Teresita: the Venerable Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo
of the Marian Sodality - Madrid - 1

Egidio Ridolfo s.j.

[from the book: L. Uboldi, Marie-L. Lopez de Uralde, I miei vent'anni, Rome 1973]
Translated by Giuseppe Chianese s.j.

1 - Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo and the Society of Jesus -- The first years -- Marian Sodality -- An eventful prayer
Towards the decisive choice -- Breaking the News -- Entering the Novitiate... Snow...
3 - Teresita in the Novitiate of Carabanchel -- The last month of May -- "I am getting the first prize!"

The Venerable Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo

Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo and the Society of Jesus

On June 9th 1983, Pope John Paul II declared Venerable a young Spanish girl from Madrid, named Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo. She was just twenty years old, born on April 14, 1930, she died on April 8, 1950.

Thus the Church officially crowned this short but intensely lived life, which ended in the Charity Carmelite Novitiate in the Congregation, where she wanted to spend her whole life, praying and doing active apostolate and even longing to work in foreign missions.

This Madrid girl's life in many ways is closely connected with the Society of Jesus. As a matter of fact, Teresita (as she was usually called) developed her spiritual life in taking active part in the Marian Sodality at the Charity Carmelite Institute, where she was studying.

As all know, the Marian Sodalities trace their origin to the Society of Jesus. The Jesuit Fathers spread them throughout the Catholic world as her tool for Christian commitment, particularly suited for young people, thus enabling them to spread the spiritual values drawn from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola - the Founder of the Jesuits - in their families, in their work places, and in all their apostolic activities.

The Marian Sodalities "Way" is based on the theological training at different levels (according to the different types of members), on continual prayer, on the frequent revision of life, strengthened precisely by making the annual Spiritual Exercises, and by special devotion to Our Lady, shown both by listening to God's word and living it, as she did by her eagerness in sharing with others all the treasures received.

The other link with the Society of Jesus is also the fact that the family of the Venerable Maria Teresa counts two Jesuits among her relatives. Teresita's father had two brothers who were Jesuits; Father Antonio Gonzalez-Quevedo is one of them; Teresita received her first communion from him.

She lived in a rather difficult period, marked by the awful Spanish civil war, during which a veritable religious persecution broke out, seven thousand priests and thirteen bishops died. Three brothers of the father of Teresita were among those martyrs.

Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo at the age of three.

The first years

Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo was born in Madrid on April 12th 1930 after her brother Luis and her sister Carmen. Her father, Mr Calisto Gonzalez was a well-known doctor in the capital. Teresita's mother, Maria del Carmen Cadarso was the niece of Admiral Luis Cadarso y Rey, who died during a battle in 1898 aboard the cruiser "Queen Cristina".

She grew up in a large house in the centre of Madrid, in East Square, the fashionable heart of the city, in front of the Royal Palace. She spent her happy childhood there and attended the institute run by the Charity Carmelite, where an aunt of hers Sister Carmen was teaching. It was the same Sister Carmen, who years later would welcome her as Novice Mistress.

Maria Teresa loved school life, not so much her studies. Most of all she was crazy on net-ball matches; that is why she would carefully pick up her team mates. She was always very much in demand for her smartness and generosity in all the little things of everyday life; everybody ran to her.

She was a real Madrid girl, with an exceptional sense of humour, a girl like so many others but with a great restlessness in her soul... This gradually little by little would lead her far, very far, beyond all her expectations till her total self surrender to God.

The first hint of this restlessness is given when she was ten years old in a note written, though in broken language, "I have decided to become a saint."

Marian Sodality

By the time she was thirteen Maria Teresa had already developed a well defined personality and a character of her own. Not very tall, she had a very agile and well proportioned body.
She had blonde hair, slightly almond-shaped eyes and a winning smile. Those who have known her remember her as very stylish with a distinct air of elegance. It was at this time that she strengthened the foundations of her spiritual life by following a course of Spiritual Exercises held at the Institute.

She was developing a very strong and courageous character. Very soon she learnt how to drive; her father recalls how he had to be careful when he went out with her because Teresita drove at full speed without fear or hesitation.

Once she undertook to pierce a friend's ears to put on the ear-rings. No sooner the operation began, the "victim" fainted and lost consciousness. Teresita - as a doctor's daughter - far from being upset by it, thought it was the best chance of going ahead with her work, and taking advantage of her friend's unconsciousness, she immediately put the two ear-rings in the fried's ears. Her calm, firmness and fine balance enabled her to face successfully all the challenges of life.

It was exactly at this time when Maria Teresa was attending the Institute, that the Marian Sodality was set up there with all its demanding requirements. Soon Teresita was conquered by this ideal, which included a special devotion to Our Lady.

Teresita's friends noticed how her joining the Marian Sodality was the beginning of a surprising definitive inner evolution. Her Sister Carmen recalls: "She underwent truly a radical change noticed by everyone around her. Till then, though a good girl, she had showed some defects common among girls of her age, from whom she hardly differed in anything. But it was at this stage of her life that in my opinion she began to be different; an evident change had taken place.

Yet this "evident change" did not diminish her enthusiasm and contagious joy - that was to remain a constant feature in her life.

Every Sodalist received a medal. As a custom each had to have the medal etched with a special saying: Maria Teresa chose the following which best expresses the programme of her life, "Mother, let all who look at me see You in me"

Teresita: "Jesus wants the gift of youth,
with its joys and dreams."

[Amelia Ippolito]

An eventful prayer

During one of the month of May devotions, Teresita composed a special prayer expressing something she felt deep down though not clearly: "O My Mother grant me the grace of a religious vocation!".

As we will see later on, actually it was her answer to the call of God to a total consecration. It was almost a shock for Maria Terese as the full meaning of her prayer dawned on her. "While I was coming out - she confided to one of her friends later on - I was terribly scared thinking, 'And what if Our Lady really grants me this grace"?

This desire of total self-consecration to God cropped up spontaneously on a Sunday afternoon during the conversation Teresita was having with one of her friends. At a certain point her friend confided, "As for me, as long as I am young I will roam all over the world and enjoy myself: when I grow old I will enter the convent to make sure of going to heaven!".

Teresita's reaction was prompt and revealing: "How mean and selfish of you! Do you think Jesus will accept you when you an old maid full of aches and pains after having given the world the best of your life? Surely Jesus has a better taste than that.... He wants the gift of youth, with all its joys and dreams!"

1 - Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo and the Society of Jesus -- The first years -- Marian Sodality -- An eventful prayer
Towards the decisive choice -- Breaking the News -- Entering the Novitiate... Snow...
3 - Teresita in the Novitiate of Carabanchel -- The last month of May -- "I am getting the first prize!"

Home Page


Link to St.Joseph Moscati's magazine:
"Il Gesł Nuovo"