'"Oh, the devil, the devil!" we say, when we might be saying "God! God!" and making the devil tremble. Of course we might, for we know he cannot move a finger unless the Lord permits it. Whatever are we thinking of I am quite sure I am more afraid of people who are themselves terrified of the devil than I am of the devil himself.' With such a blatant statement from her own autobiography that is still compelling reading after over 400 years, we begin to examine the strong mind and will of Teresa of Avila.
Religious and political turbulence was everywhere; Europe was a dangerous place.
That one single woman who could easily been accuses of witchcraft but for being under the protection of the Church could have made so many changes in the Carmelite Order which would have far-reaching effects even into the 21st Century is nearly a miracle in itself. What makes Teresa's life even more fascinating is the fine mind she harbored, honed and disciplined with extraordinary introspection.
From her autobiography, it is clear that Teresa was rather bull-headed even at a young age. She was creative, intelligent and active; many of the ingredients for engagement of troublemaking, in which she indulged for a while, much to her later dismay. She loved books, especially those based upon saints and martyrs, which were plentiful in her house, being regularly read by her father. She developed such a passion for these stories that once, around age six or seven, she and her brother Roderigo plotted to run away to be beheaded by the Moorish people so that they could be martyred. ...