What interest could we in the modern world have in a young woman who was born in the year 1900 more than 100 years ago in the distant country of Chile in South America and who died at only 19 years of age? Why would we still honor such a young woman today in our lives of faith? Perhaps these are good questions to ask, because they describe the saint we celebrate today – Teresa of the Andes. Like the other Carmelite saints that had taken the name Teresa – Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (the consecrated religious name of Edith Stein) – Teresa of the Andes vowed to dedicate her life to serving God as a religious sister. However, illness took her life at this early age. Yet, when she was canonized, Pope John Paul II spoke about her joyful youthful enthusiasm and the example she give to the youth of our modern era. Today, we celebrate Teresa of the Andes as a patroness of the youth.
In the 1990s a popular mini-series was made about the life of Teresa of the Andes for Chilean television. It has also played on EWTN. A popular Chilean “telenovela” (soap opera) star (Paulina Urrutia – who later was the Minister of Culture for the country of Chile) played Teresa in this production. It has ended up being her most popular role, with people stopping her in the streets and asking her for her blessings, associating her with the real Teresa of the Andes.
We give thanks for the life of Teresa of the Andes, for her prayers and intercession. We ask her prayers especially for our children and youth today.