Book Snippets

St. Teresa of Avila’s lost devotion begins to return during her stay in the monastery

3 min • Digitized on October 26, 2021

From Life of St. Teresa of Avila written by Herself, page 12
By St. Teresa of Avila



In which she sets forth how good company was the means of her resuming good intentions, and in what manner God began to give her some light on the deception to which she was subjected.

I began gradually to like the good and holy conversation of this nun. How well she used to speak of God! for she was a person of great discretion and sanctity. I listened to her with delight. I think there never was a time when I was not glad to listen to her.

She began by telling me how she came to be a nun through the mere reading of the words of the Gospel: “Many are called, and few are chosen.” She would speak of the reward which our Lord gives to those who forsake all things for His sake.

This good companionship began to root out the habits which bad companionship had formed, and to bring my thoughts back to the desire of eternal things, as well as to banish in some measure the great dislike I had to be a nun, which had been very great; and if I saw any one weep in prayer, or devout in any other way, I envied her very much; for my heart was now so hard, that I could not shed a tear, even if I read the Passion through. This was a grief to me.

I remained in the monastery a year and a half, and was very much the better for it. I began to say many vocal prayers, and to ask all the nuns to pray for me, that God would place me in that state wherein I was to serve Him; but, for all this, I wished not to be a nun, and that God would not be pleased I should be one, though at the same time I was afraid of marriage.

At the end of my stay there I had a greater inclination to be a nun, yet not in that house, on account of certain devotional practices which I understood prevailed there, and which I thought overstrained. Some of the younger ones encouraged me in this my wish; and, if all had been of one mind, I might have profited by it.

I had also a great friend in another monastery; and this made me resolve, if I was to be a nun, not to be one in any other house than where she was. I looked more to the pleasure of sense and vanity than to the good of my soul.

These good thoughts of being a nun came to me from time to time. They left me very soon; and I could not persuade myself to become one.

Latest book snippets