Daughter of the Church
Matthew Boudway March 1, 2010 - 1:22pm
Barbara Mujica's article about St. Teresa of vila is now available tononsubscribers here. The article, titled "Teresa of vila: A Woman of Her Time, a Saint for Ours," is both a personal account of how Mujicawas changedbyher discovery ofTeresa's writings and a survey of the current literature about the saint, some of which softpeddles her distinctively Catholic (and sixteenth-century) attitudes and beliefs. As Mujica writes:
Although it is true that there are important connections between Teresas teachings and the meditative-contemplative traditions of other faiths, admirers who see Teresa as nonsectarian or transsectarian sometimes forget that her teachings are firmly rooted in Catholic doctrine. She called herself a daughter of the church and derived strength and inspiration from the writings of church fathers such as St. Augustine and St. Jerome. Teresa often criticized abusive confessors, but she cherished the sacrament of confessionone reason she insisted on forming a male branch of the Discalced Carmelites was to provide her nuns with confessors immersed in the Discalced charism. Teresa was also not tolerant in the modern sense, though she was less harsh than some of her contemporaries in that she believed in praying for Lutherans and unbaptized Indians rather than slaughtering them. Yet she regretted that, as a woman, she could not be more effective in the conversion of heretics and pagans (all of her brothers fought in the New World with the Conquistadors), and she saw nuns prayers on behalf of infidels as a form of female activism.
About the Author
Matthew Boudway is an associate editor of Commonweal.