While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. -- St. Teresa of Avila A masterpiece of spiritual literature, this sixteenth-century work was inspired by a mystical vision that came upon the revered St. Teresa of Avila, one of the most gifted and beloved religious figures in history. St. Teresa's vision was of a luminous crystal castle composed of seven chambers, or "mansions," each representing a different stage in the development of the soul. In her most important and widely read book, St. Teresa describes how, upon entering the castle through prayer and meditation, the human spirit experiences humility, detachment, suffering, and, ultimately, self-knowledge, as it roams from room to room. As the soul progresses further toward the center of the castle, it comes closer to achieving ineffable and perfect peace, and, finally, a divine communion with God. A set of rare and beautiful teachings for people of all faiths desirous of divine guidance, this meticulous modern translation by E. Allison Peers breathes contemporary life into a religious classic.
One of the great mystics and religious women of the Roman Catholic Church, Teresa of Ávila (1515-82) was a Spanish nun and a leader of the Carmelite Reform. Canonized in 1622, she was the first woman to be elevated to the title of Doctor of the Church.