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The words of Saint Teresa of Avila speak to the heart so directly that even four hundred years after her death she seems like our contemporary. Few people have ever written of the spiritual path with such immediacy, down-to-earth wisdom, and humor. Mother Tessa Bielecki has brought together here short selections from Teresa's collected works-including The Way of Perfection, The Interior Castle, her autobiography, poetry, meditations, and letters-to create a living portrait of Teresa and her exuberant spirituality. Teresa's striving for divine union was inseparable from her passionate involvement in the hardships and joys of the everyday-which makes her an eminently worthy model for modern people who seek to integrate spirituality and the rest of life.
Teresa of Avila lived in Spain in the early 1500s. At age twenty, she joined a convent, giving up the idea of marriage as too enslaving for women of her day. Her time at the convent was not without its challenges--first an illness overtook her for three years, and after she recovered she readily found many distractions from prayer. A profound mystical experience changed the course of her life, however, and she became the founder of many reformed monasteries.