Letter to the most Illustrious Lady Louisa de la Cerda, of Malagon, by Saint Teresa of Avila

[Saint Teresa of Avila]

The Saint gives the lady an account of the state of her health, and asks her co-operation in a new foundation. The date is 1568.

Jesus be with you, Madam. I have neither time nor strength to write a long letter, for now I write to few persons: it is, however, not very long ago since I wrote to your ladyship. My health has altogether failed me. I found myself much better when I was residing with you, although the people here are attached to me–praise be to God. But as I am with you in affection, so I desire to be in body also.

Are you not astonished, madam, to see how sweetly our Lord conducts all things? Blessed be His name, for having been pleased to commit our interests into the hands of those who are so devoted to His service; I think the undertaking will be very agreeable to His Majesty.

For the love of God, madam, endeavour to obtain leave. I think it best, however, my name should not be mentioned to the Governor; but only that he be requested to allow a house of Carmelite Nuns to be established. He should also be informed, what great good these religious do, wherever they are placed (at least, this may be said with truth of the nuns at Malagon: praise be to God for it).

When permission has been obtained, your ladyship will see how soon I shall be with you: our Lord seems unwilling that we should be separated. May His Majesty be pleased to unite us together in (eternal) glory, together with all my superiors, to whose prayers I constantly recommend myself.

Write and tell me how your ladyship is: you are very negligent in doing me this favour.

The Sisters send their most respectful regards to you. You cannot imagine how many indulgences we have obtained for the benefactors of this order: they are innumerable.

May our Lord be with your Ladyship.

Your Ladyship’s unworthy Servant,

– Teresa de Jesus, Carmelite

– translated from the Spanish by the Reverend John Dalton, London, 1902