Source of Strength with Teresa of Avila

In 16th century Spain, men were accustomed to thinking of their wives as “slaves valuable for breeding.” In fact, when a wife wrote a note or letter to her husband, the closing would often read, “ Your wife and slave.” A widely read spiritual author of the time, Fansicso de Osuna, recommended to men, “the moment you see your wife running back and forth on pilgrimages and devoting herself to sanctimoniousness, close the door of your house. If that should fail, then break her leg, that way she can limp from her house to paradise.”1 Homebound, barefoot and pregnant was a good Spanish wife: devout enough to want to go to mass and obedient enough to stay home.

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