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Ávila mística

If Avila is known for something it is for being the home of the mystique hand, particularly that of Saint Teresa of Jesus, one of the most outstanding figures of Spanish spirituality. Undoubtedly, one of the most important places in the life of the saint was the Monastery of Incarnation, where she stayed from 1535 to 1563 and became prioress. This was a convent with important social differences between the nuns, depending on their financial position. This was something that never pleased Saint Teresa. It was here that she prepared the reformation of the Carmelite Order. Here, we will find a museum that gives us an idea of what life was like in this place, including a reproduction of the cell where St. Teresa lived during her time as prioress. We will come across saintly objects, like her hand embroidered towel or the log she used as a pillow to mortify herself. Continuing our journey through the life of the Saint we arrive at her convent, built over the remains of the house where she was born. It is the headquarters of the International Teresian Centre. The church in this convent faces to the north and not the east as in most cases, so that the main altar and the oratory room were aligned with Saint Teresa’s room. In the church, a baroque altarpiece of Saint Teresa stands out, a work by Gregorio Fernández which represents Saint Teresa, flanked by images of Saint Joseph and the Virgin dressing her in a white robe and hanging on her a medal which symbolises protection. In the oratory chapel we find the image of Gregorio that is brought out in a procession on October 15. It is one of the most venerated images of the city. Also, particularly beautiful is the carved Christ tied to the column, created by the same sculptor. In the monastery we can see part of the family orchard where Teresa and her brother shared games and books. In the relic room, we can see Saint Teresa´s middle finger, two bones belonging to St. Juan de la Cruz and the saint´s museum. The latter introduces us into a special atmosphere. This museum is located in a 1,500 square metre crypt where we will find the Saint’s most read books and the various habits worn throughout history by the Carmelite Order. It is a place for profound thought where one can lose oneself among books, documents and artworks that bring us closer to the life and work of Saint Teresa. What better way to end our route than at the centre of mystical interpretation, a unique centre in Europe that opens us to inner reflection through light, music and art.