Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."
By all accounts, Juanita led a typical childhood, embracing her education, learning to play the piano, experiencing a close relationship with her sister. She developed a friendship with a neighborhood boy, but eventually ended the friendship, instead consecrating herself to Christ. At the age of 14, Juanita took a 9-day vow of virginity, which she subsequently renewed every day. Her love for the Lord was overwhelming, and following her first Eucharist she thought of little else. At 14 she entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Los Andes (about 90 kilometers from her family home).
"How happy I am, my dear sister! I've been captured in the loving nets of The Divine Fisherman. I wish I could make you understand this happiness. I can say with certainty that I am His promised one and that very soon we will celebrate our betrothal in Carmel. I'm going to be a Carmelite. What do you think?.... I've give myself over to Him. On the 8th of December I promised myself to Him. It's impossible to say how much I love Him. My mind is filled with Him alone. He is my Ideal, an infinite ideal. I long for the day when I can go to Carmel to devote myself to Him alone, to abase myself before Him and to live His life alone: to love and suffer that I may save souls. Yes. I thirst for souls because I know that is what my Jesus longs for more than anything else. Oh, I love Him!"
As a novice, Juanita was given the name Teresa de Jesus. She relayed to her confessor that Jesus had spoken to her at her First Eucharist—something that at the time she assumed happened to everyone. He had called her to Himself, but also revealed to her that she would die young and join Him in heaven. She relayed her vision with happiness and peace, confident in her love of the Lord, and ready to meet Him. While on earth, Teresa rarely complained, but rather lived her life to spread the love of the Lord. When she was only 19, Teresa fell ill from Typhus, which she painfully struggled with for six months prior to her death.
How great is the mission opening up before me! It's universal, and I'm so incapable of fulfilling it. But He, my adored Spouse, is with me and will give me the strength to sacrifice myself and pour out all my heart's blood mystically each day, because a Carmelite must die at every moment for her own soul and for all souls. What purity my vocation demands, always united with God. To live my whole life in a divine atmosphere. What recollection, what uninterrupted adoration. What peace. How inflamed with love is the soul espoused to the Crucified One! What poverty and detachment of heart and spirit, and what obedience and submission of our being! Carmelite ... How incapable l am, Father, to fit the pattern offered me by my Divine Spouse and my Most Holy Mother."
Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes is remembered for an extraordinary love, intelligence, and commitment to the Lord. Despite being young, she was a witness of Christ’s love and grace throughout her life. Prior to entering the convent at Los Andes, her classmates and siblings recognized her as different. They were drawn to her, and she to them in the friendship and love of Christ. Serving as a model for those she encountered, Saint Teresa de Jesus demonstrated constant virtue, acceptance, and confidence in the Lord, wedding herself to Him, and living for Him each moment of her life until her early death. She was fond of saying, "Christ so foolish in his love, has driven me madly in love!”
“My time is not my own. I gave away everything I had. Even my own will! I must do everything Our Lord asks of me moment by moment... What a joy! How happy I find myself in sacrificing everything for God! It's all nothing in comparison with the way Our Savior sacrificed Himself from the cradle to the Cross and from the Cross to the point of annihilating Himself under the form of bread till the end of time. Oh, how great is this infinite love. A love unknown, a love not returned by most of humanity.”
The short, yet intensely holy, life of Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes inspires us to re-center ourselves on our gracious Lord—to live and breathe for Him, to sacrifice for Him, to love Him by loving each other. Saint Teresa was open to the call of the Lord, even at age 10 during her First Eucharist. Are we open to hearing His call?