St. Teresa of Avila: Nun, Saint, Creative Writing Teacher

By Kenneth DiMaggio.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 3, 2014 $US5.00

Known for her mysticism that she developed from her Catholic faith, 16th century Spanish nun and later saint, Teresa of Avila was also a profound, philosophical writer in her religious works such as “The Interior Castle” and “The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila.” These texts show her lifelong dedication as a nun and commitment to God, as well as display her views on the nature of writing. In noting about her spiritual growth, St. Teresa of Avila also observed how her writing reflected this growth. Such observations have a poetic, even creative writing sensibility about them. The 20th century Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca noted this poetic sensibility of St. Teresa's. In his essay about poetic creativity, "Play and Theory of the Duende," Lorca pays homage to St. Teresa (along with St. John of the Cross) as being one of Spain's great poets when he writes: "With a tower like St. Teresa or with three ways of St. John of the Cross." Lorca's “Duende” (a sometimes frenzied and mystical state of creative inspiration) is similar to St. Teresa's raptures. Primarily religious in nature, they also reflect the creative state of her composition, and in so doing, make this nun and saint, a creative writing teacher. While primarily about her spiritual journeys, St. Teresa of Avila's work can also be gleaned as a treatise on creativity and poetics.

Keywords: St. Teresa of Avila, Raptures, Creativity, Lorca, Duende, Creative Writing

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, June 2014, pp.55-65. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 3, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 292.405KB)).

Kenneth DiMaggio

Professor, Department of the Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA