Over a year ago, I was allowed to pick through some books and take whatever I wanted. I had read most of them and ended up taking home “God is Love – Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life” by Margaret Rowe. I knew nothing about her. So, I took it home and placed it on my to-read shelf.
Looking for my next bit of spiritual reading, I finally got around to reading it. It tells the story of Anna Maria Redi, who was born to a large noble family in Arezzo, Italy, the second child of Count Ignazio Maria Redi and Camilla Billet—born in 1747. I was quickly enthralled reading her story as it initially dives into her childhood and young adult years.
Early on, she might be described as spiritual precocious, that she took her faith very seriously and had her eyes set on Jesus. Still, for her time and place, she had a fairly normal childhood enjoying herself with friends and family. At the age of nine, she went to St. Apollonia in Florence, a Benedictine boarding school. By the time she left there, it would seem that her teachers expected that she might join them.
She had a very close relationship with her father, Sir Ignazio. He seems to have been an exceptionally devout man with a deep prayer life. Much of the descriptions about the two of them reminded me of St. Therese and St. Louis Martin. Like St. Louis Martin, he was open to God’s plans for Anna Maria, even if it was to lead to their separation.
Towards the end of her schooling, after a chance encounter with a schoolmate, she felt she received a message from St. Teresa of Avila that she would become a Discalced Carmelite.
Reading through this book, time and time again, I was surprised that I had never even heard of this saint. So much is intriguing about her life and her four short years as a Carmelite before her death. Her devotion to the Sacred of Heart of Jesus, which she shared with her father. She took on the name Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart in honor St. Teresa of Avila and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The depth of her love for the Eucharist and each person of the Blessed Trinity. Her efforts of giving all herself to Jesus. The hiddenness of her life as she performed all her duties while advancing in the transforming union.
Her life was hidden and she left behind no writings. That might be part of the reason she is lesser-known than St. Therese.
The author does an excellent job detailing this story in describing her struggles and her spiritual life. Deftly explaining the spiritual life and giving insights into this. Time and time again, there was much for me to reflect and think upon. This story moved me very much. The role of her main spiritual director was also vital in shaping her. He was able to guide her during her dark night and encourage her. Much of what we know about her came via his testimony about her.
An excellent book. I so enjoyed the stories included: stories that made me laugh and ones leading me to reflection.