Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has presided at the Teresian Association’s centenary Mass at Wimbledon College.
Among those concelebrating were Bishop Howard Tripp, Mgr Brian Udaigwe, First Councillor at the Apostolic Nunciature, representing the papal nuncio, and Capuchin friar Brother Thomas More Mann, who preached.
The Teresian Association was founded in 1911 by St Pedro Poveda in Spain. Known as an “educator of educators”, his vision of an active and educated laity and promoting the role of women in education and culture were revolutionary in early 20th-century Spain. He found inspiration in Teresa of Avila as an ideal of contemplation in action. He was martyred in the Spanish Civil War and canonised by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2003.
Present in 30 countries, members came to England in 1948. Cardinal Godfrey asked them to set up an English school for Spanish girls and a language school was established in Wimbledon, south west London.
The Teresians’ current headquarters in this country is in New Malden, Surrey. Members are involved in many professions, concentrating especially on education at all levels. Some core members, who make a life commitment, are school and university chaplains. Wider membership of the Teresian movement includes married couples and youth who support the various projects initiated by the Association.
Brother Thomas More Mann, from Greyfriars, Oxford, has been a friend of the Teresians for over 30 years and has led many retreats for them.
Preaching in front of a portrait of St Pedro Poveda, he highlighted some of his teachings, such as promoting daily Communion and reflective study of the Bible at a time when this was virtually unknown.
“He challenged people to be living crucifixes,” said Brother Tom. He urged people to live as the early Christians, “living in love [and] evangelising”.
Highlighting Poveda’s metaphors of the Teresians as light and salt, he said that they quietly worked in the world like a leaven and that all were called to intimacy with God in prayerful communion.
Archbishop Smith thanked him for his inspiring homily and the Teresians for all their work of evangelisation in education and culture.