As a young girl growing up in Santiago, Chile, in the early 1900s, she read an autobiography of a French-born saintTherese, popularly known as the Little Flower. The experience deepened her desire to serve God and clarified the path she would follow. At age 19 she became a Carmelite nun, taking the name of Teresa.
The convent offered the simple lifestyle Teresa desired and the joy of living in a community of women completely devoted to God. She focused her days on prayer and sacrifice. I am Gods, she wrote in her diary. He created me and is my beginning and my end.
Toward the end of her short life, Teresa began an apostolate of letter-writing, sharing her thoughts on the spiritual life with many people. At age 20 she contracted typhus and quickly took her final vows. She died a short time later, during Holy Week.
Teresa remains popular with the estimated 100,000 pilgrims who visit her shrine in Los Andes each year. She is Chiles first saint.