Monday, August 26, 2013

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars

Today is the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars (also known as Saint Teresa de Gesu, Jornet y Ibars), the Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor.

Born in 1843 at Catalonia, Spain, she was raised on a farm and later became a teacher at Lérida. She had been preparing to take her final vows as a Poor Clare nun, when the government suppressed all convents and she was sent home. She struggled to understand why God would permit this to happen and for several years asked Him what she was to do with her life. Then, she met a priest/spiritual director who provided the answer. Along with Father Saturnino Lopez Novoa, she opened a shelter for the poor and the elderly. At the age 29, in Barbastro, Spain, Teresa founded the community known today as the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor. By the time of her death, at age 54, she had established more than 100 shelters in Spain and 58 congregation houses. Today the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor have more than 200 houses in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. She was beatified in 1958 and canonized in 1974 by Pope Paul VI.

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars is the patron saint of senior citizens and retired people.

"The Little Sisters have been and are the witnesses of the emptiness that often afflicts the old. They have been chosen to fill that emptiness with warmth and human affection. They have been chosen by God to reaffirm the sacredness of human life and to underline the truth that man is a child of God and can never be regarded only as a tool of cold utilitarianism."

~ Pope Paul VI

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