Teresa of Ávila is the kind of mystic that can make you both misty and mad. One page she pens words to her beloved Carmelite "daughters" about their value and worth, leaving me in a meditative puddle:
this true Lover never leaves [the willful soul], but goes with it everywhere and gives it life and being."
The next page, the first woman honored as Doctor of the Church, elicits self-deprecating language as reminder that even the most sacred of saints were products of their times laden with patriarchal language and debilitating religiosity.
"It is a great advantage for us to be able to consult someone who knows us, so that we may learn to know ourselves. And it is a great encouragement to see that things which we thought impossible are possible to others, and how easily these others do them. It makes us feel that we may emulate their flights and venture to fly ourselves, as the young birds do when their parents teach them; they are not yet ready for great flights but they gradually learn to imitate their parents. This is a great advantage, as I know" (Interior Castle, 49).