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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic spiritual autobiography, 27 Oct 2006
By 
L. McWilliam "starsmurf" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) (Paperback)
St Teresa wrote this story of her life under obedience to her superiors. It is not a conventional autobiography, there are few details of her childhood for example. She frequently digresses onto the subject of prayer and this contains some of the most lovely descriptions of the different stages of closeness to God. This is Spain's second most popular prose classic and allows a glimpse of the real woman behind the sainthood. Read this carefully, it is not a book to be read in one sitting. If you read it slowly, it will reward you with new insights into your own spiritual life.

For those who are more interested in the person than the spirituality, it gives insight into the life of a devout 16th century nun, who defied the conventions of her day and reformed a religious order, almost unheard of for a woman. However you approach this book, it is a classic of its type, sit back and imagine St Teresa writing these words at her tiny desk, by flickering lamplight and hear her speak to you.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very readable autobiography., 24 Feb 2010
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J. Gardiner "john70075" (Middlesbrough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) (Paperback)
Simply taken as an autobiography this is an entertaining and very readable book. However it does more than entertain as it develops Teresa's spiritual progress. Her imagery an description are very good. On a spiritual level she deals with problems in her own life that are relevent to most readers whether they share her religious convictions or not.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christian classic, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) (Paperback)
As someone brought up by (very) atheist parents I'm still new to religion and religious thought. I was baptised and confirmed low church Anglican so I write this review as a novice when it comes to religious mysticism. So first I'll review it from my prospective. St Theresa has a way with words and I assume it translates easily since the simplicity she writes with allows clarity. I find her charming as a child, rebellious and leaving to be martyred by the moors has a sardonic humour by also shows her serious devotion which continues throughout her autobiography. She continues to be rebellious defying church standard practices but remains astonishingly obedient, ll this naturally appeals to me. The language is also beautiful, fragrant and highly spiritual and the writing also has an intimacy she i don't imagine for a minute the saint would have expected a 26 year old in 2012 to be reading it.

The book is also challenging; the saint writes of mental prayer almost a form of mediation that I would find difficult to follow however she does explain how to achieve this kind of communication with God. Obviously this not the best book for an agnostic to come to mysticism since the saint assumes, since she is writing to her superiors that anyone reading the book will be believers.

That said as a believer myself I did love the book and love the woman who wrote it. I also find myself thinking about her often and particularly the self help inclusion which has become famous. "Let nothing distress you, Let nothing disturb you, All things pass but God, Who alone is all. Patience will get you, All that you strive for. Cleave to God, and nothing else will fail you, for God alone is all."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself, 2 July 2013
By 
Mark Ronan (West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful book. I found it took me a long time to read as it is deceptively simple to read but getting the understanding of what you have just read was far more difficult. She was a wonderful woman who entered the Carmelite convent when she was 21 years old. She had many trials and tribulations during her life. She had many visions and mystical experiences and went on to found 17 Carmelite monasteries throughout Spain.

I think the book is very well written and contains a detailed account of the life of St. Teresa of Avila. It covers Teresa's early childhood at home and she describes in detail the 4 stages of prayer. The analogy she uses in explaining the stages of prayer is the effort required in watering a garden, the hardest being drawing the water from a well, drawing the water from a stream, irrigation and finally falling from the sky as rain. She always denied her own saintliness and I was struck by the very low opinion she had of herself.

This book is a frank account of one of the great stories of a religious life and is regarded as a literary masterpiece. After Don Quixote, it is Spain's most widely read prose classic.

At her death her incorrupt body had such an aromatic fragrance that the people of the time dismembered her body in order to secure for themselves a relic. I found reading about this most distressing because the people of that time have robbed Spain of a wonderful treasure which I think would still be viewable today especially as incorrupt bodies are quite rare.

The book contains no photographs and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the wonderful St. Teresa of Avila.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) (Paperback)
very good
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The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.)
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself (Classics S.) by Teresa of Avila (Paperback - 27 Aug 1987)
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