On April 12, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint Teresa de los Andes. Teresa was born in Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900. Teresa is the first saint from Chile. Children will enjoy learning the story of this very relatable and young saint.
When Teresa was baptized, she was given the name Juana. Her family and her friends all called her Juanita. She grew up in a large Christian family. Juanita was intelligent and attended school where she was taught by the Sacred Heart nuns.
Juanita was a normal young girl. She was very happy, cheerful, and attractive. She played the piano and participated in swimming and horseback riding. She had many friends and enjoyed playing jokes on her family and friends. She taught religion to the young children in her parish.
Juanita read about the life of the Saint Therese of Lisieux. This French-born saint, known as the Little Flower, was a Carmelite nun. After reading about this saint, Juanita decided that she wanted to serve God as Saint Therese had done and to become a Carmelite nun. At age nineteen, Juanita entered the Carmelite monastery and was given the name Teresa.
During her short life of twenty years, Teresa wrote many letters, sharing her thoughts about God with others. St. Teresa of the Andes was very kind to the elderly and to the poor.. Teresa enjoyed doing many of the things children today enjoy doing. She went to school, participated in sports, and had fun with friends. She was an ordinary person, yet she focused her life on Jesus and tried to love others as he loves them. She is remembered as saying, “"I am God's. He created me and is my beginning and my end." Teresa died from illness on April 12th, 1920.
The story of the life of St. Teresa of the Andes is one that many children can relate to since she enjoyed many of the things that modern children enjoy. Download a primary activity to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Teresa de los Andes with the primary-aged children in your religious education program. In this Saint Teresa de los Andes Activity, children review the life of this saint, who cared for many people including the elderly. The activity asks children to make a cheerful card for and then share it with an elderly person, including a grandparent, relative, or neighbor.