St. Teresa of the Andes

St. Teresa of the Andes

July 13, 1900–Born

Born Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones Fernández y Solar on July 13, in Santiago, Chile into a well-to-do, distinguished family.

“Jesus didn’t want me to be poor like Himself. I was born in the midst of riches spoiled by all.” –Diary

1907–Devotion To Mary

“More or less from the time I was seven years old there took root in my soul the greatest devotion to my Mother, the Most Holy Virgin.  I confided to Mary everything that was happening to me, and she spoke to me. I heard her voice within me, quite clearly and distinctly. She advised me and told me all that I had to do to please Our Lord. I thought that it was a perfectly normal thing, and it never occurred to me to relate to others what the Most Holy Virgin was telling me.” –Diary

1910–First Communion

“My First Communion Day was a day without clouds for me. What took place between my soul and Jesus is something indescribable. I asked Him a thousand times that he would take me, and I heard His sweet voice for the first time. I prayed to Him for everybody. And I felt the Virgin close to me. For the first time I experienced a delicious peace.”- Dairy

Early Prayer

Her cousin Anita Rucker explains:

“To see her motionless and absorbed in prayer made one realize that she was quite different. It showed the all-absorbing place God held in her heart.”

Brokenhearted at School

“When I am in boarding school I am so miserable…I wish they would reduce the boarding school to a heap of ashes.” –Letter

Her fellow student, Elena Sala Gonzales recalls,

“She had a lot of trouble in adolescence when her parents took her out of the day school and registered her at the boarding school. She was not pleased with the decision because she loved her family very much and wanted to be with them. God, who knows how to do things, permitted this first and partial separation from the family in order to prepare her for the definitive separation of the Carmelite Cloister.

She resigned herself, and she overcame her personal displeasure through strength of will. She entered the boarding school with a determined spirit, and her displeasure was not even noticed.”

Love of God

Her favorite  brother Luis’ recollections:

“Often when out in the country we visited the threshing fields nearby, and there, with her face turned to the immense sky, Juanita would intone her favorite songs in her soft and deep voice while contemplating the stars. Those were unforgettable dialogues. I would ask, “Don’t you feel terror before the infinite spaces, like Pascal used to say?” Juanita answered me, “Why feel  fear? Isn’t it God’s house?  Far from scaring me, the infinite spaces accompany and move me so that my soul wants to fly through them with the trust of a child of God.” –Luis’ Testimonial Letter


“From the time I was a little girl they used to tell me that I was the prettiest on in the family, and I was aware of this. Only God knows how much it cost me to destroy my pride and vanity that took hold of my heart when I was older.” –Diary


During a severe case of appendicitis

Our Lord spoke to me and made me understand how lonely and abandoned He is in the Tabernacles. He asked me to keep Him company. Then He gave me my vocation. And said that He wanted my heart  for Himself. He also told me I would become a Carmelite. From that moment  I spent entire days in intimate conversation with Our Lord and felt happy to be alone. I was not living at this time my own life, but Jesus was living in me. Our Lord showed me what holiness is. I would attain it by doing everything as well as possible.” –Diary

1917–Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity’s Influence

“I am reading Elizabeth of the Trinity. She enchants me. Her soul is like mine. Even though she is a Saint, I will imitate her and become a Saint. I want to live the life of heaven-as Elizabeth says-by becoming the praise of His glory.”-Letter

1919–Missions at San Pablo

“We held the Missions. There were more than fifty boys, and even when the Missions were over we went on instructing them every day, because people here are very ignorant.  It seems that they are being taught little or nothing in the public schools. For the boys we put on little comedies and games and I can assure you they enjoyed them greatly. Last Sunday we put on some movies for them. They were delighted.  Each day we went out by horseback to consecrate homes to the Sacred Heart. We were able to have 21 homes consecrated …I do this with love and with satisfaction. But it pains me to see that Jesus in not able to be enthroned in every home.” –Letter

A friend, Teresa Lyon Subercaseaux remembers…

Juanita has great zeal for teaching catechism and her zeal  sprung from her faith in God. Juanita spent  a summer vacation at my home in Algarrobo and I saw her with children who were very undisciplined-some of them children of alcoholics-and Juanita used to teach them the basic truths of their faith with great patience. She was heroic because she sacrificed her vacations in this difficult apostolate…”

April 1919–Her Letter to her Father

But don’t think I am going off in search of Mt. Tabor instead of Calvary. By God’s grace, I’ve understood the life of a Carmelite is one of continuous abnegation, not only of her flesh but of her will and judgement  too. And even though sometimes it frightens me, still I desire nothing but the cross . I used to think that God would grant souls who give themselves to Him delights and sweetness in prayer…but I now understand that is not seeking God, but self; and I’m not preparing myself for pleasures, but for dryness and abandonment, in a word, for fulfilling God’s will.”

May 7, 1919–Entrance To Carmel

She entered the Convent of the Holy Spirit on May 7 and received the habit on October 14, Vigil of the Feast St. Teresa of Avila.   

Her father…gave Juanita permission to join Carmel with great difficulty and remarked  that, “ to oppose Juanita’s vocation was like trying to stand in the path of an avalanche.” At the time of entrance, he  was out of the country, and  came neither to Santiago nor to Los Andes because he couldn’t bear to say goodbye to his daughter and give her a farewell embrace.” –Luis’ Testimonial Letter

In Carmel

Letter to Carmen De Castro Ortuzar:

“How I’d love to show you my little cell! It’s the sanctuary where I live with Him alone. I have a little wooden bench, my bed, a low table, a little basket, a washstand on the floor, and a little platform that we don’t use since we sit on the floor. The only jewel in our cells is a great crucifix crowned with thorns. We must spend many hours in our cells. We leave only to go to choir, to recreation and to other novitiate exercises…I invite you Carmen, to enter into His Divine Heart, where I live submerged, breathing only on the divine, and consuming my many miseries in the fire of his love.

November 16,1919–Letter to Rebecca, her sister who later became a Carmelite
My Dear Sister,
May Jesus look upon you and love you always. I wouldn’t know how to express how much I’ve wanted to write to you, but I’ve had to sacrifice those desires for Love’s sake…. Yesterday was exactly a month since I received the habit and time seems to have flown by. That’s the way life is here in Carmel. Soon we’ll find ourselves in eternity, and looking back at life from eternity it will be like a moment  that flew by without our realizing it. Elena wrote me …while you were in Santiago…I imagine that you made the most of those days in order to be truly close to Jesus, living with Him under the same roof. Believe me I envy you, because you can go at any time to where he is imprisoned . But on the other hand, I see that this is only for a few days; while I, myself being a prisoner, too, and bound by love, remain always by the altar, suffering and loving. This is my ideal, for in this way a Carmelite gathers the blood that pours forth from Jesus’ sacrifice, sprinkling it over souls. Join me, my dear sister, in doing everything for Love, accepting every suffering with joy in order to console the God-Man. When I consider my poor cell, I cannot but feel happy that I have renounced everything superfluous in order to possess God. He is my infinite wealth, my happiness, my heaven. Love Him in this way sister; that you may be happy. –Letters of St. Teresa of the Andes


She had an Interior illumination that she would die early in life. She died of perforated typhus.

“Our Lord had made me understand that I would live only a short while….”

Sister Isabel of the Trinity, St. Teresa’s fellow novice wrote,

“The end of her life reflected her life of intense love for God. I had the happiness of being with Juanita during her last moments, at the foot of her death bed, and I could observe her without missing a single detail. She had her gaze turned upwards; her face shining, and she radiated an immense peace and joy like someone who is being caught up into God.”

March 21, 1993 -Canonization

“For her, God is infinite joy. This is the new hymn of Christian love that rises spontaneously from the soul of this young Chilean girl, In whose glorified face we can sense the grace of her transformation in Christ.”- Saint John Paul ll Homily

God is infinite joy.

- St. Teresa of the Andes

God is more in us than we are in ourselves. God fills us and entirely surpasses us, because He is immense and all things are in Him.

- St. Teresa of the Andes

Have confidence in Jesus; His heart is quickly moved.

- St. Teresa of the Andes

Go to Jesus as to a most intimate friend and tell Him all that is happening in your soul. No one can penetrate your heart as He can

- St. Teresa of the Andes

The will of God is the spiritual food that strengthens the soul who willingly gives themselves to Him.

- St. Teresa of the Andes

“Imperfections,” said Our Lord to a chosen soul, “must serve the soul as stepping stones to ascend by means of humility and by means of confidence and love.”

- St. Teresa of the Andes

It is necessary always to live recalling that eternity awaits you.

- St. Teresa of the Andes