Saint Teresa of Avila, the Woman, with Helena Cosano
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: Why did Teresa of Avila have problems with the Inquisition? And what protected her from being persecuted by it?
Helena Cosano was born in India, where her father was the Spanish ambassador. She became a diplomat herself, and served in various positions in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and at the United Nations in New York. She is currently Head of Studies at Spain’s official Diplomatic School in Madrid.
Ms. Cosano is also an award-winning writer. In 2014 her book of short fiction, Almas brujas (“Witches’ Souls”), was awarded the Rubén Darío International Prize for Literature, and the following year her novel El viento de Viena (“The Wind of Vienna”) won the Buitrago de Lozoya International Prize for Fiction.
In her latest novel, Teresa la mujer (“Teresa the Woman”), Cosano puts herself in the shoes of Teresa of Avila, the 16th-century descendent of conversos, who became a nun and went on to found the Discalced Carmelite Order, later becoming one of Spain’s most important saints. Teresa was a mystic, and her writings are not only among the most remarkable in the mystical literature of the Catholic Church, but also an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature.
Ms. Cosano presented Teresa la mujer at Centro Sefarad-Israel, and afterwards we spoke with her about her novel, and the woman who inspired it.