Teresa de Jesús (film)

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Teresa de Jesús
Directed by Josefina Molina
Produced by Ramón Salgado
Written by Víctor García de la Concha,
Carmen Martín Gaite,
Josefina Molina
Starring Concha Velasco
Marina Saura
María Massip
Gonzalo Abril
Francisco Rabal
Héctor Alterio
Patricia Adriani
Music by Alejandro Massó
José Nieto
Release date
  • 1984 (1984)
Running time
450 mins
Country Spain
Language Spanish
(DVD[1] has English subtitles)

Teresa de Jesús is a Spanish film mini-series that premiered on national broadcaster Televisión Española in 1984. It presents the life of Teresa of Avila, a Spanish saint and mystic, and an unsuccessful candidate for patron saint of Spain. Its dialogue is in Spanish, but versions with English subtitles are available.[1][2] The film stars Concha Velasco as Teresa. Also appearing are Gonzalo Abril as Lorenzo de Cepeda (Teresa's younger brother, 2/8 episodes), María Massip as Juana Suárez (Teresa's friend, 2/8 episodes), Francisco Rabal as Peter of Alcantara (1 episode), Héctor Alterio (1 episode), and Marina Saura as another nun (8 episodes). It tells the story of Teresa's life from age 23 (in the year 1538) until her death at age 67 (in 1582).


Teresa de Jesús was originally broadcast from 12 March to 30 April 1984, in the following 8 episodes:[3][4]

  • Episode 1 (12 Mar): Vida. Teresa is age 23, ill, and travelling to see a local healer. Along the way she is introduced to Francisco de Osuna's book, The Third Spiritual Alphabet, which kindles her spiritual interest. She does not respond to treatment, but meets and helps a troubled local priest.[5]:3
  • Episode 2 (19 Mar): Camino de perfección. Teresa's illness continues for 3 years and she experiences a coma for 3 days, but benefits from a miraculous cure she attributes to St. Joseph. She experiences spiritual aridity, but is inspired by reading St. Augustine's Confessions. She experiences mystical visions that provoke distrust and opposition from fellow nuns and priests.[5]:3
  • Episode 3 (26 Mar): Cuentas de conciencia. Further mystical visions, and continued opposition. She meets her spiritual guide Peter of Alcantara, and first contemplates the idea of a reform movement within her order, the Carmelites.[5]:3
  • Episode 4  (2 Apr): Desafío espiritual. Founding of the first reformed convent, in Ávila, despite strong opposition from the neighborhood residents. First experiences in living by the new rule.[5]:4
  • Episode 5  (9 Apr): Fundaciones. Founding of several more reformed convents. Teresa meets a young man who joins her order in its first monastery. He was later to become St. John of the Cross.[5]:4
  • Episode 6 (16 Apr): Visita de descalzas. Teresa is appointed against her wishes as prioress of her original (unreformed) convent, and she continues visiting and managing challenges of the newly founded reformed houses. She meets her confessor Father Jerónimo Gracián,[6] and is denounced to the Inquisition by Princess Eboli, a noblewoman whose unreasonable demands Teresa had resisted.[5]:4-5
  • Episode 7 (23 Apr): Las moradas. Conflicts come to a head between reformed (Discalced) and unreformed (Calced) orders.[7] St. John of the Cross is imprisoned and tortured by monks of the unreformed order. Eventually, The Pope approves autonomous status for the reformed orders, shielding them from interference from the unreformed.[5]:5
  • Episode 8 (30 Apr): Hija de la Iglesia. Teresa's final illness, last wishes, and passing away. An epilogue about the reported incorruptibility of her remains, and her wider posthumous recognition, including her canonization.[5]:5

In 2008, the film was released in the US as a 3-disc DVD set with English subtitles.[1] It included a 16-page booklet with episode summaries, Teresa's biography (4-pages) and timeline (1 page), a set of 9 discussion questions,[8] an interview with historian Thomas Dubay, and a bibliography for further reading.[9]


Teresa de Jesús won several awards:[10]

  • Antena de Oro (1984)
  • Fotogramas de Plata (1985), Best TV Performer (Mejor intérprete de televisión): Concha Velasco
  • TP de Oro (1985), Best Actress (Mejor Actriz): Concha Velasco
  • TP de Oro (1985), Best National Series (Mejor Serie Nacional)


  1. ^ a b c St. Teresa of Avila [Teresa de Jesus], Ignatius Press, ISBN 978-1-58617-265-7, ISBN 1-58617-265-4, OCLC 226814774. Includes a 16-page booklet with same title.
  2. ^ Amazon DVD listing, product description (accessed 1 May 2011)
  3. ^ Episodes at IMDB for "Teresa de Jesús" (1984)
  4. ^ Broadcasts were on Mondays. In 1984, Easter fell on April 22.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h DVD booklet, section entitled "About the Film".
  6. ^ See Jerónimo Gracián at Spanish Wikipedia
  7. ^ Since Teresa's reform (the Discalced) was restoring original practices, those who did not adopt her changes (the Calced) are also sometimes called the Reformed.
  8. ^ Discussion questions include, for example, "Throughout the film, men are attracted to Teresa. What do you think it is that they find attractive about her?", "What wisdom does Teresa gain from the book given to her by her uncle?", and "What insights does the film offer regarding prayer?"
  9. ^ DVD booklet.
  10. ^ Awards at IMDB for "Teresa de Jesús" (1984)

External links[edit]

Full episodes (no subtitles):