Feast DayJuly 13th
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, known as the “Little Flower.” Saint Thérèse’s extraordinary devotion to God and her “Little Way” of finding holiness in simplicity have left an enduring legacy that continues to inspire countless individuals on their spiritual journeys.
AWOC Order of Carmelites
St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:
A Life of Love and Holiness
Early Life and Spiritual Awakening
St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, known as Santa Teresa de Jesús de los Andes in Spanish, was born Juanita Fernández Solar on July 13, 1900, in Santiago, Chile. From a very young age, she exhibited a deep spirituality and a profound love for Christ. Her family, devout Catholics, played a significant role in nurturing her faith.
One of her earliest spiritual experiences was her First Holy Communion, during which she expressed her love for Jesus in her diary, saying, “I gave myself to Jesus, and Jesus gave Himself to me.” This deepened connection with Christ would become a central theme in her life.
Entrance into the Carmelite Convent
At the tender age of 19, Juanita entered the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Spirit in the Andes Mountains, where she took the name Teresa of Jesus. In this secluded and contemplative environment, she embraced a life of prayer, self-surrender, and devotion to Christ. Her spiritual diary and letters reveal her innermost thoughts and reflections, demonstrating her fervent love for God.
Love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Teresa of the Andes had a profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, often expressing her desire to be consumed by His love. She wrote, “My only wish is to love Him, to love Him more each day, to be consumed by that love.” Her spirituality was deeply influenced by St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her “Little Way” of humility and simplicity.
Desire for Holiness and Sacrifice
Teresa of Jesus of the Andes yearned for holiness and saw her life as a gift to God. She said, “I offer You, Lord, my youth, and all its enthusiasm, my hopes, my desires. May this offering be pleasing to You, for I want to be Yours, I want to belong to You.” Her willingness to embrace suffering as a means of sanctification is evident in her words, “I am happy to be small, for only then can I be completely Yours.”
Canonization and Legacy
Tragically, St. Teresa’s life was cut short when she contracted typhus and passed away on April 12, 1920, at the age of 19. Despite her brief life, her intense love for God and her commitment to holiness left a profound impact on those around her.
In 1993, Pope John Paul II canonized her as a saint, recognizing her as the first Chilean saint and the first Discalced Carmelite nun to be canonized. She continues to inspire countless individuals, particularly young people, to deepen their faith and love for Christ.
“The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes” – These writings include her spiritual diary and letters, offering profound insights into her spiritual journey.
“Saint Teresa of the Andes: Passionate for Christ” by Jennifer Moorcroft – This biography provides a comprehensive look at the life and spirituality of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes.
“St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: Her Story in Pictures” – A visual representation of her life and the places associated with her.
“The Little Flower and the Little Flower: St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Teresa of the Andes” by Rev. Thomas S. Roux, S.J. – A comparative study of the spirituality of these two Carmelite saints.