To the Very Reverend Father Domingo Bañez, of the Order of St. Dominic.
This holy and learned man was professor of Theology in the University of Salamanca: he was also confessor to the Saint, when he commanded her, in virtue of obedience, to write “The way of Perfection.” This letter was written at Segovia, where she seems to have received a young lady named Parda, whom Domingo Bañez had recommended to her. Date, 1574. Carta XVI. Spanish ed. vol. i.
JESUS. The grace of the Holy Ghost be ever with you, and with my soul.
We need not wonder at anything which is done for the love of God, since the esteem which I have for you is so powerful, that whatever you consider good, I consider good also, and whatever you wish, I wish also.
I am much pleased with the young lady named Parda. She is so enraptured since she took the habit, that we are all excited to praise God for it. I think I shall not have the heart to make her a lay-sister, seeing what you have done for her good; so that I have resolved to let her learn to read; afterwards I will act according to circumstances.
I knew her disposition even before I spoke to her:1 and since she came here, she has excited a Religious of the house to such a spirit of prayer, that she is almost out of herself. I assure you, my father, I feel a great pleasure whenever I receive any one that brings nothing to the convent; for then I receive them only for the love of God. Hence, when I see such a person enter religion, who could not follow their vocation for want of means, I am convinced God bestows a particular favour upon me, that so I may be instrumental in doing the same good. If every one could be received in this manner, it would fill me with great joy. However, I do not remember ever to be refused any one, through not having a dowry, if in other respects I found them suitable subjects.
I feel a particular pleasure in beholding the great favours our Lord bestows upon you, by employing you in such good works: I was also quite pleased to receive the poor young woman. You have become the father of those who can do little for themselves, and the charity which our Lord gives you for this object makes me rejoice so much, that I will do whatever lies in my power to assist you in such works. Her companion who came with her wept so much, that I thought she would never stop. I know not why you sent her with Parda.
The father visitor has already given permission, and that is a beginning to obtain more, through the Divine assistance. If your Reverence should wish, I may receive the weeper2 also, and then there will be enough for the Convent of Segovia.
Parda has found a good father in you: she says, “she can scarcely believe she is a Carmelite.” The joy she feels makes one thank God. I praise His goodness for having sent your little nephew here, who came with Doña Beatrix, whom I was very glad to see: why did your Reverence not tell me he would come this way?
I have a great esteem for the sister we have received, because she has lived with a holy friend of mine, whom you know very well. Her sister has written to me, and offers me a great many things. I answered her letter, and told her how much I was obliged to her. I think I love her better now, than when her sister was alive. You know you had a vote in the election of a prior for the Monastery of St. Stephen: all the rest have voted for the present prior, and I was edified to find them all so united in their choice.
Yesterday I was speaking with a father of your order, his name is Melchior Cano.3 I told him that if there were many minds in the Order like his, many monasteries for contemplative might be founded.
I have written to Avila, in order that those who are to go and found the convent you mention, may not lose courage on learning that we have not here everything which is necessary: I earnestly wish the business to commence immediately. Why did you not tell me what you have done? May God make you a saint, as I desire. I intend some day or other to speak to you about those fears you have; but you only lose time in troubling yourself with them. This, however, you will not believe, because you want humility. Melchior Cano, of whom I spoke, does much better than you, for he says, “he found great benefit through having once spoken to me at Avila,” and he thinks he always has me before his eyes. What a pious soul! O! what a soul does God possess in him! he has consoled me exceedingly.
But it seems as if I had nothing else to do, but to speak to your Reverence about the piety of other persons. Remain with God, and beg of Him to give me grace, not to depart in anything from His will.
Your Reverence’s Daughter and Servant,
TERESA DE JESUS.
1 Literally, “Bien ha entendido mi espiritu el suyo, aunque no la he hablado,” &c.
2 “Lloraduelos,”–that is, the young woman who wept so much.
3 This is not the celebrated bishop of the Canary Isles: he was his cousin