Latin America

St. Teresa of the Andes, Gospel incarnate

The feast of St. Teresa of the Andes is celebrated on July 13, in memory of her life dedicated to God from the Carmelite Order, where she embodied the evangelical spirit in an exemplary way.

Paloma López Campos-July 13, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes
Santa Teresa de los Andes

Tomb of Saint Teresa of the Andes (Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Teresa of the Andes was born in Chile on July 13, 1900, with the name of Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones Fernández Solar. She had five siblings and was baptized in Santiago with the name of Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones Fernández Solar.

From an early age, she lived her faith both at home and at school. Therefore, it is not surprising that at the age of fourteen she made the decision to consecrate herself to God as a Discalced Carmelite. However, she did not enter the monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Los Andes, until May 7, 1919. Just a few months later she began to wear the Carmelite habit and changed her name to Teresa of Jesus.

Saint Teresa of the Andes (Wikimedia Commons)

A month before his death, he spoke to his confessor and told him that Jesus himself had revealed to him that he would die soon. In spite of this, he lived with joy and serenity, trusting fully in God.

The novice caught typhus, which caused her great physical suffering. Her pain ended on April 12, 1920, the day she died after receiving the sacraments. She was still a few months away from completing her novitiate, although she made her religious profession "in articulo mortis" a week before her death.

A life of love

The life of this young woman passed quietly, without extraordinary events. The biography The Vatican's study of her explains that her holiness resides in the fact that "God made her experience his presence, captivated her with his knowledge and made her his own through the demands of the cross. Knowing Him, she loved Him; and loving Him, she gave herself to Him radically".

Her character was contrary, in many aspects, to the evangelical spirit. However, at some point "she looked at herself with sincere and wise eyes and understood that to be God's it was necessary to die to herself and to everything that was not Him".

It is said that "the holiness of her life shone in her daily acts, in the environments where her life developed". She tried to give herself with love to her family, in her studies, with her friends and with all those she met.

Once in Carmel, she found there "the channel to pour out more effectively the torrent of life that she wanted to give to the Church of Christ".

John Paul II celebrated her beatification in Santiago de Chile on April 3, 1987. A few years later, in 1993, St. Teresa of the Andes was canonized at the Vatican.

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