The Interior Castle
Explore the beauty and capacity of your soul through a modern update of Teresa of Ávila’s spiritual guide.
In 1577, Teresa of Ávila, a Carmelite nun in Ávila, Spain, was asked by her superiors to write a spiritual guide for her Carmelite sisters. Her teaching, The Interior Castle (or The Interior Mansions), is now among the most widely read and studied Christian mystical texts. This paraphrased version stays true to the text, but simple structure and contemporary word choices make it easier to understand. The result is a personal dialogue between readers and a dynamic, thoughtful woman who loved God deeply and wrote about it passionately.
Identifying the soul as a castle, Teresa outlines seven “Mansions” within the castle, illustrating the beauty and capacity of the soul. The descriptions of the first three Mansions are brief and explain how the soul benefits from spiritual effort and the help of God’s grace. But Teresa’s focus is in helping us understand the remaining Mansions, where the inward journey deepens.
Teresa’s insights comes from her own mystical journey and that of others, grounded in her understanding of Scripture. A prolific writer, Teresa also was a reformer who founded numerous convents throughout Spain. She must have understood the risk of producing a book exploring mystical topics in the shadow of both the Reformation and the Spanish Inquisition. Four centuries later, Teresa was recognized as one of the few women “doctors” of the Catholic Church – a title given to Catholic saints who made great contributions to theology or doctrine.