Theresa d'Avila

Monastery Saint Theresa, to the Century Theresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada, she was a Carmelite religious and a Spanish mystic.

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From: Book of Life of Saint Theresa of Avila

"Past great time from when the Gentleman it had already made many of aforesaid thanks and also others me, much remarkable, while a day I was in oration, me seemed to find to me suddenly sinker in hell, without to know as I understood that the Gentleman wanted makes to see the place me that there the demons had prepared to me and that I had deserved for my sins.

Such vision lasted a short space of time, but even if lived many years, me seems that I could not never forget it. The entrance seemed to me much like a alley along and strait, like a furnace much low, dark and narrow; the ground, a full mire of and a pestilential smell in which amounts of resisted them. In the wall of deep there was a cavity like of a cabinet embedded in the wall, where I felt myself to lock up in a much narrow space.

But all this was an even pleasant show in comparison to what I had here to suffer.

This that I have said, however, badly is described. What I am in order to say, but, seems to me that it cannot not be tried to describe it neither can be meant: I felt in the spirit a fire of such violence that I do not know as to be able to report it; the body was tormented from thus intolerable pains that, also having some suffered in this life much serious, indeed, to how much the doctors say, of most serious whom in earth they can be suffered - because my nerves were all when I remained paralyzed, without to say of many others of miscellaneous kind that I have had, some of which, as I have said, caused from the demon - all it is null in comparison of what I have suffered there then, much more to the thought that they would have been torments without end and without stopping. Nevertheless also this was not null in comparison to the torment of the spirit: an oppression, an anguish, a thus deep sadness, thus wounded deeply and deprived of hope pain, than I do not know like expressing it. To say that it is like feeling continuously to tear the spirit is little, because dying, seems that others place end to our life, but is the same spirit here is made to pieces.

I do not know just like describing to that inner fire and that desperation that exasperated thus horribly torments and thus serious suffering. I did not see who procured them to me, it seemed but me to feel to me to burn and dilacerate; I repeat, but, than the torture it was given from that fire and that inner desperation. I was in a pestilential place, without some hope of comfort, the possibility to seat to me and to spread the limbs, sluice in that species of hole in the wall. The same walls, to look at it, burdened lean giving to me a sense to me. Not there was the most driven in light, but darkness. I did not understand as this could happen: that, also being light, this was not looked at to us equally that could give pain to the sight.

The Gentleman then did not want to show other to me of hell; chased, but, I have had a vision of frightful things, between which the punishment of some defects. Al to see them, me seemed very more terrible, but sic come of it I did not try the suffering, did not make much fear me, while in this first vision the Gentleman wanted that I indeed felt in the spirit those anguish and afflictions, as if you suffered to them in the body. I do not know like this has happened, but I very became account that was for effect of a great grace and that the Gentleman wanted makes to see me with my eyes from where it's messier had freed to me.

To feel to speak about hell is nothing, nothing the fact that has sometimes meditated on the various torments that procure (even if little times, because the way of the fear is not made for my spirit) and with which the demons tortures the damned ones and on other anchor that I have read in the books; it is not nothing, I repeat, of forehead to this pain, that it is very other thing. There is the same difference that passes between a portrait and the truth; to burn itself to our fire is very little thing in comparison to the torment of the infernal fire.

I remained scared and it they are still while I write although nearly six years are passed much to feel to me to from the here same terror, where are. Thus not there is once in which I am plagued from some suffering or pain that me does not seem to be a game all which can myself be suffered down here, convinced that, partially, we complain ourselves without reason. I return therefore to say that this is one of greater thanks that the Gentleman has made me, because he has helped me very many, or in order not to fear more the tribulation and the contradictions of this life, or in order to strain to me to support them and thank the Gentleman to have to freed, like hour seems to me, from terrible and thus eternal evils.

Then in then, I repeat, all me seems easy in comparison of a moment of that suffering I had there to leave".