08 April 2011

April 12 - St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa of the Andes, pray for us!

Saint Teresa of the AndesTeresa de Jesús "de los Andes," (July 13, 1900 – April 12, 1920) was a Chilean nun canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
She was born Juana Fernández del Solar in Santiago, Chile: her nickname was "Juanita". She was the daughter of an upper class family. Early in her life she read an autobiography of the French Saint Thérèse de Lisieux; the experience had a profound effect on Juanita's already pious character, coming to the realization she wanted to serve God.
Juanita was inspired after having read about St. Therese of Lisiuex, the French saint who died young, and who is also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus, or "The Little Flower".  Juanita wanted so much to love and serve and please God, that she wished for no one else to take hold of her heart ever in her life but Jesus.  Before her first Holy Communion, she strived to perfectly love Jesus and his Holy Will because she wanted to be worthy to receive him.  Juanita was given the mystical gift by God of locutions* (*one must never ask for such a gift, as the saints warn, because when we are not humble and ask for such a gift, as God can give us graces without such charisms and mystical experiences, we will be opening ourselves up to be deceived by an evil spirit. Even the saints say it is easy to be tricked even for the most pious soul).  Locutions are when Jesus speaks to a soul by sets of ideas, thoughts or visions from God.  These she started receiving after having received her first Holy Communion.  She soon realized that she wanted to become a religious after being so inspired to live for and love only Jesus.  Also, very early on, she understood that she would die young.
In 1919, at age 19, Juanita became a Discalced Carmelite novice and took the name Teresa. Toward the end of her short life, Teresa began an apostolate of letter-writing, sharing her thoughts on the spiritual life with many people. Still aged 19 she contracted typhus and made her religious profession. She died April 12, 1920 during Holy Week. She was three months short of her 20th birthday, and had yet 6 months to complete her canonical novitiate and to be legally able to make her religious vows, nevertheless she was allowed to profess the vows 'in articulo mortis'. She died as a Discalced Carmelite nun.
Teresa remains popular with the estimated 100,000 pilgrims who visit each year the shrine where her remains are venerated in the Sanctuary of Auco-Rinconada in the township of Los Andes; 60 miles from Santiago. She is Chile's first saint, and is specially popular among females and younger people.
During the early 90's, the popular telenovela actress Paulina Urrutia (Culture Minister in Chile since 2006), played Teresa in a television miniseries for the TVN Chile network. This became one of her most popular roles, to the point that people asked her in the streets to bless them.
Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Santiago de Chile on April 3, 1987. Luis, one of her siblings, was present at her beatification. He was the last direct relative of hers still alive in those years.
She is the first Discalced Carmelite Nun to become a Saint outside the boundaries of Europe and the fifth "Saint Teresa", together with Saints Teresa of AvilaFlorenceBenedicta of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.

Some of the above comments were taken from Wikipedia.


I would also like to add that there is a wonderful letter on this blog here:
The Carmelite Blogger

This is by a young girl who I saw on YouTube about a year or so ago, and felt she had a Carmelite vocation.  I wrote to her and she immediately wrote back.  We wrote for a little bit because I was easily convinced that she had a charism for this order and would be happy in a traditional Carmelite convent that prayed the Latin Carmelite liturgy.  Good news!  She's finding her way to Carmel!   I just hope she remembers me in her prayers!  Something tells me that she will remember all her "YouTube friends".  :-)  

Please pray that she will always seek to do the Holy Will of God, and that in this she becomes a saint.

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