Keynote address "A Teresian Festivity - Celebrate 500 Years of St. Teresa of Avila", a conference at Gonzaga University.
The debates on a woman’s place and function were as passionate in 16th century Spain as they are in today’s Church and civil society. These debates for or against women’s freedom from male domination undergird Teresa’s life and works. From a feminist perspective, her readers have always to bear in mind that she writes under the control of male authorities, even when she is writing to women. What is striking, however, is her twofold struggle. First she struggles for personal freedom which is expressed by her desire and will to found monasteries of the “Primitive Rule” of Carmel, and by the use of her many personal stratagems to reach this goal. Second she struggles for access to education and claims for her Sisters the freedom to communicate with the best theologians and confessors of their time. Thus, Teresa prophetically anticipated 19th century history of female emancipation.
Heller, Karin Ph.D.
"Teresa of Avila (1515-2015): A Woman between the Roman Catholic Church’s Crossfire and Exaltation" Whitworth University (2015). Theology Faculty Scholarship.