Monday, February 15, 2010

Scandal in the Convent

St. Teresa wrote her autobiography for her confessors. They gave their approval of this work along with St. John of Avila. St. Teresa highly valued his opinion since he was one of the most qualified persons at that time to judge the spiritual matters that were contained in this work. St. John of Avila, studied the manuscript, gave his praise and wrote a letter of approval in 1568.

Later, other confessors of St. Teresa read the work and word began to spread of this secret manuscript. Many people urged St. Teresa to allow copies to be made. The Bishop of Avila and the Duchess of Alba were among those requesting a copy.

When the Princess of Eboli heard of the secret work she insisted on reading it. St. Teresa was forced to give in to her wishes; however the princess made no effort to keep the manuscript out of the hands of her servants and soon everyone in the house knew of its contents. This deeply personal and spiritual account of St. Teresa’s life soon became the object of gossip and ridicule.

This domineering and self-centered princess entered the Carmel of Pastrana to become a nun after her husband’s death. She caused the nuns there so much grief and disquiet that the nuns had to leave the monastery in the middle of the night. The princess was deeply wounded by this and to get even with St. Teresa she denounced the saint’s work as heretical and containing dangerous doctrines. The Inquisition without delay began their investigation. Fortunately, the manuscript was placed in the hands of Fr. Banez who had been one of St. Teresa’s confessors. His judgment of the matter fell in favor of St. Teresa’s good intentions and that the work contained no errors of any significance.

There is a price to be paid. Jesus paid with His Body and Blood. St. Teresa paid with accusations and rejection.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew this about St. Teresa. I believe it was in the book "Fire Within" where I read that she was also remarkably beautiful, a natural beauty. Before entering the convent, she was also a fashion plate. She gave up so much to serve the Lord. I could see how this scandal must have hurt her deeply; but then again, maybe she was grateful for the opportunity to offer something so meaningful to our Lord.