Mystic Writers: Religion from a perspective of gender in the poetry of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross
Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences
Date of Last Revision
Number of Credits
Bachelor of Arts
Date of Expected Graduation
Religion and the way in which people approach it is a complicated topic. There are a multitude of ways in which humans experience religion in their lives. Christian mysticism is a type of thought within the Christian religion, and it is evident in the works of two Spanish writers – Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. These two saints are good examples to study because, as writers and mystics, they worked closely together in the Spanish Catholic Church and had similar religious beliefs. Much of their writings tie into the same Biblical ideas, while their poetry demonstrates a relationship and an experience with God that is situated outside of the world in which they lived. Though these mystic experiences are similar, the way in which they write about and describe them varies. These differences help show an understanding of how religion is communicated differently through writing based on the gender of the writer. The poetry of St. Teresa, as highlighted in the poem “Muero porque no muero,” contains more “feminine” characteristics whereas the work of St. John, as seen in “Noche oscura,” demonstrates more “masculine” characteristics. In this work, I will consider the lives of St. Teresa and St. John and study their poetry from a view of that time period to draw the conclusion that gender does not have a clear impact on one’s religious beliefs but rather on the way in which an individual expresses these beliefs. Studying both Teresa and John exemplifies this and gives a thorough understanding of the affectionate mysticism which they practiced.
Dr. Alexis Ortiz
Dr. Maria A Zanetta
Dr. Parizad T Dejbord
Honors Faculty Advisor
Dr. Zhenmeng Peng
Proprietary and/or Confidential Information
Swope, Megan, "Mystic Writers: Religion from a perspective of gender in the poetry of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross" (2023). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 1719.