The International Center of Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies was initiated in 1986 in the context of the fourth centenary of of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross’ death (1982 and 1991 respectively) as an educational institution dedicated to promote the systematic study of the the lives and works of these saints and Doctors of the Church, and to transmit their profound spiritual and mystical experience. This is a most valuable legacy that has remained over time up to our days.
The University reaches its widest sense as an universal place visited by hundreds of peoples from all five continents. Their diverse cultural backgrounds share the same appetite to know more about St. Teresa and St. John, founders of the Discalced Carmel.
What at first represented to the Discalced Carmelites an internal tool for the friars of the Order, now becomes the transmitter of knowledge and experience to other listeners and cultures. Thus, the Spanish mystical heritage becomes a patrimony of humanity which goes beyond the walls of the Carmel.
The mission of the University of Mysticism is to contribute with the academic, cultural, and spiritual formation of its participants and to promote research in the diverse fields associated with the area of mysticism. In addition, it encourages dialogue between mysticism and the different sciences that directly affect social and personal human existence. Students and professors establish invaluable mutual human relations in the context of fraternal sharing, which strengthen their personal development.
Our Center is led by the general government of the Discalced Carmelite Order with the support of a Directive Counsel appointed to direct, encourage, and accompany the following educational offers:
- Course on Mysticism and Human Sciences (Master-Specialization-Expert)
- Part-time course
- Continuing formation courses on weekends
- Summer courses
- Studies on compared mysticism
- International congresses about mysticism and spirituality.
We read in the book of Genesis: “And God said: Let us make man in our image and likeness” (1, 26). With full confidence in the human person our Center promotes an atmosphere of freedom and respect. It is not only a place of studies, but also a setting of encounter and communion. For this reason, it opens its doors to welcome groups and organizations to assist them in their human and spiritual growth as well as in the area of mysticism. We pursue this goal through different activities, such as: workshops, retreats, concerts, cultural trips, liturgical celebrations, among others.
Our Center fosters an ambiance of integration between mysticism and reason, which is intimately intertwined with daily Christian living. It strives to shed light on modern society’s problems and questions from the perspective of mysticism, a society which is in continuous change with innumerable developments, but many times lacks values and guiding principles. For CITeS constant work and personal effort are standards that serve as propellers of true progress and are necessary for healthy human coexistence.
Located in Avila, a city of strong mystical resonance, CITeS occupies a place that makes it ideal for study, prayer and community living. The city, St. Teresa’s birthplace, is a privileged setting for a direct contact with this great saint and St. John of the Cross, among the ancient stones with which its famous walls were built. Avila is an ancient city where one can get lost among monuments, churches and streets that for centuries have been trodden by Discalced Carmelites.
It offers direct contact with historical places built in honor of the mystics after they passed by. Avila whispers tranquility that invites the pilgrim to immerse him/herself into the fascinating world of the mystical experience.