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Book for the Hour of Recreation

Edited by Alison Weber
Introduction and Notes by Alison Weber
Translated by Amanda Powell
María de San José Salazar (1548-1603) took the veil as a Discalced ("barefoot") Carmelite nun in 1571, becoming one of Teresa of Avila’s most important collaborators in religious reform and serving as prioress of the Seville and Lisbon convents. Within the parameters of the strict Catholic Reformation in Spain, María fiercely defended women’s rights to define their own spiritual experience and to teach, inspire, and lead other women in reforming their church.

María wrote this book as a defense of the Discalced practice of setting aside two hours each day for conversation, music, and staging of religious plays. Casting the book in the form of a dialogue, María demonstrates through fictional conversations among a group of nuns during their hours of recreation how women could serve as very effective spiritual teachers for each other. The book includes one of the first biographical portraits of Teresa and Maria’s personal account of the troubled founding of the Discalced convent at Seville, as well as her tribulations as an Inquisitional suspect. Rich in allusions to women’s affective relationships in the early modern convent, Book for the Hour of Recreation also serves as an example of how a woman might write when relatively free of clerical censorship and expectations.

A detailed introduction and notes by Alison Weber provide historical and biographical context for Amanda Powell’s fluid translation.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Series
Chronology of the Life of María de San José Salazar
Introduction to María de San José Salazar (1548-1603)
A Note on the Translation
Book for the Hour of Recreation
First Recreation
Second Recreation
In which, as Justa and Gracia continue, the latter recounts what she saw of Mother Angela and how long she has known her
Third Recreation
In which Justa asks Gracia to tell her about Mount Carmel
Fourth Recreation
In which Gracia continues to tell of the greatness of Mount Carmel
Fifth Recreation
In which Gracia continues to tell of the greatness of Mount Carmel
Sixth Recreation
In which they discuss the riches and precious stones of Mount Carmel
Seventh Recreation
In which all three nuns discuss the properties of prayer, and the practice of the same
Eighth Recreation
Which tells of the life of the holy Mother Teresa of Jesus and of her birth and parents, calling her by the name of Angela, and sums up the favors that God granted her, as she relates them in her books
Ninth Recreation
Suggestions for Further Reading

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