Teresita: the Venerable Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo
of the Marian Sodality - Madrid - 3
Egidio Ridolfo s.j.
(Translated by Giuseppe Chianese s.j.)
Teresita in the Novitiate of Carabanchel | The last month of May | "I am getting the first prize!"
Teresita in the Novitiate of Carabanchel
In the novitiate of Carabanchel, Teresita found all that she had been longing for: the Carmelites poor style of life, a thing she appreciated most, in contrast to the home comforts and wealth she had so far enjoyed.
Here, her love for Our Lady deepened, resulting in a complete trust in her. "I always get what I want from Her. I feel She is close at hand. If our mothers love us so much, how much more Our Lady loves us? Will she refuse us anything? I am sure I will be a saint, because I am asking it from Our Lady and She can do anything."
"I am very devoted to St.Joseph also - she used to add - Jesus and Mary, what would they say if I do not love this great saint?"
Very soon the college school-mates who missed Teresita very much began visiting her. It was a strange sight to see her in the large hall surrounded by girls all listening to her without breathing a word and then leaving her, protesting that the visit had been so short!
Some of them spoke to her about the last holidays. "Listen, Tere, do you remember Fuenterrabia?" - "Of course, I do - replied Maria Teresa - I've not lost my memory!! But I assure you, I don't miss them at all. I wish you knew how happy I'm here!! If people knew what the novitiate is like they would queue up to enter it."
When Teresita had to wear the postulant's dress, Sister Carmen could not help admiring the beauty of her hair, which would be covered with the veil... She admired the fair curls and said, "How much vanity!"
Teresita replied: "Yes, Mother, a lot of vanity! But it is all over now."
The last month of May
It is May 1949. This would be Teresita's last May on earth. At the beginning of the month Teresita said: "Formally I clearly saw what Our Lady wanted of me, but now I cannot see anything..."
Towards evening, somebody noticed Sister Maria Teresa's feverish looks. "Do you feel sick?" Asked her aunty who was also the Novice Mistress. "Of course not... I only feel lazy!"
The thermometrer however showed the real reason for that "laziness"...
"For the moment, Our Lady asks this of me: to bear patiently all she sends me. I don't know how long it will last; God's will be done!! I am in the hands of my darling mother; she knows what is best for me... I am extremely happy."
She was suffering from acute pleurisy which confined her to bed during the whole month of May. Still this did not prevent her from spreading kindness, optimism and joy all around her.
"Sister, it was terribly funny, you know: my daddy was worried when he left because of my very high blood pressure [high speed blood rate]. Just think of it: I've always been very slow, and now... he is worried about my speed!"
A slight improvement, more apparent than real, allowed her to go back soon to her usual life, but the disease was taking its course...
"During communion - she wrote in her diary - I really wanted to give myself entirely to Jesus to show how much I love Him, so I offered myself as a victim, that He may do with me what He wants". And God, well, He is a good listener this sort of prayers...
Teresita made other reflections during this time: "To become a saint, the first step is trust, then abandoning oneself into the hands of Our Lady, so that she may do what she pleases."
"I can't understand why so many people are indifferent towards Our Lady and live without turning to her; they make their life really complicated."
During the novitiate she went fully through "The Story of a Soul", the Autobiography of St.Therese of Lisieux. She wrote in her diary: "I will try to imitate her, so that Jesus may find in me all the consolations this little saint gave Him. I really like St.Therese's 'little way'; only, in my opinion, this little way has to pass through Our Lady.".
Once her mother visited Teresita and asked her: "Teresita, what about 'holiness', is it going on?" She replied: "It goes on mummy." - "But, do you find it very hard?" Teresita answered with a great firmness: "It costs Luis also a great deal to become an engineer, and surely there is no comparison between the two things!"
"I am getting the first prize!"
On January 18th 1950 Teresita developed a splitting head-ache. The Novice Mistress, at the first was rather optimistic but later on she taught it wiser to call in her father as he was a doctor: still, she did not think it was anything serious.
Doctor Quevedo, on the contrary, at once realized the seriousness of the situation. The diagnosis left no hope of saving her: it was tubercular meningitis. That is why he told the sisters: "It is up to you to decide... my daughter is going to die, either here or at home... I don't think she should undergo any treatment, because she would die anyhow after undergoing acute sufferings..."
on June 9th, 1983.
The father himself wanted to give the news to the daughter: "Teresita darling, you are not well; we'll try to cure you, but it will be better for you to get ready..." Teresita soon understood the situation and promptly replied: "Yes, daddy as soon as possible."
To the surprise of all those who visited her and looked after her, the news that she was near death filled Teresita with an uncontrolable joy.
- "I am very very happy!!"
- "Are you not afraid of death?"
- "How can I be afraid? I've a mother in heaven, who will meet me."
- "Still, you have not yet gained it - the Novice Mistress insisted - how could you possess it so soon?"
- "Yes, of course, I've not yet gained it, but they want to make a present of it to me!! Do you remember the 'good thief'? Well, if Jesus and Mary want to give it to me they are free to do whatever they like."
Teresita's supernatural spirit and joy in the face of death were so moving that when she was given the sacrament of the sick, her father, though broken by grief at the powerlessness of science to save her life, said: "It would be a crime to delay her departure."
"I am getting the first prize!", Teresita joyfully told her friends; to the choristers she said: "How does the requiem mass go? I think I will be the first to inaugurate it!"
The disease, however, was taking its course; often she was wrecked by sharp pains. During this awful crisis, she always cried out: "My Lord, My Lord, I can't take it any more... I feel I am going mad! Do I have squint? Darling mother, I can't take it any more."
Some requested her to say the Marian prayer 'Memorare'. She answered: "Yes, but not in order that the pain may cease but that I may bear it with courage."
It was the dawn of Maundy Thursday 1950, the Holy Year proclaimed by Pope Pius XII. Everybody was rejoicing at her slight improvement after two long months of terrible sufferings. Then all of a sudden, Teresita uttered a piercing cry followed by violent convulsions and the total loss of consciousness. In this condition too she kept on murmuring her usual invocations.
During Holy Saturday night, fully conscious, she took part in the fervent prayers offered for her and even while slowly passing away she went on repeating: "My Mother, I love you very much!... My Jesus, I love you, I love you for all those who don't love you...."
When they thought they would not be able to hear her any more, she cried out in a loud voice - so loud that she could be heard in the next room - with her arms raised up: "My Mother, welcome me... take me with you to Heaven!"
Then, more calmly she said: "For all those who ...don't love You..." When a sister suggested to her to ask the grace of recovery, Teresita replied with clarity: "My Mother, your will be done!..."
She lifted up her hands for the last time and smiling, said: "How beautiful it is!..."
What was she referring to? What was she seeing? She lowered her hands and went on repeating silently the ejaculatory prayers suggested to her... A few minutes later she breathed her last...
She died on April 8th, 1950, four days before her 20th birthday..
- L. Uboldi, Marie-Louise Lopez de Uralde, I miei vent'anni, Rome 1973.
- Marie-Louise Lopez de Uralde, Apuntes biograficos de la Hermana Maria-Teresa González-Quevedo y Cadarso, de Jesus, Ed.Vedruna, Madrid 1978.
- E.Iturbide: Venerable Teresita González-Quevedo, Ed.Gomez, Pamplona 1984.
- Lia Carini Alimandi: Teresita: nella vita come Maria, Città Nuova 1988.
- Paolo Risso : Teresita, profilo biografico di Maria Teresa Gonzalez Quevedo, LDC 1992.
- Lydia Martín: María Teresa González Quevedo, Editorial Claret, Barcelona, 1998.
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!"