st.Terese of the Andes
Patronage: bodily ills; illness; sick people; sickness; young people
The saint who has come to be known as Terese of the Andes was born to Miguel Fernández Jara and Lucia Solar Armstrong in Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900. Two days later, on the eve of the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, she was baptized Juana Enriqueta Josefina de los Sagrados Corazones. Her parents were wellto- do and very religious, and she grew up in a Christian home, receiving a good education in one of the finest schools in Santiago. From a very young age she developed a profound faith in the Eucharist.
She received her First Communion in October 1909, when she was only nine, and her Confirmation in September (or perhaps November) 1910. During her adolescence she suffered from numerous illnesses that weakened her health but helped her to discover her religious vocation. On April 3, 1919, she wrote a letter to her parents asking permission to join the Carmelites, and on May 7 entered the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Los Andes for a trial period. She donned the habit on October 14, taking the name Teresa de Jesús (Teresa of Jesus), and from that moment on submerged herself in the religious life.
According to her sisters, she always wanted to be the last in everything. Terese’s health gradually deteriorated, and at the beginning of the following March she wrote that she would soon die, but would go without fear. On Good Friday, April 2, she contracted typhus. She received the last sacrament on April 5 and after making her religious profession in articulo mortis on April 6, she died on April 12, 1920, at the age of 19.
She had been with the Carmelites only about 11 months, as a postulant and as a novice. Since her death many have gone to pray at her grave and to request her intervention in miracles. On March 4, 1987, before a million people in Santiago, Pope John Paul II (r. 1978– ) declared her Blessed. She was canonized by the same pope on March 21, 1993. Terese of the Andes is the first Chilean saint and is considered a role model for youth in the Catholic Church.