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Sister Teresa

Sister Teresa

2.3 3
by Barbara Mujica, Barbara Louise Mujica
Spoiled with beauty, riches, and adoration, a young girl from Ávila is sent to a convent by her parents to learn discipline, but discovers instead an unparelleled spiritual fervor -- one so powerful as to be condemned as sinful by some. She is Saint Teresa -- known as a mystic, reformer and founder of convents, and the author of numerous texts that introduced


Spoiled with beauty, riches, and adoration, a young girl from Ávila is sent to a convent by her parents to learn discipline, but discovers instead an unparelleled spiritual fervor -- one so powerful as to be condemned as sinful by some. She is Saint Teresa -- known as a mystic, reformer and founder of convents, and the author of numerous texts that introduced her radical religious ideas and practices to a society suffering through the repressive throes of the Spanish Inquisition. In Barbara Mujica�s masterful tale, her story -- her days of youthful romance, her sensual fits of spiritual rapture, secret heritage as a Jewish convert to Catholicism, cloak-and-dagger political dealings, struggles against sexual blackmail, and mysterious illness -- unfolds with a tumultuous urgency. Blending fact with fiction in vivid detail, painstakingly researched and beautifully rendered, Mujica�s tale conjures a brilliant picture of sisterhood, faith, the terror of religious persecution, the miracle of salvation, and one woman�s challenge to the power of strict orthodoxy, a challenge that consisted of a crime of passion -- her own personal relationship with God.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

While not a conventional hagiography, this engaging novel depicts Teresa of Ávila as an extraordinary woman whose visions, church reform ideas and writing may well have been inspired by God. Mujica, a Georgetown University Spanish professor and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, presents Teresa as a very human saint-in-the-making: by turns coquettish, self-loathing, desperately ill, politically masterful, blisteringly witty and, above all, God-obsessed. Though the events of Teresa's life, particularly her conversion and, later, her founding of the barefoot order of Carmelite nuns, are interesting, Mujica's fictional narrator, Sister Angelica, steals the show. Depicted as Teresa's maid who later becomes her best friend, Angelica becomes a nun when a potential husband rejects her because she knows how to read. Much to her delight, taking the veil transforms her from a humble member of the servant class to a respected medic who is often treated as well as an aristocrat. Angelica's down-to-earth narration is a good choice for the story of an overwrought saint, and her matter-of-fact description of the staggering realities of life in 16th-century Spain give the novel an earthy appeal. Despite the many ugly historical events, such as the Spanish Inquisition, that figure into the story, it is surprisingly light and entertaining. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Teresa of Avila (1515-82), Spain's most popular saint, was sent by her family to live in a convent when she was a teen. During her life as a nun, she suffered from chronic illness and constant surveillance by the Spanish Inquisition. Teresa was a woman of many parts-mystic, aesthete, religious reformer, theologian, and intellectual. Mujica's (Spanish, Georgetown Univ.) novelization of Teresa's life, recorded by Teresa's poor (but conveniently literate) servant and life companion, Sister Angelica, makes Teresa even more-sensual, sexual, histrionic, and protofeminist. Unfortunately, while Teresa's life would be a marvelous subject for a novel, this telling, like Mujica's Frida, suffers from some serious flaws. The eroticism and lesbianism are laid on rather thickly and the abundance of late 20th-century colloquialisms (e.g., "bullshit," "swishy," "stickler for detail") are distracting; nor is Teresa's feminism believable. Not recommended.-Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lifelong friend remembers Teresa of Avila, "Spain's most beloved saint," in this richly entertaining historical novel from Mujica (Spanish/Georgetown Univ.; Frida, 2001, etc.). Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in Avila in 1515. She would become famous as a mystic, an author and a monastic reformer. Although her unorthodoxy drew the attention of the Inquisition, she was canonized in 1622. This is her life, as remembered by her (fictional) friend and fellow nun, Angelica del Sagrado Coraz-n. Sister Angelica is a clever creation. By telling Teresa's story from this unknown nun's perspective, Mujica spares herself the trouble of competing with one of Christianity's most prolific self-chroniclers. And because Angelica is writing for posterity-for a future audience that might not know much about convent life or Catholic theology-the reader is treated to Angelica's concise, matter-of-fact lessons on such matters as the reforms of the Council of Trent and the differences between Carmelites and Jesuits, material that a lesser historical novelist might turn into painfully improbable expository dialogue. The real brilliance of Angelica, though, is that she is the perfect complement to her famous friend. God tells Teresa to found convents. He tells Angelica to have a second helping of mutton stew. While Teresa engages in ecstatic communion with Jesus, Angelica-the daughter of a seamstress-wonders how angels' wings fit through their robes. An earthy, humanizing portrait. Agent: Anna Ghosh/Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.27(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Sister Teresa: The Woman Who Became Saint Teresa of Avila 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hesitated to write this review. I feel adults should make thier own choices and I am not one to 'censor' or tell another adult what to read, however, I wish I had been told more about the content of this book. SO, I am writing to those who prefer a more refined, delicately written and less profane type book, especially about saints, holiness and/or religious subjects. I was not expecting such stomach turning verbiage. This novel is full of crude and vulgar language, (I have a feeling that if I used some of words here they would be censored!) the repeated graphic descriptions of bodily functions - just how often need we be told that poop/diarrhea (refered to more crudely than this) stinks? and that vomit is hard to clean up? And must we read about the many lustful thoughts by a nun,(as well as shocking actions) a long term sexual affair between a priest and a nun, the priest who turns out to be a seducer of many of the young convent girls and who commits a brutal rape of the nun (graphically described) with whom he had had the affair, all in the name of 'honesty'? I could not finish the book, if was just too graphic and offensive for me. It reminded me of the anti-Catholic lit of long ago, full of sordid stories, gleefully portraying the supposed rampant lust and sexual sins in the convents, all in the name of 'truthfullness'. AND Yes, I know that priests and nuns were (are)human, they made errors and some even were sinners! I do not feel we should deify them, but there was just too much baseness and coarseness in a book about a holy person-It was too out of place and jarring. So for those of you who would rather not wade through the base and crude descriptions of sex and hygiene (and lack of), torture (and I was just getting to the description of the inquistion), rape, and so on just to glean a little information about a holy woman, I suggest a different book. I hope this is taken in the spirit in which it is intended-just to inform those of us old fashioned sorts of what the book contains so they can make a choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the times of today most women see saints of tired and men worshippers where in this book the character, real life is put to life, you are literally transported to the past as you see Teresa and what her philosophy is of release, in these time where catholics are despised and seen as antic and feminist blame others, I as neutralist, who favors all humanity, this book is a clear shot to all of us who dream of a world of equality where we can make a difference. Any one who has read biographies and writing of Teresa whether you agree or not will be inspired by this books, there are moments when you cry, her flaws are flaws that protestantism shared but are not extravaganst since protestants were always seen as the victims even today and since they were different we turn blind eye to EVERYTHING they did that is not deemed winner takes all, teresa is a woman of flaws, you get transported into this world where protestants and catholics alike are flawed and were this woman has a dream that almost cost her life at the spanish inquisition. anyone who says it is tiring than you probably not really apreciate it or read it with a mind that because she is a saint is another woman bad or trapped. Read it you will be surprised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Teresa of Avila is a much beloved saint for pure, and holy reasons. Material written by her and about her (from that period of time) show a woman sincerely devoted to God. This book - as seen through the eyes of her supposedly best friend - paints her to be a flighty, half-looney, narcissist. I can't imagine why this was done. I am not even Catholic but have a sincere respect for Teresa of Avila (reading as much as I could about her). I am deeply saddened and embarrassed that this book was even published.