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Book reviews for "Medwick,_Cathleen" sorted by average review score:

Teresa of Avila the Progress of a Soul
Published in Paperback by Alfred A Knopf ()
Author: Cathleen Medwick
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The Saintly Politician
Teresa's life is chronicled here in a verbose, often sarcastic, manner. I waded thru this book, finding the political information much more interesting than the theology. While it appears to be well researched, the book is often dry history, not giving the reader a good clue as to why Teresa became the legend that she is now. The Spanish words are often not translated, leaving the reader to guess at their meaning. And the vast number of Hispanic names grow confusing.

However, the life of Teresa is more about her political wheeling and dealing as she gathers benefactors and founds religious institutions across Spain during a most colorful century. She managed to stay one step ahead of the Inquisition, even with her detractors on her heels. I am not christian or catholic, so I found the theology a bit difficult, but I do understand the concept of spiritual journey, which she clearly deliniates.

All in all, it was a fair read, the story of a brave and opinionated women who was ahead of her time... I would have liked to get into her head more... and her heart, not as a catholic following the "will" of god, but to know what she really wanted to do. Did she program for her own immortality? Or did she really feel the hand of god on her mission? This, alas, is not clear from Medwick's discussion, and, of course, may never be revealed.

I am vastly interested in the lives of the "saints" and the political climate that drove their paths, but this book did not add much to my own insight. I wish Medwick would have made Teresa less plastic and more real!

An Intimate Look At A Controversial Saint
I gave this book five stars because it's intelligent, witty and extremely well-written. A joy to read. The author makes us feel as though we knew Teresa personally. I've read other books about St. Teresa and I've also read Teresa's own works. I was impressed, really in awe. Medwick made me realize what I should have known all along: Teresa was both beautiful and brilliant, and had she been a 20th century woman she would have found many outlets for her boundless energy, enthusiasm and imagination. Living in the circumscribed world of 16th century Spain, however, Teresa's imagination worked against her; although possessing great business acumen, the woman was crazy as a loon. This book, however, is well worth the money and the time and is extremely enjoyable, myth-shattering though it may be. I'll no doubt read it again some day.

Fascinating Historical Account of a Female Saint
I greatly enjoyed reading Cathleen Medwick's extraordinarily detailed biography of Saint Teresa of Avila. Saint Teresa shines forth as a fascinating historical figure in TERESA OF AVILA: THE PROGRESS OF A SOUL because she seemed to have an innate ability to continually seek the highest possible spiritual path throughout her life. Whenever temptation arose, she was willing to do whatever might be necessary to right herself again -- regardless whether the form of temptation or evil took human or supernatural form.

Medwick maintains a detached tone throughout this riveting story, which provides one with a better idea of what it was like to live in Saint Teresa's time (with the Inquisition wreaking havoc in the lives of some spiritual people). Descriptions of how Teresa must have felt as she experienced amazing spiritual epiphanies are handled with grace and aplomb by Medwick, who shares the facts without ever stooping to speculation nor overly exalting Teresa.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to better understand what life was like for a spiritual woman in 16th century Europe whose utmost desire was to be as close to God as possible.

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