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Culture Nivel B2

Was Saint Teresa a radical feminist?

Seville / The journalist Rafael Aguilar (Cordova, 1973) has spent six months touring Spain visiting a dozen convents of cloistered nuns to interview nearly fifty of them, with which he has written a long report entitled “Clausura. Feminismo radical” (Freshbook).

“The title is sustained in two ideas: the first that women, in equality with men, have the right to contemplative prayer, something that St. Paul denied them and, the second, the figure of St. Teresa, to which historians, biographers and scholars consider a protofeminist”, Rafael Aguilar told EFE.

“I have also included an interview with Josefina Molina, author of the series on Santa Teresa which was starred by Concha Velasco and who believes that if Saint Teresa lived today would be considered a radical feminist. She was a transgressor woman and she was even prosecuted because her foundations had a political component and aroused misgivings against a woman who did men’s things”, he adds.

“In the time of Philip II, this woman not only founded convents but also dedicated herself to writing; the nuncio came to describe her as ‘a woman walking and obstinate'”, he added.

The cloisters of Cordova

Aguilar’s work started from an original report, which he dedicated a week, about the cloisters of Cordova, which was published by “ABC”, after which he received the order of the Freshbook editorial to visit Spain to do the same with other convents of Cadiz, Seville, Cordova, Burgos, Salamanca, Madrid, Barcelona and others of Castilla-La Mancha as Daimiel and Malagon (Ciudad Real).

Barefoot Carmelite, minimas, Franciscan, Conceptionist, Poor Claire and Hieronymite nuns, all received him and only presented him with resistance in Malagon, where only two nuns attended him at the parlor and, with an evident distrust, hardly answered with monosyllables to his questions.

Separate vow aside, one of the most eloquent nuns was found in Lucena (Cordova), and she was the one that reached a certain celebrity because Pope Francis, when trying to congratulate her on Christmas and after verifying that no one attended the telephone of the convent, left in the answering machine a message which said something like this: “What are the nuns doing who do not pick up the phone?”

This nun is from Argentina and hence her friendship with the pope, and Aguilar still remembers his taste for conversation and, something even more satisfying, as the two newspaper covers that had occupied his reports on the Cordovan closures had the nuns of Lucena framed in the walls of the parlor.

Reading of Saint Teresa and of Saint John of the Cross

Aguilar has described as “a gift” the assignment of touring the Spanish cloisters carrying a bag full of books, including works by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, and as “another gift” the subsequent work of putting his experience written, in which he wanted to transcend his journalistic task and provide a more literary style some of its chapters.

On the best he has found in the convents, he pointed out that he has always had spiritual concerns and that these visits have accentuated them, especially to find women of his generation who had not left for twenty years, not even to accompany his family when his parents have died.

Many of them were asked if they were happy with the life they had chosen and many answered with another question: what made you think he was happier than them? (April, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

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Question 1
It's said in the text that... (En el texto se dice que...)  
un periodista ha comenzado a escribir un libro sobre todos los conventos de España.
un periodista ha escrito un libro sobre las monjas de clausura de España.
es posible que un periodista publique un libro sobre las monjas de clausura.
Question 2
About Saint Teresa, it's said that... (Sobre santa Teresa se dice que...)  
se desmiente que hiciera cosas que solían hacer los hombres de su época.
es considerada como una de las primeras feministas por muchos estudiosos.
los estudiosos no tienen aún claro si realmente fue una feminista.
Question 3
According to the text, Aguilar was received by the cloistered nuns... (Según el texto, Aguilar fue recibido por las monjas de clausura...)    
con los brazos abiertos.
con cierto recelo y reserva.
con sorpresa pero sin recelo.
Question 4
When Saint Teresa is described as 'contumaz', it means that she was... (Cuando se describe a santa Teresa como 'contumaz'  se está diciendo que era...)  
soñadora y testaruda.
rebelde y obstinada.
sumisa y ordenada.
Question 5
The video talks about... (El vídeo habla de...)  
un libro sobre la influencia religiosa española en la literatura de Brasil.
la preparación de un libro sobre santa Teresa.
los actos para conmemorar el quinto centenario de la muerte de santa Teresa.
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