menu horizontal
Botón que abre el buscador
Image of the Lecture

Further information

In the 16th century in Spain it was normal, like in the rest of Europe, to marginate women and relegate them to secondary occupations: "She should know very well to use a needle from a bone and a distaff, as there is no need for her to use a pen"; this is what could be read in a book published in 1584. To this, we need to add the antifeminist phobia of the theologist and clerics disseminating the idea of the sinful Eve who corrupted Adan. This is the time in which Teresa de Ávila had to live, a young woman who initially decides to become a nun before being subject of the servitude that marriage implied. She could have settled with having a rested life in a convent were no longer any of the primitive rules were respected: silence, closure, etc. But she who is now know as Teresa de Jesús would not resign to mediocrity. She decided to be picky with herself to the point of having a completely uncommon contemplative life. Later, she attempted to contribute in her way to the movement of spiritual renewal, by reforming the Carmelite order so it would go back to its initial vocation. The spiritual experiences and the reforming push of Teresa could take her to having serious confrontations with her contemporary society, with the ecclesiastic estates, with the Inquisition. She managed to overcome those dangers thanks to her personality, her culture -although more discrete, equally relevant-, and her people skills. The will to examine with clarity and rigor her mystical experiences, and avoid any misunderstanding in their interpretation and exposition made her one of the first female writers of Spain. Shortly after her death, she would be raised to the altars by the Church, the Courts would proclaim her patron saint of Spain, and the most exclusive members of the spiritual Europe -the French school of Bérulle, the movements of Port-Royal, Pascal- would see her as master. Nowadays, her teachings and example are singularly current for the men of the 21st century.

Fundación Juan March
Castelló, 77 – 28006 MADRID – Spain
+34 91 435 42 40 – Fax: +34 91 576 34 20