For some time after completing my translation of the Complete Works of St. John of the Cross, in the year 1935, I had no thought of preparing a similar edition of the works of that other great Carmelite, to whom he owed so much, St. Teresa. Even when the welcome given to the works of el Santo in their new dress showed what an unexpectedly and encouragingly large public there now was for this type of literature, it seemed to me that la Santa was on the whole sufficiently well served by the translations already in existence. But many readers of St. John of the Cross were not of this opinion: not all St. Teresa's works, they said, had been satisfactorily translated; not all of them, even, were based on an up-to-date Spanish text; and, in any case, there was ample room for a fresh, modern version of the Complete Works, made by a single hand, with footnotes of an elucidatory rather than a piously discursive type -- an edition, furthermore, which would facilitate individual study by providing comprehensive indices.

As time went on, this point of view was increasingly pressed upon me, and by a great variety of people. In Spain, a well-known Academician asked me when a complete St. Teresa was to appear in English; in the American Southwest, a remote community of Carmelite nuns whom I visited put the same question; in England, the remark became almost a commonplace. At last I began to reconsider the position. The only easily accessible versions of the Life and the Foundations were still, though they had been several times revised, essentially the versions made by David Lewis in 1870-1: as regards both language and interpretation they could certainly be greatly bettered. The Stanbrook Benedictines' translation of the Interior Castle, the Way of perfection and the Minor Works (in prose and verse) dated from the beginning of this century and were much superior to Lewis; yet since these volumes had first appeared P. Silverio de Santa Teresa had published his comprehensive and critical Spanish edition of the Complete Works, which would make it possible to add a good deal, especially in the Way of perfection, to what was already available. The most recently published translation was that made by the Benedictines of Stanbrook of the Letters (4 vols., 1919-24). This excellent piece of work was unfortunately completed before P. Silverio's three-volume edition of the Letters appeared, and, though in 1927 its editors brought out an appendix to their final volume consisting of twenty two letters and some fragments to which they had not previously had access, there is a good deal in P. Silverio's three volumes which it would be worth while to pass on to the English reader. None the less, the Letters presented the least urgent part of the problem.

After full consideration, I decided to undertake an edition of the Complete Works, publishing them all, in one series, as soon as might be, with the exception of the Letters, a new edition of which it seemed better to postpone for the present, since it would be strange if the recent years of upheaval in Spain did not lead to fresh discoveries. Accordingly, the work was begun in the summer of 1939, continued throughout the whole period of the War and is only now completed.


It might be thought that St. Teresa -- so often colloquial and matter-of-fact in her language -- would be a great deal easier to translate than St. John of the Cross, but the truth is very nearly the exact opposite. There are certainly passages and phrases in St. John of the Cross which present the greatest difficulty, but they are relatively few: for all the sublimity of his teaching, his expression is, as a rule, crystal-clear, and at every turn the translator is assisted by his logical and orderly mind and by his great objectivity. Much of St. Teresa's work, on the other hand, is autobiographical narrative, and, even in that part of it which is not, every page bears the indelible impress of her forceful and vivid personality. In addition to the difficulty of interpreting that personality by means of a translation there are stylistic difficulties of a kind presented by few, if any, other Spanish writers of the first rank. As an appreciation of these two points will help us to a fuller understanding of the qualities of the work of St. Teresa, it will be worth our while to consider them in greater detail.

1. To Spaniards there is no writer whose personality communicates itself with greater immediacy and intensity than does that of St. Teresa -- and this both because of her almost complete disregard of the literary conventions and because in nothing that she wrote could her strong individuality ever be concealed. No translator could hope to convey that impression as fully and forcibly as do the original words, but he is not therefore exempted from the obligation to convey as much of it as possible. In an attempt to do this I have denied to her vigorous and pugnacious phrases the superfluous words in which another age might have clothed them. In such passages as these we can hear the authentic and virile note of a saint unlike any to be found in a stained-glass window:

"Rest, indeed!" I would say. "I need no rest; what I need is crosses."[1]*

We can make use only of a single cell -- what do we gain by its being very large and well built? What, indeed? We have not to spend all our time looking at the walls.[2]

"Oh, the devil, the devil!" we say, when we might be saying "God! God!" and making the devil tremble. Of course we might, for we know he cannot move a finger unless the Lord permits it. Whatever are we thinking of? I am quite sure I am more afraid of people who are themselves terrified of the devil than I am of the devil himself.[3]

If Thou wilt (prove me) by means of trials, give me strength and let them come.[4]

In rendering these and similar phrases I have had always in my mind the Teresa whom I have come to know through close contact with her over many years. A woman who made her decisions and then stuck to them regardless of the consequences:

I was well aware that there was ample trouble in store for me, but, as the thing was now done, I cared very little about that.[5]

Who, if she ever thought she was afraid of the Inquisition, would "go and pay it a visit of (her) own accord."[6] And who counselled her nuns to be like herself:

Strive like strong men until you die in the attempt, for you are here for nothing else than to strive.[7]

Again, St. Teresa has continual outbursts of sanctified commonsense, humour and irony. "I just laughed to myself" is a type of phrase which we continually meet in her work and she has left us an excellent specimen of her sustained laughter in the "Judgment . . . upon various writings".[8] She particularly disliked pretentiousness, even in what was good, and castigated it with those most effective weapons. Even into that sublime commentary on the Song of Songs entitled the Conceptions of the Love of God, creeps a delightfully shrewd description of the lady whose self-importance was so intimately mingled with her devoutness. She, and others like her,

were saints in their own opinion, but, when I got to know them, they frightened me more than all the sinners I have ever met.[9]

Some of her stories are shot through and through with an allusive humour which it needs all one's ingenuity to render -- such are the accounts of her visit to Duruelo, with Fray Antonio sweeping out the porch and the depression caused in the business men who came with her from Medina by all those crosses and skulls[10]; her efforts to address a great lady as befitted her rank and how she "got it wrong'';[11] poor María del Sacramento and her attack of nerves on All Souls' eve in the sparsely furnished convent at Salamanca[12]; the group of devout ladies at Villanueva, only one of whom could read with any ease, who tried to recite their Office using different versions of the Breviary: "God will have accepted their intention and labour, but they can have said very little that was correct."[13] No less apt to evade one are innumerable little natural touches which, in the English, if carelessly rendered, might easily pass unnoticed:

I was . . . ashamed to go to my confessor . . . for fear he might laugh at me and say: "What a Saint Paul she is, with her heavenly visions! Quite a Saint Jerome!"[14]

Blessed be Thou, Lord, Who hast made me so incompetent and unprofitable![15]

I only wish I could write with both hands, so as not to forget one thing while I am saying another.[16]

From foolish devotions may God deliver us.[17]

And in her less frequent ironical passages, such as the description in the Way of perfection of how the devil invents "laws by which we (nuns) go up and down in rank, as people do in the world",[18] or the animadversions in the Life upon the niceties of worldly etiquette:

-- the title "Illustrious" has to be given to a man who formerly was not even described as "Magnificent".[19]

The style here is so sedate that one has to pause for quite a long time before pressing the button lest the photograph should fail to catch the twinkle in the eye.

Then there are the thousand touches which reveal the temperamentally great writer who never became, or wanted to become, a professional one -- the genius born, not made. This trait in herself St. Teresa never allows us to forget -- which is just as well for the translator who might otherwise conventionalize her. She is "stupid", "incompetent" and always busy with really "important" things like her spinning-wheel. She has "no learning", suffers from "noises" in the head, a bad memory, and a "rough" and "heavy" style. It is useless for her to write anything on mystical theology, for -- "I am unable to use the proper terms". She cannot prevent herself from digressing if she feels like it: otherwise, her writing "worries" her.[20] "How I do let myself wander!" begins Chapter XXIII of the Way of perfection.[21] As for the dates she quotes -- "you must always understand (them) to be approximate -- they are of no great importance."[22] And she scribbles at breakneck speed and with tremendous intensity, never revising her work -- nor even rereading it to see what she has said last.[23] All the time the translator has to remember that he is dealing with this unique kind of woman -- it would be nothing short of a tragedy if he turned her into a writer of text-books.

2. The second type of difficulty which should be referred to will perhaps be of greater interest to the student than to the general reader. In her "rough style", she says comfortingly at the end of Chapter XVI of the Way of perfection, her argument will be better understood "than in other books which put it more elegantly."[24] That no doubt was true, and may still be true, so far as the general trend of the argument is concerned -- and one has constantly to be on one's guard, when there is some "elegant" word that exactly expresses her meaning, against using it -- but it certainly does not apply to the exact sense of particular passages. Even Spaniards familiar with her books are continually baffled when asked the precise meaning of phrases which at first sight may seem perfectly simple. Vivid, disjointed, elliptical, paradoxical and gaily ungrammatical, the nun of Avila continually confounds the successors of those "learned men," to whom in her life she turned so often for enlightenment. One often has frankly to guess at her exact meaning, and half a dozen people may make half a dozen different guesses, none of which anybody can pick out as definitely correct.

To illustrate these characteristics of her style, I have, for the sake of brevity, selected examples in which her meaning is fairly evident. When to the difficulty of rendering her words without paraphrasing them is added that of deciding between several possible meanings it can be imagined how much the task is magnified.

In the course of a discussion on melancholy in nuns, in the seventh chapter of the Foundations, St. Teresa observes that lack of discipline is often more to blame than temperament:

Digo en algunas, porque he visto, que cuando hay a quien temer, se van a la mano y pueden.

(Lit.: I mean in some, for I have seen that, when there is whom to fear, they become docile and can.)

This, in English, has to be expanded somewhat as follows:

I know it is so in some; for, when they have been brought before a person they are afraid of, I have seen them become docile, so I know that they can.[25]

Again, in the Interior Castle (VI, viii), she has been considering how a person can be sure whether some vision is of Christ or of a saint:

Aun ya el SeĖor, cuando habla, más fácil parece; mas el santo que no habla, sino que parece le pone el SeĖor allí por ayuda de aquel alma y por compaĖía, es más de maravilla.

(Lit.: Even now the Lord, when He speaks, [it] seems easier; but the saint who speaks not, but seems to have been placed there by the Lord for aid to that soul and for company, is more remarkable.)

Which means:

When it is the Lord, and He speaks, it is natural that He should be easily recognized; but even when it is a saint, and no words are spoken, the soul is able to feel that the Lord is sending him to be a help and a companion to it; and this is (still) more remarkable.[26]

Then there are shorter phrases, couched in a staccato, almost telegraphic style, hard enough to translate without a weakening of their generally considerable force --

Con esto, mal dormir, todo trabajo, todo cruz!

(Lit.: With this, bad sleep, all trial, all cross!)

And then, the scant sleep they get: nothing but trials, nothing but crosses![27] --

but quite devastating when the clipt phraseology makes one doubtful of the meaning. And there are words which St. Teresa uses in a sense entirely her own, and conjunctions which do not in the least mean what they say -- e.g., "and" for "but", and vice versa, not to mention the conjunction que, which can stand for almost any other.

One has also to watch for, and preserve, the Saint's colloquialisms. Even in talking with God, she tells us, she has a "silly way"

in which I often speak to Him without meaning what I am saying; for it is love that speaks, and my soul is so far transported that I take no notice of the distance that separates it from God.[28]

How much more unconventional, then, is she likely to be with her readers! Not only in her modes of address, but in the introduction of everyday, semi-proverbial phrases, some of which are no longer in use in Spain and might be unintelligible did she not thoughtfully accompany them with an "as one might put it" or "as they say". It would not be hard to turn into current English slang such phrases as:

They see that these things are considered, as one might say, "all right".[29]

(I am) so peevish and ill tempered that I seem to want to snap everyone up.[30]

We had not so much as a scrap of brushwood to broil a sardine on.[31]

So with her homely and vivid metaphors: the Christian making progress "at a hen's pace" or even "like hens with their feet tied"; his adversary the devil "clapping his hands to his head" in despair of ever vanquishing him; love finding an outlet and not being "allowed to boil right over like a pot to which fuel has been applied indiscriminately";[32] worldly aids to devotion being of no more use to lean upon than "dry rosemary twigs" which break at the slightest pressure.[33] All these -- and there are hundreds of them enlivening her narratives and illumining her expositions -- can be so easily spoiled in translation.

Another stumbling block is repetition, a practice to which St. Teresa was greatly addicted. Some of her repetitions of words are merely careless and clumsy -- as in her constant use of the word "great"[34] -- and these I have been content to indicate rather than reproduce every time they occur. When she repeats phrases it is generally for emphasis --

Oh, what terrible harm, what terrible harm is wrought . . . when the religious life is not properly observed![35]

and, except occasionally where our language necessitates another formula for the conveying of the effect, her phraseology can as a rule be reproduced as it stands. But often the same word is repeated in a different sense, sometimes so pointedly that it produces an obvious play upon the word's two or more meanings. Some of these usages cannot be conveyed in English; others are best translated freely with the point explained more fully in a footnote. But whenever possible I have rendered this characteristic Teresian trait quite literally: if it gives the reader a slight shock, that is probably what she often intended:

How much more will anyone fear this to whom He has thus revealed Himself, and given such a consciousness of His presence as will produce unconsciousness![36]

If I . . . used my unhappiness in order to serve God, it would serve me as a kind of purgatory.[37]

But . . . though my will is not yet free from self-interest, I give it to Thee freely. For I have proved, by long experience, how much I gain by leaving it freely in Thy hands.[38]

Alas that one cannot do more to give the English reader the unforgettable effect of intimacy with this woman of the sixteenth century still living and breathing in the twentieth as she writes in her own language! The fine shades of meaning which she creates with her untranslatable idioms, her love for inventing all kinds of diminutives, her characteristic metatheses and other forms of popular misspelling, her curious semi-phonetic transliterations of Latin texts, her long, shambling, breathless sentences, as common as her short sprightly ones, which for reasons of clarity one cannot avoid splitting up -- these make one feel that, when one has done everything possible, one has still done nothing. All I can say is that I have done my best.

Those acquainted with the Spanish text may care to have a few notes on the renderings normally adopted for characteristic words and phrases. One of the Saint's most frequent exclamations, ŃVálgame Dios!, which can express any emotion from playful exasperation to profound distress, is as a rule translated literally, as "God help me!" Occasionally where the context will not suffice to indicate the shade of meaning, it becomes "Oh, God!", "Dear God!" or even "Dear me!" The polite form of address Vuestra Merced is translated "Your Honour" (or sometimes merely "you") when applied to a layman and "Your Reverence" when used to a priest. The word letrados is rendered literally "learned men", though the type of learning to which it refers is invariably theological. The characteristic and rather subtle uses of the word honra ("honour", "reputation", "good name") are dealt with, as they occur, in footnotes. Of terms used in specifically mystical passages, arrobamiento is normally translated "rapture"; arrebatamiento, "transport"; amortecimiento, "swoon"; elevamiento and levantamiento, "elevation"; embebecimiento, "absorption"; and hablas, "locutions" (or, rarely, "voices"). Three words which St. Teresa by no means always distinguishes from one another are gustos, contentos and regalos, generally translated, respectively, "consolations", "sweetness" (in devotion) and "favours", gustos being more substantial than the evanescent contentos and often contrasted with them. The verb regalar may run through the gamut "caress", "pamper", "indulge", "delight", "gladden" and "cheer"; and the singular substantive regalo varies in the same way. Descanso can mean not only "rest" but something very much like "happiness", as also can consuelo ("comfort"). Espíritu can refer to a person's particular spiritual condition or to his or her spirituality. Remedio is more often "help" than "remedy". For convenience's sake, St. Teresa's usage here being very elastic, I have called all religious houses for men "monasteries" or "friaries" and those for women "convents". To the word "soul" the neuter pronoun is applied unless it seems to be equivalent to "person". Where the Spanish gender is ambiguous, "she" is used only if St. Teresa appears to have a woman definitely in mind.



Some idea of the principles which have guided me in the planning of this edition will be implicit in what has already been said. I have aimed at extreme literalness, and have seldom sacrificed this to smoothness and elegance of diction. In an attempt to present the text in the best and fullest form I have utilized all the manuscripts reproduced by P. Silverio; and particular care, as will be seen, has been devoted to the Way of perfection. The notes, greatly abridged from those of P. Silverio, whose discursiveness is not limited to his introductions, have been kept down to a minimum.[39] One need not remind avowed Teresians, but it may be worth while pointing out to the general reader, that the best possible commentary on many of St. Teresa's ascetic and mystical passages can be found by using a subject-index to the works of St. John of the Cross.[40] So much autobiographical material is found in the Life and the Foundations -- and indeed in practically all the works -- that no biographical introduction has seemed necessary; a brief outline of the main events in St. Teresa's career, however, supplemented by references to the works, has been thought worth including.

The style and tone adopted in the translation of the different works varies considerably, just as in the works of St. John of the Cross -- even more so, indeed, than there, for the Exclamations are much farther in this respect from the Foundations than is the Ascent of Mount Carmel from the Spiritual Canticle. But, except in the Exclamations and in parts of the Interior Castle and Conceptions, St. Teresa's style is more pedestrian and colloquial than that of St. John of the Cross, and this I have indicated by the use of more "modern" language, without, I hope, entirely destroying the flavour of a past age. The same remark, mutatis mutandis, applies to the Poems.

St. Teresa's quotations from the Bible are often inexact: my rule has been to give her own words, approximating them as nearly as possible to the text of the Douai Version[41] but never allowing her to say in English anything that she does not say in Spanish. Her mind was so completely immersed in Biblical phraseology[42] that it is sometimes hard to tell if she is consciously quoting at all. Where a Scriptural reference is given in a footnote it is to be understood that I think her to be making a definite quotation.

It would have been attractive to have included a very large proportion of the numerous documents printed by P. Silverio in his nine volumes, which throw so many sidelights on St. Teresa's life and times. But if this translation, like its predecessor, was to be compressed into three volumes there was only a very little space to spare, even when the introductions to the individual works were cut down, as they have been, to a minimum. I have therefore confined myself to translating a few outstanding documents, making them as representative as possible. In order that the pages at my disposal for this purpose should be used to the best advantage, I have occasionally omitted irrelevant passages or condensed their verboseness of expression, without, however (I hope), impairing their spirit.



Chief among my acknowledgments are those to P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, the excellence of whose work I have had occasion to test again and again, and to the Benedictines of Stanbrook, who, holding exclusive copyright for the English translation of his edition, have most generously permitted me to make full use of it. For over twenty years I have been in constant correspondence with the Stanbrook nuns over Teresian matters and have thus been able to appreciate the knowledge as well as the devotion which they put into their labours. I trust that this edition will help to increase the public for their many translations in the field of Spanish mysticism, which includes not only St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross but the less known Francisco de Osuna and Luis de León.

My friend P. Edmund Gurdon, who, when Prior of the Cartuja de Miraflores, near Burgos, helped me so much in the interpretation of difficult passages in St. John of the Cross, died in October 1940, only a year or so after I had begun work on St. Teresa. This edition will be the poorer for the almost entire loss of his collaboration, particularly as he had lived for so many years in St. Teresa's own Castile, and either he or one of his Spanish monks could often suggest a possible meaning for many an obscure elliptical phrase which it was impossible to translate as it stood. Though the World War has made it hard for me to get as much help of this kind from Spain as I should have liked, I have often been able to consult Spanish friends about occasional difficulties -- chief among them my colleague at Liverpool, Don José Castillejo, Don Luis Meana, of the University of Manchester, and Don Pedro Penzol, of the University of Leeds. To these, to my colleague Miss Audrey Lumsden, to the Carmelite Fathers of Kensington, and to the Benedictines of Ampleforth, I tender my most cordial thanks.

E. A. P.

University of Liverpool

August 15, 1943



A.V. -- Authorized Version of the Bible (1611).

D.V. -- Douai Version of the Bible (1609).

Letters. -- Letters of St. Teresa. Unless otherwise stated, the numbering of the Letters follows Vols. VII-IX of P. Silverio. Letters (St.) indicates the translation of the Benedictines of Stanbrook (London, 1919-24. 4 vols.).

Lewis. -- The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, etc. Translated by David Lewis. 5th ed., with notes and introductions by the Very Rev. Benedict Zimmerman, O.C.D., London, 1916.

P. Silverio. -- Obras de Santa Teresa de Jesús. Editadas y anotadas por el P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., Burgos, 1915 -- 24. 9 vols.

Ribera. -- Francisco de Ribera: Vida de Santa Teresa de Jesús. Nueva ed. aumentada, con introducción, etc., por el P. Jaime Pons. Barcelona, 1908.

S.S.M.-E. Allison Peers: Studies of the Spanish Mystics. London, 1927-30. 2 vols.

St. John of the Cross -- The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church. Translated from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D., and edited by E. Allison Peers. London, 1934-5. 3 vols.

Yepes. -- Diego de Yepes: Vida de Santa Teresa. Madrid, 1615.



(Abbreviations: F = Foundations; I.C. = Interior Castle; L = Life; LL = Letters; R = Relations. Roman numerals after F. I.C., L, R refer to chapters; Arabic numerals after LL, to the numbers of the Letters. The numerals in brackets after the names of the foundations record their chronological sequence.)

1515 (March 28). Birth of Teresa de (Cepeda y) Ahumada at Avila.

1528. Teresa loses her mother.

c. 1531. Enters Augustinian Convent of St. Mary of Grace, Avila, as a boarder. Stays there for eighteen months (L III).

1536 (November 2). Enters Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation, Avila, as a novice (cf. n. 79. "It is forty years since this nun took the habit," wrote St. Teresa in 1576: R IV, p. 319).

1537 (November 3). Professed at Convent of the Incarnation.

1538 (Autumn: "before two years had passed": L V). Health gives way. Goes ("when the winter began") to stay with her half-sister, DoĖa María de Cepeda de Barrientos, at the village of Castellanos de la CaĖada. On the way there, stays at Hortigosa with her uncle, Don Pedro de Cepeda, who gives her a copy of Osuna's Third Spiritual Alphabet.

1539 (April-July). Undergoes treatment at Becedas.

1539 (August 15). Attack of catalepsy, which leaves her helpless "for more than eight months" (L VI).

1540 (about Easter). Returns to Incarnation. An invalid till late in 1541: "This (illness) I suffered for three years" (L V). The effects of the paralysis remain till the summer of 1542 (L VI) and recur intermittently (L VII) till about 1554.

1543 (December 24). Death of her father, Don Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda.

c. 1555-6. Begins to think she is "sometimes being addressed by interior voices and to see certain visions and experience revelations" (R IV).

c. 1556-7. Final "conversion" (after "nearly twenty years on that stormy sea": L VIII: p. 108). Cf. pp. 78, 117, n. 3. First contact with the Society of Jesus ("after almost twenty years' experience of prayer": L XXIII).

(1557. Visit of St. Francis Borgia to Avila [L XXIV].)

1558. Experiences her first rapture (L XXIV) and perhaps (L XXVIII) an imaginary vision of Christ (usually dated January 25 or June 29-30, 1558. But a likelier date is 1560: see pp. 235, 260, 268, 271).

Discussions begin about the foundation in Avila of a convent for Discalced nuns (R IV).

159. P. Álvarez becomes her confessor. Transverberation of her heart (L XXIX).

1560. Makes a vow of greater perfection.

1561. P. Gaspar de Salazar comes to Avila (April).

House for the first convent of the Reform bought in Avila (August).

1562-7. At St. Joseph's, Avila ("The most restful years of my life": F I).


January-July. Stays with DoĖa Luisa de la Cerda at Toledo.

June. Finishes the first draft of the Life.

July. Brief (dated February) authorizing the foundation of St. Joseph's received from Rome on the night of her return to Avila. The Bishop is persuaded by St. Peter of Alcántara to sanction the foundation.

August 24. Foundation of Convent of St. Joseph, Avila (1).

August (to February 1563). "Commotion" in Avila (L XXXVI).

(After August). Is commanded to write an amplified account of her life.


(About March). Goes to live at St. Joseph's, Avila.

July 3. Takes some further step (its exact nature not known) towards herself embracing the Reform.

August 22. Is granted a patent to transfer, with three companions, from the Incarnation to St. Joseph's.


August 21. The Nuncio confirms the above-mentioned patent.


(? December). Greater part of the second and final version of the Life written.

Completes the Life and sends it, at the end of the year, to P. García de Toledo (LL 3).

At about this time, begins the Way of Perfection.


(About August). Is visited by Fray Alonso Maldonado.


February[43]. Visit to Castile of the Carmelite General, P. Rubeo (Rossi).

April. The General arrives (April 11) at Avila and (April 27) visits St. Teresa, authorizing her to found further convents of the Reform, and later (August 14, from Barcelona) two monasteries.

August 15. Foundation of Convent at Medina del Campo (2).

September-November. Remains at Medina till early November. During her stay there (? early in September) discusses with Antonio de Jesús and St. John of the Cross the foundation of the first monastery of the Reform (F III).

In November, goes to Madrid and stays for a fortnight with DoĖa Leonor de MascareĖas. Thence goes to Alcalá de Henares, consults P. BáĖez and stays till February 1568.


February. Visits DoĖa Luisa de la Cerda at Toledo.

March (late in). Leaves for Malagón.

April 11. Foundation of Convent at Malagón (3).

May 19. Leaves Malagón for Avila. On the way, stays at Toledo in DoĖa Luisa de la Cerda's house, during her absence: (LL 6). Visits the Marchioness of Villena at Escalona (LL 6).

June 2-30. At St. Joseph's, Avila. Rafael Mejía offers her a house at Duruelo for use as a monastery. She leaves for Medina and Valladolid, calling at Duruelo on the way.

August 10. Arrives at Valladolid. St. John of the Cross has accompanied her from Medina to Valladolid and stays there till September 30 (F XIII; LL 10).

August 15. Foundation of Convent at Valladolid (4).

October. The Valladolid nuns fall ill and go to stay with DoĖa María de Mendoza, who takes over their house and gives them a new one.

(November 28. First Mass said at the Discalced monastery, Duruelo.)


February 3. The Valladolid nuns enter their new house.

February 21. Leaves Valladolid for Medina, Avila, Madrid and Toledo, revisiting Duruelo on the way (F XIV; cf. LL 13-15).

March 24. Arrives at Toledo (LL 19). (The King sends for her, believing her to be still in Madrid, after she has left for Toledo.)

May 14. Foundation of Convent at Toledo (5).

May 28. Receives a letter from the Princess of Éboli about a foundation at Pastrana.

May 30. Leaves Toledo. In Madrid, stays for a week at a Franciscan convent with DoĖa Leonor de MascareĖas. Refuses to found a convent in Madrid (LL 294).

July 9. Foundation of Convent at Pastrana (6). (A monastery founded there on July 13.)

July 21. Leaves for Toledo again. Stays there till August 1570.

NOTE. -- The date of the Exclamations of the Soul to God is probably 1569. Cf. Vol. II, p. 401.


(? July). Visits Pastrana and (August-October) Avila. On October 31 arrives at Salamanca.

November 1. Foundation of Convent at Salamanca (7).


January 25. Foundation of Convent at Alba de Tormes (8).

Mid February. Leaves Alba. Goes to stay for some days with the Count and Countess of Monterrey. On March 29, is at Salamanca (LL 25); in May, by order of the Provincial of the Observance, P. Alonso González, at St. Joseph's; in June, at Medina del Campo; in mid-July, at Avila.

August-October. Prioress at Medina (LL 27).

October 6. Goes from Medina to Avila.

October 15 (to October 1574). Prioress of Convent of the Incarnation, Avila (LL 29 ff.).


(Between May and September). St. John of the Cross becomes confessor to Convent of the Incarnation, Avila.


June 11. Earliest extant letter (LL 45) written by St. Teresa to Philip II.

August. Visits the Salamanca Convent for the transference of the community there in September.

August 24. Begins to write the Foundations (at Salamanca: F VII). Writes about nine chapters: then stops on account of "numerous occupations".


January. Leaves Salamanca. Spends some time at Alba de Tormes, staying for two days in the house of the Duke and Duchess of Alba. (I.C. VI, iv: Vol. II, p. 289.) Goes on to Medina and Avila.

March. Travels to Segovia.

March 19. Foundation of Convent at Segovia (9).

Holy Week: April. Transfers Pastrana nuns to Segovia (F XVII). Remains there till September 30 (F XXI; LL 62).

October 6 (about). Returns to St. Joseph's, Avila, as Prioress.

December (to January 1575). Visits Vallodolid (LL 66-70).


February. Travels from Avila, via Toledo, Malagón and Almodóvar, to Beas.

February 24. Foundation of Convent at Beas (10).

March 10. Agreement for the Caravaca convent signed (F XXVII).

Before May 11 (LL 71). First meeting with Gracián (F XXIV, R XXXIX). Makes vow of obedience to Gracián (R XL, XLI).

May 18-26. Journey to Seville (Leaves, May 18; at Ecija, May 23: R XL; arrives at Seville, May 26: F XXIV).

May 29. Foundation of Convent at Seville (11).

June 9. New licence for the Caravaca convent granted by Philip II (F XXVII).

(May-June. Chapter-General of the Order, held at Piacenza, adopts harsh measures towards the Discalced Reform.)

July 19. Writes from Seville to Philip II (LL 77) on behalf of the plan for dividing the Order and asking that P. Gracián be made Provincial of the Discalced.

August. Arrival of her brothers Lorenzo and Pedro from Spanish America (F XXV, R XLVI, LL 87, P. Silverio, IX, 246).

(Shortly before Christmas). Receives a written order from the General to leave Andalusia and to go to reside in a Castilian convent. P. Gracián authorizes her to stay at Seville till the summer (LL 87, 91).


(From June 1576 to June 1580 St. Teresa is mainly at Toledo and Avila. Strife within the Order holds up the foundations.)

January 1. Foundation of Convent at Caravaca (12) during her stay in Seville (LL 92).

(March. P. Jerónimo Tostado arrives in Spain armed with powers from P. Rubeo to suppress certain Discalced foundations and to take other measures against the Reform.)

April 5. Agreement for the new house at Seville signed.

(May 12. Provincial Chapter of the Observance, held at La Moraleja, takes stern measures against the Reform.)

May 28. Ceremony of the inauguration of the new house at Seville.

June 4. Leaves Seville for Toledo, via Almodóvar del Campo and Malagón. Arrives at Malagón on June 11 (LL 95) and stays for at least a week (LL 96). Is in Toledo before June 30 (LL 97).

(August 8. P. Gracián meets the Superiors of the Reform at Almodóvar: they refuse to accept the decisions of the Moraleja Chapter.)

June-November. Continues Foundations.

November 14. Completes Chapter XXVII of Foundations (See penultimate paragraph of that chapter).


June 2. Begins Interior Castle.

(June 18. Death of the Nuncio Ormaneto.)

July. Goes from Toledo to Avila to arrange for the transference of St. Joseph's from the jurisdiction of the Ordinary to that of the Carmelite Order. Interruption of her work on Interior Castle (I.C. V, iv).

(August 30. Arrival in Spain of the new Nuncio, Sega.)

September 18. Writes to Philip II on behalf of P. Gracián and of the Reform (LL 195).

October. Violent scenes at the election of a Prioress at the Incarnation, Avila. Nuns voting for St. Teresa are excommunicated. Ana de Toledo chosen (LL 197-8, cf. 205-7).

(November 5. Royal Council opposes the policy of Tostado, who leaves for Rome.)

November 29. Finishes Interior Castle.

December 3. St. John of the Cross and a companion are carried off and imprisoned, at Toledo and La Moraleja respectively, by the friars of the Observance (LL 204, 219, 246-7).

December 4.[44] St. Teresa complains of this act to Philip II (LL 204).

December 24. Falls and breaks her left arm.


(Persecution of the Reform continues throughout this year: LL 237 ff. St. Teresa is in Avila.)

(September 4. Death of P. Rubeo at Rome: LL 253.)

(October 9. Chapter-General of the Discalced held at Almodóvar.)

(October 16. Sega puts the Discalced under the jurisdiction of the Observance.)


(April 1. Discalced removed from jurisdiction of the Observance: P. Angel de Salazar becomes their Superior.)

(May. PP. Juan de Jesús [Roca] and Diego de la Trinidad leave for Rome, to attempt to effect the division of the Order: LL 273, 275.) P. Salazar authorizes St. Teresa to resume the visitation of her convents.

June 25. Leaves Avila, with B. Ana de San Bartolome, for Medina (stays 3-4 days), Valladolid (July 3-30), Salamanca (about 2 1/2 months) and Alba (a week).

July. Sends the Way of perfection to the Archbishop of Évora (LL 285).

November (early). Returns to Avila.

November. Goes to Toledo (mid-November: LL 291) and Malagón; arrives at Malagón, November 25; is there when (December 8) the community moves into its new house (LL 295). Stays till February 1580.


February 13. Leaves Malagón for Villanueva de la Jara (LL 307-8, 313), arriving there February 21, after making stops at Toledo and La Roda.

February 21. Foundation of Convent at Villanueva de la Jara (13).

March 20. Leaves Villanueva de la Jara.

March 26. Arrives at Toledo. On March 31 (LL 314) has a paralytic stroke. Asks the Archbishop of Toledo for a licence to make a foundation in Madrid: the request is not granted (LL 323).

June 7. Though still unwell, leaves for Madrid and Segovia. Reaches Segovia on June 15. While there, learns of the death (June 26) of her brother Lorenzo (LL 325-6, 342). Goes (July 6) from Segovia to Avila, to settle his business affairs (LL 328). At Segovia, revises the Interior Castle in collaboration with P. Gracián and P. Yanguas. (Vole II, p. 194.)

(June 22. The Discalced Reform is recognized as a separate province by a Bull of Gregory XIII.)

August (early). Goes on from Avila to Medina del Campo and (August 8) Valladolid where she is to see the Bishop about the projected foundation in his diocese. At Valladolid has a recurrence of the Toledo complaint and becomes dangerously ill (LL 336).

December 28. Leaves Valladolid for Palencia (LL 344).

December 29. Foundation of Convent at Palencia (14) (LL 344).


(March 3. Separation of Calced and Discalced Carmelites becomes operative at Chapter of Alcalá de Henares: cf. LL 350-4. P. Gracián appointed Provincial of the Discalced.)

June 2. Arrives at Soria, after spending the night of May at Burgo de Osma (F XXX).

(June 1. The Palencia community moves to its new house.)

June 14. Foundation of Convent at Soria (15). (Cf. F XXX, Vol. III, p. 180, n.3.)

August 16. Leaves for St. Joseph's, Avila, via Burgo de Osma, Segovia (August 23-30: LL 376), Villacastín (September 4: LL 377).

September 5. Arrives at Avila (LL 378).

September 10. Elected Prioress of St. Joseph's, Avila.


January 2. Leaves for Burgos, via Medina del Campo (January 4-9), Valladolid (staying four days through illness: LL 404) and Palencia (arrives January 16), arriving at Burgos on January 26.

January 20. Foundation of Convent at Granada (16) in St. Teresa's absence.

April 19. Foundation of Convent at Burgos (17).

(July) Completes Foundations (F XXXI was being written at "the end of June": Vol. III, p. 191, n. 2).

July 26. Leaves Burgos for Avila, with B. Ana de San Bartolome and her niece Teresita. Visits Palencia (in August), Vallodolid (again ill: leaves on September 15), Medina del Campo (September 16) and villages near Peoaranda. Though ill, goes to Alba de Tormes at the command of the Provincial, Fray Antonio de Jesus, to visit the Duchess of Alba.

September 20. Arrives at Alba de Tormes.

October 4. Dies at Alba de Tormes.

1614. April 24. Beatified by Paul V.

1617. Spanish Cortes votes her patroness of Spain. The vote not confirmed.

1622. March 12. Canonized by Gregory XV with SS. Isidro, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier.

1726. Benedict XIII institutes the Feast of the Transverberation of her Heart.



Nearly four centuries have passed since St. Teresa began to write, and, both in her own country and abroad, her fame is still widespread and still growing. Her purely human qualities and gifts, the saintliness of her life by which they were illumined and overshadowed, the naturalness and candour of her manner and style -- these are some of the reasons why her name is not only graven upon the enduring marble of history but taken on the lips of generation after generation with reverence and love.

She is a mystic -- and more than a mystic. Her works, it is true, are well known in the cloister and have served as nourishment to many who are far advanced on the Way of Perfection, and who, without her aid, would still be beginners in the life of prayer. Yet they have also entered the homes of millions living in the world and have brought consolation, assurance, hope and strength to souls who, in the technical sense, know nothing of the life of contemplation. Devoting herself as she did, with the most wonderful persistence and tenacity, to the sublimest task given to man -- the attempt to guide others toward perfection -- she succeeded so well in that task that she is respected everywhere as an incredibly gifted teacher, who has revealed, more perhaps than any who came before her, the nature and extent of those gifts which the Lord has laid up in this life for those who love Him. In past ages, of course, there had been many writers kindled with Divine love to whom He had manifested His ineffable secrets, but for the most part these secrets had gone down with them to the grave. To St. Teresa it was given to speak to the world, in her diaphanous, colloquial language and her simple, unaffected style, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the enamoured soul, of the interior strife and the continual purgation through which such a soul must pass in its ascent of Mount Carmel and of the wonders which await it on the mountain's summit.

So she leads the soul from the most rudimentary stages of the Purgative Way to the very heights of Union, bringing it into the innermost mansion of the Interior Castle, where, undisturbed by the foes that rage without, it can have fruition of union with the Lord of that Castle and experience a foretaste of the Beatific Vision of the life to come. But, despite the loftiness and sublimity of these themes, she is able to develop them without ever losing the most attractive of her qualities as a writer -- simplicity. Continually she finds ready to hand apt and graphic comparisons, intelligible even to the unlearned. No mystical writer before her day, from the pseudo-Dionysius to Ruysbroeck, nor any who has written since, has described such high matters in a way so apt, so natural and to such a large extent within the reach of all. The publication of her treatises inaugurated for the mystics an epoch of what may almost be termed popularity. Those who love the pages of the Gospels, and whose aim in life is to attain the Gospel ideal of Christian perfection, have found in her works other pages in which, without any great effort of the intellect, they may learn much concerning the way. Her practical insistence upon the virtuous life, her faithfulness to the Evangelical counsels and the soundness of her doctrine even in the most obscure and recondite details -- all these will commend her to them. Many, indeed, are the fervent lovers of Our Lord who have gone to the school of love kept by the Foundress of Avila.

As a result, her works are read and re-read by Spaniards to this day and translated again and again into foreign languages. Probably no other book by a Spanish author is as widely known in Spain as the Life or the Interior Castle of St. Teresa, with the single exception of Cervantes' immortal Don Quixote. It is surely amazing that a woman who lived in the sixteenth century, who never studied in the Schools or pored over tomes of profound learning, still less aspired to any kind or degree of renown, should have won such a reputation, both among scholars and among the people. We cannot expect to find the reason for this in the purely scientific or literary merits of her writings: we must look for it by going deeper.

Essentially, her popularity has been due to Divine grace, which first inspired her to lay aside every aim but the quest for God and then enabled her to attain a degree of purity in her love for Him which sustained and impelled her. Before everything else it is the intense fervour of this love which speaks to lovers everywhere, just as it is the determination and courage of her virile soul which inspires those who long to be more determined and courageous than they are. But next to this, it is the purely human quality of her writings which makes so wide an appeal. Her methods of exposition are not rigidly logical -- but neither are the workings of the human heart. Her books have a gracioso desorden [Herrick's "sweet disorder"] which the ordinary reader finds attractive, even illuminating. Her disconnected observations, her revealing parentheses, her transpositions, ellipses and sudden suspensions of thought make her, in one sense, easier to read, even if, in another, they sometimes make her more difficult to interpret. Even setting aside her lack of technical training as a writer, her robust and highly individual temperament would have led her into rebellion against academic mechanism of conventionality and style in language, had any attempt ever been made to force these upon her. Where she uses or imitates the phraseology of Holy Scripture she does so unconsciously. Often she never even re-read what she wrote; who that is not a professional writer, but just a man in the street, or a woman in the kitchen, can help loving her?

Her books were written at the command of her confessors -- that is to say, under obedience. It seemed ridiculous to her that a person so imperfect and devoid of talent as herself -- and a woman into the bargains -- could possibly write anything that would edify others. She was much better employed, she herself thought, at the spinning-wheel, and it irked her to leave such a profitable occupation as spinning to take up her pen. "For the love of God," she once exclaimed, when importuned to write, "let me work at my spinning wheel and go to choir and perform the duties of the religious life, like the other sisters. I am not meant to write: I have neither the health nor the intelligence for it."[45] The following passage gives as vivid an idea as any of the spirit in which she wrote:

The authority of persons so learned and serious as my confessors suffices for the approval of any good thing that I may say, if the Lord gives me grace to say it, in which case it will not be mine but His; for I have no learning, nor have I led a good life, nor do I get my information from a learned man or from any other person whatsoever. Only those who have commanded me to write this know that I am doing so, and at the moment they are not here. I am almost stealing the time for writing, and that with great difficulty, for it hinders me from spinning and I am living in a poor house and have numerous things to do.[46]

But, even had she left no such personal testimony, her writings would have shown how little she trusted for inspiration to her reading and how completely devoid she was of any constructional instinct or sense of literary proportion. Her ideas and sentiments spring spontaneously to her mind and spirit. Her pen runs freely -- sometimes too freely for her mind to keep pace with it. Her memory, as she frequently confesses, is poor and her few quotations are seldom entirely accurate. But she is, without the slightest doubt, a born writer; and, when a person belonging to that rare and fortunate class knows nothing of artifice, casts aside convention, and writes as the spirit dictates, the result can never be disappointing.

Mysticism, furthermore, is in part an experimental science; and he who has the profoundest and most continuous experiences of Divine grace is the best qualified to speak of them. St. Teresa is remarkable both for the intensity and for the continuity of her mystical experiences, and she had a quickness of mind, a readiness of expression and a wealth of imagination which particularly well fitted her for describing them. Her descriptions are incomparably more vivid and intelligible than those of many professed students of mystical theology who have grown grey in the study of it. This superiority much more than compensates for any of her stylistic idiosyncrasies which may scandalize the literary preceptist. Had she not boldly snapped asunder the bonds of logic and literary rule, she would have been powerless to take wing and give us those finest of passages which describe the summit of Mount Carmel. We should have gained one more methodical writer aspiring to a "golden mediocrity" -- but we should have lost work of a sublime beauty bearing the ineffaceable hallmark of genius.

But in any case she could never have written impeccable manuals or methodically ordered "guides" to the ascetic or the mystical life: her genius resembles the rushing torrent, not the scientifically constructed canal. She cannot even be said to separate asceticism from mysticism: the Way of perfection is an ascetic treatise which mystical ideas are constantly invading; while the Interior Castle, though fundamentally mystical, does not hesitate to lay down and develop ascetic principles. Here, again, she conforms, not so much to what is logical as to what is natural and human. Any divisions which she makes and adheres to are those made by nature and observable in life. By any and every test, she is a writer to be read by the many, by the people.

If obedience was St. Teresa's primary motive for writing, a secondary motive was to give an accurate and detailed account of her spiritual progress, as in the Life, or, as in most of her other books, to guide her spiritual daughters.

The seventeenth-century Carmelite, Fray Jerónimo de San José, a historian of the Discalced Reform and author of one of the earliest biographies of St. John of the Cross, makes the following enumeration of her writings:

Our Mother St. Teresa wrote five books and seven opuscules. The books are: The Book of her Life, The Way of perfection, The Mansions,[47] The Foundations and Meditations on the Songs. The opuscules are: Method for the visitation of her convents, Exclamations, Spiritual Maxims, Relations of her spirit, Favours granted her by the Lord, Devout verses which she composed, Letters to different persons. So that, between books, opuscules and treatises, the number of books written by the Saint amounts in all to twelve.[48]

In addition to these works, several more have been credited to St. Teresa, though hardly on sufficient evidence. From a reference in the Foundations to "a tiny little book" in which she "believed she said something about" melancholy,[49] it has been inferred that a book of hers on this subject has been lost: the reference, however, might well be to the Way of Perfection, which says a good deal about this, and, though the Way of perfection might hardly be thought "tiny", she refers to it elsewhere as "little" by contrast with her considerably larger Life.

Another book, which certainly exists, was thought to be the work of St. Teresa as long ago as 1630, when it was included by Baltasar Moreto in an edition of her works published in that year at Antwerp. The only reason for its inclusion appears to have been that it was found among some papers which had belonged to her, and afterwards became the property of DoĖa Isabel de Avellaneda, wife of Don Iaigo de Cordenas, President of the Council of Castile. Its title is Seven Meditations on the Paternoster. It is a pious commentary on the Lord's Prayer, the seven petitions of which are treated as meditations, each intended to be read on a different day of the week, under the headings: Father, King, Spouse, Shepherd, Redeemer, Physician, Judge. The author was both a learned and a spiritually-minded person, well versed in Holy Scripture and with a decided literary bent. The most superficial examination reveals it to be clearly non-Teresian. Its style is quite unlike that of the Saint and it bears the marks of a careful revision entirely foreign to her habits and character. Her earliest biographers make no mention of it and her Order has never believed it to be hers. "I consider it quite certain that the treatise is not by our Holy Mother," says P. Jerónimo de San José, and gives the fullest reasons for his opinion.[50] "All who read it carefully," he adds, "and even those who read it without great care, will think likewise."

P. Ribera, St. Teresa's first biographer, and a particularly conscientious one, tells us that, when very young, in collaboration with her brother Rodrigo, she wrote a book on chivalry. "She had so excellent a wit, and had so well absorbed the language and style of chivalry, that in the space of a few months she and her brother Rodrigo composed a book of adventures and fictions on that subject, which was such that it attracted a great deal of comment."[51] This story is confirmed by Gracián in his notes to Ribera's book and has been frequently repeated and taken as accurate by later writers. There would be nothing intrinsically improbable in the idea that a writer with the initiative and imagination of St. Teresa, who, we know (for she tells us herself in great detail),[52] was attracted in her youth by romances of the Amadis type, should try to produce something of the sort herself by way of recreation, and we may be sure that, if she did so, the book in question would be well worth reading. P. Andrťs de la Encarnacion, an eighteenth-century editor and critic of St. John of the Cross,[53] took the suggestion very seriously, and debated where the book was to be found, and whether or no, supposing it were found, it ought to be published.[54] For ourselves, we suspect that, if it was ever written at all, it was soon destroyed by its own authors, either because of the nature of its contents or for fear that it would fall into the hands of their father, the austere Don Alonso, who for such an indiscretion would no doubt have meted out anything but a reward.

By great good fortune, the originals of nearly all St. Teresa's principal works have come down to us, together with those of a fair number of her letters and some account books bearing her signature. This fortune we owe to the great esteem shown for St. Teresa and her Reform by King Philip II, who, when collecting books and manuscripts for the library which he proposed to establish in his newly built palace-monastery at El Escorial, asked P. Doria (Fray Nicolos de Jesús María),[55] at that time Vicar-General of the Discalced Carmelites, if he could obtain for him any of St. Teresa's autographs. As a result, four of these are now to be found in the Escorial Library: namely, the Life, the Way of perfection, the Foundations and the Method for the visitation of her convents. The autograph of the Interior Castle is preserved in the Discalced Carmelite convent at Seville, and a second autograph of the Way of perfection, to be referred to later, has long been in the possession of the convent of the Discalced nuns at Valladolid. As a considerable number of facsimile reproductions of these manuscripts have been published, the careful study of the Teresian writings in their original state has been brought within the reach of all who are qualified to undertake it.

Needless to say, a great many copies of the Saint's writings were made very soon after her death, and, needless to say, too, these copies contained numerous errors. To put an end to this circulation of defective versions of their Mother Foundress' works, the Discalced Carmelites took steps towards the preparation of a complete edition. A beginning had been made with their publication even in her own lifetime. A great friend of hers, Don Teutonio de Braganza, Archbishop of Évora, undertook to bring out an edition of the Maxims and Way of perfection, based upon a corrected manuscript (still extant) which she herself sent him, in 1579: this was approved by the ecclesiastical censor in 1580 and published at Évora in 1583. At Salamanca, in 1585, P. Gracián (Fray Jerónimo de la Madre de Dios)[56] at that time Provincial of the Reform, republished the Way of perfection, which no doubt was given precedence over the other works on account of its practical utility in the training of religious. An impetus must have been given to these activities by St. John of the Cross, who, just about this time, wrote as follows in the commentary to his Spiritual Canticle:

But since my intent is but to expound these stanzas briefly, as I promised in the prologue, these other things must remain for such as can treat them better than I. And I pass over the subject likewise because the Blessed Teresa of Jesus, our mother, left notes admirably written upon these things of the spirit, the which notes I hope in God will speedily be printed and brought to light.[57]

St. John of the Cross was in fact present at the meeting of the General Chapter in 1586 which decided to publish the Saint's complete works. The editorship was entrusted, not to a Carmelite, but to an Augustinian -- one of the leading men of letters in Spain, the Salamancan professor Fray Luis de León. The volume, of over a thousand octavo pages, was published at Salamanca in 1588, and includes the following works, printed in the order here given: Book of her life; some of the Relations; Way of perfection; Maxims; Interior Castle; Exclamations. The principal omission, it will be observed, is the Foundations: so many of the people mentioned in it were still living that its publication was thought to be premature.

On the whole, as one would expect of an editor who, besides being himself an author, had had a lifetime of academic experience, Fray Luis de León acquitted himself remarkably well. The edition has some omissions and variant readings of such length or importance that they can hardly have been due to accident, besides a considerable number of errata, notably in punctuation -- and, owing to St. Teresa's often compressed and elliptical style, a misplaced comma is sometimes enough to alter the sense of an entire passage. None the less, judged by the standards of its day, the edition is a distinctly good one.

It was reprinted, at the same press, in the following year, after which date further editions came quickly. The works, in a more or less complete state, were published at Saragossa in 1592; at Madrid, in 1597 and 1615; at Naples, in 1604; at Brussels, in 1604; at Brussels, in 1610; at Valencia, in 1613 and 1623. The Brussels edition was the first to include the Foundations. The editio princeps was reprinted at Madrid in 1622 and 1627 and at Saragossa in 1623. In 1630, at Antwerp, Baltasar Moreto published an edition already referred to as including the apocryphal Seven Meditations. A single-volume edition, in 1635, and a two-volume edition, in 1636, came out in Madrid.

This rapidly increasing circulation of St. Teresa's works, however, was not altogether welcomed by her Order, for the printers' errors in each edition were handed down to the next, often with considerable additions, while undue liberties were sometimes taken with the text by editors less conscientious than Fray Luis de León. It was in about 1645 that P. Francisco de Santa María, the historian of the Discalced Reform, obtained permission from his superiors for a new collation of the printed works and the autographs, with a view to the preparation of a more reliable edition than any yet published. The collation was entrusted to a number of friars and the new edition -- the second which may be described as "official" -- was eventually published in Madrid in 1661.

We need not follow through the centuries the long tale of editions of the Saint's works -- still less enumerate the editions of individual works which will be referred to later in the introductions to each. It must suffice, in this brief survey, to remark on the continuity with which St. Teresa was read even during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when mysticism was little in favour, and to mention a few of the editions which may be considered of outstanding interest.

In the mid-eighteenth century, the Order determined upon still another "official" edition and entrusted the work of preparing one to that excellent critic already referred to, P. Andrťs de la Encarnacionón, who enlisted the aid of a competent palaeographer, a companion worthy of himself, P. Manuel de Santa María. The results of their researches, both on St. Teresa and on St. John of the Cross, remained in manuscript; and the three volumes of Memorias historiales, in the National Library of Spain, at Madrid, are a major source for critical work on the Reformers of Carmel. As many of the archives which the two Fathers used are no longer in existence, their work has preserved much that would otherwise have been irretrievably lost, including part of the magnificent collection which we have of Teresian letters. In their work upon the texts, they detected more than seven hundred errors in the Life of 1627 and twelve hundred in Moreto's edition of the Foundations. It is a pity that the Order found the task of publishing a new edition too much for it and was content to reprint, in 1778, an edition of 1752, adding to it a volume containing eighty-two previously unpublished letters. In 1793 appeared another edition, which included a further volume of letters and eighty-seven fragments, and was the last to be published by the Order for a hundred and twenty years. Not until 1851, when the religious persecutions of the early years of the nineteenth century were over, was this edition reprinted, and ten years later came the edition of Don Vicente de la Fuente, which forms part of the monumental series of Spanish classics known as the "Biblioteca de Autores EspaĖoles."

The strides made in Spain, during the last half century, by Teresian criticism, and indeed by Spanish criticism in general, make it possible for Spaniards to look back from a great distance at the work of La Fuente, both here and in his later six volume edition of 1881, and find in it faults of many kinds: innumerable textual errors, frequent inaccuracies of fact, exaggerations in judgment and an undue dogmatism of tone. This Aragonese editor, though learned and devout in a high degree, had the temperamental bluntness and stubbornness traditionally associated with Aragon, and from this his work frequently suffered. None the less, his edition remained unsuperseded for over half a century -- until, in fact, in the year of the quatercentenary of St. Teresa's birth, appeared the first volume of the definitive Carmelite edition [which we owe to the indefatigable P. Silverio de Santa Teresa.]

[This edition, consisting of nine volumes (1915-24) of which the last three comprise the largest collection yet made of the Saint's letters -- four hundred and fifty in all -- concentrated upon the preparation of as correct as possible a text, using the autographs, or photostats of them, where previous editors had relied on copies. The notes to the text, which are not the strongest point of the edition, are brief and in the main factual, though occasionally they sin through the discursiveness which P. Silverio seldom for long avoids. A welcome feature was the inclusion of many newly discovered letters -- for, while the sacking of religious houses during the nineteenth century had led to much destruction, it had also brought to light a good deal that had previously been unknown. P. Silverio's appendices contain numerous hitherto unpublished documents, many of them of capital importance for an intimate knowledge of St. Teresa's life.]

[The foregoing notes bear witness of the most practical kind to the continuous popularity which St. Teresa has enjoyed in her own country since the time of her death. In our own country it was her Life which at first chiefly attracted translators: the Antwerp translations of the Jesuit William Malone appeared as early as 1611; twelve years later, Sir Tobias Mathew's version, known as The Flaming Hart, was published in London, a second edition appearing at Antwerp in 1642; while the Life and Foundations were published by Abraham Woodhead in 1669-71, and a third volume, containing nearly all the remaining works, came out in 1675. After this nearly two centuries elapsed before the Saint began to be widely read once more, but since Dalton, with his new translation of the Life (1851), led the revival, interest in her has never ceased. Dalton's Way of perfection and Interior Castle (1852), Foundations (1853) and small selection of Letters (1853) were followed by the Life (1870) and Foundations (1871) in the translation of David Lewis: the Life, still leading the other works in popularity, went into four editions. The mantle of Lewis fell upon the shoulders of a Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey, and the editions of the Benedictines of Stanbrook, already referred to, and notably their versions of the Way of perfection and the Interior Castle and their four-volume edition of the Letters (1919-24), have perhaps done more than any others to give St. Teresa a place in our spiritual life comparable to that which she holds in Spain. Finally we must not forget the valuable contributions made to our knowledge of the Saint and her times by the learned Carmelite, Father Zimmerman, whose revisions of, and introductions to, the Lewis and Stanbrook translations have so much enhanced their value. England, it will be seen, is not now behindhand in her appreciation of a Saint on whom one of her seventeenth-century poets wrote what is perhaps the finest panegyric in verse upon her in existence.

O thou undaunted daughter of desires!
By all thy dowr of Lights and Fires;
By all the eagle in thee, all the dove;
By all thy lives and deaths of love;
By thy large draughts of intellectual day,
And by thy thirsts of love more large then they;
By all thy brim-fill'd Bowles of fierce desire;
By thy last Morning's draught of liquid fire;
By the full kingdome of that final kiss
That seiz'd thy parting Soul, and sealed thee his;
By all the heavn's thou hast in him
(Fair sister of the Seraphim!);
By all of Him we have in Thee;
Leave nothing of my Self in me.
Let me so read thy life, that I
Unto all life of mine may die.

The translator, who, in the main, has followed P. Silverio in the order in which he has arranged St. Teresa's works, begs leave to append a note, adapted from P. Silverio, upon the principles underlying this arrangement.

He begins with the Saint's earliest and fundamental work, her Life (1562-5), which is followed by a shorter work closely connected with it in spirit, and hence forming a natural complement to it -- the Relations. It might be thought that the Life should rather have been followed by the autobiographical Foundations, but it must be remembered that the Life is an autobiography primarily in the spiritual sense -- a history of the manifestations of Divine grace in the writer's soul -- whereas the Foundations is mainly a record of practical achievements and is related as closely with the history of the Order as with the life of the Saint.

After the Life and the Relations comes the Way of Perfection (c. 1565), written under obedience, as we have seen, for the edification of the nuns of the Saint's first foundation -- St. Joseph's, Avila -- and based upon her own meditations on the Lord's Prayer. Since the Life contained so much intimate detail it was thought unsuitable for publication until after its author's death, and the Way of perfection was written, in one sense, to supply its place. Next comes the Interior Castle (1577), more mature and more intensely mystical than its two predecessors. These three works, taken together, may be thought of as a complete exposition of the ascetic and mystical system of St. Teresa. As closely connected with the Interior Castle in its nature and spirit as are the Relations with the Life are the Conceptions of the Love of God, and the Exclamations of the Soul to God, the two loveliest of St. Teresa's opuscules, both of them from beginning to end aglow with mystical love.

Following these, as standing outside their sphere and (despite some fine and noble passages) on a lower plane, comes the Foundations (1573 ff.), the last of the four major works, and, following these, we give the minor works, with the poems appropriately coming last, as it is in verse that St. Teresa is least noteworthy.

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[1]Life, Chap. XIII (p. 140).

*Special Note: The references for the works of St. Teresa (except for Life) used in the footnotes throughout this work refer to Complete Works of St. Teresa, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, 3 vols., Sheed & Ward, New York, 1957.

[2]Foundations, Chap. XIV (Vol. III, p. 66).

[3]Life, Chap. XXV (p. 243).

[4]Way of perfection, Chap. XXXII (Vol. II, p. 138).

[5]Life, Chap. XXXVI (pp. 344-5).

[6]Life, Chap. XXXIII (p. 312).

[7]Way of perfection, Chap. XX (Vol. II, p. 86).

[8]Vol. III, pp. 229-31.

[9]Conceptions of the Love of God, Chap. II (Vol. II, p. 375).

[10]Foundations, Chap. XIV (Vol. III, p. 66).

[11]Way of perfection, Chap. XXII (Vol. II, p. 94).

[12]Foundations, Chap. XIX (Vol. III, p. 94).

[13]Foundations, Chap. XXVIII (Vol. III, p. 164).

[14]Life, Chap. XXXVIII (p. 361).

[15]Life, Chap. XIII (p. 147).

[16]Way of perfection, Chap. XX (Vol. II, p. 88).

[17]Life, Chap. XIII (p. 145).

[18]Ibid., Chap. XXXVI (Vol. II, p. 156).

[19]Life, Chap. XXXVII (p. 360).

[20]Such references as these are to be found everywhere. See, for example, p. 151, Vol. II, pp. 68, 234, 291, Vol. III, pp. xxii, xxiii.

[21]In the Escorial manuscript. See Vol. II, p. 97, n. 6.

[22]Foundations, Chap. XXV (Vol. III, p. 132 ).

[23]Way of perfection, Chap. XIX (Vol. II, p. 76).

[24]Vol. II, p. 68.

[25]Vol. III, p. 39.

[26]Vol. II, p. 312.

[27]Life, Chap. XIII (p. 147).

[28]Life, Chap. XXXIV (p. 324).

[29]Life, Chap. VII (p. 98 ).

[30]Life, Chap. XXX (p. 282 ).

[31]Foundations, Chap. XV (Vol. III, p. 74).

[32]Life, Chaps. XIII, XXXVII, XXVI, XXIX (p. 140, 380, 244, 273).

[33]Relations, III (Vol. I, p. 316).

[34]See, for a typical example, Life, Chap. XXXVIII (p. 362).

[35]Life, Chap. VII (p. 98).

[36]Interior Castle, VI, ix (Vol. II, p. 316).

[37]Life, Chap. XXXVI (p. 343).

[38]Way of perfection, Chap. XXXII (Vol. II, p. 135).

[39][All the footnotes to the text are P. Silverio's except where they are enclosed in square brackets, or where the contrary is stated. I have followed P. Silverio in not numbering the paragraphs of the text, as both he and I thought it advisable to do in the Complete Works of St. John of the Cross.]

[40]Such a subject-index will be found in Vol. III, pp. 445-54 of my edition of the Complete Works.

[41]All footnote references are to this version. Where the numbering of chapters or verses in the Authorized Version differs from this, as in the Psalms, the variation has been shown in square brackets.

[42]Cf. her reference to the Bible in Life, Chap. XXV (p. 239).

[43]I.e., about six months after Maldonado's visit: cf. final words of FI (Vol. III, p. 4).

[44]Some authorities believe that, between December 11 and 17 of this year, St. Teresa had an interview with Philip II at El Escorial (cf. P. Silverio, IX, 266).

[45]Jerónimo Gracián: Lucidario del verdadero espíritu, Chap. V. She did, however, eventually write the book she was asked for: it was the Interior Castle.

[46]Life, Chap. X (p. 123).

[47][This is the title nearly always given in Spanish to the Interior Castle.]

[48]Historia del Carmen Descalzo, Bk. V, Chap. XIII.

[49]Foundations, Chap. VII (Vol. III, p. 36, n. 2).

[50]Quoted in full by P. Silverio, I, lxix.

[51]Ribera, Bk. I, Chap. V.

[52]Life, Chap. II (p. 68).

[53][St. John of the Cross, I, liv ff., et passim.]

[54]B.Nac. MS. 3180 Adiciones E., Nos. 13, 14.

[55][Cf. S.S.M., II, 155-6.]

[56][S.S M., II, 151-89.]

[57][St. John of the Cross, II, 72.]

[58]["The Flaming Hart" ("Upon the book and picture of the seraphicall St. Teresa").]

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