St. Teresa of Avila wrote candidly the story of both her life and her work as foundress in two books: the Life and the Foundations. Despite her openness in them, she wrote with the knowledge they would be read by her censors. Her letters, then, exhibit even more striking candor, offering many details that were not meant for the public. In these letters we walk with Teresa year by year, day by day -- even hour by hour sometimes. Her worries, her troubles and triumphs, her expressions of sadness and joy pervade these pages. Without question we have before us a rich collection, showing a heart magnanimously open to others, communicating with them on many levels, pouring itself out to family members and religious, to friends, theologians, advisors, and to the nobility and business people.
Difficult as writing a book was for Teresa, she preferred it to letter-writing, a drudgery that cost her more than all the pitiful roads and sorry weather experienced on her journey through Spain. What proved painful for her has proved a treasure for us, a collection of letters that scholars consider unparalleled in Spanish literature.