Master Class on "The Life of Teresa of Avila"

Oct 25, 2019
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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This program was made possible in part by a grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila is one of the most remarkable accounts ever written of the human encounter with the divine.  This text is not really an autobiography at all, despite the fact that it is widely regarded as such, but rather a confession written for inquisitors by a nun whose raptures and mystical claims had aroused suspicion. Despite its troubled origins, and despite the fact that some clergy continued to condemn it after it was published, the book has had a profound impact on Christian spirituality for five centuries, attracting admiration from readers as diverse as mystics, philosophers, artists, psychoanalysts, and neurologists. How and why did a manuscript once kept under lock and key by the Spanish Inquisition become an iconic text of the Counter-Reformation and an enduring influence on Western culture?

This master class will examine the historical and theological content of Saint Teresa’s audacious mystical theology.


  • The Life of Teresa of Avila (Penguin Classics, 1988) Chs. 1-2, 7-14, 20-22, 28-40.


  • Eire, Carlos, The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2019).



1:30pm Coffee, tea, and pastries

2:00pm Introduction, Session I

3:20pm Break

3:40pm Session II

5:00pm End, wine and cheese reception


Professor Eire will also participate in a symposium on his new book The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila: A Biography on October 24.