Alois Prinz

Teresa of Avila

(German title: Teresa von Ávila)
ca. 265 pages
Alois Prinz
Foto: Alois Prinz
© Volker Derlath/Beltz-Gelberg

Alois Prinz, born in 1958, studied Literature and Philosophy in Munich and today lives with his family outside of Munich in Kirchheim.

He has published numerous biographies, including ones on Georg Forster, Hermann Hesse, Ulrike Marie Meinhof and Franz Kafka.

Awards for his work include the German Youth Literature Prize and the Evangelical Book Prize.

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From the author of the bestsellers Hannah Arendt oder die Liebe zur Welt and Christianity’s Great Female Mystics


»An important, unique, extremely human and attractive person,« Pope Paul VI called her when recognizing Teresa of Ávila as the first woman »Teacher of the Church« in 1970.

During her life she fell into the sights of the Inquisition because, in direct contrast to tradition, she nurtured a personal relationship with God; she spoke with him as if he were a friend. That not only made her suspicious in the eyes of the guardians of the faith, but put her at odds with the then predominant conception of women’s intellectual and spiritual inferiority. Although spiritual writings in the vernacular were forbidden, Teresa composed her life story and described her inner experiences in numerous books. Today these texts count as world literature, and the spiritual experiences documented within them look forward to many findings of modern psychology.

And yet, Teresa von Ávila was not only an extremely important mystic; she was above all a practical woman full of great energy. She travelled throughout Spain and founded numerous convents, which were not only places of prayer and retreat, but also centers of protection where women, in a male-dominated society, could live as best they saw fit. Teresa called upon her fellow sisters to not allow themselves to be frightened. Instead, she asked them to show »what was within them« and in so doing »cause men to be amazed.«


»Alois Prinz offers us a vivid and carefully researched biography that leads us into that extremely interesting time with its many problems. Teresa is not depicted as a monumental person, but as an extremely human one.« Otto Betz, Christ in the Present

»Alois Prinz has written a book for adolescents and adults who would like to, maybe even together, embark on the journey to a woman who broke almost all social conventions 500 years ago in order to break through to the goal and meaning of her life.« Matthias Drobinski, Süddeutsche Zeitung