Pilgrimpace's Blog

teresa conference

I spent a few days last week on an extremely good Conference: Teresa of Avila 1515 – 2015: Mystical Theology and Spirituality in the Carmelite Tradition organised by the Carmelite Forum, Peter Tyler and Inspire at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.  It was, I think, the best Conference I have been on.  A wonderful combination of being fed spiritually and intellectually – papers from, among others, Iain Matthew, Gillian Ahlgren, Rowan Williams and James Finley.  A good number of Friars and Discalced Sisters were there, and there was a palpable sense of things being underpinned by prayer and centred on the Mass.

You can see videos of some of the talks here on teresaofavila.org

I was able to give a short paper Transforming Love; Wounded Christ: Some Teresian Insights into Estate Ministry, which began to reflect on some of the connections between parish ministry in areas of deprivation and Teresa’s teaching on God and prayer.  One very good thing was the sense in the Conference of Teresa’s spirituality being something that looks outwards and is intimately a part of justice and compassion.  Some new possibilities for Carmelite spirituality are opening up.

My paper should appear on the website above soon.  If you would like a copy, please let me have your email address.



4 Comments so far
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I have only heard Peter Tyler’s talk so far. He systematically projects his own Neo-Platonic Mysticism into the writings of St Teresa of Avila. In the Prayer of Quiet, St Teresa does not experience the ‘mindfulness’ that turns a person’s gaze upon themselves, but true mystical Contemplation that turns her heart and mind towards God, because it is he who is drawing her to himself. The greatest influence on her spirituality is not the Pseudo Areopagite, but Jesus Christ, who plays no significant part in the Areopagite’s unbiblical mystical philosophy. This is what happens when a non practitioner sets himself up to guide others. This man is dangerous.

Comment by David Torkington

Thank you David – that’s a really interesting comment that I will need to think about.

My initial reaction was that I found some of Peter Tyler’s most recent book helpful – there was a very careful reading of Teresa’s Spanish terminology which added a great deal to my understanding. I will go away and think about this and your comment more, so thank you.

In terms of the Conference talks, I found the ones by Iain Matthew, Gillian Ahlgren, Rowan Williams, Sister Mary of St Joseph and Sister Philomena to be real pearls of great price. I will be spending time over the next months reflecting on them and praying them through.

Thank you for conversation on this


Comment by pilgrimpace

Andy, Thanks for coming back so quickly. I am also now catching up with some of the other talks and looking out for yours. Roman Williams is always worth listening to. I specialize in mystical theology as you will see from my website. I enjoy your blog.

Comment by David Torkington

Thanks David. Likewise

Comment by pilgrimpace

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