I was born into a very dysfunctional family, in Santiago, Chile. My father struggled constantly to make a financial success of his lands. My mother was very strong and for the most part, had to bring us up alone. I had two brothers.
Despite the hardships of my family life, I overcame my own temperamental difficulties to live a very vibrant and full life. I did the things that all young girls did. I participated in many activities, including swimming and playing the piano. I had many friends whom I enjoyed. And I loved playing practical jokes!
Very early in my life I was the recipient of extraordinary graces. At my first communion the Lord spoke to me. At the time I believed that there was nothing extraordinary in this. I thought that the Lord spoke to everyone on their first communion.
At this early age, I fell in love with Jesus. I read the autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux, and the experience deepened my desire to serve God and clarified the path I would follow.
At fourteen I gave myself to Him completely, promising Him that He would be my only Spouse. At age 19 I became a Carmelite nun, taking the name of Teresa.
Toward the end of my short life, I began an apostolate of letter-writing, sharing my thoughts on the spiritual life with many people. When I was 20, I contracted typhus and quickly took my final vows. I died a short time later, during Holy Week.
I am Chile’s first saint.
“I am God’s. He created me and is my beginning and my end.”
St Teresa of Los Andes
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