Tripping or denunciations do not intimidate a saint of breaks and tears

Church of San José built by Santa Teresa de Jesús in Malagón

The year1567, Saint Teresa abandoned her Avila native. The first of its foundations, the Avila convent of San José, was already a reality, the regeneration of the order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was underway, and had the approval of their superiors for the foundation of new monasteries subject to the same rule. It would be 16 more. Teresa did not know it yet, but she was embarking on a journey that would last 15 years, and that would bring her both satisfactions and breakdowns, some caused by her passionate experience of faith.

The first station of his journey was Medina del Campo (Valladolid), a city with which he established a close relationship: he visited it up to thirteen times. The Plaza Mayor arcade It preserves the house where the Carmelite community temporarily stayed; It is next to the collegiate church. However, that was only temporary accommodation until the creation of the monastery of San José, the second Teresian foundation. The monastery has a small museum that preserves personal belongings of the saint, as well as the Old Parlor, where Teresa first met with Saint John of the Cross. This, by the way, sang his first mass in this town, in the chapel that today bears his name, in the old monastery of Santa Ana, although space has more historical and religious value than architectural.

As soon as the Medina community achieved a certain autonomy of operation, Teresa resumed her foundational path. The next stop was Malagón, where he arrived on April 1, 1568, accompanied by six nuns and Luisa de La Cerda, a wealthy widow who offered Carmel’s order some buildings she owned in the main square. The location, very central, was too bustling, unsuitable for the life of recollection that Teresa longed for her nuns, so she looked for a more remote one on the outskirts. The new monastery was also consecrated to San José and it was the only one conceived by Santa Teresa from its very construction. The altarpiece of the High Altar, one of the most notable of the late Spanish Baroque, is very worthwhile.

The one in Valladolid was one of the saint’s favorite convents

August 9, 1568, Teresa arrived in Valladolid, where he would make his fourth foundation. The Carmelites were initially installed on a farm in the current neighborhood of Cuatro de Marzo. Unfortunately, the place was not very healthy, and several nuns became ill. Driven by the need for a transfer, Teresa bought the Casa de Los Argüello, which transformed into the current convent of Santa Teresa. The Carmelite community officially settled on February 3, 1569. This was one of the saint’s favorite convents, who visited it repeatedly. For this reason, its trace is abundant in a monastery that not only preserves the cell that housed it during its stays, but also an original codex, autograph, of its Path of Perfection, and many letters.

Santa Teresa knew Toledo since 1562 when his superiors ordered him to provide comfort and assistance to a benefactor mired in a depression: Luisa de la Cerda, who was already mentioned in the paragraph about Malagón. The lady’s palace, where Teresa resided, is the current headquarters of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Historical Sciences of Toledo. There he began to write his thoughts and longings, the germ of his literary work. Seven years later, in 1569, a local merchant donated money for the creation of the convent of San José in the city, the fifth foundation. Initially, it was installed in the Jewish quarter, but only a year later it moved to the current Plaza de Santa Teresa de Jesús, near the Cambrón gate. This convent was a resting place for Teresa, who wrote part of the Book of life and started The Lodgings.

Convent of Carmen in Pastrana, Guadalajara
Convent of Carmen in Pastrana, Guadalajara (From Concepcion AMAT ORTA via Wikimedia Commons)

Pastrana (Guadalajara) It conserves a good part of the layout and the wealth that it exhibited during the 16th century thanks to the patronage of the Duke of Pastrana and the Princess of Éboli. The local collegiate church, for example, treasures a valuable collection of Gothic tapestries. The aforementioned aristocrats summoned Saint TeresIn 1569, they wanted me to found a convent. Actually created two: San José for women and San Pedro for men. Disappearances with the princess of Éboli forced the Carmelites to abandon a building that would soon inhabit the Franciscan conception nuns. San Pedro changed its name to El Carmen, and today it is occupied by the Franciscan order, although it still has a curious Teresian Museum.

Santa Teresa made its seventh foundation in Salamanca in 1570. She came invited by the company of Jesus, whose management encouraged her to write the Foundations Book. Teresa’s trail is multiple in the city. The most emblematic place is surely 25 Condes de Crespo Rascón Street, his first local residence, where he wrote the mythical “I live without living in me”, evoked on a tombstone. The interior of the building shows various objects of the saint. As a curiosity, the same building was inhabited by another saint centuries later: Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro (1837-1905), the founder of the Siervas de San José, current owners of the monastery. From the beginning of the 17th century, the Carmelites occupied the convent of San José on the promenade named after the order, but it was demolished in the 1970s; only the small church of Santa María del Monte Carmelo. The Dominican convent of San Esteban preserves the confessional to which Teresa went for advice; can visit.

Church of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo, Salamanca
Church of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo, Salamanca (Zarateman)

Alba de Tormes played an important role for the nun, who made her eighth foundation in 1571 in this city of Salamanca, the main seat of the Duchy of Alba: the convent of the Annunciation, where he would die years later. The building houses a curious Carmelite Museum with artistic and ritual pieces linked to convent life.

Santa Teresa came to Segovia on March 18, 1574, with five other religions. He came to make the ninth foundation. They initially settled at number 5 on Calle Marqués del Arco, but had to abandon it due to rifirrafes with part of the local clergy, not very understanding of the passionate spirituality of the Carmelites. They had to move to other houses on the same street. There remains the convent of San José, where Teresa wrote a part of The Lodgings.

Beas de Segura had a prominent role in Spanish literature

Despite its modest size – it only has 5,000 inhabitants – the municipality of Jaén Beas de Segura He had a prominent role for Spanish literature: he was visited by Saint Juan de la Cruz, Jorge Manrique, Francisco de Quevedo or Lope de Vega, in addition to Saint Teresa. Is erected there the monastery of San José del Salvador in February 1575, its tenth foundation. The project provoked convoluted litigation: the town belonged to the Encomienda of the Military Order of Santiago, nothing prone to the presence of other orders in its territory. The personal intervention of King Felipe II was necessary to achieve his compromise.

In addition, Teresa’s stay at Beas coincided with a disturbing event: the Inquisition questioned the orthodoxy of some of her writings. The Holy Office acted induced by the princess of Eboli, spiteful for her disagreements with Teresa in Pastrana. The convent of San José del Salvador preserves several liturgical ornaments used by Saint Juan de la Cruz and objects that belonged to Saint Teresa. Beas also has a remarkable La Villa Vieja de Beas Interpretation Center, dedicated to the 16th century and mysticism. The installation dedicates a curious thematic space to Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross.

Fray Juan de la Miseria painted the face of Saint Teresa on canvas,
Fray Juan de la Miseria painted the face of Saint Teresa on canvas, (public domain)

Teresa came to Seville on May 26, 1575 with the aim of creating its eleventh foundation. The city was then the most populated and wealthy in Spain. In the field of religion, it had thirty parishes and the presence of almost all religious orders. After various unsatisfactory locations, the Carmelite community he created his convent of San José in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, where it still remains. The sacristy exhibits the only portrait of Teresa that was made in her life. The author was Fray Juan de las Miseries and discloses the real aspect of the saint, what were her features. Saint Joseph also keeps the original manuscript of The Lodgings. Seville signaled the climax of the Inquisition’s scrutiny of Teresa. The process held her longer than anticipated in the city and prevented her from running the twelfth foundation on the ground.

The religious renewal that Teresa was promoting reached the ears of some maids of Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia), who let him know his will to take up the habits and form a convent. Unable to go personally, the Mother sent Fray Juan de Ávila to arrange conditions that would keep the community comfortable. Management was successful. At the end of 1575, the mother Ana de San Alberto, first prioress, arrived in Caravaca with precise instructions from Teresa for the new establishment of the Descalzas. The document is kept in the Municipal Archive. The nuns settled in a building on Calle Mayor, also dedicated to San José.

Convent in Vilanueva de la Jara, Cuenca
Convent in Villanueva de la Jara, Cuenca (Tourism in La Manchuela via Wikimedia Commons)

The thirteenth foundation happened in the Cuenca region of La Manchuela, in Villanueva de la Jara, where Teresa arrived in February 1580. The chosen place was the environment of the hermitage of Santa Ana, where a small community made up of nine local beatas already lived. Teresa welcomed them under her rule, assumed the dedication of Santa Ana for the new convent, and put her companion Ana de San Agustín in charge. The remains of this nun rest in the church, next to the choir. As an anecdote, Saint Teresa broke her arm during her stay in the town.

Church of Our Lady of the Street, Palencia
Church of Our Lady of the Street, Palencia (From Carlos Delgado via Wikimedia Commons)

She was always welcoming to Saint Teresa, thanks to her friendship with Bishop Álvaro de Mendoza. That hospitality was projected in a Teresian sentence that still fills the locals with pride: “The people of Palencia are people of the best mass I have ever seen.” The fourteenth foundation was initially made in Puebla neighborhood, in the current Colón street, but the Carmelites soon moved to the vicinity of the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Calle, where they founded the monastery of San José de Nuestra Señora de la Calle. The current complex is modern, it was inaugurated in 1972, although the church preserves two baroque altarpieces with interest.

Segovia, Castilla y León
Segovia, Castilla y León (Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada via Wikimedia Commons)

The fifteenth foundation of Saint Teresa took place in Soria, where he went summoned by Bishop Alonso Velázquez, his former confessor. The Discalced Carmelite monastery was inaugurated on June 14, 1581 and still remains on Calle del Carmen. One of its most charismatic spaces is the Avellano cloister, which owes its name to a tree that the saint planted during her stay. In the convent, it also preserves letters written by Teresa and other memories of hers.

Superior of a convent in Pomegranate, Saint John of the Cross urged Saint Teresa to come to that city to found a convent of Carmelite nuns: the future monastery of San José, the sixteenth foundation. Unfortunately, the Mother’s health was deteriorating and she was unable to go. He delegated in Ana de Jesús, his favorite disciple, “the captain of the prioresses”, to whom Saint John of the Cross would dedicate his Spiritual Canticle. The nuns arrived in Granada on January 20, 1582, settling in a building in the Granada neighborhood of Realejo, former property of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain.

Convent of San José and Santa Ana in Burgos
Convent of San José and Santa Ana in Burgos (Zarateman via Wikimedia Commons)

La Quinta Park is in Burgos and communicates the Charterhouse of Miraflores with the Carmelite convent of San José and Santa Ana, the last foundation of saint Teresa. This preserves various relics of the religious, such as espadrilles or a handwritten letter. Before the creation of the convent, the nuns lived in the Hospital de la Concepción, and in numbers 14 and 16 of the Plaza del Huerto del Rey. Teresa and her nuns heard Mass several times in the church of San Gil, in her Good Morning chapel.

We finish this Teresian tour in Alba de Tormes, scene of the eighth foundation. Teresa, very ill, arrived in September 1582, required by the Dukes of Alba to attend the delivery of their daughter-in-law. Weakness did not allow it. He died on October 4, 1582. Shortly before, she uttered rapturous phrases that have reached us: “Oh, my Lord and my husband, the desired hour has arrived! It is time for us to see each other, my Lord! It is time to walk. ” His grave is preserved in the convent of the Annunciation, where the visit to the cell where he died is allowed, and honor relics such as his uncorrupted heart and left arm.

Cell spent his last days Santa Teresa de Jesús, Alba de Tormes Museum
Cell spent his last days Santa Teresa de Jesús, Alba de Tormes Museum (From Tavolucas via Wikimedia Commons)

Written by Editorial Staff

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