Letter to the Reverend Father Pedro Ibañez, by Saint Teresa of Avila

[Saint Teresa of Avila]

The Saint, having written her “Life” by the command of this her holy Director, sent him the manuscript with the following letter. The date is about 1562.

Jesus. The Holy Ghost be always with your Reverence. Amen.

It would not be amiss, in writing to your Reverence, to dwell on this service of mine, in order to oblige you the more to take particular care in recommending me to God. And this I could well do, seeing it has cost me so dear to behold myself in writing, and thus to have brought to my remembrance so many of my miseries, though I can with truth say, that I have experienced more reluctance in mentioning the favours which our Lord has shown me, than I should have felt in mentioning the offences I have committed against His Majesty.

I have done what your Reverence commanded me, to enter into more particulars; but upon this condition, that your Reverence also will perform what you promised me, viz., to tear out whatever you do not approve. When your Reverence sent for the manuscript, I had not finished the perusal of it after having written it. Hence you may find some things not very clearly explained, and others mentioned twice over; for the time I had was so short, that I could not review what I had written. I beseech your Reverence to correct it; and order it to be transcribed, if it must be sent to Father Avila, otherwise some one may know my hand.

I am very desirous such orders may be given, as he thinks proper, since it is with this intention I began to write. If he shall judge I am going on in a safe way, this will give me great consolation, for there will be no more to do on my part. Your Reverence must do whatever you think best; consider how bound you are to one who thus confides her soul to you. Your soul I will recommend to our Lord all the days of my life; make haste, then, to serve His Majesty, in order to be able to do me this favour, for your Reverence will see, by what is now sent you, how well you are employed in giving yourself wholly to Him (as your Reverence has already begun so to do) who gives Himself to us without reserve. May He be blessed for ever: I hope in His mercy, that both your Reverence and myself may one day meet together in that kingdom, where we shall more clearly understand the great favours He has been pleased to show us both, and praise Him for ever and ever. Amen.

Your Reverence’s unworthy Servant,

– Teresa de Jesus

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