Declared Venerable: 12-07-1982
Teresa Valsé Pantellini was born in Milan on 10 October 1878 to a well-to-do family. Her father Joseph Valsé, excellent Christian and great worker, owned a number of hotels in Egypt, where Teresa spent the early years of her life.
He brought his daughter up to love the poor and always help them. They then went first to Milan, then to Florence. Her father died when she was 12. Teresa developed a deep spirit of prayer. She was well educated in literature and the arts, and developed her human capacities under her kindly but demanding mother’s guidance.
When she made her first Communion she sensed a call to Religious Life and offered herself to the Lord with deep joy. The mother brought the family to Rome to help Italo, her brother, with his university studies. Teresa went to the College run by the Sacred Heart Sisters and was involved in a St Vincent De Paul Conference. She did not lack wealth or comfort or amusements, but she managed to live a hidden life of contented mortification. Her spiritual director was the Servant of God Bishop Radini Tedeschi, future bishop of Bergamo, who chose as his secretary Fr Angelo Roncalli.
Encouraged by her director, Teresa decided to knock at the doors of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ Institute in Rome, “to give herself to the Lord irrevocably – as she put it – to educate poor girls belonging to ordinary people”.
She made her religious profession in 1903, after experience at the oratories in Trastevere. The Sisters at the time remember her thus: "Sr Teresa knew how to take the youngsters of Trastevere for who they were: she was good at keeping discipline, keeping above lack of courtesy and disrespect".
One of the girls, when refused something, spat in her face. She put up with the gesture to the edification and admiration of everyone present. Teresa was courteous and kind with everyone; she was always ready to carry out the humblest and most difficult of tasks. Cheerfully and in a spirit of sacrifice, she did washing and looked after the girls’ workshops.
She was as Don Bosco would have wanted: doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. her path to holiness was not slowed by symptoms of an disease that got worse and worse: tuberculosis. She realised it was time to begin to love suffering - not just accept it -, as a gift that would unite her with the crucifix: "Whatever you want, Jesus, I want too, and for as long as you want it". The joy and simplicity of Mornese, the silent sacrifice, her constant union with God and childlike love for the Mother of God were outstanding aspects of her life.
On the 3rd September 1907 Sr Teresa met the Jesus whom she had irrevocably chosen. She is buried at Nizza Monferrato.
The ordinary process began on 6 December 1926. Declared Venerable on 12 July 1982