Juanita Fernandez Solar — Discalced Carmelite 1900-1920
Juanita Fernandez Solar was born in Santiago de Chile, on 13 July 1900. When she had completed her schooling, she entered the Carmelite monastery of Los Andes in order to make a hidden offering of her life for mankind. Having taken the name Teresa of Jesus, she had been in the monastery for just eleven months when she died of a painful illness on 12 April 1920. On the day of her death, and ever since, huge crowds of people were mysteriously drawn to Los Andes. They go in search of one who knew how to love.
Her life had been brief and simple but filled with love. In a letter to her brother Luis dated 11 June 1919, shortly after she had entered the monastery, she wrote “How fortunate I am to sacrifice all for God! But this all is nothing in comparison to what Our Saviour sacrificed for us, from the crib to the Cross, from the Cross even to humbling Himself completely under the form of bread. He, wholly God, under the species of bread, and even to the consummation of time. Oh the grandeur of infinite love! A love which is not known, a love which is unreturned by the majority of men… You ask me to assure you in my letters that I love you always as a sister. Do you doubt it for an instant? Perhaps you do not know that my heart is perfected by the divine love, and the more perfect it is, the greater and more profound is my love? Well, then, do not doubt for a moment that I pray for you and that my prayer is a song of love… When one is in love, he cannot talk about any other object than his beloved. And when the beloved unites in himself every possible perfection, what then? I do not know how I can do otherwise than contemplate him and love him. What do you want, if Jesus Christ, that Madman of love, has driven me mad? I endure a martyrdom, Luis, when I see noble and well born hearts, hearts capable of loving what is good, not loving the immutable Good…”
From the time she was a child, St Teresa of Jesus spoke familiarly with God and with His Mother Mary. She learned to be faithful to the Lord, and to use her natural human talents accordingly. She achieved a balanced life, serenity and maturity, all of which are anxiously sought after in the world today.
Known now as St Teresa of Los Andes, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Santiago de Chile on 3 April 1987 and canonised by him in Rome on 21 March 1993.