This year our meditations will be guided by the young Discalced Carmelite nun from Chile, Saint Teresa of Jesus Fernández Solar (1900–1920) from the Carmel of Los Andes.
At her canonization in 1993, St. John Paul II described her as the “light of Christ for all of the Church in Chile” and recognized that she is the first Saint of the Teresian Carmel in all of Latin America.
Juanita Fernández Solar was born at Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900. From her adolescence she was devoted to Christ and the Blessed Virgin. She entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given the name of Teresa of Jesus.
Saint Teresa contracted typhus in March 1920 and the disease progressed. She participated in the community’s religious exercises for Holy Week: the April 1 Holy Thursday vigil, the Good Friday Way of the Cross, and its Three Hours Devotion. At that time, St. Teresa’s novice mistress was surprised to see how Teresa’s cheeks were flushed and discovered that she had a high fever.
On Easter Monday April 5, St. Teresa asked to go to confession and to receive Holy Communion. She received Jesus in Holy Communion again the next day. Her mother quickly arrived from Santiago. Because Teresa was in danger of death, she made her religious profession on April 7. She received Holy Communion one last time. On April 12, 1920 St. Teresa of Jesus died at the age of 19 years, 9 months and in her eleventh month as a Discalced Carmelite in the Monastery of the Holy Spirit of Los Andes.
We understand Saint Teresa’s Marian devotion through her diary and her letters, which testify to her unshakeable, steadfast love for the Virgin.
Her earliest devotion to Our Lady came from the gift of a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes from her aunt Juanita. It was of great value to her as she grew in her devotion to the Blessed Virgin and she made a promise with her brother to pray the Rosary every day.
Later, a pilgrimage to the shrine of Lourdes in Santiago was a high point of her youth, and the canticle of praise that spontaneously flowed from her heart and soul through her pen to the pages of her diary form the meditations for our novena.
As we seek the intercession of the Virgin of Carmel, may Saint Teresa of Jesus, Lily of the Andes, accompany us and pray with us and for us.
Day 1: Consoling Virgin
Day 2: Mother of the Smile
Day 3: Healing Mother
Day 4: Tender Mother
Day 5: Sorrowful Mother
Day 6: Mother of the Universe
Day 7: Celestial Madonna
Day 8: Protecting Mother
Day 9: Interceding Mother
All scripture references in this novena are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.