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Finding interior peace in the ordinary practice of law: Wisdom from the spiritual tradition of St. Teresa of Avila.

Nolan-Haley, Jacqueline
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Journal of Catholic Legal Studies. 46(1): 29-42.

It is no secret that the legal profession is troubled by a vocational crisis and so the inquiry posed in this symposium –
how the lives of extraordinary Catholics can inform the ordinary practice of law – is a particularly timely one. …
Teresa’s reform agenda for the Carmelite order is found in her writings that were directed to assist members of the order
in living a life of prayer, poverty, and solitude, according to the original intent of the Carmelite founders. … ” To the
extent that a contemplative approach does hold the key to personal understanding, I will draw on some wisdom writing
from the spiritual tradition of St. Teresa of Avila to suggest that her contemplative model can engage lawyers in an authentic
search for a full appreciation of who we really are. … What are the normative implications of Teresa’s contemplative
model? How can self-knowledge and humility improve the practice of law? Do these Teresian prescriptions offer
any insights not already available in the legal academy such as the pedagogical approach of clinical legal education,
the writings of contemporary scholars arguing for greater humility in the practice of law, or calls for spiritual revitalization
of the legal profession? I will suggest two areas where the Teresian contemplative approach may prove beneficial.(Author’s abstract)


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