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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!
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.