“Christ is risen!”
Today – Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 – marks the centenary of the death of an extraordinary little soul: Teresa of the Andes (d. April 12, 1920).
[Further down the page, you will find some selections of her beautiful letters, taken from ‘Letters of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes’.]
A Quick Snapshot of Her Life
Known in the world as Juanita, as a young woman, this social, intelligent, playful, and devout “Child of Mary,” like St. Therese before her (one of her favourite Saints), followed the call to the cloister of Carmel. Inflamed with love for Jesus, the Spouse of Souls, she felt powerfully drawn to a certain little convent that, while poor and humble from a material point of view, was nonetheless a house permeated by the richness of Divine charity.
In any case, it was not comfort she was looking for, but ‘the God of all comfort’ (2 Cor. 1:3), Who “seeks solace from His little creature” (Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, another inspiration to St. Teresa of the Andes). It was while visiting the aforesaid convent that Our Lord was pleased, on at least one occasion, to manifest Himself from the Tabernacle, not with an expression of sorrow – as was often His wont – but with a joyful countenance. By this, Our Lord would have His daughter know that she had found the paradise of delights to which He was calling her. He was consoled here, and it is here she would flourish.
During her brief time in the cloister, she led a life of great, albeit hidden virtue in the cloister, paying close attention to the inspirations of Divine grace. Our Lord made it known to her that she would die young, and for this reason she must practice great fidelity to the counsels of perfection given to her by our Blessed Mother, but more so to holy obedience, and to the holy Rule handed down by St. Teresa of Avila, her Patron in religion. Obedience was ever her guide. “A host, Eli,” she wrote to a friend, “has no will of her own.” “I want,” she wrote in another letter, “to be a host through the Host.”
Ever spurred on by her desire for God, Who often flooded the soul of His little spouse to the point of ecstasy, she did not always succeed in mortifying herself (in the world she had a weakness for her favourite caramels!), as she lamented on more than one occasion; nevertheless, she knew how to draw profit from all things, knowing well that humility (which cannot be separated from confidence in God) is the key to Charity. Like St. Therese, she knew how to take herself lightly and in the spirit of childlike liberty, without which perfection – that is to say, the flowering of God’s love in the soul – is utterly impossible.
After only 11 months in the convent, Sr. Teresa (affectionately known as “Teresita”) was consumed by love, ending her short life at 7:15pm on Friday, April 12, 1920.
Ora pro nobis!
+ SOME SAMPLES OF HER LETTERS
Beautiful Apparitions of Our Lord
“Sometimes He appears to me so filled with beauty and tenderness that I can’t describe it. Believe me, it all causes me dissatisfaction with everything [that is less than God]…”
“… real friendship consists of perfecting one another and of coming closer to God.”
Apostles of God’s Mercy
“We must, dear Isabel, be apostles of that Heart’s mercy. We must dissolve the wall of coldness with which they keep Him isolated. On the Altar, we must caress and console Him in His mystical agony.”
At the Foot of the Tabernacle
“… let us live forever at the foot of the Tabernacle, be it only in spirit, consoling Our Lord in His agony.”
With the Divine Prisoner
“… I’d like to live till the end of the world, suffering with the Divine Prisoner.”
Mary: Her “Priest”
“I’ve made an agreement with the Most Holy Virgin that she may be my priest who will offer me at every moment for sinners and priests, but bathed in the Blood of the Heart of Jesus.”
God’s Will: Our Only Good
“How shall we become more like Him except by doing His Divine Will? In loving and embracing It, we love and embrace a good that is infinitely pleasing to God; a good that contains within Itself eternal reason…”
Prayer: A Loving Gaze
“My prayer, for the most part, is a kind of gazing at God without using any reasoning… Interiorly, I feel a consuming fire completely consuming me.” (“Love, invade me!” – A Prayer she was fond of)
God Does Not Reject Sinners
“As for what you say about believing that Jesus looks at you in anger and not wanting to pardon you, that is a temptation… Why fear that Jesus will reject you? Would a mother reject a daughter, who, after failing in obedience, goes to beg her forgiveness? No, she would hug her daughter tightly to her heart. Why not believe that Jesus does this to us, His sinful creatures, since He possesses not only the tenderness of a mother, but a tenderness which knows no bounds, for it is infinite.”