Talk:Teresa of Ávila

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In her book The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, Karen Armstrong argues that Teresa of Avila did have a background in Judaism, and Jewish mysticism strongly influenced her book The Interior Castle. I did not add this to the article because Armstrong does not provide any citations within this section. Does anyone else have any information on Teresa's personal exposure to Jewish ideas? CClio333 (talk) 01:09, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Although I can't contribute any such information, it seems to me that there is some correspondance between Teresa's thoughts and reported experiences, and elements of the Kaballah, which I believe was quite widely studied in the Spain of her time. (talk) 13:11, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

She had Jewish roots - some of her family converted to Christianity. That's the connection. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Lloyd DeMause[edit]

Lloyd DeMause (Institute for Psychohistory) says the agonies and the ecstasies of the saints and martyrs came as a result of severe neuroticism and psychosis stemming from great abuse and neglect in infancy and childhood. And this is not to be revered but to be recoiled from. The truth can never be cloaked in a cloth or a myth any more than it can be cloaked in trappings of architypal evil, (as what happens when impossibly "bad" people are executed or otherwise abused for crimes which stemmed from the same hideous backgrounds.) All that does is prevent us from really understanding the real truth and then acting upon it with our very powerful human abilities of discernment, reflection and then well-considered rational choice.

Hope this doesn't offend anyone. It wasn't meant to. Actually when I looked up the page which led me to this chat-link, I was searching for some e-reproductions of the Berelini "Theresa" sculpture, a most famous and ravishing piece of art.

Is there any evidence that St. Teresa, or all those saints and martyrs who experienced agonies and ecstacies, suffered "great abuse and neglect in infancy and childhood"? The above seems to me nothing more than a baseless ad hominem attack.

Most people in the world uses metric units. In honor of the internationality of the Wikipedia, would not be better to use them or at least both? --Asierra 22:57, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the information is intriguing. Maybe a link to sources would be good to present an alternative view?

Then again, "psychohistory" does not sound like an academic subject but one that is grouped with conspiracy theory and pseudoscience.

Although many psychologists or other experts believe themselves to be above the well-known phenomenon of projection, they are unavoidably not. Modern psychologists realize that most of their understanding of their surrounding world is filtered through their perception which is intrinsically non-objective (although many believe that they are). Even physicists know that (Heisenberg Principle). Thus it is no longer the goal of a healing interaction to lead to some 'objectively' measurable improvement but rather to a 'subjectively’ measurable improvement (that is what really counts).

Then, based on the phenomenon of projection, I am not able to see or perceive someone else's spiritual experience if I deny such within in others and therefore also in me. This is the wheel of karma. Thus mankind asks for a 'holy' leader to show them otherwise and lead them out of the doldrums of their own boring circular thinking. This is called inspiration.

When one sees the world and everything in perfection, then an inner resonance occurs such as described by many 'Saints' as is the case with Theresa of Avila (rather sweet). This is called prayer, or being blessed by the Holy Spirit. Aligning ones perception with divine sight (which we do often by accident [seeing perfection] - looking at art, hearing music, making love, observing a beautiful sunset) invariably lifts us out of our limitations and we have the possibility to experience the limitless [again, some ‘psychologists’ have some syndrome label for this]. This is - in my humble opinion - of what Theresa is talking about. We can have this NOW!

And yes, if you know how to get there consistently, you may not be interested in sex that much anymore, not because your do not value your fellow human beings or it may appear that sexuality and holiness are exclusive – they are not -, but because you are already one with them and all there is, and resonate rather sweetly with the whole. William - 01/18/2007 1:00 AM

Date of death[edit]

Teresa of Avila died the 4th of Octobre, the day after – October 15 – is her celebration day. In 1582 the time calender was changed to the Gregorian calendar, and ten days, the 5th to 14th, in the month of October that year was taken away. Xauxa 11:56, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Incorrect Nickname re-direct corrected[edit]

This article incorrectly cited Santa Teresa de Avila as being nicknamed the "Little Flower of Jesus," when in fact that nickname accurately belongs to St. Therese of Lisieux. The re-direct was corrected. NOTE: This is an easy mistake to make, since both were nuns of the Carmelite Order named Theresa and their stylized portraits look very similar due to both wearing the characteristic Carmelite habit. Sadly this causes confusion even among devout Catholics. Please DO NOT un- or "re-" correct. Eric Teltschik 15:13, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

I very much agree with you. I know alot about St Therese of Liseux (The Little Flower) and has been one of my favorite saints. But they are alike in some ways but very very different.For instance: St. Therese had always been a very holy girl and begged her father to allow her to join a convent at the age of fifteen, while St Teresa of Avila was a very rebellious and worldly teen and only cared about boys, fashion,gossip, parties and flirting and her father had enough of it and sent her to a convent. She also experienced many years struggling to love God and stopped praying at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 17 March 2010 (UTC)


"Some scholars have misinterpreted the spiritual ecstasy to suggest that St. Teresa had sexual pleasures with God. Some have purported that she even had sexual relations with St. John of the Cross. However, these allegations are "revisionist history" as they contort the meaning and purpose of mysticism and ignore the importance of the spiritual relationship between St. Teresa and St. John as reformers in the Church."

While I'm not arguing that it seems likely that this is probably not looking at the relationships in a well-rounded way, this paragraph seems to have a bit too much POV in it.

I agree. This paragraph needs changing, and these interpretations should be properly presented.

I've dropped last sentence, and the 3 letters of "mis" as in "misinterpreted". Clinkophonist 12:09, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

This is an article about a Roman Catholic "saint", it will invariably be POV. Almost all the Roman Catholic articles on wikipedia are entirely POV and frequently a quote a single, almost one hundred year old, source. -- (talk) 20:20, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Pardon me, but:

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it." St T, quoted in WikiQuote

Surely the simplest, most obvious, likely and parsimonious explanation for these 'visions' is that this woman had a common or garden wet dream, onto which she put the divine spin. Or, to approach the matter from another direction, had this woman experienced an erotic dream leading to orgasm - hardly an unusual event - she would no doubt have no other points of reference with which to intepret the experience.

If any bias or PoV is being applied to this stuff, it must surely be the propagation of the absurd notion that this mundane event was in any way divine - though it may well have been quite nice. --Cdavis999 17:21, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm not certain but I'm fairly sure that the heart and especially the entrails are not erogenous zones, and that is where she is describing as the location of these pains.LessHeard vanU 20:38, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Purleaze - she's talking about her insides - a subject of whose physiological details she was doubtless utterly ignorant. References to her 'heart' and 'entrails' could not possibly be much more than metaphor - unless you're really suggesting that these 'pains' (another grasped-for word used in the absence of any familiarity with orgasm) were really located in her ventricles and intestines. I suspect the average person today knows more physiology than a doctor of the mid-16th century.
Why should it be necessary in an encyclopaedia, seeking perfect objectivity, to accept as fact such risible magical thinking when more obvious, rational explanations exist? Would similar credence be given to the hallucinations of Jim Jones, Aum Shinrikyo or David Koresh? Apparently not, judging by their own Wiki entries.
Teresa's delusions should certainly be in her entry, but to grant their accuracy is POV at its worst - a combination of Ad Numeram and Ad Antiquitatem fallacies.
Cdavis999 11:00, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

A catholic saint is of course going to say I experienced God in my vagina. Froggo Zijgeb 09:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


some versions in the spanish wikipedia, said that Teresa of Jesus probably was born in the town of Gotarrendura that is at 12 km north from avila

Portrayals and such[edit]

St. Theresa, and specifically an "interpretation" of her visions, was the subject of a Nigel Wingrove short film, "Visions of Ecstasy". This film remains banned in the United Kingdom on the grounds of blasphemy, the only such film so banned. The composer of the soundtrack, Steven Severin, later reworked the pieces to form part of his cd release "Visions" - an electronic ambient/soundscape style work.

Whilst I have a great respect for other peoples beliefs, without wishing to adhere to any or all, I don't think I am the appropriate person to include any or all of the above in the article, or to propose that it should. If, however, there are editors here who believe that it is noteworthy then some information can be found on the Severin page.LessHeard vanU 13:27, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

This section needs to be cleaned up. The citations of the works of art portraying the saint are not in the proper format. Futher, there are many more portrayals then this list suggests, perhaps we can add a caviat statement suggesing this? Mabibliophile (talk) 19:09, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Whatever... LessHeard vanU 20:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Gee, "Whatever" is that the best you can do? Sorry I didn't take care of putting the citations in order but I don't generaly do somebody's homework as a general rule. When stating that an entry in an article was not done in the best way becomes a reason for people to roll their eyes then count me out. Mabibliophile (talk) 16:28, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Age question[edit]

Currently the article says, "Leaving her parental home secretly one morning in 1534, at the age of 20, Teresa entered the monastery of the Incarnation of the Carmelite nuns at Avila." However, if she were born in 1515, she would not have had her 20th birthday until 1535.

I checked a couple sources, but got conflicting reports. For example, in Saints of the Southwest, she is referred to as being 21 when she entered the monastery.

What is considered the most reliable source as to her age at the time? Or should we change the article to simply say that she was "a young woman, somewhere around the age of 20"? --Elonka 00:11, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Missing "Portrayal"[edit]

I found a very memorable portrayal of St. Teresa missing from the PORTRAYALS section; Richard Crashaw, a 1600's English poet, wrote the piece, "The Flaming Heart Upon the Book and Picture of Saint Teresa," which describes the mystical "transformation" of the saint. This poem was included in his collection, Carmen Deo Nostro, published in 1652.

You can find the full text at Poets' Corner, just scroll down the page.

Lutherans and Theresa[edit]

I am echoing an argument made by ml:User:Georgekutty in Malayalam Wikipedia. It seems quite unbelievable - for two reasons - that Lutherans have venerated Teresa of Avila:

  1. Teresa, a lead writer during the Counter Reformation period, said below about Lutherans:

2. Do Lutherans "venerate" saints as commonly as catholics? --Jacob.jose (talk) 09:44, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

In view of the facts mentioned above, it does not seem likely that Lutherans or even Anglicans would be venerating Teresa. I have edited the article slightly to rectify this mistake. (talk) 19:42, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

So as not to get into issues of veneration and sainthood, WikiProject Saints includes "those individuals formally recognized as saints or included in the liturgical calendars of one or more Christian denominations." Teresa is on the Lutheran calendar, as well as the Anglican one. One source of the Lutheran calendar is found here: --Bwpach (talk) 12:27, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, your note was informative. I have modified the article. --Jacob.jose (talk) 17:51, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Why is she important?[edit]

The article makes clear that Teresa of Avila is important; she was made a Doctor of the Church. But why? What is it about her writing or teaching that was so critical she was the first woman to receive this recognition? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

She is the one of the most important Carmelites of the sixteenth century. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 00:04, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Ran away[edit]

This article states that Teresa of Avila ran away. In her autobiography she says she thought of running away, but changed her mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Teresa or Theresa[edit]

This edit moved the article from Teresa to Theresa, on the claim that the latter spelling is much more common. Well, a quick google search seems to disprove that. There are over twice as many hits for "Teresa of Avila" as for "Theresa of Avila". -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:34, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Please correct me if I am wrong, but according to these results, 520 books refer to a Theresa of Ávila. 350 books refer to a Teresa of Ávila. Surtsicna (talk) 22:07, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

The most correct spelling is of course the original spanish of Teresa. So stop bringing up senseless numbers and learn some non-english spelling for a change. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Business-like mystic[edit]

One book I once read described Teresa as a "business-like mystic if ever there were one", and this could go in the article. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 00:04, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

The only author of the Counter-Reformation[edit]

By truncating out articles in the lead, material makes it sound as though Teresa was the sole author of the Counter-Reformation. There were others. At least that one article should be allowed to stand. (She is not the author, which is also an implies article - one reason for inserting articles is to avoid ambiguity). Student7 (talk) 21:25, 7 December 2013 (UTC)