Progress of a soul

Teresa of Ávila: The Progress of a Soul, by Cathleen Medwick

At a time when practicing contemplation could get you either the garrote and the stake or a halo and a feast day, Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) was a mystical sensation. In a church anxious for reforms but at war over who should direct them and how far they should go, Teresa started her own. In a male-dominated culture, she was a woman who read, a writer who meant to publish, and a theological gadfly. In a society anxious about reputation, bloodlines and orthodoxy, Teresa—born to a Jewish converso family—managed to neutralize her detractors and, only 40 years after dying, ascend to the altars, a bona fide saint.


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