Sister Teresa

Written by Barbara Mujica
Review by Mirella Patzer

Sister Teresa is the compelling story of a young woman of renowned beauty who became the beloved patron saint of Spain, St. Teresa of Ávila. During the Spanish Inquisition of the 16th century, Teresa, the daughter of rich parents, lives a life of comfort and wealth. For young noblewomen, there are two possibilities to choose from: marriage or the convent. When Teresa begins to take an interest in a handsome young man and romantic books of chivalry, her father takes offence; such passions would only diminish her value as a potential bride. During this time, her mother dies. At the age of eighteen, her father sends her to board with the Augustinian nuns at Santa Maria de Gracia for guidance and discipline. She is not happy to be there, and ill health soon forces her to return home.

Under her father’s roof, Teresa once again faces her previous choice. One night, she runs away to the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation. While there, Teresa discovers piety and becomes a nun, but ill health continues to plague her. During one bout of illness, she falls into a coma so profound that all believe her dead, but she comes back to life just before her burial – but is paralyzed in her legs for three years.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Teresa’s childhood servant and friend, Sister Angelica, who follows her mistress throughout her tumultuous life as a mystic, her religious fervors, mysterious illnesses, sexual scandals, and the founding of convents. Barbara Mujica brings this tumultuous time in history to vivid life. A very interesting and compelling novel which focuses more on Teresa’s entire life rather than simply her religion.