Saint Teresa of Jesus, O.C.D., "of the Andes"
, Teresa de Jesús "de los Andes,"
(July 13, 1900 – April 12, 1920) was a Chilean nun canonized
as a saint
by the Roman Catholic Church
She was born Juana Fernández del Solar
in Santiago, Chile
into an upper class family. Early in her life she read the autobiography of the French Carmelite nun Thérèse de Lisieux
who was later to be canonized herself; the experience had a profound effect on Juanita's already pious character, coming to the realization she wanted to live for God alone. She had to work to overcome a very self-centered personality toward being one which cared for others above all. Her further inspiration for this self-transformation was her upcoming First Communion
, which led her to this commitment in an effort to be worthy of what she was to receive.
In 1919, at age 19, Juana entered the novitiate
of the Carmel
in the city of Los Andes
, at which time she was given the name Teresa. Toward the end of her short life, the new Sister Teresa began an apostolate of letter-writing, sharing her thoughts on the spiritual life with many people. Within a few months of her admission to the Order, however, she contracted typhus
, which was diagnosed as fatal. She was still three months short of her twentieh birthday, and had yet six months to complete her canonical
novitiate, so as to be normally able to make her religious vows
; nevertheless she was allowed to profess vows in articulo mortis