The Life of Saint Teresa.

Printed: 1875

Publisher: Macmillan & Co. London

Dimensions 14 × 19 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 14 x 19 x 3

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)

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Brown cloth binding with gilt title on the spine and front board.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

In very good order. This is a scarce vintage edition of the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, with introduction by Walter Elliott and edited by John J. Burke. Illustrated with numerous two-page plates depicting Carmelite monasteries.


    Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582), Doctor of the Church and co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites

Teresa of Ávila, OCD (Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada; 28 March 1515 – 4 or 15 October 1582),also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Carmelite nun and prominent Spanish mystic and religious reformer.

Active during the Counter-Reformation, Teresa became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal, reforming the Carmelite Orders of both women and men. The movement was later joined by the younger Carmelite friar and mystic John of the Cross, with whom she established the Discalced Carmelites. A formal papal decree adopting the split from the old order was issued in 1580.

Her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her books The Interior Castle, and The Way of Perfection, are prominent works on Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice. In her autobiography, written as a defense of her ecstatic mystical experiences, she discerns four stages in the ascent of the soul to God: mental prayer and meditation; the prayer of quiet; absorption-in-God; ecstatic consciousness. The Interior Castle, written as a spiritual guide for her Carmelite sisters, uses the illustration of seven mansions within the castle of our soul to describe the different states our soul can be in during our life.

Forty years after her death, in 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV. On 27 September 1970 Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa the first female Doctor of the Church in recognition of her centuries-long spiritual legacy to Catholicism.

Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study, and to practice. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a Bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.

Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God that marks Christian communion. Both in Eastern and Western Christianity meditation is the middle level in a broad three-stage characterization of prayer: it involves more reflection than first level vocal prayer, but is more structured than the multiple layers of contemplative prayer. Teachings in both the Eastern and Western Christian churches have emphasized the use of Christian meditation as an element in increasing one’s knowledge of Christ.

The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ de Monte Carmelo; abbreviated OCarm), known as the Carmelites or sometimes by synecdoche known simply as Carmel, is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order for men and women. Historical records about its origin remain uncertain, but it was probably founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States. Berthold of Calabria, as well as Albert of Vercelli, have traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived. The order of Carmelite nuns was formalised in 1452.

 The Carmelite Order is one of the few monastic orders, if not the only one, not to refer to a charismatic founder, but to a prophet of the Old Testament: Elijah and his disciple Elisha are considered by the Carmelites as the spiritual fathers of the order. Tradition indicates the presence on Mount Carmel of a series of Jewish and then Christian hermits who lived, prayed and taught in the caves used by Elijah and Elisha. This is how the first Christian hermits (at the origin of the founding of the order), settled in the caves of Mount Carmel to pray to God. The first chapel built within the hermitages and bringing together this community is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Very quickly, the spirituality of the order turned to Mary who became the queen and mistress of Carmel.

The Discalced Carmelites, known officially as the Order of the Discalced Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo) or the Order of Discalced Carmelites (Latin: Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum; abbrev.: OCD; sometimes called in earlier times, Latin: Ordo Carmelitarum Excalceatorum), is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers. The order was established in the 16th century, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order by two Spanish saints, Teresa of Ávila (foundress) and John of the Cross (co-founder). Discalced is derived from Latin, meaning “without shoes”.

The Carmelite Order, from which the Discalced Carmelites branched off, is also referred to as the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance to distinguish them from their discalced offshoot. The third order affiliated to the Discalced Carmelites is the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.

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