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The "O" of Ecstasy

To celebrate the feast of Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, lines from Richard Wilbur's "Teresa:"

                         The proof came soon and plain:
                   Visions were true which quickened her to run
                   God's barefoot errands in the rocks of Spain
                         Beneath its beating sun,
                   And lock the O of ecstasy within
                   The tempered consonants of discipline.

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I read Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul by Cathleen Medwick several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but Publishers Weekly (whose reviews I generally find quite reliable) found it disappointing. Can someone recommend a really good biography of St. Teresa? The episode on Bernini from Simon Schama's The Power of Art deals at some length with Bernini's sculpture The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. The episode is, of course, about Bernini (and Borromini), but it is difficult to think of St. Teresa without thinking about that remarkable sculpture. And I highly recommend the episode (and the whole series, actually).

David, why not go straight to the horse's mouth and read her Autobiography?Though even more telling, imho, is her Foundations.

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About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.