S. Joseph, 
the general of the order, Fra Giovanni Battista Rossi arrived in 
Spain. The sovereign pontiff, at the request of the king, Don 
Philip II., had commanded him to make his visitation. The general 
was a man of great sanctity and simplicity, humble and generous, 
but his friars were not all like himself; the fathers in Andalusia 
especially were wedded to their lax observances, and made more or 
less resistance to his decrees; they also spread abroad certain stories, 
probably of his excessive severity, which were carried to the king, 
who, believing what he was told, conceived a dislike to the general, and 
even showed his displeasure. The general, however, persevered and 
did all he could do for the reform of his order; but he seems to have 
had but little hopes of the province of Andalusia, and would not 
allow S. Teresa to found monasteries in it. 

S. Teresa in her monastery was under the jurisdiction of the 
bishop of Avila, and the general of her order, because of the pro 
vincial s refusal to accept it, therefore had no right to intermeddle 
in her affairs, and those of her nuns, though they were Carmelites 
and observed the rule. But the Saint never intended to withdraw 
from under the authority of the general, and her present position, 
though brought about by most lawful means, was a position which 
she would have avoided with her whole heart if she had under 
stood the effects of what had been done for the foundation of her 
monastery. So when she heard of the general s arrival she began 
to be afraid she might have been ordered back to her old home, or 
cut off from the order, for she had founded her house without the 
consent of her immediate superiors, and had placed it under the 
jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese. She met her difficulties 
at once, and in the simplest way: with the permission of the bishop, 
who was her superior, she invited the general to visit her, and on 
his arriving received him as if she were still his subject. The bishop 


had most generously waived his rights in favour of the general, 
who was received in all honour as if he were the superior of the 
house of S. Joseph. 

As usual, she was frank and open with the general, and made 
known to him the whole history of the foundation, and at the same 
time her own inner life. The general was pleased exceedingly, but 
none the less sorry that such a nun was no longer his subject. The 
order of the house and the piety of the community filled his soul 
with joy, but the house was not his, and he could not hide his 

The general found no fault with the Saint, however, but he was 
very angry with the provincial, whose faintheartedness had robbed 
the order of such a house. Two nuns had left the monastery of the 
Incarnation with S. Teresa, and the three, being his subjects, had 
become subjects of the bishop, but without his knowledge and with 
out his leave. It was a pain to the good man, and he asked for the 
brief by which the transfer of obedience had been made. This was 
shown him at once, and he on reading it saw that it did not touch his 
authority as general and visitor apostolic. He did not regard it as 
binding on him, nor was it, for none of the superiors of the order had 
been called to consent or object to the transfer of the Saint s obe 
dience. Her vow still subsisted, and so he told the Saint that she 
was still his subject, and that he had power to receive her back into 
the order if she wished to return. The Saint most joyfully accepted 
the offer, for she had never intended to leave it, and was received 
back, the general comforting her at the same time by saying that 
he would never force her to return to the monastery of the Incar 
nation, where the observance had become lax; and that none in author 
ity under him should, as her immediate superiors, be allowed to do 
so at any time. 

The general was glad when he recovered the Saint, but the 
bishop of Avila was extremely displeased, and spoke in some anger 
about the change. As he had been so good a friend, and had con 
sented to the foundation when her own provincial had refused it, she 
felt that her act bore the semblance of ingratitude. She was there 
fore deeply distressed, and the pain of the bishop s displeasure was 
very keen. In a little time, however, the bishop, seeing her distress 
and humility, and considering also that under the circumstances she 
cou d hardly have done otherwise, was pacified, and continued from 
that day forth to befriend her and the order in every way he could, 
and to the utmost of his power. The general made many visits to 
the monastery of S. Joseph, and discussed grave affairs of the order 
with the Saint. She herself, burning with the love of souls, made 
known to him her chief desire the foundation of a house where the 
friars should live under the primitive rule. The general would have 
been glad to see such a house established, but he saw the difficulties 
before him in the opposition of his subjects, and counselled delay. 
He did not refuse his consent absolutely, nor would he allow the 
reform to proceed without conditions: accordingly, to satisfy the 
Saint, he gave her leave to found monasteries of nuns, but subject 


to the order. This was a matter, it seems, of which S. Teresa had 
never thought: she had never intended to do more than found her 
own house, wherein she could sanctify herself in the strict observ 
ance of the primitive rule. But she gladly accepted the permission, 
though, as she says, "I did not ask for it," and saw in that permission 
the way to obtain what at the time she had more at heart the 
foundation of monasteries of friars keeping the primitive rule. 

The first commission given her was dated Avila, April 27, 1567. 
She was authorised to found monasteries of nuns in the kingdom of 
Castille, and might take any two sisters willing to go from the 
Incarnation for each of them. This done the general left Avila for 
Madrid, and thence on May 16 sent the Saint another letter in 
explanation of the first. Doubts, he said, might be raised about the 
words "kingdom of Castille," which means either Old or New Cas 
tille. To remove all difficulties, the general said that by the "king 
dom of Castille" he meant both the Old and the New, and that the 
Saint was to be allowed to make foundations wherever she pleased 
within the borders of that kingdom: the only restraint upon her was 
that the monasteries must be all under the obedience of the order, 
and no foundations must be made in Andalusia. 

Though the general went away from Avila without giving his 
assent to the petition of S. Teresa, as she wished it to be done for 
he seems to have done no more than promise to do so she was not 
discouraged, and by letter earnestly begged of him to found a house 
of reformed friars. This letter was delivered to him when he was in 
Valencia, in which place, on the 14th day of August, the general 
authorised S. Teresa to found two monasteries of friars wherein the 
primitive rule should be observed as it was in her own monastery of 
S. Joseph in Avila. 

The Saint received the licence of the general when she was in 
Medina del Campo, making the foundation there, and "always think 
ing of monasteries of friars" (ch. iii. 15). But in thus think 
ing she was not alone: there were two friars of her order in Medina 
at the time to whom God had granted the same desires, and who, 
like herself, did not know how to carry them into effect Fra 
Antonio de Heredia, no longer young, and Fra Juan of S. Mathias, 
in the twenty-sixth year of his age, and newly made priest. The 
former she was acquainted with already, for he was prior of the 
Carmelite house in Avila when she was living in S. Joseph s. He 
too had been called to a stricter life than was that then lived by his 
brethren, and had serious thoughts of leaving the order and becoming 
a Carthusian. The Saint dissuaded him from this, and on his yielding 
to her requests asked him to wait awhile, and test himself by leading 
a stricter life among his brethren according to the primitive rule; 
for, though she was glad to find even one friar who gave promise of 
better things, she had not much confidence in Fra Antonio, who had 
rown old in the order, and was, she feared, unequal to the austeri 
ties which she intended to revive. 

Fra Antonio took the advice of the Saint, and began to make 
trial of the new life which he was afterwards to live. The bodily 


austerities were probably not the least of his trials: his brethren, 
knowing the resolution he had taken, began to torment him; they 
said he was about to insult the whole order that he might make 
himself a name; that he wished to bring in novelties and disturb the 
friars as mother Teresa had disturbed the nuns; that he was seeking 
worldly advancement he who never merited any in his own order; 
that he made a pretence of zeal for selfish ends, and was despising 
others who were better than he was; that he was setting himself up 
against his superiors who never thought of doing what he was pur 
posing to do, and who were far wiser than he. Fra Antonio never 
theless persevered, and bore all contradiction in peace, and "the 
persecution of evil tongues" (ch. iii. 15) never shook his good reso 

The other friar was Fra Juan of S. Mathias, afterwards and now 
known as S. Juan of the Cross. He had been received into the 
order in the house of S. Anne in Medina del Campo in the year 1563, 
when he was about twenty-one years of age, and had made his pro 
fession in the same house in 1564, Fra Angel de Salazar being the 
provincial. In the course of the latter year he was sent to the Car 
melite college in Salamanca, then known as the college of S. Andrew 
the Apostle, but afterwards as the college of S. Teresa. Having 
there finished his course of theology, and being of the age of twenty- 
five, he was ordained priest. His superiors sent him back to the 
house of the order in Medina, where he had been professed, to sing 
his first mass, partly for the sake of giving pleasure to his mother, who 
was a widow, and he was there when S. Teresa was occupied with her 
own foundation of the monastery of her nuns. 

He had come to Medina del Campo with another friar, Pedro de 
Orozco, through whom S. Teresa heard of him, and of his longing to 
become a Carthusian; for he too had the same wish as Fra Antonio, 
and had not kept it a secret from his companion. Fra Pedro, knowing 
that S. Teresa wished to have houses of friars who observed the primi 
tive rule, went to her and spoke of his companion Fra Juan. The 
Saint was so much pleased with the account of him given her by Fra 
Pedro that she longed to see him, being fully persuaded that he 
was the very man whom our Lord had destined for her work. She 
spent the night in prayer, earnestly beseeching our Lord to give her 
Fra Juan, like Rachel, who prayed for children. 

Fra Pedro asked his companion to visit the Saint in her monas 
tery, but to no purpose, for he would not converse with women if he 
could avoid it. By dint of importunity, however, Fra Pedro prevailed 
at last, and the visit was made. It resulted in Fra Juan s pro 
mising to begin the reform, provided the Saint made no long delay, 
for he was bent at the time on making himself a Carthusian at the 
first opportunity. 

S. Teresa now felt that her work was safe, for she had two friars, 
or, as she said, a friar and a half, for Fra Antonio was a portly per 
sonage, while S. John of the Cross was thin and low of stature. 
Accordingly, in about twelve months from that time the first of the 
two houses which the general had authorised her to found was begun 


in great poverty, in Duruelo, the first conventual mass being said 
there on the first Sunday in Advent 1568, and three monasteries 
of nuns, subject to the general of the order, having been then 
founded Medina del Campo, Malagon and Valladolid. The first house 
of S. Teresa, S. Joseph s in Avila, was not subject to the order, though 
the Saint herself was, but to the bishop of the diocese, Don Alvaro 
de Mendoza. 

S. Teresa seems to have proceeded with as much care and caution 
as were possible in this foundation of Duruelo, in order to avoid any 
difficulties that the friars might make who were not disposed to 
accept her reform. The latter at first were probably more or less 
indifferent, and perhaps somewhat blind, to the results to be naturally 
expected from the lowly beginnings made in Duruelo. None of them 
seem to have been disturbed, for the general in Rome had not heard 
of the foundation in the beginning of February, 1569. On the 8th 
of that month and year the father-general of the order wrote a letter 
to the nuns of Medina del Campo, in which, after saying of S. Teresa 
that she "is doing more for the order than all the friars in Spain," 
he asks for information about the two monasteries of men, and would 
be glad to hear that they had been founded. 1 

The second of the two houses was, however, founded in the 
course of the year, on July 13, in Pastrana. 

S. Teresa, having founded the two houses of friars according to 
the permssion of the general, gives no account herself of the other 
houses which were founded afterwards, and which were fifteen in 
number. She had probably less to do with them than with the 
monasteries of nuns, though she was not unconcerned in them. 
She founded and directed seventeen monasteries of nuns in the 
course of twenty years, yet of those years five years all but nine 
days were spent tranquilly in her first monastery of S. Joseph in 
Avila, and for four years and nearly two months besides her work 
was hindered by the troubles of the order, and very nearly so before 
that by her being compelled to accept the government of the monastery 
of the Incarnation, wherein she had made her profession, and which 
did not belong to her reform. The monasteries of friars founded in 
her lifetime were these: 

1. Duruelo 28 Nov., 1568.... ch. xiv. 5. 

2. Pastrana 13 July, 1569.... ch. xvii. 13. 

3. Mancera 11 June, 1570.... ch. xiv. 8. 

4. Alcala de Henares 1 Nov., 1570.... Reforma, lib. ii. ch. xliii. 5. 

5. Altomira 24 Nov., 1571.... ib. ch. liv. 3. 

6. La Roda April, 1572.... ib. lib. iv. ch. xvi. 4. 

7. Granada 19 May, 1573.... ib. lib. iii. ch. iv. 10. 

8. Penuela 29 June, 1573.... ib. ch. x. 2. 

9. Seville 5 Jan., 1574.... ib. ch. xxiii. 8. 

10. Almodovar 7 March, 1575 ib. ch. xxxv. 5. 

11. Mount Calvary 

(Corenguela) Dec., 1576.... ib. ch. Hi. 4. 

1 Reforma de los Descalqos, lib. ii. ch. viii. 2. 


12. Baelza 14 June 1579.... ib. lib. iv. ch. xliv. 4. 

13. Valladolicl 4 May, 1581.... ib. lib. v. ch. xiii. 2. 

14. Salamanca 1 June, 1581.... ib. ch. xvii. 3. 

15. Lisbon 19 Feb., 1582.... ib. ch. xxiv. 3. 

Of these monasteries two were abandoned for a time; the friars 
removed from Duruelo to Mancera, and from Penuela to Mount Cal 
vary or Corenguela, but they returned to both places afterwards. 

The monasteries of the nuns were these: 

1. A vila 24 August, 1562 Life, ch. xxxv. 4. 

2. Medina del Campo 15 August, 1567 Foundations, ch. iii. 8. 

3. Malagon 11 April, 1568 ib. ch. ix. 5. 

4. Valladolid 15 August, 1568 ib. ch. x. 6. 

5. Toledo 14 May, 1569.... ib. ch. x. 10, note. 

6. Pastrana 9 July, 1569.... Reforma, lib. ii. ch. xxviii. 7. 

7/ Salamanca 1 Nov., 1570.... Foundations, ch. xix. 2. 

8. Alba de Tonnes 25 Jan., 1571.... ib. ch. xx. 12. 

9. Segovia 19 March, 1574 ib. ch. xxi. 4. 

10. Veas 25 Feb., 1575.... ib. ch. xxii. 4. 

11. Seville 29 May, 1575.... ib. ch. xxiv. 12. 

12. Caravaca 1 Jan., 1576.... ib. ch. xxvii. 7. 

13. Villanueva de la 

Jara 21 Feb., 1580.... ib. ch. xxviii. 31. 

14. Palencia 29 Dec., 1580.... ib. ch. xxix. 8. 

15. Soria 3 June, 1581.... ib. ch. xxx. 8. 

16. Granada 20 Jan., 1582.... Reforma, lib. v. ch. xxiii. 4. 

17. Burgos 22 April, 1582.... Foundations, ch. xxxi. 41. 

But two of these foundations were made in the absence of the 
Saint. That of Caravaca was made when she was in Seville, unable to 
leave her sisters because of the straits they were in. She, however, 
made all the necessary preparations, and chose the nuns who were to 
live there. That of Granada was made by Anne of Jesus with the help 
of S. John of the Cross, S. Teresa being at the time unable to make the 
journey because of the foundation to be made in Burgos. She 
however, chose the nuns to be sent with Anne of Jesus, and, among 
others, gave her Antonia of the Holy Ghost, one of the four nuns who 
took the habit in S. Joseph s when that house was founded in 1562. 

In the year 1571, when she was engaged in Salamanca making 
and strengthening her foundation there, she was withdrawn from her 
own immediate work, and sent as prioress, by order of her superiors, 
to the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila, the house in which 
she had made her profession, but which she had left, as she thought, 
never to return to it, for her own foundation of S. Joseph s house in 
the same city. The apostolic visitor, Fra Pedro Fernandez, of the 
order of S. Dominic, seeing the desolate state of that house, knew of 
no means of relief except that of sending the Saint back to it. He 
consulted with the superiors of the order, and then, with their full 
consent, but on his own authority, and in virtue of the power he had, 


laid on S. Teresa, without consulting the nuns, the heavy burden of 
being their prioress. 

The monastery of the Incarnation had not been founded in 
poverty, yet it was more poor than the poorest of those which S. 
Teresa was founding. It was so poor that it could not give the nuns 
food enough to sustain them, and the result was that they asked for 
leave to go to their kindred from time to time to escape from the 
inconveniences of hunger. Fra Pedro Fernandez, the apostolic visitor, 
seeing the sad state to which the monastery had been brought, deter 
mined to make an effort to save it, and succeeded, for the Saint s 
administration of it, both temporally and spiritually, answered all 
his expectations, and made the monastery what, perhaps, it had never 
been before, though it had been the nursing-mother of many holy souls, 
and among them S. Teresa herself. 

This famous monastery had been founded in the year 1513. by 
Dona Elvira de Medina, and mass was said in it for the first time in 
1515, April 4th, the day on which S. Teresa was baptized. It stood 
outside the city, and was a fine and handsome house, with large gardens, 
and abundantly supplied with water. In 1550, according to the history 
of Fra Francis de Santa Maria, lib. i. c. ix. 1, the house held one 
hundred and ninety nuns; and the Saint herself, in a letter written by 
her towards the close of the year 150, or in the beginning of 1531, 
says that she lived for five-and-twenty years in a monastery wherein 
there were a hundred and eighty nuns. 1 But the poverty of the house 
and the lax observance were an evil, nor could the Saint shut her eyes 
to its disadvantage when she was living in it, though she made every 
excuse for it in her power, 2 and had a strong affection for it. 

In the beginning of July, 1571, the Saint knew of her appoint 
ment, but was most unwilling to accept the charge laid upon her: 3 
our Lord upbraided her for holding back, and then she yielded. 

In October she went from her own house in Avila, having first 
renounced for herself, July 13, all the exemptions and mitigations 
which were in force in the monastery to which she was going. She 
had done so before, and now, for the greater security of her con 
science, she repeats her resolution to observe the primitive rule in all 
its severity. On the 6th of October Fra Pedro, the apostolic visitor, 
accepts in Medina the act of renunciation, and releases the Saint from 
all obligations of conforming to the laxer observances then prevailing 
in the monastery of the Incarnation, as well as in the others of the 

The nuns of the Incarnation were greatly troubled when they 
heard that the new prioress was coming without their consent, and 
in violation of their customs. They had not elected her, and they 
had not been asked to do so, neither would they have elected her if 
the visitor had allowed them to choose their prioress, as they had 

1 Lett. 308; but 48 of vol. 2 ed. Doblado. In 1567 there were more 
than a hundred and fifty. See Foundations, ii. 1. 

2 Life, ch. xxxii. 12. 

3 See Relation iii. 11. 


hitherto done. In their distress and alarm they sent for all their 
friends and acquaintance among seculars, made their complaints, 
and besought them to help them, now that they were to be placed 
under the authority of a nun who would put a stop to their innocent 
recreations and multiply their austerities. All this was known to 
the Saint and she accepted her cross. The visitor apostolic, not 
ignorant of the trouble in the house, ordered the provincial to attend 
the Saint on the day of her taking possession, in order, if possible, 
to keep the peace. 

The provincial, Fra Angel de Salazar, with his fellow, went to the 
monastery, and, having assembled the sisters in chapter, read to them 
the letter of the visitor which announced to them that he had made 
Teresa of Jesus their prioress. There arose at once a cry of distress 
from the nuns, who regarded themselves as given over to an enemy; 
some said they would never obey her, and others reviled her; she in 
the mean time being on her knees before the Most Holy on the altar. 
All the nuns, however, were not so foolish, and the wise virgins, so 
soon as the letter had been read, took up the cross, and, chanting the 
Te Dcum, went forth to receive their prioress. The trouble and dis 
turbance were so great that some of the nuns fainted through the 
violence of their distress. The Saint went among them and gently 
touched them: all in a moment recovered their senses and their rea 
son, and offered no further resistance to her. 

Others, however, still remained obstinate in their rebellion, and 
bent on disobedience to the last; but the Saint was patient and gentle, 
and exercised her authority as if she had none; neveretheless she 
intended to be obeyed, and acordingly on the first chapter day the 
nuns on entering the room saw the image of our Lady in the seat of 
the prioress, and S. Teresa sitting at her feet. The rebellious nuns 
were struck by a heavenly terror, and changed their minds: all signs 
and all desires of disobedience vanished, and the Saint was obeyed 
as prioress with as much readiness and affection as if she had been 
chosen by them of their own free will. From that day forth the nuns 
of the Incarnation gave no trouble to the prioress, and the abuses of 
the house were all corrected: though under the mitigated observance, 
which was never changed, the nuns lived as if they were under the 
reform of S. Teresa; their temporal and spiritual necessities, hitherto 
so great and serious, were at once supplied; and the seed of good, 
sown in such good soil, grew and bore fruit so abundantly that the 
monastery of the Incarnation became from that day forth one of the 
pearls of the old observance. 

She remained in the monastery of the Incarnation, the spiritual 
direction of which she had given to S. John of the Cross, for nearly 
two years. 

In 1573 Anne of Jesus begged the visitor apostolic to allow her 
to visit the monastery in Salamanca, which was still in trouble, and 
the nuns were without a church in which the Most Holy dwelt. Fra 
Pedro Fernandez gave the desired permission, and the Saint, who 
was in the monastery of the Incarnation July 29th of this year, made 
her preparations for her return to Salamanca, to make the final 
arrangements about her monastery there, and which she had not been 


able to make in 1571, when she was called away by some difficulties in 
Medina, and thence to Avila. She was in Salamanca on the 2nd of 
August, and on the 24th day of that month began there to write the 
history of the Foundations, at the request of her confessor, father 
Ripalda of the Society of Jesus. 

The three years of her priorate in the Incarnation came to an end, 
October 6, 1574, on which day, to the great sorrow of the nuns, she 
left that house for her own monastery in Avila. All this time the 
storm was gathering which threatened to ruin her reform, and during 
which her patience was tried in the furnace of persecution. 

The story of that persecution is briefly this. In August, 1569, 
His Holiness S. Pius V. made two Dominican friars visitors apos 
tolic for four years of the Spanish Carmelites Fra Pedro Fernandez 
visitor of Castille, and Fra Francisco de Vargas visitor of Anda 
lusia. Their authority was greater than that of the general of the 
order, because they were the delegates of the sovereign Pontiff, and 
that was the reason why the authority of the general during the 
progress of the reform seemed to be overlooked. S. Teresa had 
received authority from the general to found only two monasteries of 
friars, but in the province of Castille, and not in Andalusia. As 
the visitors apostolic were not bound by that prohibition, nor were the 
friars, these were now subject to the visitors by a decree of the Sover 
eign Pontiff. The visitors had instructions to correct and amend what 
was amiss, and, being desirous to reform the order, they not only 
did not regard that prohibition, but encouraged the growth of the 
reform of S. Teresa. So when Duruelo and Pastrana had been 
founded, whereby the powers which the general had given to S. Teresa 
were exhausted, the apostolic visitors threw their sickle into the 
harvest, and the foundations of Altomira, La Roda, Granada, and 
Penuela were made before their commission expired. Alcala de 
Henares had been founded with the consent of the general. The friars 
of the old observance were more or less jealous, but they bore for a 
time with seeming patience what many of them regarded as inno 
vations, if not as something worse. 

The prior of Pastrana, the second house of the reform, was Bal- 
tasar of Jesus, Nieto. He had quitted the old observance for the 
primitive rule. As he was originally from the province of Andalusia, 
the visitor apostolic there, Fra Francisco de Vargas, wrote to him 
and begged him to return to Andalusia, there to begin the reform. 
Fra Baltasar could not do so at the time, and the visitor was satisfied 
with the reasons he gave. But not long after one of the friars in 
Pastrana, Fra Diego de Santa Maria he too had been once a friar of 
the old observance was sent to Granada, his native place, on some 
affair of the order, and with him, as his fellow, Fra Ambrose of 
S. Peter, not yet ordained priest. The two friars, when they arrived 
in Cordova, presented themselves, as they were bound to do, before 
their superior, Fra Francisco de Vargas, the visitor apostolic and 
prior of the Dominicans there. By him they were told that they 
were under his authority they were in his province and that he 


would employ them in founding a house of barefooted friars in Anda 
lusia. Fra Diego represented his case as well as he could, and 
begged the visitor not to force him to do an act which would be re 
garded as a wrong to his superior, the apostolic visitor in Castille, 
with whose leave, for quite other ends, he had come into the province 
of Andalusia. Father Vargas said he would arrange the matter with 
his brother visitor, and Fra Diego must remain under his obedience, 
and begin the reform of S. Teresa within his jurisdiction. He offered 
the two friars either of two houses of the old observances to be used 
for the purpose, and they, thus compelled, accepted the smaller of the 
two, San Juan del Puerto. The house was given up to them by the pro 
vincial of the order, Fra Augustin Suarez, and was taken possession of 
in due form in the end of October, or in the beginning of November, 
1572, S. Teresa being at the time prioress of the Incarnation in Avila. 

In the next year, in 1573, Fra Baltasar of Jesus, prior of Pastrana, 
went to Andalusia with the leave of his provincial, Fra Angel cle 
Salazar. The prince Ruy Gomez, duke of Pastrana, being in the 
secret, had applied to the provincial for the permission; he had some 
matter to communicate to his son-in-law, the duke of Medina Sidonia, 
and wished Fra Baltasar to be his messenger. Fra Baltasar there 
fore went with the prince to Illescas, whither the latter proceeded in 
order to fulfil a vow made in his late illness, and from that place 
sent to Pastrana and Altomira for those fathers there who had 
abandoned the mitigation for the reform, and sent them by two and 
two together, to avoid suspicion, to Andalusia, and with directions to 
remain apart as if they knew nothing of the others. Meanwhile he 
and Fra Gabriel of the Conception went together to Granada, where 
they were well received. The apostolic visitor was glad to see them, 
and gave them a house hitherto possessed by the friars of the miti 

Fra Francisco de Vargas, the visitor, having Fra Baltasar within 
his jurisdiction at last, transferred to him the powers he had received 
from the Holy See, and made him visitor in his place, with authority 
over all the houses of the reform made or to be made in Andalusia; 
he also gave him power to receive novices, but none of them were to 
belong to the old observance without the consent of the provincial. 
This was done April 28, 1573, and on May 19th and June 29th the two 
houses of Granada and Penuela were founded in the province of 

Now, the friars of the old observance were not a little troubled at 
these proceedings; two of their own houses had been taken from 
them, and given to certain of their brethren, who were by the lives 
they led reproaching them with laxness, and whom, therefore, they 
considered, on the whole, as wanting in prudence. They had them 
selves grown old in the order under the mitigated rule, and disliked 
the changes which were made. They complained, and their com 
plaints could not be kept secret from the visitor apostolic. Fra 
Francisco de Vargas saw that their complaining was not wholly 
unreasonable, and thinking that some of their vexation might be 
lessened by bringing into Andalusia friars who had never made 


profession under the relaxed observance, asked Fra Mariano of S. 
Benedict" his letter to him is dated May 20, 1573 to come to 
Andalusia, bringing with him certain friars who had made their 
profession in the reform, and who therefore did not belong to the 
old observance. The vistor believed that the friars who had aban 
doned the mitigation for the reform were less esteemed by their 
brethren whom they had forsaken than the new friars, and that the 
latter would win by their conduct that esteem and reverence which 
the former had lost. 

Fra Mariano, when he received the visitor s letter, was in Madrid, 
in attendance on Ruy Gomez, who was on his deathbed. They were 
old friends, and when the news of that illness was brought to Penuela, 
where Fra Baltasar was detained by certain matters to be settled 
there, he hastened to Madrid, and met Fra Mariano there, discharging 
those duties which Fra Baltasar would have had to discharge if he 
had not been so far away. 

Fra Mariano consented, and made his preparations for the journey 
to Andalusia, and chose for his companion Fra Jerome of the Mother 
of God, who had made his profession in Pastrana, March 25th of that 
year. Fra Baltasar did not intend to return to Andalusia, and went 
back from Madrid to his own house of Pastrana, where, on the 4th 
of August, he transferred to Fra Jerome, the companion of Mariano, 
the powers he had received from the apostolic visitor, Fra Francisco 
de Vargas. But, as Fra Baltasar was not visitor of Castille, he could 
not send his delegate to Andalusia, who in Castille was under the 
jurisdiction of Fra Pedro Fernandez, the visitor of the order in that 
province. Fra Mariano had some affairs of his own to look after in 
Andalusia, which he had not settled when he entered the order 
in 1569, and now wished to do what he had not done then: this 
became a reason for asking of his superior permission to go to 
Andalusia. It was not thought prudent to inform the visitor of 
Castille of that which was about to be done, for he would never 
consent to allow the friars Mariano and Jerome of the Mother of 
God to leave his province: he was also unwilling to found more 
houses, because he wished to strengthen and improve those already 
founded, rather than waste, as he considered it, the means provided 
for that end. 

Under these conditons Fra Mariano applied to the provincial, 
Fra Angel de Salazar, for leave to go to Andalusia, giving as his 
reason, which was certainly true, the necessity of arranging some 
affairs of his own, but saying nothing of the other reason the prop 
agation of the reform in Andalusia. Fra Angel, having no suspicion 
of any other purpose, readily consented, thinking also perhaps that, 
as Fra Mariano was only a layman at this time, the friars would 
hardly send him on any mission of importance, even though he was 
to go in company with another friar. The provincial had been asked 
to allow him to choose a companion, and that also the provincial 
allowed, without inquiring who that companion was to be. 

1 See note 1 to ch. xvii. 6. 


The licence of the provincial thus obtained, Fra Jerome of the 
Mother of God and Fra Mariano left in the beginning of September, 
1573, when S. Teresa was in Salamanca. They made their way to 
Toledo to see Fra Antonio of Jesus. Fra Antonio, .though of the 
reform of S. Teresa, was then prior of the Carmelite monastery there 
of the old observance, having been appointed to that office by the 
visitor apostolic, Fra Pedro Fernandez. They were detained there 
because Fra Antonio was at the time absent from his monastery 
making arrangements for the house which was fo inded in Almo- 
dovar in 1575. While staying there Fra Mariano received the com 
mandment of the father-general to be ordained; he tried to excuse him 
self he had entered the order intending to remain a lay brother but 
Fra Jerome persuaded him to obey, and accordingly, having received 
the minor orders, he was made sub-deacon on Ember Saturday. The 
two friars now hastened to Andalusia, afraid of being overtaken by 
a messenger from the provincial, who, they thought, might suspect 
their purpose as soon as he heard of the ordination of Fra Mariano. 
They arrived safely in Granada, and presented themselves before the 
visitor apostolic, Fra Francisco de Vargas, Dominican provincial. 
The heart of the visitor was made glad by their arrival, and by the 
ordination of Fra Mariano. He observed them narrowly for a few 
days, and then, convinced by what he had seen that Fra Jerome had 
great gifts which ought to be used in the service of the order, and 
for the greater glory of God who had given them to him, he made 
him his own delegate and substitute, vesting him with all the powers 
which he had himself received from the Sovereign Pontiff. . Accord 
ingly Fra Jerome became, not the visitor and superior of the friars 
of the reform only, as was Fra Baltasar, but of the friars of the miti 
gation also, in the province of Andalusia. 

Fra Jerome resisted with all his might at first, but he yielded in the 
end, and Fra Mariano, whom in Toledo he had persuaded to receive 
holy orders, now, by way of retribution, urged him to accept the bur 
den. He submitted to the visitor, but it was agreed between them 
that for the present the matter should be kept secret. The secret 
could not be long kept, for Fra Angel de Salazar s suspicions had been 
roused by the ordination of Fra Mariano, and his choice of Fra Jerome 
as his companion. The two friars therefore received an order while 
in Granada to return forthwith to Pastrana, under pain of being held 
as disobedient and rebellious friars. They replied to the provincial 
that they were ready and willing to obey, but could not because they 
were under the jurisdiction of the visitor of Andalusia: in fact, Fra 
Jerome was now above the provincial of Castille, and no longer subject 
to his authority, but for the present he refrained from saying so. 

The friars of the old observance knew nothing of the delegation 
of the authority of the visitor, who, to make matters safe, and to 
insure Fra Jerome in his dignity, gave him also the original letters 
of the Pope. Armed therewith, Fra Jerome and Fra Mariano went 
to Seville, and were well received in the house of the friars of 
the mitigation, where Fra Vincent of the Trinity was prior. There 
they met the provincial of Andalusia, Fra Augustin Suarez, to whom 


Fra Jerome showed his commission from the visitor to govern the 
friars of the reform, but not his commission to visit and reform the 
friars of the mitigation: of that he said nothing. He then told the 
provincial that he meant to restore at once the house of San Juan 
del Puerto to those who held it before the visitor gave it to the 
reform. The provincial was glad, for the old friars had been greatly 
hurt by that act of the visitor, and the restitution was made on the 
feast of S. Luke, October 18th, and on the evening of the 22nd Fra 
Jerome brought the friars of the reform to Seville. They were lodged 
in the house of the old observance, and joined in all the acts of the 
community as brethren. Hitherto the peace between the two fami 
lies had not been openly broken. 

Fra Jerome in Seville was not, however, altogether a welcome 
guest in the house of the old observants, who soon began to murmur 
and then to find fault with the reform: the change was an offence to 
them: some felt it as a reproach, while many certainly admired what 
they did not think themselves bound to practise. Difficulties arose, 
for they could not be hindered among the brethren whose habits 
were different, and Fra Mariano urged Fra Jerome to provide a sepa 
rate house for the friars of the reform. The archbishop of Seville, 
knowing what was going on, offered Fra Jerome a part of his palace, 
but Fra Jerome would not do anything by which the dissension 
might become known too soon, and therefore would not leave the 
monastery till he had found a house for his friars. This was done, 
with the help and consent of the archbishop, and possession of it 
was taken, but secretly, January 5, 1574, on the eve of the Epiphany. 

Fra Jerome ordered his friars to make their way two and two, 
and as secretly as possible, to the house he had chosen; and then, on 
the eve of the Epiphany, the steward of the archbishop, in the pres 
ence of a notary, delivered the keys of it to Fra Jerome, and went 
his way. The friars occupied themselves forthwith in arranging the 
house, and were thus busy till it was time to say matins; everything 
was then ready, and mass was sung on the feast of the Kings. 

On that very day the discontent of the old friars in Seville broke 
out: the prior and the provincial were blamed for allowing the new 
house to be founded, but the prior and the provincial knew nothing 
of it, neither could they have hindered it, for Fra Jerome was 
the superior of both, and had authority to do what he had done. 
They felt it very keenly, for a monastery of the same order founded 
close to their own showed that there was something wrong, and they 
knew that the blame would not be thrown wholly on the friars of the 
reform. They resolved to send some of themselves to Fra Jerome 
to ask the meaning of his act, and the two friars deputed for the 
purpose were the sub-prior and Fra Diego de Leon who was now 
bishop of the Isles in Scotland. He was at this time staying with his 
brethren in Seville, for he had been, and was still, a friar of that 
house. The two friars went forth on the feast of the Epiphany, and 
represented their grievance to Fra Jerome; they asked him how 
he could without the leave of the provincial found another house; 


besides, he had not shown that he had any authority for his pro 
ceedings, and the fathers of the order were very much hurt thereat. 

To these Fra Jerome made answer that he had authority to do 
what he had done, and they too must know it, for they acknowledged 
it when he gave them back the monastery of San Juan del Puerto, 
and when they accepted it at his hands: however, if they had any 
misgivings on the subject they could go to the archbishop, who had 
his instructions in his hands: he could not show them himself for that 
reason, but the provincial and other fathers knew what they were, 
and were satisfied with them in the affair of the monastery out of 
which he had taken the friars of the reform to be replaced by those 
of the old observance. 

The two religious were silenced, but they were not at their ease, 
and nothing further was done. Fra Jerome remained with his own 
friars in their new house, and for the present seemed to have no 
other object than to watch over the progress of it in the spiritual 
life. The archbishop appointed him a preacher in the cathedral, 
wherein also he preached the Lenten sermons in 1575. 

S. Teresa was at this time in Salamanca preparing for the foun 
dation in Segovia which was made on the feast of S. Joseph, 19th 
March, 1574. In Holy Week, because of the strange conduct of the 
princess of Eboli, she dissolved her monastery in Pastrana, and re 
moved her nuns to Segovia. Having established her monastery 
there, she returned to Avila on the 1st of October to the monastery 
of the Incarnation, of which she was prioress. 

On the 6th of October the three years were over during which 
she was to be, and had been, prioress of the monastery of the Incar 
nation. She resigned her office, but the nuns, though not all, wished 
to re-elect her; the provincial would not allow them, and the Saint 
herself resisted with her whole heart, for she wished to return to 
S. Joseph s. She did return, and there the nuns, glad to receive her, 
elected her prioress. She was now for the second time chosen 
prioress of the house she had founded with so much trouble. Shortly 
after the election she went to Valladolid, her presence being desirable 
on account of Dona Casilda, whose story is told in chs. x., xi. In 
the beginning of January she returned to Avila, and made her prep 
arations for the foundation in Veas, not knowing nor even suspecting 
that the town was within the province of Andalusia. Here she 
heard from the bishop of Avila that the inquisitors were searching 
for her book her Life, written by herself. Meanwhile complaints 
had been carried to the general, and the reform was spoken of as a 
great evil. The general, therefore, unable to withstand his subjects 
obtained from His Holiness Gregory XIII., on the 3rd of August of 
this year 1574, the recall of the powers given to the two Dominican 
friars who were visitors of Castille and Andalusia; but he did not 
put the papal letters in execution at once, reserving their publication 
for the next general chapter to be held in Piacenza. The existence 
0+ the papal letters, however, became known in Spain; and the nuncio 
Monsignore Ormaneto, who had the reform of Carmel greatly at 
heart, and whose powers were not touched by the brief of recall, 


made Fra Francisco de Vargas and Fra Jerome of the Mother of 
God visitors jointly of Andalusia. But he first of all sent to Rome 
for his greater security, and there learnt from the secretary of His 
Holiness that none of his powers were withdrawn. His commission 
to the two friars was signed on the 22d of September, within two 
months of the issue of the brief by which the faculties of the visitors 
had been recalled. The nuncio meant to give more authority still 
to Fra Jerome, and this became known to some one of his friends or 
kindred, who sent word of it to him in Seville, and advised him to 
come to Madrid. Fra Jerome was not able to leave his monastery 
before Easter 1575, because of the duties he had there to discharge, 
as well as in the cathedral church; but after Easter he set out and 
arrived in Veas, where he saw S. Teresa, who was very much sur 
prised when she heard from him that she was then in the province of 
Andalusia. She had never intended to make any foundations in 
that province, because the general had expressly forbidden her. 
However, she was now in Andalusia, and as such subject to Fra 
Jerome, its visitor, who laid his commands upon her, and bade her 
found a monastery in Seville, while she herself had resolved to make 
a foundation in Madrid. 

Fra Jerome went from Veas, where a messenger from the nuncio 
found him, to Madrid, and there was made, August 3, 1575, visitor of 
the province of Andalusia, and at the same time superior of the 
friars of the reform both in Andalusia and Castille; he was hence 
forth called the provincial of the barefooted Carmelites, thereby 
receiving full authority from the nuncio to propagate the reform in 
both provinces. He now proceeded to visit the new houses, gave 
constitutions to the friars the nuns were in possession of those 
given by the Saint and settled the affairs of the order as well as he 
could, preparing the way, though perhaps not intending it, for the 
separation of the reform of S. Teresa from the old observance of the 

While Fra Jerome of the Mother of God was making his visita 
tion the Saint went to Seville, and with much toil and labour made 
her foundation there on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, May 29, 

From Seville she wrote a long letter to the general of the order 
explaining the mistake she had made in going to Veas, and making 
excuses for Fra Jerome and Fra Mariano. Perhaps she was not 
altogether pleased with what had been done. 

"I send to your paternity a letter about the foundation in Veas and 
the request made for a foundation in Caravaca ... I also informed 
your paternity of the reasons why I came to make a foundation in Se 
ville. ... I should also like you to know that I made many inquiries 
when I went to Veas whether it was in Andalusia or not, for I never 
meant to go to that province. Veas certainly is not in Andalusia, 
but it does belong to that province. It was more than a month after 
the foundation had been made that I knew of this. When T found 
myself with the nuns I thought it would not be well to abandon the 
monastery, and that was one reason also for my coming to this place; 


but that which weighed most with me was that which I gave to 
your paternity, namely, to look into this affair of these fathers. They 
give good reasons for what they have done, and certainly 1 can see 
nothing in them but a wish to be your true children, and to give you 
no annoyance: still for all that, I cannot regard them as blameless. 
They now see that it would have been better if they had taken 
another course, so as to give no offence to your paternity. We have 
great discussions, especially Mariano and myself, who is of a quick 
temper, while Gratian is like an angel; so if he had been alone things 
would have been differently done. It was Fra Baltasar, prior of 
Pastrana, who made him come hither. I may say it to your pater 
nity, if you knew him you would be glad to have him for your son. 
1 verily believe him to be one, and Fra Mariano also." 1 

But on May 22nd the general of Carmel held a chapter of the 
whole order in Piacenza, within the duchy of Parma; the papal brief 
recalling the powers of the visitors was published, and the sup 
pression of the reform was substantially decreed by the assembled 
fathers, who ordered the removal of the barefooted Carmelites from 
all the houses they had in Andalusia, allowing them to remain in 
Castille only in the two foundations which S. Teresa had made by 
authority of the father-general. Fra Jerome Tostado, a Portuguese, 
was commissioned to execute the decree, who accordingly came to 
Spain, a resolute and serious man, fully bent on the ruin of the 
new Carmel. 

Before the decrees of the general chapter were brought to Spain 
Fra Jerome of the Mother of God went to Seville, November 21, 
1575, where the Saint was still living, and proceeded to execute the 
commission of the nuncio. It was a work full of danger, and the 
Saint was greatly alarmed (Rel. i. 27), for the friars in Seville 
were not likely to yield obedience to Fra Jerome, who was young in 
the order, and even in years. Nor did they: they disputed his powers 
and denounced him as a rebel against the lawful authority of the 
general. Fra Jerome was patient, and at last the sub-prior of the 
house yielded: then by degrees the other friars throughout the prov 

Towards the end of the year, a little before Christmas, "there 
was brought to me," saith the Saint (ch. xxvii. 18), "from the 
general chapter, which I think ought to have highly considered the 
increase of the order, a decree, made by the deputies assembled, 
enjoining me not only to make no more foundations, but also on no 
account whatever to leave the house I should choose to dwell in, 
which was something like sending me to prison." This decree was 
brought to her by order of Fra Angel de Salazar, provincial of Cas 
tille. It is probable enough that Fra Angel, who had known her 
long, may have considered the proceedings of his superiors some 
what harsh, though he could not say so, for he sent her word at 
the same time that she could appeal to the Pope. That the Saint 
would not do: she said she preferred obedience to everything else, 

1 Lett. 59; but Lett. 72 vol. 4 ed. Doblado. 


and would submit at once. Fra Jerome told her that there was no 
necessity for instant obedience, and, as the winter had set in, he 
bade her stay in Seville for the present. She did so, and left it for 
Toledo, the place she had chosen to dwell in, June 4, 1576. 

On the 12th of May a chapter of the friars of the mitigation was 
held in Moraleja, and decrees were made in it which could have no 
other issue but the suppression of the reform, Fra Jerome Tostado 
being now in Spain, about to execute the decrees of the chapter of 
Piacenza. The reformed friars also met, called together by Fra 
Jerome of the Mother of God, as their provincial, in Almodovar, 
August 8, where they, on their part, did what they could to save them 
selves from ruin. But Fra Jerome of the Mother of God, when he 
went to Seville from Almodovar, saw all his work there undone by 
the provincial of the mitigation. Fra Augustin Suarez had resumed 
his authority, had removed the priors appointed by Fra Jerome, and 
had restotred his province nearly to the state it was in when he was 
compelled to withdraw the year before. The great monastery of 
Seville, therefore, on the arrival of Fra Jerome, was in open rebellion 
against the visitor apostolic the friars had recovered their former 
courage, and now disputed his authority; however, he prevailed, 
and as the archbishop was on his side the friars once more were 
compelled to obey the apostolic visitor. But soon afterwards Fra 
Jerome was called to Madrid on the affairs of his order, and then 
the friars, glad to recover their liberty, and no longer afraid of 
him, begged the provincial, Fra Augustin Suarez, to resume his 
office, and take upon himself once more the government of the house. 
Fra Augustin consented, and again undid the work of Fra Jerome. 
Then there arose a cry against S. Teresa and Fra Jerome against 
the barefooted friars and the nuns, against all that had been done in 
the order such as had never before been heard. The storm had 
burst at last, and the order of Carmel was in confusion. 

In the following year, 1577, Monsignore Ormaneto, friendly to 
the reform, died, and the friars of the mitigation, in the belief that 
the commission of Fra Jerome was thereby suspended, renewed 
their strength, and, assured of victory as they thought, laid their 
hands heavily on their brethren of the reform. Fra Jerome Tostado, 
the vicar, began to execute his commission in earnest, and the bare 
footed friars literally hid themselves till the fury of the storm should 
abate. S. Teresa came to Avila in September, and begged the king 
to help her and her order. Don Philip did so, but probably not in the 
way the Saint meant, for he took upon himself to forbid the vicar of 
the general the exercise of his lawful functions. Meanwhile the 
new nuncio, Monsignore Sega, arrived, and took the matter into his 
own hands. He was, unhappily, fully persuaded that right and justice 
were wholly with the friars of the mitigation, and that Fra Jerome 
and S.^ Teresa were rebellious subjects in need of restraint and 
correction. He sent for Fra Jerome, and demanded the commission 
which the late nuncio had given him. 

It seems that before this the king had consulted the lawyers, who 
told him that the commission held by Fra Jerome had not under 


the circumstances ceased to be valid, notwithstanding the death of 
the nuncio who had granted it, and that, therefore, the visitation of 
the order, which had been begun, might be continued to the end. 

The Saint herself thus writes about the middle of August: "We 

thought it quite clear that on the death of the last nuncio the visita 
tion [of the province by Fra Jerome] was put a stop to; but the 
theologians and lawyers of Alcala and Toledo were consulted, and 
they said No, on the ground that it had been begun, and that it 
had to be finished notwithstanding the nuncio s death; but if it had 
not been begun, then certainly the powers of the visitor died with 
the nuncio." 1 Monsignore vSega had no occasion for considering the 
question at all; so he asked Fra Jerome, as his superior, to resign 
his authority, just as the late nuncio might have done. The friar 
unhappily took counsel that was not the best, and refused the 
nuncio s request, and that refusal of Fra Jerome to resign his au 
thority into his hands confirmed him in his opinion that the friars of 
the reform were really rebels against the authority of their general. 
He waited till the king s council decided against Fra Jerome Tostado, 
who went back to Rome, and then, seeing that there was no visitor 
of the order in Spain, as nuncio appointed friars of the old observ 
ance to be visitors of the new. 

He now summonded the friars of the reform to submit and own 
his authority, and sent his representatives to Pastrana, where most 
of them were assembled, to receive their submission. For a moment 
it was doubtful whether the friars would yield; some of them were 
for resistance, but Fra Jerome happily took better advice than that 
of lawyers, and retired to his cell with a saintly brother, whose advice 
he asked and whose advice he took. He then reassembled the 
fathers, and told them to obey the nuncio; he did so himself, gave up 
at once all his faculties, and whatever letters he had received from 
the late nuncio, and submitted absolutely to the authority of Mon 
signore Sega, whom he had so lately treated with scant respect. 

Fra Jerome went back to Madrid with two of his brethren, Fra 
Antonio and Fra Mariano, who were pillars of the reform, and pre 
sented himself humbly before the nuncio. Their submission pleased 
him, but he could not leave their contumaciousness unpunished. He 
deprived them of their faculties, and would not let them even hear 
mass for a time. Fra Jerome was sent to the Carmel of Madrid as 
a prisoner, Fra Antonio of Jesus to the barefooted Franciscans, and 
Fra Mariano to the Dominicans of our Lady of Atocha. Soon after 
Fra Juan de Jesus came to Madrid, and was ordered to prison by the 

Monsignore Sega, with the best intentions, and in the right, for he 
did nothing that he was not justified in doing, brought the reform of 
S. Teresa to the very edge of the precipice. He was the delegate 
of the Pope, and was, moreover, carrying out accurately the decrees 
of the general chapter of the order, as well as executing the undoubted 
wishes of the general. It is to the credit of Don Philip and his 

1 Lett. 201; but Lett. 20 vol. 3 ed, Doblado. 


government that, though most anxious to see the reform grow and 
prosper, they used neither force nor fraud in the matter, but allowed 
the nuncio to do his will according to the law. 

It was in December of this year that S. John of the Cross, who had 
been left as confessor of the nuns of the Incarnation, was seized by 
night and carried away to prison in the Carmelite monastery of 
Toledo, where he was most cruelly dealt with, and was not allowed to 
make known to any of his brethren where he was detained. 

In the sore straits to which they had been reduced, the friars 
whom the nuncio had punished but after a time had released from 
prison took counsel together, and resolved to do an act which is 
hardly to be justified. They remembered that the apostolic visitors 
appointed by S. Pius V., Fra Pedro Fernandez and Fra Francisco de 
Vargas, had made a decree to the effect that when their term of office 
expired the barefooted friars might meet in the chapter and elect a 
provincial of their own. They considered the chapter held in Al- 
modovar, May 12, 1576, justified by that decree, and by the com 
mission which Fra Jerome had received from the late nuncio. They 
were now, they thought, brought to a state in which it was necessary 
to have recourse to the powers vested in them by that decree. 
Being without a superior by the resignation of Fra Jerome of the 
Mother of God, who had submitted to the nuncio, they said and 
herein they were advised by the lawyers that Fra Antonio of Jesus, 
who had been elected defmitor in Almodovar, should, as the highest 
personage among them, summon another chapter to be held in the 
same place. 

Fra Antonio unhappily did so, and the chapter was held in Al 
modovar, October 9, 1578. S. John of the Cross, miraculously 
delivered from prison, came to the chapter, but he earnestly dis 
suaded his brethren from the course they were about to take. Not 
withstanding his entreaties they elected Fra Antonio their provincial. 
But before the chapter was dissolved Fra Juan of Jesus came in 
from Madrid and vehemently urged upon it the wrongfulness of its 
act. He told his brethren that they could not plead the decree of 
the visitors, on which they relied, because they had renounced every 
right to a separate government when Fra Jerome submitted to the 
nuncio. He begged them to undo what they had done, but they, 
by way of reply, had him confined to his cell for a month, that he 
might not go back to Madrid and denounce to the nuncio what they 
had so unwisely done. 

Fra Antonio and his brethren, not without grave misgivings how 
ever, then returned to Madrid, and told the nuncio what they had 
done. Monsignore Sega was extremely displeased and extremely 
angry; he annulled their acts, and ordered them all into prison again, 
and excommunicated every one who had taken any part in the chapter 
of Almodovar. He ordered S. Teresa, as the fount of all the dis 
orders in Carmel, to remain as a close prisoner in Toledo, and on the 
16th of October, 1578, commanded all the friars of the reform to 
submit in everything to the prelates of the mitigation. The friars 
whom he sent to execute his decree did so with a good will, 


and the reform was on the very point of being crushed. Even the 
monasteries of the nuns were visited, and the discipline in them 
changed, while S. Teresa could not help any of her children, and to 
human eyes all her work was utterly undone. 

In the early part of the next year (1579) the sun rose again on 
the Carmel of the reform. Monsignore Sega, who was in perfect good 
faith throughout the whole of his harsh proceedings, in proof of his 
sincerity and fair dealing offered to accept four assessors who should 
be witnesses of his acts; that offer was accepted, and the result was 
that the nuncio s eyes were opened to the groundlessness of the 
charges which the friars of the mitigation had brought against their 
brethren. He had come to Spain prejudiced against the reform, 
and had hitherto looked at everything in the light of that prejudice. 
Now, in consultation with the four assessors, lie saw at once that he 
had been misled. He offered instantly, and without hesitation, to 
redress the wrongs he had unwittingly, but most conscientiously, 
wrought, and on the 1st of April, 1579, recalled the commissions he 
had granted to the friars of the old observance, granting authority at 
the same time to Fra Angel de Salazar over all the friars and nuns 
of the reform throughout Castille and Andalusia. Fra Angel, though 
himself of the old observance, was not unfriendly to the reform, and 
he executed his commission justly. He visited the monasteries, and 
wept for joy at the sight of the holy and austere lives led therein. 
He could not visit Andalusia in person because of his failing health, 
but he made Fra Jerome of the Mother of God, then prior of Seville, 
his delegate there, and in every way favoured the reform of S. Teresa, 
whom he had known so long. 

Having been thus far delivered from the dangers that threat 
ened to overwhelm them, the friars of the reform resolved, with 
the agreement of the assessors of the nuncio, that it was de 
sirable to sever themselves from the friars of the mitigation, but 
to continue nevertheless under the same general. The nuncio after 
some hesitation, for he had another plan, consented it was on the 
15th of July of this year and Fra Juan de Jesus was sent to Rome 
to arrange the conditions of the new order. It was a work of some 
difficulty, but it was done, and the Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XT 1 1., 
in a brief dated June 22, 1580, confirmed and sanctioned the sever 
ance of the mitigation from the reform. All the friars and all the 
nuns under the primitive rule and of the reform of S. Teresa were to 
form one province under one provincial, but under the father-general 
of the whole order. 

In 1581, by order of His Holiness, the priors of the reform were 
summoned to Alcala de Hcnares by the apostolic commissary Fra 
Juan Velasquez de las Cuevas, prior of the Dominican monastery in 
Talavera. The monition was issued Feb. 1, 1581, and the fathers 
assembled in Alcala on the 3d March, when the final severance of 
the old friars and the new was published in due form. On the 6th 
Fra Juan held a chapter for the election of the provincial, in which 
the fathers were divided between Fra Jerome of the Mother of God 
and Fra Antonio of Jesus, the first who professed the reform. The 


former was elected, but he had only one voice in his favour more 
than Fra Antonio had. He had been elected provincial in the 
chapter of Almodovar, and the fathers probably did not wish to be 
unfriendly to him now. 

S. Teresa was at the time in Palencia making her foundation 
there; even before the separation she had resumed her work, for Fra 
Angel de Salazar, whom the nuncio had set over the reform, had 
given her leave, in January, 1580, to found a monastery in Villanueva 
de la Jara. Throughout the persecution, even when her work was 
on the point of being undone, and when Fra Jerome and others were 
almost without hope, the Saint never lost her confidence in God. In 
1577, when the nuncio Monsignore Ormaneto was dead, and the new 
nuncio was so angry with her, and thought so ill both of her and of 
her work, she wrote, by direction of Fra Jerome, the Inner Fortress, 
beginning it on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, June 2, and 
finishing it in Avila about the end of November in the same year. 

Don Diego de Yepes, one of her biographers, says that he saw 
her in Toledo when the storm was most violent, and when Fra 
Mariano was losing heart, and Fra Jerome almost despairing of 
success. He found the former one day with the Saint speaking of 
their troubles, and reading a letter from Fra Jerome, discouraging 
and sad: the Saint was not troubled in the slighest degree, and 
after a moment or two said, "We have much to suffer, but the 
order will not be destroyed." She had nothing to reproach herself 
with, for she had always acted under obedience. She had never 
once done anything which she was not bound to do. The father- 
general of the order had bidden her make "as many foundations 
as she had hairs on her head;" and if she went to Andalusia against 
his will, though that is doubtful, it was not her fault, for she was 
sent thither by her superior, the apostolic visitor of Castile, Fra Pedro 
Fernandez. Moreover, she did not then know that Veas was in the 
province of Andalusia. 

Once in Andalusia, she was under the jurisdiction of Fra Jerome 
of the Mother of God; and he it was who sent her to Seville. She 
could not disobey him, for he had powers from the nuncio, and was 
therefore in the place of the general of the whole order. 

The friars, also, were never disobedient in making the foundations, 
for the Saint had authority from the general to found two houses in 
Castille, which were Duruelo and Pastrana. The third, Alcala de 
Henares, was founded with the general s sanction, asked for and had 
by Don Ruy Gomez, duke of Pastrana, who was a friend of the 
order and of the Saint. The other foundations were all made with 
the consent and approval of the apostolic visitors, both in Castille 
and Andalusia. It is true the general forbade any foundations to be 
made in the latter province, but that prohibition was not binding on 
the Pope, and therefore not on those who wielded his authority over 
the friars of Carmel. The first chapter held in Almodovar was held 
by lawful authority, but the second, held in October, 1578, was not 
justified in the eyes of S. John of the Cross and Fra Juan of Jesus. 


Others, too, may have disapproved of it, but kept silence for the 
sake of peace. 

The reform of S. Teresa was now established with the approba 
tion of the Sovereign Pontiff. The order was under the immediate 
government of Fra Jerome of the Mother of God, in whom she had 
perfect confidence, but in whom the friars, who owed everything to 
her, had very little. The great work was done which she never 
contemplated when she founded the monastery of S. Joseph, and 
which was brought about, in a certain sense, against her wish, for 
she never intended to found an order. Her labours were not over 
when peace was made between the friars of the mitigation and those 
of the reform, for she founded monasteries in Soria and Burgos, and 
sent Anne of Jesus with S. John of the Cross to make the foundation 
in Granada. 

The book of the Foundations was written at different times. It 
was begun in Salamanca, Aug. 24, 1573, by the order of father 
Ripalda, S.J., her confessor at the time. She seems to have written 
twenty chapters without much interruption. Then, when she was, 
as it were, imprisoned in Toledo by order of the general, after 
the foundation of Seville was made, she was commanded by Fra 
Jerome of the Mother of God to continue her writing. She obeyed, 
beginning with ch. xxi., and brought her work down to the end of ch. 
xxvii., which she finished on the vigil of S. Eugenius, Nov. 14, 
1576. The rest of the book was probably written as each foundation 
was made. 

Fra Luis de Leon published the writings of the Saint in the year 
1588, in Salamanca, but without the book of the Foundations. The 
Saint had been dead only six years, and it is probable enough that 
some hesitation might be felt about printing a book in which people 
then living were spoken of; but in 1630 Baltasar Moreto published 
it in Antwerp, and it forms the third volume of the works of S. 
Teresa printed at the Plantin press. Moreto, however, omitted the 
history of Dona Casilda de Padilla, which is begun ch. x. 7, and 
is continued in ch. xi.; his text ends with the words "His crea 
tures" in that section. Thus a great part of ch. x. and the whole of 
ch. xi. were omitted when the book was first printed. The Latin, 
Italian, and German translations of the book have made the same 
omission. So also has Mr. Woodhead in his English translation, 
and more lately the Canon Dalton. 

The original MS. is preserved in the Escurial, as is also that of 
the Visitation of the Nunneries. 

The Foundations were translated into English two hundred years 
ago by Mr. Abraham Woodhead, and printed. The title of the volume 
is as follows: 

The second part of the Life of the Holy Mother S. Teresa of 
Jesus; or, the history of her Foundations, written by herself. 
Whereunto are annexed her death, burial, and the miraculous in- 
corruption and fragrancy of her body. Together with her treatise 


of the manner of visiting the monasteries of discalced nuns. 
Printed in the year MDCLXIX. 

Mr. Woodhead, after the manner of the Italian translation, sepa 
rated the history of the foundation of S. Joseph in Avila from the 
Life, and placed it in the beginning of this book, thereby making 
the Foundations complete. In his translation the Life ends with 
10 of ch. xxxii., and the book of the Foundations consequently 
begins with ch. xxxii. 11 of the Life, precisely as in the Italian 

In 1853 another translation was published by the Very Reverend 
John Dalton, canon of Northampton, the title of which is as fol 
lows : 

Book of the Foundations. Written by S. Teresa. Translated from 
the Spanish by the Rev. John Dalton. Embellished with a por 
trait of the Saint. London, 1853. 

Feast of S. Teresa, 1871. 


1515. S. Teresa is born in Avila, March 28th. 1 

1522. She desires martyrdom, and leaves her father s house with one 

of her brothers. 
1527. 2 Death of her mother. 
1529. Reads romances of chivalry, and is misled by a thoughtless 

1531. Her sister Maria s marriage, and her removal from home to the 

Augustinian monastery, where she remains till the autumn 

of next year. 
1533.* Nov. 2, enters the monastery of the Incarnation. 

1534. Nov. 3, makes her profession. 

1535. Goes to Castellanos de la Canada, to her sister s house, where 

she remains till the spring of 1538, when she goes to Bezades. 

1537. Returns to Avila on Palm Sunday. In July seriously ill, and 
in a trance for four days, when in her father s house. Para 
lysed for more than two years. 

1539. Is cured of her paralysis by S. Joseph. 

1541. Begins to grow lukewarm, and gives up mental prayer. 

1542. Our Lord appears to her in the parlour of the monastery, 

"stern and grave" [ch. vii. 11, see note there]. 

1 In the same year S. Philip was born in Florence. S. Teresa died 
in 1582, and S. Philip in 1595; but they were canonised on the same day, 
with S. Isadore, S. Ignatius, and S. Francis Xavier. The three latter 
were joined together in the three final consistories held before the 
solemn proclamation of their sanctity, and S. Teresa and S. Philip 
were joined together in the same way in the final consistories held 
specially, as usual, for them. 

2 This must be an error. See ch. i. 7, note 2. 

3 There is a difficulty about this. The Bollandists maintain that 
she went to the monastery of the Incarnation in the year 1533. On 
the other hand Ribera, her most accurate biographer, with whom Fra 
Jerome agrees, says that she left her father s house in 1535, when she 
was more than twenty years of age; Yepes, that she was not yet twenty; 
and the Second Relation of the Rota, that she was in her twentieth 
year. The Bull of Canonisation and the Office in the Breviary also 
say that she was in her twentieth year, that is, A. D. 1534. The Chroni 
cler of the Order differs from all, and assigns the year in which she 
entered the monastery. 



1544. Death of her father. Places herself under the direction of Fr. 
Vicente Baron. 

1555. Ceases to converse with secular people, moved thereto by the 

sight of a picture of our Lord on the cross [ch. ix. 1]. The 
Jesuits come to Avila, and the Saint confesses to F. Juan de 

1556. Beginning of the supernatural visitations. 

1557. S. Francis de Borja comes to Avila, and approves of the 

spirit of the Saint. 

1558. First rapture of the Saint [ch xxiv. 7]. The vision of hell 

[ch. xxxii. 1]. Father Alvarez ordained priest. 

1559. She takes F. Alvarez for her confessor. The transpiercing of 

her heart [ch. xxix. 17]. Vision of our Lord risen from 
the dead [ch. xxvii. 3, ch. xxviii. 2]. 

1560. The vow of greater perfecton. S. Peter of Alcantara approves 

of her spirit, and S. Luis Bertran encourages her to proceed 
with her plan of founding a new monastery. 

1561. F. Caspar de Salazar, S.J., comes to Avila; her sister Dona 

Juana comes to Avila from Alba de Tormes to help the 
Saint in the new foundation [ch. xxxiii. 13]. Restores her 
nephew to life [ch. xxxv. 14, note]. Fra Ibaiiez bids her 
write her Life. Receives a sum of money from her brother 
in Peru, which enables her to go on with the building of 
the new house. 

1562. Goes to Toledo, to the house of Dona Luisa de la Cerda, and 

finishes the account of her Life. Makes the acquaintance 
of Fra Banes, afterwards her principal director, and Fra 
Garcia of Toledo, both Dominicans. Receives a visit from 
Maria of Jesus. Has a revelation that her sister Dona 
Maria will die suddenly [ch. xxxiv. 24]. Returns to 
Avila and takes possession of the new monastery, August 24. 
Troubles in Avila. The Saint ordered back to the monas 
tery of the Incarnation. Is commanded by Fra Garcia of 
Toledo to write the history of the foundation of S. Joseph. 

1565. Fra Garcia of Toledo directs her to ask leave of the provincial 

for the commutation of her vow. The provincial, Fra 
Angel de Salazar, empowers Fra Garcia to do what was 

The Saint is greatly distressed by scruples about her 
spiritual state. She applies to the inquisitor Soto [Relation 
vii. 8], who recommends her to send an account of her life 
to Juan of Avila. She rewrites her Life, and divides the 
book into chapters. 

1566. The father-general of the order of Carmel, Fra Giovanni Bat- 

tista Rossi, arrives in Spain, and holds chapters of the order. 

1567. The general visits the Saint in her monastery, and receives 

her back into the order as his subject. He authorizes her 
to make other monasteries of nuns, and two of friars, April 

On the feast of the- Assumption the Saint founds a 


monastery in Medina del Campo [where she remains from the 
Assumption of our Lady to the end of October]. 

That done, she goes to Madrid, and is lodged in the 
house of Dona Leonor de Mascareiias [ch. iii.]. She left 
Madrid [in November] and went to Alcala de Henares for 
the purpose of visiting and settling the monastery of the 
venerable Maria of Jesus. She remains two months in Alcala. 

She meditates the foundation of houses of friars of her 
reform, Fra Antonio de Heredia and S. John of the Cross 
having offered themselves as a beginning. 

She had received the offer of a house near Valladolid 
from Don Bernardino de Mendoza for a monastery there, 
but could not accept it at once, because she had promised 
to make a foundation in Malagon. 

1568. She goes to Toledo to her friend Dona Luisa de la Cerda, 

the foundress of the house in Malagon, and in Lent leaves 
Toledo for Malagon, where she makes the foundation on 
Palm Sunday, April llth [ch. ix. 5]. 

She remains two months in Malagon, and on May 19th 
she departs for Toledo, which she reaches bowed down 
with sickness. 

May 28th. She sets out for Escalona to see the mar 
chioness of Villena [at the request of Fra Garcia of Toledo]. 

She writes to Dona Luisa de la Cerda to ask her to 
send the MS. of her Life to Juan of Avila in all haste, 
which she had left with her for that purpose [F. Banes 
had written to her for it, and asked her to send it to him 
as soon as she returned to Avila Lett. 3]; returns to Avila, 
June 2nd. 

A house in Duruelo is offered her by Don Rafael Megia 
Velasquez for a monastery of friars. 

August 10th she arrives in Valladolid to make the founda 
tion for which Don Bernardino de Mendoza had given her 
a house [ch. x. 3], and the monastery is founded on the 
feast of the Assumption. 

Juan of Avila approves of her book, and writes to her 
a letter dated September 12th. from Montilla. 

The first monastery of friars founded in Duruelo, and 
the first mass said there conventually on Advent Sunday, 
November 28th [ch. xiv. 5]. 

In December she prepares for the foundation in Toledo. 

1569. She leaves Valladolid Feb. 21st. and visits Duruelo on her 

way to Avila. In March she sets out for Toledo, attended 
by the priest Gonzalo de Aranda [and the two nuns Isabel 
of S. Dominic and Isabel of S. Paul, ch. xv. 3]. 

She arrives in Madrid; the king sent for her, but she 
had then left for Toledo, where she arrives March 24th. 
Meanwhile the nuns in Valladolid leave their monastery 
because of its unhealthiness, and take a house within the 


Juan of Avila dies April 12th, from whom she receives 
a consoling letter shortly before that day. 

May 28th. She receives a message from the prince and 
princess of Eboli concerning the foundation to be made in 

She leaves Toledo on Monday in Whitsun week, May 
30th, and in Madrid is lodged in the monastery of the 
Franciscan nuns. 

Makes the acquaintance there of Mariano of S. Bene 
dict, the hermit, who enters the order of Carmel with his 
companion, Juan de la Miseria. 

July 9th. She takes possession, after much discussion 
with the princess of Eboli, of the monastery in Pastrana. 

[July 13th is founded the second monastery of the friars 
in the same place.] 

The princess of Eboli, after much importunity, obtains 
possession of the Saint s Life. She ridicules the book, and 
allows her servants to see it though she had promised to 
keep it secret. 

July 21st. The Saint returns to Toledo, where she re 
mains for a year, but visits at times the monasteries of 
Medina del Campo, Valladolid, and Pastrana. 

1570. Father Martin Gutierrez, rector of the house of the Society 

in Salamanca, writes to her Jan. 17th asking her to found 
a monastery there [ch. xviii. 1]. 

The nuns in Toledo remove to a better house in the 
ward of S. Nicholas [ch. xv. 17]. 

In July she sees in a vision the martyrdom of father 
Ignatius de Azeve do and others, forty Jesuits: they were 
murdered by Soria, protestant and pirate, and friend of 
Coligni. Among the martyrs was a kinsman of the Saint. 

July 10th. She is in Pastrana, present at the taking of 
the habit of the order by Ambrosio Mariano and Juan de 
la Miseria. 

The following day the friars of Duruelo remove to 

She returns to Toledo, and to Avila in August. 

The bishop of Salamanca grants permission for the 
foundation of her monastery. 

The Saint arrives in Salamanca on the eve of All Saints. 

The third monastery of friars [Duruelo merged in Man 
cera] is founded on the feast of All Saints in Alcala de Hen- 
ares, and the seventh of nuns on the same day in Salamanca 
[ch. xix. 2]. 

At the end of the year the Saint is asked to make a 
foundation in Alba de Tormes. 

1571. The foundation made in Alba de Tormes, Jan. 25th [ch. xx. 12]. 

The Saint returns to Salamanca, and is there at the 
end of March. She now spent some time in the house of 
the count of Monterey. 


She goes to Avila from Salamanca, and is ordered by 
her superiors to accept the priorate of the Incarnation [ch. 
xix. 6]. 

She entered on her office in October, and remained 
prioress for three years. 

1572. [Jan. 19th. The Saint sees our Lady in the stall of the prioress. 

Relation iii. 16]. 

The nuns of the Incarnation amend their ways, and 
the Saint rebukes the insolence of those who paid visits to 
the religious. 

S. John of the Cross made confessor to the nuns. 

Houses of friars are founded, and some of those in 
Andalusia accept the reform of S. Teresa. 

The seeds of discord are sown between the old friars 
and the reformed. 

March 25th. Fra Jerome Gratian of the Mother of God 
takes the habit in Pastrana. 

Great graces bestowed on the Saint while in the monas 
tery of the Incarnation: the mystical bethrothal: and the 
ecstasy in the parlour while speaking to S. John of the Cross. 

The spiritual challenge from the friars of Pastrana. 

1573. The Saint [June llth] writes to king Philip II. on the affairs 

of the order. 

Writes to Father Ordonez, S.J., on the subject of a 
school for young girls in Medina del Campo, July 29th. 

She sets out for Salamanca, with the provincial s leave, 
to arrange the transfer of her community there to a new 

At the end of the month the princess of Eboli goes to 
Pastrana, and establishes herself as a nun in the Carmelite 
monastery there [ch. xvii. 11, note], 

In Salamanca her confessor, Father Jerome Ripalda, 
bids her write the history of her foundations. She begins 
to write August 24th. 

While in Salamanca she is asked to make a foundation 
in Veas. 

Our Lord bids her make a foundation in Segovia [ch. 
xxi. 1]. 

About the beginning of September the two fathers, Gra 
tian and Mariano, set out for Andalusia from Pastrana. 

1574. The Saint goes to Alba de Tonnes from Salamanca. She is 

in the former place Feb. 8th, and stays two days in the house 
of the duchess of Alba. 

Notwithstanding her bodily illness and spiritual distress 
she proceeds to Segovia through Medina del Campo and 
Avila, and arrives there March 18th. The next day, on the 
feast of S. Joseph, the foundation is made. She dissolves 
the monastery of Pastrana and receives the nuns in Segovia 
[ch. xviii. 15, note] in the beginning of April. 


The book of her Life is delated to the inquisitors the 
first time [ch. xvii. 11, note]. 

Dona Casilda de Padilla enters the monastery of Vallado- 
lid. Death of Isabel of the Angels. 

She purchases the house of Diego Porraz in Segovia, 
which resulted in lawsuits with the chapter and the monas 
teries there. Towards the end of September she removes 
her nuns to the new house, and on the 1st of October goes 
back to Avila. 

Oct. 6th. She resigns the place of prioress in the monas 
tery of the Incarnation, and returns to her own house of 
S. Joseph [where she is elected prioress]. 

She goes again to Valladolid to make certain arrange 
ments about the reception of Dona Casilda de Padilla. 

1575. In the beginning of the year she returns to Avila, and, having 

rested awhile, goes through Toledo, Malagon, and Almodovar 
to Veas. In Almodovar she foretold the virtues of the 
blessed John Baptist of the Conception, the reformer of the 

She makes her tenth foundation of nuns in Veas on the 
feast of S. Mathias, Feb. 24th. Sees there for the first time 
Fra Jerome of the Mother of God, who was on his way to 

March 7th. The house of the friars founded in Almodovar 
del Campo. 

The Saint sets out for Seville, being at the time un 
well; meets with many difficulties on the road, and much 
opposition in Seville. The foundation there is made on the 
feast of the Most Holy Trinity. 

The general chapter of the order is held in Piazenza, 
where it was resolved to deal sharply with the friars of S. 
Teresa s reform. 

The Saint writes a long letter to the general. 

Nov. 21st. Fra Jerome of the Mother of God, by dele 
gation of the nuncio, visits the friars in Seville of the old 
observance, who resist his authority. 

Fra Angel de Salazar, provincial of Castille, bids the 
Saint make no more foundations, and orders her further to 
withdraw into any one of her monasteries, and there to re 
main. She proposes to withdraw to Valladolid at once, 
leaving the foundation of Seville in its troubles, but Fra 
Jerome bids her stay for the present where she is. 

1576. The foundation of Caravaca made Jan. 1st, while the Saint 

was in Seville, searching for a house, and waiting for the 
licence of the archbishop. 

She writes to the father-general explaining her acts, 
and those of Fra Jerome of the Mother of God and Fra 
Mariano [Lett. 71; Lett. 13 vol, i. ed. Doblado]. She tells 
him also how they and herself were about to be harassed, 
and that false accusations were brought against them. She 


is delated to the inquisition at this time by a weak sister who 
left her monastery. 

She buys a house at last, helped by her brother Don 
Lorenzo, lately returned from the Indies. In the beginning 
of May the new house is occupied by her and her sisters. 

June 4th. She sets out for Toledo, where she was to stay 
according to the order of the general. She is in Malagon 
with her brother on the llth, and in the beginning of July 
reaches Toledo. Before she is settled there she goes to 
her monastery in Avila, by order of Fra Jerome, and hastens 
back to Toledo with the venerable Anne of S. Bartholomew, 
who is to be her companion and secretary. August 9th, she 
is settled in Toledo. She is now asked to make a foundation 
in Villanueva de la Jara. 

The friars of the observance hold a chapter in Moraleja 
[May 12th], and make decrees against the reform of S. Teresa. 
The friars of the reform hold a chapter in Almodovar, Sept. 
8th, and there some of their brethren are deputed to go to 
Rome to save the reform. 

In Toledo the Saint writes the Book of the Foundations 
as far as ch. xxvii., adding to it the account of the foundations 
of Segovia, Veas, Seville, and Caravaca. She ceases to write 
about the middle of November. 

The foundations are interrupted, none being made for 
more than four years, owing to the troubles arising out of 
the quarrel between the friars of the old observance and 
those of the Saint s reform [ch. xxviii. 1], 

She confesses in Toledo to Dr. Velasquez, afterwards 
bishop of Osma. 

The nuns of Malagon are in trouble, and it is discussed 
whether it would not be better to remove the nuns, of Veas 
to Granada. . 

Grievous charges are falsely brought against the Saint, 
and the friars of the old observance think of sending her 
to a monastery in India. 

About the end of October some of the Saint s nuns in 
Seville are sent to reform the nuns of the old observance 
in Paterna, where they remain till the feast of S. Barbara, 

A foundation in Aguilar de Campos is offered to the 
Saint, December 7th. 

During this year the Saint wrote many letters, and 
fifty-five of them have been preserved. 

1577. March 24th. The celebrated Doria, Fra Nicholas of Jesu Maria, 
enters the order of Carmel. 

The nuns of Veas and Caravaca involved in lawsuits. 

June 2nd. She begins to write the Inner Fortress. 

In June the nuncio Monsignore Ormaneto dies, to the 
great grief of the Saint, for he had always defended her 


In July she goes to Avila, and places her monastery 
there under the jursdiction of the order: it had been hitherto 
under the bishop. 

In August the new nuncio, Monsignore Philip Sega, 

Gross falsehoods put forth against the friars and nuns 
of the reform by two friars who had abandoned it Fra 
Miguel de la Calumna and Fra Baltasar de Jesus. 

Monsignore Sega deals severely with the friars of the 
reform, and the Saint begs the king to help her. 

October 8th. Fra Miguel repents, and recants all he had 

The nuns of the Incarnation notwithstanding the threats 
of their superiors, elect as their prioress S. Teresa. 

About the end of November the book of the Inner Fortress 
is finished. 

In the night of December 3rd S. John of the Cross and 
his fellow confessor and chaplain of the Incarnation are 
taken to prison by the friars of the old observance. The 
former is most cruelly treated by his brethren in Toledo. 

On Christmas Eve the Saint is thrown down and breaks 
her arm. 

1578. F. Salazar, S.J., wishes to become a Carmelite friar, and 
S. Teresa writes to father Suarez, provincial of the society 
[Lett. 179; but Lett. 20 vol. i. ed. Doblado]. 

The nuncio becomes more severe with the friars. 

In the beginning of May Fra Jerome Tostado returns to 
Portugal, and the Saint is more at ease. 

The royal council interferes with the jurisdiction of the 
nuncio, and forbids the friars of the reform to obey him, 
August 9th. 

The father-general of the order, Fra Giovanni Battista 
Rossi, dies [Sept. 4th]. 

October 9th. The chapter of Almodovar is held, in which 
the friars of the reform, with doubtful right, form themselves 
into a distinct province, and elect for their provincial Fra 
Antonio of Jesus. 

The nuncio is made angry by this proceeding: he quashes 
the acts of the chapter, and imprisons the chief friars. He 
bids S. Teresa remain in Toledo, and speaks harshly of her 
and her work. 

Towards the end of the year the monastery of Seville 
is disturbed by the indiscretion of the confessor, and on 
the prioress attempting to check him he carries accusations 
against her and the Saint before the tribunal of the inquisition. 
The inquisitors examine, and find the accused innocent. 

Fra Pedro of the Angels and Fra Juan of San Diego 
proceed to Rome on behalf of their brethren of the reform, 
but the former in Naples reveals all to the vicar-general 


of the order, and on his arrival in Spain returns to the 
friars of the mitigation. 

During this year the Saint is in Avila. 

The book of her Life is again delated to the inquisitors. 

1579. In the beginning of the year the order begins to have a little 

more rest. 

In the beginning of February the nuncio consents to 
receive four assessors to judge the affairs of the friars of 
the reform with him [ch. xxviii.]. 

April 1st. The nuncio makes Fra Angel de Salazar of 
the mitigation visitor of the friars of the reform. 

The two fathers, Fra Juan of Jesus and Fra Diego of 
the Trinity, go from Avila, disguised as laymen, to Rome, 
in order to obtain the severance of the friars of S. Teresa s 
reform from those of the mitigation. In May they embark 
at Alicante for Naples. 

June 6th. The Saint writes the four instructions which 
God gave her for the preservation and growth of the order. 

June 23rd. She sets out from Avila to visit her monas 
teries. She remains a few days in Malagon and arrives 
on the 3rd of July in Valladolid, where she stays till the 

July 15th. The nuncio proposes the separation of the 
friars of the reform from those of the mitigation. 

July 22nd. She writes to Don Teutonic de Braganza, 
archbishop of Ebora [to whom she had sent a copy of her 
Way of Perfection the week before, that he might get it 

July 30th. The Saint goes from Valladolid to Medina, 
where she remained three or four days; then to Alba de 
Tormes, where she stays a week. She then goes to Salamanca, 
where she remains some two months and a half. 

Fra Angel de Salazar relieves her of the burden of the 
priorate of Malagon, but insists on her visiting the monas 

In the beginning of November she returns to Av la, 
and goes thence, notwithstanding her illness and the severity 
of the weather, to Malagon. She was five days in reaching 

Nov. 25th. She reaches Malagon, and on the feast of the 
Immaculate Conception the nuns remove to their new house. 

She consents to make the foundation in Villanueva de 
la Jara. 

1580. Fra Angel de Salazar, Jan. 28th, gives the Saint authority to 

make the foundation in Villanueva. 

Feb. 13th. She departs from Malagon, and arrives in 
Villanueva on the first Sunday in Lent. The devout ladies 
there waiting for her receive the habit Feb. 25th. 

She leaves Villanueva, and arrives in Toledo March 25th, 
and is struck by paralysis. 


She recovers by degrees, and visits the cardinal archbishop, 
who tells her that her book is in the holy office, but that 
no fault can be found with it. 

[May 22nd. Fra Giovanni Battista Cafardo, who had gov 
erned the order since the death of the father Rossi as 
vicar by order of the Pope, is elected father-general.] 

The Saint remains in Toledo till June 7th; then, by 
order of Fra Angel de Salazar, she goes to Valladolid. She 
is in Segovia June 13th. 

June 22nd. His Holiness Gregory XIII. issues the bulls 
for the formation of a distinct province of the friars of the 

June 28th. Death of the Saint s brother Don Lorenzo. 

The Saint is obliged to go to Avila to arrange the 
affairs of her brother. 

In the beginning of August she sets out from Avila for 
Medina del Campo with her nephew and Fra Jerome of 
the Mother of God; then to Valladolid, where she is very 
ill, and believed to be dying [ch. xxix. 1]. 

She is asked when somewhat better to make a foun 
dation in Palencia, and by direction of her confessor, F. 
Ripalda, S.J., notwithstanding her broken health, consents. 

The archbishop of Burgos gives leave to found a house 
in his cathedral city [ch. xxxi. 1]. 

She leaves Valladolid for Palencia on the feast of the 
Holy Innocents, and the foundation is made on the feast of 
David the King [Dec. 28th, ch. xxix. 9] in a hired house. 
1581. Feb. 1st. The apostolic commissary, Fra Juan de las Cuevas, 
of the order of S. Dominic, summons the friars of the reform 
to Alcala de Henares, and by authority of His Holiness con- 
stitues them a province apart from the friars of the mitigation, 
March 3rd. 

Fra Jerome of the Mother of God is in the chapter 
elected the first provincial of the reform of S. Teresa. 

May 4th. The house of the friars of the reform founded 
in Valladolid, and another, June 1st, in Salamanca. 

The nuns of Palencia remove from the hired house to 
that bought by the Saint near the hermitage of our Lady 
of the Street [ch. xix. 22]. 

Towards the end of May the Saint goes from Palencia 
to Soria, where she arrives June 2nd, and on the following 
day founds the fifteenth monastery of her reform. 

She makes efforts to found a house in Madrid, as she 
had been doing for some time. 

She makes Catherine of Christ prioress of Soria, and on 
the 16th of August sets out for Avila. In Burgos de Osma, 
she meets Don Diego de Yepes, and receives communion from 
his hands. 

August 23rd she is in Segovia, in Villacastin Sept. 4th, 
and the next day in Avila. 


The monastery of S. Joseph had fallen away, and was 
spiritually and temporally a source of distress to the Saint. 
On her arrival the prioress resigns, and the community elects 
S. Teresa to fill her place, but she refuses till Fra Jerome of 
the Mother of God commands her to accept the burden. 
1582. Jan 2nd. The Saint leaves Avila on her way to Burgos. She 
is in Medina del Campo on the 4th. On the 9th she sets 
out for Valladolid, where she remains four days. She then 
goes to Palencia, and from Palencia to Burgos, where she 
arrives, after a toilsome and dangerous journey, Jan. 26th. 
[ch. xxxi. 18J. 

Jan. 21st. The venerable Anne of Jesus arrived in 
Granada with S. John of the Cross to make the foundation 

The archbishop of Burgos makes it difficult for the 
Saint to found a house. She and her nuns are lodged for 
a time in the hospital of the Conception. 

The archbishop, after many shiftings, yields at last, and 
the monastery is founded April 22nd. 

The monastery in Burgos is flooded, and the nuns are 
in great danger. 

She leaves Burgos about the end of July for Palencia 
and Valladolid. 

In Valladolid she is insulted by a lawyer, who thinks 
that she has not dealt justly in the administration of her 
brother s affairs. 

The prioress of Valladolid quarrels with her, and orders 
her to leave the monastery. 

Sept. 16th. The Saint reaches Medina del Campo, where 
also the prioress turns against her. She goes away without 
food, and is extremely ill through weariness, illness, and 
hunger. She and her companion, the venerable Anne of S. 
Bartholomew, reach Penaranda, where they can get nothing 
to eat, and the Saint it at the point of death. 

She is not able to return to Avila, for the vicar of the 
province orders her to go at once to Alba de Tormes, the 
duchess of Alba being desirous of her presence. 

She reaches Alba de Tormes, nearly dead, about six 
o clock on the evening of Sept. 20th. The next morning she 
does violence to herself, and goes down to the church 
for communion, and then returns to her bed, never to leave 
it alive. 

She makes her confession to Fra Antonio of Jesus, and 
receives the viaticum and the last anointing, and on the 
feast of S. Francis, October 4th, dies in the arms of her 
companion, the venerable Anne of S. Bartholomew, in the 
68th year of her age. 





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The Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus. 



As I have been commanded and left at liberty to describe 
at length my way of prayer, and the workings of the grace of 
our Lord within me, I could wish that I had been allowed at 
the same time to speak distinctly and in detail of my grievous 
sins and wicked life. But it has not been so willed; on the 
contrary, I am laid herein under great restraint; and, there 
fore, for the love of our Lord, I beg of every one who shall 
read this story of my life 1 to keep in mind how wicked it 
has been ; and how, among the Saints who were converted to 
God, I have never found one in whom I can have any comfort. 
For I see that they, after our Lord had called them, never 
fell into sin again ; I not only became worse, but, as it seems 
to me, deliberately withstood the graces of His Majesty, 
because I saw that I was thereby bound to serve Him more 
earnestly, knowing, at the same time, that of myself I could 
not pay the least portion of my debt. 

May He be blessed for ever who waited for me so long! 
I implore Him with my whole heart to send me His grace, so 
that in all clearness and truth I may give this account of my 
self which my confessors command me to give; and even our 

1 The Saint, in a letter written Nov. 19, 1581, to Don Pedro de 
Castro, then Canon of Avila, speaking of this book, calls it the book 
"Of the Compassions of God" Y ansi intitule ese libro De las Miseri- 
cordlas de Dlos. That letter is the 358th in the edition of Don Vicente 
de la Fuente, and the 8th of the fourth volume of the Doblado edition 
of Madrid. "Vitam igitur suam internam et supernaturalem magis 
pandit quam narrat actiones suas mere humanas" (Bollandists, 1). 


Lord Himself, I know it, has also willed it should be given for 
some time past, but I had not the courage to attempt it. And 
I pray it may be to His praise and glory, and a help to my con 
fessors ; who, knowing me better, may succour my weakness, 
so that I may render to our Lord some portion of the service I 
owe Him. May all creatures praise Him for ever ! Amen. 





1. I HAD a father and mother, who were devout and feared 
God. Our Lord also helped me with His grace. All this 
would have been enough to make me good, if I had not been 
so wicked. My father was very much given to the reading 
of good books ; and so he had them in Spanish, that his chil 
dren might read them. These books, with my mother s care 
fulness to make us say our prayers, and to bring us up devout 
to our Lady and to certain Saints, began to make me think 
seriously when I was, I believe, six or seven years old. It 
helped me, too, that I never saw my father and mother re 
spect any thing but goodness. They were very good them 
selves. My father was a man of great charity towards the 
poor, and compassion for the sick, and also for servants ; so 
much so, that he never could be persuaded to keep slaves, 
for he pitied them so much : and a slave belonging to one of 
his brothers being once in his house, was treated by him 
with as much tenderness as his own children. He used to 
say that he could not endure the pain of seeing that she was 
not free. He was a man of great truthfulness ; nobody ever 
heard him swear or speak ill of any one ; his life was most 

2. My mother also was a woman of great goodness, and 
her life was spent in great infirmities. She was singularly 
pure in all her ways. Though possessing great beauty, yet 
was it never known that she gave reason to suspect that she 
made any account whatever of it ; for, though she was only 
three-and-thirty years of age when she died, her apparel was 
already that of a woman advanced in years. She was very 


calm, and had great sense. The sufferings she went through 
during her life were grievous, her death most Christian. 1 

3. We were three sisters and nine brothers. 2 All, by the 
mercy of God, resembled their parents in goodness except 
myself, though I was the most cherished of my father. And, 
before I began to offend God, I think he had some reason, 
for I am filled with sorrow whenever i think of the good 
desires with which our Lord inspired me, and what a wretched 
use I made of them. Besides, my brothers never in any way 
hindered me in the service of God. 

4. One of my brothers was nearly my own age; 3 and 
he it was whom I most loved, though I was very fond of them 
all, and they of me. He and I used to read lives of Saints 
together. When I read of martyrdom undergone by the 
Saints for the love of God, it struck me that the vision of 
God was very cheaply purchased ; and I had a great desire 

1 See ch. xxxvii. 1; where the Saint says that she saw them in a 
vision both in heaven. 

2 Alfonso Sanchez de Cepeda, father of the Saint, married first 
Catalina del Peso y Ilenao, and had three children one daughter, 
Maria de Cepeda, and two sons. After the death of Catalina, he 
married Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, by whom he had nine children 
seven boys and. two girls. The third of these, and the eldest of 
the daughters, was the Saint, Dona Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y 
Ahumada. In the monastery of the Incarnation, where she was a 
professed nun for twenty-eight years, she was known as Dona 
Teresa; but in the year 1563, when she left her monastery for the 
new foundation of S. Joseph, of the Reform oJ" the Carmelites, she 
took for the first time the name of Teresa of Jesus (De la Fuente}. 
The Saint was born March 28, 1515, and baptised April 4, in the 
church of S. John; on which day Mass was said for the first time 
in the monastery of the Incarnation, where the Saint made her pro- 
fession. Her godfather was Vela Nunez, and her godmother Dona 
Maria del Aguila. The Bollandists and F. Bouix say that she was 
baptised on the very day of her birth. But the testimony of Dona 
Maria de Pinel, a nun in the monastery of the Incarnation, is clear; and 
Don Vicente de la Fuente, quoting it, vol. i. p. 549, says that this 
delay of baptism was nothing singular in those days, provided there 
was no danger of death. 

3 Rodrigo de Cepeda, four years older than the Saint, entered the 
army, and, serving in South America, was drowned in the river Plate, 
Rio de la Plata. S. Teresa always considered him a martyr, because 
he died in defence of the Catholic faith (Ribera, lib. i. ch. iv.V 
Before he sailed for the Indies, he made his will, and left all his 
property to the Saint, his sister (Reformn de hs Dcscalcos. vol. 1. lib. 
i. ch. iii. 4). 


to die a martyr s death, not out of any love of Him of which 
I was conscious, but that 1 might most quickly attain to the 
fruition of those great joys of which I read that they were 
reserved in heaven; and I used to discuss with my brother 
how we could become martyrs. We settled to go together 
to the country of the Moors, 1 begging our way for the love 
of God, that we might be there beheaded, 2 and our Lord, I 
believe, had given us courage enough, even at so tender an 
age, if we could have found the means to proceed; but our 
greatest difficulty seemed to be our father and mother. 

5. It astonished us greatly to find it said in what we were 
reading that pain and bliss were everlasting. We happened 
very often to talk about this; and we had a pleasure in re 
peating frequently, "For ever, ever, ever." Through the 
constant uttering of these words, our Lord was pleased that 
I should receive an abiding impression of the way of truth 
when I was yet a child. 

6. As soon as I saw it was impossible to go to any place 
where people would put me to death for the sake of God, 
my brother and I set about becoming hermits; and in an 
orchard belonging to the house we contrived, as well as we 
could, to build hermitages, by piling up small stones one on 
the other, which fell down immediately; and so it came to 
pass that we found no means of accomplishing our wish. 
Even now, I have a feeling of devotion when I consider how 
God gave me in my early youth what I lost by my own fault. 
I gave alms as I could and I could but little. I contrived 
to be alone, for the sake of saying my prayers, 3 and they 

1 The Bollandists incline to believe that S. Teresa may not have 
intended to quit Spain, because all the Moors were not at that time 
driven out of the country. The Bull of the Saint s canonisation, and 
the Lections of the Breviary, say that she left her father s house, 
ut in Africam trajiceret. 

2 The two children set out on their strange journey one of them 
seven, the other eleven, years old through the Adaja Gate; but when 
they had crossed the bridge, they were met by one of their uncles, who 
brought them back to their mother, who had already sent through 
Avila in quest of them. Rodrigo, like Adam, excused himself, and 
laid the blame on the woman (Ribera, lib. i. ch. iv.). Francisco de 
Santa Maria, chronicler of the Order, says that the uncle was Fran 
cisco Alvarez de Cepeda (Re forma de los Descalgos, lib. i. ch. v. 4). 

She was also marvellously touched by the story of the Samar 
itan woman at the w r ell, of whom there was a picture in her room 
(Ribera, lib. i. ch. iv.). She speaks of this later on. (See ch. xxx. 24.) 


were many, especially the Rosary, to which my mother 
had a great devotion, and had made us also in this like her 
self. I used to delight exceedingly, when playing with other 
children, in the building of monasteries, as if we were nuns ; 
and I think I wished to be a nun, though not so much as I 
did to be a martyr or a hermit. 

7. I remember that, when my mother died, 1 I was about 
twelve years old a little less. When I began to understand 
my loss, I went in my affliction to an image of our Lady, 2 
and with many tears implored her to be my mother. I did 
this in my simplicity, and I believe that it was of service to 
me; for I have by experience found the royal Virgin help 
me whenever I recommended myself to her; and at last she 
has brought me back to herself. It distresses me now, when 
I think of, and reflect on, that which kept me from being 
earnest in the good desires with which I began. 

8. O my Lord, since Thou art determined to save me, 
may it be the pleasure of Thy Majesty to effect it! and 
to bestow upon me so many graces, why has it not been 
Thy pleasure also, not for my advantage, but for Thy greater 
honour, that this habitation, wherein Thou hast continually 
to dwell, should not have contracted so much defilement? It 
distresses me even to say this, O my Lord, because I know 
the fault is all my own, seeing that Thou hast left nothing- 
undone to make me, even from my youth, wholly Thine. 
When I would complain of my parents, I cannot do it ; for 
I saw nothing in them but all good, and carefulness for my 
welfare. Then, growing up, I began to discover the natural 
gifts which our Lord had given me they were said to be 
many; and, when I should have given Him thanks for them, 
I made use of every one of them, as I shall now explain, to 
offend Him. 

1 The last will and testament of Dona Beatriz de Ahumada was 
made Nov. 24, 1528; and she may have died soon after. If there be 
no mistake in the copy of that instrument, the Saint must have been 
more than twelve years old at that time. Don Vicente, in a note, 
says, with the Bollandists, that Dona Beatriz died at the end of the 
year 1526, or in the beginning of 1527; but it is probable that, when 
he wrote that note, he had not read the copy of the will, which he 
has printed in the first volume of the Saint s writings, p. 550. 

2 Our Lady of Charity, in the church of the hospital where the 
poor and pilgrims were received in Avila (Bonix). 





1. WHAT I shall now speak of was, I believe, the be 
ginning of great harm to me. I often think how wrong it 
is of parents not to be very careful that their children should 
always, and in every way, see only that which is good; for 
though my mother was, as I have just said, so good herself, 
nevertheless I, when I came to the use of jeason, did not 
derive so much good from her as I ought to have done 
almost none at all ; and the evil I learned did me much harm. 
She was very fond of books of chivalry ; but this pastime did 
not hurt her so much as it hurt me, because she never wasted 
her time on them ; only we, her children, were left at liberty 
to read them ; and perhaps she did this to distract her thoughts 
from her great sufferings, and occupy her children, that they 
might not go astray in other ways. It annoyed my father so 
much, that we had to be careful he never saw us. I contracted 
a habit of reading these books; and this little fault which I 
observed in my mother was the beginning of lukewarmness 
in my good desires, and the occasion of my falling away in 
other respects. I thought there was no harm in it when I 
wasted many hours night and day in so vain an occupation, 
even when I kept it a secret from my father. So completely 
was I mastered by this passion, that I thought I could never 
be happy without a new book. 

2. I began to make much of dress, to wish to please 
others by my appearance. I took pains with my hands and 
my hair, used perfumes, and all vanities within my reach 
and they were many, for I was very much given to them. 
I had no evil intention, because I never wished any one to 
offend God for me. This fastidiousness of excessive neat 
ness 1 lasted some years ; and so also did other practices, 

1 The Saint throughout her life was extremely careful of cleanli 
ness. In one of her letters to F. Jerome Gratian of the Mother of 
God (No. 323, Letter 28, vol. iii., ed. Doblado), she begs him, for the 
love of God, to see that the fathers had clean cells and table; and 
the Ven. Mother Anne of S. Bartholomew, in her life (Bruxelles, 


which I thought then were not at all sinful ; now, I see how 
wrong all this must have been. 

3. I had some cousins ; for into my father s house no 
others were allowed an entrance. In this he was very 
cautious ; and would to God he had been cautious about them ! 
for I see now the danger of conversing, at an age 
when virtue should begin to grow, with persons who, knowing 
nothing themselves of the vanity of the world, provoke others 
to throw themselves into the midst of it. These cousins were 
nearly of mine own age a little older, perhaps. We were 
always together; and they had a great affection for me. In 
every thing that gave them pleasure, I kept the conversation 
alive, listened to the stories of their affections and childish 
follies, good for nothing; and, what was still worse, my soul 
began to give itself up to that which was the cause of all its 
disorders. If I were to give advice, I would say to parents 
that they ought to be very careful whom they allow to mix 
with their children when young; for much mischief thence 
ensues, and our natural inclinations are unto evil rather than 
unto good. 

4. So it was with me ; for I had a sister much older than 
myself, 1 from whose modesty and goodness, which were 
great, I learned nothing; and learned every evil from a rela 
tive who was often in the house. She was so light and friv 
olous, that my mother took great pains to keep her out of 
the house, as if she foresaw the evil I should learn from her; 
but she could not succeed, there being so many reasons for 
her coming.. I was very fond of this person s company, gos 
siped and talked with her ; for she helped me in all the amuse 
ments I liked, and, what is more, found some for me, and 
communicated to me her own conversations and her vanities. 
Until I knew her, I mean, until she became friendly with me, 
and communicated to me her own affairs, I was then about 
fourteen years old, a little more, I think, I do not believe 
that I turned away from God in mortal sin, or lost the fear 

1708, p. 40), says that she changed the Saint s linen on the day of 
her death, and was thanked by her for her carefulness. "Her soul 
was so pure," says the Yen. Mother, "that she could not bear any 
thing that was not clean." 

1 Maria de Cepeda, half-sister of the Saint. She was married to 
Don Martin de Guzman y Barrientos; and the contract for the dowry 
was signed Jan. 11, 1531 (Re forma dc los Descales, lib. i. ch. vii. 4). 


of Him, though I had a greater fear of disgrace. This latter 
fear had such sway over me, that I never wholly forfeited 
my good name, and, as to that, there was nothing in the 
world for which I would have bartered it, and nobody in the 
world I liked well enough who could have persuaded me to do 
it. Thus I might have had strength never to do any thing 
against the honour of God, as I had it by nature not to fail 
in that wherein I thought the honour of the world consisted ; 
and I never observed that I was failing in many other ways. 
In vainly seeking after it I was extremely careful ; but in the 
use of the means necessary for preserving it I was utterlv 
careless. I was anxious only not to be lost altogether. 

5. This friendship distressed my father and sister exceed 
ingly. They often blamed me for it; but, as they could not 
hinder that person from coming into the house, all their efforts 
\vere in vain ; for I was very adroit in doing any thing that 
was wrong. Now and then, I am amazed at the evil one bad 
companion can do, nor could I believe it, if I did not know 
it by experience, especially when we are young: then is it 
that the evil must be greatest. Oh, that parents would take 
warning by me, and look carefully to this ! So it was ; the 
conversation of this person so changed me, that no trace was 
left of my soul s natural disposition to virtue, and I became 
a reflection of her and of another who w r as given to the same 
kind of amusements. 

6. I know from this the great advantage of good com 
panions ; and I am certain that if at that tender age I had 
been thrown among good people, I should have persevered in 
virtue; for if at that time I had found any one to teach me 
the fear of God, my soul would have grown strong enough 
not to fall away. Afterwards, when the fear of God had 
utterly departed from me, the fear of dishonour alone 
remained, and was a torment to me in all I did. When I 
thought that nobody would ever know, I ventured upon many 
things that were neither honourable nor pleasing unto God. 

7. In the beginning, these conversations did me harm 
I believe so. The fault was perhaps not hers, but mine ; for 
afterwards my own wickedness was enough to lead me astray, 
together with the servants about me, whom I found ready 
enough for all evil. If any one of these had given me good 
advice, I might perhaps have profited by it; but they were 
blinded by interest, as I was by passion. Still, I was never 


inclined to much evil, for I hated naturally any thing dis 
honourable, but only to the amusement of a pleasant con 
versation. The occasion of sin, however, being present, 
danger was at hand, and I exposed to it my father and 
brothers. God delivered me out of it all, so that I should not 
be lost, in a manner visibly against my will, yet not so secretly 
as to allow me to escape without the loss of my good name 
and the suspicions of my father. 

8. I had not spent, I think, three months in these vanities, 
when they took me to a monastery 1 in the city where I lived, 
in which children like myself were brought up, though their 
way of life was not so wicked as mine. This was done with 
the utmost concealment of the true reason, which was known 
only to myself and one of my kindred. They waited for an 
opportunity which would make the change seem nothing 
out of the way; for, as my sister was married, it was not 
fitting I should remain alone, without a mother, in the house. 

9. So excessive was my father s love for me, and so 
deep my dissembling, that he never would believe me to be 
so wicked as I was ; and hence I was never in disgrace with 
him. Though some remarks were made, yet, as the time had 
been short, nothing could be positively asserted ; and, as I 
was so much afraid about my good name, I had taken every 
care to be secret ; and yet I never considered that I could 
conceal nothing from Him who seeth all things. O my God, 
what evil is done in the world by disregarding this, and think 
ing that any thing can be kept secret that is done against 
Thee ! I am quite certain that great evils would be avoided 
if we clearly understood that what we have to do is, not to 
be on our guard against men, but on our guard against dis 
pleasing Thee. 

10. For the first eight days, I suffered much ; but more 
from the suspicion that my vanity was known, than from 
being in the monastery ; for I was already weary of myself, 
and, though I offended God, I never ceased to have a 
great fear of Him, and contrived to go to confession as quickly 
as I could. I was very uncomfortable ; but within eight days, 
I think sooner, I was much more contented than I had been 

1 The Augustinian monastery of Our Lady of Grace. It was 
founded in 1509 by the Venerable Fra Juan of Seville, Vicar-General 
of the Order (Reforma de los D.escalgos, lib. i. ch. vii. n. 2.). There 
were forty nuns in the house at this time (De la Fuente}. 


in my father s house. All the nuns were pleased with me; 
for our Lord had given me the grace to please every one, 
wherever I might be. I was therefore made much of in the 
monastery. Though at this time I hated to be a nun, yet I 
was delighted at the sight of nuns so good; for they were 
very good in that house very prudent, observant of the rule, 
and recollected. 

11. Yet, for all this, the devil did not cease to tempt me; 
and people in the world sought means to trouble my rest 
with messages and presents. As this could not be allowed, 
it was soon over, and my soul began to return to the good 
habits of my earlier years ; and I recognized the great mercy 
of God to those whom He places among good people. It 
seems as if His Majesty had sought and sought again how to 
convert me to Himself. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, for having 
borne with me so long! Amen. 

12. Were it not for my many faults, there was some 
excuse for me, I think, in this : that the conversation I shared 
in was with one who, I thought, would do well in the estate 
of matrimony; 1 and I was told by my confessors, and others 
also, whom in many points I consulted, used to say, that I 
was not offending God. One of the nuns 2 slept with us who 
were seculars, and through her it pleased our Lord to give 
me light, as I shall now explain. 



1. I BEGAN gradually to like the good and holy conver 
sation of this nun. How well she used to speak of God ! for 

1 Some have said that the Saint at this time intended, or wished, 
to be married; and F. Bouix translates the passage thus: "une alliance 
honorable pour moi." But it is more probable that the Saint had 
listened only to the story of her cousin s intended marriage; for in 
ch. v. 12, she says that our Lord had always kept her from seeking 
to be loved of men. 

Dona Maria Brizeno, mistress of the secular children who were 
educated in the monastery (Re forma, lib. i. ch. vii. 3). 


she was a person of great discretion and sanctity. I listened 
to her with delight. I think there never was a time when I 
was not glad to listen to her. She began by telling me how- 
she came to be a nun through the mere reading of the words 
of the Gospel : "Many are called, and few are chosen." 1 She 
would speak of the reward which our Lord gives to those 
who forsake all things for His sake. This good companion 
ship began to root out the habits which bad companionship 
had formed, and to bring my thoughts back to the desire of 
eternal things, as well as to banish in some measure the great 
dislike I had to be a nun, which had been very great ; and if 
I saw any one weep in prayer, or devout in any other way, 
I envied her very much ; for my heart was now so hard, that 
I could not shed a tear, even if I read the Passion through. 
This was a grief to me. 

2. I remained in the monastery a year and a half, and 
was very much the better for it. I began to say many vocal 
prayers, and to ask all the nuns to pray for me, that God 
would place me in that state wherein I was to serve Him; 
but, for all this, I wished not to be a nun, and that God would 
not be pleased I should be one, though at the same time I 
was afraid of marriage. At the end of my stay there, I had 
a greater inclination to be a nun, yet not in that house, on 
account of certain devotional practices which I understood 
prevailed there, and which I thought overstrained. Some 
of the younger ones encouraged me in this my wish ; and if 
all had been of one mind, I might have profited by it. I had 
also a great friend 2 in another monastery ; and this made me 
resolve, if I \vas to be a nun, not to be one in any other house 
than where she was. I looked more to the pleasure of sense 
and vanity than to the good of my soul. These good thoughts 
of being a nun came to me from time to time. They left me 
very soon ; and I could not persuade myself to become one. 

3. At this time, though I was not careless about my ow r n 
good, our Lord w r as much more careful to dispose me for that 
state of life which was best for me. He sent me a serious 
illness, so that I was obliged to return to my father s house. 

4. When I became well again, they took me to see my 

1 S. Matt. xx. 16. 

a Juana Suarez, in the monastery of the Incarnation, Avila 
(Re forma, lib. i. ch. vii. 7). 


sister 1 in her house in the country village where she dwelt. 
Her love for me was so great, that, if she had had her will, I 
should never have left her. Her husband also had a great 
affection for me, at least, he showed me all kindness. This, 
too, I owe rather to our Lord, for I have received kindness 
every where; and all my service in return is, that I am what 
I am. 

5. On the road lived a brother of my father- a prudent 
and most excellent man, then a widower. Him, too, our Lord 
was preparing for Himself. In his old age, he left all his 
possessions and became a religious. He so finished his course, 
that I believe him to have the vision of God. He would have 
me stay with him some days. His practice was to read good 
books in Spanish ; and his ordinary conversation was about 
God and the vanity of the world. These books he made me 
read to him ; and, though I did not much like them, I appeared 
as if I did ; for in giving pleasure to others I have been most 
particular, though it might be painful to myself, so much 
so, that what in others might have been a virtue was in me 
a great fault, because I was often extremely indiscreet. O 
my God, in how many ways did His Majesty prepare me for 
the state wherein it was His will I should serve Him ! how, 
against my own will, He constrained me to do violence to 
myself ! May He be blessed for ever ! Amen. 

6. Though I remained here but a few days, yet, through 
the impression made on my heart by the words of God both 
heard and read, and by the good conversation of my uncle, 
I came to understand the truth I had heard in my childhood, 
that all things are as nothing, the world vanity, and passing 
rapidly away. I also began to be afraid that, if I were then 
to die, I should go down to hell. Though I could not bend 
my will to be a nun, I saw that the religious state was the 
best and the safest. And thus, by little and little, I resolved 
to force myself into it. 

7. The struggle lasted three months. I used to press 
this reason against myself: The trials and sufferings of living 

1 Maria de Cepeda, married to Don Martin Guzman y Barrientos. 
They lived in Castellanos de la Canada, where they had considerable 
property; but in the later years of their lives they were in straitened 
circumstances (De la Fuente). See below, ch. xxxiv. 23. 

z Don Pedro Sanchez de Cepeda. He lived in Hortigosa, four 
leagues from Avila (De la Fuentc ). 


as a nun cannot be greater than those of purgatory, and I 
have well deserved to be in hell. It is not much to spend 
the rest of my life as if I were in purgatory, and then go 
straight to heaven which was what I desired. I was more 
influenced by servile fear, 1 think, than by love, to enter 

8. The devil put before me that I could not endure the 
trials of the religious life, because of my delicate nurture. I 
defended myself against him by alleging the trials which 
Christ endured, and that it was not much for me to suffer 
something for His sake ; besides, He would help me to bear 
it. I must have thought so, but I do not remember this last 
consideration. I endured many temptations during these 
days. I was subject to fainting-fits, attended with fever, 
for my health was always weak. I had become by this time 
fond of good books, and that gave me life. I read the Epistles 
of S. Jerome, which filled me with so much courage, that I 
resolved to tell my father of my purpose, which was almost 
like taking the habit; for I was so jealous of my word, that 
[ would never, for any consideration, recede from a promise 
when once my word had been given. 

9. My father s love for me was so great, that I could never 
obtain his consent ; nor could the prayers of others, whom I 
persuaded to speak to him, be of any avail. The utmost I could 
get from him was that I might do as I pleased after his death. 
I now began to be afraid of myself, and of my own weakness, 
for I might go back. So, considering that such waiting was 
not safe for me, I obtained my end in another way, as I shall 
now relate. 




1. IN those days, when I was thus resolved, I had per 
suaded one of my brothers, 1 by speaking to him of the vanity 

1 Antonio de Ahumada; who, according to the most probable 
opinion, entered the Dominican monastery of S. Thomas, Avila. It 
is said that he died before he was professed. Some say he joined the 
Hieronymites; but this is not so probable (De la Fuente~). Ribera, 
however, says that he did enter the noviciate of the Hieronymites, 
but died before he was out of it (lib. i. ch. vi.). 


of the world, to become a friar; and we agreed together to 
set out one day very early in the morning for the monastery 
where that friend of mine lived for whom I had so great an 
affection i 1 though I would have gone to any other monastery, 
if I thought I should serve God better in it, or to any one 
my father liked, so strong was my resolution now to become 
a nun, for I thought more of the salvation of my soul now, 
and made no account whatever of mine own ease. I remem 
ber perfectly well, and it is quite true, that the pain I felt 
when I left my father s house was so great, that I do not 
believe the pain of dying will be greater, for it seemed to 
me as if every bone in my body were wrenched asunder; 2 
for, as I had no love of God to destroy my love of father and 
of kindred, this latter love came upon me with a violence so 
great that, if our Lord had not been my keeper, my own 
resolution to go on would have failed me. But He gave me 
courage to fight against myself, so that I executed my 
purpose. 3 

2. When I took the habit, 4 our Lord at once made me 
understand how He helps those who do violence to them 
selves in order to serve Him. No one observed this violence 
in me; they saw nothing but the greatest good will. At that 
moment, because I was entering on that state, I was filled 
with a joy so great, that it has never failed me to this day; 
and God converted the aridity of my soul into the greatest 
tenderness. Every thing in religion was a delight unto me ; 
and it is true that now and then I used to sweep the house 
during those hours of the day which I had formerly spent on 
my amusements and my dress ; and, calling to mind that I 
was delivered from such follies, I was filled with a new joy 
that surprised me, nor could I understand whence it came. 

1 Juana Suarez, in the monastery of the Incarnation, Avila. 

2 See Relation, vi. 3. 

3 The nuns sent word to the father of his child s escape, and of 
her desire to become a nun, but without any expectation of obtaining 
his consent. He came to the monastery forthwith, and "offered up 
his Isaac on Mount Carmel" (Re forma, lib. i. ch. viii. 5). 

4 The Saint entered the monastery of the Incarnation Nov. 2, 1533, 
and made her profession Nov. 3, 1534 (Bollandlsts and Bouir ). 
Ribera says she entered Nov. 2, 1535; and the chronicler of the Order, 
relying on the contract by which her father bound himself to the 
monastery, says that she took the habit Nov. 2, 1536, and that Ribera 
had made a mistake. 


3. Whenever I remember this, there is nothing in the 
world, however hard it may be, that, if it were proposed to 
me, I would not undertake without any hesitation whatever; 
for I know now, by experience in many things, that if from 
the first I resolutely persevere in my purpose, even in this 
life His Majesty rewards it in a way which he only under 
stands who has tried it. When the act is done for God only, 
it is His will before we begin it that the soul, in order to 
the increase of its merits, should be afraid; and the greater 
the fear, if we do but succeed, the greater the reward, and 
the sweetness thence afterwards resulting. I know this by 
experience, as I have just said, in many serious affairs ; and so if 
I were a person who had to advise any body, I would never 
counsel any one, to whom good inspirations from time to 
time may come, to resist them through fear of the difficulty 
of carrying them into effect ; for if a person lives detached 
for the love of God only, that is no reason for being afraid of 
failure, for He is omnipotent. May He be blessed for 
ever! Amen. 

4. O supreme Good, and my Rest, those graces ought to 
have been enough which Thou hadst given me hitherto, see 
ing that Thy compassion and greatness had drawn me through 
so many windings to a state so secure, to a house where 
there are so many servants of God, from whom I might learn 
how I might advance in Thy service. I know not how to go 
on, when I call to mind the circumstances of my profession, 
the great resolution and joy with which I made it, and my 
betrothal unto Thee. I cannot speak of it without tears ; 
and my tears ought to be tears of blood, my heart ought to 
break, and that would not be much to suffer because of the 
many offences against Thee which I have committed since 
that day. It seems to me now that I had good reasons for 
not wishing for this dignity, seeing that I have made so sad 
a use of it. But Thou, O my Lord, hast been willing to 
bear with me for almost twenty years of my evil using of Thy 
graces, till I might become better. It seems to me, O my 
God, that I did nothing but promise, never to keep any of 
the promises then made to Thee. Yet such was not my in 
tention : but I see that what I have done since is of such a 
mature, that I know not what my intention was. So it was 
and so it happened, that it may be the better known, O my 
Bridegroom, who Thou art and what I am. 


5. It is certainly true that very frequently the joy I 
have in that the multitude of Thy mercies is made known in 
me, softens the bitter sense of my great faults. In whom, 
O Lord, can they shine forth as they do in me, who by my 
evil deeds have shrouded in darkness Thy great graces, which 
Thou hadst begun to work in me ? Woe is me, O my Maker ! 
If I would make an excuse, I have none to offer; and I only 
am to blame. For if I could return to Thee any portion of that 
love which Thou hadst begun to show unto me, I would give 
it only unto Thee, and then every thing would have been safe. 
But, as I have not deserved this, nor been so happy as to have 
done it, let Thy mercy, O Lord, rest upon me. 

6. The change in the habits of my life, and in my food, 
proved hurtful to my health; and though my happiness was 
great, that was not enough. The fainting-fits began to be 
more frequent; and my heart was so seriously affected, that 
every one who saw it was alarmed; and I had also many 
other ailments. And thus it was I spent the first year, having 
very bad health, though I do not think I offended God in it 
much. And as my illness was so serious, I was almost in 
sensible at all times, and frequently wholly so, my father 
took great pains to find some relief; and as the physicians 
who attended me had none to give, he had me taken to a 
place which had a great reputation for the cure of other in 
firmities. They said I should find relief there. 1 That friend 
of whom I have spoken as being in the house went with me. 
She was one of the elder nuns. In the house where I was a 
nun, there was no vow of enclosure. 2 

7. I remained there nearly a year, for three months of 
it suffering most cruel tortures effects of the violent remedies 
which they applied. I know not how I endured them; and, 
indeed, though I submitted myself to them, they were, as I 
shall relate, 3 more than my constitution could bear. 

1 Her father took her from the monastery in the autumn of 1535, 
according to the Bollandists, but of 1538, according to the Chronicler, 
who adds, that she was taken to her uncle s house, Pedro Sanchez 
de Cepeda, in Hortigosa, and then to Castellanos de la Canada, to 
the house of her sister, Dona Maria, where she remained till the 
spring, when she went to Bezadas for her cure (Reforma, lib. i. ch. 
xi. 2). 

It was in 1563 that all nuns were compelled to observe enclosure 

3 Ch. v. 15. 


8. I was to begin the treatment in the spring, and went 
thither when winter commenced. The intervening time I 
spent with my sister, of whom I spoke before, 1 in her house 
in the country, waiting for the month of April, which was 
drawing near, that I might not have to go and return. The 
uncle of whom I have made mention before, 2 and whose house 
was on our road, gave me a book called Tercer Abecedario, 3 
which treats of the prayer of recollection. Though in the 
first year I had read good books, for I would read no others, 
because I understood now the harm they had done me, I did 
not know how to make my prayer, nor how to recollect my 
self. I was therefore much pleased with the book, and re 
solved to follow the way of prayer it described with all my 
might. And as our Lord had already bestowed upon me the 
gift of tears, and I found pleasure in reading, I began to spend 
a certain time in solitude, to go frequently to confession, and 
make a beginning of that way of prayer, with this book for 
my guide ; for I had no master I mean, no confessor who 
understood me, though I sought for such a one for twenty 
years afterwards : which did me much harm, in that I fre 
quently went backwards, and might have been even utterly 
lost; for, anyhow, a director would have helped me to escape 
the risks I ran of sinning against God. 

9. From the very beginning, God was most gracious unto 
me. Though I was not so free from sin as the book required, 
I passed that by ; such watchfulness seemed to me almost 
impossible. I was on my guard against mortal sin and 
would to God I had always been so ! but I w r as careless 
about venial sins, and that was my ruin. Yet, for all this, 
at the end of my stay there, I spent nearly nine months in 
the practice of solitude, our Lord began to comfort me so 
much in this way of prayer, as in His mercy to raise me to 
the prayer of quiet, and now and then to that of union, 
though I understood not what either the one or the other 
was, nor the great esteem I ought to have had of them. I 
believe it would have been a great blessing to me if I had 
understood the matter. It is true that the prayer of union 
lasted but a short time : I know not if it continued for the 

1 Ch. iii. 4. 2 Ch. iii. 5. 

3 By Fray Francisco de Osuna, of the Order of S. Francis 
(Re forma, lib. i. ch. xi. 2). 


space of an Ave Maria; but the fruits of it remained; and 
they were such that, though I was then not twenty years of 
age, I seemed to despise the world utterly ; and so I remember 
how sorry I was for those who followed its ways, though 
only in things lawful. 

10. I used to labour with all my might to imagine Jesus 
Christ, our Good and our Lord, present within me. And this 
was the way I prayed. If I meditated on any mystery of 
His life, I represented it to myself as within me, though the 
greater part of my time I spent in reading good books, which 
was all my comfort; for God never endowed me with the gift 
of making reflections with the understanding, or with that 
of using the imagination to any good purpose : my imagi 
nation is so sluggish, 1 that even if I would think of, or picture 
to myself, as I used to labour to picture, our Lord s Humanity. 
I never could 

11. And though men may attain more quickly to the 
state of contemplation, if they persevere, by this way of in 
ability to exert the intellect, yet is the process more laborious 
and painful ; for if the will have nothing to occupy it, and if 
love have no present object to rest on, the soul is without 
support and without employment its isolation and dryness 
occasion great pain, and the thoughts assail it most griev 
ously. Persons in this condition must have greater purity 
of conscience than those who can make use of their under 
standing; for he who can use his intellect in the way of 
meditation on what the world is, on what he owes to God, 
on the great sufferings of God for him, his own scanty service 
in return, and on the reward God reserves for those who love 
Him, learns how to defend himself against his own thoughts, 
and against the occasions and perils of sin. On the other 
hand, he who has not that power is in greater danger, and 
ought to occupy himself much in reading, seeing that he is 
not in the slightest degree able to help himself. 

12. This way of proceeding is so exceedingly painful, 
that if the master who teaches it insists on cutting off the 
succours which reading gives, and requires the spending of 
much time in prayer, then, I say, it will be impossible to 
persevere long in it; and if he persists in his plan, health 
will be ruined, because it is a most painful process. Reading 

1 See ch. ix. 4, 7. 


is of great service towards procuring recollection in any one 
who proceeds in this way ; and it is even necessary for him, 
however little it mav be that he reads, if only as a substitute 
for the mental prayc. v hich is beyond his reach. 

13. Now I seem to understand that it w r as the good provi 
dence of our Lord over me that found no one to teach me. 
If I had, it would have been impossible for me to persevere 
during the eighteen years of my trial and of those great 
aridities, because of my inability to meditate. During all this 
time, it was only after Communion that I ever ventured to 
begin my prayer without a book, my soul was as much 
afraid to pray without one, as if it 1 ad to fight against a host. 
With a book to help me, it wa. c lik~ a companion, and a 
shield whereon to recpi -e the blows ot many thoughts, I 
found comfort; for it \vas not ir:ua! with me to be in aridity; 
but I always was so when I had no book ; for my soul was 
disturbed, and my thoughts wandered at once. With one, 
I began to collect my thoughts, and, usinp; i* as a decoy, kept 
my soul in peace, very frequently by merel} opening a book 
there was no necessity for more. Sometimes, I read but 
little; at other times, much according as our Lord had pity 
on me. 

14. It seemed to me, in these beginnings of which i am 
speaking, that there could be no danger capable of with 
drawing me from so great a blessing, if I had but books, and 
could have remained alone ; and I believe that, by the grace of 
God, it would have been so, if I had had a master or any one to 
warn me against those occasions of sin in the beginning, and, 
if I fell, to bring me quickly out of them. If the devil had 
assailed me openly then, I believe I should never have fallen 
into any grievous sin ; but he was so subtle, and I so weak, 
that all my good resolutions were of little service, though, 
in those days in which I served God, they were very profitable 
in enabling me, with that patience which His Majesty gave 
me, to endure the alarming illnesses which I had to bear. I 
have often thought with wonder of the great goodness of 
God ; and my soul has rejoiced in the contemplation of His 
great magnificence and mercy. May He be blessed for ever! 
for I see clearly that He has not omitted to reward me, 
even in this life, for every one of my good desires. My good 
works, how r ever wretched and imperfect, have been made 
better and perfected by Him who is my Lord : He has 


rendered them meritorious. As to my evil deeds and my 
sins, He hid them at once. The eyes of those who saw them, 
He made even blind; and He has blotted them out of their 
memory. He gilds 1113- faults, makes virtue to shine forth, 
giving it to me Himself, and compelling me to possess it, 
as it were, by force. 

15. I must now return to that which has been enjoined 
me. I say, that if I had to describe minutely how our Lord 
dealt with me in the beginning, it would be necessary for 
me to have another understanding than that I have: so that 
I might be able to appreciate what I owe to Him, together 
with my own ingratitude and wickedness ; for I have for 
gotten it all. 

May He be blessed for ever who has borne with me so 
long ! Amen. 




1. I FORGOT to say how, in the year of my noviciate, 1 
suffered much uneasiness about things in themselves of no 
importance; but I was found fault with very often when I 
was blameless. I bore it painfully and with imperfection ; 
however, I went through it all, because of the joy I had in 
being a nun. When they saw me seeking to be alone, and 
even weeping over my sins at times, they thought I was dis 
contented, and said so. 

2. All religious observances had an attraction for me. 
but I could not endure any which seemed to make me con 
temptible. I delighted in being thought well of by others, 
and was very exact in every thing I had to do. All this I 
thought was a virtue, though it will not serve as any excuse 
for me, because I knew what it was to procure my own satis 
faction in every thing, and so ignorance does not blot out 
the blame. There may be some excuse in the fact that the 
monastery was not founded in great perfection. I, wicked 
as I was, followed after that which I saw was wrong, and 
neglected that which was good. 


Hye Hoys . del 

1. Topography of Avila and its environs outlined by M. Hye Hoys in 
1866. In the right hand corner local costumes. a. Monastery of the Discalced 
Carmelites, on the site of St. Teresa s birthplace. b. Church of Saint Juan. 
c. House of Vela Nunez. d. The Adaja Bridge. e. Ancient monument called the 
Four Columns on the road to Salamanca. /. Site of the Oratory of Our Lady of 
Charity, g. Augustinian Convent where she was a scholar, h. Ruins of the Monas 
tery of the Calced Carmelites, later a prison. i. Monastery of the Incarnation, 
Calced Carmelites j. Dominican Monastery of Saint Thomas, formerly the univer 
sity of Avila. k. Church of Saint Vincent where Saint Teresa left her shoes when 
she embraced the Reform Rule. 1. Church of Saint Giles, near which stood origin- 
ally the Jesuit College. m. Saint Joseph s Monastery, Discalced Carmelites. n. 
Franciscan Convent whose nuns, called Gordillas, came to the aid of the first 
Reformed Carmelites, o. Gate of the City, called the Saint s Gate. p. Plaauela de 
los Cepedas, where still stand the houses of relatives of the Saint, q. House for 
merly occupied by a del Aguila. r. Church called Mosen Ruhi de Bracamoute. 
s. Cathedral, t. Episcopal Palace and Church of Saint Thomas, second site of the 
Jesuit College. u. Alcazar, or ancient royal residence. v. Church of St. Second, 
first site of the Monastery of Discalced Carmelites, transferred from Mancera. 
w. Second site of this monastery, to-day the Hospital of the Misericordia. 


Bruges. P Raoux. Sc 

a?. Church of Saint Dominic of Silos, y. Ruins of the Franciscan convent, burial place 
of the parents of Saint Teresa, z. San Miguel del Arroyo, seigniory of the Davilas. 
2. Principal gate, called the Alcaza Gate. 3. The Saint s Gate. In the back 
ground the Monastery of Discalced Carmelites. 4. Door of the room where St. 
Teresa was born, enclosed in the present monastery of Discalced Carmelites. This 
oratory adjoins the church and the faithful are admitted. At the side, a cross 

made of the wood of the alcove. 5. Altar in this room. The statue of the Saint which 

surmounts it was carved by the celebrated Hernandez. 6. Western wall, with 
paintings representing the birth of the Saint, her flight as a child, and her her 
mitages. 1. Northern wall. Above, the vesting of St. Teresa in the Monastery 
of the Incarnation; her vision of our Risen Lord and the Transverberation ; below, 
Jesuits and Franciscans. 8. Southern wall. Above, y isions of the necklace, the 

Holy Trinity, and the nail of betrothal; below, Dominicans and Carmelites. 
9. Ceiling of the room. 10. Its pavements of enameled tiles. 11. Memorial Tablet 

in the exterior wall of the apartment. 12. Escutcheon of Isabella II., Queen of 

Spain in 1866. 13. Arms of Ferdinand Blanco, Bishop of Avila in 1866. 14. 

Arms of Old Castile, the province in which Avila is situated. 13. Arms of the 

city of Avila. (See Appendix, note 2.) 


3. There was then in the house a nun labouring under 
a most grievous and painful disorder, for there were open 
ulcers in her body, caused by certain obstructions, through 
which her food was rejected. Of this sickness she soon died. 
All the sisters, I saw, were afraid of her malady. I envied 
her patience very much ; I prayed to God that He would 
give me a like patience ; and then, whatever sickness it might 
be His pleasure to send, I do not think I was afraid of any, 
for I was resolved on gaining eternal good, and determined 
to gain it by any and by every means. 

4. I am surprised at myself because then I had not, as 
I believe, that love of God which I think I had after I began 
to pray. Then, I had only light to see that all things that 
pass away are to be lightly esteemed, and that the good things 
to be gained by despising them are of great price, because 
they are for ever. His Majesty heard me also in this, for in 
less than two years Twas so afflicted myself that the illness 
which I had, though of a different kind from that of the 
sister, was, I really believe, not less painful and trying for the 
three years it lasted, as I shall now relate. 

5. When the time had come for which I was waiting 
in the place I spoke of before 1 I was in my sister s house, 
for the purpose of undergoing the medical treatment they 
took me away with the utmost care of my comfort; that is, 
my father, my sister, and the nun, my friend, who had come 
from the monastery with me, for her love for me was very 
great. At that moment, Satan began to trouble my soul ; 
God, however, brought forth a great blessing out of that 

6. In the place to which I had gone for my cure lived 
a priest of good birth and understanding, with some learning, 
but not much. I went to confession to him, for I was always 
fond of learned men, although confessors indifferently learned 
did my soul much harm ; for I did not always find confessors 
whose learning was as good as I could wish it was. I know 
by experience that it is better, if the confessors are good 
men and of holy lives, that they should have no learning 
at all, than a little ; for such confessors never trust them 
selves without consulting those who are learned nor would 

1 Ch. iv. 6. The person to whom she was taken was a woman 
famous for certain cures she had wrought, but whose skill proved 
worse than useless to the Saint (Reforma, lib. i. ch. ii. 2). 


I trust them myself: and a really learned confessor never 
deceived me. 1 Neither did the others willingly deceive me, 
only they knew no better; I thought they were learned, and 
that I was not under any other obligation than that of be 
lieving them, as their instructions to me were lax, and left 
me more at liberty for if they had been strict with me, I am so 
wicked, I should have sought for others. That which was 
a venial sin, they told me w r as no sin at all ; of that which was 
most grievously mortal, they said it was venial. 2 

7. This did me so much harm, that it is no wonder I 
should speak of it here as a warning to others, that they 
may avoid an evil so great ; for I see clearly that in the eyes 
of God I was without excuse, that the things I did being in 
themselves not good, this should have been enough to keep 
me from them. I believe that God, by reason of my sins, 
allowed those confessors to deceive themselves and to deceive 
me. I myself deceived many others by saying to them what 
had been said to me. 

8. I continued in this blindness, I believe, more than 
seventeen years, till a most learned Dominican father 3 un 
deceived me in part, and those of the Company of Jesus made 
me altogether so afraid, by insisting on the erroneousness of 
these principles, as I shall hereafter show. 4 

9. I began, then, by going to confession to that priest 
of whom I spoke before. 5 He took an extreme liking to me, 
because I had then but little to confess in comparison with 
what I had afterwards ; and I had never much to say since 
I became a nun. There was no harm in the liking he had for 
me, but it ceased to be good, because it was in excess. He 
clearly understood that I was determined on no account what 
ever to do any thing whereby God might be seriously offended. 
He, too, gave me a like assurance about himself, and accord- 

1 Schram, Theolog. Mystic., 483. "Magni cloctores scholastic!, 
si non sint spirituales, vel omni rerum spiritualium experientia careant, 
non solent esse magistri spirituales idonei, nam theologia scholastica 
est perfectio intellectus; mystica, perfectio intellectus et voluntatis: 
unde bonus theologus scholasticus potest esse malus theologus 
mysticus. In rebus tamen difficilibus, dubiis, spiritualibus, pnestat 
mediocriter spiritualem theologum consulere quam spiritualem 

2 See Way of Perfection, ch. viii. 2; but ch. v. ed. Doblado. 

3 F. Vicente Barron (Bouix}. * See ch. xxiii. 5 6. 


ingly our conferences were many. But at that time, through 
the knowledge and fear of God which filled my soul, what 
gave me most pleasure in all my conversations with others 
was to speak of God ; and as I was so young, this made him 
ashamed ; and then, out of that great good-will he bore me, 
he began to tell me of his wretched state. It was very sad, 
for he had been nearly seven years in a most perilous condi 
tion, because of his affection for, and conversation with, a 
woman of that place ; and yet he used to say Mass. The 
matter was so public, that his honour and good name were 
lost, and no one ventured to speak to him about it. I was 
extremely sorry for him, because I liked him much. I was 
then so imprudent and so blind as to think it a virtue to 
be grateful and loyal to one who liked me. Cursed be that 
loyalty which reaches so far as to go against the law of 
God. It is a madness common in the world, and it makes 
me mad to see it. We are indebted to God for all the good 
that men do to us, and yet we hold it to be an act of virtue 
not to break a friendship of this kind, though it lead us to 
go against Him. Oh, blindness of the world ! Let me, O 
Lord, be most ungrateful to the world; never at all unto 
Thee. But I have been altogether otherwise through my 

10. I procured further information about the matter 
from members of his household ; I learned more of his ruinous 
state, and saw that the poor man s fault was not so grave, 
because the miserable woman had had recourse to enchant 
ments, by giving him a little image made of copper, which 
she had begged him to wear for love of her around his neck; 
and this no one had influence enough to persuade him to 
throw away. As to this matter of enchantments, I do not 
believe it to be altogether true ; but I will relate what I saw, 
by way of warning to men to be on their guard against women 
who will do things of this kind. And let them be assured 
of this, that women, for they are more bound to purity than 
men, if once they have lost all shame before God, are in 
nothing whatever to be trusted ; and that in exchange for 
the gratification of their w r ill, and of that affection which the 
devil suggests, they will hesitate at nothing. 

11. Though I have been so wicked myself, I never fell 
into anything of this kind, nor did I ever attempt to do evil ; 
nor, if I had the power, would I have ever constrained any one 


to like me, for our Lord kept me from this. But if He had 
abandoned me, I should have done wrong in this, as I did 
in other things, for there is nothing in me whereon any one 
may rely. 

12. When I knew this, I began to show him greater 
affection: my intention was good, but the act was wrong, 
for I ought not to do the least wrong for the sake of any 
good, how great soever it may be. I spoke to him most fre 
quently of God; and this must have done him good though 
I believe that what touched him most was his great affection 
for me, because, to do me a pleasure, he gave rne that little 
image of copper, and I had it at once thrown into a river. 
When he had given it up, like a man roused from deep sleep, 
he began to consider all that he had done in those years ; and 
then, amazed at himself, lamenting his ruinous state, that 
woman came to be hateful in his eyes. Our Lady must have 
helped him greatly, for he had a very great devotion to her 
Conception, and used to keep the feast thereof with great 
solemnity. In short, he broke off all relations with that 
woman utterly, and was never weary of giving God thanks 
for the light He had given him; and at the end of the year 
from the day I first saw him, he died. 

13. He had been most diligent in the service of God; 
and as for that great affection he had for me, I never observed 
any thing wronginit,thoughitmight havebeenof greater purity. 
There were also occasions wherein he might have most griev 
ously offended, if he had not kept himself in the near presence 
of God. As I said before, 1 I would not then have done any 
thing I knew was a mortal sin. And I think that observing 
this resolution in me helped him to have that affection for 
me; for I believe that all men must have a greater affection 
for those women whom they see disposed to be good: and 
even for the attainment of earthly ends, women must have 
more power over men because they are good, as I shall 
show hereafter. I am convinced that the priest is in the way 
of salvation. He died most piously, and completely with 
drawn from that occasion of sin. It seems that it was the 
will of our Lord he should be saved by these means. 

14. I remained three months in that place, in the most 
grievous sufferings; for the treatment was too severe for my 
tonstitution. In two months so strong were the medicines 

1 9. 


my life was nearly worn out ; and the severity of the pain in 
the heart, 1 for the cure of which I was there, was much more 
keen : it seemed to me, now and then, as if it had been seized 
by sharp teeth. So great was the torment, that it was feared 
it might end in madness. There was a great loss of strength, 
for I could eat nothing whatever, only drink. I had a great 
loathing for food, and a fever that never left me. I \vas 
so reduced, for they had given me purgatives daily for nearly 
a month, and so parched up, that my sinews began to shrink. 
The pains I had were unendurable, and I was overwhelmed 
in a most deep sadness, so that I had no rest either night 
or day. 

15. This was the result; and thereupon my father took 
me back. Then the physicians visited me again. All gave 
me up ; they said I was also consumptive. This gave me 
little or no concern; what distressed me were the pains I 
had for I was in pain from my head down to my feet. Now, 
nervous pains, according to the physicians, are intolerable ; 
and all my nerves were shrunk. Certainly, if I had not 
brought this upon myself by my sins, the torture would have 
been unendurable. 

16. I was not more than three months in this cruel dis 
tress, for it seemed impossible that so many ills could be 
borne together. I now am astonished at myself; and the 
patience His Majesty gave me for it clearly came from Him 
I look upon as a great mercy of our Lord. It was a great 
help to me to be patient, that I had read the story of Job, 
in the Morals of S. Gregory (our Lord seems to have pre 
pared me thereby) ; and that I had begun the practice of 
prayer, so that I might bear it all, conforming my will to 
the will of God. All my conversation was with God. I had 
continually these words of Job in my thoughts and in my 
mouth : "If we have received good things of the hand of our 
Lord, why should we not receive evil things?" 2 This seemed 
to give me courage. 

17. The feast of our Lady, in August, came round; from 
April until then I had been in great pain, but more especially 
during the last three months. I made haste to go to con 
fession, for I had always been very fond of frequent con 
fession. They thought I was driven by the fear of death ; 

1 Ch. iv. 6. 2 Job. ii. 10. 


and so my father, in order to quiet me, would not suffer me 
to go. Oh, the unreasonable love of flesh and blood ! Though 
it was that of a father so Catholic and so wise he was very 
much so, and this act of his could not be the effect of any 
ignorance on his part what evil it might have done me ! 

18. That very night my sickness became so acute, that 
for about four days I remained insensible. They administered 
the Sacrament of the last Anointing, and every hour, or rather 
every moment, thought I was dying; they did nothing but 
repeat the Credo, as if I could have understood anything they 
said. They must have regarded me as dead more than once, 
for I found afterwards drops of wax on my eyelids. My 
father, because he had not allowed me to go to confession, 
was grievously distressed. Loud cries and many prayers 
were made to God : blessed be He who heard them. 

19. For a day and a half the grave was open in my 
monastery, waiting for my body; 1 and the friars of our Order, 
in a house at some distance from this place, performed funeral 
solemnities. But it pleased our Lord I should come to my 
self. I wished to go to confession at once. I communicated 
with many tears ; but I do not think those tears had their 
source in that pain and sorrow only for having offended 
God, which might have sufficed for my salvation unless, in 
deed, the delusion which I laboured under were some excuse 
for me, and into which I had been led by those who had 
told me that some things were not mortal sins which after 
wards I found were so certainly. 

20. Though my sufferings were unendurable, and my 
perceptions dull, yet my confession, I believe, was complete 
as to all matters wherein I understood myself to have offended 
God. This grace, among others, did His Majesty bestow on 
me, that ever since my first Communion never in confession 
have I failed to confess any thing I thought to be a sin, 
though it might be only a venial sin. But I think that un 
doubtedly my salvation was in great peril, if I had died at 
that time partly because my confessors were so unlearned, 
and partly because I was so very wicked. It is certainly true 
that when I think of it, and consider how our Lord seems 

1 Some of the nuns of the Incarnation were in the house, sent 
thither from the monastery; and, but for the father s disbelief in her 
death, would have taken her home for burial (Ribera, lib. i. ch. vii.~). 


to have raised me up from the dead, I am so filled with 
wonder, that I almost tremble with fear. 1 

21. And now, O my soul, it were well for thee to look that 
danger in the face from which our Lord delivered thee ; and 
if thou dost not cease to offend Him out of love, thou shouldst 
do so out of fear. He might have slain thee a thousand times, 
and in a far more perilous state. I believe I exaggerate noth 
ing if I say a thousand times again, though he may rebuke 
me who has commanded me to restrain myself in recounting 
my sins; and they are glossed over enough. I pray him, 
for the love of God, not to suppress one of my faults, because 
herein shines forth the magnificence of God, as well as His 
long-suffering towards souls. May He be blessed for ever 
more, and destroy me utterly, rather than let me cease to love 
Him any more! 



1. AFTER those four days, during which I was insensible, 
so great was my distress, that our Lord alone knoweth the 
intolerable sufferings I endured. My tongue was bitten to 
pieces ; there was a choking in my throat because I had taken 
nothing, and because of my weakness, so that I could not 
swallow even a drop of water; all my bones seemed to be 
out of joint, and the disorder of my head was extreme. I 
was bent together like a coil of ropes for to this was I 
brought by the torture of those days unable to move either 
arm, or foot, or hand, or head, any more than if I had been 
dead, unless others moved me ; I could move, however, I 
think, one finger of my right hand. Then, as to touching 
me, that was impossible, for I was so bruised that I could 
not endure it. They used to move me in a sheet, one hold- 

1 Ribera, lib. i. ch. vii., says he heard Fra Banes, in a sermon, say 
that the Saint told him she had, during these four days, seen hell in 
a vision. And the Chronicler says that though there was bodily ill 
ness, yet it was a trance of the soul at the same time (vol. i. lib. 
i. ch. xii. 3"). 


ing one end, and another the other. This lasted till Palm Sun 
day. 1 

2. The only comfort I had was this, if no one came near 
me, my pains frequently ceased; and then, because I had a 
little rest, I considered myself well, for I was afraid my 
patience would fail : and thus I was exceedingly happy when 
I saw myself free from those pains which were so sharp and 
constant, though in the cold fits of an intermittent fever, 
which were most violent, they were still unendurable. My 
dislike of food was very great. 

3. I was now so anxious to return to my monastery, 
that I had myself conveyed thither in the state I was in. There 
they received alive one whom they had waited for as dead ; 
but her body was worse than dead : the sight of it could only 
give pain. It is impossible to describe my extreme weakness, 
for I was nothing but bones. I remained in this state, as I 
have already said, 2 more than eight months ; and was para 
lytic, though getting better, for about three years. I praised 
God when I began to crawl on my hands and knees. I bore 
all this with great resignation, and, if I except the beginning 
of my illness, with great joy; for all this was as nothing 
in comparison with the pains and tortures I had to bear at 
first. I was resigned to the will of God, even if He left me 
in this state for ever. My anxiety about the recovery of my 
health seemed to be grounded on my desire to pray in soli 
tude, as I had been taught ; for there were no means of doing 
so in the infirmary. I went to confession most frequently, 
spoke much about God, and in such a way as to edify every 
one; and they all marvelled at the patience which our Lord 
gave me for if it had not come from the hand of His Majesty, 
it seemed impossible to endure so great an affliction with so 
great a joy. 

1 March 25, 1537. 

2 Ch. v. 17. The Saint left her monastery in 1535; and in the 
spring of 1536 went from her sister s house to Bezadas; and in July 
of that year was brought back to her father s house in Avila, wherein 
she remained till Palm Sunday, 1537, when she returned to the 
monastery of the Incarnation. She had been seized with paralysis 
there, and laboured under it nearly three years, from 1536 to 1539, 
when she was miraculously healed through the intercession of S. 
Joseph (Holland, n. 100, 101). The dates of the Chronicler are different 
from these. 


4. It was a great thing for me to have had the grace 
of prayer which God had wrought in me ; it made me under 
stand what it is to love Him. In a little while, I saw these 
virtues renewed within me; still they were not strong, for 
they were not sufficient to sustain me in justice. I never 
spoke ill in the slightest degree whatever of any one, and my 
ordinary practice was to avoid all detraction ; for I used to keep 
most carefully in mind that I ought not to assent to, nor say 
of another, any thing I should not like to have said of my 
self. I was extremely careful to keep this resolution on all 
occasions ; though not so perfectly, upon some great occasions 
that presented themselves, as not to break it sometimes. But 
my ordinary practice was this : and thus those who were 
about me, and those with whom I conversed, became so con 
vinced it was right, that they adopted it as a habit. It came 
to be understood that where I was, absent persons were safe ; 
so they were also with my friends and kindred, and with those 
whom I instructed. Still, for all this, I have a strict account 
to give unto God for the bad example I gave in other respects. 
May it please His Majesty to forgive me for I have been the 
cause of much evil ; though not with intentions as perverse 
as were the acts that followed. 

5. The longing for solitude remained, and I loved to dis 
course and speak of God ; for if I found any one with whom I 
could do so, it was a greater joy and satisfaction to me than 
all the refinements or rather, to speak more correctly, the real 
rudeness of the world s conversation. I communicated and 
confessed more frequently still, and desired to do so; I w r as 
extremely fond of reading good books ; I was most deeply 
penitent for having offended God ; and I remember that very 
often I did not dare to pray, because I was afraid of that most 
bitter anguish which I felt for having offended God, dreading 
it as a great chastisement. This gre\v upon me afterwards 
to so great a degree, that I know of no torment wherewith 
to compare it ; and yet it was neither more nor less because 
of any fear I had at any time, for it came upon me only when 
I remembered the consolations of our Lord which He gave 
me in prayer, the great debt I owed Him, the evil return I 
made; I could not bear it. I was also extremely angry with 
myself on account of the many tears I shed for my faults, 
when I saw how little I improved, seeing that neither my 
good resolutions, nor the pains I took, were sufficient to keep 

30 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [cil. VI. 

me from falling whenever I had the opportunity. I looked 
on my tears as a delusion ; and my faults, therefore, I regarded 
as the more grievous, because I saw the great goodness of 
our Lord to me in the shedding of those tears, and together 
with them such deep compunction. 

6. I took care to go to confession as soon as I could ; 
and, as I think, did all that was possible on my part to return 
to a state of grace. But the whole evil lay in my not thor 
oughly avoiding the occasions of sin, and in my confessors, 
who helped me so little. If they had told me that I was travel 
ling on a dangerous road, and that I was bound to abstain 
from those conversations, I believe, without any doubt, that 
the matter would have been remedied, because I could not 
bear to remain even for one day in mortal sin, if I knew it. 

7. All these tokens of the fear of God came to me through 
prayer; and the greatest of them was this, that fear was 
swallowed up of love, for I never thought of chastisement. 
All the time I was so ill, my strict watch over my conscience 
reached to all that is mortal sin. 

8. O my God! I wished for health, that I might serve 
Thee better; that was the cause of all my ruin. For when 
I saw how hopeless I was through paralysis, being still so 
young, and how the physicians of this world had dealt with 
me, I determined to ask those of heaven to heal me for I 
wished, nevertheless, to be well, though I bore my illness with 
great joy. Sometimes, too, I used to think that if I recovered 
my health, and yet were lost for ever, I was better as I was. 
But, for all that, I thought I might serve God much better 
if I were w r ell. This is our delusion : we do not resign our 
selves absolutely to the disposition of our Lord, who knows 
best what is for our good. 

9. I began by having Masses and prayers said for my 
intention prayers that were highly sanctioned; for I never 
liked those other devotions which some people, especially 
women, make use of with a ceremoniousness to me intolerable, 
but which move them to be devout. I have been given to 
understand since that they were unseemly and superstitious ; 
and I took for my patron and lord the glorious S. Joseph, 
and recommended myself earnestly to him. I saw clearly 
that both out of this my present trouble, and out of others 
of greater importance, relating to my honour and the loss 
of my soul, this my father and lord delivered me, and rendered 


me greater services than I knew how to ask for. I cannot 
call to mind that I have ever asked him at any time for any 
thing which he has not granted ; and I am filled with amaze 
ment when I consider the great favours which God hath given 
me through this blessed Saint; the dangers from which he 
hath delivered me, both of body and of soul. To other Saints, 
our Lord seems to have given grace to succour men in some 
special necessity ; but to this glorious Saint, I know by ex 
perience, to help us in all : and our Lord would have us under 
stand that, as He was Himself subject to him upon earth, 
for S. Joseph having the title of father, and being His guardian, 
could command Him, so now in heaven He performs all 
his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves 
to S. Joseph, and they too know this by experience ; and there 
are many who are now of late devout to him, 1 having had 
experience of this truth. 

10. I used to keep his feast with all the solemnity I 
could, but with more vanity than spirituality, seeking rather 
too much splendour and effect, and yet with good intentions. 
I had this evil in me, that if our Lord gave me grace to do 
any good, that good became full of imperfections and of many 
faults ; but as for doing wrong, the indulgence of curiosity 
and vanity, I was very skillful and active therein. Our Lord 
forgive me ! 

11. Would that I could persuade all men to be devout 
to this glorious Saint ; for I know by long experience what 
blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known 
any one who was really devout to him, and who honoured 
him by particular services, who did not visibly grow more 
and more in virtue ; for he helps in a special way those souls 
who commend themselves to him. It is now some years since 
I have always on his feast asked him for something, and I 
always have it. If the petition be in any way amiss, he di 
rects it aright for my greater good. 

1 Of the devotion to S. Joseph, F. Faber (The Blessed Sacrament, 
bk. ii. p. 199, 3d ed.) says that it took its rise in the west, in a 
confraternity in Avignon. "Then it spread over the Church. Gerson 
was raised up to be its doctor and theologian, and S. Teresa to be 
its Saint, and S. Francis of Sales to be its popular teacher and 
missionary. The houses of Carmel were like the holy house of 
Nazareth to it; and the colleges of the Jesuits, its peaceful sojourns 
in dark Egypt." 


12. If I were a person who had authority to write, it 
would be a pleasure to me to be diffusive in speaking most 
minutely of the graces which this glorious Saint has obtained 
for me and for others. But that I may not go beyond the 
commandment that is laid upon me, I must in many things 
be more brief than I could wish, and more diffusive than is 
necessary in others; for, in short, I am a person who, in all 
that is good, has but little discretion. But I ask, for the love 
of God, that he who does not believe me will make the trial 
for himself, when he will see by experience the great good 
that results from commending oneself to this glorious pa 
triarch, and being devout to him. Those who give them 
selves to prayer should in a special manner have always a 
devotion to S. Joseph ; for I know not how any man can think 
of the Queen of the angels, during the time that she suffered 
so much with the Infant Jesus, without giving thanks to S. 
Joseph for the services he rendered them then. He who can 
not find any one to teach him how to pray, let him take this 
glorious Saint for his master, and he will not wander out 
of the way. 

13. May it please our Lord that I have not done amiss 
in venturing to speak about S. Joseph ; for, though I publicly 
profess my devotion to him, I have always failed in my service 
to him and imitation of him. He was like himself when he 
made me able to rise and walk, no longer a paralytic; and I, 
too, am like myself when I make so bad a use of this grace. 

14. Who could have said that I was so soon to fall, after 
such great consolations from God after His Majesty had 
implanted virtues in me which of themselves made me serve 
Him after I had been, as it were, dead, and in such extreme 
peril of eternal damnation after He had raised me up, soul 
and body, so that all who saw me marvelled to see me alive? 
What can it mean, O my Lord? The life we live is so full 
of danger! While I am writing this, and it seems to me, 
too, by Thy grace and mercy, I may say with S. Paul, though 
not so truly as he did: "It is not I who live now; but Thou, 
my Creator, livest in me." 1 For some years past so it seems 
to me Thou hast held me by the hand; and I see in myself 
desires and resolutions in some measure tested by experience 
in many ways during that time never to do any thing, how- 

1 Galat ii. 20. 


ever slight it may be, contrary to Thy will, though I must 
have frequently offended Thy Divine Majesty without being- 
aware of it; and I also think that nothing can be proposed 
to me that I should not with great resolution undertake for 
Thy love. In some things, Thou hast Thyself helped me to 
succeed therein. I love neither the world nor the things of 
the world ; nor do I believe that any thing that does not come 
from Thee can give me pleasure; every thing else seems to 
me a heavy cross. 

15. Still, I may easily deceive myself, and it may be that 
( am not what I say I am ; but Thou knowest, O my Lord, 
that, to the best of my knowledge, I lie not. I am afraid, and 
with good reason, lest Thou shouldst abandon me ; for I know 
now how far my strength and little virtue can reach, if Thou 
be not ever at hand to supply them, and to help me never to 
forsake Thee. May His Majesty grant that I be not forsaken 
of Thee even now, when I am thinking all this of myself ! 

16. I know not how we can wish to live, seeing that 
every thing is so uncertain. Once, O Lord, I thought it im 
possible to forsake Thee so utterly ; and now that I have 
forsaken Thee so often, I cannot help being afraid ; for when 
Thou didst withdraw but a little from me, I fell down to 
the ground at once. Blessed for ever be Thou ! Though I 
have forsaken Thee, Thou hast not forsaken me so utterly 
but that Thou hast come again and raised me up, giving me 
Thy hand always. Very often, O Lord, I would not take 
it : very often I would not listen when Thou wert calling 
me again, as I am going to show. 




1. So, then, going on from pastime to pastime, from 
vanity to vanity, from one occasion of sin to another, I began 
to expose myself exceedingly to the very greatest dangers : 
my soul was so distracted by many vanities, that I was 
ashamed to draw near unto God in an act of such special 


friendship as that of prayer. 1 As my sins multiplied, I began 
to lose the pleasure and comfort I had in virtuous things: 
and that loss contributed to the abandonment of prayer. I 
see now most clearly, O my Lord, that this comfort departed 
from me because I had departed from Thee. 

2. It was the most fearful delusion into which Satan 
could plunge me to give up prayer under the pretence of 
humility. I began to be afraid of giving myself to prayer, 
because I saw myself so lost. I thought it would be better 
for me, seeing that in my wickedness I was one of the most 
wicked, to live like the multitude to say the prayers which 
I was bound to say, and that vocally ; not to practise mental 
prayer nor commune with God so much ; for I deserved to 
be with the devils, and was deceiving those who were about 
me, because I made an outward show of goodness; and 
therefore the community in which I dwelt is not to be 
blamed ; for with my cunning I so managed matters, that 
all had a good opinion of me ; and yet I did not seek this 
deliberately by simulating devotion ; for in all that relates 
to hypocrisy and ostentation glory be to God ! I do not 
remember that I ever offended Him, 2 so far as I know. The 
very first movements herein gave me such pain, that the 
devil would depart from me with loss, and the gain remained 
with me; and thus, accordingly, he never tempted me much 
in this way. Perhaps, however, if God had permitted Satan 
to tempt me as sharply herein as he tempted me in other 
things, I should have fallen also into this; but His Majesty 
has preserved me until now. May He be blessed for ever 
more ! It was rather a heavy affliction to me that I should 
be thought so well of ; for I knew my own secret. 

3. The reason why they thought I was not so wicked 
was this : they saw that I, who was so young, and exposed 
to so many occasions of sin, withdrew myself so often into 
solitude for prayer, read much, spoke of God, that I liked 
to have His image painted in many places, to have an oratory 
of my own, and furnish it with objects of devotion, that I 
spoke ill of no one, and other things of the same kind in 
me which have the appearance of virtue. Yet all the while 
I was so vain I knew how to procure respect for my- 

1 See Way of Perfection, ch. xl.; but ch. xxv. of the former editions. 

2 See Relation, i. 18. 


self by doing- those things which in the world are usually 
regarded with respect. 

4. In consequence of this, they gave me as much liberty 
as they did to the oldest nuns, and even more, and had 
great confidence in me ; for as to taking- any liberty for my 
self, or doing any thing without leave, such as conversing 
through the door, or in secret, or by night, I do not think 
I could have brought myself to speak with any body in the 
monastery in that way, and I never did it; for our Lord 
held me back. It seemed to me for I considered many things 
carefully and of set purpose that it would be a very evil 
deed on my part, wicked as I was, to risk the credit of so 
many nuns, who were all good, as if every thing else I did 
was well done! In truth, the evil I did was not the result 
of deliberation, as this would have been, if I had done it, 
although it was too much so. 

5. Therefore, I think that it did me much harm to be 
in a monastery not enclosed. The liberty which those who 
were good might have with advantage they not being 
obliged to do more than they do, because they had not 
bound themselves to enclosure would certainly have led 
me, who am wicked, straight to hell, if our Lord, by so 
many remedies and means of His most singular mercy, had 
not delivered me out of that . danger, and it is, I believe, 
the very greatest danger, namely, a monastery of women 
unenclosed, yea, more, I think it is, for those who will be 
wicked, a road to hell, rather than a help to their weakness. 
This is not to be understood of my monastery ; for there 
are so many there who in the utmost sincerity, and in great 
perfection, serve our Lord, so that His Majesty, according 
to His goodness, cannot but be gracious unto them ; neither 
is it one of those which are most open ; for all religious 
observances are kept in it : and I am speaking only of others 
which I have seen and known. 

6. I am exceedingly sorry for these houses, because our 
Lord must of necessity send His special inspirations not 
merely once, but many times, if the nuns therein are to be 
saved, seeing that the honours and amusements of the 
world are allowed among them, and the obligations of their 
state are so ill-understood. God grant they may not count 
that to be virtue which is sin, as I did so often! It is very 
difficult to make people understand this ; it is necessary our 


Lord Himself should take the matter seriously into liis own 

7. If parents would take my advice, now that they are 
at no pains to place their daughters where they may walk 
in the way of salvation without incurring a greater risk than 
they would do if they were left in the world, let them look 
at least at that which concerns their good name. Let them 
marry them to persons of a much lower degree, rather than 
place them in monasteries of this kind, unless they he of 
extremely good inclinations, and God grant that these in 
clinations may come to good! or let them keep them at 
home. If they will be wicked at home, their evil life can 
be hidden only for a short time; but in monasteries it can 
be hidden long, and, in the end, it is our Lord that discovers 
it. They injure not only themselves, but all the nuns also. 
And all the while the poor things are not in fault; for they 
walk in the way that is shown them. Many of them are to 
be pitied; for they wished to withdraw from the world, 
and, thinking to escape from the dangers of it, and that they 
Avere going to serve our Lord, have found themselves in ten 
worlds at once, without knowing what to do, or how to help 
themselves. Youth and sensuality and the devil invite them 
and incline them to follow certain ways which are of the 
essence of worldliness. They .see these ways, so to speak, 
considered as safe there. 

8. Now, these seem to me to be in some degree like 
those wretched heretics who will make themselves blind, 
and who will consider that which they do to be good, and 
so believe, but without really believing; for they have within 
themselves something that tells them it is wrong. 

9. Oh, what utter ruin ! utter ruin of religious persons 
I am not speaking now more of women than of men 
where the rules of the Order are not kept ; where the same 
monastery offers two roads : one of virtue and observance, 
the other of inobservance, and both equally frequented ! I 
have spoken incorrectly : they are not equally frequented ; 
for, on account of our sins, the way of the greatest imper 
fection is the most frequented ; and because it is the broadest, 
it is also the most in favour. The way of religious observance 
is so little used, that the friar and the nun who would really 
begin to follow their vocation thoroughly have reason to 
fear the members of their communities more than all the 


devils together. They must be more cautious, and dissemble 
more, when they would speak of that friendship with God 
which they desire to have, than when they would speak of 
those friendships and affections which the devil arranges in 
monasteries. I know not why \ve are astonished that the 
Church is in so much trouble, when we see those, who ought 
to be an example of every virtue to others, so disfigure the 
work which the spirit of the Saints departed wrought in their 
Orders. May it please His Divine Majesty to apply a remedy 
to this, as He sees it to be needful ! Amen. 

10. So, then, when I began to indulge in these conver 
sations, I did not think, seeing they were customary, that 
my soul must be injured and dissipated, as I afterwards 
found it must be, by such conversations. I thought that, as 
receiving visits was so common in many monasteries, no more 
harm would befall me thereby than befell others, whom I 
knew to be good. I did not observe that they were much 
better than I was, and that an act which was perilous for me 
was not so perilous for them ; and yet I have no doubt there 
was some danger in it, were it nothing else but a waste of 

11. I was once with a person, it was at the very 
beginning of my acquaintance with her, when our Lord was 
pleased to show me that these friendships were not good for 
me : to warn me, also, and in my blindness, which was so 
great, to give me light. Christ stood before me, stern and 
grave, giving me to understand what in my conduct was 
offensive to Him. I saw Him with the eyes of the soul more 
distinctly than I could have seen Him with the eyes of the 
body. The vision made so deep an impression upon me, 
that, though it is more than twenty-six years ago, 1 I seem 
to see Him present even now. I was greatly astonished 
and disturbed, and I resolved not to see that person again. 

12. It did me much harm that I did not then know it 
was possible to see any thing otherwise than with the eyes 
of the body ; 2 so did Satan too, in that he helped me to think 
so : he made me understand it to be impossible, and suggested 

1 A. D. 1537, when the Saint was twenty-two years old (Bouix}. 
This passage, therefore, must be one of the additions to the second 
Life; for the first was written in 1562, twenty-five years only after the 

2 See ch. xxvii. 3. 


that I had imagined the vision that it might be Satan him 
self and other suppositions of that kind. For all this, the 
impression remained with me that the vision was from God, 
and not an imagination ; but, as it was not to my liking, I 
forced myself to lie to myself; and as I did not dare to dis 
cuss the matter with any one, and as great importunity was 
used, I went back to my former conversation with the same 
person, and with others also, at different times ; for I was 
assured that there was no harm in seeing such a person, and 
that I gained, instead of losing, reputation by doing so. I 
spent many years in this pestilent amusement ; for it never 
appeared to me, when I was engaged in it, to be so bad as 
it really was, though at times I saw clearly it was not 
good. But no one caused me the same distraction which 
that person did of whom I am speaking; and that was be 
cause I had a great affection for her. 

13. At another time, when I was with that person, we 
saw, both of us, and others who were present also saw, some 
thing like a great toad crawling towards us, more rapidly 
than such a creature is in the habit of crawling. I cannot 
understand how a reptile of that kind could, in the middle 
of the day, have come forth from that place; it never had 
done so before ; x but the impression it made on me was such, 
that I think it must have had a meaning; neither have I ever 
forgotten it. Oh, the greatness of God! with what care and 
tenderness didst Thou warn me in every way ! and how little 
I profited by those warnings ! 

14. There was in that house a nun, who was related to 
me, now grown old, a great servant of God, and a strict 
observer of the rule. She too warned me from time to time; 
but I not only did not listen to her, but was even offended, 
thinking she was scandalised without cause. I have men 
tioned this in order that my wickedness and the great good 
ness of God might be understood, and to show how much I de 
served hell for ingratitude so great, and, moreover, if it should 
be our Lord s will and pleasure that any nun at any time should 
read this, that she might take warning by me. I beseech 
them all, for the love of our Lord, to flee from such recreations 
as these. 

1 In the parlour of the monastery of the Incarnation, Avila, a 
painting of this is preserved to this day (De la Fuente). 


15. May His Majesty grant I may undeceive some one 
of the many I led astray when I told them there was no harm 
in these things, and assured them there was no such great 
danger therein. I did so because I was blind myself; for 
I would not deliberately lead them astray. By the bad 
example I set before them, I spoke of this before, 1 I was 
the occasion of much evil, not thinking I was doing so much 

16. In those early days, when I was ill, and before I 
knew how to be of use to myself, I had a very strong desire 
to further the progress of others : 2 a most common tempta 
tion of beginners. With me, however, it had good results. 
Loving my father so much, I longed to see him in the posses 
sion of that good which I seemed to derive myself from 
prayer. I thought that in this life there could not be a greater 
good than prayer; and so, by roundabout ways, as well as 
I could, I contrived to make him enter upon it; I gave him 
books for that end. As he was so good, I said so before, 3 
this exercise took such a hold upon him, that in five or 
six years, I think it was, he made so great a progress that 
I used to praise our Lord for it. It was a very great con 
solation to me. He had most grievous trials of diverse kinds ; 
and he bore them all with the greatest resignation. He 
came often to see me ; for it was a comfort to him to speak 
of the things of God. 

17. And now that I had become so dissipated, and had 
ceased to pray, and yet saw that he still thought I was what 
I used to be, I could not endure it, and so undeceived him. 
I had been a year and more without praying, thinking it an 
act of greater humility to abstain. This I shall speak of 
it again 4 was the greatest temptation I ever had, because 
it very nearly wrought my utter ruin ; 5 for, when I used to 
pray, if I offended God one day, on the following days I 
would recollect myself, and withdraw farther from the occa 
sions of sin. 

18. When that blessed man, having that good opinion 
of me, came to visit me, it pained me to see him so deceived 
as to think that I used to pray to God as before. So I told 
him that I did not pray; but I did not tell him why. I put 

1 Ch. vi. 4. 2 See Inner Fortress, v. Hi. 1. 8 Ch. i. 1. 

4 Ch. xix. 9, 17. 8 See 2, above. 


my infirmities forward as an excuse; for though I had 
recovered from that which was so troublesome, I have alwa}^s 
been weak, even very much so; and though my infirmities 
are somewhat less troublesome now than they were, they 
still afflict me in many ways : specially, I have been suffer 
ing for twenty years from sickness every morning, 1 so that 
I could not take any food till past midday, and even occa 
sionally not till later; and now, since my Communions have 
become more frequent, it is at night, before I lie down to 
rest, that the sickness occurs, and with greater pain ; for I 
have to bring it on with a feather, or other means. If I do 
not bring it on, I suffer more ; and thus I am never, I believe, 
free from great pain, which is sometimes very acute, 
especially about the heart; though the fainting-fits are now 
but of rare occurrence. I am also, these eight years past, 
free from the paralysis, and from other infirmities of fever, 
which I had so often. These afflictions I now regard so lightly, 
that I am even glad of them, believing that our Lord in 
some degree takes His pleasure in them. 

19. My father believed me when I gave him that for 
a reason, as he never told a lie himself; neither should I 
have done so, considering the relation we were in. I told 
him, in order to be the more easily believed, that it was 
much for me to be able to attend in choir, though I saw 
clearly that this was no excuse whatever; neither, however, 
was it a sufficient reason for giving up a practice which does 
not require, of necessity, bodily strength, but only love and 
a habit thereof ; yet our Lord always furnishes an opportunity 
for it, if we but seek it. I say always; for though there 
may be times, as in illness, and from other causes, when 
we cannot be much alone, yet it never can be but there must 
be opportunities when our strength is sufficient for the pur 
pose ; and in sickness itself, and amidst other hindrances, 
true prayer consists, when the soul loves, in offering up its 
burden, and in thinking of Him for whom it suffers, and 
in the resignation of the will, and in a thousand ways which 
then present themselves. It is under the:e circumstances 
that love exerts itself; for it is not necessarily prayer when 
we are alone ; and neither is it not prayer when we are not. 

20. With a little care, we may find great blessings on 

1 See ch. xi. 26; Inner Fortress, vi. i. 8. 


those occasions when our Lord, by means of afflictions, 
deprives us of time for prayer; and so I found it when I had 
a good conscience. But my father, having that opinion of 
me which he had, and because of the love he bore me, believed 
all I told him; moreover, he was sorry for me; and as he 
had now risen to great heights of prayer himself, he never 
remained with me long; for when he had seen me, he went 
his way, saying that he was wasting his time. As I was 
wasting it in other vanities, I cared little about this. 

21. My father w^as not the only person whom I pre 
vailed upon to practice prayer, though I was walking in 
vanity myself. When I saw persons fond of reciting their 
prayers, I showed them how to make a meditation, and 
helped them and gave them books; for from the time I 
began myself to pray, as I said before, 1 I always had a desire 
that others should serve God. I thought now that I did not 
myself serve our Lord according to the light I had, that the 
knowledge His Majesty had given me ought not to be lost, and 
that others should serve Him for me. 2 I say this in order to 
explain the great blindness I was in: going to ruin myself, 
and labouring to save others. 

22. At this time, that illness befell my father of which 
he died; 3 it lasted some days. I went to nurse him, being 
more sick in spirit than he was in body, owing to my many 
vanities, though not, so far as I know, to the extent of 
being in mortal sin, through the whole of that wretched 
time of which I am speaking; for, if I knew myself to be in 
mortal sin, I would not have continued in it on any account. 
I suffered much myself during his illness. I believe I rendered 
him some service in return for what he had suffered in mine. 
Though I was very ill, I did violence to myself; and though 
in losing him I was to lose all the comfort and good of my 
life, he was all this to me, I was so courageous, that I 
never betrayed my sorrows, concealing them till he was dead, 
as if I felt none at all. It seemed as if my very soul were 
wrenched when I saw him at the point of death my love 
for him w r as so deep. 

23. It was a matter for which we ought to praise our 
Lord the death that he died, and the desire he had to die; 

1 16. * See Inner Fortress, v. iii. 1. 

8 In 1541, when the Saint was twenty-five years of age (Boiti.r}. 


so also was the advice he gave us after the last anointing, 
how he charged us to recommend him to God, and to prav 
for mercy for him, how he bade us serve God always, and 
consider how all things come to an end. He told us with 
tears how sorry he was that he had not served Him himself; 
for he wished he was a friar I mean, that he had been one 
in the strictest Order that is. I have a most assured con 
viction that our Lord, some fifteen days before, had revealed 
to him he was not to live; for up to that time, though very 
ill, he did not think so; but now, though he was somewhat 
better, and the physicians said so, he gave no heed to them, 
but employed himself in the ordering of his soul. 

24. His chief suffering consisted in a most acute pain 
of the shoulders, which never left him: it was so sharp at 
times, that it put him into great torture. I said to him, that 
as he had so great a devotion to our Lord carrying His cross 
on His shoulders, he should now think that His Majesty 
wished him to feel somewhat of that pain which He then 
suffered Himself. This so comforted him, that I do not 
think I heard him complain afterwards. 

25. He remained three days without consciousness ; but 
on the day he died, our Lord restored him so completely, 
that we were astonished : he preserved his understanding to 
the last; for in the middle of the creed, which he repeated 
himself, he died. He lay there like an angel, such he seemed 
to me, if I may say so, both in soul and disposition : he was 
very good. 

26. I know not why I have said this, unless it be for 
the purpose of showing how much the more I am to be 
blamed for my wickedness; for after seeing such a death, 
and knowing what his life had been, I, in order to be in any 
wise like unto such a father, ought to have grown better. 
His confessor, a most learned Dominican, 1 used to say that 
he had no doubt he went straight to heaven. 2 He had heard 
his confession for some years, and spoke with praise of the 
purity of his conscience. 

27. This Dominican father, who was a very good man, 
fearing God, did me a very great service ; for I confessed to 
him. He took upon himself the task of helping my soul in 

1 F. Vicente Barren (Rcforma, lib. i. ch. xv.). 

2 See ch. xxx via. 1. 


earnest, and of making me see the perilous state I was in. 1 
He sent me to Communion once a fortnight, 2 and I, by de 
grees beginning to speak to him, told him about my prayer. 
He charged me never to omit it: that, anyhow, it could not 
do me any thing but good. I began to return to it, though 
I did not cut off the occasions of sin, and never afterwards 
gave it up. My life became most wretched, because I learned 
in prayer more and more of my faults. On one side, God 
was calling me; on the other, I was following the world. 
All the things of God gave me great pleasure; and I was a 
prisoner to the things of the world. It seemed as if I wished 
to reconcile two contradictions, so much at variance one with 
another as are the life of the spirit and the joys and pleasures 
and amusements of sense. 3 

28. I suffered much in prayer; for the spirit was slave, 
and not master; and so I was not able to shut myself up 
within myself that was my whole method of prayer with 
out shutting up with me a thousand vanities at the same 
time. I spent many years in this way; and I am no\v aston 
ished that any one could have borne it without abandoning 
either the one or the other. I know well that it was not in 
my power then to give up prayer, because He held me in 
His hand who sought me that He might show me greater 

29. O my God! if I might, I would speak of the occa 
sions from which God delivered me, and how I threw my 
self into them again ; and of the risks I ran of losing utterly 
my good name, from which He delivered me. I did things 
to show what I was; and our Lord hid the evil, and revealed 
some little virtue if so be I had any and made it great in 
the eyes of all, so that they always held me in much honour. 
For although my follies came occasionally into light, people 
would not believe it when they saw other things, which 
they thought good. The reason is, that He who knoweth 
all things saw it was necessary it should be so, in order that 
I might have some credit given me by those to whom in 

1 See ch. xix. 20. 

The Spanish editor calls attention to this as a proof of great 
laxity in those days that a nun like S. Teresa should be urged to com 
municate as often as once in a fortnight. 

3 Sec ch. xiii. 7, 8. 


after years I was to speak of His service. His supreme mu 
nificence regarded not my great sins, but rather the desires 
I frequently had to please Him, and the pain I felt because I 
had not the strength to bring those desires to good effect. 

30. . O Lord of my soul ! how shall I be able to magnify 
the graces which Thou, in those years, didst bestow upon 
me? Oh, how, at the very time that I offended Thee most, 
Thou didst prepare me in a moment, by a most profound 
compunction, to taste of the sweetness of Thy consolations 
and mercies! In truth, O my King, Thou didst administer 
to me the most delicate and painful chastisement it was possi 
ble for me to bear; for Thou knewest well what would have 
given me the most pain. Thou didst chastise my sins with 
great consolations. I do not believe I am saying foolish 
things, though it may well be that I am beside myself when 
ever I call to mind my ingratitude and my wickedness. 

31. It was more painful for me, in the state I was in, 
to receive graces, when I had fallen into grievous faults, than 
it would have been to receive chastisement ; for one of those 
faults, I am sure, used to bring me low, shame and distress 
me, more than many diseases, together with many heavy 
trials, could have done. For, as to the latter, I saw that I 
deserved them; and it seemed to me that by them I was 
making some reparation for my sins, though it was but 
slight, for my sins are so many. But when I see myself 
receive graces anew, after being so ungrateful for those 
already received, that is to me and, I believe, to all who 
have any knowledge or love of God a fearful kind of tor 
ment. We may see how true this is by considering what a 
virtuous mind must be. Hence my tears and vexation when 
I reflected on what I felt, seeing myself in a condition to 
fall at every moment, though my resolutions and desires then 
I am speaking of that time were strong. 

32. It is a great evil for a soul to be alone in the midst 
of such great dangers ; it seems to me that if I had had any 
one with whom I could have spoken of all this, it might have 
helped me not to fall. I might, at least, have been ashamed 
before him and yet I was not ashamed before God. 

33. For this reason, I would advise those who give them 
selves to prayer, particularly at first, to form friendships, and 
converse familiarly, with others who are doing the same 
thing. It is a matter of the last importance, even if it lead 


only to helping one another by prayer : how much more, see 
ing that it has led to much greater gain ! Now, if in their 
intercourse one with another, and in the indulgence of human 
affections even not of the best kind, men seek friends with 
whom they may refresh themselves, and for the purpose of 
having greater satisfaction in speaking of their empty joys, 
I know no reason why it should not be lawful for him who 
is beginning to love and serve God in earnest to confide to 
another his joys and sorrows; for they who are given to 
prayer are thoroughly accustomed to both. 

34. For if that friendship with God which he desires 
be real, let him not be afraid of vain-glory; and if the first 
movements thereof assail him, he will escape from it with 
merit; and I believe that he who will discuss the matter with 
this intention will profit both himself and those who hear 
him, and thus will derive more light for his own understand 
ing, as well as for the instruction of his friends. He who 
in discussing his method of prayer falls into vain-glory will 
do so also when he hears Mass devoutly, if he is seen of men, 
and in doing other good works, which must be done under 
pain of being no Christian ; and yet these things must not 
be omitted through fear of vain-glory. 

35. Moreover, it is a most important matter for those 
souls who are not strong in virtue ; for they have so many 
people, enemies as well as friends, to urge them the wrong 
way, that I do not see how this point is capable of exaggera 
tion. It seems to me that Satan has employed this artifice, 
and it is of the greatest service to him, namely, that men 
who really wish to love and please God should hide the fact, 
while others, at his suggestion, make open show of their 
malicious dispositions; and this is so common, that it seems 
a matter of boasting now, and the offences committed against 
God are thus published abroad. 

36. I do not know whether the things I am saying are 
foolish or not. If they be so, your reverence \vill strike them 
out. I entreat you to help my simplicity by adding a good 
deal to this, because the things that relate to the service of 
God are so feebly managed, that it is necessary for those 
who would serve Him to join shoulder to shoulder, if they 
are to advance at all ; for it is considered safe to live amidst 
the vanities and pleasures of the world, and few there be 
who regard them with unfavourable eyes. Hut if any one 


begins to give himself up to the service of God, there are so 
many to find fault with him, that it becomes necessary for 
him to seek companions, in order that he may find protec 
tion among them till he grows strong enough not to feel 
what he may be made to suiter. If he does not, he will find 
himself in great straits. 

37. This, I believe, must have been the reason why 
some of the Saints withdrew into the desert. And it is a 
kind of humility in man not to trust to himself, but to believe 
that God will help him in his relations with those with whom 
he converses ; and charity grows by being diffused ; and there 
are a thousand blessings herein which I would not dare to 
speak of, if I had not known by experience the great impor 
tance of it. It is very true that I am the most wicked and 
the basest of all who are born of women; but I believe that 
lie who, humbling himself, though strong, yet trusteth not 
in himself, and believeth another who in this matter has had 
experience, will lose nothing. Of myself I may say that, if 
our Lord had not revealed to me this truth, and given me 
the opportunity of speaking very frequently to persons given 
to prayer, I should have gone on falling and rising till I 
tumbled into hell. I had many friends to help me to fall; 
but as to rising again, I was so much left to myself, that I 
wonder now I was not always on the ground. I praise God 
for His mercy ; for it was He only who stretched out His 
hand to me. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. 




1. IT is not without reason that I have dwelt so long on 
this portion of my life. I see clearly that it will give no one 
pleasure to see any thing so base ; and certainly I wish those 
who may read this to have me in abhorrence, as a soul so 
obstinate and so ungrateful to Him who did so much for me. 
I could wish, too, I had permission to say how often at this 
time I failed in my duty to God because I was not leaning 


Hye Hoys, del. 

1. Church of Saint Juan. 2. Font used at the baptism of Saint Teresa. 
3. Mural painting and inscription describing- this ceremony. 4. Houses of the mar 
quises of Almaza, of the counts of Superunda, and of the counts of Onate; Plazuela 
de los Cepedas. 5. Entrance to a house near the Gate Saint Vincent with the 
armorial bearings upon its facade, of the family of del Aguila, related to Saint 
Teresa. 6. Patio or interior court of this house. 7. Ruins of the monument of 
"The Four Columns." 8. Part of the garden of her father s house, now annexed 
to the monastery of Discalced Carmelites. 9. Church Mosen Rubi de Bracamonte. 


Bru^ee, P. Raoux, Sc 

10. Tombstone of Juan de Ovalle y Godinez; of Juana de Ahumada, his wife, sister 
of Saint Teresa, and of their son Gonsalo, in the church of the Carmelites at Alba. 

11. Sepulchral stone of lago Misia y Cepeda, relative of Saint Teresa, in the church 
of the Discalced Carmelites at Avila. 12. Arms of Leo X., Pope at the time of the 
Saint s birth. 13. Arms of Juana, Queen of Spain, the last sovereign of the Spanish 
dynasty. 14. Arms of Blasco Nunez Vela, relative of Saint Teresa. 15. Arms of 
the del Aguila family. (See Appendix, note 3.) 


on the strong pillar of prayer. I passed nearly twenty years 
on this stormy sea, falling and rising, but rising to no good 
purpose, seeing that I went and fell again. My life was one 
of perfection ; but it was so mean, that I scarcely made any 
account whatever of venial sins; and though of mortal sins 
I was afraid, I was not so afraid of them as I ought to have 
been, because I did not avoid the perilous occasions of them. 
I may say that it was the most painful life that can be imag 
ined, because I had no sweetness in God, and no pleasure in 
the world. 

2. When I was in the midst of the pleasures of the world, 
the remembrance of what I owed to God made me sad; and 
when I was praying to God, my worldly affections disturbed 
me. This is so painful a struggle, that I know not how I could 
have borne it for a month, let alone for so many years. 
Nevertheless, I can trace distinctly the great mercy of our 
Lord to me, while thus immersed in the world, in that I had 
still the courage to pray. I say courage, because I know of 
nothing in the whole world which requires greater courage 
than plotting treason against the King, knowing that He 
knows it, and yet never withdrawing from His presence ; for, 
granting that we are always in the presence of God, yet it 
seems to me that those who pray are in His presence in a very 
different sense : for they, as it were, see that lie is looking 
upon them ; while others may be for days together without 
even once recollecting that God sees them. 

3. It is true, indeed, that during these years there were 
many months, and, I believe, occasionally a whole year, in 
which I so kept guard over myself that I did not offend our 
Lord, gave myself much to prayer, and took some pains, and 
that successfully, not to offend Him. I speak of this now, 
because all I am saying is strictly true ; but I remember very 
little of those good days, and so they must have been few ; 
while my evil days were many. Still, the days that passed over 
without my spending a great part of them in prayer were 
few, unless I was very ill, or very much occupied. 

4. When I was ill, I was well with God. I contrived 
that those about me should be so too, and I made supplica 
tions to our Lord for this grace, and spoke frequently of 
Him. Thus, with the exception of that year of which I have 
been speaking, during eight-and-twenty years of prayer I 
spent more than eighteen in that strife and contention which 


arose out of my attempts to reconcile God and the world. 
As to the other years, of which I have now to speak, in 
them the grounds of the warfare, though it was not slight, 
were changed ; but inasmuch as I was at least, I think so 
serving God, and aware of the vanity of the world, all has 
been pleasant, as I shall show hereafter. 1 

5. The reason, then, of my telling this at so great a 
length is that, as I have just said, 2 the mercy of God and 
my ingratitude, on the one hand, may become known ; and, 
on the other, that men may understand how great is the good 
which God works in a soul when He gives it a disposition 
to pray in earnest, though it may not be so well prepared 
as it ought to be. If that soul perseveres in spite of sins, 
temptations, and relapses, brought about in a thousand ways 
by Satan, our Lord will bring it at last I am certain of 
it to the harbour of salvation, as He has brought me my 
self; for so it seems to me now. May His Majesty grant 
I may never go back and be lost ! He who gives himself to 
prayer is in possession of a great blessing, of which many 
saintly and good men have written, I am speaking of mental 
prayer, glory be to God for it; and, if they had not done so, 
I am not proud enough, though I have but little humility, to 
presume to discuss it. 

6. I may speak of that which I know by experience ; 
and so I say, let him never cease from prayer who has once 
begun it, be his life ever so wicked ; for prayer is the way 
to amend it, and without prayer such amendment will be 
much more difficult. Let him not be tempted by Satan, as 
I was, to give it up, on the pretence of humility; 3 let him 
rather believe that His words are true who says that, if we 
truly repent, and resolve never to offend Him, He will take 
us into His favour again, 4 give us the graces He gave us 
before, and occasionally even greater, if our repentance 
deserve it. And as to him who has not begun to pray, I 
implore him by the love of our Lord not to deprive himself 
of so great a good. 

7. Herein there is nothing to be afraid of, but every 
thing to hope for. Granting that such a one does not ad 
vance, nor make an effort to become perfect, so as to merit 

1 Ch. ix. 10. * 1, above. 

8 Ch. vii. 17; ch. xix. 9. 4 Ezech. xviii. 21. 


the joys and consolations which the perfect receive from 
God, yet he will by little and little attain to a knowledge of 
the road which leads to heaven. And if he perseveres, I 
hope in the mercy of God for him, seeing that no one ever 
took Him for his friend that was not amply rewarded; for 
mental prayer is nothing else, in my opinion, but being on 
terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in 
secret with Him who, we know, loves us. Now, true love 
and lasting friendship require certain dispositions : those of 
our Lord, we know, are absolutely perfect; ours, vicious, 
sensual, and thankless; and you cannot, therefore, bring 
yourselves to love Him as He loves you, because you have 
not the disposition to do so; and if you do not love Him, 
yet, seeing how much it concerns you to have His friend 
ship, and how great is His love for you, rise above that pain 
you feel at being much with Him who is so different from 

8. O infinite goodness of my God ! I seem to see Thee 
and myself in this relation to one another. O Joy of the 
angels ! when I consider it, I wish I could wholly die of love ! 
How true it is that Thou endurest those who will not endure 
Thee ! Oh, how good a friend art Thou, O my Lord ! how 
Thou comfortest and endurest, and also waitest for them to 
make themselves like unto Thee, and yet, in the meanwhile, 
art Thyself so patient of the state they are in ! Thou takest 
into account the occasions during which they seek Thee, 
and for a moment of penitence forgettest their offences 
against Thyself. 

9. I have seen this distinctly in my own case, and I 
cannot tell why the whole world does not labour to draw 
near to Thee in this particular friendship. The wicked, who 
do not resemble Thee, ought to do so, in order that Thou 
mayest make them good, and for that purpose should per 
mit Thee to remain with them at least for two hours daily, 
even though they may not remain with Thee but, as I used to 
do, with a thousand distractions, and with worldly thoughts. 
In return for this violence which they offer to themselves for 
the purpose of remaining in a company so good as Thine, for 
at first they can do no more, and even afterwards at times, 
Thou, O Lord, defendest them against the assaults of evil 
spirits, whose power Thou restrainest, and even lessenest 
daily, giving to them the victory over these their enemies. 


So it is, O Life of all lives, Thou slayest none that put their 
trust in Thee, and seek Thy friendship; yea, rather, Thou 
sustainest their bodily life in greater vigour, and makest 
their soul to live. 

10. I do not understand what there can be to make 
them afraid who are afraid to begin mental prayer, nor do 

1 know what it is they dread. The devil does well to bring 
this "fear upon us, that he may really hurt us ; if, by putting 
me in fear, he can make me cease from thinking of my 
offences against God, of the great debt I owe Him, of the 
existence of heaven and hell, and of the great sorrows and 
trials He underwent for me. That was all my prayer, and 
had been, when I was in this dangerous state } and it was on 
those subjects I dwelt whenever I could; and very often, for 
some years, I was more occupied with the wish to see the end 
of the time I had appointed for myself to spend in prayer and 
in watching the hour-glass, than with other thoughts that 
were good. If a sharp penance had been laid upon me, I 
know of none that I would not very often have willingly under 
taken, rather than prepare myself for prayer by self-recol 
lection. And certainly the violence with which Satan assailed 
me was so irresistible, or my evil habits were so strong, 
that I did not betake myself to prayer; and the sadness I 
felt on entering the oratory was so great, that it required 
all the courage I had to force myself in. They say of me 
that my courage is not slight, and it is known that God has 
given me a courage beyond that of a woman ; but I have 
made a bad use of it. In the end, our Lord came to my 
help ; and then, when I had done this violence to myself, I 
found greater peace and joy than I sometimes had when I 
had a desire to pray. 

11. If, then, our Lord bore so long with me, who was 
so wicked, and it is plain that it was by prayer all my evil 
was corrected, why should any one, how wicked soever 
he may be, have any fear? Let him be ever so wicked, he 
will not remain in his wickedness so many years as I did, 
after receiving so many graces from our Lord. Is there any 
one who can despair, when He bore so long with me, only 
because I desired and contrived to find some place and some 
opportunities for Him to be alone \vith me, and that very 
often against my will? for I did violence to myself, or rather 
our Lord Himself did violence to me. 


12. If then, to those who do not serve God, but rather 
offend Him, prayer be all this, and so necessary, and if no 
one can really find out any harm it can do him, and if the 
omission of it be not a still greater harm, why then, should 
they abstain from it who serve and desire to serve God? 
Certainly I cannot comprehend it, unless it be that men have 
a mind to go through the troubles of this life in greater 
misery, and to shut the door in the face of God, so that He 
shall give them no comfort in it. I am most truly sorry for 
them, because they serve God at their own cost; for of those 
who pray, God Himself defrays the charges, seeing that for 
a little trouble He gives sweetness, in order that, by the 
help it supplies, they may bear their trials. 

13. But because I have much to say hereafter of this 
sweetness, which our Lord gives to those who persevere in 
prayer, 1 I do not speak of it here ; only this will I say : 
prayer is the door to those great graces which our Lord 
bestowed upon me. If this door be shut, I do not see how 
He can bestow them ; for even if He entered into a soul 
to take His delight therein, and to make that soul also delight 
in Him, there is no way by which He can do so ; for His 
will is, that such a soul should be lonely and pure, with a 
great desire to receive His graces. If we put many hin 
drances in the way, and take no pains whatever to remove 
them, how can He come to us, and how can we have any 
desire that He should show us His great mercies? 

14. I will speak now for it is very important to under 
stand it of the assaults which Satan directs against a soul 
for the purpose of taking it, and of the contrivances and 
compassion wherewith our Lord labours to convert it to Him 
self, in order that men may behold His mercy, and the great 
good it was for me that I did not give up prayer and spiritual 
reading, and that they may be on their guard against the 
dangers against which I was not on my guard myself. And, 
above all, I implore them for .the love of our Lord, and for 
the great love with which He goeth about seeking our con 
version to Himself, to beware of the occasions of sin; for 
once placed therein, we have no ground to rest on, so many 
enemies then assail us, and our own weakness is such, that 
we cannot defend ourselves. 

1 See ch. x. 2, and ch. xi. 22. 


15. Oh, that 1 knew how to describe the captivity of 
my soul in those days ! I understood perfectly that I was 
in captivity, but I -could not understand the nature of it; 
neither could I entirely believe that those things which 
my confessors did not make so much of were so wrong as 
I in my soul felt them to be. One of them I had gone to 
him with a scruple told me that, even if I were raised to 
high contemplation, those occasions and conversations were 
not unfitting for me. This was towards the end, when, by 
the grace of God, I was withdrawing more and more from 
those great dangers, but not wholly from the occasions of 

16. When they saw my good desires, and how I occupied 
myself in prayer, I seemed to them to have done much ; but 
my soul knew that this was not doing what I was bound 
to do for Him to whom I owed so much. I am sorry for 
my poor soul even now, because of its great sufferings, and 
the little help it had from any one except God, and for the 
wide door that man opened for it, that it might go forth 
to its pastimes and pleasures, when they said that these 
things were lawful. 

17. Then there was the torture of sermons, and that 
not a slight one ; for I was very fond of them. If I heard 
any one preach well and with unction, I felt, without my 
seeking it, a particular affection for him, neither do I know 
whence it came. Thus, no sermon ever seemed to me so 
bad, but that I listened to it with pleasure ; though, according 
to others who heard it, the preaching was not good. If it 
was a good sermon, it was to me a most special refreshment. 
To speak of God, or to hear Him spoken of, never wearied 
me. I am speaking of the time after I gave myself to prayer. 
At one time I had great comfort in sermons, at another they 
distressed me, because they made me feel that I was very 
far from being what I ought to have been. 

18. I used to pray to our Lord for help ; but, as it now 
seems to me, I must have committed the fault of not putting 
my w r hole trust in His Majesty, and of not thoroughly dis 
trusting myself. I sought for help, took great pains ; but 
it must be that I did not understand how all is of little profit 
if we do not root out all confidence in ourselves, and place 
it wholly in God. I wished to live, but I saw clearly that 
I was not living, but rather wrestling with the shadow of 

C H. IX. 


death; there was no one to give me life, and I was not able 
to take it. He who could have given it me had good reasons 
for not coming to my aid, seeing that He had brought me 
back to Himself so many times, and I as often had left Him. 



1. MY soul \vas now grown weary; and the miserable 
habits it had contracted would not suffer it to rest, though 
it was desirous of doing so. It came to pass one day, when I 
\vent into the oratory, that I sa\v a picture which they had put 
by there, and which had been procured for a certain feast 
observed in the house. It was a representation of Christ 
most grievously wounded ; and so devotional, that the very 
sight of it, when I saw it, moved me, so well did it show 
forth that which He suffered for us. So keenly did I feel 
the evil return I had made for those wounds, that I thought 
my heart was breaking. I threw myself on the ground beside 
it, my tears flowing plenteously, and implored Him to 
strengthen me once for all, so that I might never offend 
Him any more. 

2. I had a very great devotion to the glorious Magdalene, 
and very frequently used to think of her conversion 
especially when I went to Communion. As I knew for cer 
tain that our Lord was then within me, I used to place my 
self at His feet, thinking that my tears would not be despised. 
I did not know what I was saying; only He did great things 
for me, in that He was pleased I should shed those tears, 
seeing that I so soon forgot that impression. I used to 
recommend myself to that glorious Saint, that she might 
obtain my pardon. 

3. But this last time, before that picture of which I am 
speaking, I seem to have made greater progress ; for I was 
now very distrustful of myself, placing all my confidence 
in God. It seems to me that I said to Him then that I would 
not rise up till He granted my petition. I do certainly 


believe that this was of great service to me, because I have 
grown better even since. 1 

4. This was my method of prayer: as I could not make 
reflections with my understanding, I contrived to picture 
Christ as within me; 2 and I used to find myself the better 
for thinking of those mysteries of His life during which He 
was most lonely. It seemed to me that the being alone and 
afflicted, like a person in trouble, must needs permit me to 
come near unto Him. 

5. I did many simple things of this kind; and in partic 
ular I used to find myself most at home in. the prayer in the 
Garden, whither I went in His company. I thought of the 
bloody sweat, and of the affliction Pie endured there ; I wished, 
if it had been possible, to wipe away that painful sweat from 
His face ; but I remember that I never dared to form such a 
resolution, my sins stood before me so grievously. I used 
to remain with Him there as long as my thoughts allowed 
me, and I had many thoughts to torment me. For many 
years, nearly every night before I fell asleep, when I recom 
mended myself to God, that I might sleep in peace, I used 
always to think a little of this mystery of the prayer in the 
Garden yea, even before I was a nun, because I had been 
told that many indulgences were to be gained thereby. For 
my part, I believe that my soul gained very much in this 
way, because I began to practise prayer without knowing 
what it was ; and now that it had become my constant habit, 
I was saved from omitting it, as I was from omitting to bless 
myself with the sign of the cross before I slept. 

6. And now to go back to what I was saying of the 
torture which my thoughts inflicted upon me. This method 
of praying, in which the understanding makes no reflections, 
hath this property: the soul must gain much, or lose. I 
mean, that those who advance without meditation make great 
progress, because it is done by love. But to attain to this 
involves great labour, except to those persons whom it is 
our Lord s good pleasure to lead quickly to the prayer of 
quiet. I know of some. For those who walk in this way, 
a book is profitable, that by the help thereof they may the 
more quickly recollect themselves. It was a help to me 

1 In the year 1555 (Boui.r). 2 See cli. iv. 11: ch. x. 1. 


also to look on fields, water, and flowers. 1 In them I saw 
traces of the Creator I mean, that the sight of these things 
\vas as a book unto me ; it roused me, made me recollected, 
and reminded me of my ingratitude and of my sins. My 
understanding was so dull, that I could never represent in 
the imagination either heavenly or high things in any form 
whatever until our Lord placed them before me in another 
way. 2 

7. I was so little able to put things before me by the 
help of my understanding, that, unless I saw a thing with 
my eyes, my imagination was of no use whatever. I could 
not do as others do, who can put matters before themselves 
so as to become thereby recollected. I was able to think 
of Christ only as man. But so it was ; and I never could 
form any image of Him to myself, though I read much of 
His beauty, and looked at pictures of Him. I was like one 
who is blind, or in the dark, who, though speaking to a 
person present, and feeling his presence, because he knows 
for certain that he is present, I mean, that he understands 
him to be present, and believes it, yet does not see him. 
It was thus with me when I used to think of our Lord. This 
is why I was so fond of images. Wretched are they who, 
through their own fault, have lost this blessing; it is clear 
enough that they do not love our Lord for if they loved 
Him, they would rejoice at the sight of His picture, just 
as men find pleasure when they see the portrait of one they 

8. At this time, the Confessions of S. Augustine were 
given me. Our Lord seems to have so ordained it, for I 
did not seek them myself, neither had I ever seen them before. 
I have a very great devotion to S. Augustine, because the 
monastery in which I lived when I was yet in the world was 
of his Order; 3 and also because he had been a sinner for 
I used to find great comfort in those Saints whom, after 
they had sinned, our Lord converted to Himself. I thought 
they would help me, and that, as our Lord had forgiven 
them, so also He would forgive me. One thing, however, 
there was that troubled me I have spoken of it before 4 
our Lord had called them but once, and they never relapsed ; 

1 See Relation, i. 12. 2 See ch. iv. 11. 

3 Ch. ii. 8. 4 In the Prologue. 


while my relapses were now so many. This it was that vexed 
me. But calling to mind the love that He bore me, I took 
courage again. Of His mercy I never doubted once, but I 
did very often of myself. 

9. O my God, I am amazed at the hardness of my heart 
amidst so many succours from Thee. I am filled with dread 
when I see how little I could do with myself, and how I 
was clogged, so that I could not resolve to give myself entirely 
to God. When I began to read the Confessions, I thought 
I saw myself there described, and began to recommend my 
self greatly to this glorious Saint. When I came to his con 
version, and read how he heard that voice in the garden, 
it seemed to me nothing less than that our Lord had uttered 
it for me: I felt so in my heart. I remained for some time 
lost in tears, in great inward affliction and distress. O my 
God, what a soul has to suffer because it has lost the liberty 
it had of being mistress over itself! and what torments it 
has to endure ! I wonder now how I could live in torments 
so great: God be praised who gave me life, so that I might 
escape from so fatal a death ! I believe that my soul obtained 
great strength from His Divine Majesty, and that He must 
have heard my cry, and had compassion upon so many tears. 

10. A desire to spend more time with Him began to 
grow within me, and also to withdraw from the occasions 
of sin: for as soon as I had done so, I turned lovingly to 
His Majesty at once. I understood clearly, as I thought, 
that I loved Him; but I did not understand, as I ought to 
have understood it, wherein the true love of God consists. 
I do not think I had yet perfectly disposed myself to seek 
His service when His Majesty turned towards me with His 
consolations. What others strive after with great labour, 
our Lord seems to have looked out for a way to make me 
willing to accept that is, in these later years to give me 
joy and comfort. But as for asking our Lord to give me 
either these things or sweetness in devotion, I never dared 
to do it; the only thing I prayed Him to give me was the 
grace never to offend Him, together with the forgiveness of 
my great sins. When I saw that my sins were so great, I 
never ventured deliberately to ask either for consolation or 
for sweetness. He had compassion enough upon me, I think, 
and, in truth, He dealt with me according to His great 
mercy, when He allowed me to stand before Him, and when 


He drew me into His presence ; for I saw that, if He had not 
drawn me, I should not have come at all. 

11. Once only in my life do I remember asking for con 
solation, being at the time in great aridities. When I con 
sidered what I had done, I was so confounded, that the very 
distress I suffered from seeing how little humility I had, 
brought me that which I had been so bold as to ask for. 
I knew well that it was lawful to pray for it ; but it seemed 
to me that it is lawful only for those who are in good dis 
positions, who have sought with all their might to attain 
to true devotion that is, not to offend God, and to be dis 
posed and resolved for all goodness. I looked upon those 
tears of mine as womanish and weak, seeing that I did not 
obtain my desires by them ; nevertheless, I believe that they 
did me some service ; for, specially after those two occasions 
of great compunction and sorrow of heart, 1 accompanied by 
tears, of which I am speaking, I began in an especial w r ay 
to give myself more to prayer, and to occupy myself less 
with those things which did me harm though I did not 
give them up altogether. But God Himself, as I have just 
said, came to my aid, and helped me to turn away from them. 
As His Majesty was only waiting for some preparation on 
my part, the spiritual graces grew in me as I shall now 
explain. It is not the custom of our Lord to give these graces 
to any but to those who keep their consciences in greater 
pureness. 2 






1. I USED to have at times, as I have said, 3 though it 
used to pass quickly away, certain commencements of that 

1 1. 2 Ch. iv. 10. 

8 The Saint interrupts her history here to enter on the difficult 
questions of mystical theology, and resumes it in ch. xxiii. 


which I am going now to describe. When I formed those 
pictures within myself of throwing myself at the feet of 
Christ, as I said before, 1 and sometimes even when I was 
reading, a feeling of the presence of God would come over 
me unexpectedly, so that I could in no wise doubt either 
that He was within me, or that I was wholly absorbed in 
Him. It was not by way of vision ; I believe it was what 
is called mystical theology. The soul is suspended in such 
a way that it seems to be utterly beside itself. The will loves ; 
the memory, so it seems to me, is as it were lost ; and the 
understanding, so I think, makes no reflections yet is not 
lost: as I have just said, it is not at work, but it stands as 
if amazed at the greatness of the things it understands ; for 
God wills it to understand that it understands nothing what 
ever of that which His Majesty places before it. 

2. Before this, I had a certain tenderness of soul which 
was very abiding, partially attainable, I believe, in some 
measure, by our own efforts : a consolation which is not 
wholly in the senses, nor yet altogether in the spirit, but 
is all of it the gift of God. However, I think we can con 
tribute much towards the attaining of it by considering our 
vileness and our ingratitude towards God the great things 
He has done for us His Passion, with its grievous pains 
and His life, so full of sorrows ; also, by rejoicing in the 
contemplation of His works, of His greatness, and the love 
that He bears us. Many other considerations there are which 
he who really desires to make progress will often stumble 
on, though he may not be very much on the watch for them. 
If w r ith this there be a little love, the soul is comforted, the 
heart is softened, and tears flow. Sometimes it seems that 
we do violence to ourselves and weep ; at other times, our 
Lord seems to do so, so that we have no power to resist 
Him. His Majesty seems to reward this slight carefulness 
of ours with so grand a gift as is this consolation which He 
ministers to the soul of seeing itself weeping for so great a 
Lord. I am not surprised; for the soul has reason enough, 
and more than enough, for its joy. Here it comforts itself 
here it rejoices. 

3. The comparison which now presents itself seems to 
me to be good. These joys in prayer are like what those 

1 Cb. ix. 4. 


of heaven must be. As the vision of the Saints, which is 
measured by their merits there, reaches no further than our 
Lord wills, and as the blessed see how little merit they had, 
every one of them is satisfied with the place assigned him : 
there being the very greatest difference between one joy 
and another in heaven, and much greater than between one 
spiritual joy and another on earth which is, however, very 
great. And in truth, in the beginning, a soul in whom God 
works this grace thinks that now it has scarcely any thing- 
more to desire, and counts itself abundantly rewarded for 
all the service it has rendered Him. And there is reason 
for this; for one of those tears which, as I have just said, 
are almost in our own power, though without God nothing 
can be done cannot, in my opinion, be purchased with all 
the labours of the world, because of the great gain it brings 
us. And what .greater gain can we have than some testi 
mony of our having pleased God? Let him, then, who shall 
have attained to this, give praise unto God acknowledge him 
self to be one of His greatest debtors; because it seems to 
be His will to take him into His house, having chosen him 
for His kingdom, if he does not turn back. 

4. Let him not regard certain kinds of humility which 
exist, and of which I mean to speak. 1 Some think it humility 
not to believe that God is bestowing His gifts upon them. 
Let us clearly understand this, and that it is perfectly clear 
God bestows His gifts without any merit whatever on our 
part; and let us be grateful to His Majesty for them; for 
if we do not recognise the gifts received at His hands, we 
shall never be moved to love Him. It is a most certain 
truth, that the richer we see ourselves to be, confessing at 
the same time our poverty, the greater will be our progress, 
and the more real our humility. 

5. An opposite course tends to take away all courage ; 
for we shall think ourselves incapable of great blessings, if 
we begin to frighten ourselves with the dread of vain-glory 
when our Lord begins to show His mercy upon us. 2 Let 
us believe that He who gives these gifts will also, when 
the devil begins to tempt us herein, give us the grace to 
detect him, and the strength to resist him, that is, He will 
do so if we walk in simplicity before God, aiming at pleas- 

1 Ch. xxx. 10. 2 See ch. xiii. 5. 

60 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [dl. X. 

ing Him only, and not men. It is a most evident truth, 
that our love for a person is greater, the more distinctly we 
remember the good he has done us. 

6. If, then, it is lawful, and so meritorious, always to 
remember that we have our being from God, that He has 
created us out of nothing, that He preserves us, and also 
to remember all the benefits of His death and Passion, which 
He suffered long before 1 le made us for every one of us now 
alive, why should it not be lawful for me to discern, con 
fess, and consider often that I was once accustomed to speak 
uf vanities, and that now our Lord has given me the grace 
to speak only of Himself? 

7. Here, then, is a precious pearl, which, when we re 
member that it is given us, and that we have it in possession, 
powerfully invites us to love. All this is the fruit, of prayer 
founded on humility. What, then, will it be when we shall 
find ourselves in possession of other pearls of greater price, 
such as contempt of the world and of self, which some serv 
ants of God have already received? It is clear that such 
souls must consider themselves greater debtors under greater 
obligations to serve Him: we must acknowledge that we 
have nothing of ourselves, and confess the munificence of 
our Lord, who, on a soul so wretched and poor, and so 
utterly undeserving, as mine is, for whom the first of these 
pearls was enough, and more than enough, would bestow 
greater riches than I could desire. 

8. We must renew our strength to serve Him, and strive 
not to be ungrateful, because it is on this condition that our 
Lord dispenses His treasures ; for if we do not make a good 
use of them, and of the high estate to which He raises us, 
He will return and take them from us, and we shall be poorer 
than ever. His Majesty will give the pearls to him who shall 
bring them forth and employ them usefully for himself and 
others. For how shall he be useful, and how shall he spend 
liberally, who does not know that he is rich? It is not pos 
sible, I think, our nature being what it is, that he can have 
the courage necessary for great things who does not know 
that God is on his side ; for so miserable are we, so inclined 
to the things of this world, that he can hardly have any real 
abhorrence of, with great detachment from, all earthly things 
who does not see that he holds some pledges for those things 


that are above. It is by these gifts that our Lord gives us 
that strength which we through our sins have lost. 

9. A man will hardly wish to be held in contempt and 
abhorrence, nor will he seek after the other great virtues 
to which the perfect attain, if he has not some pledges of 
the love which God bears him, together with a living faith. 
Our nature is so dead, that w r e go after that which w r e see 
immediately before us ; and it is these graces, therefore, that 
quicken and strengthen our faith. It may well be that I, 
who am so \vicked, measure others by myself, and that others 
require nothing more than the verities of the faith, in order 
to render their works most perfect ; while I, wretched that 
I am ! have need of every thing. 

10. Others will explain this. I speak from my own 
experience, as I have been commanded; and if what I say 
be not correct, let him 1 to whom. I send it destroy it ; for he 
knows better than I do what is wrong in it. I entreat him, 
for the love of our Lord, to publish abroad what I have thus 
far said of my wretched life, and of my sins. I give him 
leave to do so; and to all my confessors, also, of whom 
he is one, to whom this is to be sent, if it be their pleasure, 
even during my life, so that I may no longer deceive people 
who think there must be some good in me. 2 Certainly, I 
speak in all sincerity, so far as I understand myself. Such 
publication will give me great comfort. 

11. But as to that which I am now going to say, I give 
no such leave ; nor, if it be shown to any one, do I consent 
to its being said who the person is whose experience it de 
scribes, nor who wrote it. This is why I mention neither 
my own name, nor that of any other person whatever. I have 
written it in the best way I could, in order not to be known ; 
and this I beg of them for the love of God. Persons so 
learned and grave as they are" have authority enough to 
approve of whatever right things I may say, should our 
Lord give me the grace to do so; and if I should say any 
thing of the kind, it will be His, and not mine, because I 
am neither learned nor of good life, and I have no person 
of learning or any other to teach me ; for they only who 
ordered me to write know that I am writing, and at this 

1 F. Pedro Ybanez, of the Order of S. Dominic. 

2 See cli. xxxi. 19. 3 See ch. xv. 15. 


moment they are not here. I have, as it were, to steal the 
time, and that with difficulty, because my writing hinders 
me from spinning. I am living in a house that is poor, and 
have many things to do. 1 If, indeed, our Lord had given 
me greater abilities and a better memory, I might then profit 
by what I have seen and read ; but my abilities are very 
slight. If, then, 1 should say any thing that is right, our 
Lord will have it said for some good purpose ; that which 
may be wrong will be mine, and your reverence will strike 
it out. 

12. In neither case will it be of any use to publish my 
name: during my life, it is clear that no good I may have 
done ought to be told ; after death, there is no reason against 
it, except that it will lose all authority and credit, because 
related of a person so vile and so wicked as I am. And 
because I think your reverence and the others who may see 
this writing will do this that I ask of you, for the love of 
our Lord, I write with freedom. If it were not so, I should 
have great scruples, except in declaring my sins : and in that 
matter I should have none at all. For the rest, it is enough 
that I am a woman to make my sails droop : how much more, 
then, when I am a woman, and a wicked one? 

13. So, then, every thing here beyond the simple story 
of my life your reverence must take upon yourself, since 
you have so pressed me to give some account of the graces 
which our Lord bestowed upon me in prayer, if it be con 
sistent with the truths of our holy Catholic faith ; if it be 
not, your reverence must burn it at once,- for I give my 
consent. I w r ill recount my experience, in order that, if it 
be consistent with those truths, your reverence may make 
some use of it ; if not, you will deliver my soul from delusion, 
so that Satan may gain nothing there where I seemed to be 
gaining myself. Our Lord knows well that I as I shall 
show hereafter 2 have always laboured to find out those 
who could give me light. 

14. How clear soever I may wish to make my account 
of that which relates to prayer, it will be obscure enough 
for those who are without experience. I shall speak of cer 
tain hindrances, which, as I understand it, keep men from 
advancing on this road, and of other things which are 

1 See ch. xiv. 12. 2 See ch. xxiv. 16. 


Hye Hoys, del 

1-1 he Adaja Gate, through which Saint Teresa passed on her search for 
martyrdom among the Moors, and later when she went out to place herself under the 
f i ^ e + B J eSS d V rsin. 2. Statue of Our Lady of Charity, at present in 
l in the chapel of the Marquis of Velada. 3. Church and entrance to 
^f the Aug-ustmians. In the distance the hamlet of La Serna. 4. View of 
the Augustmian convent from the back. 5. Vestibule and turn of the convent. 
t>. image of Our Lady of Grace, patroness of the convent. 7. Confessional of the 
nuns and school children, called the Confessional of St. Teresa. 8. Allegorical painting 

Bruges-, P Raoux Sc 

showing the education of Saint Teresa and her vocation for the religious life 
9 Maria Brizeiio. 10. Belfry and ruins of the monastery of Mitigated Carmelites. 
11. View of La Serna, three miles from Avila, where the Saint s brother, Lorenzo 
de Cepeda lived. 12. Escutcheon of Pope Clement VII., who reigned during Saint 
Teresa s youth. 13. Escutcheon of Charles V., King of Spain from 1516 14 Es 
cutcheon of Lorenzo de Cepeda. 15. Escutcheon of the Augustinians of Avila. 
(See Appendix, note 4.) 


dangerous, as our Lord has taught me by experience. I 
have also discussed the matter with men of great learning, 
w r ith persons who for many years had lived spiritual lives, 
who admit that, in the twenty-seven years only during which 
I have given myself to prayer, though I walked so ill, and 
stumbled so often on the road, His Majesty granted me 
that experience which others attain to in seven-and-thirty, 
or seven-and-forty, years ; and they, too, being persons who 
ever advance in the way of penance and of virtue. 

15. Blessed be God for all, and may His infinite Majesty 
make use of me ! Our Lord knoweth well that I have no 
other end in this than that He may be praised and magnified 
a little, when men shall see that on a dunghill so foul and 
rank He has made a garden of flowers so sweet. May it 
please His Majesty that I may not by my own fault root 
them out, and become again what I was before. And I entreat 
your reverence, for the love of our Lord, to beg this of Him 
for me, seeing that you have a clearer knowledge of what I 
am than you have allowed me to give of myself here. 






1. I SPEAK now of those who begin to be the servants 
of love ; that seems to me to be nothing else but to resolve 
to follow Him in the way of prayer who has loved us so 
much. It is a dignity so great, that I have a strange joy in 
thinking of it ; for servile fear vanishes at once, if we are, 
as we ought to be, in the first degree. O Lord of my soul, 
and my Good, how is it that, when a soul is determined to 
love Thee, doing all it can, by forsaking all things, in order 
that it may the better occupy itself with the love of God, 
it is not Thy will it should have the joy of ascending at 
once to the possession of perfect love? I have spoken amiss; 
I ought to have said, and my complaint should have been, 
why is it we do not? for the fault is wholly our own that 


we do not rejoice at once in a dignity so great, seeing that 
the attaining to the perfect possession of this true love brings 
all blessings with it. 

2. We think so much of ourselves, and are so dilatory 
in giving ourselves wholly to God, that, as His Majesty 
will not let us have the fruition of that which is so precious 
but at a great cost, so neither do we perfectly prepare our 
selves for it. I see plainly that there is nothing by which 
so great a good can be procured in this world. If, however, 
we did what we could, riot clinging to any thing upon earth, 
but having all our thoughts and conversation in heaven, I 
believe that this blessing would quickly be given us, pro 
vided we perfectly prepared ourselves for it at once, as some 
of the Saints have done. We think we are giving all to God ; 
but, in fact, we are offering only the revenue or the produce, 
while we retain the fee-simple of the land in our own posses 

3. We resolve to become poor, and it is a resolution of 
great merit; but we very often take great care not to be in 
want, not simply of what is necessary, but of what is super 
fluous ; yea, and to make for ourselves friends who may 
supply us ; and in this way we take more pains, and perhaps 
expose ourselves to greater danger, in order that we may 
want nothing, than we did formerly, when we had our own 
possessions in our own power. 

4. W r e thought, also, that we gave up all desire of 
honour when we became religious, or when we began the 
spiritual life, and followed after perfection; and yet, when 
we are touched on the point of honour, we do not then re 
member that we had given it up to God. We would seize 
it again, and take it, as they say, out of His hands, even 
after we had made Him, to all appearance, the Lord of our 
own will. So is it in every thing else. 

5. A pleasant way this of seeking the love of God ! we 
retain our own affections, and yet will have that love, as they 
say, by handfuls. We make no efforts to bring our desires 
to good effect, or to raise them resolutely above the earth ; 
and yet, with all this, we must have many spiritual consola 
tions. This is not well, and we are seeking things that are 
incompatible one with the other. So, because we do not 
give ourselves up wholly and at once, this treasure is not 
given wholly and at once to us. May it be the good pleasure 


of our Lord to give it us drop by drop, though it may cost 
us all the trials in the world. 

6. He showeth great mercy unto him to whom He gives 
the grace and resolution to strive for this blessing with all 
his might ; for God withholds Himself from no one who per 
severes. He will by little and little strengthen that soul, so 
that it may come forth victorious. I say resolution, because 
of the multitude of those things which Satan puts before it 
at lirst, to keep it back from beginning to travel on this road ; 
for he knoweth what harm will befall him thereby he will 
lose not only that soul, but many others also. If he who 
enters on this road does violence to himself, with the help 
of God, so as to reach the summit of perfection, such a one, 
I believe, will never go alone to heaven ; he will always take 
many with him : God gives to him, as to a good captain, 
those who shall be of his company. 

7. Thus, then, the dangers and difficulties which Satan 
puts before them are so many, that they have need, not of 
a little, but of a very great, resolution, and great grace from 
God, to save them from falling away. 

8. Speaking, then, of their beginnings who are deter 
mined to follow after this good, and to succeed in their enter 
prise, what I began to say 1 of mystical theology I believe 
they call it by that name I shall proceed with hereafter, 
I have to say that the labour is greatest at first ; for it is 
they who toil, our Lord, indeed, giving them strength. In 
the other degrees of prayer, there is more of fruition ; al 
though they \vho are in the beginning, the middle, and the 
end, have their crosses to carry : the crosses, however, are 
different. They who would follow Christ, if they do not wish 
to be lost, must walk in the way He walked Himself. Blessed 
labours ! even here, in this life, so superabundantly rewarded ! 

9. I shall have to make use of a comparison; I should 
like to avoid it, because I am a woman, and write simply 
what I have been commanded. But this language of spiritu 
ality is so difficult of utterance for those who are not learned, 
and such am I. I have therefore to seek for some means 
to make the matter plain. It may be that the comparison 
will very rarely be to the purpose, your reverence will be 
amused when you see my stupidity. I think, now, I have 

1 Ch. x. 1. 


either read or heard of this comparison ; but as my memory 
is bad, I know not where, nor on what occasion; however, I 
am satisfied with it for my present purpose. 1 

10. A beginner must look upon himself as making a 
garden, wherein our Lord may take His delight, but in a 
soil unfruitful, and abounding in weeds. His Majesty roots 
up the weeds, and has to plant good herbs. Let us, then, 
take for granted that this is already done when a soul is 
determined to give itself to prayer, and has begun the prac 
tice of it. We have, then, as good gardeners, by the help 
of God, to see that the plants grow, to water them carefully, 
that they may not die, but produce blossoms, which shall 
send forth much fragrance, refreshing to our Lord, so that 
He may come often for His pleasure into this garden, and 
delight Himself in the midst of these virtues. 

11. Let us now see how this garden is to be watered, 
that we may understand what we have to do : how much 
trouble it will cost us, whether the gain be greater than 
the trouble, or how long a time it will take us. It seems 
to me that the garden may be watered in four ways: by 
water taken out of a well, which is very laborious ; or with 
water raised by means of an engine and buckets, drawn by 
a windlass, I have drawn it this way sometimes, it is a 
less troublesome way than the first, and gives more water; 
or by a stream or brook, whereby the garden is watered in 
a much better way, for the soil is more thoroughly saturated, 
and there is no necessity to water it so often, and the labour 
of the gardener is much less ; or by showers of rain, when 
our Lord Himself waters it, without labour on our part, 
and this way is incomparably better than all the others of 
which I have spoken. 

12. Now, then, for the application of these four ways 
of irrigation by which the garden is to be maintained ; for 
without water it must fail. The comparison is to my pur 
pose, and it seems to me that by the help of it I shall be 
able to explain, in some measure, the four degrees of prayer 
to which our Lord, of His goodness, has occasionally raised 
my soul. May He graciously grant that I may so speak as 
to be of some service to one of those who has commanded 
me to write, whom our Lord has raised in four months to a 

1 Vide S. Bernard, in C antic, serm. 30, n. 7, ed. Ben. 


greater height than I have reached in seventeen years! He 
prepared himself better than I did, and therefore is his garden, 
without labour on his part, irrigated by these four waters, 
though the last of them is only drop by drop; but it is 
growing in such a way, that soon, by the help of our Lord, 
he will be swallowed up therein, and it will be a pleasure 
to me, if he finds my explanation absurd, that he should laugh 

at it. 

13. Of those who are beginners in prayer, we may say, 
that they are those who draw the water up out of the well, 
a process which, as I have said, is very laborious; for 
they must be wearied in keeping the senses recollected, and 
this is a great labour, because the senses have been hitherto 
accustomed to distractions. It is necessary for beginners to 
accustom themselves to disregard what they hear or see, and 
to put it away from them during the time of prayer; they 
must be alone, and in retirement think over their past life. 
Though all must do this many times, beginners as well as 
those more advanced; all, however, must not do so equally, 
as I shall show hereafter. 1 Beginners at first suffer much, 
because they are not convinced that they are penitent for 
their sins; and yet they are, because they are so sincerely 
resolved on serving God. They must strive to meditate on 
the life of Christ, and the understanding is wearied thereby. 
Thus far we can advance of ourselves, that is, by the grace 
of God, for without that, as every one knows, we never 
can have one good thought. 

14. This is beginning to draw water up out of the well. 
God grant there may be water in it! That, however, does 
not depend on us; we are drawing it, and doing what we 
can towards watering the flowers. So good is God, that when, 
for reasons known to His Majesty, perhaps for our greater 
good, it is His will the well should be dry, He Himself 
preserves the flowers without water, we, like good gardeners, 
doing what lies in our power, and makes our virtues grow. 
By water here I mean tears, and if there be none, then ten 
derness and an inward feeling of devotion. 

15. What, then, will he do here who sees that, for many 
days, he is conscious only of aridity, disgust, dislike, and so 
great an unwillingness to go to the well for water, that he 

68 Till-: LIFE OF S. TERESA. [CH. XI. 

would give it up altogether, if he did not remember that he 
has to please and serve the Lord of the garden; if he did 
not trust that his service was not in vain, and did not hope 
for some gain by a labour so great as that of lowering the 
bucket into the well so often, and drawing it up without 
water in it? It will happen that he is often unable to move 
his arms for that purpose, or to have one good thought : 
working with the understanding is drawing water out of the 

16. What, then, once more, will the gardener do now? 
He must rejoice and take comfort, and consider it as the 
greatest favour to labour in the garden of so great an 
Emperor; and as he knows that he is pleasing Him in the 
matter, and his purpose must be not to please himself, but 
Him, let him praise Him greatly for the trust He has in 
him, for He sees that, without any recompense, he is taking 
so much care of that which has been confided to him ; let him 
help Him to carry the cross, and let him think how He carried 
it all His life long; let him not seek his kingdom here, nor 
ever intermit his prayer; and so let him resolve, if this 
aridity should last even his whole life long, never to let Christ 
fall down beneath the cross. 1 

17. The time will come when he shall be paid once for 
all. Let him have no fear that his labour is in vain: he 
serves a good Master, whose eyes are upon him. Let him 
make no account of evil thoughts, but remember that Satan 
suggested them to St. Jerome also in the desert. 2 These 
labours have their reward, I know it ; for I am one who 
underwent them for many years. When I drew but one drop 
of water out of this blessed well, I considered it was a mercy 
of God. I know these labours are very great, and require, 
I think, greater courage than many others in this world ; 
but I have seen clearly that God does not leave them without 

1 See ch. xv. 17. 

2 Epist. 22, ad Eustochium; "O quoties ego ipse in eremo constitu- 
tus, et in ilia vasta solitudine quse exusta solis ardoribus horridum 
monachis prsestat habitaculum putabam me Romanis interesse deliciis. 
Sedebam solus .... Horrebant sacco membra deformia .... Ille 
igitur ego, qui ob Gehennae metum tali me carcere damnaveram, 
scorpionum tantum socius et ferarum, saepe choris intereram puellarum, 
pallebant ora jejuniis, et mens desideriis sestuabat in frigido corpore, 
et ante hominem sua jam carne pnemortuurn sola libidinum incendia 


a great recompense, even in this life; for it is very certain 
that in one hour, during which our Lord gave me to taste 
His sweetness, all the anxieties which I had to bear when 
persevering in prayer seem to me ever afterwards perfectly 

18. I believe that it is our Lord s good pleasure fre 
quently in the beginning, and at times in the end, to send 
these torments, and many other incidental temptations, to 
try those who love Him, and to ascertain if they will drink 
the chalice, 1 and help Him to carry the cross before He in 
trusts them with His great treasures. I believe it to be for our 
good that His Majesty should lead us by this way, so that 
we may perfectly understand how worthless we are; for the 
graces which He gives afterwards are of a dignity so great, 
that He will have us by experience know our wretchedness 
before He grants them, that it may not be with us as it was 
with Lucifer. 

19. What canst thou do, O my Lord, that is not for 
the greater good of that soul which Thou knowest to be 
already Thine, and which gives itself up to Thee to follow 
Thee whithersoever Thou goest, even to the death of the 
cross; and which is determined to help Thee to carry that 
cross, and not to leave Thee alone with it? He who shall 
discern this resolution in himself has nothing to fear: no, no; 
spiritual people have nothing to fear. There is no reason 
why he should be distressed who is already raised to so high 
a degree as this is of wishing to converse in solitude with 
God, and to abandon the amusements of the world. The 
greater part of the work is done; give praise to His Majesty 
for it, and trust in His goodness who has never failed those 
who love Him. Close the eyes of your imagination, and do 
not ask why He gives devotion to this person in so short a 
time, and none to me after so many years. Let us believe that 
all is for our greater good; let His Majesty guide us whither 
soever He will : we are not our own, but His. He shows us 
mercy enough when it is His pleasure we should be willing 
to dig in His garden, and to be so near the Lord of it: He 
certainly is near to us. If it be His will that these plants 
and flowers should grow, some of them when He gives 
water we may draw from the well, others when He gives 

1 S. Matt. xx. 22. 


none, what is that to me? Do Thou, O Lord, accomplish 
Thy will ; let me never offend Thee, nor let my virtues perish ; 
if Thou hast given me any, it is out of Thy mere goodness. 
I wish to suffer, because Thou, O Lord, hast suffered; do 
Thou in every way fulfil Thy will in me, and may it never 
be the pleasure of Thy Majesty that a gift of so high a price, 
as that of Thy love, be given to people who serve Thee only 
because of the sweetness they find thereby. 

20. It is much to be observed, and I say so because I 
know by experience, that the soul which begins to walk in 
the way of mental prayer with resolution, and is determined 
not to care much, neither to rejoice nor to be greatly afflicted, 
whether sweetness and tenderness fail it, or our Lord grants 
them, has already travelled a great part of the road. Let 
that soul, then, have no fear that it is going back, though 
it may frequently stumble ; for the building is begun on a 
firm foundation. It is certain that the love of God does not 
consist in tears, nor in this sweetness and tenderness which 
we for the most part desire, and with which we console 
ourselves ; but rather in serving Him in justice, fortitude, and 
humility. That seems to me to be a receiving rather than 
a giving of any thing on our part. 

21. As for poor women, such as I am, weak and infirm of 
purpose, it seems to me to be necessary that I should be 
led on through consolations, as God is doing now, so that 
I might be able to endure certain afflictions which it has 
pleased His Majesty I should have. But when the servants 
of God, who are men of weight, learning, and sense, make 
so much account, as I see they do, whether God gives them 
sweetness in devotion or not, I am disgusted when I listen 
to them. I do not say that they ought not to accept it, and 
make much of it, when God gives it, because, when He 
gives it, His Majesty sees it to be necessary for them, 
but I do say that they ought not to grow weary when they 
have it not. They should then understand that they have 
no need of it, and be masters of themselves, when His Majesty 
does not give it.. Let them be convinced of this, there is a 
fault here ; I have had experience of it, and know it to be 
so. Let them believe it is an imperfection ; they are not ad 
vancing in liberty of spirit, but shrinking like cowards from 
the assault. 

22. It is not so much to beginners that I sav this 


though I do insist upon it, because it is of great importance 
to them that they should begin with this liberty and resolu 
tion as to others, of whom there are many, who make a 
beginning, but never come to the end; and that is owing, 
I believe, in great measure, to their not having embraced the 
cross from the first. They are distressed, thinking they are 
doing nothing; the understanding ceases from its acts, and 
they cannot bear it. Yet perhaps, at that very time, the 
will is feeding and gathering strength, and they know it not. 

23. We must suppose that our Lord does not regard 
these things ; for though they seem to us to be faults, yet 
they are not. His Majesty knoweth our misery and natural 
vileness better than we do ourselves. He knoweth that these 
souls long to be always thinking of Him and loving Him. 
It is this resolution that He seeks in us; the other anxieties 
which we inflict upon ourselves serve to no other end but 
to disquiet the soul which, if it be unable to derive any 
profit in one hour, will by them be disabled for four. This 
comes most frequently from bodily indisposition, I have 
had very great experience in the matter, and I know it is 
true ; for I have carefully observed it and discussed it after 
wards with spiritual persons, for we are so wretched, that 
this poor prisoner of a soul shares in the miseries of the 
body. The changes of the seasons, and the alterations of 
the humours, very often compel it, without fault of its own, 
not to do what it would, but rather to suffer in every way. 
Meanwhile, the more we force the soul on these occasions, 
the greater the mischief, and the longer it lasts. Some dis 
cretion must be used, in order to ascertain whether ill-health 
be the occasion or not. The poor soul must not be stifled. 
Let those who thus suffer understand that they are ill ; a 
change should be made in the hour of prayer, and often 
times that change should be continued for some days. Let 
souls pass out of this desert as they can, for it is very often the 
misery of one that loves God to see itself living in such 
wretchedness, unable to do what it would, because it has 
to keep so evil a guest as the body. 

24. I spoke of discretion, because sometimes the devil 
will do the same w r ork ; and so it is not always right to omit 
prayer when the understanding is greatly distracted and 
disturbed, nor to torment the soul to the doing of that which 
is out of its power. There are other things then to be done 


exterior works, as of charity and spiritual reading though 
at times the soul will not be able to do them. Take care, 
then, of the body, for the love of God, because at many other 
times the body must serve the soul ; and let recourse be had 
to some recreations, holy ones, such as conversation, or 
going out into the fields, as the confessor shall advise. Alto 
gether, experience is a great matter and it makes us under 
stand what is convenient for us. Let God be served in all 
things His yoke is sweet ; l and it is of great importance 
that the soul should not be dragged, as they say, but carried 
gently, that it may make greater progress. 

25. So, then, I come back to what I advised before, 2 
and though I repeat it often, it matters not ; it is of great im 
portance that no one should distress himself on account of 
aridities, or because his thoughts are restless and distracted; 
neither should he -be afflicted thereat, if he would attain to 
liberty of spirit, and not be always in trouble. Let him 
begin by not being afraid of the cross, and he w r ill see how 
our Lord will help him to carry it, how joyfully he will ad 
vance, and what profit he will derive from it all. It is now 
clear, if there is no water in the well, that we at least can put 
none into it. It is true we must not be careless about drawing 
it when there is any in it, because at that time it is the will 
of God to multiply our virtues by means thereof. 



1. MY aim in the foregoing chapter though I digressed 
to many other matters, because they seemed to me very 
necessary was to explain how much we may attain to of 
ourselves ; and how, in these beginnings of devotion, we 
are able in some degree to help ourselves : because thinking 
of, and pondering on, the sufferings of our Lord for our 
sake moves us to compassion, and the sorrow and tears which 
result therefrom are sweet. The thought of the blessedness 

1 S. Matt. xi. 30. 2 18. 


we hope for, of the love our Lord bore us, and of His resur 
rection, kindle within us a joy which is neither wholly spiritual 
nor wholly sensual; but the joy is virtuous, and the sorrow 
is most meritorious. 

2. Of this kind are all those things which produce a 
devotion acquired in part by means of the understanding, 
though it can neither be merited nor had, if God grants it not. 
It is best for a soul which God has not raised to a higher 
state than this not to try to rise of itself. Let this be well 
considered, because all the soul will gain in that way will 
be a loss. In this state it can make many acts of good resolu 
tions to do much for God, and enkindle its love; other acts 
also, which may help the growth of virtues, according to that 
which is written in a book called The Art of Serving God; 1 a 
most excellent work, and profitable for those who are in 
this state, because the understanding is active now. 

3. The soul may also place itself in the presence of 
Christ, and accustom itself to many acts of love directed to 
His sacred Humanity, and remain in His presence continually, 
and speak to Him, pray to Him in its necessities, and com 
plain to Him of its troubles ; be merry with Him in its joys, 
and yet not forget Him because of its joys. All this it may 
do without set prayers, but rather with words befitting its 
desires and its needs. 

4. This is an excellent way whereby to advance, and 
that very quickly. He that will strive to have this precious 
companionship, and w r ill make much of it, and will sincerely 
love our Lord, to whom we owe so much, is one, in my 
opinion, who has made some progress. There is therefore 
no reason why we should trouble ourselves because we have 
no sensible devotion, as I said before. 2 But let us rather 
give thanks to our Lord, who allows us to have a desire to 
please Him, though our works be poor. This practice of 
the presence of Christ is profitable in all states of prayer, 
and is a most safe way of advancing in the first state, and 
of attaining quickly to the second; and as for the last states, 
it secures us against those risks which the devil may occasion. 

1 Arte de servir a Dios, by Rodrigue de Solis, friar of the Augus- 
tinian Order (Bonix). Arte para servir a Dios, by Fra Alonso de Mad 
rid (De la Fuente}. 

2 Ch. ix. 20, 25. 


5. This, then, is what we can do. He who would pass 
out of this state, and upraise his spirit, in order to taste con 
solations denied him, will, in my opinion, lose both the one 
and the other. 1 Those consolations being supernatural, and 
the understanding inactive, the soul is then left desolate and 
in great aridity. As the foundation of the whole building is 
humility, the nearer we draw unto God, the more this virtue 
should grow; if it does not, every thing is lost. It seems 
to be a kind of pride when we seek to ascend higher, seeing 
that God descends so low, when He allows us, being what 
we are, to draw near unto Him. 

6. It must not be supposed that I am now speaking of 
raising our thoughts to the consideration of the high things 
of heaven and of its glory, or unto God and His great Avisdom. 
I never did this myself, because I had not the capacity for it 
as I said before ; 2 and I was so worthless, that, as to thinking 
even of the things of earth, God gave me grace to understand 
this truth : that in me it was no slight boldness to do so. 
How much more, then, the thinking of heavenly things? 
Others, however, will profit in that way, particularly those 
who are learned ; for learning, in my opinion, is a great 
treasury in the matter of this exercise, if it be accompanied 
with humility. I observed this a few days ago in some 
learned men who had shortly before made a beginning, and 
had made great progress. This is the reason why I am so 
very anxious that many learned men may become spiritual. 
I shall speak of this by and by. 3 

7. What I am saying namely, let them not rise if God 
does not raise them is the language of spirituality. He 
will understand me who has had any experience ; and I know 
not how to explain it, if what I have said does not make it 

8. In mystical theology, of which I spoke before, 4 
the understanding ceases from its acts, because God suspends 
it as I shall explain by and by, if I can ; and God give me 
the grace to do so. We must neither imagine nor think that 

1 That is, he will lose the prayer of acquired quiet, because he 
voluntarily abandons it before the time; and will not attain to the 
prayer of infused quiet, because he attempts to rise into it before he is 
called (Francis, de Santo Thomas, Medula Mystic, tr. iv. ch. xi. n. 69). 

2 Ch. iv. 10. 3 Ch. xxxiv. 9. 4 Ch. x. 1. 


we can of ourselves bring about this suspension. That is 
what I say must not be done; nor must we allow the under 
standing to cease from its acts; for in that case we shall be 
stupid and cold, and the result will be neither the one nor 
the other. For when our Lord suspends the understanding, 
and makes it cease from its acts, He puts before it that which 
astonishes and occupies it: so that, without making any re 
flections, it shall comprehend in a moment 1 more than we 
could comprehend in many years with all the efforts in the 

9. To have the powers of the mind occupied, and to think 
that you can keep them at the same time quiet, is folly. I 
repeat it, though it be not so understood, there is no great 
humility in this; and, if it be blameless, it is not left un 
punished it is labour thrown away, and the soul is a little 
disgusted: it feels like a man about to take a leap, and is 
held back. Such a one seems to have used up his strength 
already, and finds himself unable to do that which he wished 
to have done: so here, in the scanty gain that remains, he 
who will consider the matter will trace that slight want of 
humility of which I have spoken; 2 for that virtue has this 
excellence: there is no good work attended by humility that 
leaves the soul disgusted. It seems to me that I have made 
this clear enough; yet, after all, perhaps only for myself. 
May our Lord open their eyes who read this, by giving them 
experience; and then, however slight that experience may be, 
they will immediately understand it. 

10. For many years I read much, and understood noth 
ing; and for a long time, too, though God gave me under 
standing herein, I never could utter a word by which I 
might explain it to others. This was no little trouble to me. 
When His Majesty pleases, He teaches every thing in a 
moment, so that I am lost in wonder. One thing I can truly say 
though I conversed with many spiritual persons, who sought 
to make me understand what our Lord was giving me, in 
order that I might be able to speak of it, the fact is, that 
my dulness was so great, that I derived no advantage what 
ever, much or little, from their teaching. 

11. Or it may be, as His Majesty has always been my 
Master, may He be blessed for ever! for I am ashamed of 

1 "En un credo." 


myself that I can say so with truth, that it was His good 
pleasure I should meet with no one to whom I should be 
indebted in this matter. So, without my wishing or asking 
it, I never was careful about this, for that would have been 
a virtue in me, but only about vanity, God gave me to under 
stand with all distinctness in a moment, and also enabled 
me to express myself, so that my confessors were astonished; 
but I more than they, because I knew my own dulness better. 
It is not long since this happened. And so that which our 
Lord has not taught me, I seek not to know it, unless it be 
a matter that touches my conscience. 

12. Again I repeat my advice : it is of great moment not 
to raise our spirit ourselves, if our Lord does not raise it 
for us ; and if He does, there can be no mistaking it. For 
women, it is specially wrong, because the devil can delude 
them, though I am certain our Lord will never allow him 
to hurt any one who labours to draw near unto God in 
humility. On the contrary, such a one will derive more profit 
and advantage out of that attack by which Satan intended 
to hurt him. 

13. I have dwelt so long upon this matter because this 
way of prayer is the most common with beginners, and be 
cause the advice I have given is very important. It will be 
found much better given elsewhere : that I admit ; and I admit, 
also, that in writing it I am ashamed of myself, and covered 
with confusion though not so much so as I ought to be. 
Blessed for ever be our Lord, of Whose will and pleasure 
it is that I am allowed, being what I am, to speak of things 
which are His, of such a nature, and so deep ! 




1. I HAVE thought it right to speak of certain temptations 
I have observed to which beginners are liable, some of them 
I have had myself, and to give some advice about certain 
things which to me seem necessary. In the beginning, then, 
we should strive to be cheerful and unconstrained ; for there 


are people who think it is all over with devotion if they relax 
themselves ever so little. It is right to be afraid of self : so 
that, having no confidence in ourselves, much or little, we 
may not place ourselves in those circumstances wherein men 
usually sin against God ; for it is a most necessary fear, till 
we become very perfect in virtue. And there are not many 
who are so perfect as to be able to relax themselves on those 
occasions which . offer temptations to their natural temper ; 
for always while we live, \vere it only to preserve humility, 
it is well we should know our own miserable nature ; but 
there are many occasions on which it is permitted us as I 
said just now 1 to take some recreation, in order that we 
may with more vigour resume our prayer. 

2. Discretion is necessary throughout. We must have 
great confidence ; because it is very necessary for us not to 
contract our desires, but put our trust in God ; for, if we do 
violence to ourselves by little and little, we shall, though 
not at once, reach that height which many Saints by His 
grace have reached. If they had never resolved to desire, 
and had never by little and little acted upon that resolve, 
they never could have ascended to so high a state. 

3. His Majesty seeks and loves courageous souls; but 
they must be humble in their ways, and have no confidence 
in themselves. I never saw one of these lag behind on the 
road; and never a cowardly soul, though aided by humility, 
make that progress in many years which the former makes 
in a few. I am astonished at the great things done on this 
road by encouraging oneself to undertake great things, though 
we may not have the strength for them at once : the soul 
takes a flight upwards and ascends high, though, like a little 
bird whose wings are weak, it grows weary and rests. 

4. At one time, I used often to think of those words of 
S. Paul : "That all things are possible in God." 2 I saw clearly 
that of myself I could do nothing. This was of great service 
to me. So also was the saying of S. Augustine : "Give me, 
O Lord, what Thou commandest, and command what Thou 
wilt." 3 I was often thinking how S. Peter lost nothing by 
throwing himself into the sea, though he was afterwards 
afraid. 4 These first resolutions are a great matter, although 

1 Ch. xi. 24. 2 Philipp. iv. 13. 

3 Confess, x. ch. 29. 4 S. Matt. xiv. 30. 


it is necessary in the beginning that we should be very re 
served, controlled by the discretion and authority of a director ; 
but we must take care that he be one who does not teach 
us to crawl like toads, nor one who may be satisfied when 
the soul shows itself fit only to catch lizards. Humility must 
always go before: so that we may know that this strength 
can come out of no strength of our own. 

5. But it is necessary we should understand what manner 
of humility this should be, because Satan, I believe, does 
great harm; for he hinders those who begin to pray from 
going onwards, by suggesting to them false notions of hu 
mility. He makes them think it is pride to have large desires, 
to wish to imitate the Saints, and to long for martyrdom. 
He tells us forthwith, or he makes us think, that the actions 
of the Saints are to be admired, not to be imitated, by us 
who are sinners. I, too, say the same thing; but we must 
see what those actions are which we are to admire, and what 
those are which we are to imitate ; for it would be wrong in 
a person who is weak and sickly to undertake much fasting 
and sharp penances to retire into the desert, where he could 
not sleep, nor find any thing to eat; or, indeed, to undertake 
any austerities of this kind. 

6. But we ought to think that we can force ourselves, 
by the grace of God, to hold the world in profound contempt 
to make light of honour, and be detached from our posses 
sions. Our hearts, however, are so mean, that we think the 
earth would fail us under our feet, if we were to cease to 
care even for a moment for the body, and give ourselves up 
to spirituality. Then we think that to have all we require 
contributes to recollection, because anxieties disturb prayer. 
It is painful to me that our confidence in God is so scanty, 
and our self-love so strong, as that any anxiety about our 
own necessities should disturb us. But so it is ; for when 
our spiritual progress is so slight, a mere nothing will give 
us as much trouble as great and important matters will give 
to others. And we think ourselves spiritual ! 

7. Now, to me, this way of going on seems to betray a 
disposition to reconcile soul and body together, in order that 
we may not miss our ease in this world, and yet have the 
fruition of God in the next: and so it will be if we walk 
according to justice, clinging to virtue ; but it is the pace of 
a hen it will never bring us to liberty of spirit. It is a 


course of proceeding, as it seems to me, most excellent for 
those who are in the married state, and who must live 
according to their vocation; but for the other state, I by no 
means wish for such a method of progress, neither can I 
be made to believe it to be sound; for I have tried it, and 
I should have remained in that way, if our Lord in His good 
ness had not taught me another and a shorter road. 

8. Though, in the matter of desires, I always had gen 
erous ones; but I laboured, as I said before, 1 to make mv 
prayer, and, at the same time, to live at my ease. If there 
had been any one to rouse me to a higher flight, he might 
have brought me, so I think, to a state in which these desires 
might have had their effects ; but, for our sins, so few and so 
rare are they whose discretion in that matter is not excessive. 
That, I believe, is reason enough why those who begin do 
not attain more quickly to great perfection; for our Lord 
never fails us, and it is not His fault; the fault and the 
wretchedness of this being all our own. 

9. We may also imitate the Saints by striving after soli 
tude and silence, and many other virtues that will not kill 
these wretched bodies of ours, which insist on being treated 
so orderly, that they may disorder the soul; and Satan, too, 
helps much to make them unmanageable. When he sees us 
a little anxious about them, he wants nothing more to con 
vince us that our way of life must kill us, and destroy our 
health; even if we weep, he makes us afraid of blindness. 
I have passed through this, and therefore I know it; but I 
know of no better sight or better health that we can desire, 
than the loss of both in such a cause. Being myself so 
sickly, I was always under constraint, and good for nothing, 
till I resolved to make no account of my body nor of my 
health ; even now I am worthless enough. 

10. But when it pleased God to let me find out this 
device of Satan, I used to say to the latter, when he suggested 
to me that I was ruining my health, that my death was of 
no consequence; when he suggested rest, I replied that I did 
not want rest, but the cross. His other suggestions I treated 
in the same way. I saw clearly that in most things, though 
I was really very sickly, it was either a temptation of Satan, 
or a weakness on my part. My health has been much better 

1 Ch. vii. 27, 30. 


since 1 have ceased to look after my ease and comforts. It 
is of great importance not to let our own thoughts frighten 
us in the beginning, when we set ourselves to pray. Believe 
me in this, for I know it by experience. As a warning to 
others, it may be that this story of my failures may be useful. 

11. There is another temptation, which is very common: 
when people begin to have pleasure in the rest and the fruit 
of prayer, they will have every body else be very spiritual 
also. Now, to desire this is not wrong, but to try to bring 
it about may not be right, except with great discretion and 
with much reserve, without any appearance of teaching. He 
who would do any good in this matter ought to be endowed 
with solid virtues, that he may not put temptation in the 
way of others. It happened to me that is how I know it 
when, as I said before, 1 i made others apply themselves 
to prayer, to be a source of temptation and disorder; for, 
on the one hand, they heard me say great things of the blessed 
ness of prayer, and, on the other, saw how poor I was in 
virtue, notwithstanding my prayer. They had good reasons 
on their side, and afterwards they told me of it; for they 
knew not how these things could be compatible one with the 
other. This it was that made them not to regard that as 
evil which was really so in itself, namely, that they saw me 
do it myself, now and then, during the time that they thought 
well of me in some measure. 

12. This is Satan s work: he seems to take advantage 
of the virtues we may have, for the purpose of giving a 
sanction, so far as he can, to the evil he aims at ; how slight 
soever that evil may be, his gain must be great, if it pre 
vail in a religious house. How much, then, must his gain 
have been, when the evil I did was so very great ! And 
thus, during many years, only three persons were the better 
for what I said to them ; but now that our Lord has made 
me stronger in virtue, in the course of two or three years 
many persons have profited, as I shall show hereafter. 2 

13. There is another great inconvenience in addition 
to this: the loss to our own soul; for. the utmost we have 
to do in the beginning is to take care of our own soul only, 
and consider that in the whole world there is only God and 
our soul. This is a point of great importance. 

1 Ch. vii. 16. 2 See ch. xxxi. 7, and ch. xxxix. 14. 


14. There is another temptation, we ought to be aware 
of it, and be cautious in our conduct : persons are carried 
away by a zeal for virtue, through the pain which the sight 
of the sins and failings of others occasions them. Satan tells 
them that this pain arises only out of their desire that God 
may not be offended, and out of their anxiety about His 
honour; so they immediately seek to remedy the evil. This 
so disturbs them, that they cannot pray. The greatest evil 
of all is their thinking this an act of virtue, of perfection, 
and of a great zeal for God. I am not speaking of the pain 
which public sins occasion, if they be habitual in any com 
munity, nor of wrongs done to the Church, nor of heresies 
by which so many souls are visibly lost ; for this pain is most 
wholesome, and being wholesome is no source of disquiet. 
The security, therefore, of that soul which would apply itself 
to prayer lies in casting away from itself all anxiety about 
persons and things, in taking care of itself, and in pleasing- 
God. This is the most profitable course. 

15. If I were to speak of the mistakes which I have 
seen people make, in reliance on their own good intentions, 
I should never come to an end. Let us labour, therefore, 
always to consider the virtues and the good qualities which 
we discern in others, and with our own great sins cover our 
eyes, so that we may see none of their failings. This is 
one way of doing our work ; and though we may not be 
perfect in it at once, we shall acquire one great virtue, 
we shall look upon all men as better than ourselves ; and we 
begin to acquire that virtue in this way, by the grace of 
God, which is necessary in all things for when we have it 
not, all our endeavours are in vain and by imploring Him 
to give us this virtue ; for He never fails us, if we do what 
we can. 

16. This advice, also, they must take into their con 
sideration who make much use of their understanding, elicit 
ing from one subject many thoughts and conceptions. As 
to those who, like myself, cannot do it, I have no advice to 
give, except that they are to have patience, until our Lord 
shall send them both matter and light ; for they can do so 
little of themselves, that their understanding is a hindrance 
to them rather than a help. 

17. To those, then, who can make use of their under 
standing, T say that they are not to spend the whole time 


in that way; for though it be most meritorious, yet they 
must not, when prayer is sweet, suppose that there never 
will be a Sunday or a time when no work ought to be done. 
They think it lost time to do otherwise ; but I think that 
loss their greatest gain. Let them rather, as I have said, 1 
place themselves in the presence of Christ, and, without 
fatiguing the understanding, converse with Him, and in Him 
rejoice, without wearying themselves in searching out reasons; 
but let them rather lay their necessities before Him, and 
the just reasons there are why He should not suffer us in 
His presence : at one time this, at another time that, lest 
the soul should be wearied by always eating of the same 
food. These meats are most savoury and wholesome, if the 
palate be accustomed to them; they will furnish a great sup 
port for the life of the soul, and they have many other advan 
tages also. 

18. I will explain myself further; for the doctrine of 
prayer is difficult, and, without a director, very hard to under 
stand. Though I would willingly be concise, and though 
a mere hint is enough for his clear intellect who has com 
manded me to write on the subject of prayer, yet so it is, 
my dulness does not allow me to say or explain in a few 
words that which it is so important to explain well. I, who 
have gone through so much, am sorry for those who begin 
only with books ; for there is a strange difference between 
that which we learn by reading, and that which we learn 
by experience. 

19. Going back, then, to what I was saying. We set 
ourselves to meditate upon some mystery of the Passion : 
let us say, our Lord at the pillar. The understanding goeth 
about seeking for the sources out of which came the great 
dolors and the bitter anguish which His Majesty endured 
in that desolation. It considers that mystery in many lights, 
which the intellect, if it be skilled in its work, or furnished 
with learning, may there obtain. This is a method of prayer 
which should be to every one the beginning, the middle, 
and the end ; a most excellent and safe way, until our Lord 
shall guide them to other supernatural ways. 

20. I say to all, because there are many souls who make 
greater progress by meditation on other subjects than on the 

1 Ch. xii. 3. 


Sacred Passion; for as there are many mansions in heaven, 
so are there also many roads leading thither. Some per 
sons advance by considering themselves in hell, others in 
heaven, and these are distressed by meditations on hell. 
Others meditate on death ; some persons, if tender-hearted, 
are greatly fatigued by continual meditations on the Passion ; 
but are consoled and make progress when they meditate on 
the power and greatness of God in His creatures, and on 
His love visible in all things. This is an admirable method, 
not omitting, however, from time to time the Passion and 
Life of Christ, the Source of all good that ever came, and 
that ever shall come. 

21. He who begins is in need of instruction, whereby he 
may ascertain what profits him most. For this end it is very 
necessary he should have a director, who ought to be a person 
of experience; for if he be not, he will make many mistakes, 
and direct a soul without understanding its ways, or suffering 
it to understand them itself; for such a soul, knowing that 
obedience to a director is highly meritorious, dares not trans 
gress the commandments it receives. I have met with souls 
cramped and tormented, because he who directed them had 
no experience : that made me sorry for them. Some of them 
knew not what to do with themselves ; for directors who do 
not understand the spirit of their penitents afflict them soul 
and body, and hinder their progress. 1 

22. One person I had to do with had been kept by her 
director for eight years, as it were, in prison : he would not 
allow her to quit the subject of self-knowledge; and yet our 
Lord had already raised her to the prayer of quiet ; so she had 
much to suffer. 

23. Although this matter of self-knowledge must never 
be put aside, for there is no soul so great a giant on this 
road but has frequent need to turn back, and be again an 
infant at the breast ; and this must never be forgotten. I 
shall repeat it, 2 perhaps, many times, because of its great 
importance for among all the states of prayer, however high 
they may be, there is not one in which it is not often 
necessary to go back to the beginning. The knowledge of 

1 See S. John .of the Cross, Living Flame, pp. 267, 278-284, Engl. 


2 See ch. xv. 20. 


our sins, and of our own selves, is the bread which 
we have to eat with all the meats, however delicate they 
may be in the way of prayer; without this bread, life cannot 
be sustained, though it must be taken by measure. When 
a soul beholds itself resigned, and clearly understands that 
there is no goodness in it, when it feels itself abashed in the 
presence of so great a King, and sees how little it pays of 
the great debt it owes Him, why should it be necessary 
for it to waste its time on this subject? Why should it not 
rather proceed to other matters which our Lord places before 
it, and for neglecting which there is no reason? His Majesty 
surely knows better than we do what kind of food is proper 
for us. 

24. So, then, it is of great consequence that the director 
should be prudent I mean, of sound understanding and a 
man of experience. If, in addition to this, he is a learned 
man, it is a very great matter. But if these three qualities can 
not be had together, the first two are the most important, be 
cause learned men may be found with whom we can com 
municate when it is necessary. I mean, that for beginners 
learned men are of little use, if they are not men of prayer. 
I do not say that they are to have nothing to do with 
learned men, because a spirituality, the foundations of which 
are not resting on the truth, I would rather were not accom 
panied with prayer. Learning is a great thing, for it teaches 
us who know so little, and enlightens us ; so when we have 
come to the knowledge of the truths contained in the holy 
writings, we do what we ought to do. From silly devotions, 
God deliver us ! 

25. I will explain myself further, for I am meddling, I 
believe, with too many matters. It has always been my fail 
ing that I could never make myself understood, as I said 
before, 1 but at the cost of many words. A nun begins to 
practise prayer; if her director be silly, and if he should 
take it into his head, he will make her feel that it is better 
for her to obey him than her own superior. He will do all 
this without any evil purpose, thinking that he is doing right. 
For if he be not a religious himself, he will think this right 
enough. If his penitent be a married woman, he will tell 
her that it is better for her to give herself unto prayer, when 



she ought to attend to her house, although she may thereby 
displease her husband. And so it is he knows not how to 
make arrangements for time and business, so that every thing 
may be done as it ought to be done; he has no light him 
self, and can therefore give none to others, however much 
he may wish to do so. 

26. Though learning does not seem necessary for di 
rection, my opinion has always been, and will be, that every 
Christian should continue to be guided by a learned director 
if he can, and the more learned the better. They who walk 
in the way of prayer have the greater need of learning ; and 
the more spiritual they are, the greater is that need. Let 
them not say that learned men not given to prayer are not 
fit counsellors for those who pray : that is a delusion. I 
have conversed with many ; and now for some years I have 
sought them the more, because of my greater need of them. 
I have always been fond of them; for though some of them 
have no experience, they do not dislike spirituality, neither are 
they ignorant of what it is, because in the sacred writings 
with which they are familiar they always find the truth 
about spirituality. I am certain myself that a person given 
to prayer, who treats of these matters with learned men, 
unless he is deceived with his own consent, will never be 
carried away by any illusions of the devil. I believe that 
the evil spirits are exceedingly afraid of learned men who 
are humble and virtuous, knowing that they will be found 
out and defeated by them. 

27. I have said this because there are opinions held to 
the effect that learned men, if they are not spiritual, are not 
suited for persons given to prayer. I have just said that a 
spiritual director is necessary ; but if he be not a learned 
man, he is a great hindrance. It will help us much if we 
consult those who are learned, provided they be virtuous; 
even if they be not spiritual, they will be of service to me, 
and God will enable them to understand what they should 
teach ; He will even make them spiritual, in order that they 
may help us on. I do not say this without having had 
experience of it ; and I have met with more than two. 

28. I say, then, that a person who shall resign his soul 
to be wholly subject to one director will make a great mis 
take, if he is in religion, unless he finds a director of this 
kind, because of the obedience due to his own superior. His 


director may be deficient in the three requisites I speak of, 1 
and that will be no slight cross, without voluntarily sub 
jecting- the understanding to one whose understanding is 
none of the best. At least, I have never been able to bring 
myself to do it, neither does it seem to me to be right. 

29. But if he be a person living in the world, let him 
praise God for the power he has of choosing whom he will 
obey, and let him not lose so excellent a liberty; yea, rather 
let him be without a director till he finds him, for our 
Lord will give him one, if he is really humble, and has a 
desire to meet with the right person. I praise God greatly 
we women, and those who are unlearned, ought always 
to render Him unceasing thanks because there are persons 
who, by labours so great, have attained to the truth, of which 
w r e unlearned people are ignorant. I often wonder at learned 
men particularly those who are in religion when I think 
of the trouble they have had in acquiring that which they 
communicate to me for my good, and that without any 
more trouble to me than the asking for it. And yet there 
are people who will not take advantage of their learning: 
God grant it may not be so ! 

30. I see them undergo the poverty of the religious 
life, which is great, together with its penances, its meagre 
food, the yoke of obedience, which makes me ashamed of 
myself at times ; and with all this, interrupted sleep, trials 
everywhere, everywhere the Cross. I think it would be 
a great evil for any one to lose so great a good by his own 
fault. It may be that some of us, who are exempted from 
these burdens, who have our food put into our mouths, as 
they say, and live at our ease, may think, because we give 
ourselves a little more to prayer, that we are raised above 
the necessity of such great hardships. Blessed be Thou, O 
Lord, who hast made me so incapable and so useless ; but 
I bless Thee still more for this that Thou quickenest so 
many to quicken us. Our prayer must therefore be very 
earnest for those who give us light. What should we be 
without them in the midst of these violent storms which 
now disturb the Church? If some have fallen, the good will 
shine more and more. 2 May it please our Lord to hold 
them in His hand, and help them, that they may help us. 

1 Prudence, experience, and learning; see 24. 2 Dan. xii. 3. 


Hye Hoys, del 

1. General view of the monastery of the Incarnation, taken from the city wall. 
In the foreground is seen a Noria. 2. Entrance to the monastery. 3. View of the 
monastery from the rear. 4. Door of the church with archivolts in granite, charac 
teristic of the local architecture. 5. Statue of Our I.ady of Pity, brought here by 
Saint Teresa. 6. Staircase in the cloister, site of the vision of Our Lord carrying 1 
His cross. 7. Fresco representing- Our Lord fastened to the column, in the inner 
vestibule of the monastery. 8. Door of the cell, now destroyed, where the Trans- 
verberation took place. 9. Monument constructed from the wood work of the 


Bruges, P. Raoux. Sc. 

cell and placed in a hermitage in the garden. 10. Sepulchral slab of Franclsca del 
Aiiiiila, Prioress of the monastery in the time of Saint Teresa. 11. Copy of an 
original pen-sketch made by Saint John of the Cross, after one of his visions. 
12. Arms of Clement VII., who was Pope at the time of Saint Teresa s entrance 
into the Incarnation, and who died in 1534. 13. Escutcheon carved above the door 
of the church. 14. Escutcheon of (>ulomar de Ulloa, friend of Saint Teresa. 15. 
Escutcheon of the Calced Carmelites. (See Appendix, note 5.) 


31. i have gone far away from the subject I began to 
speak of ; but all is to the purpose for those who are beginners, 
that they may begin a journey which is so high in such a 
way as that they shall go on by the right road. Coming back, 
then, to what I spoke of before, 1 the meditation on Christ 
bound to the pillar, it is \vell we should make reflections for 
a time, and consider the sufferings He there endured, for 
whom He endured them, who He is who endured them, and 
the love with which He bore them. But a person should 
not always fatigue himself in making these reflections, but 
rather let him remain there with Christ, in the silence of 
the understanding. 

32. If he is able, let him employ himself in looking upon 
Christ, who is looking upon him ; let him accompany Him, 
and make his petitions to Him; let him humble himself, and 
delight himself in Christ, and keep in mind that He never 
deserved to be there. When he shall be able to do this, 
though it may be in the beginning of his prayer, he will find 
great advantage ; and this way of prayer brings great ad 
vantages with it at least, so my soul has found it. I do 
not know whether I am describing it aright; you, my father, 
will see to it. May our Lord grant me to please Him rightly 
for ever! Amen. 




1. HAVING spoken of the toilsome efforts and of the 
strength required for watering the garden when we have 
to draw the water out of the well, let us now speak of 
the second manner of drawing the water, which the Lord 
of the vineyard has ordained; of the machine of wheel and 
buckets whereby the gardener may draw more water with 
less labour, and be able to take some rest without being con 
tinually at work. This, then, is what I am now going to 
describe; and I apply it to the prayer called the prayer of 


2. Herein the soul begins to be recollected ; it is now 
touching on the supernatural, for it never could by any 
efforts of its own attain to this. True, it seems at times to 
have been wearied at the wheel, labouring with the under 
standing, and filling the buckets ; but in this second degree 
the water is higher, and accordingly the labour is much less 
than it was when the water had to be drawn up out of the 
well ; I mean, that the water is nearer to it, for grace reveals 
itself more distinctly to the soul. 

3. This is a gathering together of the faculties of the 
soul within itself, in order that it may have the fruition of 
that contentment in greater sweetness ; but the faculties are 
not lost, neither are they asleep : the will alone is occupied 
in such a way that, without knowing how it has become a 
captive, it gives a simple consent to become the prisoner of 
God ; for it knows well what it is to be the captive of Him 
it loves. O my Jesus and my Lord, how pressing now is 
Thy love i 1 It binds our love in bonds so straitly, that it 
is not in its power at this moment to love any thing else but 

4. The other two faculties help the will, that it may 
render itself capable of the fruition of so great a good ; never 
theless, it occasionally happens, even when the will is in 
union, that they hinder it very much: but then it should 
never heed them at all, simply abiding in its fruition and 
quiet. 2 For if it tried to make them recollected, it would 
miss its way together with them, because they are at this time 
like doves which are not satisfied with the food the master 
of the dovecot gives them without any labouring for it on 
their part, and which go forth in quest of it elsewhere, and 
so hardly find it that they come back. And so the memory 
and the understanding come and go, seeking whether the 
will is going to give them that into the fruition of which it 
has entered itself. 

5. If it be our Lord s pleasure to throw them any food, 
they stop ; if not, they go again to seek it. They must be 
thinking that they are of some service to the will ; and now 
and then the memory or the imagination, seeking to represent 

1 2 Cor. v. 14. 

2 See ch. xvii. 12; Way of Perfection, ch. liii., but xxxi. of the 
old editions. 


to it that of which it has the fruition, does it harm. The 
will, therefore, should be careful to deal with them as I 
shall explain. Every thing that takes place now in this state 
brings the very greatest consolation ; and the labour is so 
slight, that prayer, even if persevered in for some time, is 
never wearisome. The reason is, that the understanding is 
now working very gently, and is drawing very much more 
water than it drew out of the well. The tears, .which God 
now sends, flow with joy; though we feel them, they are 
not the result of any efforts of our own. 

6. This water of grand blessings and graces, which our 
Lord now supplies, makes the virtues thrive much more, 
beyond all comparison, than they did in the previous state 
of prayer ; for the soul is already ascending out of its wretched 
state, and some little knowledge of the blissfulness of glory 
is communicated to it. This, I believe, is it that makes the 
virtues grow the more, and also to draw nearer to essential 
virtue, God Himself, from whom all virtues proceed ; for 
His Majesty has begun to communicate Himself to this soul, 
and will have it feel how He is communicating Himself. 

7. As soon as the soul has arrived thus far, it begins 
to lose the desire of earthly things : l and no wonder ; for it 
sees clearly that, even for a moment, this joy is not to be 
had on earth ; that there are no riches, no dominion, no 
honours, no delights, that can for one instant, even for the 
twinkling of an eye, minister such a joy; for it is a true 
satisfaction, and the soul sees that it really does satisfy. 
Now, we who are on earth, as it seems to me, scarcely ever 
understand wherein our satisfaction lies, for it is always 
liable to disappointment ; but in this, at that time, there is 
none : the disappointment cometh afterwards, when the soul 
sees that all is over, and that it has no power to recover it, 
neither does it know how ; for if it cut itself in pieces by 
penance and prayer, and every other kind of austerities, all 
would be of little use, if our Lord did not grant it. God, 
in His great mercy, will have the soul comprehend that His 
Majesty is so near to it, that it need not send messengers 
to Him, but may speak to Him itself, and not with a loud 
crying, because so near is He already, that He understands 
even the movements of its lips. 

1 See Relation, I 12. 


8. It seems absurd to say this, seeing that we know 
that God understands us always, and is present with us. It 
is so, and there can be no doubt of it; but our Emperor and 
Lord will have us now understand that He understands us; 
and also have us understand what His presence bringeth 
about, and that He means in a special way to begin a work 
in the soul, which is manifested in the great joy, inward 
and outward, which He communicates, and in the difference 
there is, as I said just now, between this joy and delight 
and all the joys of earth; for He seems to be filling up the 
void in our souls occasioned by our sins. 

9. This satisfaction lies in the innermost part of the 
soul, and the soul knows not whence, nor how, it came ; very 
often it knows not what to do, or wish, or pray for. It seems 
to find all this at once, and knoweth not what it hath found ; 
nor do I know how to explain it, because learning is neces 
sary for many things. Here, indeed, learning would be very 
much to the purpose, in order to explain the general and 
particular helps of grace ; for there are many who know 
nothing about them. Learning would serve to show how our 
Lord now will have the soul to see, as it were, with the naked 
eye, as men speak, this particular help of grace, and be also 
useful in many other ways wherein I am likely to go astray. 
But as what I write is to be seen by those who have the 
learning to discover whether I make mistakes or not, I go 
on without anxiety; for I know I need have none what 
ever about either the letter or the spirit, because it is in 
their power to whom it is to be sent to do with it as they 
will : they will understand it, and blot out whatever may be 

10. I should like them to explain this, because it is a 
principal point, and because a soul, when our Lord begins 
to bestow these graces upon it, does not understand them, 
and does not know what to do with itself; for if God leads 
it by the way of fear, as He led me, its trial will be heavy 
if there be no one who understands the state it is in; and to 
see itself as in a picture is a great comfort ; and then it sees 
clearly that it is travelling on that road. The knowledge 
of what it has to do is a great blessing for it, so that it 
may advance forwards in every one of these degrees of prayer ; 
for I have suffered greatly, and lost much time, because I 
did not know what to do ; and I am very sorry for those 


souls who find themselves alone when they come to this 
state ; for though I read many spiritual books, wherein this 
very matter is discussed, they threw very little light upon 
it. And if it be not a soul much exercised in prayer, it will 
find it enough to understand its state, be the books ever so 

11. I wish much that our Lord would help me to de 
scribe the effects on the soul of these things, now that they 
begin to be supernatural, so that men might know by these 
effects whether they come from the Spirit of God. I mean, 
know as things are known here below, though it is always 
well to live in fear, and on our guard ; for even if they do 
come from God, now and then the devil will be able to 
tiansform himself into an angel of light; 1 and the soul, if 
not experienced herein, will not understand the matter ; and 
it must have so much experience for the understanding 
thereof, that it is necessary it should have attained to the 
highest perfection of prayer. 

12. The little time I have helps me but little, and it 
is therefore necessary His Majesty should undertake it Him 
self; for I have to live in community, and have very many 
things to employ me, as I am in a house which is newly 
founded, as will appear hereafter; 2 and so I am writing, 
with very many interruptions, by little and little at a time. 
I wish I had leisure ; for when our Lord gives the spirit, it 
is more easily and better done ; it is then as with a person 
working embroidery with the pattern before her; but if the 
spirit be wanting, there is no more meaning in the words 
than in gibberish, so to speak, though many years may have 
been spent in prayer. And thus I think it a very great ad 
vantage to be in this state of prayer when I am writing 
this ; for I see clearly that it is not I who speak, nor is it 
I who with her understanding has arranged it ; and after- 

1 2 Cor. xi. 14. 

2 See ch. x. 11. As that passage refers probably to the monas 
tery of the Incarnation, this must refer to that of S. Joseph, newly 
founded in Avila; for that of the Incarnation was founded a short time 
before the Saint was born; and she could hardly say of it, now that 
she was at least in her forty-seventh year, that it was newly founded. 
The house, however, was poor; for she says, ch. xxxii. 12, that the 
nuns occasionally quitted the monastery for a time, because of its 


wards I do not know how I came to speak so accurately. 1 
It has often happened to me thus. 

13. Let us now return to our orchard, or flower-garden, 
and behold now how the trees begin to fill with sap for the 
bringing forth of the blossoms, and then of the fruit, the 
flowers and the plants, also, their fragrance. This illus 
tration pleases me; for very often, when I was beginning, 
and our Lord grant that I have really begun to serve His 
Majesty I mean, begun in relation to what I have to say 
of my life, it was to me a great joy to consider my soul as 
a garden, and our Lord as walking in it. I used to beseech 
Him to increase the fragrance of the little flowers of virtues, 
which were beginning, as it seemed, to bud, and pre 
serve them, that they might be to His glory; for I desired 
nothing for myself. I prayed Him to cut those He liked, 
because I already knew that they would grow the better. 

14. I say cut; for there are times in which the soul 
has no recollection of this garden, every thing seems parched, 
and there is no water to be had for preserving it, and in 
which it seems as if the soul had never possessed any virtue 
at all. This is the season of heavy trials; for our Lord will 
have the poor gardener suppose all the trouble he took in 
maintaining and watering the garden to have been taken 
to no purpose. Then is the time really for weeding and 
rooting out every plant, however small it may be, that is 
worthless, in the knowledge that no efforts of ours are suffi 
cient, if God withholds from us the waters of His grace ; 
and in despising ourselves as being nothing, and even less 
than nothing. In this way we gain great humility the flowers 
grow afresh. 

15. O my Lord and my Good! I cannot utter these 
words without tears, and rejoicing in my soul ; for Thou 
wilt be thus with us, and art with us, in the Sacrament. We 

1 See ch. xviii. 12. In the second Report of the Rota, p. 477, 
quoted by Benedict XIV., De Canoniz. iii. 26, n. 12, and by the Bol- 
landists in the Acta, 1315, we have these words, and they throw great 
light on the text: "Sunt et alii testes de visu affirmantes quod quando 
beata Teresa scribebat Hbros, facies ejus resplendebat." In the infor 
mation taken in Granada, the Mother Anne of the Incarnation says 
she saw the Saint one night, while writing the Fortress of the Sonl, 
with her face shining; and Mary of S. Francis deposes to the same 
effect in the informations taken in Medina (De la Fnente vol ii pp 
389, 392). 


may believe so most truly ; for so it is, and the comparison 
I make is a great truth ; and, if our sins stand not in the way, 
we may rejoice in Thee, because Thou rejoicest in us; for 
Thou hast told us that Thy delight is to be with the children 
of men. 1 O my Lord, what does it mean? Whenever I 
hear these words, they always give me great consolation, 
and did so even when I was most wicked. 

16. Is it possible, O Lord, that there can be a soul which, 
after attaining to this state wherein Thou bestowest upon 
it the like graces and consolations, and wherein it under 
stands that Thou delightest to be with it, can yet fall back 
and offend Thee after so many favours, and such great de 
monstrations of the love Thou bearest it, and of which there 
cannot be any doubt, because the effect of it is so visible? 
Such a soul there certainly is ; for I have done so, not once, but 
often. May it please Thy goodness, O Lord, that I may be 
alone in my ingratitude the only one who has committed 
so great an iniquity, and whose ingratitude has been so im- 
measureable ! But even out of my ingratitude Thine in 
finite goodness has brought forth some good ; and the greater 
my wickedness, the greater the splendour of the great mercy 
of Thy compassions. Oh, what reasons have I to magnify 
them for ever ! 

17. May it be so, I beseech Thee, O my God, and may 
I sing of them for ever, now that Thou hast been pleased to 
show mercies so great unto me that they who see them are 
astonished, mercies which draw me out of myself continually, 
that I may praise Thee more and more ! for, remaining in my 
self, without Thee, I could do nothing, O my Lord, but be 
as the withered flowers of the garden ; so that this miserable 
earth of mine becomes a heap of refuse, as it was before. 
Let it not be so, O Lord ! let not a soul which Thou hast 
purchased with so many labours be lost, one which Thou 
hast so often ransomed anew, and delivered from between 
the teeth of the hideous dragon ! 

18. You, my father, must forgive me for wandering from 
the subject ; and, as I am speaking to the purpose I have 
in view, you must not be surprised. What I write is what 
my soul has understood; and it is very often hard enough 
to abstain from the praises of God when, in the course of 

1 Prov. viii. 31. 

94 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [cii. XV. 

writing, the great debt I owe Him presents itself before me. 
Nor do I think that it can be disagreeable to you; because 
both of us, I believe, may sing the same song, though in a 
different way ; for my debt is much the greater, seeing that 
God has forgiven me more, as you, my father, know. 



1. LET us now go back to the subject. This quiet and 
recollection of the soul makes itself in great measure felt 
in the satisfaction and peace, attended with very great joy 
and repose of the faculties, and most sweet delight, wherein 
the soul is established. 1 It thinks, because it has not gone 
beyond it, that there is nothing further to wish for, but that 
its abode might be there, and it would willingly say so 
with S. Peter. 2 It dares not move nor stir, because it thinks 
that this blessing it has received must then escape out of 
its hands ; now and then, it could wish it did not even breathe. 3 
The poor little soul is not aware that, as of itself it could 
do nothing to draw down this blessing on itself, it is still 
less able to retain it a moment longer than our Lord wills 
it should remain. 

2. I have already said that, in the prior recollection and 
quiet, 4 there is no failure of the powers of the soul ; but the 
soul is so satisfied in God that, although two of its powers 
be distracted, yet, while the recollection lasts, as the will 
abides in union with God, so its peace and quiet are not 
disturbed; on the contrary, the will by degrees brings the 
understanding and the memory back again ; for though the 
will is not yet altogether absorbed, it continues still occupied 
without knowing how, so that, notwithstanding all the efforts 
of the memory and the understanding, they cannot rob it 
of its delight and joy, 5 yea, rather, it helps without any 

1 See Way of Perfection, ch. liii., but ch. xxxi. of the old edition. 

2 S. Matt. xvii. 4. 3 See ch. xvii. 8. 
4 Ch. x. 1. Ch. xiv. 3, 4. 


labour at all to keep this little spark of the love of God from 
being quenched. 

3. Oh, that His Majesty would be gracious unto me, and 
enable me to give a clear account of the matter; for many 
are the souls who attain to this state, and few are they who 
go farther: and I know not who is in fault; most certainly 
it is not God; for when His Majesty show r s mercy unto a soul, 
so that it advances so far, I believe that He will not fail to 
be more merciful still, if there be no shortcomings on our 

4. And it is of great importance for the soul that has 
advanced so far as this to understand the great dignity of 
its state, the great grace given it by our Lord, and how in 
all reason it should not belong to earth; because He, of His 
goodness, seems to make it here a denizen of heaven, unless 
it be itself in fault. And miserable will that soul be, if it 
turns back; it will go down I think so even to the abyss, 
as I was going myself, if the mercy of our Lord had not 
brought me back; because, for the most part, it must be the 
effect of grave faults that is my opinion: nor is it possible 
to forsake so great a good otherwise than through the blind 
ness occasioned by much evil. 

5. Therefore, for the love of our Lord, I implore those 
souls to whom His Majesty has given so great a grace the 
attainment of this state to know and make much of them 
selves, with a humble and holy presumption, in order that 
they may never return to the flesh-pots of Egypt. And if 
through weakness and wickedness, and a mean and wretched 
nature, they should fall, as I did, let them always keep in 
mind the good they have lost; let them suspect and fear 
they have reason to do so that, if they do not resume their 
prayer, they may go on from bad to worse. I call that a 
real fall which makes us hate the way by which so great a 
good was obtained. I address myself to those souls ; but I 
am not saying that they will never offend God, nor fall into 
sin, though there are good reasons why those who have 
received these graces should keep themselves carefully from 
sin ; but we are miserable creatures. What I earnestly advise 
in this : let there be no giving up of prayer ; it is by prayer 
they will understand what they are doing, and obtain from 
our Lord the grace to repent, and strength to rise again ; they 
must believe and believe again that, if they cease from pray- 


ing, they run so I think into danger. I know not if I 
understand what I am saying; for, as I said before, I measure 
others by myself. 1 

6. The prayer of quiet, then, is a little spark of the true 
love of Himself, which our Lord begins to enkindle in the soul ; 
and His will is, that the soul should understand what this love 
is by the joy it brings. This quiet and recollection and little 
spark, if it is the work of the Spirit of God, and not a sweet 
ness supplied by Satan, or brought about by ourselves, pro 
duces great results. A person of experience, however, cannot 
possibly fail to understand at once that it is not a thing that 
can be acquired, were it not that our nature is so greedy of 
sweetness, that it seeks for it in every way. But it becomes 
cold very soon ; for, however much we try to make the fire 
burn, in order to obtain this sweetness, it does not appear that 
we do any thing else but throw water on it, to put it out. 
This spark, then, given of God, however slight it may be. 
causes a great crackling; and if men do not quench it by their 
faults, it is the beginning of the great fire, which sends forth 
I shall speak of it in the proper place 2 the flames of that 
most vehement love of God which His Majesty will have 
perfect souls to possess. 

7. This little spark is a sign or pledge which God gives 
to a soul, in token of His having chosen it for great things, 
if it will prepare to receive them. It is a great gift, much too 
great for me to be able to speak of it. It is a great sorrow 
to me; because, as I said before, 3 I know that many souls 
come thus far, and that those who go farther, as they ought 
to go, are so few, that I am ashamed to say it. I do not mean 
that they are absolutely few : there must be many, because 
God is patient with us, for some reasons; I speak of what I 
have seen. 

8. I should like much to recommend these souls to take 
care that they do not hide their talent ; for it may be that God 
has chosen them to be the edification of many others, espe 
cially in these days, when the friends of God should be strong, 
in order that they may support the weak. Those who discern 
in themselves this grace, must look upon themselves as such 
friends, if they would fulfill the law which even the honour- 

1 Ch. x. 11. 2 Ch. xviii. 5, and ch. xxi. 9. 

3 3. 


able friendship of the world respects; if not, as I said just 
now, 1 let them fear and tremble, lest they should be doing 
mischief to themselves and God grant it be to themselves 
only ! 

9. What the soul has to do at those seasons wherein it 
is raised to the prayer of quiet is nothing more than to be 

-gentle and without noise. By noise, I mean going about with 
the understanding in search of words and reflections whereby 
to give God thanks for this grace, and heaping up its sins 
and imperfections together to show that it does not deserve 
it. All this commotion takes place now, and the understand 
ing conies forward, and the memory is restless, and certainly 
to me these powers bring much weariness at times ; for though 
my memory is not strong, I cannot control it. Let the will 
quietly and wisely understand that it is not by dint of labour 
on our part that we can converse to any good purpose with 
God, and that our own efforts are only great logs of wood, 
laid on without discretion to quench this little spark; and 
let it confess this, and in humility say, O Lord, what can I 
do here? what has the servant to do with her Lord, and 
earth with heaven? or words of love that suggest themselves 
now, firmly grounded in the conviction that what it says 
is truth ; and let it make no account of the understanding, 
which is simply tiresome. 

10. And if the will wishes to communicate to the under 
standing any portion of that the fruition of which itself has 
entered on, or if it labours to make the understanding recol 
lected, it shall not succeed; for it will often happen that the 
will is in union and at rest, while the understanding is in 
extreme disorder. It is better for it to leave it alone, and 
not to run after it I am speaking of the will for the will 
should abide in the fruition of that grace, recollected itself, 
like the prudent bee ; for if no bees entered the hive, and each 
of them wandered abroad in search of the rest, the honey 
would hardly be made. In the same way, the soul will lose 
much if it be not careful now, especially if the understanding 
be acute ; for when it begins to make reflections and search 
for reasons, it will think at once that it is doing something 
if its reasons and reflections are good. 

11. The only reason that ought to be admitted now is to 
understand clearly that there is no reason whatever except 

1 5. 


His mere goodness, why God should grant us so great a 
grace, and to be aware that we are so near Him, and to 
pray to His Majesty for mercies, to make intercession for 
the Church, for those who have been recommended to us, and 
for the souls in purgatory, not, however, with noise of words, 
but with a heartfelt desire to be heard. This is a prayer 
that contains much, and by it more is obtained than by many 
reflections of the understanding. Let the will stir up some of 
those reasons, which proceed from reason itself, to quicken its 
love, such as the fact of its being in a better state, and let it 
make certain acts of love, as what it will do for Him to whom 
it owes so much, and that, as I said just now, without any 
noise of the understanding, in the search after profound 
reflections. A little straw, and it will be less than straw, if 
we bring it ourselves, laid on with humility, will be more 
effectual here, and will help to kindle the fire more than many 
fagots of most learned reasons, which, in my opinion, will 
put it out in a moment. 

12. This is good for those learned men who have com 
manded me to write, 1 and who all, by the goodness of God, 
have come to this state ; for it may be that they spend the 
time in making applications of passages of the Scriptures. 
And though learning could not fail to be of great use to 
them, both before and after prayer, still, in the very time 
of prayer itself, there is little necessity for it, in my opinion, 
unless it be for the purpose of making the will tepid ; for the 
understanding then, because of its nearness to the light, is it 
self illuminated ; so that even I, who am what I am, seem to be 
a different person. And so it is; for it has happened to me, 
who scarcely understand a word of what I read in Latin, and 
specially in the Psalms, when in the prayer of quiet, not 
only to understand the Latin as if it were Spanish, but, still 
more, to take a delight in dwelling on the meaning of that 
I knew through the Spanish. We must make an exception: 
if these learned men have to preach or to teach, they will do 
well to take advantage of their learning, that they may help 
poor people of little learning, of whom I am one. Charity 
is a great thing; and so always is ministering unto souls, 
when done simply for God.- 

13. So, then, when the soul is in the prayer of quiet, 
let it repose in its rest let learning be put on one side. 

1 Ch. x. 12. 


The time will come when they may make use of it in the 
service of our Lord when they that possess it will appre 
ciate it so highly as to be glad that they had not neglected 
it even for all the treasures of the world, simply because 
it enables them to serve His Majesty; for it is a great help. 
But in the eyes of Infinite Wisdom, believe me, a little striv 
ing after humility, and a single act thereof, are worth more 
than all the science in the world. This is not the time for 
discussing, but for understanding plainly what we are, and 
presenting ourselves in simplicity before God, who will have 
the soul make itself as a fool as, indeed, it is in His 
presence, seeing that His Majesty so humbles Himself as to 
suffer it to be near Him, we being what we are. 

14. Moreover, the understanding bestirs itself to make 
its thanksgiving in phrases well arranged; but the will, in 
peace, not daring to lift up its eyes with the publican, 1 makes 
perhaps a better act of thanksgiving than the understanding, 
with all the tropes of its rhetoric. In a word, mental prayer 
is not to be abandoned altogether now, nor even vocal prayer, 
if at any time we wish, or can, to make use of either of 
them; for if the state of quiet be profound, it becomes diffi 
cult to speak, and it can be done only with great pain. 

15. I believe myself that we know whether this pro 
ceeds from the Spirit of God, or is brought about by en 
deavours of our own, in the commencement of devotion which 
God gives ; and we seek of ourselves, as I said before, 2 to 
pass onwards to this quiet of the will. Then, no effect what 
ever is produced; it is quickly over, and aridity is the re 
sult. If it comes from Satan, the practised soul, in my opinion, 
will detect it, because it leaves trouble behind, and scant 
humility and poor dispositions for those effects which are 
wrought if it comes from God; it leaves neither light in the 
understanding nor steadiness in the truth. 3 

1 S. Luke xviii. 13. 

* Ch. xii. 5. 

"Firmeza en la verdad." Francisco de S. Thomas, in his Medula 
Mystica, p. 204, quoting this passage, has, "firmeza en la voluntad." 
Philip, a SS. Trinitate, Theolog. Mystic, p. 354, and his Abbreviator, 
Anton, a Sp. Sancto, Direct. Mystic tr. iv. disp. i. 11, n. 94, seem also 
to have preferred " voluntad" to " verdad"; for the words they use 
are, "nee intellectui lux nee voluntati firmitas;" and, "defectus lucis in 
intellectu, et firmitatis in vohmtate." 


16. Here Satan can do little or no harm, if the soul 
directs unto God the joy and sweetness it then feels; and if 
it fixes the thoughts and desires on Him, according to the 
advice already given, the devil can gain nothing whatever 
on the contrary, by the permission of God, he will lose much 
by that very joy which he causes in the soul, because that joy 
will help the soul, inasmuch as it thinks the joy comes from 
God, to betake itself often to prayer in its desire for it. And 
if the soul is humble, indifferent to, and detached from, all 
joy, however spiritual, and if it loves the cross, it will make 
no account of the sweetness which Satan sends. But it cannot 
so deal with that which comes from the Spirit of God; of 
that it will make much. Now, when Satan sends it, as he 
is nothing but a lie, and when he sees that the soul humbles 
itself through that joy and sweetness, and here, in all things 
relating to prayer and sweetness, we must be very careful 
to endeavour to make ourselves humble, Satan will not 
often repeat his work, when he sees that he loses by it. 

17. For this and for many other reasons, when I was 
speaking of the first degree of prayer, and of the first method 
of drawing the water, 1 I insisted upon it that the great affair 
of souls is, when they begin to pray, to begin also to detach 
themselves from even- kind of joy, and to enter on it re 
solved only on helping to carry the cross of Christ like good 
soldiers, willing to serve their King without present pay. 
because they are sure of it at last, having their eyes directed 
to the true and everlasting kingdom at the conquest of which 
we are aiming. 

18. It is a very great matter to have this always before 
our eyes, especially in the beginning; afterwards, it becomes 
so clear, that it is rather a matter of necessity to forget it, 
in order to live on. Now, labouring to keep in mind that 
all things here below are of short duration, that they are all 
nothing, that the rest we have here is to be accounted as 
none, all this, I say, seems to be exceedingly low r ; and so, 
indeed, it is, because those who have gone on to greater 
perfection would look upon it as a reproach, and be ashamed 
of themselves, if they thought that they were giving up the 
goods of this world because they are perishable, or that 
they would not be glad to give them up for God even if 
they were to last for ever. The greater the perfection of these 

1 Ch. xi. 16. 


persons, the greater their joy, and the greater also would that 
joy be if the duration of these worldly goods were greater. 

19. In these persons, thus far advanced, love is already 
grown, and love is that which does this work. But as to 
beginners, to them it is of the utmost importance, and they 
must not regard this consideration as unbecoming, for the 
blessings to be gained are great, and that is why I recom 
mend it so much to them; for they wall have need of it even 
those who have attained to great heights of prayer at cer 
tain times, when God will try them, and when His Majesty 
seems to have forsaken them. 

20. I have said as much already, and I would not have 
it forgotten, 1 in this our life on earth, the growth of the soul 
is not like that of the body. We, however, so speak of it 
and, in truth, it does grow. A youth that is grown up, 
whose body is formed, and who is become a man, does not 
ungrow, nor does his body lessen in size; but as to the soul, 
it so is by our Lord s will, so far as I have seen it in my 
own experience, but I know nothing of it in any other way. 
It must be in order to humble us for our greater good, and 
to keep us from being careless during our exile; seeing that 
he who has ascended the higher has the more reason to be 
afraid, and to be less confident in himself. A time may come 
when they whose will is so wrapt up in the will of God and 
who, rather than fall into a single imperfection, would undergo 
torture and suffer a thousand deaths will find it necessary, 
if they would be delivered from offending God, and from the 
commission of sin, to make use of the first armour of prayer, 
to call to mind how every thing is coming to an end, that 
there is a heaven and a hell, and to make use of other refkc- 
tions of that nature, when they find themselves assailed by 
temptations and persecutions. 

21. Let us go back to what I was saying. The great 
source of our deliverance from the cunning devices and the 
sweetness which Satan sends is to begin with a resolution to 
walk in the way of the Cross from the very first, and not to 
desire any sweetness at all, seeing that our Lord Himself has 
pointed out to us the way of perfection, saying, "Take up 
thy cross and follow Me." 2 He is our example; and who 
soever follows His counsels only to please Him has nothing 
to fear. In the improvement which they detect in them- 

1 Ch. xiii. 23. 2 S. Matt. xvi. 24. 



selves, they who do so will see that this is no work of Satan ; 
and if they fall they have a sign of the presence of our Lord in 
their rising again at once. They have other signs, also, of 
which I am going to speak. 

22. When it is the work of the Spirit of God, there is 
no necessity for going about searching for reasons, on the 
strength of which we may elicit acts of humility and of 
shame, because our Lord Himself supplies them in a way 
very different from that by which we could acquire them 
by our own poor reflections, which are as nothing in com 
parison with that real humility arising out of the light which 
our Lord here gives us, and which begets a confusion of 
face that undoes us. The knowledge with which God sup 
plies us, in order that we may know that of ourselves we have 
no good in us, is perfectly apprehended and the more per 
fectly, the greater the graces. It fills us with a great desire 
of advancing in prayer, and of never giving it up, whatever 
troubles may arise. The soul offers to suffer every thing. 
A certain security, joined with humility and fear concerning 
our salvation, casts out servile fear at once from the soul, 
and in its place plants a loyal fear 1 of more perfect growth. 2 
There is a visible beginning of a love of God, utterly divested 
of all self-interest, together with a longing after seasons of 
solitude, in order to obtain a greater fruition of this good. 

23. In short, not to weary myself, it is the beginning 
of all good ; the flowers have so thriven, that they are on 
the point of budding. And this the soul sees most clearly, 
and it is impossible to persuade it now that God was not 
with it, till it turns back upon itself, and beholds its own 
failings and imperfections. Then it fears for every thing; 
and it is well it should do so though there are souls whom 
the certain conviction that God is with them benefits more 
than all the fear they may ever have. If a soul love greatly, 
and is thankful natural!} , the remembrance of the mercies 
of God makes it turn towards Him more effectually than all 
the chastisements of hell it can ever picture to itself at 
least, it was so with me, though I am so wicked. 

24. As I shall speak at greater length of the signs of a 
good spirit 3 it has cost me much labour to be clear about 
them I do not treat of them here. I believe, too, that, with 

"Fiel temor." In the previous editions it was filial * Ch. xi. 1. 
8 See ch. xxv. 


the help of God, I shall be able to speak somewhat to the 
point, because setting aside the experience I have had, and 
by which I learned much I have had the help of some most 
learned men and persons of great holiness, whom we may 
reasonably believe in the matter. Souls, therefore, are not to 
weary themselves so much as I did, when, by the goodness of 
our Lord, they may have come to this state. 





1. LET us now speak of the third water wherewith this 
garden is watered, water running from a river or from a 
brook, whereby the garden is w r atered with very much less 
trouble, although there is some in directing the water. 1 In 
this state our Lord will help the gardener, and in such a way 
as to be, as it were, the Gardener Himself, doing all the work. 
It is a sleep of the powers of the soul, which are not wholly 
lost, not yet understanding how they are at work. The pleas 
ure, sweetness, and delight are incomparably greater than in 
the former state of prayer ; and the reason is, that the waters 
of grace have risen up to the neck of the soul, so that it can 
neither advance nor retreat nor does it know how to do so ; 
it seeks only the fruition of exceeding bliss. It is like a dying 
man with the candle in his hand, on the point of dying the 
death desired. It is rejoicing in this agony with unutterable 
joy; to me it seems to be nothing else but a death, as ft were, 
to all the things of this world, and a fruition of God. I know 
of no other words whereby to describe it or to explain it; 
neither does the soul then know what to do, for it knows not 
whether it should speak or be silent, whether it should laugh 
or weep. It is a glorious folly, a heavenly madness, wherein 

1 "The third degree, or third water, of the Saint must begin, I 
think, with the prayer of infused recollection, include that of infused 
quiet, and end in that of inebriation; because it is not in our power to 
draw this water all we can do is to direct the stream" (Francis, de 
S. Thomas. Medula Mystica, tr. iv. ch. xii. p. 208). 


true wisdom is acquired ; and to the soul a kind of fruition 
most full of delight. 1 

2. It is now some five or six years, I believe, since our 
Lord raised me to this state of prayer, in its fulness, and 
that more than once, and I never understood it, and never 
could explain it; and so I was resolved, when I should 
come thus far in my story, to say very little or nothing at all. 
I knew well enough that it was not altogether the union of 
all the faculties, and yet most certainly it was higher than 
the previous state of prayer; but I confess that I could not 
determine and understand the difference. 

3. The humility of your reverence, willing to be helped 
by a simplicity so great as mine, has been the cause, I be 
lieve, why our Lord, to-day, after Communion, admitted me 
to this state of pra}^er, without the power of going further, 
and suggested to me these comparisons, and taught me how 
to speak of it, and of what the soul must do therein. Cer 
tainly, I w r as amazed, and in a moment understood it all. 
I have often been thus, as it were, beside myself, drunk with 
love, and yet never could understand how it was. I knew 
well that it was the work of God, but I never was able to 
understand the manner of His working here ; for, in fact, the 
faculties are almost all completely in union, yet not so ab 
sorbed that they do not act. I have been singularly delighted 
in that I have been able to comprehend the matter at last. 
Blessed be our Lord, who has thus consoled me ! 

4. The faculties of the soul now retain only the pow r er 
of occupying themselves wholly with God ; not one of them 
ventures to stir, neither can we move one of them without 
making great efforts to distract ourselves and, indeed, I do 
not think we can do it at all at this time. Many words are 
then uttered in praise of God but disorderly, unless it be 
that our Lord orders them Himself. At least, the understand 
ing is utterly powerless here; the soul longs to send forth 
words of praise, but it has no control over itself, it is in a 
state of sweet restlessness. The flowers are already opening; 
they are beginning to send forth their fragrance. 

5. The soul in this state would have all men behold it, 
and know of its bliss, to the praise of God, and help it to 
praise Him. It would have them to be partakers of its joy; 

1 See S. John of the Cross, Spirit. Canticle, stanza xvii. vol. ii. p. 
98, Engl. trans. 


for its joy is greater than it can bear. It seems to me that 
it is like the woman in the Gospel, who would, or used to, 
call in her neighbours. 1 The admirable spirit of David, the 
royal prophet, must have felt in the same way, so it seems 
to me, when he played on the harp, singing the praises of 
God. I have a very great devotion to this glorious king; 2 
and I wish all had it, particularly those who are sinners like 

6. O my God, what must that soul be when it is in 
this state? It wishes it were all tongue, in order that it may 
praise our Lord. It utters a thousand holy follies, striving 
continually to please Him by whom it is thus possessed. I 
know one 3 who, though she was no poet, yet composed, with 
out any preparation, certain stanzas, full of feeling, most ex 
pressive of her pain : they were not the work of her own 
understanding; but, in order to have a greater fruition of 
that bliss which so sweet a pain occasioned her, she com 
plained of it in that way to God. She was willing to be 
cut in pieces, soul and body, to show the delight she felt in 
that pain. To what torments could she be then exposed, that 
would not be delicious to endure for her Lord? She sees 
clearly that the martyrs did little or nothing, so far as they 
were concerned, when they endured their tortures, because the 
soul is well aware that its strength is derived from another 

7. But what will be its sufferings when it returns to the 
use of the senses, to live in the world, and go back to the 
anxieties and the fashions thereof? I do not think that I 
have exaggerated in any way, but rather have fallen short, 
in speaking of that joy which our Lord, of His good pleas 
ure, gives to the soul in this its exile. Blessed for ever 
be Thou, O Lord! and may all created things praise Thee 
for ever! 

8. O my King, seeing that I am now, while writing this, 
still under the power of this heavenly madness, an effect of 
Thy mercy and goodness, and it is a mercy I never deserved, 
grant, I beseech Thee, that all those with whom I may 
have to converse may become mad through Thy love, or let 
me converse with none, or so order it that I may have nothing 

1 S. Luke xv. 9. 

2 Foundations, ch. xxvii. 16. 

* The Saint herself (De la Fuente}. 


to do in the world, or take me away from it. This Thy 
servant, O my God, is no longer able to endure sufferings 
so great as those are which she must bear when she sees 
herself without Thee : if she must live, she seeks no repose 
in this life, and do Thou give her none. This my soul 
longs to be free eating is killing it, and sleep is wearisome ; 
it sees itself wasting the time of this life in comforts, and that 
there is no comfort for it now but in Thee ; it seems to be 
living contrary to nature for now, it desires to live not in 
itself, but in Thee. 

9. O my true Lord and my happiness! what a cross 
hast Thou prepared for those who attain to this state ! 
light and most heavy at the same time : light, because sweet . 
heavy, because now and then there is no patience left to 
endure it, and yet the soul never wishes to be delivered from 
it, unless it be that it may come to Thee. When the soul 
remembers that it has never served Thee at all, and that 
by living on it may do Thee some service, it longs for a 
still heavier cross, and never to die before the end of the 
world. Its own repose it counts as nothing in comparison 
with doing a slight service to Thee. It knows not what to 
desire; but it clearly understands that it desires nothing else 
but Thee. 

10. O my son, 1 so humble is he to whom this writing 
is directed, and who has commanded me to write, that he 
suffers himself to be thus addressed, you, my father, only 
must see these things, in which I seem to have transgressed 
all bounds; for no reason can keep me reasonable when our 
Lord draws me out of myself. Since my communion this 
morning, 2 I do not believe that I am the person who is speak 
ing; I seem to be dreaming the things I see, and I wish I 
might never see any but people ill, as I am now. I beseech 
you, my father, let us all be mad, for the love of Him who 
for our sake suffered men to say of Him that He was mad. 3 

11. You, my father, say that you wish me well. I wish 
you would prove it by disposing yourself so that God may 

1 This was either F. Ibafiez or the Inquisitor Soto, if the expres 
sion did not occur in the first Life. F. Dom. Banes struck out "son/ 
and wrote "father" in its place, omitting the words, "so humble is he" 
(De la Fucnte}. 

2 See 3, above. 

3 S. John x. 20. 


bestow this grace upon you; for 1 see very few people who 
have not too much sense for every thing they have to do: 
and it may be that I have more than any body else. Your 
reverence must not allow it; you are my father, for you 
are my confessor, and the person to whom I have trusted 
my soul ; disperse my delusions by telling the truth ; for 
truths of this sort are very rarely told. 

12. I wish we five, who now love one another in our 
Lord, had made some such arrangement as this: as others 
in these times have met together in secret 1 to plot 
wickedness and heresies against His Majesty, so we might 
contrive to meet together now and then, in order to undeceive 
one another, to tell each other wherein we might improve 
ourselves, and be more pleasing unto God ; for there is no 
one that knows himself as well as he is known of others 
who see him, if it be with eyes of love and the wish to do him 
good. I say, in secret; for language of this kind is no longer 
in use; even preachers go about arranging their sermons so 
as to displease no one. 2 They have a good intention, and 
their work is good; yet still few amend their lives. But how- 
is it that they are not many who, in consequence of these 
sermons, abstain from public sins? Well, I think it is because 
the preachers are highly sensible men. They are not burning 
with the great fire of the love of God, as the Apostles were, 
casting worldly prudence aside; and so their fire throws out 
but little heat. I do not say that their fire ought to burn like 
that of the Apostles, but I do wish it were a stronger fire 
than I see it is. Do you, my father, know wherein much of 
this fire consists? In the hatred of this life, in the deser 
tion of its honours, in being utterly indifferent whether we 
lose or gain any thing or every thing, provided the truth be 
told and maintained for the glory of God; for he who is 
courageously in earnest for God, looks upon loss or gain 
indifferently. I do not say that I am a person of this kind, 
but I wish I was. 

1 The Saint refers to the secret meetings of heretics in Valladolid, 
under the direction of a fallen priest, the Doctor Agostino Cazalla, 
whose vanity led him to imitate Luther. Some nuns in Valladolid 
were imprisoned, Cazalla strangled, and his body burnt, in 1559 
(De la Fitcufe). 

- Father Banes wrote here on the margin of the Saint s MS. : 
"Legant pnedicatores" (De la Fuente}. 


13. Oh, grand freedom, to regard it as a captivity to 
be obliged to live and converse with men according to the 
laws of the world ! It is the gift of our Lord ; there is not 
a slave who would not imperil every thing that he might 
escape and return to his country ; and as this is the true 
road, there is no reason why we should linger; for we shall 
never effectually gain a treasure so great, so long as this life 
is not ended. May our Lord give us His grace for that end ! 
You, my father, if it shall seem good to you, will tear up 
what I have written, and consider it as a letter for yourself 
alone, and forgive me that I have been very bold. 




1. ENOUGH has been said of this manner of prayer, and 
of what the soul has to do, or rather, to speak more correctly, 
of what God is doing within it ; for it is He who now 
takes upon Himself the gardener s work, and who will have 
the soul take its ease ; except that the will is consenting to 
the graces, the fruition of which it has, and that it must resign 
itself to all that the True Wisdom would accomplish in it 
for which it is certain it has need of courage ; because the 
joy is so great, that the soul seems now and then to be on 
the very point of going forth out of the body : and what a 
blessed death that would be! Now I think, it is for the soul s 
good as you, my father, have been told to abandon itself 
into the arms of God altogether; if He w r ill take it to heaven, 
let it go; if to hell, no matter, as it is going thither with 
its sovereign Good. If life is to come to an end for ever, 
so it wills; if it is to last a thousand years, it wills that 
also; His Majesty may do with it as with His own property, 
the soul no longer belongs to itself, it has been given wholly 
to our Lord ; let it cast all care utterly away. 

2. My meaning is that, in a state of prayer so high as 
this, the soul understands that God is doing His work with 
out any fatiguing 1 of the understanding, except that, as it- 
seems to me, it is as if amazed in beholding our Lord taking 


upon Himself the work of the good gardener, refusing to let 
the soul undergo any labour whatever, but that of taking 
its pleasure in the flowers beginning to send forth their fra 
grance ; for when God raises a soul up to this state, it can 
do all this, and much more, for these are the effects of it. 

3. In one of these visits, how brief soever it may be, 
the Gardener, being who He is, in a word, the Creator of 
the water, pours the water without stint; and what the 
poor soul, with the labour, perhaps, of twenty years in fa 
tiguing the understanding, could not bring about, that the 
heavenly Gardener accomplishes in an instant, causing the 
fruit both to grow and ripen; so that the soul, such being 
the will of our Lord, may derive its sustenance from its garden. 
But He allows it not to divide the fruit with others, until 
by eating thereof it is strong enough not to waste it in the 
mere tasting of it, giving to Him none of the produce, nor 
making any compensation for it to Him who supplies it, 
lest it should be maintaining others, feeding them at its own 
cost, and itself perhaps dying of hunger. 1 The meaning of 
this is perfectly clear for those who have understanding 
enough to apply it much more clear than I can make it; 
and I am tired. 

4. Finally, the virtues are now stronger than they were 
during the preceding prayer of quiet; for the soul sees itself 
to be other than it was, and it knows not how it is beginning 
to do great things in the odour which the flow r ers send 
forth; it being our Lord s will that the flowers should open, 
in order that the soul may believe itself to be in possession 
of virtue ; though it sees most clearly that it cannot, and 
never could, acquire them in many years, and that the hea 
venly Gardener has given them to it in that instant. Now, 
too, the humility of the soul is much greater and deeper 
than it was before ; because it sees more clearly that it did 
neither much nor little, beyond giving its consent that our 
Lord might work those graces in it, and then accepting them 

5. This state of prayer seems to me to be a most distinct 
union of the whole soul with God, but for this, that His 
Majesty appears to give the faculties leave to be intent upon, 
and have the fruition of, the great work He is doing then. 
It happens at times, and indeed very often, that, the will 

1 See ch. xix. 5. 


being in union, the soul should be aware of it, and see that 
the will is a captive and in joy, that the will alone is abiding 
in great peace, while, on the other hand, the understanding 
and the memory are so free, that they can be employed in 
affairs and be occupied in works of charity. I say this, that 
you, my father, may see it is so, and understand the matter 
when it shall happen to yourself ; at least, it carried me out of 
myself, and that is the reason why I speak of it here. 

6. It differs from the prayer of quiet, of which I have 
spoken, 1 though it does seem as if it were all one with it. 
In that prayer, the soul, which would willingly neither stir 
nor move, is delighting in the holy repose of Mary ; but in 
this prayer it can be like Martha also. 2 Accordingly, the 
soul is, as it were, living the active and contemplative life 
at once, and is able to apply itself to works of charity and 
the affairs of its state, and to spiritual reading. Still, those 
who arrive at this state are not wholly masters of themselves, 
and are well aware that the better part of the soul is else 
where. It is as if Ave were speaking to one person, and 
another speaking to us at the same time, while we ourselves 
are not perfectly attentive either to the one or the other. It 
is a state that is most easily ascertained, and one, when at 
tained to, that ministers great joy and contentment, and that 
prepares the soul in the highest degree, by observing times 
of solitude, or of freedom from business, for the attainment 
of the most tranquil quietude. It is like the life of a man 
who is full, requiring no food, with his appetite satisfied, so 
that he will not eat of every thing set before him, yet not 
so full either as to refuse to eat if he saw any desirable food. 
So the soul has no satisfaction in the world, and seeks no 
pleasure in it then; because it has in itself that which gives 
it a greater satisfaction, greater joys in God, longings for 
the satisfaction of its longing to have a deeper joy in being 
with Him this is what the soul seeks. 

7. There is another kind of union, which, though not 
a perfect union, is yet more so than the one of which I 
have just spoken ; but not so much so as this spoken of as the 
third water. You, my father, will be delighted greatly if 

1 Ch. xv. 1. 

2 See Relation, viii. 6; and Way of Perfection, cb. liii., but cb. xxxi. 
of former editions. See also Concept, of the Love of God, ch. vii. 


our Lord should bestow them all upon you, if you have them 
not already, to find an account of the matter in writing, and 
to understand it; for it is one grace that our Lord gives grace; 
and it is another grace to understand what grace and what 
gift it is ; and it is another and further grace to have the 
power to describe and explain it to others. Though it does 
not seem that more than the first of these the giving of 
the grace is necessary to enable the soul to advance without 
confusion and fear, and to walk with the greater courage 
in the way of our Lord, trampling, under foot all the things 
of this world, it is a great advantage and a great grace to 
understand it ; for every one who has it has great reason 
to praise our Lord; and so, also, has he who has it not: be 
cause His Majesty has bestowed it upon some person living 
who is to make us profit by it. 

8. This union, of w^hich I would now speak, frequently 
occurs, particularly to myself. God has very often bestowed 
such a grace upon me, whereby He constrains the will, and 
even the understanding, as it seems to me, seeing that it 
makes no reflections, but is occupied in the fruition of God : 
like a person who looks on, and sees so many things, that 
he knows not where to look one object puts another out 
of sight, and none of them leaves any impression behind. 

9. The memory remains free, and it must be so, together 
with the imagination ; and so, when it finds itself alone, it 
is marvellous to behold what war it makes on the soul, 
and how it labours to throw every thing into disorder. 
As for me, I am wearied by it, and I hate it ; and very often 
do I implore our Lord to deprive me of it on these occasions, 
if I am to be so much troubled by it. Now and then, I say 
to Him : O my God, when shall my soul praise Thee without 
distraction, not dissip.ated in this way, unable to control itself! 
I understand now the mischief that sin has done, in that it 
has rendered us unable to do what we desire to be always 
occupied in God. 1 

10. I say that it happens to me from time to time, 
it has done so this very day, and so I remember it well, 
to see my soul tear itself, in order to find itself there 
where the greater part of it is, and to see, at the same time, 
that it is impossible ; because the memory and the imagina 
tion assail it with such force, that it cannot prevail against 

1 See Relation, viii. 17. 


them; yet, as the other faculties give them no assistance, 
they are not able to do it any harm none whatever; they 
do enough when they trouble its rest. When I say they 
do no harm, my meaning is, that they cannot really hurt it, 
because they have not strength enough, and because they 
are too discursive. As the understanding gives no help, 
neither much nor little, in the matters put before the soul, 
they never rest any where, but hurry to and fro, like nothing 
else but gnats at night, troublesome and unquiet : and so they 
go about from one subject to another. 

11. This comparison seems to me to be singularly to the 
purpose ; for the memory and the imagination, though they 
have no power to do any harm, are very . troublesome. I 
know of no remedy for it; and, hitherto, God has told me 
of none. If He had, most gladly would I make use of it; 
for I am, as I say, tormented very often. This shows our 
wretchedness, and brings out most distinctly the great power 
of God, seeing that the faculty which is free hurts and wearies 
us so much; while the others, occupied with His Majesty, 
give us rest. 

12. The only remedy I have found, after many years of 
weariness, is that I spoke of when I was describing the 
prayer of quiet : l to make no more account of it than of a 
madman, but let it go with its subject; for God alone can 
take it from it, in short, it is a slave here. We must bear 
patiently with it, as Jacob bore with Lia; for our Lord 
showeth us mercy enough when we are allowed to have 
Rachel with us. 

13. I say that it remains a slave; for, after all, let it 
do what it will, it cannot drag the other faculties in its train ; 
on the contrary, they, without taking any trouble, compel 
it to follow after them. Sometimes God is pleased to take 
pity upon it, when He sees it so lost and so unquiet, through 
the longing it has to be united with the other faculties, and 
His Majesty consents to its burning itself in the flame of 
that divine candle by which the others are already reduced 
to ashes, and their nature lost, being, as it were, supernatu- 
rally in the fruition of blessings so great. 

14. In all these states of prayer of which I have spoken, 
while explaining this last method of drawing the water out 

1 Ch. xiv. 4. See also Way if Perfection, ch. liii., but ch. xxxi. of 
the old editions. 


Hye Hoys, del 

1. Saint Francis Borgia, who reassured Saint Teresa as to her visions. 
2. Saint Peter of Alcantara, adviser of Saint Teresa. 3. Armchair in St. Thomas 
Church in which Saint Peter of Alcantara heard her confessions. 4. Distant view 
of the monastery of Saint Thomas, Dominican, taken from the Promenade. 5. The 
same monastery from the front. 6. Chapel of Christ Crucified in Saint Thomas 
Church where Saint Teresa went to confession. Scene of the vision of the necklace. 

7. Wicket for communion in the lower choir of the monastery of the Incarnation. 

8. Silver reliquary in the monastery of the Incarnation, containing a coif of Saint 
Teresa. 9. Door of the Discalced Carmelite monastery "Of the Image," at 

Brugep P.Raoux Sc 

Alcala de Henares. 10. Basilica of Saint Vincent, where local tradition says Saint 
Teresa unshod herself before the statue of Our Lady of the Catacombs. Lower down, 
the church of Saint Andrew; in the distance, convent of Saint Francis, where Saint 
Teresa s family were buried. 11. Drops of blood upon the wall of the cell which 
Saint Teresa occupied as Prioress. 12. Escutcheon of the Society of Jesus.. 13. Es 
cutcheon of Philip II., King- of Spain from 1555 to 1598. 14. Escutcheon of the 
Dominican* of the province of Avila. 15. Escutcheons of the Reformed Franciscans 
(Alcantarists.). (See Appendix, note 6.) 


of the well, so great is the bliss and repose of the soul, that 
even the body most distinctly shares in its joy and delight, 
and this is most plain; and the virtues continue to grow, 
as I said before. 1 It seems to have been the good pleasure 
of our Lord to explain these states of prayer, wherein the 
soul finds itself, with the utmost clearness possible, I think, 
here on earth. 

15. Do you, my father, discuss it with any spiritual per 
son who has arrived at this state, and is learned. If he 
says of it, it is well, you may believe that God has spoken it, 
and you will give thanks to His Majesty; for, as I said 
just now, 2 in the course of time you will rejoice greatly in 
that you have understood it. Meanwhile, if He does not 
allow you to understand what it is, though He does give you 
the possession of it, yet, with your intellect and learning, 
seeing that His Majesty has given you the first, you will 
know what it is, by the help of what I have written here. 
Unto Him be praise for ever and ever ! Amen. 





1. MAY our Lord teach me words whereby I may in 
some measure describe the fourth water. 3 I have great need 
of His help even more than I had while speaking of the 
last ; for in that the soul still feels that it is not dead alto 
gether. We may thus speak, seeing that to the world it 
is really dead. But, as I have said, 4 it retains the sense to 
see that it is in the world, and to feel its own loneliness ; and 
it makes use of that which is outward for the purpose of 
manifesting its feelings, at least by signs. In the whole of 
the prayer already spoken of, and in all the states of it, the 
gardener undergoes some labour; though in the later states 
the labour is attended with so much bliss and comfort of the 

1 Ch. xiv. 6. 2 7. 8 See ch. xi. 4. 

4 Ch. xvi. 5, 6. 


soul, that the soul would never willingly pass out of it, and 
thus the labour is not felt as labour, but as bliss. 

2. In this the fourth state there is no sense of any 
thing, only fruition, without understanding what that 
is the fruition of which is granted. It is understood that the 
fruition is of a certain good containing in itself all good 
together at once ; but this good is not comprehended. The 
senses are all occupied in this fruition in such a way that 
not one of them is at liberty, so as to be able to attend to 
any thing else, whether outward or inward. 

3. The senses were permitted before, as I have said, 1 
to give some signs of the great joy they feel; but now, in 
this state, the joy of the soul is incomparably greater, and 
the power of showing it is still less ; for there is no power 
in the body, and the soul has none, whereby this fruition 
can be made known. Every thing of that kind would be a 
great hindrance, a torment, and a disturbance of its rest. 
And I say, if it really be a union of all the faculties, that 
the soul, even if it wished, I mean, when it is in union, 
cannot make it known; and if it can, then it is not union 
at all. 

4. How this, which we call union, is effected, and what 
it is, I cannot tell. Mystical theology explains it, and I do 
not know the terms of that science ; nor can I understand 
what the mind is, nor how it differs from the soul or the 
spirit either : all three seem to me but one ; though I do 
know that the soul sometimes leaps forth out of itself, like a 
fire that is burning and is become a flame ; and occasionally 
this fire increases violently the flame ascends high above 
the fire; but it is not therefore a different thing: it is still 
the same flame of the same fire. Your learning, my fathers, 
will enable you to understand the matter ; I can go no further. 

5. What I undertake to explain is that which the soul 
feels when it is in the divine union. It is plain enough what 
union is two distinct things becoming one. O my Lord, 
how good Thou art ! Blessed be Thou for ever, O my God ! 
Let all creatures praise Thee, who hast so loved us that we 
can truly speak of this communication which Thou hast with 
souls in this our exile! Yea, even if they be good souls, it 
is on Thy part great munificence and magnanimity, in a 
word, it is Thy munificence, O my Lord, seeing that Thou 

1 Ch. xvii. 5. 


givest like Thyself. O infinite Munificence! how magnifi 
cent are Thy works ! Even he whose understanding is not 
occupied with the things of earth is amazed that he is unable 
to understand these truths. Why, then, give graces so high 
to souls who have been such great sinners? Truly, this 
passeth my understanding; and when I come to think of it, 
I can get no further. Is there an}- way at all for me to go 
on which is not a going back? For, as to giving Thee thanks 
for mercies so great, I know not how to do it. Sometimes 
I relieve myself by giving utterance to follies. It often 
happens to me, either when I receive these graces, or when 
God is about to bestow them, for, in the midst of them, 
I have already said, 1 I was able to do nothing, that I would 
break out into words like these : 

6. O Lord, consider what Thou art doing; forget not 
so soon the great evils that I have done. To forgive me, 
Thou must already have forgotten them ; yet, in order that 
there may be some limit to Thy graces, I beseech Thee re 
member them. O my Creator, pour not a liquor so precious 
into a vessel so broken ; for Thou hast already seen how on 
other occasions I allowed it to run waste. Lay not up 
treasure like this, where the longing after the consolations 
of this life is not so mortified as it ought to be ; for it will 
be utterly lost. How canst Thou commit the defence of the 
city and the keys of its fortress to a commander so cowardly, 
who at the first assault will let the enemy enter within? Oh, 
let not Thy love be so great, O King Eternal, as to imperil 
jewels so precious ! O my Lord, to me it seems that it be 
comes a ground for undervaluing them, when Thou puttest 
them in the power of one so wretched, so vile, so frail, so mis 
erable, and so worthless as I am, who, though she may labour 
not to lose them, by the help of Thy grace, and I have 
need of no little grace for that end, being what I am, is not 
able to win over any one to Thee, in short, I am a woman, 
not good, but wicked. It seems to me that the talents are 
not only hidden, but buried, when they are committed to 
earth so vile. It is not Thy wont, O Lord, to bestow graces 
and mercies like these upon a soul, unless it be that it may 
edify many. 

7. Thou, O my God, knowest already that I beg this of 
Thee with my whole will, from the bottom of my heart, and 

1 4. 


that I have done so more than once, and I account it a blessing 
to lose the greatest blessings which may be had on earth, 
if Thou wouldst but bestow these graces upon him who will 
make a better use of them to the increase of Thy glory. 
These, and expressions like these, it has happened to me 
often to utter. I saw afterwards my own foolishness and 
want of humility; for our Lord knoweth well what is ex 
pedient, and that there is no strength in my soul to be saved, 
if His Majesty did not give it with graces so great. 

8. I purpose also to speak of the graces and effects which 
abide in the soul, and of that which the soul itself can do, 
or rather, if it can do any thing of itself towards attaining 
to a state so high. The elevation of the spirit, or union, 
comes together with heavenly love; but, as I understand it, 
union is a different thing from elevation in union itself. To 
him who may not have had any experience of the latter, it 
must seem that it is not; and, according to my view of it, 
even if they are both one, the operations of our Lord therein 
are different: there is a growth of the soul s detachment 
from creatures more abundantly still in the flight of the 
spirit. 1 I have clearly seen that this is a particular grace, 
though, as I say, it may be the same, or seem to be so, with 
the other; but a little fire,, also, is as much fire as a great 
fire, and yet there is a visible difference between them. Before 
a small piece of iron is made red-hot in a little fire, some 
time must pass ; but if the fire be great, the iron very quickly, 
though bulky, loses its nature altogether in appearance. 

9. So, it seems to me, is it with these two kinds of graces 
which our Lord bestows. He who has had raptures will, I 
am sure, understand it well ; to him who has not had that 
experience, it must appear folly. And, indeed, it may well 
be so ; for if a person like myself should speak of a matter of 
this kind, and give any explanation at all of that for the 
description of which no words even can possibly be found, 
it is not to be wondered at that I may be speaking foolishly. 

10. But I have this confidence in our Lord, that He will 
help me here; for His majesty knoweth that my object in 
writing the first is to obey is to inspire souls with a longing 
after so high a good. I will speak of nothing that I do not 
know by great experience : and so, when I began to describe 
the last kind of water, I thought it more impossible for me to 

1 See ch. xx. 10; and Relation, viii. 11. 


speak of it at all than to speak Greek. It is a very difficult 
matter; so I left it and went to Communion. Blessed be our 
Lord, who is merciful to the ignorant ! Oh, virtue of obe 
dience ! it can do every thing! God enlightened my under 
standing at one time suggesting the words, at another show 
ing me how to use them ; for, as in the preceding state of 
prayer, so also now, His Majesty seems to utter what I can 
neither speak nor understand. 1 

11. What I am saying is the simple truth; and therefore 
whatever is good herein is His teaching; what is erroneous, 
clearly comes out of that sea of evil myself. If there be 
any and there must be many who, having attained to these 
states of prayer whereunto our Lord in His mercy has brought 
me wretch that I am ! and who, thinking they have missed 
their way, desire to treat of these matters with me, I am sure 
that our Lord will help His servant to declare the truth 
more plainly. 

12. I am now speaking of the water which cometh down 
from heaven to fill and saturate in its abundance the whole 
of this garden with water. If our Lord never ceased to pour 
it down whenever it was- necessary, the gardener certainly 
would have plenty of rest ; and if there were no winter, but 
an ever temperate season, fruits and flowers would never fail. 
The gardener would have his delight therein; but in this 
life that is impossible. We must always be careful, when 
one water fails, to obtain another. This water from heaven 
comes down very often when the gardener least expects it. 

13. The truth is that, in the beginning, this almost always 
happens after much mental prayer. Our Lord advances step 
by step to lay hold of the little bird, and to lay it in the nest 
where it may repose. He observed it fluttering for a long 
time, striving with the understanding and the will, and with 
all its might, to seek God and to please Him; so now it is 
His pleasure to reward it even in this life. And what a 
reward ! one moment is enough to repay all the possible 
trials of this life. 

14. The soul, while thus seeking after God, is conscious, 
with a joy excessive and sweet, that it is, as it were, utterly 
fainting away in a kind of trance: breathing, and all the 
bodily strength, fail it, so that it cannot even move the hands 
without great pain ; the eyes close involuntarily, and if they 

1 See ch. xiv. 8 12. 


are open, they are as if they saw nothing; nor is reading 
possible, the very letters seem strange, and cannot be dis 
tinguished, the letters, indeed, are visible, but, as the under 
standing furnishes no help, all reading is impracticable, 
although seriously attempted. The ear hears; but what is 
heard is not comprehended. The senses are of no use what 
ever, except to hinder the soul s fruition; and so they rather 
hurt it. It is useless to try to speak, because it is not possible 
to conceive a word ; nor, if it were conceived, is there strength 
sufficient to utter it; for all bodily strength vanishes, and that 
of the soul increases, to enable it the better to have the fruition 
of its joy. Great and most perceptible, also, is the outward 
joy now felt. 

15. This prayer, however long it may last, does no harm 
at least, it has never done any to me ; nor do I remember, 
however ill I might have been when our Lord had mercy upon 
me in this way, that I ever felt the worse for it on the 
contrary, I was always better afterwards. But so great a 
blessing, what harm can it do? The outward effects are so 
plain as to leave no doubt possible that there must have been 
some great cause, seeing that it thus robs us of our bodily 
powers with so much joy, in order to leave them greater. 

16. The truth is, it passes away so quickly in the begin 
ning at least, so it was with me that neither by the outward 
signs, nor by the failure of the senses, can it be perceived 
when it passes so quickly away. But it is plain, from the 
overflowing abundance of grace, that the brightness of the 
sun which had shone there must have been great, seeing that 
it has thus made the soul to melt away. And this is to be 
considered ; for, as it seems to me, the period of time, however 
long it may have been, during which the faculties of the 
soul were entranced, is very short : if half an hour, that would 
be a long time. I do not think that I have ever been so long. 1 
The truth of the matter is this : it is extremely difficult to know- 
how long, because the senses are in suspense ; but I think 
that at any time it cannot be very long before some one of the 
faculties recovers itself. It is the will that persists in the 
work; the other two faculties quickly begin to molest it. 
As the will is calm, it entrances them again ; they are quiet 
for another moment, and then they recover themselves once 

1 See Anton, a Sp. Sancto, Director. Mystic, tr. iv. 9, n. 72. 


17. In this way, some hours may be, and are, passed in 
prayer; for when the two faculties begin to drink deep, and 
to perceive the taste of this divine wine, they give themselves 
up with great readiness, in order to be the more absorbed : 
they follow the will, and the three rejoice together. But this 
state of complete absorption, together with the utter rest 
of the imagination, for I believe that even the imagination 
is then wholly at rest, lasts only for a short time ; though 
the faculties do not so completely recover themselves as not 
to be for some hours afterwards as if in disorder; God, from 
time to time, drawing them to Himself. 

18. Let us now come to that which the soul feels inter 
iorly. Let him describe it who knows it ; for as it is impossible 
to understand it, much more is it so to describe it. When I 
purposed to write this, I had just communicated, and had 
risen from the very prayer of which I am speaking. I was 
thinking of what the soul was then doing. Our Lord said 
to me: It undoes itself utterly, My daughter, in order that it 
may give itself more and more to Me : it is not itself that then 
lives, it is I. As it cannot comprehend what it understands, 
it understands by not understanding. 1 

19. He who has had experience of this will understand 
it in some measure, for it cannot be more clearly described, 
because what then takes place is so obscure. All I am able 
to say is, that the soul is represented as being close to God ; 
and that there abides a conviction thereof so certain and 
strong, that it cannot possibly help believing so. All the 
faculties fail now, and are suspended in such a way that, as I 
said before, 2 their operations cannot be traced. If the soul is 

1 Thomas a Jesu, De Contemplatione Divina, lib. v. c. xiii.: "Quasi 
dicat: Cum intellectus non possit Dei immensam illam claritatem et in- 
comprehensibilem plenitudinem comprehendere, hoc ipsum est illam 
conspicere ac intelligere, intelligere se non posse intellectu cognos- 
cere: quod quidem nihil aliud est quam Deum sub ratione incompre- 
hensibilitatis videre ac cognoscere." 

Philip, a SS. Trinitate, Theolog. Mystic. Disc. Proem, art. iv. p. 6: 
"Cum ipsa [S. Teresa] scire vellet, quid in ilia mystica unione opera- 
retur intellectus, respondit [Christus] illi, cum non possit comprehen 
dere quod intelligit, est non intelligere intelligendo: turn quia prre 
claritate nimia quodammodo offuscatur intellectus, uncle prre altissima 
et supereminentissima Dei cognitione videtur anima potius Deum 
ignorare quam cognoscere." 

2 Ch. x. 1, and ch. xviii. 16. 


making a meditation on any subject, the memory of it is lost 
at once, just as if it had never been thought of. If it reads, 
what is read is not remembered nor dwelt upon; neither is it 
otherwise with vocal prayer. Accordingly, the restless little 
butterfly of the memory has its wings burnt now, and it cannot 
fly. The will must be fully occupied in loving, but it under 
stands not how it loves ; the understanding, if it understands, 
does not understand how it understands at least, it can com 
prehend nothing of that it understands : it does not under 
stand, as it seems to me, because, as I said just now, this can 
not be understood. I do not understand it at all myself. 

20. In the beginning, it happened to me that I was 
ignorant of one thing I did not know that God is in all 
things r 1 and when He seemed to me to be so near, I thought 
it impossible. Not to believe that He was present, was not 
in my power; for it seemed to me, as it were, evident that I 
felt there His very presence. Some unlearned men used to 
say to me, that He was present only by His grace. I could 
not believe that, because, as I am saying, He seemed to me to 
be present Himself: so I was distressed. A most learned 
man, of the Order of the glorious Patriarch S. Dominic, 
delivered me from this doubt; for he told me that He was 
present, and how He communed with us : this was a great 
comfort to me. 

21. It is to be observed and understood that this water 
from heaven, this greatest grace of our Lord, always leaves 
in the soul the greatest fruits, as I shall now show. 




1. THERE remains in the soul, when the prayer of union 
is over, an exceedingly great tenderness ; so much so, that it 
would undo itself not from pain, but through tears of joy: 
it finds itself bathed therein, without being aware of it, and it 

1 See Inner Fortress, v. ch. i. 11. 


knows not how or when it wept them. But to behold the 
violence of the fire subdued by the water, which yet makes 
it burn the more, gives it great delight. It seems as if I were 
speaking an unknown language. So it is, however. 

2. It has happened to me occasionally, when this prayer 
was over, to be so beside myself as not to know whether I had 
been dreaming, or whether the bliss I felt had really been 
mine ; and, on finding myself in a flood of tears which had 
painlessly flowed, with such violence and rapidity that it 
seemed as if a cloud from heaven 1 had shed them to perceive 
that it was no dream. Thus it was with me in the beginning, 
when it passed quickly away. The soul remains possessed of 
so much courage, that if it were now r hewn in pieces for God, it 
would be a great consolation to it. This is the time of resolu 
tions, of heroic determinations, of the living energy of good 
desires, of the beginning of hatred of the world, and of the 
most clear perception of its vanity. The soul makes greater and 
higher progress than it ever made before in the previous states 
of prayer; and grows in humility more and more, because it 
sees clearly that neither for obtaining nor for retaining this 
grace, great beyond all measure, has it ever done, or ever been 
able to do, any thing of itself. It looks upon itself as most un 
worthy for in a room into which the sunlight enters strongly, 
not a cobweb can be hid ; it sees its own misery ; self-conceit 
is so far away, that it seems as if it never could have had any 
for now its own eyes behold how very little it could ever do, 
or, rather, that it never did any thing, that it hardly 
gave even its own consent, but that it rather seemed as if the 
doors of the senses were closed against its will, in order that it 
might have more abundantly the fruition of our Lord. It is 
abiding alone with Him : what has it to do but to love Him ? It 
neither sees nor hears, unless on compulsion : no thanks to it. 
Its past life stands before it then, together with the great 
mercy of God, in great distinctness ; and it is not necessary for 
it to go forth to hunt with the understanding, because what it 
has to eat and ruminate upon, it sees now ready prepared. It 
sees, so far as itself is concerned, that it has deserved hell, and 
that its punishment is bliss. It undoes itself in the praises of 
God, and I would gladly undo myself now. 

3. Blessed be Thou, O my Lord, who, out of a pool so 
filthy as I am, bringest forth water so clean as to be meet for 

1 See ch. xx. 2. 


Thy table ! Praised be Thou, O Joy of the Angels, who hast 
been thus pleased to exalt so vile a worm! 

4. The good effects of this prayer abide in the soul for 
some time. Now that it clearly apprehends that the fruit is 
not its own, the soul can begin to share it with others, and 
that without any loss to itself. It begins to show signs of 
its being a soul that is guarding the treasures of heaven, and 
to be desirous of communicating them to others, 1 and to pray 
to God that itself may not be the only soul that is rich in 
them. It begins to benefit its neighbours, as it were, without 
being aware of it, or doing any thing consciously: its neigh 
bours understand the matter, because the odour of the flowers 
has grown so strong as to make them eager to approach 
them. They understand that this soul is full of virtue ; they 
see the fruit, how delicious it is, and they wish to help that 
soul to eat it. 

5. If this ground be well dug by troubles, by persecu 
tions, detractions, and infirmities, they are few who ascend 
so high without this, if it be well broken up by great detach 
ment from all self-interest, it will drink in so much water that 
it can hardly ever be parched again. But if it be ground 
which is mere waste, and covered with thorns (as I was when 
I began) ; if the occasions of sin be not avoided ; if it be an 
ungrateful soil, unfitted for so great a grace, it will be 
parched up again. If the gardener become careless, and if 
our Lord, out of His mere goodness, will not send down rain 
upon it, the garden is ruined. Thus has it been with me 
more than once, so that I am amazed at it; and if I had not 
found it so by experience, I could not have believed it. 

6. I write this for the comfort of souls which are weak, as 
I am, that they may never despair, nor cease to trust in the 
power of God ; even if they should fall after our Lord has 
raised them to so high a degree of prayer as this is, they 
must not be discouraged, unless they would lose themselves 
utterly. Tears gain every thing, and one drop of water 
attracts another. 

7. One of the reasons that move me, who am what I am, 
under obedience to write this, and give an account of my 
wretched life, and of the graces our Lord has wrought in me, 
though I never served Him, but offended Him rather is 
what I have just given : and, certainly, I wish I was a person 

1 See ch. xvii. 4. 


of great authority, that people might believe what I say. I 
pray to our Lord that His Majesty would be pleased to grant 
me this grace. I repeat it, let no one who has begun to give 
himself to prayer be discouraged, and say : If I fall into sin, 
it will be worse for me if I go on now with the practice of 
prayer. I think so too, if he gives up prayer, and does not 
correct his evil ways ; but if he does not give up prayer, let 
him be assured of this prayer will bring him to the haven 
of light. 

8. In this the devil turned his batteries against me, and 
I suffered so much because I thought it showed but little 
humility if I perserved in prayer when I was so wicked, that 
as I have already said 1 I gave it up for a year and a half 
at least, for a year, but I do not remember distinctly the other 
six months. This could not have been, neither was it, any 
thing else but to throw myself down into hell ; there was no 
need of any devils to drag me thither. O my God, was there 
ever blindness so great as this? How well Satan prepares his 
measures for his purpose, when he pursues us in this way ! 
The traitor knows that he has already lost that soul which 
perseveres in prayer, and that every fall which he can bring- 
about helps it, by the goodness of God, to make greater 
progress in His service. Satan has some interest in this. 

9. O my Jesus, what a sight that must be a soul so 
highly exalted falling into sin, and raised up again by Thee; 
who, in Thy mercy, stretchest forth Thine hand to save ! 
How such a soul confesses Thy greatness and compassion, 
and its own w r retchedness ! It really looks on itself as noth 
ingness, and confesses Thy power. It dares not lift up its 
eyes; it raises them, indeed, but it is to acknowledge how 
much it oweth unto Thee. It becomes devout to the Queen of 
Heaven, that she may propitiate Thee ; it invokes the Saints, 
who fell after Thou hadst called them, for succour. Thou 
seemest now to be too bountiful in Thy gifts, because it feels 
itself to be unworthy of the earth it treads on. It has recourse 
to the Sacraments, to a quickened faith, which abides in it 
at the contemplation of the power which Thou hast lodged 
in them. It praises Thee because Thou hast left us such 
medicines and ointment for our wounds, which not only heal 
them on the surface, but remove all traces whatever of them. 

1 Cb. vii. 17, and ch. viii. 6. 

124 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [cii. XIX. 

10. The soul is amazed at it. Who is there, O Lord of 
my soul, that is not amazed at compassion so great and mercy 
so surpassing, after treason so foul and so hateful? I know 
not how it is that my heart does not break when I write this, 
for I am wicked. With these scanty tears which I am now 
weeping, but yet Thy gift, water out of a well, so far as it 
is mine, so impure, I seem to make Thee some recompense 
for treachery so great as mine, in that I was always doing 
evil, labouring to make void the graces Thou hast given me. 
Do Thou, O Lord, make my tears available; purify the water 
which is so muddy; at least, let me not be to others a tempta 
tion to rash judgments, as I have been to myself, when I used 
to think such thoughts as these. Why, O Lord, dost Thou 
pass by most holy persons, who have always served Thee, and 
who have been tried ; who have been brought up in religion, 
and are really religious not such as I am, having only the 
name so as to make it plain that they are not recipients of 
those graces which Thou hast bestowed upon me? 

11. I see clearly now, O Thou my Good, Thou hast kept 
the reward to give it them all at once : my weakness has need 
of these succours. They, being strong, serve Thee without 
them, and Thou dealest with them as with a strong race, 
free from all self-interest. But yet Thou knowest, O my 
Lord, that I have often cried unto Thee, making excuses for 
those who murmured against me ; for I thought they had 
reason on their side. This I did then when Thou of Thy 
goodness hadst kept me back from offending Thee so much, 
and when I Avas departing from every thing which I thought 
displeasing unto Thee. It was when I did this that Thou, O 
Lord, didst begin to lay open Thy treasures for Thy servant. 
It seemed as if Thou \vert looking for nothing else but that I 
should be willing and ready to receive them ; accordingly, 
Thou didst begin at once, not only to give them, but also to 
make others know that Thou wert giving them. 

12. When this was known, there began to prevail a good 
opinion of her, of whom all had not yet clearly understood 
how wicked she was, though much of that wickedness was 
plain enough. Calumny and persecution began at once, and, 
as I think, with good reason ; so I looked on none of them as 
an enemy, but made my supplications to Thee, imploring 
Thee to consider the grounds they had. They said that I 
wished to be a saint, and that I invented novelties ; but I had 


not then attained in many things even to the observance of my 
rule ; nor had I come near those excellent and holy nuns who 
were in the house, and I do not believe 1 ever shall, if God 
of His goodness will not do that for me Himself; on the 
contrary, I was there only to do away with what was good, 
and introduce customs which were not good ; at least, I did 
what I could to bring them in, and I was very powerful for 
evil. Thus it was that they were blameless, when they 
blamed me. I do not mean the nuns only, but the others as 
well : they told me truths ; for it was Thy will. 

13. I was once saying the Office, I had had this tempta 
tion for some time, and when I came to these words, "Justus 
es, Domine, et rectum judicium tuum." 1 I began to think what 
a deep truth it was. Satan never was strong enough to tempt 
me in any way to doubt of Thy goodness, nor of any article 
of the faith : on the contrary, it seems to me that the more 
these truths were above nature, the more firmly I held them, 
and my devotion grew ; when I thought of Thy omnipotence, 
I accepted all Thy wonderful works, and, I say it again, I 
never had a doubt. Then, as I was thinking how it could be 
just in Thee to allow so many, who, as I said, are Thy most 
faithful servants, to remain without those consolations and 
graces which Thou hast given to me, who am what I am, 
Thou, O my Lord, didst answer me: Serve thou Me, and 
meddle not with this. 

14. This was the first word which I ever heard Thee 
speak to me, and it made me greatly afraid. But as I shall 
speak hereafter 2 of this way of hearing, and of other matters, 
I say nothing here ; for to do so would be to .digress from my 
subject, and - I have already made digressions enough. I 
scarcely know r what I have said, nor can it be otherwise ; but 
you, my father, must bear with these interruptions ; for when 
I consider what God must have borne with from me, and 
when I see the state I am in, it is not strange that I should 
wander in what I am saying, and what I have still to say. 

15. May it please our Lord that my wanderings may be 
of this kind, and may His Majesty never suffer me to have 
strength to resist Him even in the least; yea, rather than that, 
may He destroy me this moment. It is evidence enough of 
His great compassions, that He has forgiven so much in 
gratitude, not once, but often. He forgave S. Peter once; 

1 Ps. cxviii. 137. * See ch. xxv. 


but I have been forgiven many times. Satan had good reasons 
for tempting me : I ought never to have pretended to a strict 
friendship with One, my hatred of whom I made so public. 
Was there ever blindness so great as mine? Where could I 
think I should find help but in Thee? What folly to run 
away from the light, to be for ever stumbling! What a 
proud humility was that which Satan devised for me, when 
I ceased to lean upon the pillar, and threw the staff away 
which supported me, in order that my fall might not be great I 1 

16. I make the sign of the cross this moment. I do not 
think I ever escaped so great a danger as this device of Satan, 
which he would have imposed upon me in the disguise of hu 
mility. 2 He filled me with such thoughts as these : How could 
I make my prayer, who was so wicked, and yet had received so 
many mercies? It was enough for me to recite the Office, as all 
others did; but as I did not that much well, how could I 
desire to do more? I was not reverential enough, and made 
too little of the mercies of God. There was no harm in these 
thoughts and feelings in themselves; but to act upon them, 
that was an exceedingly great wickedness. Blessed be Thou, 

Lord; for Thou earnest to my help. This seems to me to 
be in principle the temptation of Judas, only that Satan did 
not dare to tempt me so openly. But he might have led me 
by little and little, as he led Judas, to the same pit of 

17. Let all those who give themselves to praye^ for the 
love of God, look well to this. They should know that when 

1 was neglecting it, my life was much worse tLan it had ever 
been; let them reflect on the excellent help a:id the pleasant 
humility which Satan provided for me : it was a grave interior 
disquietude. But how could my spirit be quiet? It was 
going away in its misery from its true rest. I remembered the 
graces and mercies I had received, and felt that the joys of 
this world were loathsome. I am astonished that I was able 
to bear it. It must have been the hope I had; for, as well as 
I can remember now, it is more than twenty-one years ago. 
I do not think I ever gave up my purpose of resuming my 
prayer; but I was waiting to be very free from sin first. 

18. Oh, how deluded I was in this expectation ! The 
devil would have held it out before me till the day of judg 
ment, that he might then take me with him to hell. Then, 

1 See ch. viii. 1. 2 Ch. vii. 17. 


when I applied myself to prayer and to spiritual reading, 
whereby I might perceive these truths, and the evil nature of 
the way I was walking in, and was often importunate with 
our Lord in tears, I was so wicked, that it availed me noth 
ing ; when I gave that up, and wasted my time in amusing my 
self, in great danger of falling into sin, and with scanty helps, 
and I may venture to say no help at all, unless it was a help 
to my ruin, what could I expect but that of which I have 

19. I believe that a certain Dominican friar, a most 
learned man, has greatly merited in the eyes of God ; for it 
was he who roused me from this slumber. He made me 
I think I said so before 1 go to Communion once a fort 
night, and be less given to evil ; I began to be converted, 
though I did not cease to offend our Lord all at once: how 
ever, as I had not lost my way, I walked on in it, though 
slowly, falling and rising again ; and he who does not cease 
to walk and press onwards, arrives at last, even if late. 
To lose one s way is so it seems to me nothing else but 
the giving up of prayer. God, of His mercy, keep us from 
this ! 

20. It is clear from this, and, for the love of God, con 
sider it well, that a soul, though it may receive great graces 
from God in prayer, must never rely on itself, because it may 
fall, nor expose itself in any way whatever to any risks of 
sin. This should be well considered, because much depends 
on it; for the delusion here, wherein Satan is able to en 
tangle us afterwards, though the grace be really from God, 
lies in the traitor s making use of that very grace, so far as 
he can, for his own purpose, and particularly against per 
sons not grown strong in virtues, who are neither mortified 
nor detached ; for these are not at present strong enough 
as I shall explain hereafter 2 to expose themselves to 
dangerous occasions, notwithstanding the noble desires and 
resolutions they may have. 

21. This doctrine is excellent, and not mine, but the 
teaching of God, and accordingly I wish ignorant people 
like myself knew it ; for even if a soul were in this state, 
it must not rely so much upon itself as to go forth to the 
battle, because it will have enough to do in defending itself. 
Defensive armour is the present necessity ; the soul is not 

1 Ch. vii. 27. - Ch. xxxi. 21. 


yet strong enough to assail Satan, and to trample him under 
foot, as those are who are in the state of which I shall speak 
further on. 1 

22. This is the delusion by which Satan prevails: when 
a soul sees itself so near unto God, when it sees the difference 
there is between the things of heaven and those of earth, 
and when it sees the love which our Lord bears it, there 
grows out of that love a certain trust and confidence that 
there is to be no falling away from that the fruition of 
which it then possesses. It seems to see the reward dis 
tinctly, as if it were impossible for it to abandon that which, 
even in this life, is so delicious and sweet, for any thing so 
mean and impure as worldly joy. Through this confidence, 
Satan robs it of that distrust which it ought to have in itself ; 
and so, as I have just said, 2 the soul exposes itself to dangers, 
and begins, in the fulness of its zeal, to give away without 
discretion the fruit of its garden, thinking that now it has 
no reason to be afraid for itself. Yet this does not come 
out of pride ; for the soul clearly understands that of itself 
it can do no good thing; but rather out of an excessive 
confidence in God, without discretion: because the soul does 
not see itself to be unfledged. It can go forth out of its 
nest, and God Himself may take it out, but still it cannot 
fly, because the virtues are not strong, and itself has no 
experience wherewith to discern the dangers ; nor is it aware 
of the evil which trusting to itself may do it. 

23. This it was that ruined me. Now, to understand 
this, and every thing else in the spiritual life, we have great 
need of a director, and of conference with spiritual persons. 
I fully believe, with respect to that soul which God raises 
to this state, that He will not cease to be gracious to it, 
nor suffer it to be lost, if it does not utterly forsake His 
Majesty. But when that soul as I said falls, let it look 
to it again and again, for the love of our Lord, that Satan 
deceive it not by tempting it to give up prayer, as he tempted 
me, through that false humility of which I have spoken before, 3 
and would gladly speak of again and again. Let it rely on 
the goodness of God, which is greater than all the evil we 
can do. When we, acknowledging our own vileness, desire 
to return into His grace, He remembers our ingratitude no 

1 Ch. xx. 33, and ch. xxv. 24. * Ch. xvii. 4. 

s See 16. 


Hoys-, del 

1. Father Juan Battisto Rubeo (Rossi). 2. Convent, ancient chapel and 

church of the Discalced Carmelites. Procession of the cathedral clergy on the 
annual anniversary of the foundation. 3. Interior of the chapel. Before the altar 
the tomb of Francisco de Salcedo, on the left the ancient grille of the Sisters choir. 

4. Views of the hermitages in the monastery garden; the first, of Christ bound to 
the column, second, of Nazareth, third, of St. Augustine, and fourth, of St. Catherine. 

5. Christ bound to the column, painting in the hermitage of that name. 6. Interior 
of the hermitage of Nazareth, where St. Teresa was favoured with a vision of the 
Holy Ghost. 7. The four commands of Our Lord, transmitted by the Saint to the 
Religious of her Order. This inscription is on one of the walls of the same 


Bruges, P Raoux. Sc 

hermitag-e. ( 8 Tomb of Lorenzo de Cepeda, brother of the Saint, in his chapel in 

fct. Joseph s Church. 9. Tomb of Caspar Daza, first chaplain of the monastery, 

m nis chapel in the same church; and the tombs of his mother and sister. 10. 

c.ruciftx carried in the memorable procession made for a deliverance from vermin. 

urum and flageolets with which St. Teresa allowed her Religious to 

amuse themselves on certain festivals. 12. Escutcheon of Pius IV., (15591565), 

e rejg-ning- at the period of the monastery s foundation. 13. Escutcheon of 

,\ ar Mendoza Sarmiento, Bishop of Avila at that same period. 14. Escutcheoa 

or Caspar Daza. 15. Escutcheon of the Salcedo family. (See Appendix, note 7.) 


more, no, not even the graces He has given us, for the pur 
pose of chastising us, because of our misuse of them; yea, 
rather, they help to procure our pardon the sooner, as of 
persons who have been members of His household, and who, 
as they say, have eaten of His bread. 

24. Let them remember His words, and behold what 
He hath done unto me, who grew weary of sinning before 
He grew weary of forgiving. He is never weary of giving, 
nor can His compassion be exhausted. Let us not grow 
weary ourselves of receiving. May He be blessed for ever, 
amen ; and may all created things praise Him ! 




1. I WISH I could explain, with the help of God, wherein 
union differs from rapture, or from transport, or from flight 
of the spirit, as they speak, or from a trance, which are 
all one. 1 I mean, that all these are only different names 
for that one and the same thing, which is also called ecstasy. 2 
It is more excellent than union, the fruits of it are much 
greater, and its other operations more manifold; for union 
is uniform in the beginning, the middle, and the end, and 

1 See Inner Fortress, vi. ch. v.; Philippus a SS. Trinitate, Theolog. 
Mystic, par. iii. tr. 1, art. 3: "Haec oratio raptus superior est prrece- 
dentibus orationis gradibus, etiam orationis unionis ordinarise, et habet 
effectus multo excellentiores et multas alias operationes." 

8 "She says that rapture is more excellent than union; that is, that 
the soul in a rapture has a greater fruition of God, and that God takes 
it then more into His own hands. That is evidently so; because in a 
rapture the soul loses the use of its exterior and interior faculties. 
When she says that union is the beginning, middle, and end, she means 
that pure union is almost always uniform; but that there are degrees in 
rapture, of which some are, as it were, the beginning, some the middle, 
others the end. That is the reason why it is called by different 
names; some of which denote the least, others the most, perfect form 
of it, as it will appear hereafter." Note in the Spanish edition of 
Lopez (De la Fuente}. 


is so also interiorly. But as raptures have ends of a much 
higher kind, they produce effects both within and without. 1 
As our Lord has explained the other matters, so also may He 
explain this ; for certainly, if He had not shown me in what 
way and by what means this explanation was in some 
measure possible, I should never have been able to do it. 

2. Consider we now that this last water, of which I 
am speaking, is so abundant that, were it not that the ground 
refuses to receive it, we might suppose that the cloud of 
His great Majesty is here raining down upon us on earth. 
And when we are giving Him thanks for this great mercy, 
drawing near to Him in earnest, with all our might, then 
it is our Lord draws up the soul, as the clouds, so to speak, 
gather the mists from the face of the earth, and carries it 
away out of itself, I have heard it said that the clouds, 
or the sun, draw the mists together, 2 and as a cloud, rising 
up to heaven, takes the soul with Him, and begins to show 
it the treasures of the kingdom which He has prepared for 
it. I know not whether the comparison be accurate or not; 
but the fact is, that is the way in which it is brought about. 
During rapture, the soul does not seem to animate the body, 
the natural heat of which is perceptibly lessened ; the coldness 
increases, though accompanied with exceeding joy and sweet 
ness. 3 

3. A rapture is absolutely irresistible ; whilst union, inas 
much as we are then on our own ground, may be hindered, 
though that resistance be painful and violent; it is, however, 
almost always possible. But rapture, for the most part, is 

1 Anton, a Spirit. Sancto, Direct. Mystic, tr. 4, d. i. n. 95: "Licet 
oratio raptus idem sit apud mysticos ac oratio volatus, seu elevationis 
spiritus seu extasis: reipsa tamen raptus aliquid addit super extasim: 
nam extasis importat simplicem excessum mentis in seipso secundum 
quern aliquis extra suam cognitionem ponitur. Raptus vero super hoc 
addit violentiam quandam ab aliquo extrinseco. 

2 The words between the dashes are in the handwriting of the 
Saint not, however, in the text, but on the margin (De la Fuente). 

3 See Inner Fortress, vi. ch. x: "Primus effectus orationis ecstaticse 
est in corpore, quod ita remanet, ac si per animam non informaretur, 
infrigidatur emm calore naturali deficiente, clauduntnr suaviter oculi, 
et alii sensus amittuntur: contingit tamen quod corpus infirmum in 
hac oratione sanitatem recuperat." Anton, a Spirit. Sancto, Direct. 
Mystic, tr. iv. a. 2, 6. n. ISO. 


irresistible. It comes, in general, as a shock, quick and sharp, 
before you can collect your thoughts, or help yourself in 
any way, and you see and feel it as a cloud, or a strong 
eagle rising upwards, and carrying you away on its wings. 

4. I repeat it : you feel and see yourself carried away, 
you know not whither. For though we feel how delicious it 
is, yet the weakness of our nature makes us afraid at first, 
and we require a much more resolute and courageous spirit 
than in the previous states, in order to risk every thing, 
come what may, and to abandon ourselves into the hands 
of God, and go willingly whither w r e are carried, seeing that 
we must be carried away, however painful it may be ; and 
so trying is it, that I would very often resist, and exert all 
my strength, particularly at those times when the rapture 
was coming on me in public. I did so, too, very often when I 
was alone, because I was afraid of delusions. Occasionally I 
was able, by great efforts, to make a slight resistance ; but 
afterwards I was w r orn out, like a person who had been con 
tending with a strong giant ; at other times it was impossible 
to resist at all : my soul was carried away, and almost always 
my head with it, I had no power over it, and now and then 
the whole body as well, so that it was lifted up from the 

5. This has not happened to me often : once, however, 
it took place when we were all together in choir, and I, on 
my knees, on the point of communicating. It was a very 
sore distress to me ; for I thought it a most extraordinary 
tiling, and was afraid it would occasion much talk ; so I 
commanded the nuns for it happened after I was made 
Prioress never to speak of it. But at other times, the 
moment I felt that our Lord was about to repeat the act, 
and once, in particular, during a sermon, it was the feast of 
our house, some great ladies being present, I threw myself 
on the ground ; then the nuns came around me to hold me ; 
but still the rapture was observed. 

6. I made many supplications to our Lord, that He 
would be pleased to give me no more of those graces which 
were outwardly visible ; for I was weary of living under 
such great restraint, and because His Majesty could not 
bestow such graces on me without their becoming known. 
It seems that, of His goodness, He has been pleased to hear 


my prayer; for I have never been enraptured since. It is 
true that it was not long ago. 1 

7. It seemed to me, when I tried to make some resistance, 
as if a great force beneath my feet lifted me up. I know of 
nothing with which to compare it ; but it was much more 
violent than the other spiritual visitations, and I was there 
fore as one ground to pieces ; for it is a great struggle, and, 
in short, of little use, whenever our Lord so wills it. There 
is no power against His power. 

8. At other times He is pleased to be satisfied when 
He makes us see that He is ready to give us this grace, 
and that it is not He that withholds it. Then, when we 
resist it out of humility, He produces those very effects which 
would have resulted if we had fully consented to it. 

9. The effects of rapture are great : one is that the 
mighty power of our Lord is manifested ; and as we are not 
strong enough, when His Majesty wills it, to control either 
soul or body, so neither have we any power over it ; but, 
whether we like it or not, we see that there is one mightier 
than we are, that these graces are His gifts, and that of 
ourselves we can do nothing whatever; and humility is deeply 
imprinted in us. And further, I confess that it threw me 
into great fear, very great indeed at first; for when I saw 
my body thus lifted up from the earth, how could I help 
it? Though the spirit draws it upwards after itself, and 
that with great sweetness, if unresisted, the senses are not 
lost ; at least, I was so much myself as to be able to see that 
I was being lifted up. The majesty of Him who can effect 
this so manifests itself, that the hairs of my head stand 
upright, 2 and a great fear comes upon me of offending God, 
who is so mighty. This fear is bound up in exceedingly 
great love, which is acquired anew, and directed to Him, who, 
we see, bears so great a love to a worm so vile, and who 
seems not to be satisfied with attracting the soul to Him 
self in so real a way, but who will have the body also, though 
it be mortal and of earth so foul, such as it is through our 
sins, which are so great. 

1 This passage could not have been in the first Life: for that was 
written before she had ever been Prioress. 

-Job iv. 15. (See S. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, sts. 14, 
15, vol. ii. p. 83, Engl. trans.) 


10. Rapture leaves behind a certain strange detach 
ment also, which I shall never be able to describe; I think 
I can say that it is in some respects different from yea, 
higher than the ot her graces, which are simply spiritual; 
for though these effect a complete detachment in spirit from 
all things, it seems that in this of rapture our Lord would 
have the body itself be detached also; and thus a certain 
singular estrangement from the things of earth is wrought, 
which makes life much more distressing. Afterwards it 
causes a pain, which we can never inflict of ourselves, nor 
remove when once it has come. 

11. I should like very much to explain this great pain, 
and I believe I shall not be able; however, I will say some 
thing if I can. And it is to be observed that this is my 
present state, and one to which I have been brought very 
lately, after all the visions and revelations of which I shall 
speak, and after that time, wherein I gave myself to prayer, 
in which our Lord gave me so much sweetness and delight. 1 
Even now I have that sweetness occasionally ; but it is the 
pain of which I speak that is the most frequent and the 
most common. It varies in its intensity. I will now speak 
of it when it is sharpest; for I shall speak later on 2 of the 
great shocks I used to feel when our Lord would throw 
me into those trances, and which are, in my opinion, as 
different from this pain as the most corporeal thing is from 
the most spiritual ; and I believe that I am not exaggerating 
much. For though the soul feels that pain, it is in company 
with the body; 3 both soul and body apparently share it, and 
it is not attended with that extremity of abandonment which 
belongs to this. 

12. As I said before, 4 we have no part in causing this 
pain ; but very often there springs up a desire unexpectedly, 
I know not how it comes, and because of this desire, 
which pierces the soul in a moment, the soul begins to be 
wearied, so much so that it rises upwards above itself, and 
above all created things. God then so strips it of every 
thing, that, do what it may, there is nothing on earth that 
can be its companion. Neither, indeed, would it wish to 
have any ; it would rather die in that loneliness. If people 
spoke to it, and if itself made every effort possible to speak. 

1 See ch. xxix. 2 See ch. xxi. 8. 

3 10, supra. * 4. 


it would be of little use: the spirit, notwithstanding all it 
may do, cannot be withdrawn from that loneliness ; and 
though God seems, as it were, far away from the soul at that 
moment, yet He reveals His grandeurs at times in the 
strangest way conceivable. That way is indescribable ; I do 
not think any one can believe or comprehend it who has 
not previously had experience of it. It is a communication 
made, not to console, but to show the reason why the soul 
must be weary : because it is far away from the Good which 
in itself comprehends all good. 

13. In this communication the desire grows, so also does 
the bitterness of that loneliness wherein the soul beholds 
itself, suffering a pain so sharp and piercing that, in that 
very loneliness in which it dwells, it may literally say of 
itself, and perhaps the royal prophet said so, being in that 
very loneliness himself, except that our Lord may have 
granted to him, being a saint, to feel it more deeply, "I have 
watched, and become as a sparrow alone on the house-top." 1 
These words presented themselves to me in such a way that I 
thought I saw them fulfilled in myself. It was a comfort to 
know that others had felt this extreme loneliness ; how much 
greater my comfort, when these persons were such as David 
was ! The soul is then so I think not in itself, but on the 
house-top, or on the roof, above itself, and above all created 
things ; for it seems to me to have its dwelling higher than 
even in the highest part of itself. 

14. On other occasions, the soul seems to be, as it were, 
in the utmost extremity of need, asking itself, and saying, 
"Where is thy God?" 2 And it is to be remembered, that 
I did not know how to express in Spanish the meaning of 
those words. Afterwards, when I understood what it was, 
I used to console myself with the thought, that our Lord, 
without any effort of mine, had made me remember them. 
At other times, I used to recollect a saying of S. Paul s, to 
the effect that he was crucified to the world. 3 I do not 
mean that this is true of me: I know it is not; but I think 
it is the state of the enraptured soul. No consolation reaches 
it from heaven, and it is not there itself ; it wishes for none 
from earth, and it is not there either; but it is, as it were, 
crucified between heaven and earth, enduring its passion : 
receiving no succour from either. 

1 Ps. ci. 8. - Ps. xli. 4. 3 Galat. vi. 14. 


15. Now, the succour it receives from heaven which, 
as I have said, 1 is a most marvellous knowledge of God, 
above all that we can desire brings with it greater pain ; 
for the desire then so grows, that, in my opinion, its intense 
painfulness now and then robs the soul of all sensation ; 
only, it lasts but for a short time after the senses are sus 
pended. It seems as if it were the point of death ; only, 
the agony carries with it so great a joy, that I know of 
nothing wherewith to compare it. It is a sharp martyrdom, 
full of sweetness; for if any earthly thing be then offered 
to the soul, even though it may be that which it habitually 
found most sweet, the soul will have none of it; yea, it 
seems to throw it away at once. The soul sees distinctly 
that it seeks nothing but God; yet its love dwells not on 
any attribute of Him in particular; it seeks Him as He is, 
and knows not what it seeks. I say that it knows not, be 
cause the imagination forms no representation whatever; 
and, indeed, as I think, during much of that time the faculties 
are at rest. Pain suspends them then, as joy suspends them 
in union and in a trance. 

16. O Jesus ! oh, that some one would clearly explain 
this to you, my father, were it only that you may tell me 
what it means, because this is the habitual state of my soul ! 
Generally, when I am not particularly occupied, I fall into 
these agonies of death, and I tremble when I feel them com 
ing on, because they are not unto death. But when I am in 
them, I then wish to spend therein all the rest of my life, 
though the pain be so very great, that I can scarcely endure 
it. Sometimes my pulse ceases, as it were, to beat at all, 
so the sisters say, who sometimes approach me, and who 
now understand the matter better, my bones are racked, and 
my hands become so rigid, that I cannot always join them. 
Even on the following day I have a pain in my wrists, and 
over my whole body, as if my bones were out of joint. 2 
Well, I think sometimes, if it continues as at present, that 
it will end, in the good pleasure of our Lord, by putting 
an end to my life ; for the pain seems to me sharp enough 
to cause death; only, I do not deserve it. 

1 9 and 12. 

2 Daniel x. 16. See S. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, st. 14. 
vol. ii. p. 84, Engl. trans.; and also Relation, viii. 8, where this is 


17. All my anxiety at these times is that I should die: 
I do not think of purgatory, nor of the great sins I have 
committed, and by which I have deserved hell. I forget 
every thing in my eagerness to see God; and this abandon 
ment and loneliness seem preferable to any company in the 
world. If any thing can be a consolation in this state, it 
is to speak to one who has passed through this trial, seeing 
that, though the soul may complain of it, no one seems 
disposed to believe in it. 

18. The soul is tormented also because the pain has 
increased so much, that it seeks solitude no longer, as it did 
before, nor companionship, unless it be that of those to 
whom it may make its complaint. It is now like a person 
who, having a rope around his neck, and being strangled, 
tries to breathe. This desire of companionship seems to me 
to proceed from our weakness ; for, as pain brings with it 
the risk of death, which it certainly does; for I have been 
occasionally in danger of death, in my great sickness and 
infirmities, as I have said before, 1 and I think I may say that 
this pain is as great as any, so the desire not to be parted, 
which possesses soul and body, is that which raises the cry 
for succour in order to breathe, and by speaking of it, by 
complaining, and distracting itself, causes the soul to seek 
means of living very much against the will of the spirit, or 
the higher part of the soul, which would not wish to be 
delivered from this pain. 

19. I am not sure that I am correct in what I say, nor do 
I know how to express myself, but to the best of my knowl 
edge it comes to pass in this way. See, my father, what 
rest I can have in this life, now that what I once had in 
prayer and loneliness- therein our Lord used to comfort me 
has become in general a torment of this kind ; while, at 
the same time, it is so full of sweetness, that the soul, dis 
cerning its inestimable worth, prefers it to all those con 
solations which it formerly had. It seems, also, to be a 
safer state, because it is the way of the cross ; and involves, 
in my opinion, a joy of exceeding worth, because the state 
of the body in it is only pain. It is the soul that suffers and 
exults alone in that joy and contentment which suffering 

1 Ch. v. 18. 


20. I know not how this can be, but so it is; it comes 
from the hand of our Lord, and, as I said before, 1 is not 
any thing that I have acquired myself, because it is exceed 
ingly supernatural, and I think I would not barter it for all 
the graces of which I shall speak further on : I do not say 
for all of them together, but for any one of them separately. 
And it must not be forgotten that, as I have just said, these 
impetuosities came upon me after I had received those graces 2 
from our Lord which I am speaking of now, and all those 
described in this book, and it is in that state our Lord keeps 
me at this moment. 3 

21. In the beginning I was afraid, it happens to me 
to be almost always so when our Lord leads me by a new 
way, until His Majesty reassures me as I proceed, and so 
our Lord bade me not to fear, but to esteem this grace more 
than all the others He had given me ; for the soul was purified 
by this pain burnished, or refined as gold in the crucible, 
so that it might be the better enamelled with His gifts, and 
the dross burnt away in this life, which would have to be 
burnt away in purgatory. 

22. I understood perfectly that this pain was a great 
grace ; but I was much more certain of it now : and my con 
fessor tells me I did well. And though I was afraid, be 
cause I was so wicked, I never could believe it was any thing 
wrong: on the other hand, the exceeding greatness of the 
blessing niade me afraid, when I called to mind how little 
I had deserved it. Blessed be our Lord, who is so good! 

23. I have, it seems, wandered from my subject; for I 
began by speaking of raptures, and that of which I have been 
speaking is even more than a rapture, and the effects of it 
are what I have described. Now let us return to raptures 
and speak of their ordinary characteristics. I have to say 
that, when the rapture was over, my body seemed frequently 
to be buoyant, as if all weight had departed from it ; so much 
so, that now and then I scarcely knew that my feet touched 
the ground. But during the rapture itself the body is very 
often as if it were dead, perfectly powerless. It continues 

1 12. 

2 The words from "I have just said" to "graces" are in the margin 
of the text, but in the handwriting of the Saint (De la Fuente}. 

3 See 11. 


in the position it was in when the rapture came upon it, 
if sitting, sitting ; if the hands were open, or if they w r ere 
shut, they will remain open or shut. 1 For though the senses 
fail but rarely, it has happened to me occasionally to lose 
them wholly seldom, however, and then only for a short 
time. But in general they are in disorder ; and though they 
have no power whatever to deal with outward things, there 
remains the power of hearing and seeing; but it is as if 
the things heard and seen were at a great distance, far away. 

24. I do not say that the soul sees and hears when the 
rapture is at the highest, I mean by at the highest, when 
the faculties are lost, because profoundly united with God, 
for then it neither sees, nor hears, nor perceives, as I 
believe ; but, as I said of the previous prayer of union, 2 
this utter transformation of the soul in God continues only 
for an instant; yet while it continues no faculty of the soul 
is aware of it, or knows what is passing there. Nor can 
it be understood while we are living on the earth at least, 
God will not have us understand it, because we must be 
incapable of understanding it. I know it by experience. 

25. You, my father, will ask me : How comes it, then, 
that a rapture occasionally lasts so many hours? What has 
often happened to me is this, I spoke of it before, when 
writing of the previous state of prayer, 3 the rapture is not 
continuous, the soul is frequently absorbed, or, to speak 
more correctly, our Lord absorbs it in Himself; and when 
He has held it thus for a moment, the will alone remains in 
union with Him. The movements of the two other faculties 
seem to me to be like those of the needle of sun-dials, which 
is never at rest; yet when the Sun of Justice will have it so, 
he can hold it still. 

26. This I speak of lasts but a moment, 4 yet, as the 
impulse and the upraising of the spirit were vehement, and 
though the other faculties bestir themselves again, the will 
continues absorbed, and causes this operation in the body, 
as if it were the absolute mistress ; for now that the two 
other faculties are restless, and attempt to disturb it, it takes 
care for if it is to have enemies, the fewer the better 
that the senses also shall not trouble it: and thus it conies 
to pass that the senses are suspended ; for so our Lord wills 

1 See Relation, viii. 8. 2 Ch. xviii. 16. 

3 Ch. xviii. 17. 4 See ch. xl. 12. 


it. And for the most part the eyes are closed, though we 
may not wish to close them ; and if occasionally they remain 
open, as I said just now, the soul neither discerns nor con 
siders what it sees. 

27. What the body then can do here is still less, in order 
that, when the faculties come together again, there may not 
be so much to do. Let him, therefore, to whom our Lord 
has granted this grace, be not discouraged when he finds 
himself in this state the body under constraint for many 
hours, the understanding and the memory occasionally astray. 
The truth is that, in general, they are inebriated with the 
praises of God, or with searching to comprehend or under 
stand that which has passed over them. And yet even for 
this they are not thoroughly awake, but are rather like one 
who has slept long, and dreamed, and is hardly yet awake. 

28. I dwell so long on this point because I know that 
there are persons now, even in this place, 1 to whom our 
Lord is granting these graces ; and if their directors have 
had no experience in the matter, they w r ill think, perhaps, 
that they must be as dead persons during the trance, and 
they will think so the more if they have no learning. It is 
piteous to see what those confessors who do not understand 
this make people suffer. I shall speak of it by and by. 2 Per 
haps I do not know what I am saying. You, my father, will 
understand it, if I am at all correct ; for our Lord has ad 
mitted you to the experience of it: yet, because that experi 
ence is not very great, it may be, perhaps, that you have not 
considered the matter so much as I have done. 

29. So, then, though I do all I can, my body has no 
strength to move for some time ; the soul took it all away. 
Very often, too, he who was before sickly and full of pain 
remains healthy, and even stronger; for it is something great 
that is given to the soul in rapture ; and sometimes, as I have 
said already, 3 our Lord will have the body rejoice, because it is 
obedient in that which the soul requires of it. When we 
recover our consciousness, the faculties may remain, if the rap 
ture has been deep, for a day or two, and even for three days, 
so absorbed, or as if stunned, so much so, as to be in appear 
ance no longer themselves. 

30. Here comes the pain of returning to this life ; here it 
is the wings of the soul grew, to enable it to fly so high : the 

1 A vila. 2 Ch. xxv. 18. 3 11. 


weak feathers are fallen oft". Now the standard of Christ is 
raised up aloft, which seems to be nothing else but the going 
up, or the carrying up, of the Captain of the fort to the highest 
tower of it, there to raise up the standard of God. The soul, 
as in a place of safety, looks down on those below ; it fears 
no dangers now yea, rather, it courts them, as one assured 
beforehand of victory. It sees most clearly how lightly are 
the things of this world to be esteemed, and the nothingness 
thereof. The soul now seeks not, and possesses not, any other 
will but that of doing our Lord s will, 1 and so it prays him 
to let it be so; it gives to him the keys of its own will. L<>, 
the gardener is now become the commander of a fortress ! The 
soul will do nothing but the will of our Lord ; it will not act 
as the owner even of itself, nor of any thing, not even of a 
single apple in the orchard ; only, if there be any good thing 
in the garden, it is at His Majesty s disposal ; for from hence 
forth the soul will have nothing of its own, all it seeks is to 
do every thing for His glory, and according to His will. 

31. This is really the way in which these things come to 
pass ; if the raptures be true raptures, the fruits and 
advantages spoken of abide in the soul ; but if they did not, 
I should have great doubts about their being from God yea, 
rather, I should be afraid they were those frenzies of which 
S. Vincent speaks. 2 I have seen it myself, and I know it by 
experience, that the soul in rapture is mistress of every thing, 
and acquires such freedom in one hour, and even in less, as 
to be unable to recognise itself. It sees distinctly that all 
this does not belong to it, neither knows it how it came to 
possess so great a good; but it clearly perceives the very 
great blessing which every one of these raptures always 
brings. No one will believe this who has not had experience 
of it, and so they do not believe the poor soul : they saw it 
lately so wicked, and now they see it pretend to things of 

1 "Other will . . . Lord s will." These words in Spanish, "Otra 
voluntad, sino hacer la de nuestro Sefior" are not in the hand 
writing of the Saint; perhaps it was Father Banes who wrote them. 
The MS. is blurred, and the original text seems to have been, "libre 
alvedrio nin guerra" (De la Fucntc }. 

" S. Vincent. Ferrer, Instruct, de Vit. Spirit, c. xii. p. 14: "Si 
dicerent tibi aliquid quod sit contra fidem, et contra Scripturam Sacram, 
aut contra bonos mores, abhorreas eorum visiohem et judicia, tanquam 
stultas dementias, et eorum raptus, sicut rabiamenta" which word the 
Saint translates bv "rabiamientos." 


so high an order ; for it is not satisfied with serving our Lord 
in the common way, it must do so forthwith in the highest 
way it can. They consider this a temptation and a folly ; yet 
they would not be astonished, if they knew that it comes not 
from the soul, but from our Lord, to whom it has given up 
the keys of its will. 

32. For my part, I believe that a soul which has reached 
this state neither speaks nor acts of itself, but rather that 
the supreme King takes care of all it has to do. O my God, 
how clear is the meaning of those words, and what good 
reason the Psalmist had, and all the world will ever have, to 
pray for the wings of a dove I 1 It is plain that this is the 
flight of the spirit rising upwards above all created things, 
and chiefly above itself: but it is a sweet flight, a delicious 
flight a flight without noise. 

33. Oh, what power that soul possesses which our Lord 
raises to this state ! how it looks down upon every thing, 
entangled by nothing ! how ashamed it is of the time when it 
was entangled ! how it is amazed at its own blindness ! how 
it pities those who are still in darkness, especially if they 
are men of prayer, and have received consolations from God ! 
It would like to cry out to them, that they might be made 
to see the delusions they are in : and, indeed, it does so now 
and then ; and then a thousand persecutions fall upon it as 
a shower. People consider it wanting in humility, and think 
it means to teach those from whom it should learn, particu 
larly if it be a woman. Hence its condemnation; and not 
without reason ; because they know not how strong the in 
fluence. is that moves it. The soul at times cannot help itself; 
nor can it refrain from undeceiving those it loves, and whom 
it longs to see delivered out of the prison of this life ; for that 
state in which the soul itself had been before neither is, 
nor seems to be, any thing else but a prison. 

34. The soul is weary of the days during which it re 
spected points of honour, and the delusion which led it to 
believe that to be honour which the world calls by that name ; 
now it sees it to be the greatest lie, and that we are all walking 
therein. It understands that true honour is not delusive, 
but real, esteeming that which is worthy of esteem, and de 
spising that which is despicable ; for every thing is nothing, 
and less than nothing, whatever passeth away, and is not 

1 Ps. liv. 7. 

142 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [cii. XX. 

pleasing unto God. The soul laughs at itself when it thinks 
of the time in which it regarded money, and desired to 
possess it, though, as to this, I verily believe that I never 
had to confess such a fault; it was fault enough to have 
regarded money at all. If I could purchase with money 
the blessings which I possess, I should make much of it ; 
but it is plain that these blessings are gained by abandoning 
all things. 

35. What is there that is procurable by this money which 
we desire? Is it any thing of worth, any thing lasting? 
vVhy, then, do we desire it? A dismal resting-place it 
provides, which costs so dear ! Very often it obtains for us 
hell itself, fire everlasting, and torments without end. Oh, 
if all men would but regard it as profitless dross, how peaceful 
the world would be ! how free from bargaining ! How 
friendly all men would be one with another, if no regard 
were paid to honour and money ! I believe it would be a 
remedy for every thing. 

36. The soul sees how blind men are to the nature of 
pleasure how by means of it they provide for themselves 
trouble and disquietude even in this life. What restlessness ! 
how little satisfaction ! what labour in vain ! It sees, too, 
not only the cobwebs that cover it, and its great faults, but 
also the specks of dirt, however slight they may be; for the 
sun shines most clearly ; and thus, however much the soul 
may have laboured at its own perfection, it sees itself to be 
very unclean, if the rays of the sun fall really upon it. The 
soul is like water in a vessel, which appears pellucid when the 
sun does not shine through it ; but if it does, the water then 
is found to be full of motes. 

37. This comparison is literally correct. Before the soul 
fell into the trance, it thought itself to be careful about not 
offending God, and that it did what it could in proportion 
to its strength ; but now that it has attained to this state, 
in which the Sun of Justice shines upon it, and makes it open 
its eyes, it beholds so man}- motes, that it would gladly close 
them again. It is not so truly the child of the noble eagle, 
that it can gaze upon the sun ; but, for the few instants it 
can keep them open, it beholds itself wholly unclean. It 
remembers the words: "Who shall be just in Thy presence?" 1 
When it looks on this divine Sun, the brightness thereof 

1 Job iv. 17. 


dazzles it, when it looks on itself, its eyes are blinded by 
the dust : the little dove is blind. So it happens very often : 
the soul is utterly blinded, absorbed, amazed, dizzy at the 
vision of so much grandeur. 

38. It is in rapture that true humility is acquired 
humility that will never say any good of self, nor suffer 
others to do so. The Lord of the garden, not the soul, 
distributes the fruit thereof, and so none remains in its hands ; 
all the good it has, it refers to God ; if it says any thing about 
itself, it is for His glory. It knows that it possesses nothing 
here ; and even if it wished, it cannot continue ignorant of 
that. It sees this, as it were, with the naked eye ; for, whether 
it will or not, its eyes are shut against the things of this 
world, and open to see the truth. 




1. To bring this matter to an end, I say that it is riot 
necessary for the soul to give its consent here ; it is already 
given : the soul knows that it has given up its will into His 
hands, 1 and that it cannot deceive Him, because He knoweth 
all things. It is not here as it is in the world, where all 
life is full of deceit and double-dealing. When you think 
you have gained one man s good will, because of the outward 
show he makes, you afterwards learn that all was a lie. 
No one can live in the midst of so much scheming, particularly 
if there be any interests at stake. 

2. Blessed, then, is that soul which our Lord draws on 
to the understanding of the truth ! Oh, what a state for kings ! 
How much better it would be for them if they strove for this, 
rather than for great dominions! How justice would prevail 
under their rule ! What evils would be prevented, and might 
have been prevented already ! Here no man fears to lose life 
or honour for the love of God. What a grand thing this 
would be in him who is more bound than those beneath him 

1 Ch. xx. 30. 


to regard the honour of our Lord ! for it is kings whom the 
crowd must follow. To make one step in the propagation 
of the faith, and to give one ray of light to heretics, I would 
forfeit a thousand kingdoms. And with good reason : for it 
is another thing altogether to gain a kingdom that shall never 
end, because one drop of the water of that kingdom, if the 
soul but tastes it, renders the things of this world utterly 

3. If, then, the soul should be wholly engulfed, what 
then? O Lord, if Thou wert to give me the right to publish 
this abroad, people would not believe me as they do not 
believe many who are able to speak of it in a way very different 
from mine : but I should satisfy myself, at least. I believe I 
should count my life as nothing, if I might make others 
understand but one of these truths. I know not what I should 
do afterwards, for I cannot trust myself; though I am what 
I am, I have a violent desire, which is wasting me, to say 
this to those who are in authority. And now that I can do 
no more, I betake myself to Thee, O my Lord to implore a 
remedy for all. Thou knowest well that I would gladly divest 
myself of all the graces which Thou hast given me, pro 
vided I remained in a condition never to offend Thee, and 
give them up to those who arc kings ; for I know it would 
then be impossible for them to allow what they allow now, 
or fail to receive the very greatest blessings. 

4. O my God, make kings to understand how far their 
obligations reach ! Thou hast been pleased to distinguish 
them on earth in such a way that so I have heard Thou 
showest signs in the heavens when Thou takest any of them 
away. Certainly, when I think of this, my devotion is stirred, 
because Thou wilt have them learn, O my King, even from 
this, that they must imitate Thee in their lives, seeing that, 
when they die, signs are visible in the heavens, as it was 
when Thou wert dying Thyself. 

5. I am very bold ; if it be wrong, you, my father, will 
tear this out : only believe that I should speak much more 
to the purpose in the presence of kings, if I might, or thought 
they would listen to me, for I recommend them greatly to 
God, and I wish I might be of service to them. All this 
makes one risk life ; for I long frequently to lose mine, 
and that would be to lose a little for the chance of gaining 
much ; for surely it is not possible to live, when we see with 


our eyes the great delusion wherein we are walking, and the 
blindness in which we are living. 

6. A soul that has attained to this is not limited to the 
desires it has to serve God; for His Majesty gives it strength 
to bring those desires to good effect. Nothing can be put 
before it into which it will not throw itself, if only it thinks 
that God may be served thereby : and yet it is doing nothing, 
because as I said before, 1 it sees clearly that all is nothing, 
except pleasing God. The trial is, that those who are so 
worthless as I am, have no trial of the kind. May it be Thy 
good pleasure, O my Good, that the time may come in which 
I may be able to pay one farthing, at least, of the heavy debt 
I owe Thee ! Do Thou, O Lord, so dispose matters according 
to Thy will, that this Thy servant may do Thee some service. 
Other women there have been who did heroic deeds for Thee ; 
I arn good only to talk ; and so it has not been Thy pleasure, 
O my God, that I should do any thing: all ends in talk and 
desires that is all my service. And yet even in this I am 
not free, because it is possible I might fail altogether. 

7. Strengthen Thou my soul, and prepare it, O Good 
of all good ; and. my Jesus, then ordain Thou the means 
whereby I may do something for Thee, so that there may 
be not even one who can bear to receive so much, and make 
no payment in return. Cost what it may, O Lord, let me not 
come before Thee with hands so empty, 2 seeing that the 
reward of every one will be according to his works. 3 Behold 
my life, behold my good name and my will ; I have given 
them all to Thee ; I am Thine : dispose of me according to 
Thy will. I see well enough, O Lord, how little I can do ; 
but now, having drawn near to Thee, having ascended to this 
watch-tower, from which the truth may be seen, and while 
Thou departest not from me, I can do all things ; but if Thou 
departest from me, were it but for a moment, I shall go thither 
where I was once that is to hell. 4 

8. Oh, what it is for a soul in this state to have to return 
to the commerce of the world, to see and look on the farce of 
this life, 5 so ill-ordered ; to waste its time in attending to the 
body by sleeping and eating ! G All is wearisome ; it cannot 
run away, it sees itself chained and imprisoned ; it feels then 

1 Ch. xx. 34. - Exod. xxiii. 15. 3 Apoc. ii. 23. 

4 See ch. xxxii. 1. 5 "Farsa desta vida tan mal concertac a." 

6 Inner Fortress, iv. ch. i. 11. 


most keenly the captivity into which the body has brought us, 
and the wretchedness of this life. It understands the reason 
why S. Paul prayed God to deliver him from it. 1 The soul 
cries with the Apostle, and calls upon God to deliver it, as I 
said on another occasion. 2 But here it often cries with so 
much violence, that it seems as if it would go out of the body 
in search of its freedom, now that they do not take it away. 
It is as a slave sold into a strange land ; and what distresses 
it most is, that it cannot find many who make the same com 
plaint and the same prayer: the desire of life is more common. 

9. Oh, if we were utterly detached, if we never placed 
our happiness in anything of this world, how the pain, caused 
by living always away from God, would temper the fear of 
death with the desire of enjoying the true life! Sometimes 
I consider, if a person like myself because our Lord has 
given this light to me, whose love is so cold, and whose true 
rest is so uncertain, for I have not deserved it by my works 
frequently feels her banishment so much, what the feelings of 
the Saints must have been. What must S. Paul and the 
Magdalene, and others like them, have suffered, in whom the 
fire of the love of God had grown so strong? Their life must 
have been a continual martyrdom. It seems to me that they 
who bring me any comfort, and whose conversation is any 
relief, are those persons in whom I find these desires I mean, 
desires with acts. I say with acts, for there are people who 
think themselves detached, and who say so of themselves, 
and it must be so, for their vocation demands it, as well as 
the many years that are past since some of them began to 
walk in the way of perfection, but my soul distinguishes 
clearly, and afar off, between those who are detached in words, 
and those who make good those words by deeds. The little 
progress of the former, and the great progress of the latter, 
make it plain. This is a matter which a person of any expe 
rience can see into most clearly. 

10. So far, then, of the effects of those raptures which 
come from the Spirit of God. The truth is, that these are 
greater or less. I say less, because in the beginning, though 
the effects are wrought, they are not tested by works, and 
so it cannot be clear that a person has them : and perfection, 
too, is a thing of growth, and of labouring after freedom from 
the cobwebs of memory; and this requires some time. Mean- 

1 Rom. vii. 24. 2 Ch. xvi. 12. 


while, the greater the growth of love and humility in the 
soul, the stronger the perfume of the flowers of virtues is for 
itself and for others. The truth is, that our Lord can so work 
in the soul in an instant during these raptures, that but little 
remains for the soul to do in order to attain to perfection. 
No one, who has not had experience of it, will ever be able 
to believe what our Lord now bestows on the soul. No efforts 
of ours so I think can ever reach so far. 

11. However, I do not mean to say that those persons 
who during many years make use of the methods prescribed 
by writers on prayer, who discuss the principles thereof, and 
the means whereby it may be acquired, will not, by the help 
of our Lord, attain to perfection and great detachment, with 
much labour; but they will not attain to it so rapidly as by 
the way of raptures, in which our Lord works independently 
of us, draws the soul utterly away from earth, and gives it 
dominion over all things here below, though the merits of 
that soul may not be greater than mine were : I cannot use 
stronger language, for my merits are as nothing. Why His 
Majesty doeth this is, because it is His pleasure, and He doetli 
it according to His pleasure : even if the soul be without the 
fitting disposition, He disposes it for the reception of that 
blessing which He is giving to it. Although it be most 
certain that He never fails to comfort those who do well, and 
strive to be detached, still He does not always give these 
effects because they have deserved them at His hands by 
cultivating the garden, but because it is His will to show 
His greatness at times in soil which is most worthless, as 
I have just said, and to prepare it for all good : and all this 
in such a way that it seems as if the soul was now, in a 
manner, unable to go back and live in sin against God, as it 
did before. 

12. The mind is now so inured to the comprehension of 
that which is truth indeed, that every thing else seems to it to 
be but child s play. It laughs to itself, at times, when it sees 
grave men men given to prayer, men of religion make 
much of points of honour, which itself is trampling beneath 
its feet. They say that discretion, and the dignity of their 
callings, require it of them as a means to do more good ; but 
that soul knows perfectly well that they would do more good 
in one day by preferring the love of God to this their dignity, 
than they will do in ten years by considering it. 


13. The life of this soul is a life of trouble: the cross is 
always there, but the progress it makes is great. When those 
who have to do with it think it has arrived at the summit of 
perfection, within a little while they see it much more 
advanced ; for God is ever giving it grace upon grace. God 
is the Soul of that soul now ; it is He who has the charge of 
it : and so He enlightens it ; for He seems to be watching 
over it, always attentive to it, that it may not offend Him, 
giving it grace, and stirring it up in His service. When my 
soul reached this state, in which God showed me mercy so 
great, my wretchedness came to an end, and our Lord gave 
me strength to rise above it. The former occasions of sin, 
as well as the persons with whom I was accustomed to 
distract myself, did me no more harm than if they had never 
existed; on the contrary, that which ordinarily did me harm, 
helped me on. Every thing contributed to make me know 
God more, and to love Him ; to make me see how much I 
owed Him, as well as to be sorry for being what I had been. 

14. I saw clearly that this did not come from myself, 
that I had not brought it about by any efforts of my own, 
and that there was not time enough for it. His Majesty, of 
His mere goodness, had given me strength for it. From the 
time our Lord began to give me the grace of raptures, until 
now, this strength has gone on increasing. He, of His good 
ness, hath held me by the hand, that I might not go back. 
I do not think that I am doing any thing myself certainly 
I do not ; for I see distinctly that all this is the work of our 
Lord. For this reason, it seems to me that the soul in which 
our Lord worketh these graces, if it walks in humility and 
fear, always acknowledging the work of our Lord, and that 
we ourselves can do, as it were, nothing, may be thrown 
among any companions, and, however distracted and wicked 
these may be, will neither be hurt nor disturbed in any way ; 
on the contrary, as I have just said, that it will help it on, 
and be a means unto it whereby it may derive much greater 

15. Those souls are strong which are chosen by our 
Lord to do good to others ; still, this their strength is not 
their own. When our Lord brings a soul on to this state, 
He communicates to it of His greatest secrets by degrees. 
True revelations the great gifts and visions come by ecsta 
sies, all tending to make the soul humble and strong, to 


Hye Hoys del 

1. Father Baltasar Alvarez. 2. Ruins of the Jesuit College, near the Car 
melite monastery. 3. Ruined monastery of the Calced Carmelites. 4. Monastery 
of the Discalced Carmelites, with the house of Helena de Quiroga. Bulls being- 
brought in for the bullfight. 5. View of the same monastery from the railroad 
between Bayonne and Madrid. 6. Breviary of Saint Teresa, printed at Venice in 1568; 
bound in red velvet, and enclosed in a case of silver openwork, with the inscrip 
tion, "Our holy Mother Teresa of Jesus used this breviary". 7. Account book 
with the signature of St. Teresa for the period while she was Prioress, in the year 
1571. 8. Bourse for a corporal embroidered by St. Teresa. 9. Chalice veil worked 



Bruges, P Raoux. Sc 

with the needle by St. Teresa. 10. Tomb of the Prioress A^nes of Jesus, known 
in the world as Inez de Tapia, Saint Teresa s cousin. 11. Sepulchral slab of 
Caterlna Alvarez, mother of St. John of the Cross, buried in the cloister of the 
monastery, at the foot of the Prioress tomb. The inscription runs: "Here lies 
the venerable lady Caterina Alvarez, mother of our Father, St. John of the Cross." 
12. Arms of St. Pius V. (1566 1572) in whose pontificate the monastery was founded. 


f 4. * e de Vera y de Monroy family, founders and patrons of the church 

)1 the Carmelites. 14. Arms of Helena de Quiroga. 15. Arms of the city of Medina 
del Camno. (See Appendix, note 8.) 


make it despise the things of this world, and have a clearer 
knowledge of the greatness of the reward which our Lord 
has prepared for those who serve Him. 1 

16. May it please His Majesty that the great munificence 
with which He hath dealt with me, miserable sinner that I 
am, may have some weight with those who shall read this, so 
that they may be strong and courageous enough to give up 
every thing utterly for God. If His Majesty repays us so 
abundantly, that even in this life the reward and gain of those 
who serve Him become visible, w r hat will it be in the next? 






1. THERE is one thing I should like to say I think it 
important : and if you, my father, approve, it will serve for 
a lesson that possibly may be necessary ; for in some books 
on prayer the writers say that the soul, though it cannot 
in its own strength attain to this state, because it is alto 
gether a supernatural work wrought in it by our Lord, 
may nevertheless succeed, by lifting up the spirit above all 
created things, and raising it upwards in humility, after some 
years spent in the purgative life, and advancing in the illumi 
native. I do not very well know what they mean by illumina 
tive : I understand it to mean the life of those who are making 
progress. And they advise us much to withdraw from all 
bodily imagination, and draw near to the contemplation of 
the Divinity ; for they say that those who have advanced so 
far would be embarrassed or hindered in their way to the 
highest contemplation, if they regarded even the Sacred 

1 1 Cor. ii. 9. 


Humanity itself. 1 They defend their opinion 2 by bringing 
forward the words 3 of our Lord to the Apostles, concerning 
the coming of the Holy Ghost; I mean that coming which 
was after the Ascension. If the Apostles had believed, as 
they believed after the coming of the Holy Ghost, that He is 
both God and Man, His bodily Presence would, in my opinion, 
have been no hindrance ; for those words were not said to the 
Mother of God, though she loved Him more than all. 4 They 
think that, as this work of contemplation is wholly spiritual, 
any bodily object whatever can disturb or hinder it. They 
say that the contemplative should regard himself as being 
within a definite space, God even-where around, and himself 
absorbed in Him. This is what he should aim at. 

2. This seems to me right enough now and then ; but 
to withdraw altogether from Christ, and to compare His 
divine Body with our miseries or with any created thing 
whatever, is what I cannot endure. May God help me to 
explain myself ! I am not contradicting them on this point, 
for they are learned and spiritual persons, understanding what 
they say : God, too, is guiding souls by many ways and 
methods, as He has guided mine. It is of my own soul that 
I wish to speak now, I do not intermeddle with others, 
and of the danger I was in because I would comply with 
the directions I was reading. I can well believe that he who 
has attained to union, and advances no further, that is, to 
raptures, visions, and other graces of God given to souls, 
will consider that opinion to be best, as I did myself : and if I 
had continued in it, I believe I should never have reached the 
state I am in now. I hold it to be a delusion : still, it may be 
that it is I who am deluded. But I will tell you what happened 
to me. 

1 See Inner Fortress, vi. 7, 4. 

2 This opinion is supposed to be justified by the words of S. 
Thomas, 3 Sent, clist. 22, qu. 3, art. 1, ad quintum; "Corporalis prresen- 
tia Christi in duobus poterat esse nociva. Primo, quantum ad fidem, 
quia videntes Euni in forma in qua erat minor Patre, non ita de facili 
crederent Eum jcqualem Patri, ut dicit glossa super Joannem. Secun- 
do, quantum ad dilectionem, quia Eum non solum spiritualiter, sed 
etiam carnaliter diligeremus, conversantes cum Ipso corporaliter, et 
hoc est de imperfectione. dilectionis." 

3 St. John xvi. 7. 

This sentence is in the margin of the original MS., not in the 
text, but in the handwriting of the Saint (De la Fiiente^. 


3. As I had no director, I used to read these books, 
where, by little and little, I thought I might understand some 
thing. I found out afterwards that, if our Lord had not shown 
me the way, I should have learned but little from books ; for 
I understood really nothing till His Majesty made me learn 
by experience : neither did I know what I was doing. So, 
in the beginning, when I attained to some degree of super 
natural prayer, I speak of the prayer of quiet, I laboured 
to remove from myself every thought of bodily objects ; but 
I did not dare to lift up my soul, for that I saw would be 
presumption in me, who was always so wicked. I thought, 
however, that I had a sense of the presence of God : this 
was true, and I contrived to be in a state of recollection 
before Him. This method of prayer is full of sweetness, if 
God help us in it, and the joy of it is great. And so, because 
I was conscious of the profit and delight which this way 
furnished me, no one could have brought me back to the con 
templation of the Sacred Humanity ; for that seemed to me 
to be a real hindrance to prayer. 

4. O Lord of my soul, and my Good ! Jesus Christ cruci 
fied ! I never think of this opinion, which I then held, with 
out pain ; I believe it was an act of high treason, though 
done in ignorance. Hitherto, I had been all my life long 
so devout to the Sacred Humanity for this happened but 
lately ; I mean by lately, that it was before our Lord gave 
me the grace of raptures and visions. I did not continue 
long of this opinion, 1 and so I returned to my habit of de 
lighting in our Lord, particularly at Communion. I wish I 
could have His picture and image always before my eyes, 
since I cannot have Him graven in my soul as deeply as I 

5. Is it possible, O my Lord, that I could have had the 
thought, if only for an hour, that Thou couldst be a hindrance 
to my greatest good? Whence are all my blessings? are 
they not from Thee? I will not think that I was blamable, 
for I w r as very sorry for it, and it was certainly done in 
ignorance. And so it pleased Thee, in Thy goodness, to 
succour me, by sending me one who delivered me from this 
delusion ; and afterwards by showing Thyself to me so many 

1 "I mean by lately . . . and visions" is in the margin of the MS., 
but in the handwriting of the Saint (De la Fuente*). 


times, as I shall relate hereafter, 1 that I might clearly perceive 
how great my delusion was, and also tell it to many persons; 
which I have done, as well as describe it as I am doing 
now. I believe myself that this is the reason why so many 
souls, after advancing to the prayer of union, make no further 
progress, and do not attain to very great liberty of spirit. 

6. It seems to me that there are two considerations on 
which I may ground this opinion. Perhaps I am saying 
nothing to the purpose, yet what I say is the result of ex 
perience ; for my soul was in a very evil plight, till our 
Lord enlightened it : all its joys were but sips ; and when 
it had come forth therefrom, it never found itself in that 
company which afterwards it had in trials and temptations. 

7. The first consideration is this: there is a little ab 
sence of humility so secret and so hidden, that we do not 
observe it. Who is there so proud and wretched as I, that, 
even after labouring all his life in penances and prayers and 
persecutions, can possible imagine himself not to be exceed 
ingly rich, most abundantly rewarded, when our Lord per 
mits him to stand with S. John at the foot of the cross? 
I know not into whose head it could have entered to be not 
satisfied with this, unless it be mine, which has gone wrong 
in every way where it should have gone right onwards. 

8. Then, if our constitution or perhaps sickness will 
not permit us always to think of His Passion, because it is 
so painful, who is to hinder us from thinking of Him risen 
from the grave, seeing that we have Him so near us in the 
Sacrament, where He is glorified, and where we shall not 
see Him in His great weariness scourged, streaming with 
blood, faint by the way, persecuted by those to whom He 
had done good, and not believed in by the Apostles? Cer 
tainly, it is not always that one can bear to meditate on 
sufferings so great as were those He underwent. Behold 
Him here, before His ascension into heaven, without pain, 
all-glorious, giving strength to some and courage to others. 
In the most Holy Sacrament, He is our companion, as if it 
was not in His power to withdraw Himself for a moment 
from us. And yet it was in my power to withdraw from 
Thee, O my Lord, that I might serve Thee better ! It may be 
that I knew Thee not when I sinned against Thee ; but how 
could I, having once known Thee, ever think I should gain 

1 Ch. xxviii. 4. 


more in this way? O Lord, what an evil way I took! and I 
was going out of the way, if Thou hadst not brought me back 
to it. When I see Thee near me, I see all good things to 
gether. No trial befalls me that is not easy to bear, when I 
think of Thee standing before those who judged Thee. 

9. With so good a Friend and Captain ever present, 
Himself the first to suffer, every thing can be borne. He 
helps, He strengthens, He never fails, He is the true Friend. 
I see clearly, and since then have always seen, that if we 
are to please God, and if He is to give us His great graces, 
every thing must pass through the hands of His most Sacred 
Humanity, in whom His Majesty said that He is well pleased. 1 
I know this by repeated experience : our Lord has told it 
me. I have seen clearly that this is the door 2 by which 
we are to enter, if w r e would have His supreme Majesty 
reveal to us His great secrets. 

10. So, then, I would have your reverence seek no other 
way, even if you were arrived at the highest contemplation. 
This way is safe. Our Lord is He by whom all good things 
come to us; lie will teach you. Consider His life; that is 
the best example. What more can we want than so good a 
Friend at our side, who will not forsake us when we are 
in trouble and distress, as they do who belong to this world ! 
Blessed is he who truly loves Him, and who always has 
Him near him ! Let us consider the glorious S. Paul, who 
seems as if Jesus was never absent from his lips, as if he had 
Him deep down in his heart. After I had heard this of some 
great Saints given to contemplation, I considered the matter 
carefully ; and I see that they walked in no other way. S. 
Francis with the stigmata proves it, S. Antony of Padua with 
the Infant Jesus; S. Bernard rejoiced in the Sacred Humanity; 
so did S. Catherine of Siena, and many others, as your rever 
ence knows better than I do. 

11. This withdrawing from bodily objects must no doubt 
l)e good, seeing that it is recommended by persons who are 
so spiritual ; but, in my opinion, it ought to be done only 
when the soul has made very great progress ; for until then 
it is clear that the Creator must be sought for through His 
creatures. All this depends on the grace which our Lord 
distributes to every soul. I do not intermeddle here. What 
I would say is, that the most Sacred Humanity of Christ is 

1 S. Matt. iii. 17. - S. John x. 7, 9. 


not to be counted among the objects from which we have 
to withdraw. Let this be clearly understood. I wish I 
knew how to explain it. 1 

12. When God suspends all the powers of the soul, 
as we see He does in the states of prayer already described, 
it is clear that, whether we wish it or not, this presence 
is withdrawn. Be it so, then. The loss is a blessed one, 
because it takes place in order that we may have a deeper 
fruition of what we seem to have lost ; for at that moment 
the whole soul is occupied in loving Him whom the under 
standing has toiled to know; and it loves what it has not 
comprehended, and rejoices in what it could not have rejoiced 
in so well, if it had not lost itself, in order, as I am saying, 
to gain itself the more. But that we should carefully and 
laboriously accustom ourselves not to strive with all our 
might to have always and please God it be always ! the 
most Sacred Humanity before our eyes, this, I say, is what 
seems to me not to be right: it is making the soul, as they 
say, to walk in the air; for it has nothing to rest on, how 
full soever of God it may think itself to be. 

13. It is a great matter for us to have our Lord before 
us as Man while we are living and in the flesh. This is 
that other inconvenience which I say must be met with. 
The first I have already begun to describe it is a little 
failure in humility, in that the soul desires to rise of itself 
before our Lord raises it, and is not satisfied with medita 
tion on so excellent a subject, seeking to be Mary before it 
has laboured with Martha. If our Lord will have a soul 
to be Mary, even on the first day, there is nothing to be 
afraid of ; but we must not be self-invited guests, as I think 
I said on another occasion. 2 This little mote of want of hu 
mility, though in appearance a mere nothing, does a great 
deal of harm to those who wish to advance in contempla 

14. I now come back to the second consideration. We 
are not angels, for we have a body ; to seek to make our 
selves angels while we are on the earth, and so much on 
the earth as I was, is an act of folly. In general, our thoughts 
must have something to rest on, though the soul may go 
forth out of itself now and then, or it may be very often so 

1 See S. John of the Cross, Mount Canncl, b. iii. ch. i. 

2 Ch. xii. SS 8, 9. 


full of God as to be in need of no created thing by the help 
of which it may recollect itself. But this is not so common 
a case; for when we have many things to do, when we 
are persecuted and in trouble, when we cannot have much 
rest, and \vhen we have our seasons of dryness, Christ is 
our best Friend ; for we regard Him as Man, and behold 
Him faint and in trouble, and He is our Companion ; and 
when we shall have accustomed ourselves in this way, it is 
very easy to find Him near us, although there will be occa 
sions from time to time when we can do neither the one 
nor the other. 

15. For this end, that is useful which I spoke of before: 1 
we must not show ourselves as labouring after spiritual con 
solations ; come what may, to embrace the cross is the great 
thing. The Lord of all consolation was Himself forsaken : 
they left Him alone in His sorrows. Do not let us forsake 
Him ; for His hand will help us to rise more than any efforts 
we can make; and He will withdraw Himself when Pie sees 
it to be expedient for us, and when He pleaseth will also 
draw the soul forth out of itself, as I said before. 2 

16. God is greatly pleased when He beholds a soul in 
its humility making His Son a Mediator between itself and 
Him, and yet loving Him so much as to confess its own 
unworthiness, even when He would raise it up to the highest 
contemplation, and saying with S. Peter: 3 "Go Thou away 
from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man." I know this by 
experience : it was thus that God directed my soul. Others 
may walk, as I said before, 4 by another and a shorter road. 
What I have understood of the matter is this : that the whole 
foundation of prayer must be laid in humility, and that the 
more a soul humbles itself in prayer, the more God lifts it up. 
I do not remember that He ever showed me any of those 
most marvellous mercies, of which I shall speak hereafter, 5 
at any other time than when I was as one brought to nothing 
by seeing how wicked I was. Moreover, His Majesty con 
trived to make me understand matters that helped me to 
know myself, but which I could never have even imagined 
of myself. 

1 Ch. xv. 21. * Ch. xx. 2. 

8 S. Luke v. 8. 4 Ch. xii. 6. 

5 Ch. xxviii. Ps. Ixxii. 22. 


17. I believe myself that if a soul makes any efforts of 
its own in order to further itself in the way of the prayer 
of union, and though it may seem to make immediate pro 
gress, it will quickly fall back, because the foundations were 
not duly laid. I fear, too, that such a soul will never attain 
to true poverty of spirit, which consists in seeking consola 
tion or sweetness, not in prayer, the consolations of the earth 
are already abandoned, but rather in sorrows, for the love 
of Him who always lived in sorrows Himself; 1 and in being 
calm in the midst of sorrows and aridities. Though the 
soul may feel it in some measure, there is no disquiet, nor 
any of that pain which some persons suffer, who, if they 
are not always labouring with the understanding and with 
a sense of devotion, think every thing lost, as if their efforts 
merited so great a blessing! 

18. I am not saying that men should not seek to be 
devout, nor that they should not stand with great reverence 
in the presence of God, but only that they are not to vex 
themselves if they cannot find even one good thought, as I 
said in another place ; 2 for we are unprofitable servants. 3 
What do we think w r e can do? Our Lord grant that we 
understand this, and that we may be those little asses who 
drive the windlass I spoke of: 4 these, though their eyes are 
bandaged, and they do not understand what they are doing, 
yet draw up more water than the gardener can draw with all 
his efforts. We must walk in liberty on this road, com 
mitting ourselves into the hands of God. If it be His 
Majesty s good pleasure to raise us and place us among His 
chamberlains and secret counsellors, we must go willingly; 
if not, we must serve Him in the lower offices of His house, 
and not sit down on the upper seats. 5 As I have sometimes 
said, 6 God is more careful of us than we are ourselves, and 
knows what each one of us is fit for. 

19. What use is there in governing oneself by oneself, 
when the whole will has been given up to God ! I think this 
less endurable now than in the first state of prayer, and it 
does much greater harm ; for these blessings are supernatural. 

1 Isai. liii. 3. * Ch. xi. 13. 

8 S. Luke xvii. 10. 4 Ch. xi. 11. 

3 S. Luke xiv. 8. See Way of Perfection, ch. xxvi. 1; but ch. xvii. 
of the old editions. 

6 Ch. xii. 12, ch. xix. 23. 


If a man has a bad voice, let him force himself ever so much 
to sing, he will never improve it ; but if God gives him a good 
voice, he has no need to try it twice. Let us, then, pray Him 
always to show His mercy upon us, with a submissive spirit, 
yet trusting in the goodness of God. And now that the soul 
is permitted to sit at the feet of Christ, let it contrive not to 
quit its place, but keep it anyhow. Let it follow the example 
of the Magdalene ; and when it shall be strong enough, God 
will lead it into the wilderness. 1 

20. You, then, my father, must be content with this until 
you meet with some one of more experience and better 
knowledge than I am. If you see people who are beginning 
to taste of God, do not trust them if they think that they 
advance more, and have a deeper fruition of God, when they 
make efforts of their own. Oh, when God wills it, how He 
discovers Himself without these little efforts of ours ! We 
may do what we like, but He throws the spirit into a trance 
as easily as a giant takes up a straw ; no resistance is possible. 
What a thing to believe, that God will wait till the toad shall 
fly of itself, when He has already willed it should do so! 
Well, it seems to me still more difficult and hard for our spirit 
to rise upwards, if God does not raise it, seeing that it is 
burdened with earth, and hindered in a thousand ways. Its 
willingness to rise is of no service to it; for, though an 
aptness for flying be more natural to it than to a toad, yet is 
it so sunk in the mire as to have lost it by its own fault. 

21. I come, then, to this conclusion: whenever we think 
of Christ, we should remind ourselves of the love that made 
Him bestow so many graces upon us, and also how great 
that love is which our Lord God has shown us, in giving us 
such a pledge of the love He bears us; for love draws forth 
love. And though we are only at the very beginning, and 
exceedingly wicked, yet let us always labour to keep this in 
view, and stir ourselves up to love; for if once our Lord 
grant us this grace, of having this love imprinted in our hearts, 
every thing will be easy, and we shall do great things in a 
very short time, and with very little labour. May His Majesty 
give us that love, He knows the great need we have of it. 
for the sake of that love which He bore us, and of His glorious 
Son, to whom it cost so much to make it known to us ! Amen. 

1 Os. ii. 14. 


22. There is one thing I should like to ask you, my father. 
How is it that, when our Lord begins to bestow upon a soul 
a grace so great as this of perfect contemplation, it is not, 
as it ought to be, perfect at once? Certainly, it seems it 
should be so ; for he who receives a grace so great ought 
never more to seek consolations on earth. How is it, I ask, 
that a soul which has ecstasies, and so far is more accustomed 
to receive graces, should yet seem to bring forth fruits still 
higher and higher, and the more so, the more it is detached, 
when our Lord might have sanctified it at once, the moment 
He came near it? How is it, I ask again, that the same Lord 
brings it to the perfection of virtue only in the course of time? 
I should be glad to learn the reason, for I know it not. I 
do know, however, that in the beginning, when a trance lasts 
only the twinkling of an eye, and is almost imperceptible 
but for the effects it produces, the degree of strength which 
God then gives is very different from that which He gives 
when this grace is a trance of longer duration. 

23. Very often, when thinking of this, have I imagined 
the reason might be, that the soul does not despise itself 
all at once, till our Lord instructs it by degrees, and makes it 
resolute, and gives it the strength of manhood, so that it 
may trample utterly upon every thing. He gave this strength 
to the Magdalene in a moment. He gives the same grace 
to others, according to the measure of their abandonment 
of themselves into the hands of His Majesty, that He may 
do with them as He will. We never thoroughly believe that 
God rewards a hundredfold even in this life. 1 

24. I also thought of this comparison : supposing the 
grace given to those who are far advanced to be the same 
with that given to those who are but beginners, we may 
then liken it to a certain food of which many persons partake : 
they who eat a little retain the savour of it for a moment, 
they who eat more are nourished by it, but those who eat 
much receive life and strength. Now, the soul may eat so 
frequently and so abundantly of this food of life as to have 
no pleasure in eating any other food, because it sees how 
much good it derives from it. Its taste is now so formed 
upon it, that it would rather not live than have to eat any 
other food ; for all food but this has no other effect than to 

1 S. Matt. xix. 29. 


take away the sweet savour which this good food leaves 

25. Further, the conversation of good people does not 
profit us in one day as much as it does in many; and we 
may converse with them long enough to become like them, 
by the grace of God. In short, the whole matter is as His 
Majesty wills. He gives His grace to whom He pleases; but 
much depends on this : he who begins to receive this grace 
must make a firm resolution to detach himself from all things, 
and esteem this grace according to reason. 

26. It seems also to me as if His Majesty were going 

about to try those who love Him, now one, now another, 

revealing Himself in supreme joy, so as to quicken our belief, 
if it should be dead, in what He will give us, saying, Behold ! 
this is but a drop of the immense sea of blessings; for He 
leaves nothing undone for those He loves; and as He sees 
them receive it, so He gives, and He gives Himself. He 
loves those who love Him. Oh, how dear He is! how good 
a Friend! O my soul s Lord, who can find words to describe 
what Thou givest to those who trust in Thee, and what 
they lose who come to this state, and yet dwell in themselves ! 
Oh, let not this be so, O my Lord ! for Thou doest more 
than this when Thou comest to a lodging so mean as mine. 
Blessed be Thou for ever and ever ! 

27. I now humbly ask you, my father, if you mean to 
discuss what I have written on prayer with spiritual persons, 
to see that they are so really; for if they be persons who 
know only one way, or who have stood still midway, they 
will not be able to understand the matter. There are also 
some whom God leads at once by the highest way; these 
think that others might advance in the same manner quiet 
the understanding, and make bodily objects none of their 
means; but these people will remain dry as a stick. Others, 
also, there are who, having for a moment attained to the 
prayer of quiet, think forthwith that, as they have had the 
one, so they may have the other. These, instead of advancing, 
go back, as I said before. 1 So, throughout, experience and 
discretion are necessary. May our Lord, of His goodness, 
bestow them on us ! 






1. I SHALL now return to that point in my life where I 
broke off, 1 having made, I believe, a longer digression than 
I need have made, in order that what is still to come may 
be more clearly understood. Henceforth, it is another and a 
new book, I mean, another and a new life. Hitherto, my 
life was my own; my life, since I began to explain these 
methods of prayer, is the life which God lived in me, so 
it seems to me ; for I feel it to be impossible that I should 
have escaped in so short a time from ways and works that 
were so wicked. May our Lord be praised, who has delivered 
me from myself! 

2. When, then, I began to avoid the occasions of sin, 
and to give myself more unto prayer, our Lord also began 
to bestow His graces upon me, as one who desired, so it 
seemed, that I too should be willing to receive them. His 
Majesty began to give me most frequently the grace of the 
prayer of quiet, and very often that of union, which lasted 
some time. But as, in these days, w^omen have fallen into 
great delusions and deceits of Satan, 2 I began to be afraid, 
because the joy and sweetness which I felt were so great, 
and very often beyond my power to avoid. On the other 
hand, I felt in myself a very deep conviction that God was 
with me, especially when I was in prayer. I saw, too, that 
I grew better and stronger thereby. 

3. But if I was a little distracted, I began to be afraid, 
and to imagine perhaps it was Satan that suspended my 
understanding, making me think it to be good, in order to 
withdraw me from mental prayer, hinder my meditation on 
the Passion, and debar me the use of my understanding: 
this seemed to me, who did not comprehend the matter, 

1 At the end of ch. ix. The thirteen chapters interposed between 
that and this the twenty-third are a treatise on mystical theology. 

2 She refers to Magdalene of the Cross (Reforma de los Descalqos, 
vol. i. lib. i. c. xix. 2). 


to be a grievous loss; but, as His Majesty was pleased to 
give me light to offend Him no more, and to understand how 
much I owed Him, this fear so grew upon me, that it made 
me seek out diligently for spiritual persons with whom I 
might treat of my state. I had already heard of some ; for the 
Fathers of the Society of Jesus had come hither; 1 and I, 
though I knew none of them, was greatly attracted by them, 
merely because I had heard of their way of life and of prayer ; 
but I did not think myself fit to speak to them, or strong 
enough to obey them; and this made me still more afraid; 
for to converse with them, and remain what I was, seemed 
to me somewhat rude. 

4. I spent some time in this state, till, after much inward 
contention and fear, I determined to confer with some spirit 
ual person, to ask him to tell me what that method of 
prayer was which I was using, and to show me whether 
I was in error. I was also resolved to do every thing I could 
not to offend God ; for the want of courage of which I was 
conscious, as I said before, 2 made me so timid. Was there 
ever delusion so great as mine, O my God, when I withdrew 
from good in order to become, good ! The devil must lay 
much stress on this in the beginning of a course of virtue ; 
for I could not overcome my repugnance. He knows that 
the whole relief of the soul consists in conferring with the 
friends of God. Hence it was that no time was fixed in 
which I should resolve to do this. I waited to grow better 
first, as I did before when I ceased to pray, 3 and perhaps 
I never should have become better ; for I had now sunk so 
deeply into the petty ways of an evil habit, I could not con 
vince myself that they were wrong, that I needed the help 
of others, who should hold out a hand to raise me up. 
Blessed be Thou, O Lord ! for the first hand outstretched 
to me was Thine. 

5. When I saw that my fear was going so far, it struck 
me because I was making progress in prayer that this 
must be a great blessing, or a very great evil ; for I under 
stood perfectly that what had happened was something super 
natural, because at times I was unable to withstand it; to 
have it when I would was also impossible. I thought to 

1 The college of the Society at Avila was founded in 1555; but 
some of the Fathers had come thither in 1553 (De la Fuente). 
1 Ch. vii. 37. Ch. xix. 9. 


myself that there was no help for it, but in keeping my 
conscience pure, avoiding every occasion even of venial sins ; 
for if it was the work of the Spirit of God, the gain was 
clear; and if the work of Satan, so long as I strove to please, 
and did not offend our Lord, Satan could do me little harm ; 
on the contrary, he must lose in the struggle. Determined 
on this course, and always praying God to help me, striving 
also after purity of conscience for some days, I saw that my 
soul had not strength to go forth alone to a perfection so 
great. I had certain attachments to trifles, which, though 
not very wrong in themselves, were yet enough to ruin all. 

6. I was told of a learned ecclesiastic, 1 dwelling in this 
city, whose goodness and pious life our Lord was beginning 
to make known to the world. I contrived to make his 
acquaintance through a saintly nobleman 2 living in the same 
place. This latter is a married man; but his life is so edify 
ing and virtuous, so given to prayer, and so full of charity, 
that the goodness and perfection of it shine forth in all he 
does: and most justly so; for many souls have been greatly 
blessed through him, because of his great gifts, which, though 
his condition of a layman be a hindrance to him, never lie 
idle. He is a man of great sense, and very gentle with all 
people; his conversation is never wearisome, but so sweet 
and gracious, as well as upright and holy, that he pleases 
every body very much with whom he has any relations. 
He directs it all to the great good of those souls with whom 
he converses ; and he seems to have no other end in view 
but to do all he may be permitted to do for all men, and make 
them content. 

1 Caspar Daza had formed a society of priests in Avila, and was a 
very laborious and holy man. It was he who said the first Mass in 
the monastery of S. Joseph, founded by S. Teresa, whom he survived, 
dying Nov. 24, 1592. He committed the direction of his priests to F. 
Baltasar Alvarez (Bouix}. Juan of Avila acted much in the same way 
when the Jesuits settled in Avila (De la Fuenie). 

3 Don Francisco de Salcedo. After the death of his wife, he be 
came a priest, and was chaplain and confessor of the Carmelite nuns of 
S. Joseph. For twenty years of his married life he attended regularly 
the theological lectures of the Dominicans, in the house of S. Thomas. 
His death took place Sept. 12, 1580, when he had been a priest for ten 
years (5". Teresa s Letters, vol. iv. letter 43, note 13: letter 368, ed. of 
De la Fuente). 


7. This blessed and holy man, then, seems to me, by the 
pains he took, to have been the beginning of salvation to 
my soul. His humility in his relations with me makes me 
wonder; for he had spent, I believe, nearly forty years in 
prayer, it may be two or three years less, and all his life 
was ordered with that perfection which his state admitted. 
His wife is so great a servant of God, and so full of charity, 
that nothing is lost to him on her account, 1 in short, she 
was the chosen wife of one who God knew would serve Him 
so well. Some of their kindred are married to some of mine. 
Besides, I had also much communication with another great 
servant of God, married to one of my first cousins. 

8. It was thus I contrived that the ecclesiastic I speak 
of, who was so great a servant of God, and his great friend, 
should come to speak to me, intending to confess to him, 
and to take him for my director. When he had brought him 
to speak to me, I, in the greatest confusion at finding myself 
in the presence of so holy a man, revealed to him the state 
of my soul, and my way of prayer. He would not be my 
confessor ; he said that he was very much occupied : and so, 
indeed, he was. He began with a holy resolution to direct 
me as if I was strong, I ought to have been strong, accord 
ing to the method of prayer which he saw I used, so that 
I should in nothing offend God. When I saw that he was 
resolved to make me break off at once with the petty ways 
I spoke of before, 2 and that I had not the courage to go 
forth at once in the perfection he required of me, I was dis 
tressed ; and when I perceived that he ordered the affairs of 
my soul as if I ought to be perfect at once, I saw that much 
more care was necessary in my case. In a word, I felt that 
the means he would have employed were not those by which 
my soul could be helped onwards ; for they were fitted for a 
soul more perfect than mine; and though the graces I had 
received from God were very many, I was still at the very 
beginning in the matter of virtue and of mortification. 

9. I believe certainly, if I had only had this ecclesiastic 
to confer with, that my soul would have made no progress ; 
for the pain it gave me to see that I was not doing and, as 

1 Dona Mencia del Aguila (De la Fuente, in a note on letter 10, 
vol. ii. p. 9, where he corrects himself, having previously called her 
Mencia de Avila). 

2 4. 


I thought, could not do what he told me, was enough to 
destroy all hope, and make me abandon the matter altogether. 
I wonder at times how it was that he, being one who had a 
particular grace for the direction of beginners in the way of 
God, was not permitted to understand my case, or to under 
take the care of my soul. I see it was all for my greater 
good, in order that I might know and converse with persons 
so holy as the members of the Society of Jesus. 

10. After this, I arranged with that saintly nobleman 
that he should come and see me now and then. It shows 
how deep his humility was ; for he consented to converse 
with a person so wicked as I was. He began his visits, he 
encouraged me, and told me that I ought not to suppose 
I could give up every thing in one day; God would bring it 
about by degrees : he himself had for some years been unable 
to free himself from some very slight imperfections. O 
humility ! what great blessings thou bringest to those in whom 
thou dwellest, and to them who draw near to those who 
possess thee ! This holy man for I think I may justly call 
him so told me of weaknesses of his own, in order to help 
me. He, in his humility, thought them weaknesses ; but, if 
we consider his state, they were neither faults nor imperfec 
tions ; yet, in my state, it was a very great fault to be subject 
to them. 

11. I am not saying this without a meaning, though I 
seem to be enlarging on trifles ; but these trifles contribute 
so much towards the beginning of the soul s progress and its 
flight upwards, though it has no wings, as they say; and yet 
no one will believe it who has not had experience of it; 
but, as I hope in God that your reverence will help many a 
soul, I speak of it here. My whole salvation depended on his 
knowing how to treat me, on his humility, on the charity 
with which he conversed with me, and on his patient endur 
ance of me when he saw that I did not mend my ways at once. 
He went on discreetly, by degrees showing me how to over 
come Satan. My affection for him so grew upon me, that I 
never was more at ease than on the day I used to see him. 
I saw him, however, very rarely. When he was long in 
coming, I used to be very much distressed, thinking that he 
would not see me because I was so wicked. 

12. When he found out my great imperfections, they 
misrht well have been sins, though since I conversed with him 


I am somewhat improved, and when I recounted to him, 
in order to obtain light from him, the great graces which 
God had bestowed upon me, he told me that these things 
were inconsistent one with another ; that these consolations 
were given to people who had made great progress, and led 
mortified lives ; that he could not help being very much 
afraid he thought that the evil spirit might have something 
to do in my case ; he would not decide that question, however, 
but he would have me carefully consider my whole method 
of prayer, and then tell him of it. That was the difficulty : I 
did not understand it myself, and so I could tell him nothing 
of my prayer; for the grace to understand it and, under 
standing it, to describe it has only lately been given me ol 
God. This saying of his, together with the fear I was in, 
distressed me exceedingly, and I cried; for certainly I was 
anxious to please God, and I could not persuade myself that 
Satan had any thing to do with it. But I was afraid, on 
account of my great sins, that God might leave me blind, so 
that I should understand nothing. 

13. Looking into books to see if I could find any thing 
there by which I might recognise the prayer I practised, I 
found in one of them, called the Ascent of the Mount, 1 and in 
that part of it which relates to the union of the soul with God, 
all those marks which I had in myself, in that I could not 
think of any thing. This is what I most dwelt on that I 
could think of nothing when I was in prayer. I marked that 
passage, and gave him the book, that he, and the ecclesiastic 
mentioned before, 2 saint and servant of God, might consider 
it, and tell me what I should do. If they thought it right, I 
would give up that method of prayer altogether; for why 
should I expose myself to danger, when, at the end of nearly 
twenty years, during which I had used it, I had gained 
nothing, but had fallen into a delusion of the devil? It 
was better for me to give it up. And yet this seemed to me 
hard ; for I had already discovered what my soul would 
become without prayer. Every thing seemed full of trouble 
I was like a person in the middle of a river, who, in whatever 
direction he may turn, fears a still greater danger, and is well- 
nigh drowned. This is a very great trial, and I have gone 

1 Subida del Monte Sion, by a Franciscan friar, Bernardino de 
Laredo (Reforma, vol. i. lib. i. c. xix. 7). 

2 6. 


through many like it, as I shall show hereafter; 1 and though 
it does not seem to be of any importance, it will perhaps be 
advantageous to understand how the spirit is to be tried. 

14. And certainly the affliction to be borne is great, and 
caution is necessary, particularly in the case of women, for 
our weakness is great, and much evil may be the result of 
telling them very distinctly that the devil is busy with them ; 
yea, rather, the matter should be very carefully considered, 
and they should be removed out of reach of the dangers that 
may arise. They should be advised to keep things secret ; 
and it is necessary, also, that their secret should be kept. I 
am speaking of this as one to whom it has been a sore trouble ; 
for some of those with whom I spoke of my prayer did not 
keep my secret, but, making inquiries one of another, for a 
good purpose, did me much harm ; for they made things 
known which might well have remained secret, because not 
intended for every one : and it seemed as if I had made them 
public myself. 2 

15. I believe that our Lord permitted 3 this to be done 
without sin on their part, in order that I might suffer. I do 
not say that they revealed any thing I discussed with them 
in confession ; still, as they were persons to whom, in my fears, 
I gave a full account of myself, in order that they might 
give me light, I thought they ought to have been silent. 
Nevertheless, I never dared to conceal any thing from such 
persons. My meaning, then, is, that women should be directed 
with much discretion ; their directors should encourage them, 
and bide the time when our Lord will help them, as He 
has helped me. If He had not, the greatest harm would have 
befallen me, for I was in great fear and dread ; and as I 
suffered from disease of the heart, 4 I am astonished that all 
this did not do me a great deal of harm. 

16. Then, when I had given him the book, and told the 
story of my life and of my sins, the best w r ay I could in 
general, for I was not in confession, because he was a lay 
man ; yet I gave him clearly to understand how wicked I 
was, those two servants of God, with great charity and 
affection, considered what was best for me. When they had 
made up their minds what to say, I was waiting for it in 
great dread, having begged many persons to pray to God for 

1 See ch. xxv. 18 2 See ch. xxviii. 18. 3 See Relation, vii. 17. 
4 See ch. iv. 6. 


me, and I too had prayed much during those days, the 
nobleman came to me in great distress, and said that, in the 
opinion of both, I was deluded by an evil spirit; that the 
best thing for me to do was to apply to a certain father of 
the Society of Jesus, who would come to me if I sent for 
him, saying I had need of him; that I ought, in a general 
confession, to give him an account of my whole life, and of 
the state I was in, and all with great clearness : God would, 
in virtue of the Sacrament of Confession, give him more 
light concerning me ; for those fathers were very experienced 
men in matters of spirituality. Further, I was not to swerve 
in a single point from the counsels of that father ; for I was in 
great danger, if I had no one to direct me. 

17. This answer so alarmed and distressed me, that I 
knew not what to do I did nothing but cry. Being in an ora 
tory in great affliction, not knowing what would become of me, 
I read in a book it seemed as if our Lord had put it into 
my hands that S. Paul said, God is faithful; 1 that He will 
never permit Satan to deceive those who love Him. This 
gave me great consolation. I began to prepare for my general 
confession, and to write out all the evil and all the good : 
a history of my life, as clearly as I understood it, and knew 
how to make it, omitting nothing whatever. I remember, 
when I saw I had written so much evil, and scarcely any 
thing that was good, that I was exceedingly distressed and 
sorrowful. It pained me, also, that the nuns of the community 
should see me converse with such holy persons as those of 
the Society of Jesus ; for I was afraid of my own wickedness, 
and I thought I should be obliged to cease from it, and give 
up my amusements ; and that if I did not do so, I should grow 
worse : so I persuaded the sacristan and the portress to tell no 
one of it. This was of little use, after all ; for when I was called 
down there was one at the door, as it happened, who told it to 
the whole convent. But what difficulties and what terrors 
Satan troubles them with who would draw near unto God ! 

18. I communicated the whole state of my soul to that 
servant of God 2 and he was a great servant of His, and 

J 1 Cor. x. 13. 

2 F. Juan de Padranos, whom S. Francis de Borja had sent in 1555, 
with F. Fernando Alvarez del Aguila, to found the house of the So 
ciety in Avila (De la Fuente }. Ribera, i. 9, says he heard that F. Juan 
de Padranos gave in part the Exercises of S. Ignatius to the Saint. 


very prudent. He understood all I told him, explained it to 
me, and encouraged me greatly. He said that all was very 
evidently the work of the Spirit of God ; only it was necessary 
for me to go back again to my prayer, because I was not 
well grounded, and had not begun to understand what morti 
fication meant, that was true, for I do not think I knew 
it even by name, that I was by no means to give up prayer; 
on the contrary, I was to do violence to myself in order to 
practise it, because God had bestowed on me such special 
graces as made it impossible to say whether it was, or was not, 
the will of our Lord to do good to many through me. He 
went further, for he seems to have prophesied of that which 
our Lord afterwards did with me, and said that I should be 
very much to blame if I did not correspond with the graces 
which God bestowed upon me. It seems to me that the Holy 
Ghost was speaking by his mouth in order to heal my soul, so 
deep was the impression he made. He made me very much 
ashamed of myself, and directed me by a way which seemed to 
change me altogether. What a grand thing it is to understand 
a soul ! He told me to make my prayer every day on some 
mystery of the Passion, and that I should profit by it, and 
to fix my thoughts on the Sacred Humanity only, resisting to 
the utmost of my power those recollections and delights, to 
which I was not to yield in any way till he gave me further 
directions in the matter. 

19. He left me consoled and fortified : our Lord came to 
my succour and to his, so that he might understand the state 
I was in, and how he was to direct me. I made a firm resolu 
tion not to swerve from any thing he might command me, and 
to this day I have kept it. Our Lord be praised, who has 
given me grace to be obedient to my confessors, 1 however 
imperfectly ! and they have almost always been those blessed 
men of the Society of Jesus; though, as I said, I have but 
imperfectly obeyed them. My soul began to improve visibly 
as I am now going to say. 

1 See Relation, i. 9. 


Hye Hoys, del. 

1. Ruins of the Chateau of Malagon, formerly the residence of Luisa de la 
Cerda. On the left, the parish church. 2. The same church, seen from the front. 
3. Church and Monastery of the Carmelites. Harvest scenes. 4. Oratory erected 
above the stone on which St. Teresa sat to oversee the building- of the convent. 
5. Wicket for Holy Communion in the grille of the choir. 6. Iron stamp used by 
St. Teresa in cutting- the Hosts. 7. Statue of St. Teresa in the cell which she 
occupied. 8. Chest with three locks containing- the papers of the monastery. 



Bruges. P J\acmx, Sc. 

V V! rtr , ait of Anne of St. Augustine. 10. Reliquary containing a finger of Anne 
L bt Augustine. 11. Hospice of the Discalced Carmelites and outer door of the 
offices of the Carmelite monastery. 12. Arms of the Saavedra family, the family of 
LUiSa de la Cerda s husband. 13. Arms of the de la Cerda family. 14. Arms of 
the family of Biedma, also called Benavides, patrons of the church of the Carmelites 
and relatives of St. Teresa. 15. Arms of Arias Pardo, Baron of Malagon. (See 





1. AFTER this my confession, my soul was so docile that, 
as it seems to me, there was nothing in the world I was not 
prepared to undertake. I began at once to make a change in 
many things, though my confessor never pressed me on 
the contrary, he seemed to make light of it all. I was the 
more influenced by this, because he led me on by the way of 
the love of God ; he left me free, and did not press me, unless 
I did so myself, out of love. I continued thus nearly two 
months, doing all I could to resist the sweetness and graces 
that God sent. As to my outw r ard life, the change was visible ; 
for our Lord gave me courage to go through with certain 
things, of which those who knew me and even those in the 
community said that they seemed to them extreme ; and, 
indeed, compared with what I had been accustomed to do, 
they were extreme : people, therefore, had reason to say so. 
Yet, in those things which were of obligation, considering the 
habit I wore, and the profession I had made, I was still 
deficient. By resisting the sweetness and joys which God 
sent me, I gained this, that His Majesty taught me Himself; 
for, previously, I used to think that, in order to obtain sweet 
ness in prayer, it was necessary for me to hide myself in secret 
places, and so I scarcely dared to stir. Afterwards, I saw 
how little that was to the purpose ; for the more I tried to 
distract myself, the more our Lord poured over me that sweet 
ness and joy which seemed to me to be flowing around me, 
so that I could not in any way escape from it : and so it was. 
I was so careful about this resistance, that it was a pain to me. 
But our Lord was more careful to show His mercies, and 
during those two months to reveal Himself more than before, 
so that I might the better comprehend that it was no longer 
in my pow r er to resist Him. 

2. I began with a renewed love of the most Sacred 
Humanity ; my prayer began to be solid, like a house, the 
foundations of which are strong; and I was inclined to 
practise greater penance, having been negligent in this matter 


hitherto because of my great infirmities. The holy man who 
heard my confession told me that certain penances would not 
hurt me, and that God perhaps sent me so much sickness 
because I did no penance; His Majesty would therefore 
impose it Himself. He ordered me to practise certain acts 
of mortification not very pleasant for me. 1 I did so, because 
I felt that our Lord was enjoining it all, and giving him grace 
to command me in such a way as to make me obedient 
unto him. 

3. My soul was now sensitive to every offence I 
committed against God, however slight it might be; so much 
so, that if I had any superfluity about me, I could not recollect 
myself in prayer till I had got rid of it. I prayed earnestly 
that our Lord would hold me by the hand, and not suffer 
me to fall again, now that I was under the direction of His 
servants. I thought that would be a great evil, and that they 
would lose their credit through me . 

4. At this time, Father Francis who was Duke of 
Gandia, 2 came here ; he had left all he possessed some years 
before, and had entered the Society of Jesus. My confessor, 
and the nobleman of whom I spoke before, 3 contrived that 
he should visit me, in order that I might speak to him, and 
give him an account of my way of prayer; for they knew him 
to be greatly favoured and comforted of God : he had given 
up much, and was rewarded for it even in this life. When 
he had heard me, he said to me that it \vas the work of the 
Spirit of God, 4 and that he thought it w r as not right now to 
prolong that resistance ; that hitherto it had been safe enough, 
only, I should always begin my prayer by meditating on 
some part of the Passion ; and that if our Lord should then 
raise up my spirit, I should make no resistance, but suffer 
His Majesty to raise it upwards, I myself not seeking it. 
He gave both medicine and advice, as one who had made 
great progress himself; for experience is very important in 

1 The Saint now treated her body with extreme severity, disciplin 
ing herself even unto blood (Rcfonna, vol. i. lib. i. c. xx. 4). 

2 S. Francis de Borja came to Avila, where S. Teresa lived, in 
1557 (De la Fuente}. This passage must have been written after the 
foundation of S. Joseph, for it was not in the first Life, as the Saint 
says, ch. x. 11, that she kept secret the names of herself and all 

3 Ch. xxiii. 6. * See Relation, viii. 6. 


these matters. He said that further resistance would be a 
mistake. I was exceedingly consoled; so, too, was the 
nobleman, who rejoiced greatly when he was told that it was 
the work of God. He always helped me and gave me advice 
according to his power, and that power was great. 

5. At this time, they changed my confessor s residence. 
I felt it very much, for I thought I should go back to my 
wickedness, and that it was not possible to find another such 
as he. My soul was, as it were, in a desert, most sorrowful 
and afraid. I knew not what to do with myself. One of my 
kinswomen contrived to get me into her house, and I contrived 
at once to find another confessor 1 in the Society of Jesus. It 
pleased our Lord that I should commence a friendship with a 
noble lady, 2 a widow, much given to prayer, who had much to 
do with the fathers. She made her own confessor 3 hear me, 
and I remained in her house some days. She lived near, and 
I delighted in the many conferences I had with the fathers ; 
for merely by observing the holiness of their way of life, I felt 
that my soul profited exceedingly. 

6. This father began by putting me in the way of greater 
perfection. He used to say to me, that I ought to leave 
nothing undone that I might be wholly pleasing unto God. 
He was, however, very prudent and very gentle at the same 
time ; for my soul was not at all strong, but rather very weak, 
especially as to giving up certain friendships, though I did 
not offend God by them : there was much natural affection 
in them, and I thought it would be an act of ingratitude if 
I broke them off. And so, as I did not offend God, I asked 
him if I must be ungrateful. He told me to lay the matter 
before God for a few days, and recite the hymn, "Veni, 
Creator," that God might enlighten me as to the better course. 

* Who he was is not certainly known. The Bollandists decline to 
give an opinion; but F. Bouix thinks it was F. Ferdinand Alvarez, 
who became her confessor on the removal of F. Jaun de Padranos, 
and that it was to him she confessed till she placed herself under the 
direction of F. Baltasar Alvarez, the confessor of Dona Guiomar, as it 
is stated in the next paragraph, unless the confessor there mentioned 
was F. Ferdinand. 

2 Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. See below, ch. xxxii. 13. 

8 If this confessor was F. Baltasar Alvarez, the Saint, F. Bouix 
observes, passes rapidly over the history of the year 1557, and the 
greater part, perhaps, of 1558; for F. Baltasar was ordained priest 
only in the latter year. 


One day, having prayed for some time, and implored our Lord 
to help me to please Him in all things, I began the hymn ; 
and as I was saying it, I fell into a trance so suddenly, 
that I was, as it were, carried out of myself. I could have 
no doubt about it, for it was most plain. 

7. This was the first time that our Lord bestowed on me 
the grace of ecstasy. I heard these words : "I will not have 
thee converse with men, but with angels." This made me 
wonder very much ; for the commotion of my spirit was 
great, and these words were uttered in the very depth of 
my soul. They made me afraid, though, on the other hand, 
they gave me great comfort, which, when I had lost the fear, 
caused, I believe, by the strangeness of the visitation, 
remained with me. 

8. Those words have been fulfilled ; for I have never 
been able to form friendship with, nor have any comfort in 
nor any particular love for, any persons whatever, except 
those who, as I believe, love God, and who strive to serve 
Him. It has not been in my power to do it. It is nothing 
to me that they are my kindred, or my friends, if I do not 
know them to be lovers of God, or persons given to prayer. 
It is to me a painful cross to converse with any one. This 
is the truth, so far as I can judge. 1 From that day forth, 
I have had courage so great as to leave all things for God, 
who in one moment and it seems to me but a moment 
was pleased to change His servant into another person. 
Accordingly, there was no necessity for laying further com 
mands upon me in this matter. When my confessor saw how 
much I clung to these friendships, he did not venture to bid 
me distinctly to give them up. He must have waited till our 
Lord did the work as He did Himself. Nor did I think 
myself that I could succeed ; for I had tried before, and the 
pain it gave me was so great that I abandoned the attempt, 
on the ground that there was nothing unseemly in those 
attachments. Now our Lord set me at liberty, and gave me 
strength also to use it. 

9. So I told my confessor of it, and gave up every thing, 
according to his advice. It did a great deal of good to those 
with whom I used to converse, to see my determination. 
God be blessed forever ! who in one moment set me free, 
while I had been for many years making many efforts, and 

1 See Relation, i, 6. 


had never succeeded, very often also doing such violence to 
myself as injured my health; but, as it was done by Him who 
is almighty, and the true Lord of all, it gave me no pain 



1. IT will be as well, I think, to explain these locutions 
of God, and to describe what the soul feels when it receives 
them, in order that you, my father, may understand the 
matter; for ever since that time of which I am speaking, 
when our Lord granted me that grace, it has been an ordinary 
occurrence until now, as will appear by what I have yet to 
say. 1 

2. The words are very distinctly formed; but by the 
bodily ear they are not heard. They are, however, much more 
clearly understood than they would be if they were heard 
by the ear. It is impossible not to understand them, what 
ever resistance we may offer. When we wish not to hear 
any thing in this world, we can stop our ears, or give our 
attention to something else : so that, even if we do hear, at 
least we can refuse to understand. In this locution of God 
addressed to the soul there is no escape, for in spite of our 
selves we must listen; and the understanding must apply 
itself so thoroughly to the comprehension of that which God 

1 Philip, a SS. Trinitate, Theolog. Mystic, par. 2, tr. iii. art. v.: "Tres 
sunt modi divinse locutionis; completur enim divina locutio vel verbis 
successivis, vel verbis formalibus, vel verbis substantialibus. Com 
pletur verbis successivis cum anima in semetipsa multum collecta 
quosdam discursus internes de Deo vel de aliis divina format direc- 
tione, hujusmodi quippe discursus, quamvis ab ipsa sibi formati, a 
Doe tamen dirigente procedunt. Completur verbis formalibus cum 
anima vel in se collecta, vel aliis occupata, percipit qusedam verba 
formaliter ac distincte divinitus expressa, ad quorum formationem 
anima passive penitus se habet. Completur verbis substantialibus cum 
anima vel in se collecta, vel etiam distracta, percipit qusedam verba 
viva et efficacia, divinitus ad se directa, qua virtutem aut substantialem 
effectum per ipsa significatum fortiter ac infallibiliter causant." See 
also S. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, b. ii. ch. xxviii. and 
the following. 


wills we should hear, that it is nothing to the purpose whether 
we will it or not; for it is His will, who can do all things. 
We should understand that His will must be done; and He 
reveals Himself as our true Lord, having dominion over us. 
I know this by much experience ; for my resistance lasted 
nearly two years, 1 because of the great fear I was in; and 
even now I resist occasionally; but it is of no use. 

3. I should like to explain the delusions which may 
happen here, though he who has had much experience will 
run little or no risk, I think; but the experience must be 
great. I should like to explain also how those locutions 
which come from the Good Spirit differ from those which 
come from an evil spirit ; and, further, how they may be but 
an apprehension of the understanding, for that is possible, 
or even words which the mind addressed to itself. I do 
not know if it be so; but even this very day I thought it 
possible. I know by experience in many ways when these 
locutions come from God. I have been told things two or 
three years beforehand, which have all come to pass ; and in 
none of them have I been hitherto deceived. There are also 
other things in which the Spirit of God may be clearly traced, 
as I shall relate by and by. 2 

4. It seems to me that a person commending a matter to 
God with great love and earnestness may think that he 
hears in some way or other whether his prayer will be 
granted or not, and it is not impossible; but he who has 
heard the divine locution will see clearly enough what this 
is, because there is a great difference between the two. If 
it be any thing which the understanding has fashioned, how 
ever cunningly it may have done so, he sees that it is the 
understanding which has arranged that locution, and that it 
is speaking of itself. This is nothing else but a word uttered 
by one, and listened to by another : in that case, the under 
standing will see that it has not been listening only, but 
also forming the words ; and the words it forms are some 
thing indistinct, fantastic, and not clear like the divine locu 
tions. It is in our power to turn away our attention from 
these locutions of our own, just as we can be silent when we 

1 From 1555 to 1557, when the Saint was advised by S. Francis de 
Borja to make no further resistance (BouLv). 

J 8 Ch. xxvi. 8 4. 


are speaking; but, with respect to the former, that cannot be 

5. There is another test more decisive still. The words 
formed by the understanding effect nothing; but, when our 
Lord speaks, it is at once word and work; and though the 
words may not be meant to stir up our devotion, but are 
rather words of reproof, they dispose a soul at once, 
strengthen it, make it tender, give it light, console and calm 
it; and if it should be in dryness, or in trouble and uneasiness, 
all is removed, as if by the action of a hand, and even better; 
for it seems as if our Lord would have the soul understand 
that He is all-powerful, and that His words are deeds. 

6. It seems to me that there is as much difference 
between these two locutions as there is between speaking 
and listening, neither more nor less ; for when I speak, as 
I have just said, 1 I go on with my understanding arranging 
what I am saying; but if I am spoken to by others, I do 
nothing else but listen, without any labour. The human 
locution is as something which we cannot well make out, 
as if we were half asleep ; but the divine locution is a voice 
so clear that not a syllable of its utterance is lost. It 
may occur, too, when the understanding and the soul are 
so troubled and distracted that they cannot form one sen 
tence correctly ; and yet grand sentences, perfectly arranged, 
such as the soul in its most recollected state never could 
have formed, are uttered, and at the first word, as I said, 2 
change it utterly. Still less could it have formed them if 
they are uttered in an ecstasy, when the faculties of the soul 
are suspended; for how should the soul then comprehend any 
thing, when it remembers nothing? yea, rather, how can 
it remember them then, when the memory can hardly do any 
thing at all, and the imagination is, as it were, suspended? 

7. But it is to be observed, that if we see visions and 
hear words it never is as at the time when the soul is in 
union in the very rapture itself, so it seems to me. At 
that moment, as I have shown, I think it was when I was 
speaking of the second water, 3 all the faculties of the soul 

1 4. 2 9. 

3 The doctrine here laid down is not that of the second water, 
ch. xiv and xv., but that of the third, ch. xvi. The Saint herself 
speaks doubtfully; and as she had but little time for writing, she 
could not correct nor read again what she had written (De la Fuente}. 


are suspended; and, as I think, neither vision, nor under 
standing, nor hearing, is possible at that time. The soul is 
then wholly in the power of another; and in that instant 
a very brief one, in my opinion our Lord leaves it free 
for nothing whatever; but when this instant is passed, the 
soul continuing still entranced, then is the time of which 
I am speaking; for the faculties, though not completely 
suspended, are so disposed that they are scarcely active, 
being, as it were, absorbed, and incapable of making any 

8. There are so many ways of ascertaining the nature 
of these locutions, that if a person be once deceived, he 
will not be deceived often. I mean, that a soul accustomed 
to them, and on its guard, will most clearly see what they 
are; for, setting other considerations aside which prove what 
I have said, the human locution produces no effect, neither 
does the soul accept it, though it must admit the other, 
whether we like it or not, nor does it believe it; on the 
contrary, it is known to be a delusion of the understanding, 
and is therefore put away as we would put away the ravings 
of a lunatic. 

9. But as to the divine locution, we listen to that as 
we do to a person of great holiness, learning, or authority, 
whom we know to be incapable of uttering a falsehood. And 
yet this is an inadequate illustration; for these locutions 
proceed occasionally in such great majesty that, without 
our recollecting who it is that utters them, they make us 
tremble if they be words of reproof, and die of love if words 
of love. They are also, as I have said, 1 matters of which 
the memory has not the least recollection; and expressions 
so full are uttered so rapidly, that much time must have been 
spent in arranging them, if we formed them ourselves; and 
so it seems to me that we cannot possibly be ignorant at 
the time that we have never formed them ourselves at all. 

10. There is no reason, therefore, why I should dwell 
longer on this matter. It is a wonder to me that any ex 
perienced person, unless he deliberately chooses to do so, 
can fall into delusions. It has often happened to me, when 
I had doubts, to distrust what I heard, and to think that 
it was all imagination, but this I did afterwards ; for at 
the moment that is impossible, and at a later time to see 

J 6. 


the whole fulfilled; for our Lord makes the words dwell in 
the memory so that they cannot be forgotten. Now, that 
which comes forth from our understanding is, as it were, 
the first movement of thought, which passes away and is 
forgotten ; but the divine locution is a work done ; and though 
some of it may be forgotten, and time have lapsed, yet is it 
not so wholly forgotten that the memory loses all traces 
of what was once spoken, unless, indeed, after a very long 
time, or unless the locution were words of grace or of in 
struction. But as to prophetic words, they are never for 
gotten, in my opinion; at least, I have never forgotten any, 
and yet my memory is weak. 

11. I repeat it, unless a soul be so wicked as to pretend 
that it has these locutions, which would be a great sin, and 
say that it hears divine words when it hears nothing of the 
kind, it cannot possibly fail to see clearly that itself arranges 
the words, and utters them to itself. That seems to me 
altogether impossible for any soul that has ever known the 
Spirit of God. If it has not, it may continue all its life long 
in this delusion, and imagine that it hears and understands, 
though I know not how that can be. A soul desires to hear 
these locutions, or it does not; if it does not, it is distressed 
because it hears them, and is unwilling to listen to them, 
because of a thousand fears which they occasion, and for 
many other reasons it has for being quiet in prayer without 
these interruptions. How is it that the understanding has 
time enough to arrange these locutions? They require time. 

12. But, on the other side, the divine locutions instruct 
us without loss of time, and we understand matters which 
seem to require a month on our part to arrange. The under 
standing itself, and the soul, stand amazed at some of the 
things we understand. So it is; and he who has any ex 
perience of it will see that what I am saying is literally true. 
I give God thanks that I have been able thus to explain it. 
I end by saying that, in my opinion, we may hear the locu 
tions that proceed from the understanding whenever we like, 
and think that we hear them whenever we pray. But it is 
not so with the divine locutions : for many days I may desire to 
hear them, and I cannot; and at other times, even when I 
would not, as I said before, 1 hear them, I must. It seems 
to me that any one disposed to deceive people by saying 

1 2. 


that he heard from God that which he has invented himself, 
might as easily say that he heard it with his bodily ears. It is 
most certainly true that I never imagined there was any other 
way of hearing or understanding till I had proof of it in 
myself; and so, as I said before, 1 it gave me trouble enough. 

13. Locutions that come from Satan not only do not 
leave any good effects behind, but do leave evil effects. This 
has happened to me; but not more than two or three times. 
Our Lord warned me at once that they came from Satan. 
Over and above the great aridity which remains in the soul 
after these evil locutions, there is also a certain disquiet, such 
as I have had on many other occasions, when, by our Lord s 
permission, I fell into great temptations and travail of soul 
in diverse ways; and though I am in trouble often enough, 
as I shall show hereafter, 2 yet this disquiet is such that I 
know not whence it comes; only the soul seems to resist, 
is troubled and distressed, without knowing why ; for the 
words of Satan are good and not evil. I am thinking whether 
this may not be so because one spirit is conscious of the 
presence of another. 

14. The sweetness and joy which Satan gives are, in my 
opinion, of a very different kind. By means of these sweet 
nesses he may deceive any one who does not, or who never 
did, taste of the sweetness of God, by which I mean a certain 
sweet, strong, impressive, delightsome, and calm refreshing. 
Those little, fervid bursts of tears, and other slight emotions, 
for at the first breath of persecution these little flowers 
wither, I do not call devotion, though they are a good 
beginning, and are holy impressions ; but they are not a 
test to determine whether these locutions come from a good 
or an evil spirit. It is therefore best for us to proceed 
always with great caution ; for those persons who have ad 
vanced in prayer only so far as this may most easily fall 
into delusions, if they have visions or revelations. For my 
self, I never had a single vision or revelation till God had 
led me on to the prayer of union, unless it be on that 
occasion, of which I have spoken before, 3 now many years 
ago, when I saw our Lord. Oh, that His Majesty had been 
pleased to let me then understand that it was a true vision, 
as I have since understood it was ! it would have been no 
slight blessing to me. 

1 Ch. vii. 12. 2 Ch. xxviii. 7, ch. xxx. 7. 3 Ch. vii. 11. 


15. After these locutions of the evil one, the soul is 
never gentle, but is, as it were, terrified, and greatly dis 

16. I look upon it as a most certain truth, that the 
devil will never deceive, and that God will not suffer him 
to deceive, that soul which has no confidence whatever in 
itself; which is strong in faith, and resolved to undergo a 
thousand deaths for any one article of the creed ; w r hich in 
its love of the faith, infused of God once for all, a faith living 
and strong always labours, seeking for further light on this 
side and on that, to mould itself on the teaching of the 
Church, as one already deeply grounded in the truth. No 
imaginable revelations, not even if it saw the heavens open, 
could make that soul swerve in any degree from the doctrine 
of the Church. If, however, it should at any time find itself 
wavering even in thought on this point, or stopping to say to 
itself, If God says this to me, it may be true, as well as what 
He said to the Saints, the soul must not be sure of it. I do 
not mean that it so believes, only that Satan has taken 
the first step towards tempting it; and the giving way to 
the first movements of a thought like this is evidently most 
wrong. I believe, however, that these first movements will not 
take place if the soul is so strong in the matter as that 
soul is to whom our Lord sends these graces that it seems 
as if it could crush the evil spirits in defence of the very least 
of the truths which the Church holds. 

17. If the soul does not discern this great strength in 
itself, and if the particular devotion or vision help it not 
onwards, then it must not look upon it as safe. For though 
at first the soul is conscious of no harm, great harm may by 
degrees ensue; because, so far as I can see, and by experience 
understand, that which purports to come from God is to be 
received only in so far as it corresponds with the sacred 
writings ; but if it varies therefrom ever so little, I am 
incomparably more convinced that it comes from Satan than 
I am now convinced it comes from God, however deep that 
conviction may be. In this case, there is no need to ask for 
signs, nor from what spirit it proceeds, because this varying 
is so clear a sign of the devil s presence, that if all the world 
were to assure me that it came from God, I would not believe 
it. The fact is, that all good seems to be lost out of sight, 
and to have fled from the soul, when the devil has spoken 


to it; the soul is thrown into a state of disgust, and is 
troubled, able to do no good thing whatever for if it con 
ceives good desires, they are not strong; its humility is ficti 
tious, disturbed, and without sweetness. Any one who has 
ever tasted of the Spirit of God will, I think, understand it. 

18. Nevertheless, Satan has many devices ; and so there 
is nothing more certain than that it is safer to be afraid, and 
always on our guard, under a learned director, from whom 
nothing is concealed. If we do this, no harm can befall us, 
though much has befallen me through the excessive fears 
which possessed some people. For instance, it happened so 
once to me, when many persons in whom I had great con 
fidence, and with good reason, had assembled together, five 
or six in number, I think, and all very great servants of 
God. It is true, my relations were with one of them only; 
but by his orders I made my state known to the others. 
They had many conferences together about my necessities; 
for they had a great affection for me, and were afraid I was 
under a delusion. I, too, was very much afraid whenever 
I was not occupied in prayer; but when I prayed, and our 
Lord bestowed His graces upon me, I was instantly reassured. 
My confessor told me they were all of opinion that I was de 
ceived by Satan; that I must communicate less frequently, 
and contrive to distract myself in such a way as to be less 

19. I was in great fear myself, as I have just said, and my 
disease of the heart 1 contributed thereto, so that very often 
I did not dare to remain alone in my cell during the day. 
When I found so many maintain this, and myself unable to 
believe them, I had at once a most grievous scruple ; for it 
seemed to me that I had very little humility, especially as 
they all led lives incomparably better than mine : they were 
also learned men. Why should I not believe them? I did 
all I could to believe them. I reflected on my wicked life, 
and therefore what they said to me must be true. 

20. In this distress, I quitted the church, 2 and entered an 
oratory. I had not been to Communion for many days, nor 
had I been alone, which was all my comfort. I had no one 
to speak to, for every one was against me. Some, I thought, 

1 Ch. iv. 6, ch. v. 14. 

2 It was the church of the Jesuits (Bouix}. 


made a mock of me when I spoke to them of my prayer, as 
if I were a person under delusions of the imagination ; others 
warned my confessor to be on his guard against me ; and 
some said it was clear the whole was an operation of Satan. 
My confessor, though he agreed with them for the sake of 
trying me, as I understood afterwards, always comforted me: 
and he alone did so. He told me that, if I did not offend 
God, my prayer, even if it was the work of Satan, could do 
me no harm; that I should be delivered from it. He bade 
me pray much to God: he himself, and all his penitents, and 
many others did so earnestly ; I, too, with all my might, and 
as many as I knew to be servants of God, prayed that His 
Majesty would be pleased to lead me by another way. This 
lasted, I think, about two years; and this was the subject 
of my continual prayer to our Lord. 

21. But there was no comfort for me when I thought 
of the possibility that Satan could speak to me so often. Now 
that I was never alone for prayer, our Lord made me 
recollected even during conversation : He spoke what He 
pleased, I could not avoid it; and though it distressed me, 
I was forced to listen. I was by myself, having no one in 
whom I could find any comfort; unable to pray or read, like 
a person stunned by heavy trials, and by the dread that the 
evil one had deluded me ; utterly disquieted and wearied, not 
knowing what would become of me. I have been occasionally 
yea, very often in distress, but never before in distress so 
great. I was in this state for four or five hours ; there was 
no comfort for me, either from heaven or on earth only our 
Lord left me to suffer, afraid of a thousand dangers. 

22. O my Lord, how true a friend art Thou ! how 
powerful ! Thou showest Thy power when Thou wilt ; and 
Thou dost will it always, if only we will it also. Let the 
whole creation praise Thee, O Thou Lord of the world ! Oh, 
that a voice might go forth over all the earth, proclaiming 
Thy faithfulness to those who love Thee! All things fail; 
but Thou, Lord of all, never failest! They who love Thee, 
oh, how little they have to suffer! oh, how gently, how ten 
derly, how r sweetly Thou, O my Lord, dealest with them ! 
Oh, that no one had ever been occupied with any other love 
than Thine! It seems as if Thou didst subject those who 
love Thee to a severe trial ; but it is in order that they may 
learn, in the depths of that trial, the depths of Thy love. 


O my God, oh, that I had understanding and learning, and a 
new language, in order to magnify Thy works, according 
to the knowledge of them which my soul possesses ! Every 
thing fails me, O my Lord; but if Thou wilt not abandon 
me, I will never fail Thee. Let all the learned rise up against 
me, let the whole creation persecute me, let the evil spirits 
torment me, but do Thou, O Lord, fail me not; for I know 
by experience now the blessedness of that deliverance which 
Thou dost effect for those who trust only in Thee. In this 
distress, for then I had never had a single vision, these 
Thy words alone were enough to remove it, and give me 
perfect peace : "Be not afraid, my daughter: it is I ; and I 
will not abandon thee. Fear not." 1 

23. It seems to me that, in the state I w y as in then, many 
hours would have been necessary to calm me, and that no 
one could have done it. Yet I found myself, through these 
words alone, tranquil and strong, courageous and confident, 
at rest and enlightened ; in a moment, my soul seemed 
changed, and I felt I could maintain against all the world 
that my prayer was the work of God. Oh, how good is 
God ! how good is our Lord, and how powerful ! He gives 
not counsel only, but relief as well. His words are deeds. 
O my God ! as He strengthens our faith, love grows. So 
it is, in truth ; for I used frequently to recollect how our 
Lord, when the tempest arose, commanded the winds to be 
still over the sea. 2 So I said to myself: Who is He, that 
all my faculties should thus obey Him? Who is He, that 
gives light in such darkness in a moment ; who softens a 
heart that seemed to be made of stone ; who gives the waters 
of sweet tears, where for a long time great dryness seems 
to have prevailed ; who inspires these desires ; who bestows 
this courage? What have I been thinking of? what am I 
afraid of? what is it? I desire to serve this my Lord; I aim at 
nothing else but His pleasure; I seek no joy, no rest, no 
other good than that of doing His will. I was so confident 
that I had no other desire, that I could safely assert it. 

24. Seeing, then, that our Lord is so powerful, as I 
see and know He is, and that the evil spirits are His slaves, 
of which there can be no doubt, because it is of faith, 
and I a servant of this our Lord and King, what harm can 
Satan do unto me? Why have I not strength enough to 

1 See Inner Fortress, vi. 3, 5. 2 S. Matt. viii. 26. 


fight against all hell? I took up the cross in my hand, 
I was changed in a moment into another person, and it seemed 
as if God had really given me courage enough not to be 
afraid of encountering all the evil spirits. It seemed to me 
that I could, with the cross, easily defeat them altogether. 
So I cried out, Come on, all of you ; I am the servant of our 
Lord : I should like to see what you can do against me. 

25. And certainly they seemed to be afraid of me, for 
I was left in peace : I feared them so little, that the terrors, 
which until now oppressed me, quitted me altogether; and, 
though I saw them occasionally, I shall speak of this by 
and by, 1 I was never again afraid of them on the contrary, 
they seemed to be afraid of me. 2 I found myself endowed 
with a certain authority over them, given me by the Lord 
of all, so that I cared no more for them than for flies. 
They seem to be such cowards ; for their strength fails them 
at the sight of any one who despises them. These enemies 
have not the courage to assail any but those whom they 
see ready to give in to them, or when God permits them 
to do so, for the greater good of His servants, whom they 
may try and torment. 

26. May it please His Majesty that we fear Him whom 
we ought to fear, 3 and understand that one venial sin can 
do us more harm than all hell together; for that is the truth. 
The evil spirits keep us in terror, because we expose our 
selves to the assaults of terror by our attachments to honours, 
possessions, and pleasures. For then the evil spirits, uniting 
themselves w r ith us, we become our own enemies when 
we love and seek what we ought to hate, do us great harm. 
We ourselves put weapons into their hands, that they may 
assail us ; those very weapons with which we should defend 
ourselves. It is a great pity. But if, for the love of God, 
we hated all this, and embraced the cross, and set about 
His service in earnest, Satan would fly away before such 
realities, as from the plague. He is the friend of lies, and a 
lie himself. 4 He will have nothing to do with those who walk 
in the truth. When he sees the understanding of any one 
obscured, he simply helps to pluck out his eyes ; if he sees any 

1 Ch. xxxi. 1. 

S. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, st. 24, p. 128, Engl. trans. 
3 S. Matt. x. 26, 28. " S. John viii. 44. 


one already blind, seeking peace in vanities, for all the things 
of this world are so utterly vanity, that they seem to be but the 
playthings of a child, he sees at once that such a one is a 
child; he treats him as a child, and ventures to wrestle with 
him not once, but often. 

27. May it please our Lord that I be not one of these; 
and may His Majesty give me grace to take that for peace 
which is really peace, that for honour which is really honour, 
and that for delight which is really a delight. Let me 
never mistake one thing for another and then I snap my 
fingers at all the devils, for they shall be afraid of me. I 
do not understand those terrors which make us cry out, Satan 
Satan ! when we may say, God, God ! and make Satan tremble. 
Do we not know that he cannot stir without the permission 
of God? What does it mean? I am really much more afraid 
of those people who have so great a fear of the devil, than I 
am of the devil himself. Satan can do me no harm whatever, 
but they can trouble me very much, particularly if they be 
confessors. I have spent some years of such great anxiety, 
that even now I am amazed that I was able to bear it. Blessed 
be our Lord, who has so effectually helped me! 




1. I LOOK upon the courage which our Lord has im 
planted in me against evil spirits as one of the greatest 
mercies which He has bestowed upon me; for a cowardly 
soul, afraid of any thing but sin against God, is a very un 
seemly thing, when we have on our side the King omnipotent, 
our Lord most high, who can do all things, and subjects 
all things to Himself. There is nothing to be afraid of if 
we walk, as I said before, 1 in the truth, in the sight of His 
Majesty, with a pure conscience. And for this end, as I 
said in the same place, I would have myself all fears, that I 
may not for one instant offend Him who in that instant is 
1 Ch. xxv. 26. 


able to destroy us. If His Majesty is pleased with us, 
whoever resists us be he who he may will be utterly dis 

2. It may be so, you will say; but, then, where is that 
soul so just as to please Him in every thing? and that is 
the reason why we are afraid. Certainly it is not my soul, 
which is most wretched, unprofitable, and full of misery. 
God is not like man in His ways ; He knows our weakness. 
But the soul perceives, by the help of certain great signs, 
whether it loves God of a truth; for the love of those souls 
who have come to this state is not hidden, as it was at 
first, but is full of high impulses, and of longings for the 
vision of God, as I shall show hereafter or rather, as I have 
shown already. 1 Every thing wearies, every thing distresses, 
every thing torments the soul, unless it be suffered w r ith God, 
or for God. There is no rest which is not a weariness, because 
the soul knows itself to be away from its true rest; and so 
love is made most manifest, and, as I have just said, im 
possible to hide. 

3. It happened to me, on another occasion, to be griev 
ously tried, and much spoken against on account of a cer 
tain affair, of which I will speak hereafter, 2 by almost 
every body in the place where I am living, and by the 
members of my Order. AVhen I was in this distress, and 
afflicted by many occasions of disquiet wherein I was placed, 
our Lord spoke to me, saying: "What art thou afraid of? 
knowest thou not that I am almighty? I will do what I have 
promised thee." And so, afterwards, was it done. I found 
myself at once so strong, that I could have undertaken any 
thing, so it seemed, immediately, even if I had to endure 
greater trials for His service, and had to enter on a new state 
of suffering. These locutions are so frequent, that I cannot 
count them ; many of them are reproaches, and He sends 
them when I fall into imperfections. They are enough to 
destroy a soul. They correct me, however; for His Majesty 
as I said before 3 gives both counsel and relief. There 
are others which bring my former sins into remembrance, 
particularly when He is about to bestow upon me some 
special grace, in such a way that the soul beholds itself 

1 Ch. xv. 6. 

2 Ch. xxviii.; the foundation of the house of S. Joseph. 

3 Ch. xxv. S 23. 


as being really judged; for those reproaches of God put 
the truth before it so distinctly, that it knows not what to do 
with itself. Some are warnings against certain dangers to my 
self or others ; many of them are prophecies of future things, 
three or four years beforehand ; and all of them have been ful 
filled : some of them I could mention. Here, then, are so 
many reasons for believing that they come from God, as make 
it impossible, I believe, for any body to mistake them. 

4. The safest course in these things is to declare, without 
fail, the whole state of the soul, together with the graces 
our Lord gives me, to a confessor who is learned, and obey 
him. I do so; and if I did not, I should have no peace. 
Nor is it right that we women, who are unlearned, should 
have any : there can be no danger in this, but rather great 
profit. This is what our Lord has often commanded me 
to do, and it is what I have often done. I had a confessor 1 
who mortified me greatly, and now and then distressed me : 
he tried me heavily, for he disquieted me exceedingly; and 
yet he was the one who, I believe, did me the most good. 
Though I had a great affection for him, I was occasionally 
tempted to leave him; I thought that the pain he inflicted 
on me disturbed my prayer. Whenever I was resolved on 
leaving him, I used to feel instantly that I ought not to do so ; 
and one reproach of our Lord would press more heavily upon 
me than all that my confessor did. Now and then, I was worn 
out torture on the one hand, reproaches on the other. I 
required it all, for my will was but little subdued. Our Lord 
said to me once, that there was no obedience where there 
was no resolution to suffer; that I was to think of His suffer 
ings, and then every thing would be easy. 

5. One of my confessors, to whom I went in the begin 
ning, advised me once, now that my spiritual state was 
known to be the work of God, to keep silence, and not speak 
of these things to any one, on the ground that it was safer 
to keep these graces secret. To me, the advice seemed good, 
because I felt it so much whenever I had to speak of them 

1 The Bollandists, n. 185, attribute some of the severity with which 
her confessor treated the Saint to the spirit of desolation with which 
he was then tried himself; and, in proof of it, refer to the account 
which F. Baltasar Alvarez gave of his own prayer to the General of 
the Society. 


to my confessor; 1 I was also so ashamed of myself, that I 
felt it more keenly at times to speak of them than I should 
have done in confessing grave sins, particularly when the 
graces I had to reveal were great. I thought they did not 
believe me, and that they were laughing at me. I felt it 
so much, for I look on this as an irreverent treatment of 
the marvels of God, that I was glad to be silent. I learned 
then that I had been ill-advised by that confessor, because 
I ought never to hide any thing from my confessor; for I 
should find great security if I told every thing; and if I did 
otherwise, I might at any time fall into delusions. 2 

6. Whenever our Lord commanded me to do one thing 
in prayer, and if my confessor forbade it, our Lord Himself 
told me to obey my confessor. His Majesty afterwards would 
change the mind of that confessor, so that he would have 
me to do what he had forbidden before. When we were 
deprived of many books written in Spanish, and forbidden 
to read them, I felt it deeply, for some of these books were 
a great comfort to me, and I could not read them in Latin, 
our Lord said to me, "Be not troubled; I will give thee 
a living book." I could not understand why this was said to 
me, for at that time I had never had a vision. 3 But, a very 
few days afterwards, I understood it well enough ; for I had so 
much to think of, and such reasons for self-recollection in 
what I saw before me, and our Lord dealt so lovingly with me, 
in teaching me in so many ways, that I had little or no need 
whatever of books. His Majesty has been to me a veritable 
Book, in which I saw all truth. Blessed be such a Book, which 
leaves behind an impression of what is read therein, and in 
such a w r ay that it cannot be forgotten! 

7. Who can look upon our Lord, covered with wounds, 
and bowed down under persecutions, without accepting, lov 
ing, and longing for them? Who can behold but a part 
of that glory which He will give to those who serve Him 
without confessing that all he may do, and all he may 
suffer, are altogether as nothing, when we may hope for such 
a reward? Who can look at the torments of lost souls with 
out acknowledging the torments of this life to be joyous 

1 See Relation, vii. 7. 

2 S. John of the Cross, Mount Carmel, bk. ii. ch. 22. 

8 The visions of the Saint began in 1558 (De la Fuente}; or, ac 
cording to Father Bouix, in 1559. 


delights in comparison, and confessing how much they owe 
to our Lord in having saved them so often from the place 
of torments? 1 But as, by the help of God, I shall speak 
more at large of certain things, I wish now to go on with 
the story of my life. Our Lord grant that I have been 
clear enough in what I have hitherto said ! I feel assured 
that he will understand me who has had experience herein, 
and that he w r ill see I have partially succeeded ; but as to 
him who has had no such experience, I should not be surprised 
if he regarded it all as folly. It is enough for him that it is I 
who say it, in order to be free from blame ; neither will I 
blame any one who shall so speak of it. Our Lord grant 
that I may never fail to do His will ! Amen. 




1. I NOW resume the story of my life. I was in great 
pain and distress ; and many prayers, as I said, 2 were made 
on my behalf, that our Lord would lead me by another and 
a safer way ; for this, they told me, was so suspicious. The 
truth is, that though I was praying to God for this, and 
wished I had a desire for another way, yet, when I saw 
the progress I was making, I was unable really to desire a 
change, though I always prayed for it, excepting on those 
occasions when I was extremely cast down by what people 
said to me, and by the fears with which they filled me. 

2. I felt that I was wholly changed ; I could do nothing 
but put myself in the hands of God : He knew what was 
expedient for me ; let Him do with me according to His will 
in all things. I saw that by this way I was directed heaven 
wards, and that formerly I was going down to hell. I could 
not force myself to desire a change, nor believe that I was 
under the influence of Satan. Though I was doing all I could 
to believe the one and to desire the other, it was not in 
my power to do so. I offered up all my actions, if there 

1 S. Luke xvi. 23. 2 Ch. xxv. 20. 



Hye Hoys, del. 

1 Residence of the family of Bernardin de Mendoza, founder of the monastery 
at Guadalajara. 2. Entrance door of the mansion, with the arms of Mendoza and 
de Luna. 3. Entrance door of a house belonging- to the same family at Valladolid. 
4. Entrance to the Discalced Carmelite monastery. Travelling- cart or galera. 
Watermelon sellers. 5. View of the monastery church from the courtyard. 6. Seal 
with death s head which St. Teresa used at one time, and seals with the monogram 
of Jesus which she employed later. 7. Reliquary containing a relic of the flesh of 
bt. Teresa and a piece of the true Cross. 8. Cross from the Saint s rosary, which 


Bruges, P. R.aoux,Sc 

was miraculously transformed, for her eyes alone, by Our Lord, into a cross of 
four large precious stones, engraven with the Five Wounds of the Savior. 9. St. 
Teresa s scapulary, protected by a network of gold cord. 10. Original manuscript 
of the Way of Perfection. 11. Monastery of Dlscalced Carmelites. 12. Arms of the 
Acufia family, Counts of Buendia. 13. Arms of the family of Cobos de Meutlozai. 
14. Arms of the Padilla family. 15. Arms of the city of Valladolid. (See Appendix, 
note 10.) 


should be any good in them, for this end ; I had recourse 
to the Saints for whom I had a devotion, that they might 
deliver me from the evil one ; I made novenas ; I commended 
myself to S. Hilarion, to the angel S. Michael, to whom I 
had recently become devout, for this purpose; and many 
other Saints I importuned, that our Lord might show me 
the way, I mean, that they might obtain this for me from 
His Majesty. 

3. At the end of two years spent in prayer by myself 
and others for this end, namely, that our Lord would either 
lead me by another way, or show the truth of this, for 
now the locutions of our Lord were extremely frequent, 
this happened to me. I was in prayer one day, it was the 
feast of the glorious S. Peter, 1 when I saw Christ close 
by me, or, to speak more correctly, felt Him; for I saw noth 
ing with the eyes of the body, nothing with the eyes of the 
soul. He seemed to me to be close beside me ; and I saw, 
too, as I believe, that it was He who was speaking to me. 
As I was utterly ignorant that such a vision was possible, 2 
I was extremely afraid at first, and did nothing but weep ; 
however, when He spoke to me but one word to reassure 
me, I recovered myself, and was, as usual, calm and comforted, 
without any fear whatever. Jesus Christ seemed to be by 
my side continually ; and, as the vision was not imaginary, 
I saw no form ; but I had a most distinct feeling that He 
was always on my right hand, a witness of all I did ; and 
never at any time, if I was but slightly recollected, or not too 
much distracted, could I be ignorant of His near presence. 3 

4. I went at once to my confessor, 4 in great distress, 
to tell him of it. He asked in what form I saw our Lord. 
I told him I saw no form. He then said: "How did you 
know that it was Christ?" I replied, that I did not know 
how I knew it ; but I could not help knowing that He was 
close beside me, that I saw Him distinctly, and felt His 
presence, that the recollectedness of my soul was deeper 
in the prayer of quiet, and more continuous, that the effects 
thereof were very different from what I had hitherto ex- 

1 See ch. xxviii. 4, and ch. xxix. 4. The vision took place, it 
seems, on the 29th of June. See ch. xxix. 6. 

2 See ch. vii. 12. 

3 See Anton, a Spiritu Sancto, Direct. Mystic, tr. iii. disp. v. 3. 

4 See Inner Fortress, vi. 8, 3. 


perienced, and that it was most certain. I could only make 
comparisons in order to explain myself; and certainly there 
are no comparisons, in my opinion, by which visions of this 
kind can be described. Afterwards I learnt from Friar Peter 
of Alcantara, a holy man of great spirituality, of whom I 
shall speak by and by, 1 and from others of great learning, 
that this vision was of the highest order, and one with 
which Satan can least interfere ; and therefore there are no 
words whereby to explain, at least, none for us women, who 
know so little : learned men can explain it better. 

5. For if I say that I see Him neither with the eyes 
of the body, nor with those of the soul, because it was 
not an imaginary vision, how is it that I can understand 
and maintain that He stands beside me, and be more cer 
tain of it than if I saw Him? If it be supposed that it is 
as if a person were blind, or in the dark, and therefore unable 
to see another who is close to him, the comparison is not 
exact. There is a certain likelihood about it, however, but 
not much, because the other senses tell him who is blind 
of that presence : he hears the other speak or move, or he 
touches him ; but in these visions there is nothing like this. 
The darkness is not felt; only He renders himself present 
to the soul by a certain knowledge of Himself which is 
more clear than the sun. 2 I do not mean that we now see 
either a sun or any brightness, only that there is a light 
not seen, which illumines the understanding so that the soul 
may have the fruition of so great a good. This vision brings 
with it great blessings. 

6. It is not like that presence of God which is frequently 
felt, particularly by those who have attained to the prayer 
of union and of quiet, when we seem, at the very com 
mencement of our prayer, to find Him with whom we would 
converse, and when we seem to feel that He hears us by 
the effects and the spiritual impressions of great love and 
faith of which we are then conscious, as well as by the 
good resolutions, accompanied by sweetness, which we then 
make. This is a great grace from God ; and let him to 
whom He has given it esteem it much, because it is a very 
high degree of prayer ; but it is not vision. God is understood 
to be present there by the effects He works in the soul : that is 
the way His Majesty makes His presence felt ; but here, in 

1 17, infra. * See Relation, vii. 26. 


this vision, it is seen clearly that Jesus Christ is present, 
the Son of the Virgin. In the prayer of union and of quiet, 
certain inflowings of the Godhead are present; but in the 
vision, the Sacred Humanity also, together with them, is 
pleased to be our visible companion, and to do us good. 

7. My confessor next asked me, who told me it was 
Jesus Christ. 1 I replied, that He often told me so Himself; 
but, even before He told me so, there was an impression 
on my understanding that it was He; and before this He 
used to tell me so, and I saw Him not. If a person whom 
I had never seen, but of whom I had heard, came to speak 
to me, and I were blind or in the dark, and told me who 
he was, I should believe him; but I could not so confidently 
affirm that he was that person, as L might do if I had seen 
him. But in this vision I could do so, because so clear a 
knowledge is impressed on the soul that all doubt seems 
impossible, though He is not seen. Our Lord wills that 
this knowledge be so graven on the understanding, that 
we can no more question His presence than we can question 
that which we see with our eyes : not so much even ; for 
very often there arises a suspicion that we have imagined 
things we think we see; but here, though there may be a 
suspicion in the first instant, there remains a certainty so 
great, that the doubt has no force whatever. So also is it 
when God teaches the soul in another way, and speaks to 
it without speaking, in the way I have described. 

8. There is so much of heaven in this language, that 
it cannot well be understood on earth, though we may desire 
ever so much to explain it, if our Lord will not teach it 
experimentally. Our Lord impresses in the innermost soul 
that which He wills that soul to understand; and He mani 
fests it there without images or formal words, after the 
manner of the vision I am speaking of. Consider well this 
way in which God works, in order that the soul may under 
stand what He means His great truths and mysteries; for 
very often what I understand, when our Lord explains to 
me the vision, which it is His Majesty s pleasure to set 
before me, is after this manner ; and it seems to me that this 
is a state with which the devil can least interfere, for these 
reasons ; but if these reasons are not good, I must be under 
a delusion. The vision and the language are matters of 

1 Inner Fortress, vi. 8, 3. 


such pure spirituality, that there is no turmoil of the facul 
ties, or of the senses, out of which so it seems to me the 
devil can derive any advantage. 

9. It is only at intervals, and for an instant, that this oc 
curs, for generally so I think the senses are not taken away, 
and the faculties are not suspended : they preserve their or 
dinary state. It is not always so in contemplation; on the 
contrary, it is very rarely so; but when it is so, I say that 
we do nothing whatever ourselves : no work of ours is then 
possible ; all that is done is apparently the work of our Lord. 
It is as if food had been received into the stomach which 
had not first been eaten, and without our knowing how it 
entered ; but we do know well that it is there, though we know 
not its nature, nor who it was that placed it there. In this 
vision, I know who placed it ; but I do not know how He did it. 
I neither saw it, nor felt it; I never had any inclination to 
desire it, and I never knew before that such a thing was 

10. In the locutions of which I spoke before, 1 God makes 
the understanding attentive, though it may be painful to 
understand what is said ; then the soul seems to have other 
ears wherewith it hears ; and He forces it to listen, and will 
not let it be distracted. The soul is like a person whose 
hearing was good, and who is not suffered to stop his ears, 
while people standing close beside him speak to him with 
a loud voice. He may be unwilling to hear, yet hear he 
must. Such a person contributes something of his own ; for 
he attends to what is said to him; but here there is nothing 
of the kind : even that little, which is nothing more than 
the bare act of listening, which is granted to it in the other 
case, is no\v out of its power. It finds its food prepared 
and eaten; it has nothing more to do but to enjoy it. It 
is as if one without ever learning, without taking the pains 
even to learn to read, and without studying any subject 
whatever, should find himself in possession of all knowledge, 
not knowing how or whence it came to him, seeing that he 
had never taken the trouble even to learn the alphabet. This 
last comparison seems to me to throw some light on this 
heavenly gift ; for the soul finds itself learned in a moment, 
and the mystery of the most Holy Trinity so clearly revealed 
to it, together with other most deep doctrines, that there is 

1 Ch. xxv. 8 1. 


no theologian in the world with whom it would hesitate 
to dispute for the truth of these matters. 

11. It is impossible to describe the surprise of the soul 
when it finds that one of these graces is enough to change 
it utterly, and make it love nothing but Him who, without 
waiting for any thing itself might do, renders it fit for bless 
ings so high, communicates to it His secrets, and treats it 
with so much affection and love. Some of the graces He 
bestows are liable to suspicion because they are so mar 
vellous, and given to one who has deserved them so little 
incredible, too, without a most lively faith. I intend, there 
fore, to mention very few of those graces which our Lord 
has wrought in me, if I should not be ordered otherwise; 
but there are certain visions of which I shall speak, an ac 
count of which may be of some service. In doing so, I 
shall either dispel his fears to whom our Lord sends them, 
and who, as I used to do, thinks them impossible, or I shall 
explain the way, or the road, by which our Lord has led me; 
and that is what I have been commanded to describe. 

12. Now, going back to speak of this way of under 
standing, what it is seems to me to be this: it is our Lord s 
will in every way that the soul should have some knowledge 
of what passes in heaven; and I think that, as the blessed 
there without speech understand one another, I never 
knew this for certain till our Lord of His goodness made 
me see it; He showed it to me in a trance, so is it here: 
God and the soul understand one another, merely because 
His Majesty so wills it, without the help of other means, 
to express the love there is between them both. In the 
same way on earth, two persons of sound sense, if they love 
each other much, can even, without any signs, understand 
one another only by their looks. It must be so here, though 
we do not see how, as these two lovers earnestly regard each 
the other : the bridegroom says so to the bride in the Canticle, 
so I believe, and I have heard that it is spoken of there. 1 

13. Oh, marvellous goodness of God, in that Thou per- 
mittest eyes which have looked upon so much evil as those 
of my soul to look upon Thee! May they never accustom 
themselves, after looking on Thee, to look upon vile things 
again ! and may they have pleasure in nothing but in Thee, 

1 Cant. vi. 4. S. John of the Cross, Amount Carmel, bk. ii. ch. xxix, 
p. 192, Engl. trans. 


Lord! Oh, ingratitude of men, how far will it go ! I 
know by experience that what I am saying is true, and that 
all we can say is exceedingly little, when we consider what 
Thou doest to the soul which Thou hast led to such a 
state as this. O souls, you who have begun to pray, and you 
who possess the true faith, what can you be in search of 
even in this life, let alone that which is for ever, that is 
comparable to the least of these graces? Consider, and it 
is true, that God gives Himself to those who give up every 
thing for Him. God is not a respecter of persons. 1 He loves 
all ; there is no excuse for any one, however wicked he may be, 
seeing that He hath thus dealt with me, raising me to the state 

1 am in. Consider that what I am saying is not even an iota 
of what may be said; I say only that which is necessary to 
show the kind of the vision and of the grace which God 
bestows on the soul; for that cannot be told which it feels 
when our Lord admits it to the understanding of His secrets 
and of His mighty works. The joy of this is so far above 
all conceivable joys, that it may well make us loathe all 
the joys of earth; for they are all but dross; and it is an 
odious thing to make them enter into the comparison, even 
if we might have them for ever. Those which our Lord gives, 
what are they? One drop only of the waters of the over 
flowing river which He is reserving for us. 

14. It is a shame! And, in truth, I am ashamed of 
myself; if shame could have a place in heaven, I should 
certainly be the most ashamed there. Why do we seek 
blessings and joys so great, bliss without end, and all at 
the cost of our good Jesus? Shall we not at least weep 
with the daughters of Jerusalem, 2 if we do not help to carry 
His cross with the Cyrenean? 3 Is it by pleasure and idle 
amusements that we can attain to the fruition of what He 
purchased with so much blood? It is impossible. Can we 
think that we can, by preserving our honour, which is vanity, 
recompense Him for the sufferings He endured, that we 
might reign with Him for ever? This is not the way; we 
are going by the wrong road utterly, and we shall never 
arrive there. You, my father, must lift up your voice, and 
utter these truths aloud, seeing that God has taken from me 
the power of doing it. I should like to utter them to my 
self for ever. I listened to them myself, and came to the 
1 Acts x. 34. 2 S. Luke xxiii. 28. 8 S. Matt, xxvii. 32. 


knowledge of God so late, as will appear by what I have 
written, that I am ashamed of myself when I speak of this; 
and so I should like to be silent. 

15. Of one thing, however, I will speak, and I think 
of it now and then, may it be the good pleasure of our 
Lord to bring me on, so that I may have the fruition of it! 
what will be the accidental glory and the joy of the blessed 
who have entered on it, when they see that, though they 
were late, yet they left nothing undone which it was possible 
for them to do for God, who kept nothing back they could 
give Him, and who gave what they gave in every way they 
could, according to their strength and their measure, they 
who had more, gave more. How rich will he be who gave 
up all his riches for Christ! How honourable will he be 
who, for His sake, sought no honours whatever, but rather 
took pleasure in seeing himself abased! How wise he will 
be who rejoiced when men accounted him as mad ! they 
did so of Wisdom Itself! 1 How few there are of this kind 
now, because of our sins! Now, indeed, they are all gone 
whom people regarded as mad, 2 because they saw them per 
form heroic acts, as true lovers of Christ. 

16. O world, world ! how thou art gaining credit because 
they are few who know thee ! But do we suppose that 
God is better pleased when men account us wise and discreet 
persons? We think forthwith that there is but little edifi 
cation given when people do not go about, every one in his 
degree, with great gravity, in a dignified way. Even in the 
friar, the ecclesiastic, and the nun, if they wear old and 
patched garments, we think it a novelty, and a scandal to 
the weak; and even if they are very recollected and given 
to prayer. Such is the state of the world, and so forgotten 
are matters of perfection, and those grand impetuosities of 
the Saints. More mischief, I think, is done in this way, 
than by any scandal that might arise if the religious showed 
in their actions, as they proclaim it in words, that the world is 
to be held in contempt. Out of scandals such as this, our Lord 
obtains great fruit. If some people take scandal, others are 
filled with remorse : anyhow, we should have before us some 
likeness of that which our Lord and His Apostles endured ; 
for we have need of it now more than ever. 

1 S. John x. 20. 2 Sap. v. 4. 


17. And what an excellent likeness in the person of that 
blessed friar, Peter of Alcantara, God has just taken from 
us I 1 The world cannot bear such perfection now ; it is said 
that men s health is grown feebler, and that we are not now 
in those former times. But this holy man lived in our day ; 
he had a spirit strong as those of another age, and so he 
trampled on the world. If men do not go about barefooted, 
nor undergo sharp penances, as he vlid, there are many ways, 
as I have said before, 2 of trampling on the world ; and our 
Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary courage. 
How great was the courage with which His Majesty filled 
the Saint I am speaking of! He did penance oh, how sharp 
it was ! for seven-and-forty years, as all men know. I 
should like to speak of it, for I know it to be all true. 

18. He spoke of it to me and to another person, yrom 
whom he kept few or no secrets. As for me, it was the 
affection he bore me that led him to speak ; for it was our 
Lord s will that he should undertake my defence, and en 
courage me, at a time when I was in great straits, as I said 
before, and shall speak of again. 3 He told me, I think, that 
for forty years he slept but an hour and a half out of the 
twenty-four, and that the most laborious penance he under 
went, when he began, was this of overcoming sleep. For that 
purpose, he was always either kneeling or standing. When he 
slept, he sat dow r n, his head resting against a piece of wood 
driven into the wall. Lie down he could not, if he wished it ; 
for his cell, as every one knows, was only four feet and a half 
in length. In all these years, he never covered his head with 
his hood, even when the sun was hottest, or the rain heaviest. 
He never covered his feet : the only garment he wore was made 
of sackcloth, and that was as tight as it could be, with 
nothing between it and his flesh ; over this, he wore a cloak 
of the same stuff. He told me that, in the severe cold, he 
used to take off his cloak, and open the door and the window 
of his cell, in order that when he put his cloak on again, 
after shutting the door and the window^ he might give some 
satisfaction to his body in the pleasure it might have in 
the increased warmth. His ordinary practice was to eat but 
once in three days. He said to me, "Why are you astonished 

1 18th Oct., 1562. As the Saint finished the first relation of her life 
in June, 1562, this is one of the additions subsequently made. 

2 Ch. xiv. 7. 3 Ch. xxvi. 3, ch. xxxii. 16. 


at it? it is very possible for any one who is used to it." 
One of his companions told me that he would be occasionally 
eight days without eating: that must have been when he 
was in prayer; for he was subject to trances, and to the 
impetuosities of the love of God, of which I was once a 
witness myself. 

19. His poverty was extreme ; and his mortification, from 
his youth, was such, so he told me, that he was three years 
in one of the houses of his Order without knowing how 
to distinguish one friar from another, otherwise than by the 
voice ; for he never raised his eyes : and so, when he was 
obliged to go from -one part of the house to the other, 
he never knew the way, unless he followed the friars. His 
journeys, also, were made in the same way. For many 
years, he never saw a woman s face. He told me that it was 
nothing to him whether he saw it or not : but he was an 
aged man when I made his acquaintance; and his weakness 
was so great, that he seemed like nothing else but the roots 
of trees. With all his sanctity, he was very agreeable ; 
though his words were few, unless when he was asked ques 
tions; he was very pleasant to speak to, for he had a most 
clear understanding. 

20. Many other things I should like to say of him, if 
I were not afraid, my father, that you will say, Why does 
she meddle here? and it is in that fear I have written this. 
So I leave the subject, only saying that his last end was 
like his life preaching to, and exhorting, his brethren. When 
he saw that the end was come, he repeated the Psalm, 1 
"Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mini ;" and then, kneeling 
down, he died. 

21. Since then, it has pleased our Lord that I should 
find more help from him than during his life. He advises 
me in many matters. I have often seen him in great glory. 
The first time he appeared to me, he said: "O blessed penance, 
which has merited so great a reward !" with other things. 
A year before his death, he appeared to me, being then 
far away. I knew he was about to die, and so I sent him 
word to that effect, when he was some leagues from here. 
When he died, he appeared to me, and said that he was 
going to his rest. I did not believe it. I spoke of it to some 

1 Ps. cxxi. The words in the MS. are: Lastatun sun yn is que dita 
sun miqui" (De la Fuente}. 


persons, and within eight days came the news that he was 
dead or, to speak more correctly, that he had begun to live 
for evermore. 1 

22. Behold here, then, how that life of sharp penance 
is perfected in such great glory: and now he is a greater 
comfort to me, I do believe, than he was on earth. Our 
Lord said to me on one occasion, that persons could not 
ask Him anything in his name, and He not hear them. 
I have recommended many things to him that he was to 
ask of our Lord, and I have seen my petitions granted. God 
be blessed for ever! Amen. 

23. But how I have been talking in order to stir you up 
never to esteem any thing in this life ! as if you did not know 
this, or as if you were not resolved to leave every thing, and 
had already done it ! I see so much going wrong in the world, 
that though my speaking of it is of no other use than to weary 
me by writing of it, it is some relief to me that all I am saying 
makes against myself. Our Lord forgive me all that I do 
amiss herein ; and you, too, my father, for wearying you to no 
purpose. It seems as if I would make you do penance for my 
sins herein. 





1. I NOW resume our subject. I spent some days, not 
many, with that vision 2 continually before me. It did me 
so much good, that I never ceased to pray. Even when I 
did cease, I contrived that it should be in such a way as 
that I should not displease Him whom I saw so clearly 
present, an eye-witness of my acts. And though I was occa 
sionally afraid, because so much was said to me about de 
lusions, that fear lasted not long, because our Lord reassured 

2. It pleased our Lord, one day that I was in prayer, 
to show me His Hands, and His Hands only. The beauty 

1 See ch. xxx. 2. 2 Ch. xxvii. 3. 


of them was so great, that no language can describe it. This 
put me in great fear: for every thing that is strange, in the 
beginning of any new grace from God, makes me very much 
afraid. A few days later, I saw His divine Face, and I 
\vas utterly entranced. I could not understand why our Lord 
showed Himself in this way, seeing that, afterwards, He 
granted me the grace of seeing His whole Person. Later 
on, I understood that His Majesty was dealing with me 
according to the weakness of my nature. May He be blessed 
for ever! A glory so great was more than one so base and 
wicked could bear; and our merciful Lord, knowing this, 
ordered it in this way. 

3. You will think, my father, that it required no great 
courage to look upon Hands and Face so beautiful. But 
so beautiful are glorified bodies, that the glory which sur 
rounds them renders those who see that which is so super 
natural and beautiful beside themselves. It was so with me : 
I was in such great fear, trouble, and perplexity at the sight. 
Afterwards, there ensued a sense of safety and certainty, 
together with other results, so that all fear passed immedi 
ately away. 1 

4. On one of the feasts of S. Paul, 2 when I was at Mass, 
there stood before me the most Sacred Humanity, 3 as painters 
represent Him after the resurrection, in great beauty and 
majesty, as I particularly described it to you, my father, 
when you had insisted on it. It was painful enough to have 

1 Philip, a SS. Trinitate, Theolog. Mystic, par. 2, tr. 3, art. 8: 
"Quamvis in principio visiones a dsemone fictse aliquam habeant pacem 
ac dulcedinem, in line tamen confusionem et amaritudinem in anima 
relinquunt; cujus contrarium est in divinis visionibus, qux srcpe tur- 
bant in principio, sed semper in fine pacem animre relinquunt." S. 
John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, st. 14, p. 84: "In the spiritual 
passage from the sleep of natural ignorance to the wakefulness of 
the supernatural understanding, which is the beginning of trance or 
ecstasy, the spiritual vision then revealed makes the soul fear and 

~ See ch. xxix. 4. 

3 "The Holy Mother, Teresa of Jesus, had these imaginary visions 
for many years, seeing our Lord continually present before her in 
great beauty, risen from the dead, with His wounds and the crown 
of thorns. She had a picture made of Him, which she gave to me, 
and which I gave to Don Fernando de Toledo, Duke of Alva" 
(Jerome Gratic.n, Union del Alma, cap. 5. Madrid, 1616). 


to write about it, for I could not describe it without doing 
great violence to myself. But I described it as well as I 
could, and there is no reason why I should now recur to it. 
One thing, however, I have to say: if in heaven itself there 
were nothing else to delight our eyes but the great beauty of 
glorified bodies, that would be an excessive bliss, particularly 
the vision of the Humanity of Jesus Christ our Lord. If 
here below, where His Majesty shows Himself to us accord 
ing to the measure which our wretchedness can bear, it is 
so .great, what must it be there, where the fruition of it 
is complete ! 

5. This vision, though imaginary, I never saw with my 
bodily eyes, nor, indeed, any other, but only with the eyes 
of the soul. Those who understand these things better than 
I do, say that the intellectual vision is more perfect than 
this ; and this, the imaginary vision, much more perfect than 
those visions which are seen by the bodily eyes. The latter 
kind of visions, they say, is the lowest; and it is by these 
that the devil can most delude us. 1 I did not know it then; 
for I wished, when this grace had. been granted me, that it 
had been so in such a way that I could see it with my bodily 
eyes, in order that my confessor might not say that I in 
dulged in fancies. 

6. After the vision was over, it happened that I too 
imagined the thought came at once I had fancied these 
things ; so I was distressed, because I had spoken of them 
to my confessor, thinking that I might have been deceiving 
him. There was another lamentation : I went to my confessor, 
and told him of my doubts. He would ask me whether I 
told him the truth so far as I knew it; or, if not, had I 
intended to deceive him? I would reply, that I told the 
truth; for, to the best of my belief, I did not lie, nor did I 
mean any thing of the kind; neither would I tell a lie for 
the whole world. 2 This he knew well enough; and, accord 
ingly, he contrived to quiet me ; and I felt so much the going 

1 Anton, a Sp. Sancto, Direct. Mystic, tr. iii. disp. 5, 1, n. 315: 
"Visio corporea est infima, visio imaginaria est media, visio intellec- 
tualis est suprema." N. 322: "Apparitio visibilis, cum sit omnium 
infima, est magis exposita illusion! diaboli, nisi forte huic visioni 
corporali visio intellectualis adjungatur, ut in apparitione S. Gabrielis 
archangeli facta Beatse Virgini." 

2 See ch. xxx. 18. 


to him with these doubts, that I cannot tell how Satan could 
have put it into my head that I invented those things for the 
purpose of tormenting myself. 

7. But our Lord made such haste to bestow this grace 
upon me, and to declare the reality of it, that all doubts of the 
vision being a fancy on my part were quickly taken away, 
and ever since I see most clearly how silly I was. For if 
I were to spend many years in devising how to picture to 
myself any thing so beautiful, I should never be able, nor 
even know how, to do it; for it is beyond the reach of any 
possible imagination here below : the whiteness and brilliancy 

alone are inconceivable. It is not a brilliancy which dazzles, 
but a delicate whiteness and brilliancy infused, furnishing 
the most excessive delight to the eyes, never wearied therby, 
nor by the visible brightness which enables us to see a 
beauty so divine. It is a light so different from any light here 
below, that the very brightness of the sun we see, in compari 
son with the brightness and light before our eyes, seems to 
be something so obscure, that no one would ever wish to 
open his eyes again. 

8. It is like most pellucid water running in a bed of 
crystal, reflecting the rays of the sun, compared with most 
muddy water on a cloudy day, flowing on the surface of 
the earth. Not that there is any thing like the sun present 
here, nor is the light like that of the sun: this light seems 
to be natural ; and, in comparison with it, every other light 
is something artificial. It is a light which knows no night; 
but rather, as it is always light, nothing ever disturbs it. 
In short, it is such that no man, however gifted he may be, 
can ever, in the whole course of his life, arrive at any imagi 
nation of what it is. God puts it before us so instantaneously, 
that we could not open our eyes in time to see it, if it were 
necessary for us to open them at all. But whether our eyes 
be open or shut, it makes no difference whatever ; for when 
our Lord wills, we must see it, whether we will or not. 
No distraction can shut it out, no power can resist it, nor can 
we attain to it by any diligence or efforts of our own. I know 
this by experience well, as I shall show you. 

9. That which I wish now to speak of is the manner in 
which our Lord manifests Himself in these visions. I do not 
mean that I am going to explain how it is that a light so 
strong can enter the interior sense, or so distinct an image 


the understanding, so as to seem to be really there; for 
this must be work for learned men. Our Lord has not been 
pleased to let me understand how it is. I am so ignorant 
myself, and so dull of understanding, that, although people 
have very much wished to explain it to me, I have never 
been able to understand how it can be. 

10. This is the truth : though you, my father, may think 
that I have a quick understanding, it is not so ; for I have 
found out, in many ways, that my understanding can take in 
only, as they say, what is given to it to eat. Sometimes my 
confessor used to be amazed at my ignorance : and he never 
explained to me nor, indeed, did I desire to understand 
how God did this, nor how it could be. Nor did I ever ask; 
though, as I have said, 1 I had converse for many years 
with men of great learning. But I did ask them if this or 
that were a sin or not : as for every thing else, the thought 
that God did it all was enough for me. I saw there was no 
reason to be afraid, but great reason to praise Him. On 
the other hand, difficulties increase my devotion ; and the 
greater the difficulty, the greater the increase. 

11. I will therefore relate what my experience has shown 
me; but how our Lord brought it about, you my father, will 
explain better than I can, and make clear all that is obscure, 
and beyond my skill to explain. Now and then it seemed 
to me that what I saw was an image ; but most frequently 
it was not so. I thought it was Christ Himself, judging 
by the brightness in which He was pleased to show Himself. 
Sometimes the vision was so indistinct, that I thought it 
was an image ; but still not like a picture, however well 
painted and I have seen many good pictures. It would 
be absurd to. suppose that the one bears any resemblance 
whatever to the other, for they differ as a living person differs 
from his portrait, which, however well drawn, cannot be 
lifelike, for it is plain that it is a dead thing. .But let this 
pass, though to the purpose, and literally true. 

12. I do not say this by way of comparison, for compari 
sons are never exact, but because it is the truth itself, as 
there is the same difference here that there is between a 
living subject and the portrait thereof, neither more nor less: 
for if what I saw was an image, it was a living image, 
not a dead man, but the living Christ : and He makes me see 

Ch. xxv. 18. 


that He is God and man, not as He was in the sepulchre, 
but as He was when He had gone forth from it, risen from 
the dead. He comes at times in majesty so great, that no 
one can have any doubt that it is our Lord Himself, espe 
cially after Communion: we know that He is then present, 
for faith says so. He shows Himself so clearly to be the Lord 
of that little dwelling-place, that the soul seems to be dissolved 
and lost in Christ. O my Jesus, who can describe the majesty 
wherein Thou showest Thyself! How utterly Thou art the 
Lord of the whole world, and of heaven, and of a thousand 
other and innumerable worlds and heavens, the creation of 
which is possible to Thee ! The soul understands by that 
majesty wherein Thou showest Thyself that it is nothing for 
Thee to be Lord of all this. 

13. Here it is plain, O my Jesus, how slight is the power 
of all the devils in comparison with Thine, and how he who 
is pleasing unto Thee is able to tread all hell under his feet. 
Here we see why the devils trembled when Thou didst go 
down to Limbus, and why they might have longed for a 
thousand hells still lower, that they might escape from Thy 
terrible Majesty. I see that it is Thy will the soul should 
feel the greatness of Thy Majesty, and the power of Thy 
most Sacred Humanity, united with Thy Divinity. Here, 
too, we see what the day of judgment will be when we shall 
behold the King in His majesty, and in the rigour of His 
justice against the wicked. Here we learn true humility, im 
printed in the soul by the sight of its own wretchedness, of 
which now it cannot be ignorant. Here, also, is confusion 
of face, and true repentance for sins ; for though the soul sees 
that our Lord shows how He loves it, yet it knows not where 
to go, and so is utterly dissolved. 

14. My meaning is, that so exceedingly great is the 
power of this vision when our Lord shows the soul much of 
His grandeur and majesty, that it is impossible, in my opinion, 
for any soul to endure it, if our Lord did not succour it in 
a most supernatural w r ay, by throwing it into a trance or 
ecstasy, whereby the vision of the divine presence is lost 
in the fruition thereof. It is true that afterwards the vision 
is forgotten ; but there remains so deep an impression of the 
majesty and beauty of God, that it is impossible to forget 
it, except when our Lord is pleased that the soul should 
suffer from aridity and desolation, of which I shall speak 


hereafter ; l for then it seems to forget God Himself. The 
soul is itself no longer, it is always inebriated ; it seems as if a 
living love of God, of the highest kind, made a new begin 
ning within it; for though the former vision, which I said 
represented God without any likeness of Him, 2 is of a higher 
kind, yet because of our weakness, in order that the remem 
brance of the vision may last, and that our thoughts may 
be well occupied, it is a great matter that a presence so 
divine should remain and abide in our imagination. These 
two kinds of visions come almost always together, and they 
do so come ; for we behold the excellency and beauty and 
glory of the most Holy Humanity with the eyes of the soul. 
And in the other way I have spoken of, that of intellectual 
vision, we learn how He is God, is mighty, can do all things, 
command all things, governs all things, and fills all things 
with His love. 

15. This vision is to be esteemed very highly; nor is 
there, in my opinion, any risk in it, because the fruits of it 
show that the devil has no power here. I think he tried 
three or four times to represent our Lord to me, in this 
way, by a false image of Him. He takes the appearance of 
flesh, but he cannot counterfeit the glory which it has when 
the vision is from God. Satan makes his representations in 
order to undo the true vision which the soul has had : but 
the soul resists instinctively, is troubled, disgusted, and rest 
less ; it loses that devotion and joy it previously had, and 
cannot pray at all. In the beginning, it so happened to me 
three or four times. These satanic visions are very different 
things ; and even he who shall have attained to the prayer 
of quiet only will, I believe, detect them by those results of 
them which I described when I was speaking of locutions. 3 
They are most easily recognised; and if a soul consents not 
to its own delusion, I do not think that Satan will be able 
to deceive it, provided it walks in humility and singleness 
of heart. He who shall have had the true vision, coming 
from God, detects the false visions at once; for, though they 
begin with a certain sweetness and joy, the soul rejects them 
of itself; and the joy which Satan ministers must be, I think, 

1 Ch. xxx. 9, 10. See S. John of the Cross, Obscure Night, bk. ii. 
ch. 7. 

2 Ch. xxvii. 3. 3 Ch. xxv. 8. 


very different it shows no traces of pure and holy love: 
Satan very quickly betrays himself. 

16. Thus, then, as I believe, Satan can do no harm to 
any one who has had experience of these things; for it is 
the most impossible of all impossible things that all this 
may be the work of the imagination. There is no ground 
whatever for the supposition ; for the very beauty and white 
ness of one of our Lord s Hands 1 are beyond our imagination 
altogether. How is it that we see present before us, in a 
moment, what we do not remember, what we have never 
thought of, and, moreover, what, in a long space of time, the 
imagination could not compass, because, as I have just said, 2 
it far transcends any thing we can comprehend in this life? 
This, then, is not possible. Whether we have any power in 
the matter or not will appear by what I am now going to say. 

17. If the vision were the work of a man s own under 
standing, setting aside that such a vision would not accom 
plish the great results of the true one, nor, indeed, any at 
all, it would be as the act of one who tries to go to sleep, 
and yet continues awake, because sleep has not come. He 
longs for it, because of some necessity or weakness in his 
head : and so he lulls himself to sleep, and makes efforts 
to procure it, and now and then thinks he has succeeded; 
but, if the sleep be not real, it will not support him, nor supply 
strength to his head : on the contrary, his head will very 
often be the worse for it. So will it be here, in a measure; 
the soul will be dissipated, neither sustained nor strengthened ; 
on the contrary, it will be wearied and disgusted. But, in 
the true vision, the riches which abide in the soul cannot 
be described ; even the body receives health and comfort. 

18. I urged this argument, among others, when they told 
me that my visions came from the evil one, and that I 
imagined them myself, and it was very often, and made 
use of certain illustrations, as well as I could, and as our 
Lord suggested to me. But all was to little purpose; for 
as there were most holy persons in the place, in comparison 
with whom I was a mass of perdition, whom God did not 
lead by this way, they were at once filled with- fear; they 
thought it all came through my sins. And so my state was 
talked about, and came to the knowledge of many; though I 

1 See 2. 2 7, supra. 


had spoken of it to no one, except my confessor, or to those to 
whom he commanded 1 me to speak of it. 

19. I said to them once, If they who thus speak of my 
state were to tell me that a person with whom I had just 
conversed, and whom I knew well, was not that person, 
but that I was deluding myself, and that they knew it, I 
should certainly trust them rather than my own eyes. But 
if that person left with me certain jewels, and if, possessing 
none previously, I held the jewels in my hand as pledges 
of a great love, and if I were now rich, instead of poor 
as before, I should not be able to believe this that they 
said, though I might wish it. Those jewels I could now 
show them, for all who knew me saw clearly that my soul 
was changed, and so my confessor said ; for the difference 
was very great in every way not a pretence, but such as all 
might most clearly observe. As I was formerly so wicked, 
I said, I could not believe that Satan, if he wished to deceive 
me and take me down to hell, would have recourse to means 
so adverse to his purpose as this of rooting out my faults, 
implanting virtues and spiritual strength; for I saw clearly 
that I had become at once another person through the instru 
mentality of these visions. 

20. My confessor, who was, as I said before, 2 one of 
the fathers of the Society of Jesus, and a really holy man, 
answered them in the same way, so I learnt afterwards. 
He was a most discreet man, and of great humility; but this 
great humility of his brought me into serious trouble : for, 
though he was a man much given to prayer, and learned, 
he never trusted his own judgment, because our Lord was 
not leading him by this way. He had, therefore, much to 
suffer on my account, in many ways. I knew they used to 
say to him that he must be on his guard against me, lest 
Satan should delude him through a belief in any thing I 
might say to him. They gave instances of others who were 
deluded. 3 All this distressed me. I began to be afraid I 
should find no one to hear my confession, 4 and that all would 
avoid me. I did nothing but weep. 

1 Ch. xxiii. 14. 2 Ch. xxiv. 5. 

* There were in Spain, and elsewhere, many women who were 
hypocrites, or deluded. Among others was the prioress of Lisbon, 
afterwards notorious, who deceived Luis of Granada (De la Fuente}. 

4 Inner Fortress, vi. 1, 4. 


21. It was a providence of God that he was willing to 
stand by me and hear my confession. But he was so great 
a servant of God, that he would have exposed himself to any 
thing for His sake. So he told me that if I did not offend 
God, or swerve from the instructions he gave me, there was 
no fear I should be deserted by him. He encouraged me 
always, and quieted me. He bade me never to conceal any 
thing from him ; and I never did. 1 He used to say that, 
so long as I did this, the devil, if it were the devil, could 
not hurt me; on the contrary, out of that evil which Satan 
wished to do me, our Lord would bring forth good. He 
laboured with all his might to make me perfect. As I was 
very much afraid myself, I obeyed him in every thing, though 
imperfectly. He had much to suffer on my account during 
three years of trouble and more, because he heard my con 
fession all that time ; for in the great persecutions that fell 
upon me, and the many harsh judgments of me which our 
Lord permitted, many of which I did not deserve, every 
thing was carried to him, and he was found fault with 
because of me, he being all the while utterly blameless. 

22. If he had not been so holy a man, and if our Lord 
had not been with him, it would have been impossible for 
him to bear so much ; for he had to answer those who re 
garded me as one going to destruction ; and they would not 
believe what he said to them. On the other hand, he had 
to quiet me, and relieve me of my fears ; when my fears 
increased, he had again to reassure me ; for, after every 
vision which was strange to me, our Lord permitted me to 
remain in great fear. All this was the result of my being 
then, and of having been, a sinner. He used to console me 
out of his great compassion ; and, if he had trusted to his 
own convictions, I should not have had so much to suffer; 
for God revealed the whole truth to him. I believe that 
he received this light from the Blessed Sacrament. 

23. Those servants of God who were not satisfied had 
many conversations with me. 2 As I spoke to them carelessly, 
so they misunderstood my meaning in many things. I had 
a great regard for one of them ; for my soul owed him more 
than I can tell. He was a most holy man, and I felt it most 
acutely when I saw that he did not understand me. He 

1 Ch. xxvi. 5; Inner Fortress, vi. 9, 7. 2 See ch. xxv. 18. 


had a great desire for my improvement, and hoped our Lord 
would enlighten me. So, then, because I spoke, as I was 
saying, without careful consideration, they looked upon me 
as deficient in humility ; and when they detected any of my 
faults they might have detected many they condemned 
me at once. They used to put certain questions to me, 
which I answered simply and carelessly. Then they con 
cluded forthwith that I wished to teach them, and that I 
considered myself to be a learned woman. All this was 
carried to my confessor, for certainly they desired my amend 
ment, and so he would reprimand me. This lasted some 
time, and I was distressed on many sides; but, with the 
graces which our Lord gave me, I bore it all. 

24. I relate this in order that people may see what 
a great trial it is not to find any one who knows this way 
of the spirit by experience. If our Lord had not dealt so 
favourably with me, I know not what would have become 
of me. There were some things that were enough to take 
away my reason ; and now and then I was reduced to such 
straits that I could do nothing but lift up my eyes to our 
Lord. 1 The contradiction of good people, which a wretched 
woman, weak, wicked, and timid as I am, must bear with, 
seems to be nothing when thus described; but I, who in 
the course of my life passed through very great trials, found 
this one of the heaviest. 2 

25. May our Lord grant that I may have pleased His 
Majesty a little herein; for I am sure that they pleased Him 
who condemned and rebuked me, and that it was all for my 
great good. 





1. I HAVE wandered far from the subject; for I under 
took to give reasons why the vision was no work of the 
imagination. For how can we, by any efforts of ours, pic- 

1 2 Paralip. xx. 12. " See ch. xxx. 6. 


Hye Hoys del. 

1. Antonio of Jesus, in the world Antonio de Heredia, ex-prior of the 
Observants of Medina del Campo, and first prior of the Discalced monastery at 
Duruelo. 2. Enclosure of the monastery of Discalced Carmelites, built at Duruelo 
in 1637. 3. Church of the monastery at Duruelo, after a vignette in the atlas of 
Provinces of the Reformed Carmelites, published at Rome in the XVIII. century. 
4. Part of the monastery, now used for farming purposes. 5. Garden of the monas 
tery of Mancera de Abajo. 6. Ruins of the monastery of Mancera. To the right, 
the village church. 7. Carved escutcheons still to be seen on the facade of this 
monastery. 8. Diacalced Carmelite church and monastery of St. Teresa at Avila. 



Bruges. P Raoux Sc 

To the left, mansion of Vela Nunez, godfather of the Saint. 9. Painting of Our Lady 
of Solitude, which St. Teresa carried with her to all her foundations. It is inscribed 
"This image belonged to our sainted Mother Teresa of Jesus, who took it with 
her to all her foundations." 10. Crucifix which the Saint always kept with her and 
\vhich she held in her hand when she died. 11. Leathern sole of a sandal belonging 
to St. Teresa. 12. ArniM of the de Heredia family. 13. Arms of the Velasquez 
family. 14. Arms of Luis de Toledo, lord of Mancera. 15. Arms of Caspar de 
Guzman, duke of Olivares, patron or the convent of St. Teresa at Avila. (See 
Appendix, note 11.) 


ture to ourselves the Humanity of Christ, and image His 
great beauty? No little time is necessary, if our conception 
is in any way to resemble it. Certainly, the imagination 
may be able to picture it, and a person may for a time con 
template that picture, the form and the brightness of it, 
and gradually make it more perfect, and so lay up that 
image in his memory. Who can hinder this, seeing that 
it could be fashioned by the understanding? But as to the 
vision of which I am speaking, there are no means of bring 
ing it about ; only we must behold it when our Lord is 
pleased to present it before us, as He wills and what He 
wills ; and there is no possibility of taking any thing away 
from it, or of adding any thing to it ; nor is there any way 
of effecting it, whatever we may do, nor of seeing it when 
we like, nor of abstaining from seeing; if we try to gaze upon 
it part of the vision in particular the vision of Christ is 
lost at once. 

2. For two years and a half God granted me this grace 
very frequently ; but it is now more than three years since 
He has taken away from me its continual presence, through 
another of a higher nature, as I shall perhaps explain here 
after. 1 And though I saw Him speaking to me, and though 
I was contemplating His great beauty, and the sweetness 
with which those words of His came forth from His divine 
mouth, they were sometimes uttered with severity, and 
though I was extremely desirous to behold the colour of 
His eyes, or the form of them, so that I might be able to 
describe them, yet I never attained to the sight of them, and I 
could do nothing for that end ; on the contrary, I lost the 
vision altogether. And though I see that He looks upon me 
at times with great tenderness, yet so strong is His gaze, 
that my soul cannot endure it; I fall into a trance so deep, 
that I lose the beautiful vision, in order to have a greater 
fruition of it all. 

3. Accordingly, willing or not willing the vision has 
nothing to do with it. Our Lord clearly regards nothing 
but humility and confusion of face, the acceptance of what 
He wishes to give, and the praise of Himself, the Giver. 
This is true of all visions without exception : we can con 
tribute nothing towards them we cannot add to them, nor 
can we take from them ; our own efforts can neither make 

1 Ch. xl. 


nor unmake them. Our Lord would have us see most clearly 
that it is no work of ours, but of His Divine Majesty; we are 
therefore the less able to be proud of it: on the contrary, it 
makes us humble and afraid ; for we see that, as our Lord 
can take from us the power of seeing what we would see, 
so also can He take from us these mercies and His grace, 
and we may be lost for ever. We must therefore walk in 
His fear while we are living in this our exile. 

4. Our Lord showed Himself to me almost always as 
He is after His resurrection. It was the same in the Host; 
only at those times when I was in trouble, and when it was 
His will to strengthen me, did He show His wounds. Some 
times I saw Him on the cross, in the Garden, crowned with 
thorns, but that Was rarely ; sometimes also carrying His 
cross because of my necessities, I may say so, or those 
of others ; but always in His glorified body. Many reproaches 
and many vexations have I borne while telling this many 
suspicions and much persecution also. So certain were they 
to whom I spoke that I had an evil spirit, that some would 
have me exorcised. I did not care much for this; but I felt 
it bitterly when I saw that my confessors were afraid to hear 
me, or when I knew that they were told of any thing 
about me. 

5. Notwithstanding all this, I never could be sorry that 
I had had these heavenly visions; nor would I exchange 
even one of them for all the wealth and all the pleasures of 
the world. I always regarded them as a great mercy from 
our Lord; and to me they were the very greatest treasure, 
of this our Lord assured me often. I used to go to Him 
to complain of all these hardships ; and I came away from 
prayer consoled, and with renewed strength. I did not dare 
to contradict those who were trying me ; for I saw that it 
made matters worse, because they looked on my doing so 
as a failure in humility. I spoke of it to my confessor; he 
always consoled me greatly when he saw me in distress. 

6. As my visions grew in frequency, one of those who 
used to help me before it was to him I confessed when the 
father-minister 1 could not hear me began to say that I was 
certainly under the influence of Satan. He bade me, now 

1 Baltasar Alvarez was father-minister of the house of S. Giles, 
Avila, in whose absence she had recourse to another father of that 
house (Ribera, i. ch. 10). 


that I had no power of resisting, always to make the sign 
of the cross when 1 had a vision, to point my ringer at it 
by way of scorn, 1 and be firmly persuaded of its diabolic 
nature. If I did this, the vision would not recur. I was to 
be without fear on the point; God would watch over me, 
and take the vision away. 2 This was a great hardship for 
me ; for, as I could not believe that the vision did not come 
from God, it was a fearful thing for me to do ; and 1 could not 
wish, as I said before, that the visions should be withheld. 
However, I did at last as I was bidden. I prayed much to 
our Lord, that He would deliver me from delusions. 1 was 
always praying to that effect, and with many tears. I had 
recourse also to S. Peter and S. Paul ; for our Lord had 
said to me it was on their feast that He had appeared to 
me the first time 3 that they would preserve me from de 
lusion. 1 used to see them frequently most distinctly on my 
left hand; but that vision was not imaginary. These glor 
ious Saints were my very good lords. 

7. It was to me a most painful thing to make a show 
of contempt whenever I saw our Lord in a vision; for when 
I saw Him before me, if I were to be cut in pieces, I could 
not believe it was Satan. This was to me, therefore, a heavy 
kind of penance; and accordingly, that I might not be so 
continually crossing myself, I used to hold a crucifix in my. 
hand. This I did almost always; but I did not always make 
signs of contempt, because I felt that too much. It reminded 
me of the insults which the Jews heaped upon Him; and 
so I prayed Him to forgive me, seeing that I did so in 
obedience to him who stood in His stead, and not to lay 
the blame on me, seeing that he was one of those whom He 
had placed as His ministers in His Church. He said to me, 
that I was not to distress myself that I did well to obey; 
but He would make them see the truth of the matter. He 
seemed to me to be angry when they made me give up 
my prayer. 4 He told me to say to them that this was 

1 Y diese higas. "Higa es una manera de menosprecio que hace- 
mos cerrando el puno, y mostrando el dedo pulgar por entre el dedo 
indice, y el medio" (Cobarruvias, in voce}. 

2 See Book of the Foundations, ch. viii. 3, where the Saint refers 
to this advice, and to the better advice given her later by F. Dominic 
Banes, one of her confessors. See also Inner Fortress, vi. 9, 7. 

* See ch. xxvii. 3, and ch. xxviii. 4. 
4 Ch. xxv. 18. 


tyranny. He gave me reasons for believing that the vision 
was not satanic ; some of them I mean to repeat by and by. 

8. On one occasion, when I was holding in my hand 
the cross of my rosary, He took it from me into His own 
hand. He returned it; but it was then four large stones in 
comparably more precious than diamonds; for nothing can 
be compared with what is supernatural. Diamonds seem 
counterfeits and imperfect when compared with these precious 
stones. The five wounds were delineated on them with most 
admirable art. He said to me, that for the future that cross 
would appear so to me always; and so it did. I never saw 
the wood of which it was made, but only the precious stones. 
They were seen, however, by no one else, only by myself. 1 

9. When they had begun to insist on my putting my 
visions to a test like this, and resisting them, the graces I 
received were multiplied more and more. I tried to distract 
myself; I never ceased to be in prayer: even during sleep 
my prayer seemed to be continual ; for now my love grew, 
I made piteous complaints to our Lord, and told Him I 
could not bear it. Neither was it in my power though I 
desired, and, more than that, even strove to give up thinking 
of Him. Nevertheless, I obeyed to the utmost of my power; 
but my power was little or nothing in the matter; and our 
Lord never released me from that obedience; but though He 
bade me obey my confessor, He reassured me in another 
way, and taught me what I was to say. He has continued 
to do so until now; and He gave me reasons so sufficient, 
that I felt myself perfectly safe. 

10. Not long afterwards, His Majesty began, according 
to His promise, to make it clear that it was He Himself 
who appeared, by the growth in me of the love of God so 
strong, that I knew not who could have infused it; for it 
was most supernatural, and I had not attained to it by any 
efforts of my own. I saw myself dying with a desire to see 
God, and I knew not how to seek that life otherwise than 
by dying. Certain great impetuosities 2 of love, though not 
so intolerable as those of which I have spoken before, 3 nor 

1 The cross was made of ebony (Ribera). It is not known where 
that cross is now. The Saint gave it to her sister, Dona Tuana de 
Ahumada, who begged it of her. Some say that the Carmelites of 
Madrid possess it; and others, those of Valladolid (De la Fuente}. 

2 See Relation, i. 3. * Ch. xx. 11. 


yet of so great worth, overwhelmed me. I knew not what 
to do; for nothing gave me pleasure, and I had no control 
over myself. It seemed as if my soul were really torn away 
from myself. Oh, supreme artifice of our Lord ! how tenderly 
didst Thou deal with Thy miserable slave ! Thou didst hide 
Thyself from me, and didst yet constrain me with Thy love, 
with a death so sweet, that my soul would never wish it over. 

11. It is not possible for any one to understand these 
impetuosities if he has not experienced them himself. They 
are not an upheaving of the breast, nor those devotional 
sensations, not uncommon, which seem on the point of caus 
ing suffocation, and are beyond control. That prayer is of 
a much lower order; and those agitations should be avoided 
by, gently endeavoring to be recollected; and the soul should 
be kept in quiet. This prayer is like the sobbing of little 
children, who seem on the point of choking, and whose 
disordered senses are soothed by giving them to drink. So 
here reason should draw in the reins, because nature itself may 
be contributing to it; and we should consider with fear that 
all this may not be perfect, and that much sensuality may be 
involved in it. The infant soul should be soothed by the 
caresses of love, which shall draw forth its love in a gentle 
way, and not, as they say, by force of blows. This love 
should be inwardly under control, and not as a caldron, 
fiercely boiling because too much fuel has been applied to 
it, and out of which every thing is lost. The source of the 
fire must be kept under control, and the flame must be 
quenched in sweet tears, and not with those painful tears 
which come out of these emotions, and which do so much 

12. In the beginning, I had tears of this kind. They 
left me with a disordered head and a wearied spirit, and for 
a day or two afterwards unable to resume my prayer. Great 
discretion, therefore, is necessary at first, in order that every 
thing may proceed gently, and that the operations of the 
spirit may be within; all outward manifestations should be 
carefully avoided. 

13. These other impetuosities are very different. It is 
not we who apply the fuel ; the fire is already kindled, and 
we are thrown into it in a moment to be consumed. It is 
by no efforts of the soul that it sorrows over the wound 
which the absence of our Lord has inflicted on it; it is far 


otherwise; for an arrow is driven into the entrails to the 
very quick, 1 and into the heart at times, so that the soul 
knows not what is the matter with it, nor what it wishes for. 
It understands clearly enough that it wishes for God, and 
that the arrow seems tempered with some herb which makes 
the soul hate itself for the love of our Lord, and willingly 
lose its life for Him. It is impossible to describe or explain 
the way in which God wounds the soul, nor the very grievous 
pain inflicted, which deprives it of all self-consciousness ; yet 
this pain is so sweet, that there is no joy in the world which 
gives greater delight. As I have just said, 2 the soul would 
wish to be always dying of this wound. 

14. This pain and bliss together carried me out of my 
self, and I never could understand how it was. Oh, what a 
sight a wounded soul is ! a soul, I mean, so conscious of 
it, as to be able to say of itself that it is wounded for so 
good a cause; and seeing distinctly that it never did any 
thing whereby this love should come to it, and that it does 
come from that exceeding love which our Lord bears it. A 
spark seems to have fallen suddenly upon it, that has set it 
all on fire. Oh, how often do I remember, when in this state, 
those words of David: "Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad 
fontes aquarum"! 3 They seem to me to be literally true 
of myself. 

15. When these impetuosities are not very violent, they 
seem to admit of a little mitigation at least, the soul seeks 
some relief, because it knows not what to do through cer 
tain penances ; the painfulness of which, and even the shed 
ding of its blood, are no more felt than if the body were 
dead. The soul seeks for ways and means to do something 
that may be felt, for the love of God; but the first pain is 
so great, that no bodily torture I know of can take it away. 
As relief is not to be had here, these medicines are too 
mean for so high a disease. Some slight mitigation may 
be had, and the pain may pass away a little, by praying 
God to relieve its sufferings : but the soul sees no relief 
except in death, by which it thinks to attain completely to the 
fruition of its good. At other times, these impetuosities are 
so violent, that the soul can do neither this nor any thing else ; 

1 Inner Fortress, vi. 11, 2; S. John of the Cross, Spiritual Can 
ticle, st. 1, p. 22, Engl. trans. 

2 8. 3 Ps. xli. 1. 


the whole body is contracted, and neither hand nor foot can be 
moved : if the body be upright at the time, it falls down, as a 
thing that has no control over itself. It cannot even breathe ; 
all it does is to moan not loudly, because it cannot: its 
moaning, however, comes from a keen sense of pain. 

16. Our Lord was pleased that I should have at times 
a vision of this kind: I saw an angel close by me, on my 
left side, in bodily form. This I am not accustomed to see, 
unless very rarely. Though I have visions of angels fre 
quently, yet I see them only by an intellectual vision, such 
as I have spoken of before. 1 It was our Lord s will that 
in this vision I should see the angel in this wise. He was 
not large, but small of stature, and most beautiful his face 
burning, as if he were one of the highest angels, who seem to 
be all of fire : they must be those whom we call cherubim. 2 
Their names they never tell me ; but I see very well that there 
is in heaven so great a difference between one angel and 
another, and between these and the others, that I cannot ex 
plain it. 

17. I saw in his hand a long spear of gold , and at the 
iron s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared 
to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, 3 and to 
pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to 
draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great 
love of God. The pain was so^ great, that it made me 
moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this ex 
cessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The 
soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is 
not bodily, but spiritual ; though the body has its share in it, 
even a large one. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now 
takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His 
goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am 
lying. 4 

1 Ch. xxvii. 3. 

In the MS. of the Saint preserved in the Escurial, the word is 
"cherubines"; but all the editors before Don Vicente de la Fuente have 
adopted the suggestion, in the margin, of Banes, who preferred 
"seraphim". F. Bouix, in his translation, corrected the mistake; but, 
with his usual modesty, did not call the reader s attention to it. 

3 See Relation, viii. 16. 

"The most probable opinion is, that the piercing of the heart of 
the Saint took place in 1559. The hymn which she composed on that 


18. During the days that this lasted, I went about as if 
beside myself. I wished to see, or speak with, no one, but 
only to cherish my pain, which was to me a greater bliss 
than all created things could give me. 1 

19. I was in this state from time to time, whenever it 
was our Lord s pleasure to throw me into those deep trances, 
which I could not prevent even when I was in the company 
of others, and which, to my deep vexation, came to be pub 
licly known. Since then, I do not feel that pain so much, 
but only that which I spoke of before, I do not remember 
the chapter, 2 which is in many ways very different from 
it, and of greater worth. On the other hand, when this 
pain, of which I am now speaking, begins, our Lord seems 
to lay hold of the soul, and to throw it into a trance, so 
that there is no time for me to have any sense of pain or 
suffering, because fruition ensues at once. May He be blessed 
for ever, who hath bestowed such great graces on one who 
has responded so ill to blessings so great! 




1. WHEN I saw that I was able to do little or nothing 
towards avoiding these great impetuosities, I began also to 
be afraid of them, because I could not understand how this 
pain and joy could subsist together. I knew it was pos 
sible enough for bodily pain and spiritual joy to dwell to 
gether; but the coexistence of a spiritual pain so excessive 
as this, and of joy so deep, troubled my understanding. Still, 

occasion was discovered in Seville in 1700 ( En las internas entra- 
fias ). On the high altar of the Carmelite church in Alba de Tormes, 
the heart of the Saint thus pierced is to be seen; and I have seen it 
myself more than once" (De la Fuente). 

1 Brev. Rom. in fest. S. Teresiae, Oct. 15, Lect. v.; "Tanto autem 
divini amoris incendio cor ejus conflagravit, ut merito viderit Angelum 
ignito jaculo sibi prsecordia transverberantem." The Carmelites keep 
the feast of this piercing of the Saint s heart on the 27th of August. 

2 Ch. xx. 11. 


I tried to continue my resistance ; but I was so little able, 
that I was now and then wearied. I used to take up the 
cross for protection, and try to defend myself against. Him 
who, by the cross, is the Protector of us all. I saw that 
no one understood me. I saw it very clearly myself, but I 
did not dare to say so to any one except my confessor ; for 
that would have been a real admission that I had no 

2. Our Lord was pleased to succour me in a great meas 
ure, and, for the moment, altogether, by bringing to the 
plaoe where I was that blessed friar, Peter of Alcantara. Of 
him I spoke before, and said something of his penance. 1 Among 
other things, I have been assured that he wore continually, 
for twenty years, a girdle made of iron. 2 He is the author 
of certain little books, in Spanish, on prayer, which are now 
in common use ; for, as he was much exercised therein, his 
writings are very profitable to those who are given to prayer. 
He kept the first rule of the blessed S. Francis in all its 
rigour, and did those things besides of which I spoke before. 

3. When that widow, the servant of God and my friend, 
of whom I have already spoken, 3 knew that so great a man 
had come, she took her measures. She knew the straits I 
was in, for she was an eye-witness of my afflictions, and 
was a great comfort to me. Her faith was so strong, that 
she could not help believing that what others said was the 
work of the devil was really the work of the Spirit of God; 
and as she is a person of great sense and great caution, and 
one to whom our Lord is very bountiful in prayer, it pleased 
His Majesty to let her see what learned men failed to dis 
cern. My confessors gave me leave to accept relief in some 
things from her, because in many ways she was able to afford 
it. Some of those graces which our Lord bestowed on me fell 
to her lot occasionally, together with instructions most profit 
able for her soul. So, then, when she knew that the blessed 
man was come, without saying a word to me, she obtained 
leave from the Provincial for me to stay eight days in her 
house, in order that I might the more easily confer with him. 
In that house, and in one church or another, I had many 

1 Ch. xxvii. 17, 18, 19. 

2 Hoja de lata, "cierta hoja de hierro muy delgada" (Cobarruvias, 
Tesoro, in voce). 

3 Ch. xxiv. 5. Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. 


conversations with him the first time he came here; for, 
afterwards, I had many communications with him at diverse 

4. I gave him an account, as briefly as I could, of my 
life, and of my way of prayer, with the utmost clearness 
in my power. I have always held to this, to be perfectly 
frank and exact with those to whom I make known the 
state of my soul. 1 Even my first impulses I wish them to 
know ; and as for doubtful and suspicious matters, I used to 
make the most of them by arguing against myself. Thus, 
then, without equivocation or concealment, I laid before him 
the state of my soul. I saw almost at once that he under 
stood me, by reason of his own experience. That was all I 
required; for at that time I did not know myself as I do now, 
so as to give an account of my state. It was a later time 
that God enabled me to understand myself, and describe the 
graces which His Majesty bestows upon me. It was neces 
sary, then, that he who would clearly understand and explain 
my state should have had experience of it himself. 

5. The light he threw on the matter was of the clearest; 
for as to these visions, at least, which were not imaginary, 
I could not understand how they could be. And it seemed 
that I could not understand, too, how those could be which 
I saw with the eyes of the soul ; for, as I said before, 2 those 
visions only seemed to me to be of consequence which were 
seen with the bodily eyes: and of these I had none. The 
holy man enlightened me on the whole question, explained 
it to me, and bade me not to be distressed, but to praise 
God, and to abide in the full conviction that this was the 
work of the Spirit of God; for, saving the faith, nothing 
could be more true, and there was nothing on which I could 
more firmly rely. He was greatly comforted in me, was 
most kind and serviceable, and ever afterwards took great 
care of me, and told me of his own affairs and labours; and 
when he saw that I had those very desires which in himself 
were fulfilled already, for our Lord had given me very strong 
desires, and also how great my resolution was, he delighted 
in conversing with me. 

6. To a person whom our Lord has raised to this state, 
there is no pleasure or comfort equal to that of meeting 
with another whom our Lord nas begun to raise in the same 

1 Ch. xxvi. 5. 2 Ch. vii. 12. 


way. At that time, however, it must have been only a be 
ginning with me, as I believe ; and God grant I may not have 
gone back now. He was extremely sorry for me. He told 
me that one of the greatest trials in this world was that 
which I had borne, namely, the contradiction of good peo 
ple, 1 and that more was in reserve for me : I had need, 
therefore, of some one and there was no one in this city 
who understood me ; but he would speak to my confessor, 
and to that married nobleman, already spoken of, 2 who was 
one of those who tormented me most, and who, because of 
his great affection for me, was the cause of all these attacks. 
He was a holy but timid man, and could not feel safe about 
me, because he had seen how wicked I was, and that not 
long before. The holy man did so; he spoke to them both, 
explained the matter and gave them reasons why they should 
reassure themselves, and disturb me no more. My confessor 
was easily satisfied, not so the nobleman ; for though they 
were not enough to keep him quiet, yet they kept him in 
some measure from frightening me so much as he used to do. 

7. We made an agreement that I should write to him 
and tell him how it fared with me, for the future, and that 
we should pray much for each other. Such was his humility, 
that he held to the prayers of a wretch like me. It made 
me very much ashamed of myself. He left me in the great 
est consolation and joy, bidding me continue my prayer with 
confidence, and without any doubt that it was the work of 
God. If I should have any doubts, for my greater security, 
I was to make them known to my confessor, and, having 
done so, be in peace. Nevertheless, I was not able at all to 
feel that confidence, for our Lord was leading me by the 
way of fear; and so, when they told me that the devil had 
power over me, I believed them. Thus, then, not one of them 
was able to inspire me with confidence on the one hand, or 
fear on the other, in such a way as to make me believe either 
of them, otherwise than as our Lord allowed me. Accord 
ingly, though the holy friar consoled and calmed me, I did 
not rely so much on him as to be altogether without fear, 
particularly when our Lord forsook me in the afflictions of 
my soul, of which I will now speak. Nevertheless, as I 
have said, I was very much consoled. 

1 See cli. xxviii. 24. ~ Ch. xxiii. 7. 


8. I could not give thanks enough to God, and to my 
glorious father S. Joseph, who seemed to me to have brought 
him here. He was the commissary-general of the custody 1 
of S. Joseph, to whom, and to our Lady, I used to pray much. 

9. I suffered at times and even still, though not so 
often the most grievous spiritual trials, together with bodily 
pains and afflictions arising from violent sicknesses ; so much 
so, that I could scarcely control myself. At other times, 
my bodily sickness was more grievous ; and, as I had no 
spiritual pain, I bore it with great joy: but, when both pains 
came upon me together, my distress was so heavy, that I 
was reduced to sore straits. 

10. I forgot all the mercies our Lord had shown me, 
and remembered them only as a dream, to my great distress; 
for my understanding was so dull, that I had a thousand 
doubts and suspicions whether I had ever understood matters 
aright, thinking that perhaps all was fancy, and that it was 
enough for me to have deceived myself, without also de 
ceiving good men. I looked upon myself as so wicked as 
to have been the cause, by my sins, of all the evils and all 
the heresies that had sprung up. This is but a false humility, 
and Satan invented it for the purpose of disquieting me, and 
trying whether he could thereby drive my soul to despair. I 
have now had so much experience, that I know this was his 
work; so he, seeing that I understand him, does not torment 
me in the same way as much as he used to do. That it is his 
work is clear from the restlessness and discomfort with which 
it begins, and the trouble it causes in the soul while it lasts; 
from the obscurity and distress, the aridity and indisposition 
for prayer and for every good work, which it produces. It 
seems to stifle the soul and trammel the body, so as to make 
them good for nothing. 

11. Now, though the soul acknowledges itself to be miser 
able, and though it is painful to us to see ourselves as we are, 
and though we have most deep convictions of our own wicked 
ness, deep as those spoken of just now, 2 and really felt, 
yet true humility is not attended with trouble ; it does 
not disturb the soul ; it causes neither obscurity nor aridity : 
on the contrary, it consoles. It is altogether different, bring- 

1 A "custody" is a division of the province, in the Order of S. 
Francis, comprising a certain number of convents. 

2 10. 


ing with it calm, sweetness, and light. It is no doubt pain 
ful ; but, on the other hand, it is consoling, because we see 
how great is the mercy of our Lord in allowing the soul to 
have that pain, and how well the soul is occupied. On the 
one hand, the soul grieves over its offences against God ; 
on the other, His compassion makes it glad. It has light, 
which makes it ashamed of itself ; and it gives thanks to 
His Majesty, who has borne with it so long. That other 
humility, which is the work of Satan, furnishes no light for 
any good work ; it pictures God as bringing upon every thing 
fire and sword; it dwells upon His justice; and the soul s 
faith in the mercy of God for the power of the devil does not 
reach so far as to destroy faith is of such a nature as to give 
me no consolation : on the contrary, the consideration of 
mercies so great helps to increase the pain, because I look 
upon myself as bound to render greater service. 

12. This invention of Satan is one of the most painful, 
subtle, and crafty that I have known him to possess ; I should 
therefore like to warn you, my father, of it, in order that, 
if Satan should tempt you herein, you may have some light, 
and be aware of his devices, if your understanding should be 
left at liberty: because you must not suppose that learning 
and knowledge are of any use here ; for though I have none 
of them myself, yet now that I have escaped out of his hands 
I see clearly that this is folly. What I understood by it is 
this : that it is our Lord s pleasure to give him leave and 
license, as He gave him of old to tempt Job ; x though in my 
case, because of my wretchedness, the temptation is not so 

13. It happened to me to be tempted once in this way; 
and I remember it was on the day before the vigil of Corpus 
Christi, a feast to which I have great devotion, though not 
so great as I ought to have. The trial then lasted only till 
the day of the feast itself. But, on other occasions, it con 
tinued one, two, and even three weeks, and I know not 
perhaps longer. But I was specially liable to it during the 
Holy Weeks, when it was my habit to make prayer my 
joy. Then the devil seizes on my understanding in a mo-, 
ment ; and occasionally, by means of things so trivial that 
I should laugh at them at any other time, he makes it stumble 
over any thing he likes. The soul, laid in fetters, loses all 

1 Job i. 


control over itself, and all power of thinking of any thing 
but the absurdities he puts before it, which, being more or 
less unsubstantial, inconsistent, and disconnected, serve only 
to stifle the soul, so that it has no power over itself; and 
accordingly so it seems to me the devils make a football 
of it, and the soul is unable to escape out of their hands. It 
is impossible to describe the sufferings of the soul in this 
state. It goes about in quest of relief, and God suffers it 
to find none. The light of reason, in the freedom of its will, 
remains, but it is not clear; it seems to me as if its eyes 
were covered with a veil. As a person who, having travelled 
often by a particular road, knows, though it be night and 
dark, by his past experience of it, where he may stumble, 
and where he ought to be on his guard against that risk, 
because he has seen the place by day, so the soul avoids 
offending God : it seems to go on by habit that is, if we 
put out of sight the fact that our Lord holds it by the hand, 
which is the true explanation of the matter. 

14. Faith is then as dead, and asleep, like all the other 
virtues; not lost, however, for the soul truly believes all 
that the Church holds; but its profession of the faith is 
hardly more than an outward profession of the mouth. And, 
on the other hand, temptations seem to press it down, and 
make it dull, so that its knowledge of God becomes to it 
as that of something which it hears of far away. So tepid 
is its love that, when it hears God spoken of, it listens and 
believes that He is what He is, because the Church so teaches; 
but it recollects nothing of its own former experience. Vocal 
prayer or solitude is only a greater affliction, because the 
interior suffering whence it comes, it knows not is unendur 
able, and, as it seems to me, in some measure a counterpart 
of hell. So it is, as our Lord showed me in a vision; 1 for the 
soul itself is then burning in the fire, knowing not who has 
kindled it, nor whence it comes, nor how to escape it, nor 
how to put it out: it it seeks relief from the fire by spiritual 
reading, it cannot find any, just as if it could not read at 
all. On one occasion, it occurred to me to read a life of a 
Saint, that I might forget myself, and be refreshed with the 
recital of what he had suffered. Four or five times, I read 
as many lines; and, though they were written in Spanish, 
I understood them less at the end than I did when I began: 
1 See ch. xxxii. 1, &c. 


so I gave it up. It so happened to me on more occasions 
than one, but I have a more distinct recollection of this. 

15. To converse with any one is worse, for the devil 
then sends so offensive a spirit of bad temper, that I think 
I could eat people up; nor can I help myself. I feel that I 
do something when I keep myself under control; or rather 
our Lord does so, when He holds back with His hand any 
one in this state from saying or doing something that may 
be hurtful to his neighbours and offensive to God. Then, 
as to going to our confessor, that is of no use ; for the certain 
result is and very often has it happened to me what I 
shall now describe. Though my confessors, with whom I 
had to do then, and have to do still, are so holy, they spoke 
to me and reproved me with such harshness, that they were 
astonished at it afterwards when I told them of it. They 
said that they could not help themselves; for, though they 
had resolved not to use such language, and though they 
pitied me also very much, yea, even had scruples on the 
subject, because of my grievous trials of soul and body, 
and were, moreover, determined to console me, they could 
not refrain. They did not use unbecoming words I mean, 
words offensive to God; yet their words were the most 
offensive that could be borne with in confession. They must 
have aimed at mortifying me. At other times, I used to 
delight in this, and was prepared to bear it; but it was then 
a torment altogether. I used to think, too, that I deceived 
them; so I went to them, and cautioned them very earnestly 
to be on their guard against me, for it might be that I de 
ceived them. I saw well enough that I would not do so 
advisedly, nor tell them an untruth; 1 but every thing made 
me afraid. One of them, on one occasion, when he had heard 
me speak of this temptation, told me not to distress myself; 
for, even if I wished to deceive him, he had sense enough not 
to be deceived. This gave me great comfort. 

16. Sometimes, almost always, at least, very frequently, 
I used to find rest after Communion ; now and then, even, 
as I drew near to the most Holy Sacrament, all at once my 
soul and body would be so well, that I was amazed. 2 It 
seemed to be nothing else but an instantaneous dispersion 

1 See ch. xxviii. 6. 

2 See Way of Perfection, ch. Ixi. 2; but ch. xxxiv. 8 of the 
earlier editions. 


of the darkness that covered my soul : when the sun rose, 
I saw how silly I had been. 

17. On other occasions, if our Lord spoke to me but 
one word, saying only, "Be not distressed, have no fear,"- 
as I said before, 1 I was made whole at once ; or, if I saw 
a vision, I was as if I had never been amiss. I rejoiced in 
God, and made my complaint to Him, because He permitted 
me to undergo such afflictions : yet the recompense was great ; 
for almost always, afterwards, His mercies descended upon 
me in great abundance. The soul seemed to come forth as 
gold out of the crucible, more refined, and made glorious 
to behold, our Lord dwelling within it. These trials after 
wards are light, though they once seemed to be unendurable ; 
and the soul longs to undergo them again, if that be more 
pleasing to our Lord. And though trials and persecutions 
increase, yet, if we bear them without offending our Lord, 
rejoicing in suffering for His sake, it will be all the greater 
gain : I, however, do not bear them as they ought to be 
borne, but rather in a most imperfect way. At other times, 
my trials come upon me they come still in another form ; 
and then it seems to me as if the very possibility of thinking 
a good thought, or desiring the accomplishment of it, were 
utterly taken from me : both soul and body are altogether use 
less and a heavy burden. However, when I am in this state, 
I do not suffer from the other temptations and disquietudes, 
but only from a certain loathing of I know not what, and my 
soul finds pleasure in nothing. 

18. I used to try exterior good work, in order to occupy 
myself partly by violence ; and I know well how weak a soul 
is when grace is hiding itself. It did not distress me much, 
because the sight of my own meanness gave me some satis 
faction. On other occasions, I find myself unable to pray 
or to fix my thoughts with any distinctness upon God, or 
any thing that is good, though I may be alone ; but I have a 
sense that I know Him. It is the understanding and the 
imagination, I believe, which hurts me here ; for it seems to 
me that I have a good will, disposed for all good ; but the 
understanding is so lost, that it seems to be nothing else 
but a raving lunatic, which nobody can restrain, and of which 
I am not mistress enough to keep it quiet for a minute. 2 

19. Sometimes I laugh at myself, and recognise my 
1 Ch. xx. 23, ch. xxv. 22, ch. xxvi. 3. c "Un Credo." 


wretchedness: I watch my understanding, and leave it alone 
to see what it will do. Glory be to God, for a wonder, it 
never runs on what is wrong, but only on different things, 
considering what is going on here, or there, or elsewhere. 
I see then, more and more, the exceeding great mercy of our 
Lord to me, when He keeps this lunatic bound in the chains 
of perfect contemplation. I wonder what would happen if 
those people who think I am good knew of my extravagance. 
I am very sorry when I see my soul in such bad company; I 
long to see it delivered therefrom, and so I say to our Lord: 
When, O my God, shall I see my whole soul praising Thee, 
that it may have the fruition of Thee in all its faculties? Let 
me be no longer, O Lord, thus torn to pieces, and every one of 
them, as it were, running in a different direction. This has 
been often the case with me, but I think that my scanty bodily 
health was now and then enough to bring it about. 

20. I dwell much on the harm which original sin has 
done us; that is, I believe, what has rendered us incapable 
of the fruition of so great a good. My sins, too, must be in 
fault; for, if I had not committed so many, I should have 
been more perfect in goodness. Another great affliction which 
I suffered was this: all the books which I read on the subject 
of prayer, I thought I understood thoroughly, and that I 
required them no longer, because our Lord had given me 
the gift of prayer. I therefore ceased to read those books, 
and applied myself to lives of Saints, thinking that this would 
improve me and give me courage ; for I found myself very 
defective in every kind of service which the Saints rendered 
unto God. Then it struck me that I had very little humility, 
when I could think that I had attained to this degree of 
prayer; and so, when I could not come to any other con 
clusion, I was greatly distressed, until certain learned persons, 
and the blessed friar, Peter of Alcantara, told me not to 
trouble myself about the matter. 

21. I see clearly enough that I have not yet begun 
to serve God, though He showers down upon me those very 
graces which He gives to many good people. I am a mass 
of imperfection, except in desire and in love; for herein 
I see well that our Lord has been gracious to me, in order 
that I may please Him in some measure. I really think 
that I love Him ; but my conduct, and the many imperfec 
tions I discern in myself, make me sad. 


22. My soul, also, is subject occasionally to a certain 
foolishness, that is the right name to give it, when I 
seem to be doing neither good nor evil, but following in 
the wake of others, as they say, without pain or pleasure, 
indifferent to life and death, pleasure and pain. I seem to 
have no feeling. The soul seems to me like a little ass, which 
feeds and thrives, because it accepts the food which is given 
it, and eats it without reflection. The soul in this state 
must be feeding on some great mercies of God, seeing that 
its miserable life is no burden to it, and that it bears it 
patiently; but it is conscious of no sensible movements or 
results, whereby it may ascertain the state it is in. 

23. It seems to me now like sailing with a very gentle 
wind, when one makes much way without knowing how; 
for in the other states, so great are the effects, that the soul 
sees almost at once an improvement in itself, because the 
desires instantly are on fire, and the soul is never satisfied. 
This comes from those great impetuosities of love, spoken 
of before, 1 in those to whom God grants them. It is like 
those little wells I have seen flowing, wherein the upheaving 
of the sand never ceases. This illustration and comparison 
seem to me to be a true description of those souls who at 
tain to this state ; their love is ever active, thinking what 
it may do ; it cannot contain itself, as the water remains not 
in the earth, but is continually welling upwards. So is the soul, 
in general ; it is not at rest, nor can it contain itself, because 
of the love it has : it is so saturated therewith, that it would 
have others drink of it, because there is more than enough 
for itself, in order that they might help it to praise God. 

24. I call to remembrance oh, how often ! that living 
water of which our Lord spoke to the Samaritan woman. 
That Gospel 2 has a great attraction for me; and, indeed, so 
it had even when I was a little child, though I did not under 
stand it then as I do now. I used to pray much to our 
Lord for that living water; and I had always a picture of 
it. representing our Lord at the well, with this inscription, 
"Lord, give me this water." 3 

1 Ch. xxix. 11. 

2 S. John iv. 5-42: the Gospel of Friday after the Third Sunday in 
Lent, where the words are, "hanc aquam." 

3 S. John iv. 15 See ch. i. 6; and Way of Perfection, ch. xxix. 
5; ch. xix. 5 of the earlier editions. 


25. This love is also like a great fire, which requires 
fuel continually, in order that it may not burn out. So 
those souls I am speaking of, however much it may cost them, 
will always bring fuel, in order that the fire may not be 
quenched. As for me, I should be glad, considering what 
I am, if I had but straw even to throw upon it. And so 
it is with me occasionally and, indeed, very often. At one 
time, I laugh at myself; and at another, I am very much 
distressed. The inward stirring of my love urges me to 
do something for the service of God; and I am not able to do 
more than adorn images with boughs and flowers, clean or 
arrange an oratory, or some such trifling acts, so that I am 
ashamed of myself. If I undertook any penitential practice, 
the whole was so slight, and was done in such a way, that if 
our Lord did not accept my good will, I saw it was all worth 
less, and so I laughed at myself. The failure of bodily 
strength, sufficient to do something for God, is no light afflic 
tion for those souls to whom He, in His goodness, has com 
municated this fire of His love in its fulness. It is a very 
great penance ; for when souls are not strong enough to heap 
fuel on this fire, and die of fear that the fire may go out, it 
seems to me that they become fuel themselves, are reduced 
to ashes, or dissolved in tears, and burn away: and this is 
suffering enough, though it be sweet. 

26. Let him, then, praise our Lord exceedingly, who has 
attained to this state; who has received the bodily strength 
requisite for penance ; who has learning, ability, and power to 
preach, to hear confessions, and to draw souls unto God. Such 
a one neither knows nor comprehends the blessing he pos 
sesses, unless he knows by experience what it is to be power 
less to serve God in any thing, and at the same time to be 
receiving much from Him. May He be blessed for ever, and 
may the angels glorify Him ! Amen. 

27. I know not if I do well to write so much in detail. 
But as you, my father, bade me again not to be troubled by 
the minuteness of my account, nor to omit any thing, I go on 
recounting clearly and truly all I can call to mind. But I 
must omit much; for if I did not, I should have to spend 
more time and, as I said before, 1 I have so little to spend, 
and perhaps, after all, nothing will be gained. 

Ch. xiv. 12. 




1. Now that I have described certain temptations and 
troubles, interior and secret, of which Satan was the cause, I 
will speak of others which he wrought almost in public, and 
in which his presence could not be ignored. 1 

2. I was once in an oratory, when Satan, in an abomin 
able shape, appeared on my left hand. I looked at his mouth 
in particular, because he spoke, and it was horrible. A huge 
flame seemed to issue out of his body, perfectly bright, with 
out any shadow. He spoke in a fearful way, and said to me 
that, though I had escaped out of his hands, he would yet 
lay hold of me again. I was in great terror, made the sign 
of the cross as well as I could, and then the form vanished 
but it reappeared instantly. This occurred twice. I did not 
know what to do ; there was some holy water at hand ; I 
took some, and threw it in the direction of the figure, and 
then Satan never returned. 

3. On another occasion, I was tortured for five hours 
with such terrible pains, such inward and outward sufferings, 
that it seemed to me as if I could not bear them. Those who 
were with me were frightened ; they knew not what to do, 
and I could not help myself. I am in the habit, when these 
pains and my bodily suffering are most unendurable, to make 
interior acts as well as I can, imploring our Lord, if it be 
His will, to give me patience, and then to let me suffer on, 
even to the end of the world. So, when I found myself suffer 
ing so cruelly, I relieved myself by making those acts and 
resolutions, in order that I might be able to endure the pain. 
It pleased* our Lord to let me understand that it was the 
work of Satan ; for I saw close beside me a most frightful 
little negro, gnashing his teeth in despair at losing what he 
attempted to seize. When I saw him, I laughed, and had 
no fear; for there were some then present who were helpless, 
and knew of no means whereby so great a pain could be 

1 2 Cor. ii. 11. 


Hye Hoys del. 

1. Church of St. Joseph. The adjoining house is built on the original site 
of the convent. 2. Drum used in the monastery on certain days of recreation 
in the time of St. Teresa. 3. Tambourine of the same period. 4. Impression 
of a seal engraved on a steel used by St. Teresa. Slightly different from those at 
Valladolid, larger, and with the monogram of our Lord supported by an eagle. 
5. Copper hand- warmer used by St Teresa during the winter of 157*5. when she 
was writing her book of Foundations. fi Monastery of Diealeed fjirmelites f 
St. Clare, called The Royal Discalced at Madrid, which St Teresa visited in 1567. 


Bruges, P Rao.ux. 

7. Hermitages of la Slerra-Morena near Cordova, in 1845. 8. Beatrix of Jesus, niece of 
St. Teresa, prioress of the monastery at Toledo, in 1607. 9. Monastery of Discalced 
Carmelites, as seen from the side of the Vega baja. 10. Monastery. Group of 

Carlists being led through the town to execution in the Civil War of 1836. 11. 
Ruins (in 1862) of the Observant monastery, where St. John of the Cross was im 
prisoned. 12. Arms of de Mascarenes family. 13. Arms of the Tello Giron family. 

14. Arms of the family of de la Cerda. 15. Arms of the imperial city of Toledo. 

(See Appendix, note 12.) 


relieved. My body, head, and arms were violently shaken; 
I could not help myself: but the worst of all was the interior 
pain, for I could find no ease in any way. Nor did I dare to 
ask for holy water, lest they who were with me should be 
afraid, and find out what the matter really was. 

4. I know by frequent experience that there is nothing 
which puts the devils to flight like holy water. They run 
away before the sign of the cross also, but they return im 
mediately : great, then, must be the power of holy water. As 
for me, my soul is conscious of a special and most distinct 
consolation whenever I take it. Indeed, I feel almost always 
a certain refreshing, which I cannot describe, together with 
an inward joy, which comforts my whole soul. This is no 
fancy, nor a thing which has occurred once only; for it has 
happened very often, and I have watched it very carefully. 
I may compare what I feel with that which happens to a 
person in great heat, and very thirsty, drinking a cup of 
cold water his whole being is refreshed. I consider that 
every thing ordained by the Church is very important; and 
I have a joy in reflecting that the words of the Church are 
so mighty, that they endow water with power, so that there 
shall be so great a difference between holy water and water 
that has never been blessed. Then, as my pains did not 
cease, I told them, if they would not laugh, I would ask for 
some holy water. They brought me some, and sprinkled 
me with it; but I was no better. I then threw some myself 
in the direction of the negro, when he fled in a moment. All 
my sufferings ceased, just as if some one had taken them 
from me with his hand ; only I was wearied, as if I had been 
beaten with many blows. It was of great service to me to 
learn that if, by our Lord s permission, Satan can do so much 
evil to a soul and body not in his power, he can do much more 
when he has them in his possession. It gave me a renewed 
desire to be delivered from a fellowship so dangerous. 

5. Another time, and not long ago, the same thing 
happened to me, though it did not last so long, and I was 
alone at the moment. I asked for holy water ; and they 
who came in after the devil had gone away, they were two 
nuns, worthy of all credit, and who would not tell a lie 
for any thing, perceived a most offensive smell, like that 
of brimstone. I smelt nothing myself; but the odour lasted 
long enough to become sensible to them. 


6. On another occasion, I was in choir, when, in a moment, 
I became profoundly recollected. I went out, in order that 
the sisters might know nothing of it; yet those who were 
near heard the sound of heavy blows where I was, and I 
heard voices myself, as of persons in consultation, but I did 
not hear what they said: I was so absorbed in prayer, that 
I understood nothing, neither was I at all afraid. This took 
place almost alw r ays when our Lord was pleased that some 
soul or other, persuaded by me, advanced in the spiritual 
life. Certainly, what I am now about to describe happened 
to me once; there are witnesses to testify to it, particularly 
my present confessor, for he saw the account in a letter. I 
did not tell him from whom the letter came, but he knew 
perfectly who the person was. 

7. There came to me a person who, for two years and 
a half, had been living in mortal sin of the most abominable 
nature I ever heard. During the whole of that time, he neither 
confessed it nor ceased from it ; and yet he said Mass. He 
confessed his other sins; but of this one he used to say, How 
can I confess so foul a sin? He wished to give it up, but 
he could not prevail on himself to do so. I was very sorry 
for him, and it was a great grief to me to see God offended 
in such a w r ay. I promised him that I would pray to God 
for his amendment, and get others who were better than I 
to do the same. I wrote to one person, and the priest under 
took to get the letter delivered. It came to pass that he 
made a full confession at the first opportunity ; for our Lord 
God was pleased, on account of the prayers of those most 
holy persons to whom I had recommended him, to have pity 
on this soul. I, too, wretched as I am, did all I could for the 
same end. 

8. He wrote to me, and said that he was so far improved, 
that he had not for some days repeated his sin; but he was 
so tormented by the temptation, that it seemed to him as if 
he were in hell already, so great were his sufferings. He 
asked me to pray to God for him. I recommended him to 
my sisters, through whose prayers I must have obtained this 
mercy from our Lord; for they took the matter greatly to 
heart ; and he was a person whom no one could find out. I 
implored His Majesty to put an end to these torments and 
temptations, and to let the evil spirits torment me instead, 
provided I did not offend our Lord. Thus it was that for one 


month I was most grievously tormented ; and then it was that 
those two assaults of Satan, of which I have just spoken, took 

9. Our Lord was pleased to deliver him out of this 
temptation, so I was informed ; for I told him what happened 
to myself that month. His soul gained strength, and he con 
tinued free; he could never give thanks enough to our Lord 
and to me, as if I had been of any service unless it be that 
the belief he had that our Lord granted me such graces was 
of some advantage to him. He said that, when he saw himself- 
in great straits, he would read my letters, and then the tempta 
tion left him. He was very much astonished at my sufferings, 
and at the manner of his own deliverance : even I myself 
am astonished, and I would suffer as much for many years 
for the deliverance of that soul. May our Lord be praised 
for ever! for the prayers of those who serve Him can do 
great things ; and I believe the sisters of this house do serve 
Him. The devils must have been more angry with me only 
because I asked them to pray, and because our Lord permitted 
it on account of my sins. At that time, too, I thought the 
evil spirits would have suffocated me one night, and when 
the sisters threw much holy water about I saw a great troop 
of them rush away as if tumbling over a precipice. These 
cursed spirits have tormented me so often, and I am now 
so little afraid of them, because I see they cannot stir with 
out our Lord s permission, that I should weary both you, my 
father, and myself, if I were to speak of these things in detail. 

10. May this I have written be of use to the true servant 
of God, who ought to despise these terrors, which Satan sends 
only to make him afraid ! Let him understand that each 
time we despise those terrors, their force is lessened, and the 
soul gains power over them. There is always some great 
good obtained ; but I will not speak of it, that I may not be 
too diffuse. I will speak, however, of what happened to me 
once on the night of All Souls. I was in an oratory, and, 
having said one Nocturn, was saying some very devotional 
prayers at the end of our Breviary, when Satan put himself 
on the book before me, to prevent my finishing my prayer. 
I made the sign of the cross, and he went aw r ay. I then 
returned to my prayer, and he, too, came back ; he did so, 
I believe, three times, and I was not able to finish the prayer 
without throwing holy water at him. I saw certain souls at 


that moment come forth out of purgatory they must have 
been near their deliverance, and I thought that Satan might 
in this way have been trying to hinder their release. It was 
very rarely that I saw Satan assume a bodily form ; I know of 
his presence through the vision I have spoken of before, 1 the 
vision wherein no form is seen. 

11. I wish also to relate what follows, for I was greatly 
alarmed at it: on Trinity Sunday, in the choir of a certain 
monastery, and in a trance, I saw a great fight between evil 
spirits and the angels. I could not make out what the vision 
meant. In less than a fortnight, it was explained clearly 
enough by the dispute that took place between persons given 
to prayer and many who were not, which did great harm to 
that house; for it was a dispute that lasted long, and caused 
much trouble. On another occasion, I saw a great multitude 
of evil spirits round about me, and, at the same time, a 
great light, in which I was enveloped, which kept them from 
coming near me. I understood it to mean that God was 
watching over me, that they might not approach me so as 
to make me offend Him. I knew the vision was real by what 
I saw occasionally in myself. The fact is, I know now how 
little power the evil spirits have, provided I am not out of 
the grace of God; I have scarcely any fear of them at all, 
for their strength is as nothing; if they do not find the 
souls they assail give up the contest, and become cowards, 
it is in this case that they show their power. 

12. Now and then, during the temptations I am speak 
ing of, it seemed to me as if all my vanity and weakness in 
times past had become alive again within me ; so I had reason 
enough to commit myself into the hands of God. Then I was 
tormented by the thought that, as these things came back 
to my memory, I must be utterly in the power of Satan, 
until my confessor consoled me; for I imagined that even 
the first movement towards an evil thought ought not to 
have come near one who had received from our Lord such 
great graces as I had. 

13. At other times, I was much tormented and even 
now I am tormented when I saw people make much of me, 
particularly great people, and when they spake well of me. 
I have suffered, and still suffer, much in this way. I think 
at once of the life of Christ and of the Saints, and then my 

1 Ch. xxvii. 8 4. 


life seems the reverse of theirs, for they received nothing 
but contempt and ill-treatment. All this makes me afraid; 
I dare not lift up my head, and I wish nobody saw me at all. 
It is not thus with me when I am persecuted; then my soul 
is so conscious of strength, though the body suffers, and 
though I am in other ways afflicted, that I do not know how 
this can be; but so it is, and my soul seems then to be a 
queen in its kingdom, having every thing under its feet. 

14. I had such a thought now and then and, indeed, 
for many days together. I regarded it as a sign of virtue 
and of humility; but I see clearly now that it was nothing 
else but a temptation. A Dominican friar, of great learn 
ing, showed it to me very plainly. When I considered that 
the graces which our Lord had bestowed upon me might 
come to the knowledge of the public, my sufferings became 
so excessive as greatly to disturb my soul. They went so 
far, that I made up my mind, while thinking of it, that I 
would rather be buried alive than have these things known. 
And so, when I began to be profoundly recollected, or to 
fall into a trance, which I could not resist even in public, 
I was so ashamed of myself, that I would not appear where 
people might see me. 

15. Once, when I was much distressed at this, our Lord 
said to me, What was I afraid of? one of two things must 
happen people would either speak ill of me, or give glory 
to Him. He made me understand by this, that those who 
believed in the truth of what was going on in me would 
glorify Him; and that those who did not would condemn 
me without cause: in both ways I should be the gainer, and 
I was therefore not to distress myself. 1 This made me quite 
calm, and it comforts me whenever I think of it. 

16. This temptation became so excessive, that I wished 
to leave the house, and take my dower to another monastery, 
where enclosure was more strictly observed than in that 
wherein I was at this time. I had heard great things of that 
other house, which was of the same Order as mine , it was 
also at a great distance, and it would have been a great 
consolation to me to live where I was not known ; but my 
confessor would never let me go. These fears deprived me 
in a great measure of all liberty of spirit ; and I understood 
afterwards that this w r as not true humility, because it dis- 

1 See Inner Fortress, vi. ch. iv. 12. 


turbed me so much. And our Lord taught me this truth : 
if I was convinced, and certainly persuaded, that all that 
was good in me came wholly and only from God, and if it did 
not distress me to hear the praises of others, yea, rather, 
if I was pleased and comforted when I saw that God was 
working in them, then neither should I be distressed if 
He showed forth His works in me. 

17. I fell, too, into another extreme. I begged of God, 
and made it a particular subject of prayer, that it might 
please His Majesty, whenever any one saw any good in me, 
that such a one might also become acquainted with my sins, 
in order that he might see that His graces were bestowed 
on me without any merit on my part: and I always greatly 
desire this. My confessor told me not to do it. But almost 
to this day, if I saw that any one thought well of me, I used 
in a roundabout way, or anyhow, as I could, to contrive he 
should know of my sins : x that seemed to relieve me. But 
they have made me very scrupulous on this point. This, 
it appears to me, was not an effect of humility, but often 
times the result of temptation. It seemed to me that I was 
deceiving every body though, in truth, they deceived them 
selves, by thinking that there was any good in me. 2 I did 
not wish to deceive them, nor did I ever attempt it, only 
our Lord permitted it for some end; and so, even with my 
confessors, I never discussed any of these matters if I did 
not see the necessity of it, for that would have occasioned 
very considerable scruples. 

18. All these little fears and distresses, and semblance 
of humility, I now see clearly were mere imperfections, and 
the result of my unmortined life ; for a soul left in the hands 
of God cares nothing about evil or good report, if it clearly 
comprehends, when our Lord is pleased to bestow upon 
it His grace, that it has nothing of its own. Let it trust the 
Giver; it will know hereafter why He reveals His gifts, 
and prepare itself for persecution, which in these times is 
sure to come, when it is our Lord s will it should be known 
of any one that He bestows upon him graces such as these ; 
for a thousand eyes are watching that soul, while a thousand 

1 Way of Perfection, ch. Ixv. 2; but ch. xxxvi. of the previous 

2 See ch. x. 10. 


souls of another order are observed of none. In truth, there 
was no little ground for fear, and that fear should have been 
mine: I was therefore not humble, but a coward; for a soul 
which God permits to be thus seen of men may well prepare 
itself to be the world s martyr because, if it will not die 
to the world voluntarily, that very world will kill it. 

19. Certainly, I see nothing in the world that seems to 
me good except this, that it tolerates no faults in good people, 
and helps them to perfection by dint of complaints against 
them. I mean, that it requires greater courage in one not 
yet perfect to walk in the way of perfection than to undergo 
an instant martyrdom; for perfection is not attained to at 
once, unless our Lord grant that grace by a special privilege : 
yet the world, when it sees any one beginning to travel on 
that road, insists on his becoming perfect at once, and a 
thousand leagues off detects in him a fault, which after all 
may be a virtue. He who finds fault is doing the very same 
thing, but, in his own case, viciously, and he pronounces 
it to be so wrong in the other. He who aims at perfection, 
then, must neither eat nor sleep, nor, as they say, even 
breathe; and the more men respect such a one, the more 
do they forget that he is still in the body ; and, though they 
may consider him perfect, he is living on the earth, subject 
to its miseries, however much he may tread them under 
his feet. And so, as I have just said, great courage is neces 
sary here ; for, though the poor soul have not yet begun to 
walk, the world will have it fly; and, though its passions 
be not wholly overcome, men will have it that they must 
be under restraint, even upon trying occasions, as those of 
the Saints are, of whom they read, after they are confirmed 
in grace. 

20. All this is a reason for praising God, and also for 
great sorrow of heart, because very many go backwards 
who, poor souls, know not how to help themselves ; and I 
too, I believe, would have gone back also, if our Lord had 
not so mercifully on His part done every thing for me. And 
until He, of His goodness, had done all, nothing was done 
by me, as you, my father, may have seen already, beyond 
falling and rising again. I wish I knew how to explain it, 
because many souls, I believe, delude themselves in this 
matter ; they would fly before God gives them wings. 

21. I believe I have made this comparison on another 


occasion, 1 but it is to the purpose here, for I see certain souls 
are very greatly afflicted on that ground. When these souls 
begin, with great fervour, courage, and desire, to advance 
in virtue, some of them, at least outwardly, giving up all 
for God, when they see in others, more advanced than them 
selves, greater fruits of virtue given them by our Lord, 
for we cannot acquire these of ourselves, when they see 
in all the books written on prayer and on contemplation 
an account of what we have to do in order to attain thereto, 
but which they cannot accomplish themselves, they lose 
heart. For instance, they read that we must not be troubled 
when men speak ill of us, that we are to be then more 
pleased than when they speak well of us ; that we must 
despise our own good name, be detached from our kindred, 
avoid their company, which should be wearisome to us, un 
less they be given to prayer; with many other things of the 
same kind. The disposition to practise this must be, in my 
opinion, the gift of God ; for it seems to me a supernatural 
good, contrary to our natural inclinations. Let them not 
distress themselves ; let them trust in our Lord : what they 
now desire, His Majesty will enable them to attain to by 
prayer, and by doing what they can themselves ; for it is 
very necessary for our weak nature that we should have 
great confidence, that we should not be faint-Hearted, nor 
suppose that, if we do our best, we shall fail to obtain the 
victory at last. And as my experience here is large, I will 
say, by way of caution to you, my father, do not think 
though it may seem so that a virtue is acquired when we 
have not tested it by its opposing vice : we must always 
be suspicious of ourselves, and never negligent while we live ; 
for much evil clings to us if, as I said before, 2 grace be not 
given to us fully to understand what every thing is : and in 
this life there is nothing without great risks. 

22. I thought a few years ago, not only that I was 
detached from my kindred, but that they were a burden to 
me ; and certainly it was so, for I could not endure their 
conversation. An affair of some importance had to be settled, 
and I had to remain with a sister of mine, for whom I had 
always before had a great affection. The conversation we 
had together, though she is better than I am, did not please 

1 Ch. xiii. 3. 2 Ch. xx. 33. 


me; for it could not always be on subjects I preferred, owing 
to the difference of our conditions she being married. I 
was therefore as much alone as I could; yet I felt that her 
troubles gave me more trouble than did those of my neigh 
bours, and even some anxiety. In short, I found out that 
I was not so detached as I thought, and that it was neces 
sary for me to flee from dangerous occasions, in order that 
the virtue which our Lord had begun to implant in me might 
grow; and so, by His help, I have striven to do from that 
time till now. 

23. If our Lord bestows any virtue upon us, we must 
make much of it, and by no means run the risk of losing 
it; so it is in those things which concern our good name, 
and many other matters. You, my father, must believe that 
we are not all of us detached, though w^e think we are; it 
is necessary for us never to be careless on this point. If any 
one detects in himself any tenderness about his good name, 
and yet wishes to advance in the spiritual life, let him be 
lieve me and throw this embarrassment behind his back, 
for it is a chain which no file can sever; only the help of 
God, obtained by prayer and much striving on his part, can 
do it. It seems to me to be a hindrance on the road, and I 
am astonished at the harm it does. I see some persons so 
holy in their works, and they are so great as to fill people 
with wonder. O my God, why is their soul still on the earth? 
Why has it not arrived at the summit of perfection? What 
does it mean? What keeps him back who does so much for 
God? Oh, there it is! self-respect; and the worst of it is, 
that these persons will not admit that they have it, merely 
because Satan now and then convinces them that they are 
under an obligation to observe it. 

24. Well, then, let them believe me: for the love of our 
Lord, let them give heed to the little ant, who speaks because 
it is His pleasure. If they take not this caterpillar away, 
though it does not hurt the whole tree, because some virtues 
remain, the worm will eat into every one of them. Not only 
is the tree not beautiful, but it also never thrives, neither 
does it suffer the others near it to thrive ; for the fruit of 
good example which it bears is not sound, and endures but 
a short time. I say it again and again, let our self-respect be 
ever so slight, it will have the same results as the missing 
of a note on the organ when it is played, the whole music 


is out of tune. It is a thing which hurts the soul exceedingly 
in every way, but it is a pestilence in the way of prayer. 

25. Are we striving after union with God? and do we 
wish to follow the counsels of Christ, who was loaded with 
reproaches and falsely accused, and, at the same time, to 
keep our own reputation and credit untouched? We cannot 
succeed, for these things are inconsistent one with another. 
Our Lord comes to the soul when we do violence to ourselves, 
and strive to give up our rights in many things. Some will 
say, I have nothing that I can give up, nor have I any oppor 
tunity of doing so. I believe that our Lord will never suffer 
any one who has made so good a resolution as this to miss 
so great a blessing. His Majesty will make so many arrange 
ments for him, whereby he may acquire this virtue, more 
frequently, perhaps, than he will like. Let him put his hand 
to the work. I speak of the liltle nothings and trifles which 
I gave up when I began or, at least, of some of them : the 
straws which I said 1 I threw into the fire; for I am not 
able to do more. All this our Lord accepted: may He be 
blessed for evermore ! 

26. One of my faults was this: I had a very imperfect 
knowledge of my Breviary and of my duties in choir, simply 
because I was careless and given to vanities: and I knew 
the other novices could have taurht me. But I never asked 
them, that they might not know how little I knew. It sug 
gested itself to me at once, that I ought to set a good 
example : this is very common. Now, however, that God has 
opened my eyes a little, even when I know a thing, but 
yet am very slightly in doubt about it, I ask the children. 
I have lost neither honour nor credit by it on the contrary 
I believe our Lord has been pleased to strengthen my memory 
My singing of the Office was bad, and I felt it much if I 
had not learned the part intrusted to me, not because I 
made mistakes before our Lord, which would have been a 
virtue, but because I made them before the many nuns who 
heard me. I was so full of my own reputation, that I was 
disturbed, and therefore did not sing what I had to sing 
even so well as I might have done. Afterwards, I ventured, 
when I did not know it very well, to say so. At first, I 
felt it very much ; but afterwards I found pleasure in doing it. 
So, when I began to be indifferent about its being known that 

1 Ch. xxx. 25. 


I could not sing well, it gave me no pain at all, and I sang 
much better. This miserable seli-esteem took from me the 
power of doing that which I regarded as an honour, for every 
one regards as honourable that which he likes. 

27. By trifles such as these, which are nothing, and 
I am altogether nothing myself, seeing that this gave me 
pain, by little and little, doing such actions, and by such 
slight performances, they become of worth because done 
for God, His Majesty helps us on towards greater things; 
and so it happened to me in the matter of humility. When I 
saw that all the nuns except myself were making great pro 
gress, I was always myself good for nothing, I used to 
fold up their mantles when they left the choir. 1 locked on 
myself as doing service to angels who had been there prais 
ing God. T did so till they I know not how found it out; 
and then I was not a little ashamed, because my virtue was not 
strong enough to bear that they should know of it. But the 
shame arose, not because I was humble, but because I was 
afraid they would laugh at me, the matter being so trLling. 

28. O Lord, what a shame for me to lay bare so much 
wickedness, and to number these grains of sand, which yet I 
did not raise up from the ground in Thy service without 
mixing them with a thousand meannesses! The waters of 
Thy grace were not as yet flowing beneath them, so 
as to make them ascend upwards. O my Creator, oh, 
that I had any thing worth recounting amid so many 
evil things, when I am recounting the great mercies I re 
ceived at Thy hands ! So it is, O my Lord. I know not how 
my heart could have borne it, nor how any one who shall 
read this can help having me in abhorrence when he sees 
that mercies so great had been so ill-requited, and that I 
have not been ashamed to speak of these services. Ah ! they 
are only mine, O my Lord; but I am ashamed I have nolhinrj 
else to say of myself, and that it is that makes me speak 
of these wretched beginnings, in order that he who has 
begun more nobly may have hope that our Lord, v/ho has 
made much of mine, will make more of his. May it p?eare 
His Majesty to give me this grace, that I may not remaH 
for ever at the beginning! Amen. 1 

1 Don Vicente de la Fuente thinks the first "Life" end^d l^ro; that 
which follows was written under obedience to her con^es^r, F. Gircia 
of Toledo, and after the foundation of the monastery of S. Toenii t Avila. 






1. SOME considerable time after our Lord had bestowed 
upon me the graces I have been describing, and others also 
of a higher nature, I was one day in prayer, when I found 
myself in a moment, without knowing how, plunged appar 
ently into hell. I understood that it was our Lord s will 
I should see the place which the devils kept in readiness 
for me, and which I had deserved by my sins. It was but 
a moment, but it seems to me impossible I should ever forget 
it even if I were to live many years. 

2. The entrance seemed to be by a long and narrow 
pass, like a furnace, very low, dark, and close. The ground 
seemed to be saturated with water, mere mud, exceedingly 
foul, sending forth pestilential odours, and covered with loath 
some vermin. At the end was a hollow place in the wall, 
like a closet, and in that I saw myself confined. All this 
was even pleasant to behold in comparison with what I felt 
there. There is no exaggeration in what I am saying. 

3. But as to what I then felt, I do not know where to 
begin, if I were to describe it; it is utterly inexplicable. I 
felt a fire in my soul. I cannot see how it is possible to 
describe it. My bodily sufferings were unendurable. I have 
undergone most painful sufferings in this life, and, as the 
physicians say, the greatest that can be borne, such as the 
contraction of my sinews when I was paralysed, 1 without 
speaking of others of different kinds, yea, even those of 
which I have also spoken, 2 inflicted on me by Satan; yet all 
these were as nothing in comparison with what I felt then, 
especially when I saw that there would be no intermission, 
nor any end to them. 

4. These sufferings were nothing in comparison with 
the anguish of my soul, a sense of oppression, of stifling, 
and of pain so keen, accompanied by so hopeless and cruel 
an infliction, that I know not how to speak of it. If I said 

1 See ch. v. 14, ch. vi. 1. * Ch. xxxi. 3. 


that the soul is continually being torn from the body, it 
would be nothing, for that implies the destruction of life by 
the hands of another; but here it is the soul itself that is 
tearing itself in pieces. I cannot describe that inward fire 
or that despair, surpassing all torments and all pain. I did 
not see who it was that tormented me, but I felt myself on 
fire, and torn to pieces, as it seemed to me ; and, I repeat it, 
this inward fire and despair are the greatest torments of 

5. Left in that pestilential place, and utterly without 
the power to hope for comfort, I could neither sit nor lie 
down ; there was no room. I was placed as it were in a 
hole in the wall; and those walls, terrible to look on of 
themselves, hemmed me in on every side. I could not breathe. 
There was no light, but all was thick darkness. I do not 
understand how it is ; though there was no light, yet every 
thing that can give pain by being seen was visible. 

6. Our Lord at that time would not let me see more 
of hell. Afterwards, I had another most fearful vision, in 
which I saw the punishment of certain sins. They were 
most horrible to look at; but, because I felt none of the 
pain, my terror was not so great. In the former vision, our 
Lord made me really feel those torments, and that anguish 
of spirit, just as if I had been suffering them in the body 
there. I know not how it was, but I understood distinctly 
that it was a great mercy that our Lord would have me see 
with mine own eyes the very place from which His compas 
sion saved me. I have listened to people speaking of these 
things, and I have at other times dwelt on the various tor 
ments of hell, though not often, because my soul made no 
progress by the way of fear ; and I have read of the diverse 
tortures, and how the devils tear the flesh with red-hot pincers. 
But all is as nothing before this ; it is a wholly different 
matter. In short, the one is a reality, the other a picture ; 
and all burning here in this life is as nothing in comparison 
with the fire that is there. 

7. I was so terrified by that vision, and that terror 
is on me even now while I am writing, that though it took 
place nearly six years ago, 1 the natural warmth of my body 
is chilled by fear even now when I think of it. And so, 
amid all the pain and suffering which I may have had to 

In 1558 (De la Fuente). 


Lear, 1 remember no time in which I do not think that all 
we have to suffer in this world is as nothing. It seems to 
me that we complain without reason. I repeat it, this vision 
was one of the grandest mercies of our Lord. It has been 
to me of the greatest service, because it has destroyed my 
fear of trouble and of the contradiction of the world, and 
because it has made me strong enough to bear up against 
them, and to give thanks to our Lord, who has been my 
Deliverer, as it now seems to me, from such fearful and 
everlasting pains. 

8. Ever since that time, as I was saying, every thing 
seems endurable in comparison with one instant of suffer 
ings such as those I had then to bear in hell. I am filled 
with fear when I see that, after frequently reading books 
which describe in some manner the pains of hell, I was not 
afraid of them, nor made any account of them. Where was 
I? How could I possibly take any pleasure in those things 
which led me directly to so dreadful a place? Blessed for 
ever be Thou, O my God! and, oh, how manifest is it that 
Thou didst love me much more than I did love Thee ! How 
often, O Lord, didst Thou save me from that fearful prison ! 
and how I used to get back to it contrary to Thy will ! 

9. It was that vision that filled me with the very great 
distress which I feel at the sight of so many lost souls, 
especially of the Lutherans, for they were once members 
of the Church by baptism, and also gave me the most vehe 
ment desires for the salvation of souls; for certainly I be 
lieve that, to save even one from those overwhelming tor 
ments, I would most willingly endure many deaths. If here 
on earth we see one whom we specially love in great trouble 
or pain, our very nature seems to bid us compassionate him ; 
and if those pains be great, we are troubled ourselves. What, 
then, must it be to see a soul in danger of pain, the most 
grievous of all pains for ever? Who can endure it? It is a 
thought no heart can bear without great anguish. Here we 
know that pain ends with life at last, and that there are 
limits to it; yet the sight of it moves our compassion so 
greatly. That other pain has no ending; and I know not 
how we can be calm, when we see Satan carry so many souls 
daily away. 

10. This also makes me wish that, in a mat f er which 
concerns us so much, we did not rest satisfied with doing 


less than we can do on our part, that we left nothing undone. 
May our Lord vouchsafe to give us His grace for that 
end ! When I consider that, notwithstanding my very great 
wickedness, I took some pains to please God, and abstained 
from certain things which I know the world makes light of, 
that, in short, I suffered grievous infirmities, and with 
great patience, which our Lord gave me ; that I was not 
inclined to murmur or to speak ill of any body ; that I could 
not I believe so wish harm to any one ; that I was not, to 
the best of my recollection, either avaricious or envious, so 
as to be grievously offensive in the sight of God ; and that 
I was free from many other faults, for, though so wicked, 
I had lived constantly in the fear of God, I had to look at 
the very place which the devils kept ready for me. It is 
true, that, considering my faults, I had deserved a still heavier 
chastisement ; but for all that, I repeat it, the torment was 
fearful, and we run a great risk whenever we please our 
selves. No soul should take either rest or pleasure that is 
liable to fall every moment into mortal sin. Let us, then, 
for the love of God, avoid all occasions of sin, and our Lord 
will help us, as He has helped me. May it please His Majesty 
never to let me out of His hands, lest I should turn back 
and fall, now that I have seen the place where I must dwell 
if I do. I entreat our Lord, for His Majesty s sake, never to 
permit it. Amen. 

11. When I had seen this vision, and had learned other 
great and hidden things which our Lord, of His goodness, 
was pleased to show me, namely, the joy of the blessed 
and the torment of the wicked, I longed for the way and 
the means of doing penance for the great evil I had done, 
and of meriting in some degree, so that I might gain so 
great a good ; and therefore I wished to avoid all society, 
and to withdraw myself utterly from the world. I was in 
spirit restless, yet my restlessness was not harassing, but 
rather pleasant. I saw clearly that it was the work of God, 
and that His Majesty had furnished my soul with fervour, so 
that I might be able to digest other and stronger food than 
I had been accustomed to eat. I tried to think what I 
could do for God, and thought that the first thing was to 
follow my vocation to a religious life, which His Majesty 
had given me, by keeping my rule in the greatest perfection 


12. Though in that house in which I then lived there 
were many servants of God, and God was greatly served 
therein, yet, because it was very poor, the nuns left it very 
often and went to other places, where, however, we could 
serve God in all honour and observances of religion. The 
rule also was kept, not in its original exactness, but accord 
ing to the custom of the whole Order, authorised by the 
Bull of Mitigation. There were other inconveniences also : 
we had too many comforts, as it seemed to me ; for the house 
was large and pleasant. But this inconvenience of going out, 
though it was I that took most advantage of it, was a very 
grievous one for me ; for many persons, to whom my superiors 
could not say no, were glad to have me with them. My 
superiors, thus importuned, commanded me to visit these 
persons ; and thus it was so arranged that I could not be long 
together in the monastery. Satan, too, must have had a share 
in this, in order that I might not be in the house, where I was 
of great service to those of my sisters to whom I continually 
communicated the instructions which I received from my 

13. It occurred once to a person with whom I was speak 
ing to say to me and the others that it was possible to find 
means for the foundation of a monastery, if we were pre 
pared to become nuns like those of the Barefooted Orders. 1 
I, having this desire, began to discuss the matter with that 
widowed lady who was my companion, I have spoken of 
her before, 2 and she had the same wish that I had. She 
began to consider how to provide a revenue for the home. 
I see now that this was not the way, only the wish we had 
to do so made us think it was; but I, on the other hand, 
seeing that I took the greatest delight in the house in which 
I was then living, because it was very pleasant to me, and, 
in my own cell, most convenient for my purpose, still held 
back. Nevertheless, we agreed to commit the matter with all 
earnestness to God. 

14. One day, after Communion, our Lord commanded 
me to labour with all my might for this end. He made me 

1 This was said by Maria de Ocampo, niece of S. Teresa, then 
living in the monastery of the Incarnation, but not a religious; after 
wards Maria Bautista, Prioress of the Carmelites- at Valladolid 
(Ribera, i. 13). 

2 Ch. xxiv. 7. Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. 


great promises, that the monastery would be certainly built ; 
that He would take great delight therein ; that it should be 
called S. Joseph s ; that S. Joseph would keep guard at one 
door, and our Lady at the other; that Christ would be in 
the midst of us ; that the monastery would be a star shining 
in great splendour; that, though the religious Orders were 
then relaxed, I was not to suppose that He was scantily 
served in them, for what would become of the world, if 
there were no religious in it? I was to tell my confessor 
what He commanded me, and that He asked him not to oppose 
nor thwart me in the matter. 

15. So efficacious was the vision, and such was the nature 
of the words our Lord spoke to me, that I could not possibly 
doubt that they came from Him. I suffered most keenly, 
because I saw in part the great anxieties and troubles that 
the work would cost me, and I was also very happy in the 
house I was in then ; and though I used to speak of this 
matter in past times, yet it was not with resolution nor with 
any confidence that the thing could ever be done. I saw 
that I was now in a great strait; and when I saw that I was 
entering on a work of great anxiety, I hesitated ; but our Lord 
spoke of it so often to me, and set before me so many reasons 
and motives, which I saw could not be gainsaid, I saw, too, 
that such was His will ; so I did not dare do otherwise than put 
the whole matter before my confessor, and give him an account 
in writing of all that took place. 

16. My confessor did not venture definitely to bid me 
abandon my purpose ; but he saw that naturally there was 
no way of carrying it out; because my friend, who was to 
do it, had very little or no means available for that end. He 
told me to lay the matter before my superior, 1 and do what 
he might bid me do. I never spoke of my visions to my 
superior, but that lady who desired to found the monastery 
communicated with him. The Provincial was very much 
pleased, for he loves the whole Order, gave her every help 
that was necessary, and promised to acknowledge the house. 
Then there was a discussion about the revenues of the monas 
tery, and for many reasons we never would allow more than 
thirteen sisters together. Before we began our arrangements, 
we wrote to the holy friar. Peter of Alcantara, telling him 

1 The Provincial of the Carmelites: Fr. Angel de Salasar (De la 


all that was taking place; and he advised us not to abandon 
our work, and gave us his sanction on all points. 

17. As soon as the affair began to be known here, there 
fell upon us a violent persecution, which cannot be very easily 
described sharp sayings and keen jests. People said it was 
folly in me, who was so well off in my monastery; as to my 
friend, the persecution was so continuous, that it wearied her. 
I did not know what to do, and I thought that people were 
partly in the right. When I was thus heavily afflicted, I 
commended myself to God, and His Majesty began to con 
sole and encourage me. He told me that I could then see 
what the Saints had to go through who founded the religious 
Orders : that I had much heavier persecutions to endure than 
I could imagine, but I was not to mind them. He told me 
also what I was to say to my friend; and what surprised me 
most was, that we were consoled at once as to the past, and 
resolved to withstand every body courageously. And so it 
came to pass ; for among people of prayer, and indeed in the 
whole neighbourhood, there was hardly one who was not 
against us, and who did not think our work the greatest 

18. There was so much talking and confusion in the very 
monastery wherein I was, that the Provincial began to think 
it hard for him to set himself against every body ; so he 
changed his mind, and would not acknowledge the new house. 
He said that the revenue was not certain, and too little, while 
the opposition was great. On the whole, it seemed that he 
was right; he gave it up at last, and would have nothing to 
do with it. It was a very great pain to us, for we seemed 
now to have received the first blow, and in particular to me, 
to find the Provincial against us ; for when he approved of 
the plan, I considered myself blameless before all. They 
would not give absolution to my friend, if she did not abandon 
the project; for they said she was bound to remove the 

19. She went to a very learned man, and a very great 
servant of God, of the Order of S. Dominic, 1 to whom she gave 
an account of all this matter. This was even before the 
Provincial had withdrawn his consent; for in this place we 
had no one who would give us advice ; and so they said that 
it all proceeded solely from our obstinacy. That lady gave 

1 F. Pedro Ibafiez (De la Fuente). 


an account of every thing, and told the holy man how much 
she received from the property of her husband. Having a 
great desire that he would help us, for he was the most 
learned man here, and there are few in his Order more learned 
than he, I told him myself all we intended to do, and some 
of my motives. I never said a word of any revelation what 
ever, speaking only of the natural reasons which influenced 
me ; for I would not have him give an opinion otherwise than 
on those grounds. He asked us to give him eight days before 
he answered, and also if we had made up our minds to abide by 
what he might say. I said we had ; but though I said so, and 
though I thought so, I never lost a certain confidence that the 
monastery would be founded. My friend had more faith than 
I ; nothing they could say could make her give it up. As for 
myself, though, as I said, it seemed to me impossible that the 
work should be finally abandoned, yet my belief in the truth of 
the revelation went no further than in so far as it was not 
against what is contained in the sacred writings, nor against 
the laws of the Church, which we are bound to keep. Though 
the revelation seemed to me to have come really from God, yet, 
if that learned man had told me that we could not go on 
without offending God and going against our conscience, I 
believe I should have given it up, and looked out for some 
other way ; but our Lord showed me no other way than this. 

20. The servant of God told me afterwards that he had 
made up his mind to insist on the abandonment of our pro 
ject, for he had already heard the popular cry: moreover, 
he, as every body did, thought it folly ; and a certain noble- 
rnan also, as soon as he knew that we had gone to him, had 
sent him word to consider well what he w r as doing, and to 
g ve us no help; that when he began to consider the answer 
he should make us, and to ponder on the matter, the object 
we had in view, our manner of life, and the Order, he became 
convinced that it was greatly for the service of God, and 
that we must not give it up. Accordingly, his answer was 
that we should make haste to settle the matter. He told us 
how and in what way it was to be done ; and if our means 
were scanty, we must trust somewhat in God. If any one 
made any objections, they were to go to him he would answer 
them ; and in this way he always helped us, as I shall show 
by and by. 1 

1 Ch. xxxiii. 8. 


21. This answer was a great comfort to us; so also was 
the conduct of certain holy persons who were usually against 
us; they were now pacified, and some of them even helped 
us. One of them was the saintly nobleman 1 of whom I spoke 
before ; 2 he looked on it so, indeed, it was as a means of 
great perfection, because the whole foundation was laid in 
prayer. He saw also very many difficulties before us, and 
no way out of them, yet he gave up his own opinion, and 
admitted that the work might be of God. Our Lord Himself 
must have touched his heart, as He also did that of the doctor, 
the priest and servant of God, to whom, as I said before, 3 I first 
spoke, who is an example to the whole city, being one whom 
God maintains there for the relief and progress of many souls : 
he, too, came now to give us his assistance. 

22. When matters had come to this state, and always 
with the help of many prayers, we purchased a house, in a 
convenient spot; and though it was small, I cared not at all 
for that, for our Lord had told me to go into it as well as I 
could, that I should see afterwards what He would do; and 
how well I have seen it! I saw, too, how scanty were our 
means ; and yet I believed our Lord would order these things 
by other ways, and be gracious unto us. 




1. WHEN the matter was in this state so near its con 
clusion, that on the very next day the papers were to be 
signed then it was that the Father-Provincial changed his 
mind. I believe that the change was divinely ordered so 
it appeared afterwards ; for while so many prayers were .made, 
our Lord was perfecting His work and arranging its execu 
tion in another way. When the Provincial refused us, my 
confessor bade me forthwith to think no more of it, notwith 
standing the great trouble and distress which our Lord knows 

1 Francisco de Salcedo. 2 Ch. xxiii. 6. 

3 Caspar Daza. See ch. xxiii. 6. 


-V jy>vr^- ~_~ -^r^Tvcg-c _i 

Hye Hoys del. 

1. Portrait of Kuy (.oinez de Silva, prince of Eboli and Duke of Pastrami. 
2. Portrait of Anna de llleiuloza y la < erda, his wife. 3. City of Pastrami, taken 
from the valley to the southward. Above, the colleg-e; to the rig-ht, the ducal 
palace; below, to the left, the former monastery of the Discalcecl Carmelites, setn 
from the back. Threshing, according to the Moorish fashion, still in use in Spain. 
4. Palace of the Duke* of Pastrana. 5. Main entrance to the palace, surmounted 
by the divided arms of Mendoza de la Vega and de la Cerda. 6. Church and 
monastery of the Conceptlonlattt, since 1576, formerly belonging- to the Carmelites. 

7. Crucifix of Caterina of Cardona, at whose command she retired to the desert. 

8. Travelling stalls carried by St. Teresa at Avila, at Alcala de Henares and 



Bruges, P Raoux So. 

Pastrana. !t. Hell hun^ by St. Teresa in the monastery of St. Joseph at Avila. 
Transported later to the monastery of Discalced Carmelites at Pastrana, it was 
used to convoke the general chapters of the Order. Wicket in the door of the 
Discaleed monastery at Pastrana. 10. Tomb of Fr. liossi or Rubeo, General of the 
Order at the time of the Reform, in the crypt of St. Martin s of the Mount in Rome, 
belonging: to the Carmelite Friars. 11. Tomb of Nicholas Dor^a, first General of the 
Reformed Order, in the Chapel of St. Teresa, in the church formerly of the Discalced 
Nuns at Pastrana. 12. Arms of the family of de Silva. 13. Arms of the family 
- V. eildoza de la Ve a > Cerrta. 14. Seal of the t onceptioiiists of Pastrana. 
15. Modern escutcheon of the city of Pastrana. (See Appendix, note 13 ) 


it cost me to bring it to this state. When the work was given 
up and abandoned, people were the more convinced that it was 
altogether the foolishness of women; and the complaints 
against me were multiplied, although I had until then this com 
mandment of my Provincial to justify me. 

2. I was now very much disliked throughout the whole 
monastery, because I wished to found another with stricter 
enclosure. It was said I insulted my sisters; that I could 
serve God among them as well as elsewhere, for there were 
many among them much better than I ; that I did not love 
the house, and that it would have been better if I had pro 
cured greater resources for it than for another. Some said 
I ought to be put in prison ; others but they were not many 
defended me in some degree. I saw well enough that they 
were for the most part right, and now and then I made 
excuses for myself, though, as I could not tell them the chief 
reason, which was the commandment of our Lord, I knew 
not what to do, and so was silent. 

3. In other respects God was most merciful unto me, for 
all this caused me no uneasiness ; and I gave up our design 
with much readiness and joy, as if it cost me nothing. No 
one could believe it, not even those men of prayer with whom 
I conversed ; for they thought I was exceedingly pained and 
sorry : even my confessor himself could hardly believe it. I 
had done, as it seemed to me, all that was in my power. I 
thought myself obliged to do no more than I had done to 
fulfil our Lord s commandment, and so I remained in the 
house where I was, exceedingly happy and joyful; though, at 
the same time, I was never able to give up my conviction 
that the work would be done. I had now no means of doing 
it, nor did I know how or when it would be done ; but I 
firmly believed in its accomplishment. 

4. I was much distressed at one time by a letter which 
my confessor wrote to me, as if I had done any thing in the 
matter contrary to his will. Our Lord also must have meant 
that suffering should not fail me there where I should feel it 
most; and so, amid the multitude of my persecutions, when, 
as it seemed to me, consolations should have come from my 
confessor, he told me that I ought to recognise in the result 
that all was a dream ; that I ought to lead a new life by ceasing 
to have any thing to do for the future with it, or even to 
speak of it any more, seeing the scandal it had occasioned. 


He made some further remarks, all of them very painful. This 
was a greater affliction to me than all the others together. I 
considered whether I had done any thing myself, and whether 
I was to blame for any thing that was an offence unto God ; 
whether all my visions were illusions, all my prayers a de 
lusion, and I, therefore, deeply deluded and lost. This pressed 
so heavily upon me, that I was altogether disturbed and 
most grievously distressed. But our Lord, who never failed 
me in all the trials I speak of, so frequently consoled and 
strengthened me, that I need not speak of it here. He told me 
then not to distress myself ; that I had pleased God greatly, 
and had not sinned against Him throughout the whole affair; 
that I was to do what my confessors required of me, and be 
silent on the subject till the time came to resume it. I was 
so comforted and so happy, that the persecution which had 
befallen me seemed to be as nothing at all. 

5. Our Lord now showed me what an exceedingly great 
blessing it is to be tried and persecuted for His sake ; for the 
growth of the love of God in my soul, which I now discerned, 
as well as of many other virtues, was such as to fill me with 
wonder. It made me unable to abstain from desiring trials, and 
yet those about me thought 1 was exceedingly disheartened ; 
and I must have been so, if our Lord in that extremity had 
not succoured me with His great compassion. Now was the 
beginning of those more violent impetuosities of the love of 
God of which I have spoken before, 1 as well as of those pro- 
founder trances. I kept silence, however, and never spoke 
of those graces to any one. The saintly Dominican 2 was as 
confident as I was that the work would be done ; and as I 
would not speak of it, in order that nothing might take place 
contrary to the obedience I owed my confessor, he commun 
icated with my companion, and they wrote letters to Rome 
and made their preparations. 

6. Satan also contrived now that persons should hear 
one from another that I had had a revelation in the matter ; 
and people came to me in great terror, saying that the times 
were dangerous, that something might be laid to my charge, 
and that I might be taken before the Inquisitors. I heard 
this with pleasure, and it made me laugh, because I never 
was afraid of them ; for I knew well enough that in matters 

1 Ch. xxi. 8, ch. xxix. 8, 9. 

2 Pedro Ibanez. See ch. xxxviii. 15. 


of faith I would not break the least ceremony of the Church, 
that I would expose myself to die a thousand times rather 
than that any one should see me go against it or against any 
truth of Holy Writ. So I told them I was not afraid of that, 
for my soul must be in a very bad state if there was any thing 
the matter with it of such a nature as to make me fear the 
Inquisition ; I would go myself and give myself up, if I thought 
there was any thing amiss ; and if I should be denounced, 
our Lord would deliver me, and I should gain much. 

7. I had recourse to my Dominican father ; for I could 
rely upon him, because he was a learned man. I told him all 
about my visions, my way of prayer, the great graces our 
Lord had given me, as clearly as I could, and I begged him 
to consider the matter well, and tell me if there was any 
thing therein at variance with the Holy Writings, and give 
me his opinion on the whole matter. He reassured me much, 
and, I think, profited himself; for though he was exceedingly 
good, yet, from this time forth, he gave himself more and more 
to prayer, and retired to a monastery of his Order which was 
very lonely, that he might apply himself more effectually to 
prayer, where he remained more than two years. He was 
dragged out of his solitude by obedience, to his great sorrow : 
his superiors required his services ; for he was a man of great 
abilities. I, too, on my part, felt his retirement very much, 
because it was a great loss to me, though I did not disturb 
him. But I knew it was a gain to him ; for when I was so 
much distressed at his departure, our Lord bade me be com 
forted, not to take it to heart, for he was gone under good 

8. So, when he came back, his soul had made such great 
progress, and he was so advanced in the ways of the spirit, that 
he told me on his return he would not have missed that journey 
for any thing in the world. And I, too, could say the same 
thing; for where he reassured and consoled me formerly by 
his mere learning, he did so now through that spiritual ex 
perience he had gained of supernatural things. And God, 
too, brought him here in time ; for He saw that his help would 
be required in the foundation of the monastery which His 
Majesty w r illed should be laid. 

9. I remained quiet after this for five or six months, 
neither thinking nor speaking of the matter; nor did our 
Lord once speak to me about it. I know not why, but I 


could never rid myself of the thought that the monastery 
would be founded. At the end of that time, the then Rector 1 
of the Society of Jesus having gone away, His Majesty 
brought into his place another, 2 of great spirituality, high 
courage, strong understanding, and profound learning, at the 
very time when I was in great straits. As he who then heard 
my confession had a superior over him the fathers of the 
Society are extremely strict about the virtue of obedience, and 
never stir but in conformity with the will of their superiors 
so he would not dare, though he perfectly understood my 
spirit, and desired the accomplishment of my purpose, to 
come to any resolution; and he had many reasons to justify 
his conduct. I was at the same time subject to such great 
impetuosities of spirit, that I felt my chains extremely heavy ; 
nevertheless, I never swerved from the commandment he gave 

10. One day, when in great distress, because I thought 
my confessor did not trust me, our Lord said to me, Be not 
troubled ; this suffering will soon be over. I was very much 
delighted, thinking I should die shortly ; and I was very 
happy whenever I recalled those words to remembrance. 
Afterwards I saw clearly that they referred to the coming 
of the rector of whom I am speaking, for never again had I 
any reason to be distressed. The rector that came never 
interfered with the father-minister who was my confessor. 
On the contrary, he told him to console me, that there 
was nothing to be afraid of, and not to direct me along a road 
so narrow, but to leave the operations of the Spirit of God 
alone; for now and then it seemed as if these great impetu 
osities of the spirit took away the very breath of the soul. 

11. The rector came to see me, and my confessor bade 
me speak to him in all freedom and openness. I used to feel 
the very greatest repugnance to speak of this matter; but 
so it was, when I went into the confessional, I felt in my 
soul something, I know not what. I do not remember to 
have felt so either before or after towards any one. I cannot 

1 Dionisio Vasquez. Of him the Bollandists say that he was very 
austere and harsh to his subjects, notwithstanding his great learning: 
"homini egregie docto ac rebus gestis claro, sed in subditos, ut ex 
historia Societatis Jesu liquet, valde immiti" ( 309). 

Caspar de Salazar was made rector of the house in Avila in 1561, 
therein succeeding Vasquez (Bollandists, ibid}. 


tell what it was, nor do I know of any thing with which I 
could compare it. It was a spiritual joy, and a conviction 
in my soul that his soul must understand mine, that it was in 
unison with it, and yet, as I have said, I knew not how. If I 
had ever spoken to him, or had heard great things of him, 
it would have been nothing out of the way that I should 
tejoice in the conviction that he would understand me; but 
he had never spoken to me before, nor I to him, and, indeed, 
he was a person of whom I had no previous knowledge what 

12. Afterwards, I saw clearly that my spirit was not 
deceived; for my relations with him were in every way of the 
utmost service to me and my soul, because his method of 
direction is proper for those persons whom our Lord seems 
to have led far on the way, seeing that He makes them 
run, and not to crawl step by step. His plan is to render them 
thoroughly detached and mortified, and our Lord has endowed 
him with the highest gifts herein as well as in many other 
things beside. As soon as I began to have to do with him, 
I knew his method at once, and saw that he had a pure and 
holy soul, with a special grace of our Lord for the discern 
ment of spirits. He gave me great consolation. Shortly 
after I had begun to speak to him, our Lord began to con 
strain me to return to the affair of the monastery, and to lay 
before my confessor and the father-rector many reasons and 
considerations why they should not stand in my way. Some 
of these reasons made them afraid, for the father-rector never 
had a doubt of its being the work of the Spirit of God, because 
he regarded the fruits of it with great care and attention. At 
last, after much consideration, they did not dare to hinder me. 1 

13. My confessor gave me leave to prosecute the work 
with all my might. I saw well enough the trouble I exposed 
myself to, for I was utterly alone, and able to do so very 
little. We agreed that it should be carried on with the utmost 
secrecy; and so I contrived that one of my sisters, 2 who 

1 S. Teresa was commanded by our Lord to ask F. Baltasar Al 
varez to make a meditation on Ps. xci. 6: "Quam magnificata sunt 
opera Tua." The Saint obeyed, and the meditation was made 
From that moment, as F. Alvarez afterwards told Father de Ribera 
(Life of S. Teresa, i. ch. xiv.), there was no further hesitation on the 
part of the Saint s confessor. 

2 Juana de Ahumada, wife of Juan de Ovalle. 


lived out of the town, should buy a house, and prepare it as 
if for herself, with money which our Lord gave us in a 
strange way for the purchase. It would take too much time 
to say how our Lord provided for us. 1 I made it a great 
point to do nothing against obedience ; but I knew that if I 
spoke of it to my superiors all was lost, as on the former 
occasion, and worse even might happen. In holding the 
money, in finding the house, in treating for it, in putting it 
in order, I had so much to suffer; and, for the most part, I 
had to suffer alone, though my friend did what she could : she 
could do but little, and that was almost nothing. Beyond giv 
ing her name and her countenance, the whole of the trouble 
was mine ; and that fell upon me in so many ways, that I am 
astonished now how I could have borne it. 2 Sometimes, in my 
afHiction, I used to say : O my Lord, how is it that Thou com- 
mandest me to do that which seems impossible? for, though 
I am a woman, yet, if I were free, it might be done ; but when 
I am tied up in so many ways, without money, or the means of 
procuring it, either for the purpose of the Brief or for any 
other, what, O Lord, can I do? 

14. Once, when I was in one of my difficulties, not know 
ing what to do, unable to pay the workmen, S. Joseph, my 
true father and lord, appeared to me, and gave me to under 
stand that money would not be wanting, and I must hire the 
workmen. So I did, though I was penniless ; and our Lord, in 
a way that filled those who heard of it with wonder, provided 
for me. The house offered me was too small, so much so, 
that it seemed as if it could never be made into a monastery, 
and I wished to buy another, but had not the means, and there 
was neither way nor means to do so. I knew not what to do. 
There was another little house close to the one we had, which 
might have formed a small church. One day, after Com- 

1 The money was a present from her brother, Don Lorenzo de 
Cepeda; and the Saint acknowledges the receipt of it, and confesses 
the use made of it, in a letter to her brother, written in Avila, Dec. 
31, 1561 (De la Fuente). 

2 One day, she went with her sister she was staying in her house 
to hear a sermon in the church of St. Thomas. The zealous 
preacher denounced visions and revelations; and his observations 
were so much to the point, that there was no need of his saying that 
they were directed against S. Teresa, who was present. Her sister 
was greatly hurt, and persuaded the Saint to return to the monastery 
at once (Reforma, i. ch. xl. 1). 


munion, our Lord said to me, I have already bidden thee to go 
in anyhow. And then, as if exclaiming, said : Oh, covetousness 
of the human race, thinking that even the whole earth is too 
little for it! how often have I slept in the open air, because 
I had no place to shelter Me I 1 I was alarmed, and saw that 
He had good reasons to complain. I went to the little house, 
arranged the divisions of it, and found that it would make a 
sufficient, though small, monastery. I did not care now to add 
to the site by purchase, and so I did nothing but contrive to 
have it prepared in such a way that it could be lived in. 
Every thing was coarse, and nothing more was done to it 
than to render it not hurtful to health and that must be done 
every where. 

15. As I was going to Communion on her feast, S. Clare 
appeared to me in great beauty, and bade me take courage, 
and go on with what I had begun ; she would help me. I 
began to have a great devotion to S. Clare; and she has so 
truly kept her word, that a monastery of nuns of her Order 
in our neighbourhood helped us to live ; and, what is of more 
importance, by little and little she so perfectly fulfilled my 
desire, that the poverty which the blessed Saint observes in 
her own house is observed in this, and w r e are living on alms. 
It cost me no small labour to have this matter settled by the 
plenary sanction and authority of the Holy Father, 2 so that 
it shall never be otherwise, and we possess no revenues. Our 
Lord is doing more for us perhaps we owe it to the prayers 
of this blessed Saint; for, without our asking any body, His 
Majesty supplies most abundantly all our wants. May He be 
blessed for ever! Amen. 

16. On one of these days it was the Feast of the As 
sumption of our Lady I was in the church of the monastery 
of the Order of the glorious S. Dominic, thinking of the 
events of my wretched life, and of the many sins which in 
times past I had confessed in that house. I fell into so pro 
found a trance, that I was as it were beside myself. I sat 
down, and it seemed as if I could neither see the Elevation 
nor hear Mass. This afterwards became a scruple to me. I 
thought then, when I was in that state, that I saw myself 
clothed with a garment of excessive whiteness and splendour. 

1 S. Luke ix. 58. 

2 Pius IV., on Dec. 5, 1562 (Bouix). See ch. xxxix. 19. 


At first I did not see who was putting it on me. Afterwards I 
saw our Lady on my right hand, and my father S. Joseph, on 
my left, clothing me with that garment. I was given to under 
stand that I was then cleansed from my sins. When I had been 
thus clad I was filled with the utmost delight and joy our 
Lady seemed at once to take me by both hands. She said that 
I pleased her very much by being devout to the glorious S. 
Joseph ; that I might rely on it my desires about the monastery 
were accomplished, and that our Lord and they too would be 
greatly honoured in it; that I was to be afraid of no failure 
whatever, though the obedience under which it would be 
placed might not be according to my mind, because they would 
watch over us, and because her Son had promised to be with 
us 1 and, as a proof of this, she would give me that jewel. 
She then seemed to throw around my neck a most splendid 
necklace of gold, from which hung a cross of great value. 
The stones and gold were so different from any in this world, 
that there is nothing wherewith to compare them. The beauty 
of them is such as can be conceived by no imagination, and 
no understanding can find out the materials of the robe, nor 
picture to itself the splendours which our Lord revealed, in 
comparison with which all the splendours of earth, so to say, 
are a daubing of soot. This beauty, which I saw in our Lady, 
was exceedingly grand, though I did not trace it in any 
particular feature, but rather in the whole form of her face. 
She was clothed in white, and her garments shone with ex 
cessive lustre, which was not dazzling, but soft. I did not 
see S. Joseph so distinctly, though I saw clearly that he was 
there, as in the visions of which I spoke before, 2 in which 
nothing is seen. Our Lady seemed to be very young. 

17. When they had been with me for a while, I, too, 
in the greatest delight and joy, greater than I had ever had 
before, as I think, and with which I wished never to part, 
I saw them, so it seemed, ascend up to heaven, attended by 
a great multitude of angels. I was left in great loneliness, 
though so comforted and raised up, so recollected in prayer 
and softened, that I was for some time unable to move or 
speak being, as it were, beside myself. I was now possessed 
by a strong desire to be consumed for the love of God, and 
by other affections of the same kind. Every thing took place 
in such a way that I could never have a doubt though I 
1 Ch. xxxii. 14. 2 See ch. xxvii. 


often tried that the vision came from God. 1 It left me in 
the greatest consolation and peace. 

18. As to that which the Queen of the Angels spoke about 
obedience, it is this: it was painful to me not to subject the 
monastery to the Order, and our Lord had told me that it was 
inexpedient to do so. He told me the reasons why it was in 
no wise convenient that I should do it, but I must send to 
Rome in a certain way, which He also explained ; He would 
take care that I found help there : and so I did. I sent to 
Rome, as our Lord directed me, for we should never have 
succeeded otherwise, and most favourable was the result. 

19. And as to subsequent events, it was very convenient 
to be under the Bishop, 2 but at that time I did not know him, 
nor did I know what kind of a superior he might be. It 
pleased our Lord that he should be as good and favourable 
to this house as it was necessary he should be on account 
of the great opposition it met wiLh at the beginning, as I shall 
show hereafter, 3 and also for the sake of bringing it to the 
condition it is now in. Blessed be He who has done it all ! 





1. Now, though I was very careful that no one should 
know what we were doing, all this work could not be carried 
on so secretly as not to come to the knowledge of divers 
persons; some believed in it, others did not. I was in r^rent 
fear lest the Provincial should be spoken to about it when he 
came, and find himself compelled to order me to give it up ; 

"Nuestro Sefior," "our Lord," though inserted in the printed 
editions after the word "God," is not in the MS., according to Don V. 
de la Fuente. 

* Don Alvaro de Mendoza, Bishop of Avila, afterwards of Palen- 

* See ch. xxxvi. 19; Way of Perfection, ch. v. 10; Foundations, 
ch. xxxi. S 1. 


and if he did so, it would have been abandoned at once. Our 
Lord provided against it in this way. In a large city, more 
than twenty leagues distant, was a lady in great distress on 
account of her husband s death. 1 She was in such extreme 
affliction, that fears were entertained about her life. She had 
heard of me, a poor sinner, for our Lord had provided that, 
and men spoke well to her of me, for the sake of other good 
works which resulted from it. This lady knew the Provincial 
well ; and as she was a person of some consideration, and 
knew that I lived in a monastery the nuns of which were 
permitted to go out, our Lord made her desire much to see me. 
She thought that my presence would be a consolation to her, 
and that she could not be comforted otherwise. She therefore 
strove by all the means in her power to get me into her 
house, sending messages to the Provincial, who was at a 
distance far away. 

2. The Provincial sent me an order, charging me in virtue 
of my obedience to go immediately, with one companion. 
I knew of it on Christmas night. It caused me some trouble 
and much suffering to see that they sent for me because they 
thought there was some good in me; I, knowing myself to 
be so wicked, could not bear it. I commended myself earn 
estly to God, and during Matins, or the greater part of them, 
was lost in a profound trance. Our Lord told me I must go 
without fail, and give no heed to the opinions of people, for 
they were few who would not be rash in their counsel; and 
though I should have troubles, yet God would be served 
greatly: as to the monastery, it was expedient I should be 
absent till the Brief came, because Satan had contrived a 
great plot against the coming of the Provincial ; that I was to 
have no fear, He would help me. I repeated this to the 
rector, and he told me that I must go by all means, though 
others were saying I ought not to go, that it was a trick of 
Satan to bring some evil upon me there, and that I ought to 
send word to the Provincial. 

3. I obeyed the rector, and went without fear, because of 
what I had understood in prayer, though in the greatest con 
fusion when I thought of the reasons why they sent for me, 

1 Dona Luisa de la Cerda, sister of the Duke of Medina-Cceli, was 
now the widow of Arias Pardo, Marshal of Castille, Lord of Malagon 
and Paracuellos. Don Arias was nephew of Cardinal Tabera, Arch 
bishop of Toledo (De la Fuente). 


and how very much they were deceived. It made me more 
and more importunate with our Lord that He would not 
abandon me. It was a great comfort that there was a house 
of the Society of Jesus there whither I was going, and so I 
thought I should be in some degree safe under the direction 
of those fathers, as I had been here. 

4. It was the good pleasure of our Lord that the lady 
who sent for me should be so much consoled, that a visible 
improvement was the immediate result: she was comforted 
every day more and more. This was very remarkable, be 
cause, as I said before, her suffering had reduced her to great 
straits. Our Lord must have done this in answer to the many 
prayers which the good people of my acquaintance made for 
me, that I might prosper in my work. She had a profound fear 
of God, and was so good, that her great devotion supplied my 
deficiencies. She conceived a great affection for me I, too, 
for her, because of her goodness ; but all was as it were a 
cross for me ; for the comforts of her house were a great 
torment, and her making so much of me made me afraid. I 
kept my soul continually recollected I did not dare to be care 
less : nor was our Lord careless of me ; for while I was there, 
He bestowed the greatest graces upon me, and those graces 
made me so free, and filled me with such contempt for all I 
saw, and the more I saw, the greater my contempt, that I 
never failed to treat those ladies, whom to serve would have 
been a great honour for me, with as much freedom as if I 
had been their equal. 

5. I derived very great advantages from this, and I said 
so. I saw that she was a woman, and as much liable to 
passion and weakness as I was ; that rank is of little worth, 
and the higher it is, the greater the anxiety and trouble it 
brings. People must be careful of the dignity of their state, 
which will not suffer them to live at ease ; they must eat at 
fixed hours and by rule, for every thing must be according to 
their state, and not according to their constitutions, and they 
have frequently to take food fitted more for their state than for 
their liking. 

6. So it was that I came to hate the very wish to be a 
great lady. God deliver me from this wicked, artificial life ! 
though I believe that this lady, notwithstanding that she was 
one of the chief personages of the realm, was a woman of 
great simplicity, and that few were more humble than she 


was. I was very sorry for her, for I saw how often she had 
to submit to much that was disagreeable to her, because of 
the requirements of her rank. Then, as to servants, though 
this lady had very good servants, how slight is that little 
trust that may be put in them ! One must not be conversed 
with more than another; otherwise, he who is so favoured is 
envied by the rest. This of itself is a slavery, and one of the 
lies of the world is that it calls such persons masters, who, in 
my eyes, are nothing else but slaves in a thousand ways. 

7. It was our Lord s pleasure that the household of that 
lady improved in the service of His Majesty during my stay 
there, though I was not exempted from some trials and some 
jealousies on the part of some of its members, because of the 
great affection their mistress had for me. They perhaps 
must have thought I had some personal interest to serve. 
Our Lord must have permitted such matters, and others of the 
same kind, to give me trouble, in order that I might not be 
absorbed in the comforts which otherwise I had there ; and He 
was pleased to deliver me out of it all with great profit to 
my soul. 

8. When I was there, a religious person of great con 
sideration, and with whom I had conversed occasionally some 
years ago, 1 happened to arrive. When I was at Mass, in a 
monastery of this Order, near the house in which I was 
staying, I felt a longing to know the state of his soul, for I 
wished him to be a great servant of God, and I rose up in 
order to go and speak to him. But as I was then recollected 
in prayer, it seemed to me a waste of time for what had I 
to do in that matter? and so I returned to my place. Three 
times, I think, I did this, and at last my good angel prevailed 
over the evil one, and I went and asked for him ; and he came 
to speak to me in one of the confessionals. We began by 
asking one another of our past lives, for we had not seen one 
another for many years. I told him that my life had been one 
in which my soul had had many trials. He insisted much on 
my telling* him what those trials were. I said that they were 

1 F. Vicente Barren, Dominican (see ch. v. 8), according to F. 
Bouix, on the authority of Ribera and Yepez; but the Carmelite 
Father, Fr. Antonio of S. Joseph, in his note on the first Fragment 
(Letters, vol. iv. p. 408), says that it was Fr. Garcia of Toledo, brother 
of Don Fernando, Duke of Alva; and Don Vicente de la Fuente thinks 
the opinion of Fr. Antonio the more probable. 


not to be told, and that I was not to tell them. He replied 
that the Dominican father, 1 of whom I have spoken, knew 
them, and that, as they were great friends, he could learn 
them from him, and so I had better tell them without hesita 

9. The fact is, that it was not in his power not to insist 
nor in mine, I believe, to refuse to speak; for notwithstanding 
all the trouble and shame I used to feel formerly, I spoke of my 
state to him, and to the rector whom I have referred to before, 2 
without any difficulty whatever; on the contrary, it was a 
great consolation to me; and so I told him all in confession. 
He seemed to me then more prudent than ever, though I had 
always looked upon him as a man of great understanding. 
I considered what high gifts and endowments for great serv 
ices he had, if he gave himself wholly unto God. I had this 
feeling now for many years, so that I never saw^ any one 
who pleased me much without wishing at once he were given 
wholly unto God; and sometimes I feel this so keenly, that 
I can hardly contain myself. Though I long to see every 
body serve God, yet my desire about those who please me 
is very vehement, and so I importune our Lord on their 

10. So it happened with respect to this religious. He 
asked me to pray much for him to God. There was no neces 
sity for his doing so, because I could not do any thing else, and 
so I went back to my place where I was in the habit of praying 
alone, and began to pray to our Lord, being extremely recol 
lected, in that my simple, silly way, when I speak without 
knowing very often what I am saying. It is love that speaks, 
and my soul is so beside itself, that I do not regard the dis 
tance between it and God. That love which I know His 
Majesty has for it makes it forget itself, and think itself to be 
one with Him; and so, as being one with Him, and not divided 
from Him, the soul speaks foolishly. When I had prayed 
with many tears that the soul of this religious might serve Him 
truly, for, though I considered it good, it was not enough for 
me ; I would have it much better, I remember I said, "O 
Lord, Thou must not refuse me this grace ; behold him, he is 
a fit person to be our friend." 

11. Oh, the great goodness and compassion of God! 
How He regards not the words, but the desire and the will 

1 Pedro Ibanez (Bouix}. 2 Ch. xxxiii. 11. 


with which they are spoken ! How He suffered such a one 
as I am to speak so boldly before His Majesty! May He be 
blessed for evermore ! 

12. I remember that during those hours of prayer on that 
very night I was extremely distressed by the thought whether 
I was in the grace of God, and that I could never know 
whether I was so or not, not that I wished to know it; I 
wished, however, to die, in order that I might not live a life 
in which I was not sure that I was not dead in sin, for there 
could be no death more dreadful for me than to think that 
I had sinned against God. I was in great straits at this 
thought. I implored Him not to suffer me to fall into sin, 
with great sweetness, dissolved in tears. Then I heard that 
I might console myself, and trust 1 that I was in a state of 
grace, because a love of God like mine, together with the 
graces and feelings with which His Majesty filled my soul, 
was of such a nature as to be inconsistent with a state of 
mortal sin. 

13. I was now confident that our Lord would grant my 
prayer as to that religious. He bade me repeat certain 
words to him. This I felt much, because I knew not how to 
speak to him ; for this carrying messages to a third person, 
as I have said, 2 is what I have always felt the most, especially 
when I did not know how that person would take them, nor 
whether he would not laugh at me. This placed me in great 
difficulties, but at last I was so convinced I ought to do it, 
that I believe I made a promise to God I would not neglect 
that message ; and because of the great shame I felt, I wrote 
it out, and gave it in that way. The result showed clearly 
enough that it was a message from God, for that religious 
resolved with great earnestness to give himself to prayer, 

1 Father Boiiix says that here the word "confiar," "trust," in the 
printed text, has been substituted by some one for the words "estar 
cierta," "be certain," which he found in the MS. But Don Vicente de 
la Fuente retains the old reading "confiar," and makes no observation 
on the alleged discrepancy between the MS. and the printed text. 
The observation of F. Bouix, however, is more important, and de 
serves credit, for Don Vicente may have failed, through mere inad 
vertence, to see what F. Bouix saw; and it is also to be remembered 
that Don Vicente does not say that the MS. on this point has been so 
closely inspected as to throw any doubt on the positive testimony of 
F. Bouix. 

2 Ch. xxxiii. 12. 


though he did not do so at once. Our Lord would have him 
for Himself, so He sent me to tell him certain truths which, 
without my understanding them, were so much to the purpose 
that he was astonished. Our Lord must have prepared him 
to receive them as from His Majesty; and though I am but 
a miserable sinner myself, yet I made many supplications to 
our Lord to convert him thoroughly, and to make him hate the 
pleasures and the things of this life. And so he did blessed 
be God ! for every time that he spoke to me I was in a 
manner beside myself; and if I had not seen it, I should never 
have believed that our Lord would have given him in so short 
a time graces so matured, and filled him so full of God, that 
he seemed to be alive to nothing on earth. 

14. May His Majesty hold him in His hand ! If he will 
go on and I trust in our Lord he will do so, now that he is 
so well grounded in the knowledge of himself he will be one 
of the most distinguished servants of God, to the great profit 
of many souls, because he has in a short time had great 
experience in spiritual things : that is a gift of God, which He 
gives when He will and as He will, and it depends not on 
length of time nor extent of service. I do not mean that time 
and service are not great helps, but very often our Lord will 
not give to -some in twenty years the grace of contemplation, 
while He gives it to others in one, His Majesty knoweth 
why. We are under a delusion when we think that in the 
course of years we shall come to the knowledge of that which 
we can in no way attain to but by experience ; and thus many 
are in error, as I have said 1 when they would understand 
spirituality without being spiritual themselves. I do not 
mean that a man who is not spiritual, if he is learned, may not 
direct one that is spiritual; but it must be understood that 
in outward and inward things, in the order of nature, the 
direction must be an act of reason ; and in supernatural things, 
according to the teachings of the sacred writings. In other 
matters, let him not distress himself, nor think that he can 
understand that which he understandeth not ; neither let him 
quench the Spirit; 2 for now another Master, greater than he, 
is directing these souls, so that they are not left without 
authority over them. 

15. He must not be astonished at this, nor think it im 
possible : all things are possible to our Lord ; 3 he must strive 

1 Ch. xiv. 10. 2 1 Thess. v. 19. 3 S. Matt. xix. 27. 


rather to strengthen his faith, and humble himself, because in 
this matter our Lord imparts perhaps a deeper knowledge to 
some old woman than to him, though he may be a very learned 
man. Being thus humble, he will profit souls and himself 
more than if he affected to be a contemplative without being 
so; for, I repeat it, if he have no experience, if he have not a 
most profound humility, whereby he may see that he does not 
understand, and that the thing is not for that reason impos 
sible, he will do himself but little good, and still less to his peni 
tent. But if he is humble, let him have no fear that our Lord 
will allow either the one or the other to fall into delusion. 

16. Now as to this father I am speaking of, as our Lord 
has given him light in many things, so has he laboured to find 
out by study that which in this matter can be by study as 
certained; for he is a very learned man, and that of which 
he has no experience himself he seeks to find out from those 
who have it, and our Lord helps him by increasing his faith, 
and so he has greatly benefited himself and some other souls, 
of whom mine is one. As our Lord knew the trials I had to 
undergo His Majesty seems to have provided that, when He 
took away unto Himself some of those who directed me, 
others might remain, who helped me in my great afflictions, 
and rendered me great services. 

17. Our Lord wrought a complete change in this father, 
so much so that he scarcely knew himself, so to speak. He 
has given him bodily health, so that he may do penance, such 
as he never had before ; for he was sickly. He has given him 
courage to undertake good works, with other gifts, so that he 
seems to have received a most special vocation from our Lord. 
May He be blessed for ever ! 

18. All these blessings, I believe, came to him through 
the graces our Lord bestowed upon him in prayer; for they 
are real. It has been our Lord s pleasure already to try him 
in certain difficulties, out of which he has come forth like one 
who knows the true worth of that merit which is gained by 
suffering persecutions. I trust in the munificence of our Lord 
that great good will, by his means, accrue to some of his Order 
and to the Order itself. This is beginning to be understood. 
I have had great visions on the subject, and our Lord has told 
me wonderful things of him and of the Rector of the Society 
of Jesus, whom I am speaking of, 1 and also of two other 

1 F. Caspar de Salazar. 


religious of the Order of S. Dominic, particularly of one who, 
to his own profit, has actually learned of our Lord certain 
things which I had formerly understood of him. But there 
were greater things made known of him to whom I am now 
referring : one of them I will now relate. 

19. I was with him once in the parlour, when in my soul 
and spirit I felt what great love burned within him, and 
became as it were lost in ecstasy by considering the greatness 
of God, who had raised that soul in so short a time to a state 
so high. It made me ashamed of myself when I saw him 
listen with so much humility to what I was saying about 
certain matters of prayer, when I had so little myself that 
I could speak on the subject to one like him. Our Lord 
must have borne with me in this on account of the great 
desire I had to see that religious making great progress. My 
interview with him did me great good, it seems as if it left 
a new fire in my soul, burning with desire to serve our Lord 
as in the beginning. O my Jesus ! what is a soul on fire with 
Thy love ! How we ought to prize it, and implore our Lord 
to let it live long upon earth ! He who has this love should 
follow after such souls, if it be possible. 

20. It is a great thing for a person ill of this disease to 
find another struck down by it, it comforts him much to see 
that he is not alone ; they help one another greatly to suffer 
and to merit. They are strong with a double strength who 
are resolved to risk a thousand lives for God, and who long 
for an opportunity of losing them. They are like soldiers 
who, to acquire booty, and therewith enrich themselves, wish 
for war, knowing well that they cannot become rich without 
it. This is their work to suffer. Oh, what a blessing it is 
when our Lord gives light to understand how great is the 
gain of suffering for Him ! This is never understood till we 
have left all things ; for if any body is attached to any one 
thing, that is a proof that he sets some value upon it ; and if he 
sets any value upon it, it is painful to be compelled to give 
it up. In that case, every thing is imperfect and lost. The 
saying is to the purpose here, he who follows what is lost, 
is lost himself; and what greater loss, what greater blind 
ness, what greater calamity, can there be than making much 
of that which is nothing! 

21. I now return to that which I had begun to speak of. 
I was in the greatest joy, beholding that soul. It seemed as 


if our Lord would have me see clearly the treasures He had 
laid up in it; and so, when I considered the favour our Lord 
had shown me, in that I should be the means of so great a 
good, I recognised my own unworthiness for such an end. 
I thought much of the graces our Lord had given him, and 
held myself as indebted for them more than if they had been 
given to myself. So I gave thanks to our Lord, when I saw 
that His Majesty had fulfilled my desires and heard my 
petition that He would raise up persons like him. And now 
my soul, no longer able to bear the joy that filled it, went 
forth out of itself, losing itself that it might gain the more. 
It lost sight of the reflections it was making; and the hearing 
of that divine language which the Holy Ghost seemed to 
speak threw me into a deep trance, which almost deprived me 
of all sense, though it did not last long. I saw Christ, in 
exceeding great majesty and glory, manifesting His joy at 
what was then passing. He told me as much, and it was His 
pleasure that I should clearly see that He was always present 
at similar interviews, and how much He was pleased when 
people thus found their delight in speaking of Him. 

22. On another occasion, when far away from this place, 
I saw him carried by angels in great glory. I understood by 
that vision that his soul was making great progress : so it was ; 
for an evil report was spread abroad against him by one to 
whom he had rendered a great service, and whose reputation 
and whose soul he had saved. He bore it with much joy. 
He did also other things greatly to the honour of God, and 
underwent more persecutions. I do not think it expedient 
now to speak further on this point; if, however, you, my 
father, who know all, should hereafter think otherwise, more 
might be said to the glory of our Lord. 

23. All the prophecies spoken of before, 1 relating to this 
house, as well as others, of which I shall speak hereafter, 
relating to it and to other matters, have been accomplished. 
Some of them our Lord revealed to me three years before they 
became known, others earlier, and others later. But I always 
made them known to my confessor, and to the widow my 
friend ; for I had leave to communicate with her, as I said 
before. 2 She, I know, repeated them to others, and these 
know that I lie not. May God never permit me in any matter 

1 Ch. xxvi. 3. 2 Ch. xxx. 3. Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. 


Hye Hoys del 

1. Ambrosio Mariano. 2. The Dove-cote and chapel of St Peter, original dwell 
ing of the Discalced Friars, after an ancient painting. 3. Painting of Our I>ord 
bound to the column, given by St. Teresa to this foundation, and inscribed "Our 
holy Mother Teresa brought this picture to this monastery when she founded it." 
4. Kcce Homo, an authentic fresco by Fr. Juan de la Miseria in the oratory of 
St Peter, inscribed, "This picture was painted by the devout Fr. Juan de la Miseria. 
Religious of this blessed house, in the first years of the Carmelite Reform, and 
during the lifetime of St. Teresa of Jesus, its foundress. According to tradition 
this picture sometimes spoke to her." 5. Entrance to the grotto of St. John 
of the Cross at Pastrana. 6. Interior of this grotto. The Saint s bed, his seat, 
his table, a niche for his crucifix, are all carved out of the rock. 7. Present 



Bruges. P Raoust So. 

appearance of the grottoes which have fallen in To the left, entrance to the 
cell of St. John of the Cross. 8. Ruins of the Discalced Monastery. 9. Present 
aspect of the ancient dove-cote, now St. Peter s Oratory. At the back, ancient 
doorway; on the right, a mulberry tree said to have been planted by St. Teresa. 
10. Interior of St Peter s Oratory as restored by the Alcantarists. 11. General 
view of the former site of the Discalced Carmelite monastery. The building on 
the left is St. Pascal s College, built by the Alcantarists. 12. Coat of arms of the 
military order of Alacaiitara, of which the Prince of Eboli was a chevalier. 
13. Arms of the Duke of Pastrana, patron of the present church. 14. Seal of 
St. Pascal s College. 15. Arms of the military order of Calatrava, to which province 
Pastrana formerly belonged. (See Appendix, note 14.) 


whatever, much more in things of this importance, to say 
any thing but the whole truth ! 

24. One of my brothers-in-law 1 died suddenly; and as I 
was in great distress at this, because he had no opportunity 
of making his confession, our Lord said to me in prayer that 
my sister also was to die in the same way ; that I must go to 
her, and make her prepare herself for such an end. I told 
this to my confessor; but as he would not let me go, I heard 
the same warning again; and now, when he saw this, he told 
me I might go, and that I should lose nothing by going. 
My sister was living in the country ; and as I did not tell her 
why I came, I gave her what light I could in all things. I 
made her go frequently to confession, and look to her soul in 
every thing. She was very good, and did as I asked her. 
Four or five years after she had begun this practice, and 
keeping a strict watch over her conscience, she died, with 
nobody near her, and without being able to go to confession. 
This was a blessing to her, for it was little more than a week 
since she had been to her accustomed confession. It was a 
great joy to me when I heard of her death. She was but a 
short time in purgatory. 

25. I do not think it was quite eight days afterwards 
when, after Communion, our Lord appeared to me, and was 
pleased that I should see Him receive my sister into glory. 
During all those years, after our Lord had spoken to me, 
until her death, what I then learnt with respect to her was 
never forgotten either by myself or by my friend, who, when 
my sister was thus dead, came to me in great amazement 
at the fulfilment of the prophecy. God be praised for ever, 
who takes such care of souls that they may not be lost ! 

1 Don Martin de Guzman y Barrientos, husband of Maria de 
Cepeda, the Saint s sister. 





1. WHEN I was staying with this lady, 1 already spoken 
of, in whose house I remained more than six months, our 
Lord ordained that a holy woman 2 of our Order should hear 
of me, who was more than seventy leagues away from the 
place. She happened to travel this way, and went some 
leagues out of her road that she might see me. Our Lord 
had moved her in the same year, and in the same month of 
the year, that He had moved me, to found another monastery 
of the Order; and as He had given her this desire, she sold all 
she possessed, and went to Rome to obtain the necessary 
faculties. She went on foot, and barefooted. She is a woman 
of great penance and prayer, and one to whom our Lord gave 
many graces ; and our Lady appeared to her, and commanded 
her to undertake this work. Her progress in the service of 

1 Dona Luisa de la Cerda. 

2 Maria of Jesus was the daughter of a Reporter of Causes in the 
Chancery of Granada; but his name and that of his wife are not 
known. Maria married, but became a widow soon afterwards. She 
then became a novice in the Carmelite monastery in Granada, and 
during her noviciate had revelations, like those of S. Teresa, about 
a reform of the Order. Her confessor made light of her revelations, 
and she then referred them to F. Gaspar de Salazar, a confessor of S. 
Teresa, who was then in Granada. He approved of them, and Maria 
left the noviciate and went to Rome with two holy women of the 
Order of St. Francis. The three made the journey on foot, and, 
moreover, barefooted. Pope Pius IV. heard her prayer, and, looking 
at her torn and bleeding feet, said to her, "Woman of strong courage, 
let it be as thou wilt." She returned to Granada, but both the Car 
melites and the city refused her permission to found her house there, 
and some went so far as to threaten to have her publicly whipped. 
Dona Leonor de Mascarenas gave her a house in Alcala de Henares, 
of which she took possession Sept. 11, 1562; but the house was for 
mally constituted Ju^ 23, 1563, and subjected to the Bishop ten 
days after (Reforma, i. c. 56; and Don Vicente, vol. i. p. 255). The 
latter says that the Chronicler is in error when he asserts that this 
monastery of Maria of Jesus was endowed. 


our Lord was so much greater than mine, that I was ashamed 
to stand in her presence. She showed me Briefs she brought 
from Rome, and during the fortnight she remained with me 
we laid our plan for the founding of these monasteries. 

2. Until I spoke to her, I never knew that our rule, before 
it was mitigated, required of us that we should possess 
nothing; 1 nor was I going- to found a monastery without 
revenue, 2 for my intention was that we should be without 
anxiety about all that was necessary for us, and I did not 
think of the many anxieties which the possession of property 
brings in its train. This holy woman, taught of our Lord, 
perfectly understood though she could not read what I 
was ignorant of, notwithstanding my having read the Con 
stitutions 3 so often; and when she told me of it, I thought it 
right, though I feared they would never consent to this, but 
would tell me I was committing follies, and that I ought not 
to do any thing whereby I might bring suffering upon others. 
If this concerned only myself, nothing should have kept me 
back, on the contrary, it would have been my great joy 
to think that I was observing the counsels of Christ our 
Lord; for His Majesty had already given me great longings 
for poverty. 4 

3. As for myself, I never doubted that this was the 
better part; for I had now for some time wished it were pos 
sible in my state to go about begging, for the love of God- 
to have no house of my own, nor any thing else. But I was 
afraid that others if our Lord did not give them the same 
desire might live in discontent. Moreover, I feared that 
it might be the cause of some distraction; for I knew some 
poor monasteries not very recollected, and I did not consider 
that their not being recollected was the cause of their poverty, 
and that their poverty was not the cause of their distraction : 
distraction never makes people richer, and God never fails 
those who serve Him. In short, I was weak in faith ; but not 
so this servant of God. 

1 The fourth chapter of the rule is: "Nullus fratrum dicat sibi 
aliquid esse proprium, sed sint vobis omnia communia." 

2 See ch. xxxii. 16 . 

8 The Constitutions which the Saint read in the monastery of the 
Incarnation must have been the Constitutions grounded on the Miti 
gated Rule which was sanctioned by Eugenius IV. (Romani Pnntificis, 
A. p. 1432). 

4 See Relation, i. 10. 


4. As I took the advice of many in every thing, I found 
scarcely any one of this opinion neither my confessor, nor the 
learned men to whom I spoke of it. They gave me so many 
reasons the other way, that I did not know what -to do. But 
when I saw what the rule required, and that poverty was the 
more perfect way, I could not persuade myself to allow an 
endowment. And though they did persuade me now and then 
that they were right, yet, when I returned to my prayer, and 
saw Christ on the cross, so poor and destitute, I could not bear 
to be rich, and I implored Him with tears so to order matters 
that I might be poor as He was. 

5. I found that so many inconveniences resulted from 
an endowment, and saw that it was the cause of so much 
trouble, and even distraction, that I did nothing but dispute 
with the learned. I wrote to that Dominican friar 1 who was 
helping us, and he sent back two sheets by way of reply, full 
of objections and theology against my plan, telling me that he 
had thought much on the subject. I answered that, in order 
to escape from my vocation, the vow of poverty I had made, 
and the perfect observance of the counsels of Christ, I did not 
want any theology to help me, and in this case I should not 
thank him for his learning. If I found any one who would 
help me, it pleased me much. The lady in whose house I was 
staying was a great help to me in this matter. Some at first 
told me that they agreed with me; afterwards, when they 
had considered the matter longer, they found in it so many 
inconveniences, that they insisted on my giving it up. I told 
them that, though they changed their opinion so quickly, 
I would abide by the first. 

6. At this time, because of my entreaties, for the lady 
had never seen the holy friar, Peter of Alcantara, it pleased 
our Lord to bring him to her house. As he was a great lover 
of poverty, and had lived in it for so many years, he knew 
well the treasures it contains, and so he was a great help to 
me ; he charged me on no account whatever to give up my 
purpose. Now, having this opinion and sanction, no one 
was better able to give it, because he knew what it was by 
long experience, I made up my mind to seek no further 

7. One day, when I was very earnestly commending the 
matter to God. our Lord told me that I must by no, 

1 F. Pedro Ibanez. 


give up my purpose of founding the monastery in poverty; 
it was His will, and the will of His Father: He would help me. 
I was in a trance; and the effects were such, that I could 
have no doubt it came from God. On another occasion, He 
said to me that endowments bred confusion, with other things 
in praise of poverty; and assured me that whosoever served 
Him would never be in want of the necessary means of 
living: and this want, as I have said, 1 I never feared myself. 

Our Lord changed the dispositions also of the licentiate, I 

am speaking of the Dominican friar, 2 who, as I said, wrote 
to me that I should not found the monastery without an en 
dowment. Now, I was in the greatest joy at hearing this ; 
and having these opinions in my favour, it seemed to me 
nothing less than the possession of all the wealth of the 
world, when I had resolved to live in poverty for the love 
of God. 

8. At this time, my Provincial withdrew the order and the 
obedience, in virtue of which I was staying in that house. 3 
He left it to me to do as I liked: if I wished to return, I 
might do so; if I wished to remain, I might also do so for 
a certain time. But during that time the elections in my 
monastery 4 would take place, and I was told that many of 
the nuns wished to lay on me the burden of superiorship. 
The very thought of this alone was a great torment to me; 
for, though I was resolved to undergo readily any kind of 
martyrdom for God, I could not persuade myself at all to 
accept this ; for, putting aside the great trouble it involved, 
because the nuns were so many, and other reasons, such as 
that I never wished for it, nor for any other office, on the 
contrary, had always refused them, it seemed to me that 
my conscience would be in great danger; and so I praised 
God that I was not then in my convent. I wrote to my 
friends, and asked them not to vote for me. 

9. AVhen I was rejoicing that I was not in that trouble, 
our Lord said to me that I was on no account to keep away; 
that as I longed for a cross, there was one ready for me, and 
that a heavy one: that I was not to throw it away, but go 
on with resolution; He would help me, and I must go at 
once. I was very much distressed, and did nothing but 

1 Ch. xi. 2. 2 F. Pedro Ibanez. 

3 The house of Dona Luisa, in Toledo. 
The monastery of the Incarnation, Avila. 


weep, because I thought that my cross was to be the office 
of prioress; and, as I have just said, I could not persuade 
myself that it would be at all good for my soul nor could I 
see any means by which it could be. I told my confessor of it, 
and he commanded me to return at once : that to do so was 
clearly the more perfect way ; and that, because the heat was 
very great, it would be enough if I arrived before the elec 
tion, I might wait a few days, in order that my journey 
might do me no harm. 

10. But our Lord had ordered it otherwise. I had to go 
at once, because the uneasiness I felt was very great; and I 
was unable to pray, and thought I was failing in obedience 
to the commandments of our Lord, and that, as I was happy 
and contented where I was, I would not go to meet trouble. 
All my service of God there was lip-service : why did I, having 
the opportunity of living in greater perfection, neglect it? 
If I died on the road, let me die. Besides, my soul was in 
great straits, and our Lord had taken from me all sweetness 
in prayer. In short, I was in such a state of torment, that 
I begged the lady to let me go ; for my confessor, when he 
saw the plight I was in, had already told me to go, God 
having moved him as He had moved me. The lady felt my 
departure very much, and that was another pain to bear; 
for it had cost her much trouble, and diverse importuni 
ties of the Provincial, to have me in her house. 

11. I considered it a very great thing for her to have 
given her consent, when she felt it so much ; but, as she was 
a person who feared God exceedingly, and as I told her, 
among many other reasons, that my going away tended 
greatly to His service, and held out the hope that I might 
possibly return, she gave way, but with much sorrow. I 
was now not sorry myself at coming away, for I knew that 
it was an act of greater perfection, and for the service of God. 
So the pleasure I had in pleasing God took away the pain of 
quitting that lady, whom I saw suffering so keenly, and 
others to whom I owed much, particularly my confessor of the 
Society of Jesus, in whom I found all I needed. But the 
greater the consolations I lost for our Lord s sake, the greater 
was my joy in losing them. I could not understand it, for I 
had a clear consciousness of these two contrary feelings 
pleasure, consolation, and joy in that which weighed down my 
soul with sadness. I was joyful and tranquil, and had op- 


portunities of spending many hours in prayer; and I saw that 
I was going to throw myself into a fire ; for our Lord had al 
ready told me that I was going to carry a heavy cross, 
though I never thought it would be so heavy as I afterwards 
found it to be, and yet I went forth rejoicing. I was dis 
tressed because I had not already begun the fight, since it 
was our Lord s will that I should be in it. Thus His Majesty 
gave me strength, and established it in my weakness. 1 

12. As I have just said, I could not understand how this 
could be. I thought of this illustration : if I were possessed 
of a jewel, or any other thing which gave me great pleasure, 
and it came to my knowledge that a person whom I loved 
more than myself, and whose satisfaction I preferred to my 
own, wished to have it, it would give me great pleasure to 
deprive myself of it, because I would give all I possessed 
to please that person. Now, as the pleasure of giving pleas 
ure to that person surpasses any pleasure I have in that 
jewel myself, I should not be distressed in giving away that 
or any thing else I loved, nor at the loss of that pleasure 
which the possession of it gave me. So now, though I wished 
to feel some distress when I saw that those whom I was 
leaving felt my going so much, yet, notwithstanding my 
naturally grateful disposition, which, under other circum 
stances, would have been enough to cause me great pain, at 
this time, though I wished to feel it, I could feel none. 

13. The delay of ano.ther day was so serious a matter in 
the affairs of this holy house, that I know not how they could 
have been settled if I had waited. Oh, God is great ! I am 
often lost in wonder when I consider and see the special help 
which His Majesty gave me towards the establishment of 
this little cell of God, for such I believe it to be, the lodging 
wherein His Majesty delights; for once, when I was in prayer, 
He told me that this house was the paradise of His delight. 2 
It seems, then, that His Majesty has chosen these whom he 
has drawn hither, among whom I am living very much 
ashamed of myself. 3 I could not have even wished for souls 
such as they are for the purpose of this house, where enclosure, 
poverty, and prayer are so strictly observed ; they submit with 
so much joy and contentment, that every one of them thinks 

1 2 Cor. xii. 9. 

2 See Way of Perfection, ch. xxii. ; but ch. xiii. ed. Dohlado. 
a See Foundations, ch. i. 1. 


herself unworthy of the grace of being received into it, 
some of them particularly ; for our Lord has called them out 
of the vanity and dissipation of the world, in which, accord 
ing to its laws, they might have lived contented. Our Lord 
has multiplied their joy, so that they see clearly how He has 
given them a hundredfold for the one thing they have left 1 
and for which they cannot thank His Majesty enough. Others 
He has advanced from well to better. To the young He gives 
courage and knowledge, so that they may desire nothing else, 
and also to understand that to live away from all things of 
this life is to live in greater peace even here below. To 
those who are no longer young, and whose health is weak, He 
gives and has given the strength to undergo the same aus 
terities and penances with all the others. 

14. O my Lord ! how Thou dost show Thy power ! 
There is no need to seek reasons for Thy will ; for with Thee, 
against all natural reason, all things are possible : so that Thou 
teachest clearly there is no need of any thing but of loving 
Thee 2 in earnest, and really giving up every thing for Thee, 
in order that Thou, O my Lord, mightest make every thing 
easy. It is well said that Thou feignest to make Thy law 
difficult: 3 I do not see it, nor do I feel that the way that 
leadeth unto Thee is narrow. I see it as a royal road, and not 
a pathway ; a road upon which whosoever really enters, travels 
most sincerely. No mountain passes and no cliffs are near it: 

1 S. Matt. xix. 29. 

2 When the workmen were busy with the building, a nephew of the 
Saint, the child of her sister and Don Juan de Ovaile, was struck by 
some falling stones, and killed. The workmen took the child to his 
mother; and the Saint, then in the house of Dona Guiomar de Ulloa, 
was sent for. Dona Guiomar took the dead boy into her arms, gave 
him to the Saint, saying that it was a grievous blow to the father and 
mother, and that she must obtain his life from God. The Saint took the 
body, and, laying it in her lap, ordered those around her to cease their 
lamentations, of whom her sister was naturally the loudest, and be 
silent. Then, covering her face and her body with her veil, she 
prayed to God, and God gave the child his life again. The little boy 
soon after ran up to his aunt and thanked her for what she had 
done. In after years the child used to say to the Saint that as she 
had deprived him of the bliss of heaven by bringing him back to 
life, she was bound to see that he did not suffer loss. Don Gonzalo 
died three years a r ter S. Teresa, when he was twenty-eight years of 
age (Re forma, i. c. 40, 2). 

3 Ps. xciii. 20. 


these are the occasions of sin. I call that a pass, a dan 
gerous pass, and a narrow road, which has on one side a 
deep hollow, into which one stumbles, and on the other a 
precipice, over which they who are careless fall, and are 
dashed to pieces. He who loves Thee, O my God, travels 
safely by the cpen and royal road, far away from the precipice : 
he has scarcely stumbled at all, when Thou stretchest forth 
Thy hand to save him. One fall yea, many falls if he 
does but love Thee, and net the things of the world, are not 
enough to make him perish ; he travels in the valley of humility. 
I cannot understand what it is that makes men afraid of the 
way of perfection. 

15. May our Lord of His mercy make us see what a 
poor security we have in the midst of dangers so manifest, 
when we live like the rest of the world ; and that true se 
curity consists in striving to advance in the way of God ! 
Let us fix our eyes upon Him, and have no fear that the Sun 
of Justice will ever set, or suffer us to travel to our ruin by 
night, unless we first look away from Him. People are not 
afraid of living in the midst cf lions, every one of whom seems 
eager to tear them : I am speaking of honours, pleasures, and 
the like joys, as the world calls them: and herein the devil 
seems to make us afraid of ghosts. I am astonished a thou 
sand times, and ten thousand times would I relieve myself 
by weeping, and proclaim aloud my own great blindness and 
wickedness, if, perchance, it might help in some measure to 
open their eyes. May He, who is almighty, of His goodness 
open their eyes, and never suffer mine to be blind again! 



1. HAVING now left that city, 1 I travelled in great joy, 
resolved to suffer most willingly whatever our Lord might 
be pleased to lay upon me. On the night of my arrival here, 2 
came also from Rome the commission and the Brief for the 

1 Toledo. 2 V ila. In the beginning of June, 1562. 


erection of the monastery. 1 I was astonished myself, and so 
were those who knew how our Lord had hastened my coming, 
when they saw how necessary it was, and in what a moment 
our -Lord had brought me back. 2 I found here the Bishop 3 
and the holy friar, Peter of Alcantara, and that nobleman, 4 
the great servant of God, in whose house the holy man was 
staying; for he was a man who was in the habit of receiving 
the servants of God in his house. These two prevailed on the 
Bishop to accept the monastery, which was no small thing, 
because it was founded in poverty; but he was so great a 
lover of those whom he saw determined to serve our Lord, 
that he was immediately drawn to give them His protection. 
It was the approbation of the holy old man, 5 and the great 
trouble he took to make now this one, now that one, help 
us, that did the whole work. If I had not come at the 
moment, as I have just said, I do not see how it could have 
been done ; for the holy man was here but a short time, I 
think not quite eight days, during which he was also ill ; and 
almost immediately afterwards our Lord took him to Himself. 6 
It seems as if His Majesty reserved him till this affair was 
ended, because now for some time I think for more than two 
years he had been very ill. 

2. Every thing was done in the utmost secrecy; and if 
it had not been so, I do not see how any thing could have 
been done at all ; for the people of the city were against 
us, as it appeared afterwards. Our Lord ordained that one of 
my brothers-in-law 7 should be ill, and his wife away, and him 
self in such straits that my superiors gave me leave to remain 
with him. Nothing, therefore, was found out, though some 

1 See ch. xxxiv. 2. The Brief was dated Feb. 7, 1562, the third 
year of Pius IV. (De la Fuente). 

* The Brief was addressed to Dona Aldonza de Guzman, and to 
Dona Guiomar de Ulloa, her daughter. 

3 Don Alvaro de Mendoza (De la Fuente). 

4 Don Francisco de Salcedo. 

5 S. Peter of Alcantara. "Truly this is the house of S. Joseph," 
were the Saint s words when he saw the rising monastery; "for I see 
it is the little hospice of Bethlehem" (De la Fuente). 

6 In less than three months, perhaps; for S. Peter died in the 
sixty-third year of his age, Oct. 18, 1562, and in less than eight 
weeks after the foundation of the monastery of S. Joseph. 

7 Sefior Juan de Ovalle. 


persons had their suspicions ; still, they did not believe. It 
was very wonderful, for his illness lasted only no longer than 
was necessary for our affair; and when it was necessary he 
should recover his health, that I might be disengaged, and he 
leave the house empty, our Lord restored him ; and he was 
astonished at it himself. 1 

3. I had much trouble in persuading this person and that 
to allow the foundation ; I had to nurse the sick man, and 
obtain from the workmen the hasty preparation of the house, 
so that it might have the form of a monastery : but much re 
mained still to be done. My friend was not here, 2 for we 
thought it best she should be away, in order the better to hide 
our purpose. I saw that every thing depended on haste, for 
many reasons, one of which was that I was afraid I might be 
ordered back to my monastery at any moment. I was 
troubled by so many things, that I suspected my cross had 
been sent me, though it seemed but a light one in comparison 
with that which I understood our Lord meant me to carry. 

4. When every thing was settled, our Lord was pleased 
that some of us should take the habit on S. Bartholomew s 
Day. The most Holy Sacrament began to dwell in the house 
at the same time. 3 With full sanction and authority, then, 
our monastery of our most glorious father S. Joseph was 
founded in the year 1562. 4 I was there myself to give the 
habit, with two nuns 5 of the house to which we belonged, 

1 When he saw that the Saint had made all her arrangements, he 
knew the meaning of his illness, and said to her, "It is not necessary 
I should be ill any longer" (Ribera, i. c. 17). 

2 Dona Guiomar de Ulloa was now in her native place, Ciudad 

3 The Mass was said by Caspar Daza. See infra, 18; Reforma, 
I c. xliv. 3. 

* The bell which the Saint had provided for the convent weighed 
less than three pounds, and remained in the monastery for a hundred 
years, till it was sent, by order of the General, to the monastery of 
Pastrana, where the general chapters were held. There the friars 
assembled at the sound of the bell, which rang for the first Mass of 
the Carmelite Reform (Reforma, i. c. xliv 1). 

5 They were Dona Ines and Dona Ana de Tapia, cousins of the 
Saint. There were present also Don Gonzalo de Aranda, Don Fran 
cisco Salcedo, Julian of Avila, priest; Dona Juana de Ahumada, the 
Saint s sister; with her husband, Juan de Ovalle. The Saint herself 
retained her own habit, making no change, because she had not the 
permission of her superiors (Reforma, i. c. xliv. 3). 


who happened then to be absent from it. As the house which 
thus became a monastery was that of my brother-in-law I 
said before 1 that he had bought it, for the purpose of con 
cealing our plan I was there myself with the permission of 
my superiors ; and I did nothing without the advice of learned 
men, in order that I might not break, in a single point, my 
vow of obedience. As these persons considered what I was 
doing to be most advantageous for the whole Order, on many 
accounts, they told me though I was acting secretly, and 
taking care my superiors should know nothing that I might 
go on. If they had told me that there was the slightest im 
perfection in the whole matter, I would have given up the 
founding of a thousand monasteries, how much more, then, 
this one ! I am certain of this ; for though I longed to with 
draw from every thing more and more, and to follow my rule 
and vocation in the greatest perfection and seclusion, yet I 
wished to do so only conditionally ; for if I should have learnt 
that it would be for the greater honour of our Lord to aban 
don it, I would have done so as I did before on one occasion, 2 
in all peace and contentment. 

5. I felt as if I were in bliss, when I saw the most Holy 
Sacrament reserved, with four poor orphans, 3 for they 
were received without a dowry, and great servants of God, 
established in the house. It was our aim from the beginning 
to receive only those who, by their example, might be the 
foundation on which we could build up what we had in view 
great perfection and prayer and effect a work which I be 
lieved to be for the service of our Lord, and to the honour 
of the habit of His glorious Mother. This was my anxiety. 

1 Ch. xxxiii. 14. 

2 Ch. xxxiii. 3. 

3 The first of these was Antonio de Henao, a penitent of S. Peter 
of Alcantara, and who wished to enter a religious house far away 
from Avila, her home. S. Peter kept her for S. Teresa. She was 
called from this day forth Antonia of the Holy Ghost. The second 
was Maria de la Paz, brought up by Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. Her 
name was Maria of the Cross. The third was Ursola de los Santos. 
She retained her family name as Ursola of the Saints. It was Gaspar 
Daza who brought her to the Saint. The fourth was Maria de Avila, 
sister of Julian the priest, and she was called Mary of S. Joseph. It 
was at this house, too, that the Saint herself exchanged her ordinary 
designation of Dona Teresa de Ahumada for Teresa of Jesus (Re forma, 
i. c. xliv. 2). 


It was also a great consolation to me that I had done that 
which our Lord had so often commanded me to do, and that 
there was one church more in this city dedicated to my 
glorious father S. Joseph. Not that I thought I had done any 
thing myself, for I have never thought so, and do not think 
so even now ; I always looked upon it as the work of our Lord. 
My part in it was so full of imperfections, that I look upon 
myself rather as a person in fault than as one to whom any 
thanks are due. But it was a great joy to me when I saw His 
Majesty make use of me, who am so worthless, as His instru 
ment in so grand a work. I was therefore in great joy, so 
much so, that I was, as it were, beside myself, lost in prayer. 

6. When all was done it might have been about three 
or four hours afterwards Satan returned to the spiritual 
fight against me, as I shall now relate. He suggested to me 
that perhaps I had been wrong in what I had done ; perhaps 
I had failed in my obedience, in having brought it about with 
out the commandment of the Provincial. I did certainly think 
that the Provincial would be displeased because I had placed 
the monastery under the jurisdiction of the Bishop 1 without 
telling him of it beforehand ; though, as he would not acknow 
ledge the monastery himself, and as I had not changed mine, it 
seemed to me that perhaps he would not care much about 
the matter. Satan also suggested whether the nuns would be 
contented to live in so strict a house, whether they could 
always find food, whether I had not done a silly thing, and 
what had I to do with it, when I was already in a monastery? 
All our Lord had said to me, all the opinions I had heard, and 
all the prayers which had been almost uninterrupted for more 
than two years, were completely blotted out of my memory, 
just as if they had never been. The only thing I remembered 
was my opinion ; and every virtue, with faith itself, was 
then suspended within me, so that I was without strength 
to practise any one of them, or to defend myself against so 
many blows. 

7. The devil also would have me ask myself how I could 
think of shutting myself up in so strict a house, when I was 
subject to so many infirmities ; how could I bear so penitential 
a life, and leave a house large and pleasant, where I had been 
always so happy, and where I had so many friends? perhaps 
I might not like those of the new monastery ; I had taken 

1 See Foundations, ch. ii. 1, and ch. xxxi. 1. 


on myself a heavy obligation, and might possibly end in 
despair. He also suggested that perhaps it was he himself 
who had contrived it, in order to rob me of my peace and 
rest, so that, being unable to pray, I might be disquieted, 
and so lose my soul. Thoughts of this kind he put before 
me ; and they were so many, that I could think of nothing 
else ; and with them came such distress, obscurity, and dark 
ness of soul as I can never describe. When I found myself 
in this state, I w r ent and placed myself before the most Holy 
Sacrament, though I could not pray to Him ; so great was my 
anguish, that I was like one in the agony of death. I could 
not make the matter known to any one, because no confessor 
had as yet been appointed. 

8. O my God, how wretched is this, life! No joy is 
lasting; every thing is liable to change. Only a moment ago, 
I do not think I would have exchanged my joy with any man 
upon earth; and the very grounds of that joy so tormented 
me now, that I knew not what to do with myself. Oh, if we 
did but consider carefully the events of our life, every one of 
us would learn from experience how little we ought to make 
either of its pleasures or of its pains ! Certainly this was, I be 
lieve, one of the most distressing moments I ever passed in all 
my life ; my spirit seemed to forecast the great sufferings in 
store for me, though they never were so heavy as this was, if it 
had continued. But our Lord would not let His poor servant 
suffer, for in all my troubles He never failed to succour me; 
so it was now. He gave me a little light, so that I might see 
it was the work of the devil, and might understand the truth, 
namely, that it was nothing else but an attempt on his part 
to frighten me with his lies. So I began to call to mind my 
great resolutions to serve our Lord, and my desire to suffer 
for His sake ; and I thought that if I carried them out, I 
must not seek to be at rest; that if I had my trials, they would 
be meritorious ; and that if I had troubles, and endured them 
in order to please God, it would serve me for purgatory. What 
was I, then, afraid of? If I longed for tribulations, I had 
them now; and my gain lay in the greatest opposition. Why, 
then, did I fail in courage to serve One to whom I owed so 

9. After making these and other reflections, and doing 
great violence to myself, I promised before the most Holy 
S^crpment to do all in my power to obtain permission to enter 


this house, and, if I could do it with a good conscience, to 
make a vow of enclosure. When I had done this, the devil 
fled in a moment, and left me calm and peaceful, and I have 
continued so ever since ; and the enclosure, penances, and 
other rules of this house are to me, in their observance, so 
singularly sweet and light, the joy I have is so exceedingly 
great, that I am now and then thinking what on earth I could 
have chosen which should be more delightful. I know not 
whether this may not be the cause of my being in better 
health than I was ever before, or whether it be that our Lord, 
because it is needful and reasonable that I should do as all 
the others do, gives me this comfort of keeping the whole 
rule, though with some difficulty. However, all who know my 
infirmities are astonished at my strength. Blessed be He 
who giveth it all, and in whose strength I am strong! 

10. Such a contest left me greatly fatigued, and laughing 
at Satan ; for I saw clearly it was he. As I have never known 
what it is to be discontented because I am a nun no, not 
for an instant during more than twenty-eight years of relig 
ion, I believe that our Lord suffered me to be thus tempted, 
that I might understand how great a mercy He had shown 
me herein, and from what torment He had delivered me, and 
that if I saw any one in like trouble I might not be alarmed 
at it, but have pity on her, and be able to console her. 

11. Then, when this was over, I wished to rest myself 
a little after our dinner; for during the whole of that night 
I had scarcely rested at all, and for some nights previously 
I had had much trouble and anxiety, while every day was 
full of toil ; for the news of what we had done had reached 
my monastery, and was spread through the city. There arose 
a great outcry, for the reasons I mentioned before, 1 and 
there was some apparent ground for it. The prioress 2 sent 
for me to come to her immediately. When I received the 
order, I went at once, leaving the nuns in great distress. I 
saw clearly enough that there were troubles before me; but 
as the work was really done, I did not care much for that. 
I prayed and implored our Lord to help me, and my father 
S. Joseph to bring me back to his house. I offered up to him 
all I was to suffer, rejoicing greatly that I had the opportunity 
of suffering for his honour and of doing him service. I went 
persuaded that I should be put in prison at once ; but this 

1 Ch. xxxiii. 1, 2. 2 Of the Incarnation. 


would have been a great comfort, because I should have 
nobody to speak to, and might have some rest and solitude, 
of which I was in g- re at need; for so much intercourse with 
people had worn me out. 

12. When I came and told the prioress what I had done, 
she was softened a little. They all sent for the Provincial, 
and the matter was reserved for him. When he came, I was 
summoned to judgment, rejoicing greatly at seeing that I had 
something to suffer for our Lord, I did not think I had 
offended against His Majesty, or against my Order, in any 
thing I had done; on the contrary, I was striving with all 
my might to exalt my Order, for which I would willingly 
have died, for my whole desire was that its rule might be 
observed in all perfection. I thought of Christ receiving sen 
tence, and I saw how this of mine would be less than nothing. 
I confessed my fault, as if I had been very much to blame; 
and so I seemed to every one who did not know all the 
reasons. After the Provincial had rebuked me sharply 
though not with the severity which my fault deserved, nor 
according to the representations made to him I would not 
defend myself, for I was determined to bear it all ; on the 
contrary, I prayed him to forgive and punish, and be no longer 
angry with me. 

13. I saw well enough that they condemned me on some 
charges of which I was innocent, for they said I had founded 
the monastery that I might be thought much of, and to make 
myself a name, and for other reasons of that kind. But on 
other points I understood clearly that they were speaking 
the truth, as when they said that I was more wicked than 
the other nuns. They asked, how could I, who had not kept 
the rule in that house, think of keeping it in another of stricter 
observance? They said I was giving scandal in the city, and 
setting up novelties. All this neither troubled nor distressed 
me in the least, though I did seem to feel it, lest I should 
appear to make light of what they were saying. 

14. At last the Provincial commanded me to explain my 
conduct before the nuns, and I had to do it. As I was per 
fectly calm, and our Lord helped me, I explained every thing 
in such a way that neither the Provincial nor those who were 
present found any reason to condemn me. Afterwards I 
spoke more plainly to the Provincial alone ; he was very much 
satisfied, and promised, if the new monastery prospered, and 


the city became quiet, to give me leave to live in it. Now the 
outcry in the city was very great, as I am going to tell. Two 
or three days after this, the governor, certain members of 
the council of the city and of the Chapter, came together, and 
resolved that the new monastery should not be allowed to 
exist, that it was a visible wrong to the state, that the most 
Holy Sacrament should be removed, and that they would not 
suffer us in any way to go on with our work. 

15. They assembled all the Orders that is, two learned 
men from each to give their opinion. Some were silent, 
others condemned; in the end, they resolved that the monas 
tery should be broken up. Only one 1 he was of the Order 
of S. Dominic, and objected, not to the monastery itself, but 
to the foundation of it in poverty said that there was no 
reason why it should be thus dissolved, that the matter ought 
to be well considered, that there was time enough, that it 
was the affair of the bishop, with other things of that kind. 
This was of great service to us, for they were angry enough 
to proceed to its destruction at once, and it was fortunate 
they did not. In short, the monastery must exist ; our Lord 
was pleased to have it, and all of them could do nothing 
against His will. They gave their reasons, and showed their 
zeal for good, and thus, without offending God, made me 
suffer together with all those who were in favour of the 
monastery ; there were not many, but they suffered much per 
secution The inhabitants were so excited, that they talked 
of nothing else ; every one condemned me, and hurried to the 
Provincial and to my monastery. 

16. I was no more distressed by what they said of me 
than if they had said nothing ; but I was afraid the monastery 
would be destroyed : that was painful ; so also was it to see 

1 F. Domingo Banes, the great commentator on S. Thomas. On 
the margin of the MS., Banes has with his own hand written: "This 
was at the end of August, 1562. I was present, and gave this opinion. 
I am writing this in May" (the day of the month is not legible) 
"1575, and the mother has now founded nine monasteries en gran 
religion" (De la Fuente). At this time Banes did not know, and had 
never seen, the Saint; he undertook her defence simply because he saw 
that her intentions were good, and the means she made use of for 
founding the monastery lawful, seeing that she had received the 
commandment to do so from the Pope. Banes testifies thus in the 
depositions made in Salamanca in 1591, in the Saint s process. See 
vol. ii. p. 376 of Don Vicente s edition. 


those persons who helped me lose their credit and suffer .so 
much annoyance. But as to what was said of myself I was 
rather glad, and if I had had any faith I should not have been 
troubled -at all ; but a slight failing in one virtue is enough to 
put all the others to sleep. I was therefore extremely distressed 
during the two days on which those assemblies of which I have 
spoken were held. In the extremity of my trouble, our Lord 
said to me : "Knowest thou not that I am the Almighty ? what 
art thou afraid of?" He made me feel assured that the 
monastery would not be broken up, and I was exceedingly 
comforted. The informations taken were sent up to the king s 
council, and an order came back for a report on the whole 

17. Here was the beginning of a grand lawsuit : the city 
sent delegates to the court, and some must be sent also 
to defend the monastery: but I had no money, nor did I 
know what to do Our Lord provided for us ; for the Father- 
Provincial never ordered me not to meddle in the matter. 
He is so great a lover of all that is good, that, though he 
did not help us, he would not be against our work. Neither 
did he authorise me to enter the house till he saw how it 
would end. Those servants of God who were in it were left 
alone, and did more by their prayers than I did with all 
my negotiations, though the affair needed the utmost atten 
tion. Now and then every thing seemed to fail; particularly 
one day, before the Provincial came, when the prioress ordered 
me to meddle no more with it, and to give it up altogether. 
I betook myself to God, and said, "O Lord, this house is not 
mine; it was founded for Thee; and now that there is no 
one to take up the cause, do Thou protect it." I now felt 
myself in peace, and as free from anxiety as if the whole 
world were on my side in the matter; and at once I looked 
upon it as safe. 1 

18. A very great servant of God, and a lover of all per 
fection, a priest 2 who had helped me always, went to the 
court on this business, and took great pains. That holy 
nobleman 3 of whom I have often spoken laboured much on 
our behalf, and helped us in every way. He had much 
trouble and persecution to endure, and I always found a 

1 See ch. xxxix. 24. 

2 Gonzalo de Aranda (De la Fuente}. 

3 Don Francisco de Salcedo (ibid. }. 


father in him, and do so still. All those who helped us, 
our Lord filled with such fervour as made them consider 
our affair as their own, as if their own life and reputation 
were at stake; and yet it was nothing to them, except in so 
far as it regarded the service of our Lord. His Majesty 
visibly helped the priest I have spoken of before, 1 who was 
also one of those who gave us great help when the Bishop 
sent him as his representative to one of the great meetings. 
There he stood alone against all ; at last he pacified them by 
means of certain propositions, which obtained us a little re 
spite. But that was not enough ; for they were ready to 
spend their lives, if they could but destroy the monastery. 
This servant of God was he who gave the habit and reserved 
the most Holy Sacrament, and he was the object of much 
persecution. This attack lasted about six months : to relate 
in detail the heavy trials we passed through would be too 

19. I wondered at what Satan did against a few poor 
women, and also how all people thought that merely twelve 
women, with a prioress, could be so hurtful to the city, 
for they were not to be more, I say this to those who 
opposed us, and living such austere lives ; for if any harm 
or error came of it, it would all fall upon them. Harm to 
the city there could not be in any way; and yet the people 
thought there was so much in it, that they opposed us with 
a good conscience. At last they resolved they would tolerate 
us if we were endowed, and in consideration of that would 
suffer us to remain. I was so distressed at the trouble of 
all those who were on our side more than at my own 
that I thought it would not be amiss, till the people were 
pacified, to accept an endowment, but afterwards to resign it. 
At other times, too, wicked and imperfect as I am, I thought 
that perhaps our Lord wished it to be so, seeing that, without 
accepting it, we could not succeed; and so I consented to 
the compromise. 

20. The night before the settlement was to be made, 
I was in prayer, the discussion of the terms of it had al 
ready begun, when our Lord said to me that I must do 
nothing of the kind ; for if we began with an endowment, 
they would never allow us to resign it. He said some other 
things also. The same night, the holy friar, Peter of Al- 

1 Ch. xxiii. 6; Caspar Daza (ibid.}. 


cantara, appeared to me. He was then dead. 1 But he had 
written to me before his death for he knew the great op 
position and persecution we had to bear that he was glad 
the foundation was so much spoken against; it was a sign 
that our Lord would be exceedingly honoured in the mon 
astery, seeing that Satan was so earnest against it; and that 
I was by no means to consent to an endowment. He urged 
this upon me twice or thrice in that letter, and said that 
if I persisted in this every thing would succeed according 
to my wish. 

21. At this time I had already seen him twice since his 
death, and the great glory he was in, and so I was not afraid, 
on the contrary, I was very glad; for he always appeared 
as a glorified body in great happiness, and the vision made 
me very happy too. I remember that he told me, the first 
time I saw him, among other things, when speaking of the 
greatness of his joy, that the penance he had done was a 
blessed thing for him, in that it had obtained so great a 
reward. But, as I think I have spoken of this before, 2 I 
will now say no more than that he showed himself severe 
on this occasion: he merely said that I was on no account 
to accept an endowment, and asked why it was I did not 
take his advice. He then disappeared. I remained in aston 
ishment, and the next day told the nobleman for I went 
to him in all my trouble, as to one who did more than others 
for us in the matter what had taken place, and charged 
him not to consent to the endowment, but to let the lawsuit 
go on. He was more firm on this point than I was, and 
was therefore greatly pleased; he told me afterwards how 
much he disliked the compromise. 

22. After this, another personage a great servant of God, 
and with good intentions came forward, who, now that the 
matter was in good train, advised us to put it in the hands 
of learned men. This brought on trouble enough; for some 
of those who helped me agreed to do so; and this plot of 
Satan was one of the most difficult of all to unravel. Our 
Lord was my helper throughout. Writing thus briefly, it 
is impossible for me to explain what took place during the 
two years that passed between the beginning and the com 
pletion of the monastery : the last six months and the first 
six months were the most painful. 

1 He died Oct. 18, 1562. 2 Ch. xxvii. 18. 


23. When at last the city was somewhat calm, the licen 
tiate father, the Dominican friar 1 who helped us, exerted 
himself most skillfully on our behalf. Though not here at 
the time, our Lord brought him here at a most convenient 
moment for our service, and it seems that His Majesty 
brought him for that purpose only. He told me afterwards 
that he had no reasons for coming, and that he heard of our 
affair as if by chance. He remained here as long as we 
wanted him : and on going away he prevailed, by some means, 
on the Father-Provincial to permit me to enter this house, 
and to take with me some of the nuns 2 such a permission 
seemed impossible in so short a time for the performance 
of the Divine Office, and the training of those who were in 
this house : the day of our coming was a most joyful day 
for me. 3 

24. While praying in the church, before I went into the 
house, and being as it were in a trance, I saw Christ; who, 
as it seemed to me, received me with great affection, placed 
a crown on my head, and thanked me for what I had done 
for His Mother. On another occasion, when all of us re 
mained in the choir in prayer after Compline, I saw our Lady 
in exceeding glory, in a white mantle, with which she seemed 
to cover us all. I understood by that the high degree of 
glory to which our Lord would raise the religious of this 

25. When we had begun to sing the Office, the people 
began to have a great devotion to the monastery: more nuns 
were received, and our Lord began to stir up those who had 
been our greatest persecutors to become great benefactors, 
and give alms to us. In this way they came to approve of 
what they had condemned; and so, by degrees, they with- 

"El Padre Presentado, Dominico. Presentado en algunas Relig- 
iones es cierto titulo de grade que es respeto del Maestro Como 
Licenciado" (Cobarruvias, in voce Presente). The father was Fra 
Pedro Ibanez. See ch. xxxviii. 15. 

From the monastery of the Incarnation. These were Ana of S. 
John, Ana of All the Angels, Maria Isabel, and Isabel of S. Paul. 
S. Teresa was a simple nun, living under obedience to the prioress of 
S. Joseph, Ana of S. John, and intended so to remain. But the nuns 
applied to the Bishop of Avila and to the Provincial of the Order, who, 
listening to the complaints of the sisters, compelled the Saint to be 
their prioress. See Reforma, i. c. xlvii. 4. 
3 Mid-Lent of 1563. 


drew from the lawsuit, and would say that they now felt it 
to be a work of God, since His Majesty had been pleased to 
carry it on in the face of so much opposition. And now 
there is not one who thinks that it would have been right 
not to have founded the monastery : so they make a point 
of furnishing us with alms ; for without any asking on our 
part, without begging of any one, our Lord moves them to 
succour us ; and so we always have what is necessary for us, 
and I trust in our Lord it will always be so. 1 As the sisters 
are few in number, if they do their duty as our Lord at present 
by His grace enables them to do, I am confident that they will 
always have it, and that they need not be a burden nor trouble 
some to any body ; for our Lord will care for them, as He 
has hitherto done. 

26. It is the greatest consolation to me to find myself 
among those who are so detached. Their occupation is to 
learn how they may advance in the service of God. Solitude 
is their delight; and the thought of being visited by any one, 
even of their nearest kindred, is a trial, unless it helps them 
to kindle more and more their love of the Bridegroom. 
Accordingly, none come to this house who do not aim at 
this ; otherwise they neither give nor receive any pleasure 
from their visits. Their conversation is of God only ; and 
so he whose conversation is different does not understand 
them, and they do not understand him. 

27. We keep the rule of our Lady of Carmel, not the 
rule of the Mitigation, but as it was settled by Fr. Hugo, 
Cardinal of Santa Sabina, and given in the year 1248, in the 
fifth year of the pontificate of Innocent IV., Pope. All the 
trouble we had to go through, as it seems to me, will have 
been endured to good purpose. 

28. And now, though the rule be somewhat severe, 
for we never eat flesh except in cases of necessity, fast eight 
months in the year, and practise some other austerities besides, 
according to the primitive rule, 2 yet the sisters think it 

1 See Way of Perfection, ch. ii. 

2 Brockic, iii. 20: "Jejunium singulis diebus, exceptis Dominicis, 
observetis a Festo Exaltationis Sanctde Crucis usque ad diem Domi- 
nicre Resurrectionis, nisi infirmitas seu debilitas corporis, aut alia 
justa causa, jejunium solvi suadeat; quia necessitas non habet legem. 
Ab esu carnium semper abstineatis, nisi pro infirmitatis aut nimia? 
debilitatis remedio sint sumendze." That is the seventh section of the 


light on many points, and so they have other observances, 
which we have thought necessary for the more perfect keep 
ing of it. And I trust in our Lord that what we have begun 
will prosper more and more, to the promise which His 
Majesty gave me. 

29. The other house, which the holy woman of whom 
I spoke before 1 laboured to establish, has been also blessed 
of our Lord, and is founded in Alcala : it did not escape seri 
ous oppositions, nor fail to endure many trials. I know that 
all duties of religion are observed in it, according to our 
primitive rule. Our Lord grant that all may be to the praise 
and glory of Himself and of the glorious Virgin Mary, whose 
habit we wear. Amen. 

30. I think you must be wearied, my father, by the 
tedious history of this monastery ; and yet it is most concise, 
if you compare it with our labours, and the wonders which 
our Lord has wrought here. There are many who can bear 
witness to this on oath. I therefore beg of your reverence, 
for the love of God, should you think fit to destroy the rest 
of this my writing, to preserve that part of it which relates to 
this monastery, and give it, when I am dead, to the sisters 
who may then be living in it. It will encourage them greatly, 
who shall come here both to serve God and to labour, that 
what has been thus begun may not fall to decay, but ever 
grow and thrive, when they see how much our Lord has 
done through one so mean and vile as I. As our Lord has 
been so particularly gracious to us in the foundation of this 
house, it seems to me that she will do very wrong, and 
that she will be heavily chastised of God, who shall be the 
first to relax the perfect observance of the rule, which our 
Lord has here begun and countenanced, so that it may be 
kept with so much sweetness : it is most evident that the 
observance of it is easy, and that it can be kept with ease, 
by the arrangement made for those who long to be alone 

1 See ch. xxxv. 1. Maria of Jesus had founded her house in 
Alcala de Henares; but the austerities practised in it, and the absence 
of the religious mitigations which long experience had introduced, 
were too much for the fervent nuns there assembled. Maria of 
Jesus begged Dona Leonor de Mascarenas to persuade S. Teresa 
to come to Alcala. The Saint went to the monastery, and was 
received there with joy, and even entreated to take the house under 
her own government (Re forma, ii. c. x. 3, 4). 


with their Bridegroom Christ, in order to live for ever in 

31. This is to be the perpetual aim of those who are 
here, to be alone with Him alone. They are not to be more 
in number than thirteen: I know this number to be the best, 
for I have had many opinions about it; and I have seen in 
my own experience, that to preserve our spirit, living on 
alms, without asking of any one, a larger number would 
be inexpedient. May they always believe one who with much 
labour, and by the prayers of many people, accomplished 
that which must be for the best ! That this is most expedient 
for us will be seen from the joy and cheerfulness, and the 
few troubles, we have all had in the years we have lived in 
this house, as well as from the better health than usual of 
us all. If any one thinks the rule hard, let her lay the fault 
on her want of the true spirit, and not on the rule of the 
house, seeing that delicate persons, and those not saints, 
because they have the true spirit, can bear it all with so 
much sweetness. Let others go to another monastery, where 
they may save their souls in the way of their own spirit. 



1. IT is painful to me to recount more of the graces 
which our Lord gave me than these already spoken of; and 
they are so many, that nobody can believe they were ever 
given to one so wicked: but in obedience to our Lord, who 
has commanded me to do it, 1 and you my fathers, I will 
speak of some of them to His glory. May it please His 
Majesty it may be to the profit of some soul ! For if our 
Lord has been thus gracious to so miserable a thing as my 
self, what will He be to those who shall serve Him truly? 

1 The Saint, having interrupted her account of her interior life 
in order to give the history of the foundation of the monastery of S. 
Joseph, Avila, the first house of the Reformed Carmelites, here 
resumes that account, broken off at the end of 10 of ch. xxxii. 


Hye Hoys del 

1. Painting- of Our Lady of Sorrows, bought by St. Teresa on the day of her 

arrival in Salamanca. 2. House in which the foundation was made. 3. Courtyard 
of this house. 4. Doorway of the convent of St. Elizabeth (founded by the de 
Solis family), whose nuns came to the aid of the Carmelites 5. Tin water bottle 
used by St. Teresa for carrying holy water, which is preserved in the monastery. 
6. Mansion of the Counts of Monterey. 7. Portrait of Beatrix of the Conception. 
8. Carmelite monastery opposite the gate of Villa Mayor, view taken from the 



Bruges,? Raoux Sc 

promenade. Students asking- alms in the city streets; seller of ices. 9. Facade of 
the Carmelite church. 10. Monument in the main street of the city commemorating- 
the choice of St. Teresa and of St. Juan of Sahagon as patron saints of Salamanca. 
11. Facade of the Discalced Carmelite church. 12. Arms of Maria de Pimentel de 
y.iiiiiua. Countess of Monterey. 13. Arms of the de Soils family. 14. Arms of the 
de Ovalle family, from a shield carved upon the house called "The Student s House." 
15. Original arms of the city of Salamanca. (See Appendix, note 16.) 


Let all people resolve to please His Majesty, seeing that 
He gives such pledges as these even in this life. 1 

2. In the first place, it must be understood that, in those 
graces which God bestows on the soul, there are diverse 
degrees of joy: for in some visions the joy and sweetness 
and comfort of them so far exceed those of others, that I 
am amazed at the different degrees of fruition even in this 
life; for it happens that the joy and consolation which God 
gives in a vision or a trance are so different, that it seems 
impossible for the soul to be able to desire any thing more 
in this world: and so, in fact, the soul does not desire, nor 
would it ask for, a greater joy. Still, since our Lord has 
made me understand how great a difference there is in heaven 
itself between the fruition of one and that of another, I see 
clearly enough that here also, when our Lord wills, He gives 
not by measure; 2 and so I wish that I myself observed no 
measure in serving His Majesty, and in using my whole 
life and strength and health therein; and I would not have 
any fault of mine rob me of the slightest degree of fruition. 

3. And so I say that if I were asked which I preferred, 
to endure all the trials of the world until the end of it, 
and then receive one slight degree of glory additional, or 
without any suffering of any kind to enter into glory of a 

slightly lower degree, I would accept oh, how willingly! 

all those trials for one slight degree of fruition in the con 
templation of the greatness of God; for I know that he 
who understands Him best, loves Him and praises Him best. 
I do not mean that I should not be satisfied, and consider 
myself most blessed, to be in heaven, even if I should be 
in the lowest place; for as I am one who had that place in 
hell, it would be a great mercy of our Lord to admit me at 
all ; and may it please His Majesty to bring me thither, and 
take away His eyes from beholding my grievous sins. What 
I mean is this, if it were in my power, even if it cost me 
every thing, and our Lord gave me the grace to endure much 
affliction, I would not through any fault of mine lose one 
degree of glory. Ah, wretched that I am, who by so many 
faults had forfeited all ! 

4. It is also to be observed that, in every vision or rev 
elation which our Lord in His mercy sent me, a great gain 
accrued to my soul, and that in some of the visions this 

1 Ephes. i. 14. S. John iii. 34. 


gain was very great. The vision of Christ left behind an 
impression of His exceeding beauty, and it remains with me 
to this day. One vision alone of Him is enough to effect 
this ; what, then, must all those visions have done, which our 
Lord in His mercy sent me? One exceedingly great blessing 
has resulted therefrom, and it is this, I had one very grievous 
fault, which was the source of much evil ; namely, when 
ever I found any body well disposed towards myself, and 
I liked him, I used to have such an affection for him as 
compelled me always to remember and think of him, though 
I had no intention of offending God : however, I was pleased 
to see him, to think of him and of his good qualities. All 
this was so hurtful, that it brought my soul to the very 
verge of destruction. 

5. But ever since I saw the great beauty 1 of our Lord, 
I never saw any one who in comparison with Him seemed 
even endurable, or that could occupy my thoughts. For if 
I but turn mine eyes inwardly for a moment to the contempla 
tion of the image which I have within me, I find myself so 
free, that from that instant every thing I see is loathsome in 
comparison with the excellences and graces of which I had 
a vision in our Lord. Neither is there any sweetness, nor 
any kind of pleasure, which I can make any account of, com 
pared with that which comes from hearing but one word from 
His divine mouth. What, then, must it be when I hear 
so many? I look upon it as impossible unless our Lord, 
for my sins, should permit the loss of this remembrance that 
I should have the power to occupy myself with any thing 
in such a way as that I should not instantly recover my 
liberty by thinking of our Lord. 

6. This has happened to me with some of my confessors, 
for I always have a great affection for those who have the 
direction of my soul. As I really saw in them only the 
representatives of God, I thought my will was always 
there where it is most occupied; and as I felt very safe in 
the matter, I always showed myself glad to see them. 2 They, 
on the other hand, servants of God, and fearing Him, were 
afraid that I was attaching and binding myself too much 
to them, though in a holy way, and treated me with rude- 

1 Ch. xxviii. 1-5. 

2 See ch. xl. 25; Way of Perfection, ch. vii. 1; but ch. iv. of the 
previous editions. 


ness. This took place after I had become so ready to obey 
them; for before that time I had no affection whatever for 
them. I used to laugh to myself, when I saw how much 
they were deceived. Though I was not always putting be 
fore them how little I was attached to any body, as clearly 
as I was convinced of it myself, yet I did assure them of 
it; and they, in their further relations with me, acknowledged 
how much I owed to our Lord in the matter. These sus 
picions of me always arose in the beginning. 

7. My love of, and trust in, our Lord, after I had seen 
Him in a vision, began to grow, for my converse with Him 
was so continual. I saw that, though He was God, He was 
man also; that He is not surprised at the frailties of men; 
that He understands our miserable nature, liable to fall con 
tinually, because of the first sin, for the reparation of which 
He had come. I could speak to Him as to a friend, though 
He is my Lord, because I do not consider Him as one of 
our earthly lords, who affect a power they do not possess, 
who give audience at fixed hours, and to whom only cer 
tain persons may speak. If a poor man have any business 
with these, it will cost him many goings and comings, and 
currying favour with others, together with much pain and 
labour before he can speak to them Ah, if such a one has 
business with a king! Poor people, not of gentle blood, 
cannot approach him, for they must apply to those who are 
his friends; and certainly these are not persons who tread 
the world under their feet; for they who do this speak the 
truth, fear nothing, and ought to fear nothing; they are not 
courtiers, because it is not the custom of a court, where 
they must be silent about those things they dislike, must 
not even dare to think about them, lest they should fall into 

8. O King of glory, and Lord of all kings ! oh, how Thy 
kingly dignity is not hedged about by trifles of this kind ! 
Thy kingdom is for ever. We do not require chamberlains 
to introduce us into Thy presence. The very vision of Thy 
person shows us at once that Thou alone art to be called 
Lord. Thy Majesty is so manifest, that there is no need of 
a retinue or guard to make us confess that Thou art King. 
An earthly king without attendants would be hardly acknowl 
edged; and though he might wish ever so much to be recog 
nised, people will not own him when he appears as others ; 


it is necessary that his dignity should be visible, if people 
are to believe in it. This is reason enough why kings should 
affect so much state; for if they had none, no one would 
respect them; this their semblance of power is not in them 
selves, and their authority must come to them from others. 

9. O my Lord ! O my King ! who can describe Thy 
Majesty? It is impossible not to see that Thou art Thyself 
the great Ruler of all, that the beholding of Thy Majesty 
fills men with awe. But I am filled with greater awe, O my 
Lord, when I consider Thy humility, and the love Thou hast 
for such as I am. We can converse and speak wi ,h Thee 
about every thing whenever we will ; and when we lose our 
first fear and awe at the vision of Thy Majesty, we have a 
greater dread of offending Thee, not arising out of the fear 
of punishment, O my Lord, for that is as nothing in com 
parison with the loss of Thee ! 

10. Thus far of the blessings of this vision, without 
speaking of others, which abide in the soul when it is past. 
If it be from God, the fruits thereof show it, when the soul 
receives light; for, as I have often said, 1 the will of our 
Lord is that the soul should be in darkness, and not see 
this light. It is, therefore, nothing to be wondered at that 
I, knowing myself to be so wicked as I am, should be afraid. 

11. It is only just now it happened to me to be for eight 
days in a state wherein it seemed that I did not, and could 
not, confess my obligations to God, or remember His mercies ; 
but my soul was so stupefied and occupied with I know not 
what nor how: not that I had any bad thoughts; only I 
was so incapable of good thoughts, that I was laughing at 
myself, and even rejoicing to see how mean a soul can be 
if God is not always working in it. 2 The soul sees clearly 
that God is not away from it in this state, and that it is 
not in those great tribulations which I have spoken of as 
being occasionally mine. Though it heaps up fuel, and does 
the little it can do of itself, it cannot make the fire of the 
love of God burn : it is a great mercy that even the smoke 
is visible, showing that it is not altogether quenched. Our 
Lord will return and kindle it ; and until then the soul 
though it may lose its breath in blowing and arranging the 
fuel seems to be doing nothing but putting it out more and 

1 See ch. xx. 14. 2 See ch. xxx. 19. 


12. I believe that now the best course is to be absolutely 
resigned, confessing that we can do nothing, and so apply 
ourselves as I said before 1 to something else which is 
meritorious. Our Lord, it may be, takes away from the soul 
the power of praying, that it may betake itself to something 
else, and learn by experience how little it can do in its 
own strength. 

13. It is true I have this day been rejoicing in our Lord, 
and have dared to complain of His Majesty. I said unto 
Him: How is it, O my God, that it is not enough for Thee 
to detain me in this wretched life, and that I should have 
to bear with it for the love of Thee, and be willing to live 
where every thing hinders the fruition of Thee ; where, be 
sides, I must eat and sleep, transact business, and converse 
with every one, and all for Thy love? how is it, then, for 
Thou well knowest, O my Lord, all this to be the greatest 
torment unto me, that, in the rare moments when I am 
with Thee, Thou hidest Thyself from me? How is this 
consistent with Thy compassion? How can that love Thou 
hast for me endure this? I believe, O Lord, if it were pos 
sible for me to hide myself from Thee, as Thou hidest Thy 
self from me I think and believe so such is Thy love, that 
Thou wouldest not endure it at my hands. But Thou art 
with me, and seest me always. O my Lord, I beseech Thee 
look to this ; it must not be ; a wrong is done to one who 
loves Thee so much. 

14. I happened to utter these words, and others of the 
same kind, when I should have been thinking rather how 
my place in hell was pleasant in comparison with the place 
I deserved. But now and then my love makes me foolish, 
so that I lose my senses ; only it is with all the sense I have 
that I make these complaints, and our Lord bears it all. 
Blessed be so good a King! 

15. Can we be thus bold with the kings of this world? 
And yet I am not surprised that we dare not thus speak to a 
king, for it is only reasonable that men should be afraid of 
him, or even to the great lords who are his representatives. 
The world is now come to such a state, that men s lives ought 
to be longer than they are, if we are to learn all the new 
customs and ceremonies of good breeding, and yet spend 
any time in the service of God. I bless myself at the sight 

1 See ch. xxx. 18, 25. 


of what is going on. The fact is, I did not know how I 
was to live when I came into this house. Any negligence 
in being much more ceremonious with people than they de 
serve is not taken as a jest; on the contrary, they look upon 
it as an insult deliberately offered; so that it becomes neces 
sary for you to satisfy them of your good intentions, if there 
happens, as I have said, to have been any negligence ; and 
even then, God grant they may believe you. 

16. I repeat it, I certainly did not know how to live ; 
for my poor soul was worn out. It is told to employ all 
its thoughts always on God, and that it is necessary to do 
so if it would avoid many dangers. On the other hand, 
it finds it will not do to fail in any one point of the world s 
law, under the penalty of affronting those who look upon 
these things as touching their honour. I was worn out in 
unceasingly giving satisfaction to people ; for, though I tried 
my utmost, I could not help failing in many ways in matters 
which, as I have said, are not slightly thought of in the 

17. Is it true that in religious houses no explanations 
are necessary, for it is only reasonable we should be excused 
these observances? Well, that is not so; for there are people 
who say that monasteries ought to be courts in politeness 
and instruction. I certainly cannot understand it. I thought 
that perhaps some saint may have said that they ought 
to be courts to teach those who wish to be the courtiers 
of heaven, and that these people misunderstood their mean 
ing; for if a man be careful to please God continually, and 
to hate the world, as he ought to do, I do not see how he 
can be equally careful to please those who live in the world 
in these matters which are continually changing. If they 
could be learnt once for all, it might be borne with : but as 
to the way of addressing letters, there ought to be a pro 
fessor s chair founded, from which lectures should be given, 
so to speak, teaching us how to do it ; for the paper should 
on one occasion be left blank in one corner, and on another 
in another corner; and a man must be addressed as the illus 
trious who was not hitherto addressed as the magnificent. 

18. I know not where this will stop : I am not yet fifty, 
and yet I have seen so many changes during my life, that 
I do not know how to live. What will they do who are 
only just born, and who may live many years? Certainly 


I am sorry for those spiritual people who, for certain holy 
purposes, are obliged to live in the world ; the cross they 
have to carry is a dreadful one. If they could all agree to 
gether, and make themselves ignorant, and be willing to be 
considered so in these sciences, they would set themselves free 
from much trouble But what folly am I about ! from speak 
ing of the greatness of God I am come to speak of the mean 
ness of the world ! Since our Lord has given me the grace to 
quit it, I wish to leave it altogether. Let them settle these 
matters who maintain these follies with so much labour. God 
grant that in the next life, where there is no changing, we 
may not have to pay for them! Amen. 




1. ONE night I was so unwell that I thought I might 
be excused making my prayer; so I took my rosary, that 
I might employ myself in vocal prayer, trying not to be 
recollected in my understanding, though outwardly I was 
recollected, being in my oratory. These little precautions 
are of no use when our Lord will have it otherwise. I re 
mained there but a few moments thus, when I was rapt in 
spirit with such violence that I could make no resistance 
whatever. It seemed to me that I was taken up to heaven ; 
and the first persons I saw there were my father and my 
mother. I saw other things also ; but the time was no longer 
than that in which the Ave Maria might be said, and I was 
amazed at it, looking on it all as too great a grace for me. 
But as to the shortness of the time, it might have been longer, 
only it was all done in a very short space. 

2. I was afraid it might be an illusion; but as I did not 
think so, I knew not what to do, because I was very much 
ashamed to go to my confessor about it. It was not, as 
it seemed to me, because I was humble, but because I thought 
he would laugh at me, and say: Oh, what a S. Paul ! she 
sees the things of heaven; or a S. Jerome. And because 
these glorious Saints had had such visions, I was so much 


the more afraid, and did nothing but cry; for I did not 
think it possible for me to see what they saw. As last, though 
I felt it exceedingly, I went to my confessor; for I never 
dared to keep secret any thing of this kind, however much it 
distressed me to speak of them, owing to the great fear I 
had of being deceived. When my confessor saw how much 
I was suffering, he consoled me greatly, and gave me plenty 
of good reasons why I should have no fear. 

3. It happened, also, as time went on, and it happens 
now from time to time, that our Lord showed me still 
greater secrets. The soul, even if it would, has neither the 
means nor the power to see more than what He shows 
it; and so, each time, I saw nothing more than what our 
Lord was pleased to let me see. But such was the vision, 
that the least part of it was enough to make my soul amazed, 
and to raise it so high that it esteems and counts as nothing 
all the things of this life. I wish I could describe, in some 
measure, the smallest portion of what I saw ; but when I think 
of doing it, I find it impossible; for the mere difference alone 
between the light we have here below, and that which is seen 
in a vision, both being light, is so great, that there is no 
comparison between them ; the brightness of the sun itself 
seems to be something exceedingly loathsome. In a word, 
the imagination, however strong it may be, can neither con 
ceive nor picture to itself this light, nor any one of the 
things which our Lord showed me in a joy so supreme that 
it cannot be described : for then all the senses exult so deeply 
and so sweetly, that no description is possible; and so it is 
better to say nothing more. 

4. I was in this state once for more than an hour, our 
Lord showing me wonderful things. He seemed as if He 
would not leave me. He said to me : "See, My daughter, 
what they lose who are against Me ; do not fail to tell them 
of it." Ah, my Lord, how little good my words will do 
them, who are made blind by their own conduct, if Thy 
Majesty will not give them light! Some, to whom Thou 
hast given it, there are, who have profited by the knowledge 
of Thy greatness ; but as they see it revealed to one so wicked 
and base as I am, I look upon it as a great thing if there 
should be any found to believe me. Blessed be Thy name, 
and .blessed be Thy compassion ; for I can trace, at least 
in my own soul, a visible improvement. Afterwards I wished 


I had continued in that trance for ever, and that I had not 
returned to consciousness, because of an abiding sense of con 
tempt for every thing here below; all semed to be filth; and 
I see how meanly we employ ourselves who are detained 
on earth. 

5. When I was staying with that lady of whom I have 
been speaking, 1 it happened to me once when I was suffering 
from my heart, for, as I have said, 2 I suffered greatly at 
one time, though not so much now, that she, being a person 
of great charity, brought out her jewels set in gold, and 
precious stones of great price, and particularly a diamond, 
which she valued very much. She thought this might amuse 
me ; but I laughed to myself, and was very sorry to see 
what men made much of; for I thought of what our Lord 
had laid up for us, and considered how impossible it was for 
me, even if I made the effort, to have any appreciation what 
ever of such things, provided our Lord did not permit me to 
forget what He was keeping for us. 

6. A soul in this state attains to a certain freedom, which 
is so complete that none can understand it who does not 
possess it. It is a real and true detachment, independent of 
our efforts; God effects it all Himself; for His Majesty re 
veals the truth in such a way, that it remains so deeply im 
pressed on our souls as to make it clear that we of ourselves 
could not thus acquire it in so short a time. 

7. The fear of death, also, was now very slight in me, 
who had always been in great dread of it; now it seems to 
me that death is a very light thing for one who serves God, 
because the soul is in a moment delivered thereby out of its 
prison, and at rest. This elevation of the spirit, and the 
vision of things so high, in these trances seem to me to have 
a great likeness to the flight of the soul from the body, in 
that it finds itself in a moment in the possession of these 
good things. We put aside the agonies of its dissolution, 
of which no great account is to be made ; for they w r ho love 
God in truth, and are utterly detached from the things of 
this life, must die with the greater sweetness. 

8. It seems to me, also, that the rapture was a great 
help to recognise our true home, and to see that we are 
pilgrims here ; 3 it is a great thing to see what is going on 

1 Ch. xxxiv. Dona Luisa de la Cerda, at Toledo. 2 Ch. iv. 6. 
3 1 S. Pet. ii. 11. 


there, and to know where we have to live; for if a person 
has to go and settle in another country, it is a great help to 
him, in undergoing the fatigues of his journey, that he has 
discovered it to be a country where he may live in the 
most perfect peace. Moreover, it makes it easy for us to 
think of the things of heaven, and to have our conversation 
there. 1 It is a great gain, because the mere looking up to 
heaven makes the soul recollected ; for as our Lord has been 
pleased to reveal heaven in some degree, my soul dwells upon 
it in thought; and it happens occasionally that they who are 
about me, and with whom I find consolation, are those whom 
I know to be living in heaven, and that I look upon them 
only as really alive ; while those who are on earth are so 
dead, that the whole world seems unable to furnish me with 
companions, particularly when these impetuosities of love 
are upon me. Every thing seems a dream, and what I see with 
the bodily eyes an illusion. What I have seen with the eyes 
of the soul is that which my soul desires ; and as it finds 
itself far away from those things, that is death. 

9. In a word, it is a very great mercy which our Lord 
gives to that soul to which He grants the like visions, for 
they help it in much, and also in carrying a heavy cross, 
since nothing satisfies it, and every thing is against it; and 
if our Lord did not now and then suffer these visions to be 
forgotten, though they recur again and again to the memory, 
I know not how life could be borne. May He be blessed 
and praised for ever and ever! I implore His Majesty by 
that Blood which His Son shed for me, now that, of His 
good pleasure, I know something of these great blessings, 
and begin to have the fruition of them, that it may not be 
with me as it was with Lucifer, who by his own fault for- 

1 feited it all. I beseech Thee, for Thine own sake, not to 
suffer this ; for I am at times in great fear, though at others, 
and most frequently, the mercy of God reassures me, for 
He who has delivered me from so many sins will not with 
draw His hand from under me, and let me be lost. I pray 
you, my father, to beg this grace for me always. 

10. The mercies, then, hitherto described, are not, in 
my opinion, so great as those which I am now going to speak 
of, on many accounts, because of the great blessings they 
have brought with them, and because of the great fortitude 

1 Philipp. iii. 20. 


which my soul derived from them ; and yet every one sepa 
rately considered is so great, that there is nothing to be 
compared with them. 

11. One day it was the eve of Pentecost I went after 
Mass to a very lonely spot, where I used to pray very often, 
and began to read about the feast in the book of a Carthusian; 1 
and reading of the marks by which beginners, proficients, 
and the perfect may know that they have the Holy Ghost, 
it seemed to me, when I had read of these three states, that 
by the goodness of God, so far as I could understand, the 
Holy Ghost was with me. I praised God for it; and calling 
to mind how on another occasion, when I read this, I was 
very deficient, for I saw most distinctly at that time how 
deficient I was then from what I saw I was now, I recog 
nised herein the great mercy of our Lord to me, and so 
began to consider the place which my sins had earned for 
me in hell, and praised God exceedingly, because it seemed 
as if I did not know my own soul again, so great a change 
had come over it. 

12. While thinking of these things, my soul was carried 
away with extreme violence, and I knew not why. It seemed 
as if it would have gone forth out of the body, for it could 
not contain itself, nor was it able to hope for so great a good. 
The impetuosity was so excessive that I had no power left, 
and, as I think, different from what I had been used to. 
I knew not what ailed my soul, nor what it desired, for it 
was so changed. I leaned for support, for I could not sit, 
because my natural strength had utterly failed. 

13. Then I saw over my head a dove, very different 
from those we usually see, for it had not the same plumage, 
but wings formed of small shells shining brightly. It was 
larger than an ordinary dove; I thought I heard the rustling 
of its wings. It hovered above me during the space of an 
Ave Maria. But such was the state of my soul, that in losing 
itself it lost also the sight of the dove. My spirit grew calm 
with such a guest; and yet, as I think, a grace so wonderful 
might have disturbed and frightened it; and as it began to 
rejoice in the vision, it was delivered from all fear, and with 
the joy came peace, my soul continuing entranced. The joy 
of this rapture was exceedingly great ; and for the rest of 
that festal time I was so amazed and bewildered that I 

1 The Life of Christ, by Ludolf of Saxony. 


did not know what I was doing, nor how I could have received 
so great a grace. I neither heard nor saw any thing, so to 
speak, because of my great inward joy. From that day forth 
I perceived in myself a very great progress in the highest 
love of God, together with a great increase in the strength 
of my virtues. May He be blessed and praised for ever! 

14. On another occasion I saw that very dove above 
the head of one of the Dominican fathers ; but it seemed to 

me that the rays and brightness of the wings were far greater. 
I understood by this that he was to draw souls unto God. 

15. At another time I saw our Lady putting a cope of 
exceeding whiteness on that Licentiate of the same Order, 
of whom I have made mention more than once. 1 She told 
me that she gave him that cope in consideration of the service 
he had rendered her by helping to found this house, 2 that 
it was a sign that she would preserve his soul pure for the 
future, and that he should not fall into mortal sin. I hold 
it for certain that so it came to pass, for he died within a 
few years ; his death and the rest of his life were so penitential, 
his whole life and death so holy, that, so far as any thing 
can be known, there cannot be a doubt on the subject. One 
of the friars present at his death told me that, before he 
breathed his last, he. said to him that S. Thomas was with 
him. 3 He died in great joy, longing to depart out of this 
land of exile. 

16. Since then he has appeared to me more than once 
in exceedingly great glory, and told me certain things. He 
was so given to prayer, that when he was dying, and would 
have interrupted it if he could because of his great weakness, 
he was not able to do so ; for he was often in a trance. He 
wrote to me not long before he died, and asked me what he 
was to do; for as soon as he had said Mass he fell into a 
trance, which lasted a long time, and which he could not 
hinder. At last God gave him the reward of the many services 
of his whole life. 

1 F. Pedro Ibafiez. See ch. xxxiii. 5, ch. xxxvi. 23. "This 
father died Prior of Trians," is written on the margin of the MS. by 
F. Banes (De la Fuente). 

2 S. Joseph, Avila, where S. Teresa was living at this time. 

3 See below, 41. 


17. I had certain visions, too, of the great graces which 
our Lord bestowed upon that rector of the Society of Jesus, 
of whom I have spoken already more than once; 1 but I will 
not say any thing of them now, lest I should be too tedious. 
It was his lot once to be in great trouble, to suffer great 
persecution and distress. One day, when I was hearing 
Mass, I saw Christ on the cross at the elevation of the Host. 
He spoke certain words to me, which I was to repeat to that 
father for his comfort, together with others, which were to 
warn him beforehand of what was coming, and to remind 
him of what He had suffered on his behalf, and that he must 
prepare for suffering. This gave him great consolation and 
courage; and every thing came to pass afterwards as our 
Lord had told me. 

18. I have seen great things of members of the Order 
to which this father belongs, which is the Society of Jesus, and 
of the whole Order itself; I have occasionally seen them in 
heaven with white banners in their hands, and I have had 
other most wonderful visions, as I am saying, about them, and 
therefore have a great veneration for this Order; for I have 
had a great deal to do with those who are of it, and I see 
that their lives are conformed to that which our Lord gave 
me to understand about them. 

19. One night, when I was in prayer, our Lord spoke to 
me certain words, whereby He made me remember the great 
wickedness of my past life. They filled me with shame and 
distress ; for though they were not spoken with severity, they 
caused a feeling and a painfulness which were too much 
for me : and we feel that we make greater progress in the 
knowledge of ourselves when we hear one of these words, 
than we can make by a meditation of many days on our 
own misery, because these words impress the truth upon us 
at the same time in such a way that we cannot resist it. He 
set before me the former inclinations of my will to vanities, 
and told me to make much of the desire I now had that my 
will, which had been so ill employed, should be fixed on Him, 
and that He would accept it. 

1 F. Caspar de Salasar: see ch. xxxiii. 10, ch. xxxiv. 14. It 
appears from the 179th letter of the Saint (lett. 20, vol. i. of the 
Doblado edition), that F. Salasar was reported to his Provincial, F. 
Juan Suarez, as having a desire to quit the Society for the Carmelite 


20. On other occasions He told me to remember how 
I used to think it an honourable thing to go against His 
honour; and, again, to remember my debt to Him, for when 
I was most rebellious He was bestowing His graces upon 
me. If I am doing any thing wrong and my wrong-doings 
are many His Majesty makes me see it in such a way that 
I am utterly confounded; and as I do so often, that happens 
often also. I have been found fault with by my confessors 
occasionally ; and on betaking myself to prayer for consola 
tion, have received a real reprimand. 

21. To return to what I was speaking of. When our 
Lord made me remember my wicked life, I wept; for as I 
considered that I had then never done any good, I thought 
He might be about to bestow upon me some special grace ; 
because most frequently, when I receive any particular mercy 
from our Lord, it is when I have been previously greatly 
humiliated, in order that I may the more clearly see how 
far I am from deserving it. I think our Lord must do it 
for that end. 

22. Almost immediately after this I was so raised up in 
spirit that I thought myself to be, as it were, out of the body ; 
at least, I did not know that I was living in it. 1 I had a 
vision of the most Sacred Humanity in exceeding glory, 
greater than I had ever seen It in before. I beheld It in a 
wonderful and clear way in the bosom of the Father. I 
cannot tell how it was, for I saw myself, without seeing, as 
it seemed to me, in the presence of God. My amazement was 
such that I remained, as I believe, some days before I could 
recover myself. I had continually before me, as present, the 
Majesty of the Son of God, though not so distinctly as in the 
vision. I understood this well enough; but the vision re 
mained so impressed on my imagination, that I could not get 
rid of it for some time, though it had lasted but a moment; 
it is a great comfort to me, and also a great blessing. 

23. I have had this vision on three other occasions, and 
it is, I think, the highest vision of all the visions which our 
Lord in His mercy showed me. The fruits of it are the very 
greatest, for it seems to purify the soul in a wonderful way, 
and destroy, as it were utterly, altogether the strength of 
our sensual nature. It is a grand flame of fire, which seems 
to burn up and annihilate all the desires of this life. For 

1 2 Cor. xii. 2. 


though now glory be to God ! I had no desire after vanities, 
I saw clearly in the vision how all things are vanity, and how 
hollow are all the dignities of earth ; it was a great lesson, 
teaching me to raise up my desires to the Truth alone. It 
impresses on the soul a sense of the presence of God such 
as I cannot in any way describe, only it is very different 
from that which it is in our own power to acquire on earth. It 
fills the soul with profound astonishment at its own daring, 
and at any one else being able to dare to offend His most 
awful Majesty. 

24. I must have spoken now and then of the effects 
of visions/ and of other matters of the same kind, and I have 
already said that the blessings they bring with them are of 
various degrees ; but those of this vision are the highest of 
all. When I went to Communion once I "called to mind the 
exceeding great majesty of Him I had seen, and considered 
that it was He who is present in the most Holy Sacrament, 
and very often our Lord was pleased to show Himself to me 
in the Host ; the very hairs on my head stood, 2 and I thought 
I should come to nothing. 

25. O my Lord ! ah, if Thou didst not throw a veil over 
Thy greatness, who would dare, being so foul and miserable, 
to come in contact with Thy great Majesty? Blessed be 
Thou, O Lord ; may the angels and all creation praise Thee, 
who orderest all things according to the measure of our 
weakness, so that, when we have the fruition of Thy sover 
eign mercies, Thy great power may not terrify us, so that 
we dare not, being a frail and miserable race, persevere in that 
fruition ! 

26. It might happen to us as it did to the labourer 
I know it to be a certain fact who found a treasure beyond 
his expectations, which were mean. When he saw himself 
in possession of it, he was seized with melancholy, which by 
degrees brought him to his grave through simple distress 
and anxiety of mind, because he did not know what to do 
with his treasure. If he had not found it all at once, and if 
others had given him portions of it by degrees, maintaining 
him thereby, he might have been more happy than he had 
been in his poverty, nor would it have cost him his life. 

27. O Thou Treasure of the poor ! how marvelously Thou 
sustainest souls, showing to them, not all at once, but by little 

1 See ch. xxviii. 2 Job. iv. 15. 


and little the abundance of Thy riches ! When I behold Thy 
great Majesty hidden beneath that which is so slight as the 
Host is, I am filled with wonder, ever since that vision, at 
Thy great wisdom ; and I know not how it is that our Lord 
gives me the strength and courage necessary to draw near 
to Him, were it not that He who has had such compassion 
on me, and still has, gives me strength, nor would it be 
possible for me to be silent, or refrain from making known 
marvels so great. 

28. What must be the thoughts of a wretched person 
such as I am, full of abominations, and who has spent her 
life with so little fear of God, when she draws near to our 
Lord s great Majesty, at the moment He is pleased to show 
Himself to my soul? How can I open my mouth, that has 
uttered so many words against Him, to receive that most 
glorious Body, purity and compassion itself? The love that 
is visible in His most beautiful Face, sweet and tender, pains 
and distresses the soul, because it has not served Him, more 
than all the terrors of His Majesty. What should have been 
my thoughts, then, on those two occasions when I saw what 
I have described? Truly, O my Lord and my joy, I am going 
to say that in some way, in these great afflictions of my soul, 
I have done something in Thy service. Ah ! I know not 
what I am saying, for I am writing this as if the words were 
not mine, 1 because I am troubled, and in some measure 
beside myself, when I call these things to remembrance. If 
these thoughts were really mine, I might well say that I 
had done something for Thee, O my Lord ; but as I can have 
no good thought if Thou givest it not, no thanks are due 
to me ; I am the debtor, O Lord, and it is Thou who art the 
offended One. 

29. Once, when I was going to Communion, I saw with 
the eyes of the soul, more distinctly than with those of the 
body, two devils of most hideous shape ; their horns seemed 
to encompass the throat of the poor priest ; and I beheld 
my Lord, in that great majesty of which I have spoken, 2 
held in the hands of that priest, in the Host he was about 
to give me. It was plain that those hands were those of a 

1 The biographers of the Saint say that she often found, on 
returning from an ecstasy, certain passages written, but not by herself: 
this seems to be alluded to here (De la Fuente}, 

2 8 77 


sinner, and I felt that the soul of that priest was in mortal 
sin. What must it be, O my Lord, to look upon Thy beauty 
amid shapes so hideous ! The two devils were so frightened 
and cowed in Thy presence, that they seemed as if they would 
have willingly run away, hadst Thou but given them leave. 
So troubled was I by the vision, that I knew not how I could 
go to Communion. I was also in great fear, for I thought 
if the vision was from God, that His Majesty would not have 
allowed me to see the evil state of that soul. 1 

30. Our Lord Himself told me to pray for that priest; 
that He had allowed this in order that I might understand 
the power of the words of consecration, and how God failed 
not to be present, however wicked the priest might be who 
uttered them ; and that I might see His great goodness in that 
He left Himself in the very hands of His enemy, for my 
good and for the good of all. I understood clearly how the 
priests are under greater obligations to be holy than other 
persons; and what a horrible thing it is to receive this most 
Holy Sacrament unworthily, and how great is the devil s 
dominion over a soul in mortal sin. It did me a great service, 
and made me fully understand what I owe to God. May He 
be blessed for evermore ! 

31. At another time I had a vision of a different kind, 
which frightened me very much. I was in a place where a 
certain person died, who, as I understood, had led a very 
bad life, and that for many years. But he had been ill for 
two years, and in some respects seemed to have reformed. 
He died without confession ; nevertheless, I did not think 
he would be dammed. When the body had been wrapped in 
the winding-sheet, I saw it laid hold of by a multitude of 
devils, who seemed to toss it to and fro, and also to treat it 
with great cruelty. I was terrified at the sight, for they 
dragged it about with great hooks. But when I saw it carried 
to the grave with all the respect and ceremoniousness common 
to all, I began to think of the goodness of God, who would not 
allow that person to be dishonoured, but would have the fact 
of his being His enemy concealed. 

32. I was almost out of my senses at the sight. During 
the whole of the funeral service, I did not see one of the evil 
spirits. Afterwards, when the body was about to be laid 

1 S. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, bk. ii. ch. xxvi. 
vol. i. p. 183. 


in the grave, so great a multitude of them was therein waiting 
to receive it, that I was beside myself at the sight, and it 
required no slight courage on my part not to betray mv 
distress. I thought of the treatment which that soul would 
receive, when the devils had such power over the wretched 
body. Would to God that all who live in mortal sin might 
see what I then saw, it was a fearful sight; it would go, I 
believe, a great way towards making them lead better lives. 

33. All this made me know more of what I owe to God, 
and of the evil from which He has delivered me. I was in 
great terror. I spoke of it to my confessor, and I thought it 
might be an illusion of Satan, in order to take away my good 
opinion of that person, who yet was not accounted a very 
good Christian. The truth is, that, whether it was an illusion 
or not, it makes me afraid whenever I think of it. 

34. Now that I have begun to speak of the visions I had 
concerning the dead, I will mention some matters which our 
Lord was pleased to reveal to me in relation to certain souls. 
I will confine myself to a few for the sake of brevity, and 
because they are not necessary ; I mean that they are not 
for our profit. They told me that one who had been our 
Provincial he was then of another province was dead. He 
was a man of great virtue, with whom I had had a good deal 
to do, and to whom I was under many obligations for certain 
kindnesses shown me. When I heard that he was dead, I 
was exceedingly troubled, because I trembled for his salvation, 
seeing that he had been superior for twenty years. That is 
what I dread very much ; for the cure of souls seems to me 
to be full of danger. I went to an oratory in great distress, 
and gave up to him all the good I had ever done in my whole 
life, it was little enough, and prayed our Lord that His 
merits might fill up what, was wanting, in order that this 
soul might be delivered from purgatory. 

35. While I was thus praying to our Lord as well as I 
could, he seemed to me to rise up from the depths of the 
earth on my right hand, and I saw him ascend to heaven 
in exceeding great joy. He was a very old man then, but 
I saw him as if he were only thirty years old, and I thought 
even younger, and there was a brightness in his face. This 
vision passed away very quickly ; but I was so exceedingly 
comforted by it, that I could never again mourn his death, 
although many persons were distressed at it, for he was very 


much beloved. So greatly comforted was my soul, that 
nothing disturbed it, neither could I doubt the truth of the 
vision ; I mean that it was no illusion. 

36. I had this vision about a fortnight after he was dead ; 
nevertheless, I did not omit to obtain prayers for him, and 
I prayed myself, only I could not pray with the same earnest 
ness that I should have done if I had not seen that vision. 
For when our Lord showed him thus to me, it seemed to me 
afterwards, when I prayed for him to His Majesty, and I 
could not help it, that I was like one who gave alms to a 
rich man. Later on I heard an account of the death he died 
in our Lord he was far away from here ; it was one of such 
great edification, that he left all wondering to see how recol 
lected, how penitent, and how humble he was when he died. 

37. A nun, who was a great servant of God, died in 
this house. On the next day one of the sisters was reciting 
the lesson in the Office of the Dead, which was said in choir 
for that nun s soul, and I was standing myself to assist her 
in singing the versicle, when, in the middle of the lesson, I 
saw the departed nun, as I believe, in a vision ; her soul 
seemed to rise on my right hand like the soul of the Pro 
vincial, and ascend to heaven. This vision was not imaginary, 
like the preceding, but like those others of which I have 
spoken before j 1 it is not less certain, however, than the other 
visions I had. 

38. Another nun died in this same house of mine; she 
was about eighteen or twenty years of age, and had always 
been sickly. She was a great servant of God, attentive in 
choir, and a person of great virtue. I certainly thought that 
she would not go to purgatory, on account of her exceeding 
merits, because the infirmities under which she had laboured 
were many. While I was saying the Office, before she was 
buried, she had been dead about four hours, I saw her rise 
in the same place and ascend to heaven. 

39. I was once in one of the colleges of the Society of 
Jesus, and in one of those great sufferings which, as I have 
said, 2 I occasionally had, and still have, both in soul and 
body, and then so grievously that I was not able, as it seemed 
to me, to have even one good thought. The night before, 
one of the brothers of that house had died in it ; and I, as 
well as I could, was commending his soul to God, and hearing 

1 See ch. xxvii. 3 Ch. xxx. 9. 


the Mass which another father of that Society was saying 
for him, when I became recollected at once, and saw him go 
up to heaven in great glory, and our Lord with him. I under 
stood that His Majesty went w r ith him by way of special 

40. Another brother of our Order, a good friar, was very 
ill; and when I was at Mass, I became recollected, and saw 
him dead, entering into heaven without going through purga 
tory. He died, as I afterwards learned, at the very time of 
my vision. I was amazed that he had not gone to purgatory. 
I understood that, having become a friar and carefully kept 
the rule, the Bulls of the Order had been of use to him, so that 
he did not pass into purgatory. I do not know why I came 
to have this revealed to me ; I think it must be because I 
was to learn that it is not enough for a man to be a friar in 
his habit I mean, to wear the habit to attain to that state 
of high perfecion which that of a friar is. 

41. I will speak no more of these things, because, as I 
have just said, 1 there is no necessity for it, though our Lord 
has been so gracious to me as to show me much. But in all 
the visions I had, I saw no souls escape purgatory except this 
Carmelite father, the holy friar Peter of Alcantara, and that 
Dominican father of whom I spoke before. 2 It pleased our 
Lord to let me see the degree of glory to which some souls 
have been raised, showing them to me in the places they 
occupy. There is a great difference between one place and 




1. I WAS once importuning our Lord exceedingly to restore 
the sight of a person who had claims upon me, and who was 
almost wholly blind. I was very sorry for him, and afraid our 
Lord would not hear me because of my sins. He appeared 
to me as at other times, and began to show the wound in His 
left hand ; with the other He drew out the great nail that was 

1 34. 2 15. Fr. Pedro Ibanez. 


Hye Hoys del. 

1. Francisco Velasquez, from his tombstone in the Carmelite monastery 
church. 2. St. Andrew s well, which Teresa Layz saw in a vision. 3. Convent of 
the Tertiaries of St. Francis, where St. Teresa received hospitality. 4. Monastery 
of Discalced Carmelites with the additions made in 1688. 5. Carmelite monastery 
seen from the rear, from the banks of the Tormes. 6. Ruins of the castle of the 
Dukes of Alba, where St. Teresa passed two days in 1574. 7. Original tomb of St. 
Teresa, made in the wall, between the church and the nuns choir. 8. Heart of 



Bru6es. P Raoux Sc 

St. Teresa as seen in 1866. 9. Tomb of Juan tie Ovalle y (.iodiiicz, of his wife Juaiia 
de Ahumatla, and of their son Gionsalo. 10. Tomb of the founders, Francisco 
Velasquez and Teresa Layz. 11. 3lonastery of the Uisealcecl Carmelite Friars. 
12. Arms of Francisco Velasquez. 13. Anns of Teresa Lay*. 14. Arms of Maria 
Unriquez, Duchess of Alba, St. Teresa s friend. 15. Arms of the city of Alba, since 
it became a fief of the de Toledo family in the XV. century. (See Appendix, note 17.) 


in it, and it seemed to me that, in drawing the nail, He tore 
the flesh. The greatness of the pain was manifest, and I was 
very much distressed thereat. He said to me, that He who 
had borne that for my sake would still more readily grant 
what I asked Him, and that I was not to have any doubts 
about it. He promised me there was nothing I should ask 
that He would not grant ; that He knew I should ask nothing 
that was not for His glory, and that He would grant me what 
I was now praying for. Even during the time when I did 
not serve Him, I should find, if I considered it, I had asked 
nothing that He had not granted in an ampler manner than 
I had known how to ask; how much more amply still would 
He grant what I asked for, now that He knew I loved Him ! 
I was not to doubt. I do not think that eight days passed 
before our Lord restored that person to sight. My confessor 
knew it forthwith. It might be that it was not owing to 
my prayer; but, as I had had the vision, I have a certain 
conviction that it was a grace accorded to me. I gave thanks 
to His Majesty. 

2. Again, a person was exceedingly ill of a most painful 
disease ; but, as I do not know what it was, I do not describe 
it by its name here. What he had gone through for two 
months was beyond all endurance; and his pain was so great 
that he tore his own flesh. My confessor, the rector of whom 
I have spoken, 1 went to see him; he was very sorry for him, 
and told me that I must anyhow go myself and visit him; 
he was one whom I might visit, for he was my kinsman. I 
went, and was moved to such a tender compassion for him 
that I began, with the utmost importunity, to ask our Lord 
to restore him to health. Herein I saw clearly how gracious 
our Lord was to me, so far as I could judge; for immediately, 
the next day, he was completely rid of that pain. 

3. I was once in the deepest distress, because I knew 
that a person to whom I was under great obligations was 
about to commit an act highly offensive to God and dis 
honourable to himself. He was determined upon it. I was 
so much harassed by this that I did not know what to do in 
order to change his purpose ; and it seemed to me as if nothing 
could be done. T implored God, from the bottom of my heart. 
to find a way to hinder it ; but till I found it I could find no 
relief for the pain I felt. In my distress, I went to a very 

1 Ch. xxxiii. 10. F. Gasper de Salazar. 


lonely hermitage, one of those belonging to this monastery, 
in which there is a picture of Christ bound to the pillar; 
and there, as I was imploring our Lord to grant me this 
grace, I heard a voice of exceeding gentleness, speaking, as it 
were, in a whisper. 1 My whole body trembled, for it made me 
afraid. I wished to understand what was said, but I could not, 
for it all passed away in a moment. 

4. When my fears had subsided, and that was imme 
diately, I became conscious of an inward calmness, a joy 
and delight, which made me marvel how the mere hearing 
a voice, I heard it with my bodily ears, without under 
standing a word, could have such an effect on the soul. I 
saw by this that my prayer was granted, and so it was ; 
and I was freed from my anxieties about a matter not yet 
accomplished, as it afterwards was, as completely as if I 
saw it done. I told my confessors of it, for I had two at this 
time, both of them learned men, and great servants of God. 

5. I knew of a person who had resolved to serve God 
in all earnestness, and had for some days given himself to 
prayer, in which he had received many graces from our Lord, 
but who had abandoned his good resolutions because of certain 
occasions of sin in which he was involved, and which he 
would not avoid; they were extremely perilous. This caused 
me the utmost distress, because the person was one for whom 
I had a great affection, and one to whom I owed much. For 
more than a month I believe I did nothing else but pray to 
God for his conversion. One day, when I was in prayer, 
I saw a devil close by in a great rage, tearing to pieces some 
paper which he had in his hands. That sight consoled me 
greatly, because it seemed that my prayer had been heard. 
So it was, as I learnt afterwards ; for that person had made 
his confession with great contrition, and returned to God so 
sincerely, that I trust in His Majesty he will always advance 
further and further. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. 

6. In answer to my prayers, our Lord has very often 
rescued souls from mortal sins, and led others on to greater 
perfection. But as to the delivering of souls out of purga 
tory, and other remarkable acts, so many are the mercies of 
our Lord herein, that were I to speak of them I should only 
weary myself and my reader. But He has done more by me 
for the salvation of souls than for the health of the body. 

1 3 Kings xix. 12. 


This is very well known, and there are many to bear witness 
to it. 

7. At first it made me scrupulous, because I could not 
help thinking that our Lord did these things in answer to 
my prayer; I say nothing of the chief reason of all His pure 
compassion. But now these graces are so many, and so well 
known to others, that it gives me no pain to think so. I 
bless His Majesty, and abase myself, because I am still 
more deeply in His debt; and I believe that He makes my 
desire to serve Him grow, and my love revive. 

8. But what amazes me most is this : however much I 
may wish to pray for those graces which our Lord sees not 
to be expedient, I cannot do it; and if I try, I do so with 
little earnestness, force, and spirit: it is impossible to do more, 
even if I would. But it is not so as to those which His 
Majesty intends to grant. These I can pray for constantly, 
and with great importunity ; though I do not carry them in 
my memory, they seem to present themselves to me at once. 1 

9. There is a great difference between these two ways of 
praying, and I know not how to explain it. As to the first, 
when I pray for those graces which our Lord does not mean 
to grant, even though they concern me very nearly, I am 
like one whose tongue is tied ; who, though he would speak, 
yet cannot; or, if he speaks, sees that people do not listen 
to him. And yet I do not fail to force myself to pray, though 
not conscious of that fervour which I have when praying 
for those graces which our Lord intends to give. In the 
second case, I am like one who speaks clearly and intelligibly 
to another, whom he sees to be a willing listener. 

10. The prayer that is not to be heard is, so to speak, 
like vocal prayer ; the other is a prayer of contemplation so 
high that our Lord shows Himself in such a way as to make 
us feel He hears us, and that He delights in our prayer, and 
that He is about to grant our petition. Blessed be He for ever 
who gives me so much, and to whom I give so little ! For 
what is he worth, O my Lord, who does not utterly abase 
himself to nothing for Thee? How much, how much, how 
much, I might say so a thousand times, I fall short of 
this! It is on this account that I do not wish to live,- - 
though there be other reasons also, because I do not live 
according to the obligations which bind me to Thee. What 

1 See S. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, bk. iii. ch. i. 


imperfections I trace in myself ! what remissness in Thy serv 
ice ! Certainly, I could wish occasionally I had no sense, 
that I might be unconscious of the great evil that is in me. 
May He who can do all things help me ! 

11. When I was staying in the house of that lady of 
whom I have spoken before, 1 it was necessary for me to be 
very watchful over myself, and keep continually in mind the 
intrinsic vanity of all the things of this life, because of the 
great esteem I was held in, and of the praises bestowed on 
me. There was much there to which I might have become 
attached, if I had looked only to myself; but I looked to 
Him who sees things as they really are, not to let me go out of 
His hand. Now that I speak of seeing things as they really 
are, I remember how great a trial it is for those to whom God 
has granted a true insight into the things of earth to have 
to discuss them with others. They wear so many disguises, 
as our Lord once told me, and much of what I am saying 
of them is not from myself, but rather what my heavenly 
Master has taught me; and therefore, in speaking of them, 
when I say distinctly I understood this, or our Lord told me 
this, I am very scrupulous neither to add nor to take aw r ay 
one single syllable ; so, when I do not clearly remember every 
thing exactly, that must be taken as coming from myself, and 
some things, perhaps, are so altogether. I do not call mine 
that which is good, for I know there is no other good in me 
but only that which our Lord gave me when I was so far from 
deserving it: I call that mine which I speak without having 
had it made known to me by revelation. 

12. But, O my God, how is it that we too often judge 
even spiritual things, as we do those of the world, by our own 
understanding, wresting them grievously from their true 
meaning? We think we may measure our progress by the 
years which we have given to the exercise of prayer ; we 
even think we can prescribe limits to Him who bestows His 
gifts not by measure 2 when He wills, and who in six months 
can give to one more than to another in many years. This 
is a fact which I have so frequently observed in many per 
sons, that I am surprised how any of us can deny it. 

13. I am certainly convinced that he will not remain 
under this delusion who possesses the gift of discerning 

1 Ch. xxxiv. 1. 2 S. John iii. 34. 


spirits, and to whom our Lord has given real humility ; for 
such a one will judge of them by the fruits, by the good 
resolutions and love, and our Lord gives him light to under 
stand the matter; and herein He regards the progress and 
advancement of souls, not the years they may have spent 
in prayer ; for one person may make greater progress in six 
months than another in twenty years, because, as I said before, 
our Lord gives to whom He will, particularly to him who 
is best disposed. 

14. I see this in certain persons of tender years who have 
come to this monastery, God touches their hearts, and gives 
them a little light and love. I speak of that brief interval 
in which He gives them sweetness in prayer, and then they 
wait for nothing further, and make light of every diffi 
culty, forgetting the necessity even of food ; for they shut 
themselves up for ever in a house that is unendowed, as 
persons who make no account of their life, for His sake, who, 
they know, loves them. They give up every thing, even their 
own will ; and it never enters into their mind that they might 
be discontented in so small a house, and where enclosure is 
so strictly observed. They offer themselves wholly in sacri 
fice to God. 

15. Oh, how willingly do I admit that they are better 
than I am ! and how I ought to be ashamed of myself before 
God! What His Majesty has not been able to accomplish 
in me in so many years, it is long ago since I began to 
pray, and He to bestow His, graces upon me, He accom 
plished in them in three months, and in some of them even in 
three days, though He gives them much fewer graces than 
He gave to me: and yet His Majesty rewards them well; 
most assuredly they are not sorry for what they have done 
for Him. 

16. I wish, therefore, we reminded ourselves of those 
long years which have gone by since we made our religious 
profession. I say this to those persons, also, who have given 
themselves long ago to prayer, but not for the purpose of 
distressing those who in a short time have made greater 
progress than we have made, by making them retrace their 
steps, so that they may proceed only as we do ourselves. We 
must not desire those who, because of the graces God has 
given them, are flying like eagles to become like chickens 
whose feet are tied. Let us rather look to His Majesty, and 


give these souls the reins, if we see that they are humble ; for 
our Lord, who has had such compassion upon them, will not 
let them fall into the abyss. 

17. These souls trust themselves in the hands of God, for 
the truth, which they learn by faith, helps them to do it; and 
shall not we also trust them to Him, without seeking to 
measure them by our measure, which is that of our meanness 
of spirit? We must not do it; for if we cannot ascend to the 
heights of their great love and courage, without experience 
none can comprehend them, let us humble ourselves, and 
not condemn them; for, by this seemfng regard to their 
progress, we hinder our own, and miss the opportunity our 
Lord gives us to humble ourselves, to ascertain our own 
shortcomings, and learn how much more detached and more 
near to God these souls must be than we are, seeing that 
His Majesty draws so near to them Himself. 

18. I have no other intention here, and I wish to have 
no other, than to express my preference for the prayer that 
in a short time results in these great effects, which show 
themselves at once ; for it is impossible they should enable 
us to leave all things only to please God, if they were not 
accompanied with a vehement love. I would rather have that 
prayer than that which lasted many years, but which at the 
end of the time, as well as at the beginning, never issued 
in a resolution to do any thing for God, with the exception 
of some trifling services, like a grain of salt, without weight 
or bulk, and which a bird might carry away in its mouth. 
Is it not a serious and mortifying thought that we are making 
much of certain services which we render our Lord, but which 
are too pitiable to be considered, even if they were many in 
number? This is my case, and I am forgetting every moment 
the mercies of our Lord. I do not mean that His Majesty 
will not make much of them Himself, for He is good; but I 
wish I made no account of them myself, or even perceived 
that I did them, for they are nothing worth. 

19. But, O my Lord, do Thou forgive me, and blame me 
not, if I try to console myself a little with the little I do, 
seeing that I do not serve Thee at all ; for if I rendered Thee 
any great services, I should not think of these trifles. Blessed 
are they who serve Thee in great deeds ; if envying these, 
and desiring to do what they do, were of any help to me. 
I should not be so far behind them as I am in pleasing Thee ; 


but I am nothing worth, O my Lord; do Thou make me of 
some worth, Thou who lovest me so much. 

20. During one of those days, when this monastery, 
which seems to have cost me some labour, was fully founded 
by the arrival of the Brief from Rome, which empowered 
us to live without an endowment; 1 and I was comforting 
myself at seeing the whole affair concluded, and thinking of all 
the trouble I had had, and giving thanks to our Lord for 
having been pleased to make some use of me, it happened 
that I began to consider all that we had gone through. Well, 
so it was ; in every one of my actions, which I thought were 
of some service, I traced so many faults and imperfections, 
now and then but little courage, very frequently a want of 
faith; for until this moment, when I see every thing accom 
plished, I never absolutely believed ; neither, however, on 
the other hand, could I doubt what our Lord said to me about 
the foundation of this house. I cannot tell how it was; very 
often the matter seemed to me, on the one hand, impossible; 
and, on the other hand, I could not be in doubt : I mean, I 
could not believe that it would not be accomplished. In short, 
1 find that our Lord Himself, on His part, did all the good that 
was done, while I did all the evil. I therefore ceased to think 
of the matter, and wished never to be reminded of it again, 
lest I should do myself some harm by dwelling on my many 
faults. Blessed be He who, when He pleases, draws good out 
of all my failings ! Amen. 

21. I say, then, there is danger in counting the years 
we have given to prayer; for, granting that there is nothing 
in it against humility, it seems to me to imply something 
like an appearance of thinking that we have merited, in some 
degree, by the service rendered. I do not mean that there 
is no merit in it at all, nor that it will not be well rewarded; 
yet if any spiritual person thinks, because he has given himself 
to prayer for many years, that he deserves any spiritual conso 
lations, I am sure he will never attain to spiritual perfection. 
Is it not enough that a man has merited the protection of 
God, which keeps him from committing those sins into which 
he fell before he began to pray, but he must also, as they say, 
sue God for His own money? 

22. This does not seem to me to be deep humility, and 
yet it may be that it is ; however, I look on it as great bold- 

1 See ch. xxxiii. 14. 


ness, for I, who have very little humility, have never ventured 
upon it. It may be that I never asked for it, because I had 
never served Him; perhaps, if I had served Him, I should 
have been more importunate than all others with our Lord 
for my reward. 

23. I do not mean that the soul makes no progress in 
time, or that God will not reward it, if its prayer has been 
humble; but I do mean that we should forget the number 
of years we have been praying, because all that we can do is 
utterly worthless in comparison with one drop of blood out 
of those which our Lord shed for us. And if the more we 
serve Him, the more we become His debtors, what is it, then, 
we are asking for? for, if we pay one farthing of the debt, 
He gives us back a thousand ducats. For the love of God, 
let us leave these questions alone, for they belong to Him. 
Comparisons are always bad, even in earthly things; what, 
then, must they be in that, the knowledge of which God has 
reserved to Himself? His Majesty showed this clearly 
enough, when those who came late and those who came early 
to His vineyard received the same wages. 1 

24. I have sat down so often to write, and have been 
so many days writing these three leaves, for, as I have said, 2 
I had, and have still, but few opportunities, that I forgot 
what I had begun with, namely, the following vision. 3 

25. I was in prayer, and saw myself on a wide plain all 
alone. Round about me stood a great multitude of all kinds 
of people, who hemmed me in on every side ; all of them 
seemed to have weapons of war in their hands, to hurt me : 
some had spears, others swords ; some had daggers, and others 
very long rapiers. In short, I could not move away in any 
direction without exposing myself to the hazard of death, and 
I was alone without any one to take my part. In this distress 
of mind, not knowing what to do, I lifted up my eyes to 
heaven, and saw Christ, not in heaven, but high above me in 
the air, holding out His hand to me, and there protecting 
me in such a way that I was no longer afraid of all that 

1 S. Matt. xx. 9-14. 2 Ch. x. 13. 

8 The Saint had this vision when she was in the house of Dona 
Luisa de la Cerda in Toledo, and it was fulfilled in the opposition 
she met with in the foundation of S. Joseph of Avila. See ch. xxxvi. 


multitude, neither could they, though they wished it, do me 
any harm. 

26. At first the vision seemed to have no results ; but 
it has been of the greatest help to me, since I understood 
what it meant. Not long afterwards, I saw myself, as it 
were, exposed to the like assault, and I saw that the vision 
represented the world, because every thing in it takes up 
arms against the poor soul. We need not speak of those 
who are not great servants of our Lord, nor of honours, 
possessions, and pleasures, with other things of the same 
nature ; for it is clear that the soul, if it be not watchful, will 
find itself caught in a net, at least, all these things labour to 
ensnare it ; more than this, so also do friends and relatives, 
and what frightens me most even good people. I found 
myself afterwards so beset on all sides, good people thinking 
they were doing good, and I knowing not how to defend my 
self nor what to do. 

27. O my God, if I were to say in what way, and in 
how many ways, I was tried at that time, even after that 
trial of which I have just spoken, what a warning I should 
be giving to men to hate the whole world utterly! It was 
the greatest of all the persecutions I had to undergo. I saw 
myself occasionally so hemmed in on every side, that I could 
do nothing else but lift up my eyes to heaven, and cry unto 
God. 1 I recollected well what I had seen in the vision, and 
it helped me greatly not to trust much in any one, for there 
is no one that can be relied on -except God. In all my great 
trials, our Lord He showed it to me sent always some one 
on His part to hold out his hand to help me, as it was shown 
to me in the vision, so that I might attach myself to nothing, 
but only please our Lord; and this has been enough to sus 
tain the little virtue I have in desiring to serve Thee: be 
Thou blessed for evermore ! 

28. On one occasion I was exceedingly disquieted and 
troubled, unable to recollect myself, fighting and struggling 
with my thoughts, running upon matters which did not relate 
to perfection ; and, moreover, I did not think I was so de 
tached from all things as I used to be. When I found my 
self in this wretched state, I was afraid that the graces I 
had received from our Lord were illusions, and the end was 
that a great darkness covered my soul. In this my distress 

1 2 Paralip. xx. 12. 


our Lord began to speak to me : He bade me not to harass 
myself, but learn, from the consideration of my misery, what 
it would be if He withdrew Himself from me, and that we 
were never safe while living in the flesh. It was given me 
to understand how this fighting and struggling are profitable 
to us, because of the reward, and it seemed to me as if our 
Lord were sorry for us who live in the world. Moreover, 
He bade me not to suppose that He had forgotten me; He 
would never abandon me, but it was necessary I should do all 
that I could myself. 

29. Our Lord said all this with great tenderness and 
sweetness ; He also spoke other most gracious words, which 
I need not repeat. His Majesty, further showing His great 
love for me, said to me very often : "Thou art Mine, and I 
am thine." I am in the habit of saying myself, and I believe 
in all sincerity: "What do I care for myself? I care only for 
Thee, O my Lord." 

30. These words of our Lord, and the consolations He 
gives me, fill me with the utmost shame, when I remember 
what I am. I have said it before, I think, 1 and I still say now 
and then to my confessor, that it requires greater courage 
to receive these graces than to endure the heaviest trials. 
When they come, I forget, as it were, all I have done, and 
there is nothing before me but a picture of my wretchedness, 
and my understanding can make no reflections; this, also, 
seems to me at times to be supernatural. 

31. Sometimes I have such a vehement longing for Com 
munion; I do not think it can be expressed. One morning 
it happened to rain so much as to make it seem impossible to 
leave the house. When I had gone out, I was so beside myself 
with that longing, that if spears had been pointed at my heart, 
I should have rushed upon them ; the rain was nothing. When 
I entered the church, I fell into a deep trance, and saw 
heaven open not a door only, as I used to see at other times. 
I beheld the throne which, as I have told you, my father, I 
saw at other times, with another throne above it, whereon, 
though I saw not, I understood by a certain inexplicable 
knowledge that the Godhead dwelt. 

32. The throne seemed to me to be supported by certain 
animals; I believe I saw the form of them: I thought they 
might be the Evangelists. But now the throne was arrayed, 

1 Ch. xx. 8 4. 


and Him who sat on it I did not see, but only an exceed 
ingly great multitude of angels, who seemed to me more 
beautiful, beyond all comparison, than those I had seen in 
heaven. I thought they were, perhaps, the seraphim or cher 
ubim, for they were very different in their glory, and seem 
ingly all on fire. The difference is great, as I said before; 1 
and the joy I then felt cannot be described, either in writing 
or by word or mouth ; it is inconceivable to any one who has 
not had experience of it. I felt that every thing man can 
desire was all there together, and I saw nothing; they told 
me, but I know not who, that all I could do there was to 
understand that I could understand nothing, and see how 
every thing was nothing in comparison with that. So it was ; 
my soul afterwards was vexed to see that it could rest on 
any created thing: how much more, then, if it had any affec 
tion thereto; for every thing seemed to me but an ant-hill. 
I communicated, and remained during Mass. I know not 
how it was: I thought I had been but a few minutes, and 
was amazed when the clock struck; I had been two hours 
in that trance and joy. 

33. I was afterwards amazed at this fire, which seems 
to spring forth out of the true love of God; for though I 
might long for it, labour for it, and annihilate myself in the 
effort to obtain it, I can do nothing towards procuring a 
single spark of it myself, because it all comes of the good 
pleasure of His Majesty, as I said on another occasion. 2 It 
seems to burn up the old man, with his faults, his lukewarm- 
ness, and misery; so that it is like the phoenix, of which I 
have read that it comes forth, after being burnt, out of its 
own ashes into a new life. Thus it is with the soul: it is 
changed into another, whose desires are different, and whose 
strength is great. It seems to be no longer what it was before, 
and begins to walk renewed in purity in the ways of our Lord. 
When I was praying to Him that thus it might be with me, 
and that I might begin His services anew, He said to me : "The 
comparison thou hast made is good ; take care never to forget 
it, that thou mayest always labour to advance." 

34. Once, when I was doubting, as I said just now, 3 
whether these visions came from God or not, our Lord ap 
peared, and, with some severity, said to me : "O children of 
men, how long will you remain hard of heart !" I w r as to 

1 Ch. xxix. 16. 2 Ch. xxix. 11. 3 28. 


examine myself carefully on one subject, whether I had 
given myself up wholly to Him, or not. If I had, and it 
was so, I was to believe that He would not suffer me to 
perish. I was very much afflicted when He spoke thus, but 
He turned to me with great tenderness and sweetness, and 
bade me not to distress myself, for He knew already that, 
so far as it lay in my power, I would not fail in any thing that 
was for His service ; that He himself would do what I wished, 
and so He did grant what I was then praying for; that I 
was to consider my love for Him, which was daily growing 
in me, for I should see by this that these visions did not 
come from Satan ; that I must not imagine that God would 
ever allow the devil to have so much power over the souls 
of His servants as to give them such clearness of under 
standing and such peace as I had. 

35. He gave me also to understand that, when such and 
so many persons had told me the visions were from God, I 
should do wrong if I did not believe them. 1 

36. Once, when I was reciting the psalm Quicunque vult? 
I was given to understand the mystery of One God and Three 
Persons with so much clearness, that I was greatly aston 
ished and consoled at the same time. This was of the greatest 
help to me, for it enabled me to know more of the greatness 
and marvels of God ; and when I think of the most Holy 
Trinity, or hear It spoken of, I seem to understand the mys 
tery, and a great joy it is. 

37. One day it was the Feast of the Assumption of 
the Queen of the Angels, and our Lady our Lord was pleased 
to grant me this grace. In a trance He made me behold 
her going up to heaven, the joy and solemnity of her recep 
tion there, as well as the place where she now is. To de 
scribe it is more than I can do; the joy that filled my soul 
at the sight of such great glory was excessive. The effects 
of the vision were great; it made me long to endure still 
greater trials: and I had a vehement desire to serve our 
Lady, because of her great merits. 

38. Once, in one of the colleges of the Society of Jesus, 
when the brothers of the house were communicating, I saw 
an exceedingly rich canopy above their heads. I saw this 

1 See ch. xxviii. 19, 20. 

2 Commonly called the Creed of S. Athanasius. 


twice; but I never saw it when others were receiving Com 



1. ONE day, in prayer, the sweetness of which was so 
great that, knowing how unworthy I was of so great a bless 
ing, I began to think how much I had deserved to be in 
that place which I had seen prepared for me in hell, for, as 
I said before, 1 I never forget the way I saw myself there, 
as I was thinking of this, my soul began to be more and 
more on fire, and I was carried away in spirit in a way I 
cannot describe. It seemed to me as if I had been absorbed 
in, and filled with, that grandeur of God which, on another 
occasion, I had felt. 2 In that majesty it was given me to 
understand one truth, which is the fulness of all truth, but 
I cannot tell how, for I saw nothing. It was said to me, 
I saw not by whom, but I knew well enough it was the Truth 
Itself: "This I am doing to thee is not a slight matter; it is 
one of those things for which thou owest Me much ; for all the 
evil in the world comes from ignorance of the truths of the 
holy writings in their clear simplicity, of which not one iota 
shall pass away." 3 I thought that I had always believed this, 
and that all the faithful also believe it. Then He said; "Ah, 
My daughter, they are few who love Me in truth ; for if men 
loved Me, I should not hide My secrets from them. Knowest 
thou what it is to love Me in truth? It is to admit every 
thing to be a lie which is not pleasing unto Me. Now thou 
dost not understand it, but thou shalt understand it clearly 
hereafter, in the profit it will be to thy soul." 

2. Our Lord be praised, so I found it; for after this 
vision I look upon every thing which does not tend to the 
service of God as vanity and lies. I cannot tell how much 
I am convinced of this, nor how sorry I am for those whom 
I see living in darkness, not knowing the truth. I derived 
other great blessings also from this, some of which I will 
here speak of, others I cannot describe. 

1 Ch. xxxii. 1. 2 Ch. xxviii. 14. 3 S. Matt. v. 18. 


3. Our Lord at the same time uttered a special word 
of most exceeding graciousness. I know not how it was done, 
for I saw nothing; but I was filled, in a way which also I 
cannot describe, with exceeding strength and earnestness of 
purpose to observe with all my might every thing contained 
in the divine writings. I thought that I could rise above 
every possible hindrance put in my way. 

4. Of this divine truth, which was put before me I know 
not how, there remains imprinted within me a truth I cannot 
give it a name which fills me with a new reverence for God ; 
it gives me a notion of His majesty and power in a way 
which I cannot explain. I can understand that it is some 
thing very high. I had a very great desire never to speak of 
any thing but of those deep truths which far surpass all 
that is spoken of here in the world, and so the living in it 
began to be painful to me. 

5. The vision left me in great tenderness, joy, and hu 
mility. It seemed to me, though I knew not how, that our 
Lord now gave me great things; and I had no suspicion 
whatever of any illusion. I saw nothing ; but I understood 
how great a blessing it is to make no account of any thing 
which does not lead us nearer unto God. I also understood 
what it is for a soul to be walking in the truth, in the presence 
of the Truth itself. What I understand is this : that our 
Lord gave me to understand that He is Himself the very 

6. All this I am speaking of I learnt at times by means 
of words uttered ; at other times I learnt some things without 
the help of words, and that more clearly than those other 
things which were told me in words. I understood exceed 
ingly deep truths concerning the Truth, more than I could 
have done through the teaching of many learned men. It 
seems to me that learned men never could have thus im 
pressed upon me, nor so clearly explained to me, the vanity 
of this world. 

7. The Truth of which I am speaking, and which I was 
given to see, is Truth Itself, in Itself. It has neither beginning 
nor end. All other truths depend on this Truth, as all other 
loves depend on this Love, and all other grandeurs on this 
Grandeur. I understood it all, notwithstanding that my words 
are obscure in comparison with that distinctness with which 
it pleased our Lord to show it to me. What think you must 


be the power of His Majesty, seeing that in so short a time 
it leaves so great a blessing and such an impression on the 
soul? O Grandeur! Majesty of mine! what is it Thou art 
doing, O my Lord Almighty! Consider who it is to whom 
Thou givest blessings so great! Dost Thou not remember 
that this my soul has been an abyss of lies and a sea of 
vanities, and all my fault? Though Thou hadst given me a 
natural hatred of lying, yet I did involve myself in main- 
lying ways. How is this, O my God? how can it be that 
mercies and graces so great should fall to the lot of one who 
has so ill deserved them at Thy hands? 

8. Once, when I was with the whole community reciting 
the Office, my soul became suddenly recollected, and seemed 
to me all bright as a mirror, clear behind, sideways, upwards, 
and downwards; and in the centre of it I saw Christ our 
Lord, as I usually see Him. It seemed to me that I saw Him 
distinctly in every part of my soul, as in a mirror, and at the 
same time the mirror was all sculptured I cannot explain 
it in our Lord Himself by a most loving communication 
which I can never describe. I know that this vision was a 
great blessing to me, and is still whenever I remember it, 
particularly after Communion. 

9. I understood by it, that, when a soul is in mortal sin, 
this mirror becomes clouded with a thick vapour, and utterly 
obscured, so that our Lord is neither visible nor present, 
though He is always present in the conversation of its being. 
In heretics, the mirror is, as it were, broken in pieces, and 
that is worse than being dimmed. There is a very great 
difference between seeing this and describing it, for it can 
hardly be explained. But it has done me great good ; it has 
also made me very sorry on account of those times when I 
dimmed the lustre of my soul by my sins, so that I could not 
see our Lord. 

10. This vision seems to me very profitable to recollected 
persons, to teach them to look upon our Lord as being in the 
innermost part of their soul. It is a method of looking upon 
Him which penetrates us more thoroughly, and is much more 
fruitful, than that of looking upon Him as external to us, 
as I have said elsewhere, 1 and as it is laid down in books on 
prayer, where they speak of where we are to seek God. The 

1 Ch. iv. 10. 

326 THE LIFE OF S. TERESA. [dl. XL. 

glorious S Augustin, 1 in particular, says so, when he says 
that neither in the streets of the city, nor in pleasures, nor in 
any place whatever where he sought Him, did he find Him 
as he found Him within himself. This is clearly the best 
way; we need not go up to heaven, nor any further than 
our own selves, for that would only distress the spirit and 
distract the soul, and bring but little fruit. 

11. I should like to point out one result of a deep trance ; 
it may be that some are aware of it. When the time is over 
during which the soul was in union, wherein all its powers 
were wholly absorbed, it lasts, as I have said, 2 but a moment, 
the soul continues still to be recollected, unable to recover 
itself even in outward things ; for the two powers the mem 
ory and the understanding are, as it were, in a frenzy, 
extremely disordered. This, I say, happens occasionally, par 
ticularly in the beginnings. I am thinking whether it does 
not result from this : that our natural weakness cannot endure 
the vehemence of the spirit, which is so great, and that the 
imagination is enfeebled. I know it to be so with some. 
I think it best for these to force themselves to give up prayer 
at that time, and resume it afterwards, when they may re 
cover what they have lost, and not do every thing at once, 
for in that case much harm might come of it. I know this 
by experience, as well as the necessity of considering what 
our health can bear. 

12. Experience is necessary throughout, so also is a 
spiritual director; for when the soul has reached this point, 
there are many matters which must be referred to the di 
rector. If, after seeking such a one, the soul cannot find 
him, our Lord will not fail that soul, seeing that He has 
not failed me, who am what I am. They are not many, I 
believe, who know by experience so many things, and without 
experience it is useless to treat a soul at all, for nothing 
will come of it, save only trouble and distress. But our 
Lord will take this also into account, and for that reason it 
is always best to refer the matter to the director. I have 

"Ecce quantum spatiatus sum in memoria mea quserens Te, 
Domine; et non Te inveni extra earn.... Ex quo didici Te, manes in 
memoria mea, et illic Te invenio cum reminiscor Tui et delector in 
Te" (Confess, x. 24). See Way of Perfection, ch. xiv. 1 ; but ch. xxviii. 
of previous editions. 
2 Ch. xx. 26. 


already more than once said this, 1 and even all I am saying 
now, only I do not distinctly remember it ; but I do see that it 
is of great importance, particularly to women, that they should 
go to their confessor, and that he should be a man of expe 
rience herein. There are many more women than men to 
whom our Lord gives these graces; I have heard the holy 
friar Peter of Alcantara say so, and, indeed, I know it myself. 
He used to say that women made greater progress in this way 
than men did ; and he gave excellent reasons for his opinion, 
all in favour of women ; but there is no necessity for repeating 
them here. 

13. Once, when in prayer, I had a vision, for a moment, 
I saw nothing distinctly, but the vision was most clear, 
how all things are seen in God, and how all things are 
comprehended in Him. I cannot in any way explain it, but 
the vision remains most deeply impressed on my soul, and 
is one of those grand graces which our Lord wrought in 
me, and one of those which put me to the greatest shame and 
confusion whenever I call my sins to remembrance. I be 
lieve, if it had pleased our Lord that I had seen this at an 
earlier time, or if they saw it who sin against Him, we should 
have neither the heart nor the daring to do so. I had the 
vision, I repeat it, but I cannot say that I saw any thing; 
however, I must have seen something, seeing that I explain it 
by an illustration, only it must have been in a way so subtile 
and delicate that the understanding is unable to reach it, or I 
am so ignorant in all that relates to these visions, which seem 
to be not imaginary. In some of these visions there must be 
something imaginary, only, as the powers of the soul are then 
in a trance, they are not able afterwards to retain the forms, 
as our Lord showed them to it then, and as He would have it 
rejoice in them. 

14. Let us suppose the Godhead to be a most brilliant 
diamond, much larger than the whole world, or a mirror 
like that to which I compared the soul in a former vision, 2 
only in a way so high that I cannot possibly describe it; 
and that all our actions are seen in that diamond, which is 
of such dimensions as to include every thing, because nothing 

1 Ch. xxv. 18, ch. xxvi. 6. See S. John of the Cross, Mount 
Carmel, bk. ii. ch. xxii. 


can be beyond it. It was a fearful thirig for me to see, in 
so short a time, so many things together in that brilliant 
diamond, and a most piteous thing too, whenever I think of it, 
to see such foul things as my sins present in the pure bril 
liancy of that light. 

15. So it is, whenever I remember it, I do not know 
how to bear it, and I was then so ashamed of myself that 
I knew not where to hide myself. Oh, that some one could 
make this plain to those who commit most foul and filthy 
sins, that they may remember their sins are not secret, and 
that God most justly resents them, seeing that they are 
wrought in the very presence of His Majesty, and that we 
are demeaning ourselves so irreverently before Him ! I saw, 
too, how completely hell is deserved for only one mortal sin, 
and how impossible it is to understand the exceeding great 
wickedness of committing it in the sight of majesty so great, 
and how abhorrent to His nature such actions are. In this we 
see more and more of His mercifulness, who, though we all 
know His hatred of sin, yet suffers us to live. 

16. The vision made me also reflect, that if one such 
vision as this fills the soul with such awe, what will it be in 
the day of judgment, when His Majesty will appear dis 
tinctly, and when we too shall look on the sins we have com 
mitted ! O my God, I have been, oh, how blind! I have 
often been amazed at what I have written; and you, my 
father, be you not amazed at any thing, but that I am still 
living, I, who see such things, and know myself to be what 
I am. Blessed for ever be He who has borne with me 
so long! 

17. Once, in prayer, with much recollection, sweetness, 
and repose, I saw myself, as it seemed to me, surrounded 
by angels, and was close unto God. I began to intercede 
with His Majesty on behalf of the Church. I was given to 
understand the great services which a particular Order would 
render in the latter days, and the courage with which its 
members would maintain the faith. 

18. I was praying before the most Holy Sacrament one 
day; I had a vision of a Saint, whose Order was in some 
degree fallen. In his hands he held a large book, which 
he opened, and then told me to read certain words, written 
in large and very legible letters; they were to this effect: 


"In times to come this Order will flourish ; it will have many 
martyrs." 1 

19. On another occasion, when I was at Matins in choir, 
six or seven persons, who seemed to me to be of this Order, 
appeared and stood before me with swords in their hands. 
The meaning of that, as I think, is that they are to be de 
fenders of the faith; for at another time, when I was in 
prayer, I fell into a trance, and stood in spirit on a wide 
plain, where