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From exterior architecture to landscapes of the soul

Students of the Bachelor in Theology TUP visited the 'Mystical Avila', based at CITeS, accompanied by professors from the Faculty of Theology

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The students of the Bachelor in Theology TUP, together with the accompanying teachers

7 March 2024

Last weekend, March 2-3, 2024, students of the Bachelor in Theology TUP visited, together with professors of our Faculty, the 'Mystical Avila'. In this chronicle, the students Enrique Morales and Margarita Sierra tell us about it:

The first weekend of March, a group of students and teachers of TUP travelled to Avila to share a beautiful experience around the life and spirituality of the two great Carmelite mystics: St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. 

This trip was made possible thanks to the initiative of Ms. Carmen Márquez, head of studies at TUP, and the Carmelite Fathers Mr. Juan Antonio Marcos and Mr. Fernando Millán, both professors at the Pontifical University of Comillas.

From Friday afternoon until midday on Sunday, the group stayed at the Centro Internacional Teresiano Sanjuanista (CITeS), also known as the "University of Mysticism", a place dedicated to the study, meeting and shared experience of Carmelite spirituality. Its original facilities include four chapels, located at the four cardinal points of the building and inspired in a very special way by the spiritual experiences of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross.

The whole day on Saturday was dedicated to delving into the life and personal faith experience of Teresa de Ahumada, through her personal, family and social circumstances, which led her to become Saint Teresa of Jesus, reformer of Carmel, writer, saint, mystic and first woman Doctor of the Church.

During the visit to the Museum of Saint Teresa, as well as to the Basilica and convent of the same name, the Carmelite Father David Jiménez Herrero, prior of the community and director of the magazine "Teresa de Jesús", accompanied and illustrated a journey through the life and work of the Saint, with reflections on her Jewish origins, her health problems, her mystical experiences and her tireless work as a writer and founder during the last twenty years of her life.

In the afternoon, accompanied by the heavy snowfall that covered every last one of the many emblematic corners of Ávila in white and turned the photographs of all the group members into Christmas cards, the visit continued at the Monastery of the Incarnation, where Saint Teresa entered as a Carmelite nun in 1535, at the age of 20. Among other things, the visit allowed visitors to see the cell where the Saint lived for 27 years until she began her reform of Carmel, as well as some of the personal objects that evoke her ascetic and sacrificial life.

In the evening, back at CITeS, the group shared a time of silence and prayer in the eclectic and minimalist meditation room, taking as a common thread the comments of St John of the Cross on the encounters with Jesus of women such as Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38-42), the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (Jn 4:5-42), the prostituted woman (Lk 7:36-50) and Mary Magdalene on Easter morning (Jn 20:11-18).

Finally, on Sunday morning, after breakfast, the group shared the Eucharist, presided by D. Juan Antonio Marcos, in the beautiful chapel of La Música Callada. After this celebration, the group went to the Royal Monastery of St. Thomas, where, among other objects, the confessional used by St. Teresa and the carving of Christ of the Agony, a work venerated by her, are preserved. This last visit and the meal together put the finishing touch to a weekend to remember, of pleasant conviviality and good company, full of Teresian and St. John's experiences that will undoubtedly deepen the experience of this Lent for those who have had the good fortune to enjoy it.


To find out more about the Bachelor's Degree in Theology (University Theology for Postgraduates), click here.

All the latest news from the Faculty of Theology can be found on the website, in the monthly newsletter and on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

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