St. Teresa of Avila’s various struggles in her resolve to become a nun

October 27, 2021 • 2 min

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 15

The struggle lasted three months. I used to press this reason against myself: The trials and sufferings of living as a nun cannot be greater than those of purgatory, and I have well deserved to be in hell. It is not much to spend the rest of my life as if I were in purgatory, and then go straight to Heaven—which was what I desired. I was more influenced by servile fear, I think, than by love, to enter religion.

The devil put before me that I could not endure the trials of the religious life, because of my delicate nurture. I defended myself against him by alleging the trials which Christ endured, and that it was not much for me to suffer something for His sake; besides, He would help me to bear it. I must have thought so, but I do not remember this consideration.

I endured many temptations during these days. I was subject to fainting-fits, attended with fever—for my health was always weak.

I had become by this time fond of good books, and that gave me life. I read the Epistles of St. Jerome, which filled me with so much courage, that I resolved to tell my father of my purpose—which was almost like taking the habit; for I was so jealous of my word that I would never, for any consideration, recede from a promise when once my word had been given.

My father’s love for me was so great that I could never obtain his consent; nor could the prayers of others, whom I persuaded to speak to him, be of any avail. The utmost I could get from him was that I might do as I pleased after his death.

I now began to be afraid of myself, and of my own weakness for I might go back. So, considering that such waiting was not safe for me, I obtained my end in another way, as I shall now relate.

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