VENERABLE TERESA ENRÍQUEZ
1450 - 1529
Teresa Enríquez de Alvarado (Medina de Rioseco, 1450 - Torrijos, 4 March 1529) was a lady of the Castilian nobility, famous for her religiosity and her dedication to charitable works.
Devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, she dedicated herself to its exaltation during her years of retirement in our Villa de Torrijos after the death of her husband Gutierre de Cárdenas.
To her we owe the foundation of our Archconfraternity of the Blessed Sacrament of Torrijos, which was the first in Spain. We also owe her the construction of our Collegiate Church of Torrijos in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the foundation of the Convent of the Conception, both in Torrijos and in other towns, and two hospitals, Consolation and Holy Trinity.
Process of Beatification and Canonization
Several times, Christians admired by the figure of this woman have tried to promote her canonization process. The last attempt, before the current one, was in 1920. Then, in 2001, the diocesan phase of the current process began in Toledo, which closed with a solemn ceremony in November 2002. The cause was raised to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican, Doña Teresa Enríquez, was declared "Servant of God" after the examination of the report and dictation of the decree "Nihil Obstat". The Rapporteur drafted the "Positio".
After the discussion of the Positio by the Commission of Theologians and its approval and also with favorable sentence of the bishops and cardinals of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints on 23 March 2023, the Holy Father authorized the promulgation of the Decree recognizing the Heroic Virtues of Teresa Enríquez being recognized as "Venerable". In Torrijos (Toledo) there is a street and a school with her name.
Postulator General of the cause: P. Giovan Giuseppe Califano
Previous postulator of the cause: P. José Luis Cepero
Plaintiff of the canonization: Monjas Concepcionistas de Torrijos
Torrijos, 25 October 1926.
The remains of Doña Teresa Enriquez are exhibited to the public.
Incorrupted Body of the Venerable Doña Teresa Enríquez
in the Monastery of the Conceptionists of Torrijos
ARCHCONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
His Holiness Julius II erected in the Church of San Lorenzo in Damasus in Rome, by Papal Bull, the chapel and Confraternity dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, giving rise to the Institution of the Archconfraternities of the Most Holy Body of Christ, with the aim of Eucharistic adoration and the recovery of the forgotten tabernacles.
From this same year onwards, Blessed Sacrament Confraternities began to appear all over Europe. Doña Teresa Enríquez de Alvarado, of the House of the Admirals of Castile (1450-1529), promoted and founded the first Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in the town of Torrijos (Toledo) in 1508, with the same rights as the one in Rome.
Prayer for the cause of canonization
Jesús Sacramentado que quisiste quedarte con nosotros hasta la consumación de los siglos, por mediación de tu sierva Teresa Enríquez, que por su profundo amor a la Eucaristía mereció ser distinguida por el Papa Julio II con el sobrenombre de "LOCA DEL SACRAMENTO", te rogamos nos concedas una mayor correspondencia a tu amor, un mayor crecimiento del culto, adoración y amor a la Eucaristía en todo el mundo, y la gracia especial que te pedimos.
Padrenuestro, Ave, y Gloria.
"JESÚS SACRAMENTADO, GLORIFICADOR DE QUIEN TE GLORIFICA, PARA FOMENTO DEL CULTO EUCARÍSTICO CONCÉDENOS VER PRONTO EN LOS ALTARES A TU INSIGNE GLORIFICADORA TERESA ENRÍQUEZ"
Con Licencia Eclesiástica
We kindly ask you to communicate the graces received to: Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of Torrijos
More about "La Loca del Sacramento"
After the loss of her children and her husband, Teresa found strength of spirit in the cross of Jesus. Years earlier, the couple had acquired a large building in the town of Torrijos which they used as a palace, to which they sometimes retired. It was here that Teresa came to take refuge after the Queen's death in 1504, and with her son Diego and daughter Maria married, a new life began for her, freed from the frenzy of the Court, centred on the realisation of the great ideals that had inspired her life. In brief, I could summarise these ideals, a transcript of those she had lived with her now distant paternal grandmother: living faith and ardent love for the Lord, especially in the Eucharistic mystery; love also for the Holy Mother of God; operative charity towards the poorest and sickest, including captives in Muslim lands and children; a spirit of austerity and very high prayer.
The fruit of his ardent devotion to the Eucharist would be realised:
- In the building of the Collegiate Church of Torrijos, Gothic in its interior, Plateresque in its façades. The work lasted about 10 years and was completed in 1518.
- In the creation of the confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament. To understand this, we must situate ourselves in the religious crisis of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Already at the end of the 14th century, the Englishman Wycliffe had denied the truth of the real presence of the Eucharist. And in the years when the Collegiate Church was being built, the Lutheran and Zwinglian split, which also obscured or denied the Real Presence, was taking shape. Luther broke with Rome in 1517 and Zwingli in 1518. Despite some positive reactions, such as the Corpus Christi feast, which was spreading. These doubts were reflected in the fact that the Lord was practically abandoned in many churches where it was celebrated from evening to evening: tabernacles reduced to vulgar, undecorated boxes, wooden ciboria, chalices of ordinary glass, absence of lights to indicate the presence of the Lord....
In the Roman church of San Lorenzo in Damasus, a humble group of men accompanied the Viaticum through the streets with lights and recollection. They lacked resources and the people looked on with a certain respect, but indifferent to this Eucharistic gesture of this first "confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament". Someone informed Teresa in Torrijos of this act of these good Christians in Rome. She, so in love with the Blessed Sacrament, was moved and, through a religious, sent them a splendid embroidered canopy, a little golden pyx for the forms and 125 ducats for the nascent confraternity.
Later some of them came to Torrijos to see Doña Teresa. She had a beautiful marble chapel carved for the Lord in that Roman church, endowing and enriching it. There is a marble slab in the church that commemorates Teresa Enríquez as the founder of this first chapel of the confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament.
Teresa also obtained from Pope Julius II a bull with privileges for this Eucharistic Association and a licence to found it in Torrijos. This was achieved in 1508, and from Torrijos they spread to the whole of Spain, and later to a large part of Europe. The kind title of "Madwoman of the Sacrament" was given to her by Pope Julius II himself, and shortly afterwards Leo X would say of her: "The fact that a lady of Castile started in the world, from a small place, this new way of honouring the Eucharist and of promoting the virtue of Christians is, above all consideration, glorious for Spain".
- In the Love of the Blessed Virgin. Not only in his personal piety but also in his works. In Toledo Cathedral there is the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua, founded by Doña Teresa. Another work in Torrijos honours the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: the foundation of one of the first Conceptionist convents in Spain in a large house she owned. It is not surprising that in her will she says: "I have the Blessed Glorious Virgin Mary as my Lady and Advocate in all my deeds, and now with a devout heart I offer myself as her servant and give her my soul".
- In the field of social justice and charity. Teresa was also a pioneer in the field that centuries later would become known as "agrarian parcelling". She divided some of her large estates near Torrijos into plots and gave them to poor families to cultivate with a small income which she used for her charitable works. In other words, she knew how to give not only the fish but also the fishing rod. With the help of a Sevillian priest, Fernando Contreras, famous for his social works, she took on the task of assisting the very numerous sick (during her husband's lifetime she had already founded the Hospital de la Trinidad), the orphans and even the poor captives from the Maghreb, especially from Algiers, renewing or helping the great work of the redemption of the captives of previous centuries.
These are just a few small samples of the great spirit of this great woman. Her incorrupted body rests in the Monastery of the Conceptionist Nuns of Torrijos.
Gutierre de Cárdenas and Teresa Enríquez introducing to Queen Isabel the man who would become her husband, D. Fernando.
BUILDINGS BY DOÑA TERESA ENRÍQUEZ
After the death of her husband in 1503, Enríquez used the significant economic capital they had accumulated to give free rein to her personal concerns, not only by erecting these monuments that erected "a city of God" in this town, but also by creating schools of music and medicine. He was also concerned to protect the most disadvantaged, especially the youngest children, orphans and women who fell into prostitution.
Between 1503 and 1527, Enriquez founded the convent of Franciscan Conceptionist mothers on the former palace of Pedro I, built the Palace of Altamira - in which the architect Alonso de Covarrubias participated - and erected the Collegiate Church of Torrijos. In addition, after the episodes of plagues and famines of this period, between 1519 and 1520 she built two hospitals: that of the Consolación - now disappeared - and that of the Santísima Trinidad, including the Chapel of the Santísimo Cristo de la Sangre (Holy Christ of the Blood). A few years earlier, in 1492, D. Guierre de Cárdenas had the Franciscan Monastery of Santa María de Jesús built in Torrijos.