By Margaret Rowe. St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart was born into a large devout family in Arezzo, Italy in 1747. From the earliest days of her childhood, Anna Maria 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. Her spiritual director reflecting on her death remarked, "She could not have lived very much longer, so great was the strength of the love of God in her."
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."
Though St. Teresa Margaret led a life of exquisite holiness and purity, it was also a life that is wholly imitable. In her were combined Martha and Mary as she served her community as infirmarian while reaching the heights of contemplation. No one will come away from the pages of this book without his or her own spirit being renewed and reinvigorated.
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