Getting to know: Saint Teresa of the Andes

Cheridan Sanders

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saint Teresa of the Andes
Teresa of the Andes (or Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones Fernández y Solar) was born in Chile in 1900 to an upper class family. From early on Juanita participated daily at Holy Mass. Her constancy in the Eucharist reveals her inner thirst to meet Christ. Early in her life she read the autobiography of Thérèse of Lisieux. The experience had a profound effect on Juanita's already pious character, coming to the realization she wanted to live for God alone. At at the age of 19, Juana entered the novitiate of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in the township of Los Andes, at which time she was given the name Teresa of Jesus. Within a few months of her admission to the Order however, she contracted typhus, which was diagnosed as fatal. She was three months short of her twentieth birthday, and yet had six months to complete her canonical novitiate so she was allowed to profess vows in articulo mortis (danger of death). She died as a professed nun of the Order on April 12, 1920.
Teresa of the Andes was always aware that her prayer and sacrifice were able to improve and purify the world. An estimated 100,000 pilgrims visit St Teresa's remains each year in the Sanctuary of Auco-Rinconada in the township of Los Andes, near Santiago. She is Chile's first saint, and especially popular among women and young people. Inscribed on her tomb are the words: "Love is stronger."
Blessed Teresa of the Andes, pray for us!
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