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30 review for Teresa of Avila: A Life from Beginning to End (Biographies of Christians)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Labijose

    “Nada te turbe, nada te espante, todo se pasa, Dios no se muda, la paciencia todo lo alcanza; quien a Dios tiene nada le falta. Solo Dios basta”. ¿Mística, visionaria o enajenada? Posiblemente, un poco de las tres cosas, teniendo en cuenta el panorama religioso de la época (siglo XVI y una España ultra católica). La fundadora de la Orden de los Carmelitas Descalzos ha sido y sigue siendo una figura central del catolicismo. Una de las grandes maestras de la vida espiritual de la iglesia, y, junto con San “Nada te turbe, nada te espante, todo se pasa, Dios no se muda, la paciencia todo lo alcanza; quien a Dios tiene nada le falta. Solo Dios basta”. ¿Mística, visionaria o enajenada? Posiblemente, un poco de las tres cosas, teniendo en cuenta el panorama religioso de la época (siglo XVI y una España ultra católica). La fundadora de la Orden de los Carmelitas Descalzos ha sido y sigue siendo una figura central del catolicismo. Una de las grandes maestras de la vida espiritual de la iglesia, y, junto con San Juan de la Cruz, la mayor representante de la mística cristiana. Sus visiones y arrobamientos la hicieron célebre. Para bien y para mal. Ya en vida, muchos la consideraron santa, pero también tuvo enemigos poderosos que la trataban de enajenada. Afortunadamente para ella, sus valedores le permitieron lograr su sueño, y crear una orden diferente a las que existían en la época. No sin muchas dificultades. Pagó caro sus excesos en cuestiones de privación de alimentos, y su salud siempre se vio en peligro. Es por ello, y por las condiciones en las que vivió casi recluida, que muchos encuentren explicación a tanta visión y tanta “comunicación” con Dios. No es descartable. Sus continuas mortificaciones y el ambiente que se respiraba crean un perfecto caldo de cultivo para ese tipo de “experiencias”. Para la persona que las sufre y para las personas que viven con ella. Que, en su caso, hasta la vieron levitar. Hoy, sus restos andan esparcidos por media España (la idolatría religiosa no tiene parangón), por no hablar del famoso episodio del brazo incorrupto que conservó Franco bajo su cama, para privarle de todo mal. Pero siempre será Ávila la ciudad que se asociará más íntimamente con ella. Allí nació y allí comenzó su importante obra. Sus escritos se han conservado, siendo “El castillo interior” la obra espiritual por la que será más conocida. Obra que yo he intentado leer, pero que no hay manera. En definitiva, un personaje tremendo. Del que esta pequeña obra destaca sus momentos más relevantes, apenas unas pequeñas pinceladas. Interesante para no iniciados. Y, muy útil para mi reciente visita a Ávila, la ciudad amurallada.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Jares

    The author of this book did a wise thing; the author reminded the reader that St. Teresa lived in a time where religion was paramount in people's lives.  In the introduction, the author states "...  just about everyone around her lived and breathed religion." (page 1)  In fact, it is impossible to believe any part of this story without knowing that very important point.  I also liked the fact that the reader was reminded that this was a very different place and time (from today's secular world). The author of this book did a wise thing; the author reminded the reader that St. Teresa lived in a time where religion was paramount in people's lives.  In the introduction, the author states "...  just about everyone around her lived and breathed religion." (page 1)  In fact, it is impossible to believe any part of this story without knowing that very important point.  I also liked the fact that the reader was reminded that this was a very different place and time (from today's secular world). Being personally very familiar with Teresa's story, I was shocked to see how much traveling Teresa did while she was part of a cloistered convent (cloistered means never leaving the convent; doctors, family come to the nun).  Even after Teresa opened a truly closed convent (St. Joseph's was much more closed than the Carmelites), she continued to travel. The author presented the visions and activities of Teresa and reminded the reader that these actions were reported by others who were considered to be authorities or persons of high moral character.  It is shocking to see how many people in the world tuberculosis killed over the centuries; Teresa was one of them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    This goes all the way back to Spain in 1515 with the birth of Teresa. For some reason she felt when she was a child that she needed to die a martyr's death. Her mother died when she was eleven. She ended up joining a convent and she suffered fairly major health problems for a lot of her life. The book goes into how she founded her own convents and what eventually probably caused her death. There's also a bibliography. A major question is what caused her at such a very young age to think she neede This goes all the way back to Spain in 1515 with the birth of Teresa. For some reason she felt when she was a child that she needed to die a martyr's death. Her mother died when she was eleven. She ended up joining a convent and she suffered fairly major health problems for a lot of her life. The book goes into how she founded her own convents and what eventually probably caused her death. There's also a bibliography. A major question is what caused her at such a very young age to think she needed to die and become a martyr? Also, I got the impression in the book that she was pretty extreme in her beliefs. Also, exactly why was she made a saint?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rubin Carpenter

    Although I'm not Catholic and found some of the theology and motivations of Teresa of Avila hard to comprehend I'm still amazed at what she did in a time women had little voice in the world A interesting read Although I'm not Catholic and found some of the theology and motivations of Teresa of Avila hard to comprehend I'm still amazed at what she did in a time women had little voice in the world A interesting read

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ewoldt

    I was moved by her powerful insight into the relationship that can develop between man and God. I shall always treasure her philosophy of "the interior castle" and have been inspired to achieve that depth of trust in God. I was moved by her powerful insight into the relationship that can develop between man and God. I shall always treasure her philosophy of "the interior castle" and have been inspired to achieve that depth of trust in God.

  6. 5 out of 5

    stephanie suh

    Faith and knowledge are not rivals but partners in a corporation of ideas to the essence of things to find truths of things – that is, meanings of why they are as such. The golden combination of humanity and religiosity is seen as hard as the Apples of the Hesperides. That is why the Catholic Church has saints whose wholesomeness exemplifies the flock or beyond intrigued about their life in the terrestrial world. Perhaps none other than Saint Teresa of Avila piques my curiosity of all canonized Faith and knowledge are not rivals but partners in a corporation of ideas to the essence of things to find truths of things – that is, meanings of why they are as such. The golden combination of humanity and religiosity is seen as hard as the Apples of the Hesperides. That is why the Catholic Church has saints whose wholesomeness exemplifies the flock or beyond intrigued about their life in the terrestrial world. Perhaps none other than Saint Teresa of Avila piques my curiosity of all canonized saints. She was a passionate woman with brain and heart whose faith equaled the love of people with tenderness and understanding as to find the Supreme Knowledge of the Supreme Being in the Universe in the essence of things in everyday life. It’s no wonder she is also the Doctor of the Church. My first encounter with this remarkable woman was not religious but academic; while researching women’s monasticism in the high medieval age during my college. Teresa saw many women who were too poor to pay dowry and didn’t want conjugal life found convents as shelters from social conventions without certain religious convictions. Consequently, convents became gossipy sonority houses populated with lackluster and jealous nuns backstabbing one another. The pitiable atmosphere of the convents used as a mere social institution propelled Teresa to establish the Carmelite Discalced – the Convent of Saint Joseph - with physical labor and disciplined monastic rules not without tenderness attended to individual nuns from all walks of life. She abolished land ownership and rent collections of and by nuns and instituted self-sufficiency of working without shoe but sandals, hence the name “Discalced.” The reformation within the Church was seismic but was a necessary medicinal receipt for the ailing monastic community. What is most brilliant about Teresa was to create the idea of “The Interior Castle,” a philosophy that the creator of the Universe dwells inside the castle of our souls. That God is from within us, rather than the beyond betokens the idea of personal God with whom we can communicate and thus become a literal mirror image of him for what’s best in ourselves. In fact, this revolutionary philosophy is also linked to Giordano Bruno’s “The Memory Palace,” from which the knowledge needs to be unlocked to bestow upon us the power and joy of the knowledge from within. Further, it is related to the idea of the Nine Muses, whose inspirations are invoked from our minds, not from the Olympus or oracles. All of the mentioned above shares one origin in the cognitive technique employed in Christian meditation developed from the essential reading and contemplating the Bible. But Teresa’s Interior Castle is a beautiful poetic license to enrich power that is never esoterically prideful but blissfully joyful. Where Bruno’s Memory Palace and the Artist’s Nine Muses are not all-inclusive, Teresa’s Interior Castle is universal with tender charity and faith even if it is not necessarily Christian God. Teresa of Avila was one brave and adventurous woman who was a prototype of feminist in the sense that she voiced out her mind to the patriarchal church authority in danger of being suspicious of heresy or witchcraft even in Catholic Spain, known for the Spanish Inquisition. But she was not a vociferous activist for abolishing the Church or would-be founder of an offshoot of the Church. Teresa was religious of the supreme kind. However, she never abandoned her femininity latticed with passion for helping a young priest in his spiritual crisis in war with physical temptation, tenderness for attending those in need of her consolation, and beauty that was both beautiful externally and internally. She shows us that a strong woman doesn’t need to shout out invective expletives or clamor for the reward for her damages in the name of womanhood when it is really for her sworn revenge. Aside from sectarian religious affiliations, Teresa of Avila deserves her reputation as a star in the Milky Way of the Great.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Parker

    Should only talk to angels I don’t know what make of this biography. Most people are put away for speaking with god and blaming misfortune on devil’s. How nice to be elevated to such importance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Losnedahl

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Lundberg

  10. 5 out of 5

    Francis H. Kinney

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis Mertins

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amelia Egypt

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter Pryce-Davies

  14. 5 out of 5

    Martin io parlo italiono

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brian McBride

  17. 4 out of 5

    lucjan kujawa

  18. 4 out of 5

    maryann

  19. 4 out of 5

    Juan Alfredo Hermann

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris L Moore

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

  22. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

  23. 5 out of 5

    michael cadieux

  24. 5 out of 5

    DEBrianKelley

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roberta J Mortimer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janmarie Toker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carolina Casas

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Atwell

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Magrini

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

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