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The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself
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The WEM Biographies > #4 - The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila

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grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) Well, in about a week, it will be November. Who is ready for another biography? I'm probably not, but what the heck. I am going to start The Life of Saint Teresa. Anyone want to join me? Cleo? Anyone still there? OK, I'll probably begin reading my copy on Sunday, November 2nd.
~ Ruth


message 2: by Cleo (last edited Oct 26, 2014 05:31PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments I would love to join you but my copy hasn't shipped yet. It said 3-5 weeks and it's been about 2 weeks already. So I'm not sure what I can do.

I can get Teresa of Avila: The Book of My Life from the library, but I've read some very negative comments on it. Some reviews say that because the author removed the Catholic perspective from the work, she completely missed the wonderful aspects that made up her life. So I'd really like to stick to the recommended book. It's just so hard to get!


message 3: by Plethora (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments Maybe I'll have better luck at getting back into schedule with this read!

I have been having a rough go at it with all my reads lately.


grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) No problem. Just wait for your book to arrive.


message 5: by grllopez (last edited Oct 27, 2014 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) A Bookworm Reading wrote: "Maybe I'll have better luck at getting back into schedule with this read!

I have been having a rough go at it with all my reads lately."


I see you've been really busy, too. You haven't been on your blog in a while. Did you ever get to complete Margery Kemp?


grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) Cleo wrote: "I would love to join you but my copy hasn't shipped yet. It said 3-5 weeks and it's been about 2 weeks already. So I'm not sure what I can do.

I can get [book:Teresa of Avila: The Book of My Lif..."


OK, my message never posted, so I'll try again: I said something like...I would just wait until my copy arrived. I wouldn't want to read the other one.


Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments The arrival date says November 15th, so hopefully it comes sooner and not later.


message 8: by Plethora (last edited Oct 27, 2014 08:22AM) (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments I know, my poor blog has been extremely neglected! I am trying to gear up to start paying attention to it starting Nov 1.

I haven't finished any of the WEM reads yet. With the exception of an upcoming one that I didn't realize at the time. We are doing US History and Literature with another family and had assigned to read a story from Journeys in New Worlds: Early American Women's Narratives. I intend to read all four stories, but I have read the first story, which turned out to be the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.

I do have my copy of The Life of St Teresa of Avila by Herself on my kindle, I went ahead and purchased the Penguin edition in Kindle format.


Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments Thanks, Bookworm, I picked it up on Kindle. I would actually like to own it but it's going to take too long and I just don't have the patience. ;-) I'm spending this week trying to clean up some other books, but I'll get reading on the 3rd.


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Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments It is always a choice, hardcopy or kindle version. The others have been hard copies, which makes it harder for me to stay current because it isn't as easy to keep on the go or read at night.


grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) Me, too. I'm pushing this week to finish two books! Poor War & Peace is being so neglected.


message 12: by Cleo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments I'm have too much reading to do and I don't know how I'm going to keep up. My professor in my Dante course, for a 6 week course, is requiring us to read Vita Nuova and Inferno three times each!! Good grief! He's pushing contemplative reading (ala The Well-Educated Mind) but how can anyone get into a contemplative mood when you have to rush like a crazy person through each book to get it finished on time.

I'll need some contemplative thoughts from Teresa of Avila!


message 13: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa | 40 comments I just finished Bauer's selections in Montaigne last night. Ready for St. Teresa!


message 14: by Cleo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments I still have about 8 essays to go on Montaigne. I'm really enjoying reading them.


message 15: by Plethora (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments I haven't made it far yet.

The youngness of her beginning is shown in her statement on martyrdoms..I used to think they had bought their entry into God's presence very cheaply.

I couldn't help but chuckle a little.

Oh dear, I must be wicked with her...It did not seem wicked to me to waste many hours of the day and the night on this vain occupation, even though I had to keep it secret from my father; and I was so enthralled by it that I do not believe I was ever happy if I had not a new book. Ok, I'm not that bad, I wish I could spend more hours in each day reading. I do have times where I clearly could/should be doing something around the house, but sneak in reading instead.


grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) I'm with you, Bookworm!


message 17: by Plethora (last edited Nov 21, 2014 10:16PM) (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments I have made it to Chapter 5, creeping along.

Interesting thought...I guess she still had the martyrdom idea in her head.
There was then a nun in the house who was afflicted with a most serious and painful disease. She suffered from open sores on her stomach, which were caused by obstructions, and through which she discharged all she ate. She very soon died of this. Now I saw that all the sisters were frightened by her disease, but for my part I only envied her patience, and prayed God to send me any sickness He pleased provided He sent as much patience with it. I do not think I was afraid of any affliction, for so set was I on gaining my eternal good that I was resolved to gain it in any way whatever.



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Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments Is it just me, or do you wish she would shed more light on her sins?

I can't help but get the feeling she is too hard on herself. However, I don't really know because I feel in the dark. I know her attraction to fictional books of the times and her attention to her own looks have been brought up as sins.

My cover image makes me think of her condition of illness described to this point.



This picture of her however makes me a bit uneasy, something about her look.



grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) I wouldn't mind knowing a little more detail about her specific sins, besides gaining too much pleasure from reading books.

The sculpture by Bernini is expressed as ultimate rapture and joy in her prayer and union w/ the Lord. I have the same cover. It's rather difficult to look at and think of something spiritual. I've gotten some "looks" while reading it in public, including the little girls in my daughter's dance class, asking, "What's your mom reading?"


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Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments Oh dear, traumatizing the poor little girls.


message 21: by Cleo (last edited Nov 24, 2014 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments At first it bothered me that she didn't recount her sins for us to get a better picture. But after awhile I was glad that she didn't. It was something personal and perhaps it should be enough that she thought they were sins. She had her siblings for comparison, so it wasn't as if she was striving for some ridiculous ideal, at least I don't think so. She does seem rather excessively penitent sometimes, but I think that's the influence of Catholicism, which I tend to like to try to separate from the person herself (is this possible? I don't know......)

To me, she sounds very young most of the time although, if I'm not mistaken, she was writing this when she was in her 70s. It's also interesting how freely she seems to be able to speak with men.

As for the painting, it might help to remember that it's a representation from the painter's POV. It was painted during the Baroque period and looks quite Baroque-ish to me. :-)


message 22: by Plethora (last edited Nov 24, 2014 09:33AM) (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments I suppose one can make an argument that her sins are personal and should only be shared in the privacy of a confession box. I guess I just was thinking, if you are directed to tell your story, perhaps in hoping to save others, you would share the stumbles along the path.

The youngness I agree, but this first part of the book I've been reading does cover her early years, she was just 14 when her mother died and was subsequently sent to Avila. So at this point I expected such.

Actually the painting came after the Baroque period, would fall in the Neoclassicism period. Either way, other females depicted by the same painter didn't have the same feel/look, not as dark. Certainly agree that it brings forth his view.



Even the battlefield wasn't as dark.


This is thought to be a better representation of her.



grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) Don't panic. I just finished this book. Keep reading though!!!

I want to start reading Mockingjay, so I told myself to finish at least one of my other books first, and War and Peace wasn't going to be it.


grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) BTW, I love all of the paintings.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa | 40 comments Yet to get started. Maybe tonight!


message 26: by Cleo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments I'm only 25% of the way through Lisa, so I'm almost as behind as you. I have Le Morte D'Arthur to finish and then I should have tons of time to catch up!


message 27: by Plethora (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments Guilt trip, just reached her description of reading Confessions, which I haven't finished!


message 28: by Plethora (last edited Dec 02, 2014 09:15PM) (new) - added it

Plethora (bookworm_r) | 119 comments Im still slowly moving along, about 30% done. I haven't disliked this so far, but haven't found it overly enjoyable either.

So far I keep thinking, becoming a nun sounds torturous, she seems so tormented by her thoughts. While I can't say I would expect becoming a nun to be a walk in the park, I have been a bit surprised at the level of displeasure with herself. I keep having flashes of some random commercial I saw a few weeks ago, it was for a reality show about teens/young adults becoming nuns. It showed them miserable and huddled on the floor in tears. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, but now it has me wondering.


message 29: by Cleo (last edited Dec 02, 2014 09:32PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments A Bookworm Reading wrote: "a reality show about teens/young adults becoming nuns. It showed them miserable and huddled on the floor in tears. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, but now it has me wondering. ..."

Ha ha! When we get to Thomas Merton you'll see that it is not quite so anguish-ridden.

I wonder if, because as a nun one is so sheltered from the world and therefore buffered from the troubles of it, one may become more fixated on one's spiritual life, or at least that life is the main focus and the improvement of it. I felt what was anguish in our eyes, for her brought some sort of joy or at least satisfaction. She's writing about her life because she sees value in it and wants to be of value to others. Of course, I wouldn't want to be her, nor do I think the experience is representative of nunnery experience today, but I feel for her it's a positive thing.

As for cloistered living, I was once forced to read The Cloister Walk and, while I was hesitant to read it at first, it was very insightful as to why people choose this type of life. And it was amazing to learn what they felt they received from it, that we are missing in our regular everyday lives. Fascinating .....


message 30: by Cleo (last edited Dec 21, 2014 07:31PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments Okay, I can keep quiet no longer. I am really disliking this book. Perhaps I just don't get it. Perhaps I should have read an autobiography before this biography. I simply cannot connect with her writing and I often find my eyes glazing over as I read. Sometimes she seems dramatic but then she never elaborates, so the drama gets squeezed right off. I really hate to say this, but if I met her, I don't think that I'd like her. :-( Is that bad to say about a saint?


message 31: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa | 40 comments Cleo, I am still stuck in this book! I don't like it either! I'll catch up with the group eventually. Perhaps the travel and moving out of the country will eventually give me down time to read. Prepping for the move has taken every spare moment I've had for several months.


message 32: by Cleo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 274 comments Hey Lisa! So glad to hear from you! Yes, I forced myself to keep reading. I think at the end I could say that I appreciated it. I would probably read it again, but no time soon, however I'm still looking forward to reading Interior Castle, so it hasn't put me off reading St. Teresa forever.

Oooo, are you moving anywhere interesting? Anywhere the rest of us can only dream about??? Bon voyage and I hope you have a smoother move than you expect!


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