Autobiography and other writings by Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew; Donahue, Darcy; Mother Anne

By Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew; Donahue, Darcy; Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew

Ana de San Bartolomé (1549–1626), a latest and shut affiliate of St. Teresa of Ávila, typifies the curious combination of non secular activism and religious forcefulness that characterised the 1st new release of Discalced, or reformed Carmelites. identified for his or her austerity and ethics, their convents speedy unfold all through Spain and, lower than Ana’s suggestions, additionally to France and the Low international locations. continuously embroiled in disputes together with her male superiors, Ana fast grew to become the main vocal and visual of those mystical girls and the main fearless of the guardians of the Carmelite structure, particularly after Teresa’s death.

Her autobiography, in actual fact inseparable from her non secular vocation, expresses the tensions and conflicts that frequently followed the lives of ladies whose dating to the divine endowed them with an expert at odds with the transitority powers of church and kingdom. final translated into English in 1916, Ana’s writings supply smooth readers interesting insights into the character of monastic lifestyles through the hugely charged non secular and political weather of late-sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century Spain.

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Often the devil appears in some form as a warning of future problems. For example, Ana recounts a vision in which she sees certain members of her order turn into black crows as they engage in conversation with laypeople and religious of other orders. Within a year, the order experienced the 1590 “revolt of the nuns” referred to above. 37 However, she attempts to make her spiritual life accessible by positing images from nature as analogous to her situation. In describing the presence of Christ in her soul, for example, she uses the following imagery: “The vision that I carry at other times in my soul is like a little silkworm, and how it is cared for and fed, and when it is properly grown, it begins to spin through its mouth a thin thread of silk and make its cocoon, and with the pleasure and sweetness that there 36.

These women had known and worked closely with Saint Teresa, and this was one of the primary criteria in their selection for this mission. It was also a source of pride and confidence in their knowledge of the reformed order and its rule. As mentioned previously, Ana was particularly proud of her close personal relationship with Teresa and the special understanding of the order that accrued from it. Her conviction that she was the living heir to a soon to be canonized saint gave the uneducated Spanish peasant the courage to defy an extremely powerful church prelate.

5. See note 4. Vo l u m e E d i t o r ’s I n t r o d u c t i o n women learned to read, writing was generally not considered expedient or appropriate for the traditional roles of wife and mother. Humanists of the day like Juan Luis Vives recognized women’s intellectual capacity to read and assimilate content but warned that strict surveillance should be exercised in the selection of reading material in order to avoid potentially corrupting influences. All reading should be limited to materials that inculcated the primary virtues of obedience, chastity, and silence.

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