Thursday, March 02, 2006

Saint Teresa of Jesus of Los Andes

Juanita Fernández Solar is the first Chilean woman and the first American Discalced Carmelite Nun to be raised to the honors of the altar. She was born in Santiago, Chile, into the heart of a very Catholic, rich family, on 13th July 1900.

From the age of six, she assisted at Holy Mass almost daily with her mother, and longed for the day when she would receive her first Holy Communion. From then on she managed to communicate daily spending quite some time in friendly conversation with Jesus. She also had a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother.

When Teresa was fourteen she felt called to Carmel. She prepared herself by reading about the Carmelite Saints and frequent correspondence with the Prioress of Los Andes, who was amazed at the clarity with which the 17 year old Teresa could explain the Carmelite ideal and the fire with which she defended her contemplative life. She entered the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Los Andes on 7 May 1919.

She was always ready to serve others and give up things for them so that there would be joy and happiness, and to make virtue lovable and attractive.

As a Carmelite she was called Teresa of Jesus, and did not manage to live even one year in the convent, dying on 12 April 1920. The religious of her convent declared that she was already a Saint when she entered. For this reason she was able to complete her climb to sanctity in such a short time, having begun in earnest a long time before her first Communion.

She was beatified in Santiago de Chile on 3 April 1987 by Pope John Paul II, who solemnly canonized her in Rome on 21 March 1993. Her feast day is April 12th.

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