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A Beautiful Free Spirit

I became familiar with the stories of the lives of the saints during my childhood in the Catholic faith. I have found some “friends” among their numbers. However, I am often skeptical of representations of them. One of them is Saint Teresa of Avila, and I always found it difficult to relate to the way people portrayed her. This painting of her really fits for me. I think it is perfect. 

I don’t know Sue Ellen Parkinson personally, but I admire her greatly. Her works on the sacred feminine are magnificent! I follow her on Facebook and love her paintings. With her permission, I am sharing the following. I hope you enjoy it and maybe check her out further. Thank you Sue Ellen!

“I could not paint Saint Teresa of Avila wearing a nuns habit. I tried to go there, but couldn’t do it. I wanted to see this beautiful spirit free, in soft flowered fabrics, with her hair loose, dancing, and playing her tambourine. 

The banner over her head bears her words, “God, deliver me from sullen saints.”  Teresa lived in the 16th Century and for her, the convent was the only real option other than marriage. She would have made great marriage material though, as she was beautiful, wise, compassionate and full of humor. 

To her surprise, she found that the contemplative life suited her. But whether she was in the convent, or out in the world, she was very popular. People loved her, and overtime, she grew into a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Twice in her lifetime, Teresa was questioned by the Inquisition. She said, ”I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him,” and in her confession (autobiography), which she was required to write to prove her innocence, she is extremely self deprecating. When reading this it made me cringe a bit, but also made me wonder if she, like so many women, was just making herself as small and unthreatening as possible. Was she just saying the things that these men required of her, so she would match their limited perception of who she should be? 

Thank you to Cagıl Cokan for modeling for me.

To see more of my icons of the Sacred Feminine:“


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