In the coming days, we start a new program of the Walking Mentorship named In the Footsteps of Santa Teresa. What we cannot see is the work we initiated more or less one year ago when my co-mentor Jorge Anselmo and I went to the Castilla and Leon to see with our eyes a newly marked route between Alba de Tormes and Ávila in Spain.
We have been looking for quite some time for a path that could help us create a program focused on spiritual development and how to translate it into actions in our lives. This particular itinerary captured our attention from the very first moment.
Current times are challenging at many levels, which is nothing new.
What might be freshly disturbing is the increasing lack of reliable moral references, and that can be pretty confusing in the long run, making the road ahead harder to figure out.
When we first heard about the Ruta Teresiana which is deeply inspired by the life of Saint Teresa of Ávila, we gather our backpacks, boots and off we went to discover it back in October 2018.
Upon returning home, we were impressed by the provoking similarities of the new route, its embedded history, and the present moment of the world. It was too powerful to look the other way, and that’s probably the main reason why we decided to do it despite the numerous challenges we faced to make it a reality.
One year later, here we are, ready to go again. This time we have in our hands a specific Survival Kit created for this program, a tool of self-development that will help us navigate through the plains of the Spanish Meseta and the intricate paths of our hearts.
Before we introduce you to the route and the experience we developed, we want to share a few words to present who we are following the footsteps.
Saint Teresa was a Spanish noblewoman who chose a monastic life in the Catholic Church. She lived between 1515 and 1582, which were simultaneously defying and exciting moments in Europe (sounds familiar to you?). The Reformation and the Council of Trent from one side and the contact with the American Continent in the other shaped the XVI century in European history.
Teresa was a Carmelite nun, a prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, a theologian of the contemplative life, and mental prayer. She reformed the Carmelite Orders being joined by the younger Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic, Saint John of the Cross. Both are a permanent presence throughout our route — being central figures of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal borne out of an inner conviction and honed by ascetic practice.
She was also at the center of deep ecclesiastical controversy as she took on the pervasive laxity in her order against the background of the Protestant reformation sweeping over Europe and the Spanish Inquisition asserting church discipline in her home country.
Since her death, she continues to be widely noted as inspiration to philosophers, theologians, historians, neurologists, fiction writers, artists as well as countless ordinary people interested in Christian spirituality and mysticism.
Speaking to pilgrims from Avila on October 1981, Pope John Paul II said: “It is necessary for the rich legacy left by Teresa of Jesus to be deeply reconsidered and thereby influence the renewal of life on a universal scale.”
It has been a long time waiting, but now it is time to walk. Difficult not to be curious, right? Throughout the coming week, join us from your phone, and we will share the highlights of our experience, it might bring something good :
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Keep walking with us,
João and Jorge
*”It is time to walk!” – These were the words St Teresa of Ávila said shortly before her death. Simultaneously a call to action and a beacon of hope. Inviting us to set out on the paths of joy, fraternity, and time lived as grace! Let us be taken by the hand of St Teresa as we go through the journey of life. May her footsteps always lead us in the right direction.