Saint of the Day – 7 March – Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart OCD (1747– 1770) Virgin, Nun of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, Mystic. Born on 15 July 1747 at Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy as Anna Maria Redi and died on 7 March 1770 at Florence, Italy of a severe and painful abdominal disorder, aged just 22. Also known as – Ann Maria Redi, Anna Maria Redi, Anne Mary Redi. Teresa Margherita Redi of the Sacred Heart.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Florence, Saint Teresa Margherita Redi, a Virgin, who, having entered the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, travelled an arduous path of perfection and was struck by premature death.”
Anna was born into a large, noble and devout family in Arezzo Italy in 1747. From the earliest days of her childhood, Anna was filled with a deep love of God questioning the adults around her as to “Who is God?” Already she was dissatisfied with answers given her. Only the contemplative life of a Carmelite nun could begin to quench her thirst to know and give herself completely to God. Her entire life was driven by the desire to “return love for love.”
She entered the Carmelite convent in Florence at the age of seventeen, advanced rapidly in holiness and died an extraordinary death at twenty-two.
She was a model religious with an astonishing depth of spirituality, purity of heart, humility and ardent love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was given a special contemplative experience of the words of St John, “God is love” and she lived in fidelity to this experience by a hidden life of love and self-gift.
Christ crucified was always in her mind, “the captain of love,” who held aloft “the standard of the Cross.” After her 1758 spiritual retreat, she proposed in all her actions not to be motivated other than by love and to unite her will with that of God. She was assiduous in small services to the sisters and would not allow gossip or criticism. She exclaimed constantly, “God is love.”. Her life was one of continuous thanksgiving, “which would prove to the person who does not believe in Him or not dare to approach Him, the goodness and generosity of our most loving God!”
Her love of God was powerfully expressed in her love for her sisters, to whom she gave herself in dedication and service. Appointed Infirmarian, she cared for the ill and elderly of her community, even the most difficult, with gentleness, equanimity, and patience.
True to the tradition of the Order, Teresa Margaret was utterly devoted to Our Lady whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity.
The cornerstone of St Teresa Margaret’s spirituality was to remain hidden, to appear just like everyone else’ in spite of her heroic virtue. To our loss, she has remained very much hidden even after her death. Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen commented “This is an odd fact, for we do not hesitate to rank her among the primary figures who represent the glory of Carmel – among Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross and Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”
Although St.Teresa Margaret led a life of exquisite holiness and purity, it was also a life that is whollyone of imitation. In her were combined Martha and Mary, as she served her community as a nurse in the Infirmary, while reaching the heights of contemplation. N
After her death all the swelling and discoloration in her body disappeared, her body was incorrupt several weeks later, had a healthy glow and exuded an odour of perfume. Pope Pius XI Canonised her on 13 March 1934.