Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, St.

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Discalced Carmelite nun and mystic; baptized Anna Maria Redi; b. Arezzo, Italy, July 15, 1747; d. Florence, March 7, 1770. She came of a Tuscan family of the lesser nobility. Her father, Ignatius, early recognized signs of spiritual genius in his child and tried to encourage her, without destroying her originality or disturbing her normal development. It was from him that she learned the devotion to the Sacred Heart that was later to play a major role in her spiritual synthesis.

Anna Maria entered the Discalced Carmelite convent in Florence on Sept. 1, 1764, and took the name Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart because of her devotion to the Sacred Heart and to SS. teresa of avila and marga ret mary alacoque.

In the community Sister Teresa Margaret served as sacristan and infirmarian. Few suspected the intense working of grace in her soul. Our knowledge of her spirituality depends on the sworn testimony of her director, Ildephonse of St. Aloysius, OCD. Drawn to the hidden life, she sought to imitate not only the external phases of the hidden life of Christ, but also its expression in His intellectual and volitional life, so far as this was possible. The divine response to her desire was an aridity so intense that she was hidden from herself and had no suspicion of her high degree of sanctity.

St. Teresa Margaret was important as a herald of the Sacred Heart devotion, not only in Carmel, but in Tuscany and Italy as well, where Jansenism attempted to bring the devotion into disrepute. In her we have an example of a spirituality centered upon the Sacred Heart. Through this she reached lofty heights of Trinitarian contemplation.

She died at the age of 22, and her body has remained incorrupt. A portrait was made of her as she lay in death. She was canonized by Pius XI on March 19, 1934.

Feast: March 11.

Bibliography: stanislao di santa teresa, St. Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, tr. j. f. newcomb (New York 1934). j. bardi, St. Theresa Margaret Redi, tr. m. repton (Boston 1939). g. papasogli, Santa Teresa Margherita Redi (Milan 1958). gabriele di santa maria maddalena, La spiritualità di S. Teresa Margherita Redi del Cuor di Gesù (Florence 1950); From the Sacred Heart to the Trinity, tr. s. v. ramge (Milwaukee, Wisc. 1965). teresa margaret, God Is Love; St. Teresa Margaret: Her Life (Milwaukee, Wisc. 1964). Ephemerides Carmeliticae 10 (1959), special issue devoted to Teresa Margherita del Cuor di Gesù.

[s. v. ramge]