Online Course in Spiritual Theology

OCST11 Saint Teresa of Avila



Canonized in 1622, declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) is a woman whose importance for Christian Spirituality is paramount. Her works reveal an ingenuous and forceful personality, as well as a most fascinating experience of God.


  • Situate Teresa in her context (historical, theological);
  • Explore the various works of St. Teresa (themes, development, articulation between life and doctrine), both on a large scale, and through the close reading of some passages;
  • Articulate the major theological and spiritual themes raised by Teresa’s writings (e.g., prayer, apostolate, Christ, Holy Spirit, conversion).

St. Teresa is major author in the Carmelite tradition. Our approach will be threefold: to look at the scope of her works in general (Way of Perfection, Life, Interior Castle, Foundations, Letters, Spiritual Testimonies, etc.), to explore key themes in her work and life, and to read closely some (short) texts. Attention will be given to her context (as a 16th-century Roman Catholic Spanish nun), as well as to the theological and spiritual import of her writings.

Essential bibliography

  • St. Teresa of Jesus, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Jesus, 3 vol., translated by K. Kavanaugh and O. Rodriguez, Washington, DC 1976-1985; vol. 1-2: 20192.
  • Other material (articles, book chapters) will be supplied.