The Commission of Theologians of America and the Council for Culture of the Teresian Association, on the occasion of the celebration of the 5th Centenary of St. Teresa and with the desire to spread the news of their charism and spirituality, organized the first American and Caribbean Congress of Theology and Spirituality in Santiago de Chile in September 2015.
The intent is to offer a framework of theological reflection on Christian spirituality, highlighting the lay dimension by collecting the wealth of Vatican II documents that invite us to return to the sources of Christianity, and approach the person of St. Teresa in today’s world.
The main presentations and the communications offered new and interesting reflections enriched with themes such as the body, psychology, prophecy, the option for the poor, the holistic dimension, the plurality of cultures and religious experiences, among others. After a long editing process, we present all the material of the Congress in an e-book that is already available for free. Download Mística y Profecía
The motto, "Saint Teresa of Avila: Mysticism and prophecy. In these times, strong friends of God are needed" (cf. Book of Her Life 5, 5), includes topics for reflection that were developed over two days through lectures, panels, and communications.
St. Teresa summons us by her ability to transmit a spiritual experience of unequaled wealth, a "mystical experience" that places us in the heart of the world and invites us to transform it. That is why its "prophetic" dimension is inseparable from her experience of God, thus being an invitation to commit to our present reality.
The congress had two main lines that can be recognized in the main presentations. On the one hand, the reflection on the different spiritualties of today, by Dr. Antonio Bentue; and the experience of these spiritualties in the context of the new ecclesial moment of the Bishop of Rome, Francis, of a "Church on the go", by Mgr. Pablo Palet. On the other hand, the person of St. Teresa who is very relevant for the Spirituality of Incarnation of the Teresian Association, presented by Dr. Lúcia Pedrosa-Padua, and the contributions to current reality such as "Mysticism and the Body," by Lola Poveda.
The panels delved into the person of Saint Teresa focused on "experience", by Manuela Aguilera; "The historical dimension", by Guadalupe Pedrero; The feminist, by Ana Luisa Cusán, OCD; the contribution of this Saint to the Spirituality of Incarnation, by Consuelo Vélez; The life of a couple, by Andrea Sánchez Ruiz and lay spirituality, by Amparo Alvarado.
The communications addressed different aspects such as the articulation of spirituality with daily life, inter-cultural issues, religious plurality, emerging topics, ecology, option for the poor, and so on.
Readers will be able to find in these contributions a call to renew their own spiritual experience, and to find St. Teresa as a companion on the road, whose life and doctrine illumine the current contexts through which we journey.
For the Teresian Association in America, this has been an opportunity to experience the vitality of its charism and the responsibility to communicate the legacy that Saint Pedro Poveda, its founder, who placed Saint Teresa as an inspiring reference and saw her as "eminently human and all God’s."
We are confident that the fruits of this Congress, not only through the written texts presented here, but with the richness of shared life, liturgical expressions, praying dances and lived multiculturalism - impossible to convey in this book - can continue to open the way to spiritual renewal, to a transformative commitment filled with life and hope for all.
Commission of Theologians of the Teresian Association in America