The Interior Castle is more than a book. It is a
powerful image of the mystery of the human person.
It is the soul of St. Teresa of Avila, who
journeys through the castle from one dwelling
place to another mapping out a feminine, yet
warlike, program for the Christian spiritual life.
It is also the last book Teresa wrote: in 1577,
five years before she died, she recorded, to the
best of her knowledge, the experiences for which
she praised God.
Reading Teresa herself is indispensable. The
authors of this study edition designed it as a
springboard to reading and understanding Teresa’s
text. They present a chapter of Teresa’s book,
followed by a review of the progress of her
thought and the principal ideas in each chapter.
Next they give interpretive notes: doctrinal,
historical, and sociological. Then because Teresa
wanted her writings to be in harmony with sacred
Scripture, they point out scriptural texts that
support her ideas.
Finally, the authors show how teachings of the
present-day church demonstrate both how Teresa's
basic notions were correct and how we can apply
her principles to our times.
"Saint Teresa, began to write the Interior
Castle on June 2, 1577, Trinity Sunday, and
completed it on the eve of St. Andrew, November
29, of the same year. But there was a long
interruption of five months, so that the actual
time spent in the composition of this work was
reduced to about four weeks-a fortnight for the
first, and another fortnight for the second half
of the book. The rapidity with which it was written
is easily explained by the fact that the Saint had
conceived its plan some time previously. On
January 17, 1577, she had written to her brother,
Don Lorenzo de Cepeda, at Avila: 'I have asked the
bishop-Don Alvaro Mendoza-for my book (the Life)
because I shall perhaps complete it by adding those
new favours our Lord has lately granted me. With
these one may even compose a new work of considerable
size, provided God grants me the grace of explaining
myself." -From the Introduction.