The Wisdom Of The Spanish Mystics
Literature by Stephen Clissold
The great flowering of Catholic mysticism in sixteenth-century Spain has had a lasting effect on that country’s religious life. Stephen Clissold’s The Wisdom of the Spanish Mystics provides a selection of maxims and excerpts from the writings of over twenty visionaries. Represented here are such well-known figures as the poet and theologian St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, a woman of great charm and practical ability as well as acute spiritual insight, and St. Ignatius Loyola, the invalided soldier who founded the Society of Jesus. But scarcely less extraordinary are the Majorcan missionary and scholar Ramón Lull, the saintly Jesuit doorkeeper Alonso Rodriguez, and Maria Vela, another nun from Avila whose autobiography has recently come to light. The introduction places these remarkable men and women in the historical and cultural context of a Christian Spain triumphant in its nearly eight-hundred-year struggle with its Moslem adversaries, and outlines their relation to the central Catholic mystical tradition. This new volume will be of special interest to readers familiar with Thomas Merton’s The Wisdom of the Desert, the collection of savings from the Desert Fathers that inspired the ongoing New Directions Wisdom Series.