For the first half of March break, students will travel to Spain to share in a unique learning experience studying the life and works of Teresa de Avila, a Spanish mystic. This journey will introduce and expose students to classic and contemporary expressions of mysticism, grounded both within the Christian tradition and encountered outside of any formal religious doctrine.
This spiritual journey will allow Deerfield Academy students to walk in the footsteps of Saint Teresa. Our stay in rural inns near Avila will contrast with the boutique hotels of Madrid, reminding us of the diversity of experiences available today and also present historically during Teresa’s life. We will visit local monasteries, churches, religious communities and fortresses of significance in the region, with discussions around Spain’s diverse religious history. Teresa’s footsteps will lead us to the Sierra de Gredos, where we will hike and visit with goat herders, allowing us to explore local food systems in many settings, including a visit to an artisanal cheese factory and pimentón (local smoked paprika) producer. We will sample the best of the region, whether it be food, literature, music, or sport, and find time to wander with friends, in conversation or quiet contemplation, finding opportunities to identify how Teresa’s simple and well-lived life – her cotidianidad, to appropriate a Spanish word – might resonate with our own.