Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fortnightly Book, April 30

Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (1515-1582) is one of the shining lights of the sixteenth century, and one of Spain's great minds in a century in which Spain was doing very well at producing great minds. Pursuing a religious vocation, she joined the Carmelite order -- and hated it, because many of the Carmelite distinctives had become mostly nominal, thus defeating the point of joining it. Teresa conceived of the idea of a reformed monastery, more rigorous in following the rules of cloister and poverty, and organized more strictly for the monastic purpose of prayer. And she founded many of them, because she was an extraordinary organizer and administrator as well as a woman of prayer. She wrote a number of works. The Life, which was written before 1567, has generally been considered one of the great literary works of early modern Spain, and so it is the fortnightly book; we'll add to it the Interior Castle, perhaps her most influential work on prayer, which was written in 1577. This time of year is always a bit tricky for me with the fortnightly book, since I have to juggle it with the end of term, so we'll say in advance that this will be one of those three-week 'fortnights'.

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