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Saint Teresa of the Andes

“Flower of the Andes”

(1900 – 1920)

“Perfection of life consists in drawing close to God. Heaven is the possession of God. In heaven, God is contemplated, adored, loved. But to attain heaven, it’s necessary to be detached from what is earthly.”

Saint Teresa of the Andes

Her Early Life

Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones Fernández Solar was born in July 13, 1900 in Santiago, Chile to Miguel Fernández Jara and Lucía Solar de Fernández as the fourth of six children. Her brothers were Luis and Miguel and Ignacio and her sisters were Lucía and Rebeca and Juana (who died a few hours after birth and whose name was given to Juanita). Her sister Rebeca became a Discalced Carmelite nun at the same convent as Juana. Her family and friends called her Juanita, her baptised name.

Her Youth and Education

Juanita received her education in a college managed by French nuns from the Sacred Heart order in Santiago. She remained there from 1907 until 1918. In 1914, Juanita decided to consecrate herself to the Lord and become a Discalced Carmelite. On December 8, 1915, Juana made a vow to remain chaste and renewed this vow on a regular basis. Juanita was pious in character. However, Juanita was not an easy character. She was proud, self-centred, stubborn, didn’t like to obey, got angry easily (her brothers liked winding her up!) and would cry for nothing. but could also be stubborn and vain, losing her temper on some occasions. Juanita had to work to overcome her initial self-centered character to change towards one who cared for others above all.

On one particular occasion, her sister Rebeca grew so fed up with Juana that she hit her while the red-faced Juanita grabbed her with anger but stopped and kissed her cheek. Rebeca was confused and unsure but chased her off and said: “Get out of here! You have given me the kiss of Judas!”

Received First Communion and Confirmation

Juanita received her Confirmation on October 22, 1909 and made her First Communion later on September 11, 1910.

During a bout of acute appendicitis in 1913 where she was hospitalized, Juanita believed Jesus told her to accept pain in memory of His sufferings. In her childhood, she also liked singing and dancing and played croquet and tennis. She was an able swimmer and could play the piano and harmonium. In 1916, she made a retreat for the Spiritual Exercises.

Live for God Alone

In her childhood, Juanita read the autobiography of the French Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Reading this book had a profound influence on her life, helping her realize that she desired to live for God alone. Her own letters at that time reflect a deep spirituality and a strong devotion to Our Lady.

Discalced Carmelite

On May 7, 1919 at the age of nineteen, Juanita entered the novitiate of the Discalced Carmelites in Los Andes. At this time, she was given the new religious name of “Teresa of Jesus”. Later, Teresa received the habit on October 14, 1919. Toward the end of her short life, she began an apostolate of letter-writing in which she shared her thoughts on the spiritual life with others.

Her Death

Soon, Teresa contracted typhus that was diagnosed as fatal. Her condition grew worse on April 2, 1920 – Good Friday. Teresa was still three months short of turning 20 and had six months to complete her canonical novitiate so as to make her religious vows. But, Teresa nevertheless was allowed to profess her vows “in periculo mortis” (“in danger of death”) on April 7, 1920. Teresa received the final sacraments on April 5, 1920 and died a week later on April 12, 1920 at the Carmelite convent at Los Andes, Chile. Her remains were later relocated in 1940 to a new chapel.

Saint Teresa of the Andes is recommended as a model for youth. An estimated 100,000 pilgrims visit her shrine in Los Andes each year. Saint Teresa of the Andes is the first Chilean saint.

Born :                   July 13, 1900 in Santiago, Chile

Died:                    April 12, 1920 age 20 at the Carmelite convent in Los Andes, Valparaiso, Chile

Beatified:            April 3, 1987 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized:         March 21, 1993 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:          April 12, July 13 (Discalced Carmelites)

Patron Saint:     Against Diseases; Against Illnesses; Ill People; Santiago, Chile; Young People

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Teresa of the Andes is a model of youthful holiness. Her short life, lived entirely within the confines of the Carmelite convent, challenges the misconception that holiness is reserved for those who live long, externally remarkable lives. She reminds us that holiness can be found in the ordinary and in the depths of the heart.

Can you, like Saint Teresa of the Andes, exude today a radiant joy seen by others that shows your conviction that eternal happiness awaits those who remained faithful to Christ?

Prayers

Saint Teresa of the Andes,
You were a model of youthful holiness and joy, while embracing the path of contemplation and suffering, we pray that you may intercede for us before the throne of God.

In your short life, you radiated the love of Christ, teaching us the transformative power of a deep relationship with God. Help us, like you, to find joy in our union with the Lord, and to accept suffering as a means of drawing closer to Him.

As a Carmelite mystic, you understood the beauty of prayer and contemplation, Teach us to seek moments of silence and reflection in our busy lives, and to deepen our relationship with God in the quiet of our hearts.

Saint Teresa of the Andes, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Teresa of the Andes: A stubborn and proud girl who became a gentle saint

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Teresa of Jesus of Los Andes – Religious

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 12 April – Saint Teresa de Jesús “de los Andes” OCD (1900-1920)

Catholic Exchange – Love For Life: St. Teresa Of The Andes by Anthony Lilles

Catholic Online – St. Teresa de los Andes

Catholic Sun – Feast of St. Terese of Los Andes

Franciscan Media – Saint Teresa of Los Andes

Heralds of the Gospel – I have been caught in the loving nets of Jesus

Independent Catholic News – St Teresa of the Andes

Saint Resources – Teresa of the Andes

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Teresa of the Andes – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)

St. Teresa of Los Andes,April 12 – YouTube (A D Paul)