Teresa Jornet Ibars
|Born||9 January 1843|
Aytona, Lleida, Catalonia, Kingdom of Spain
|Died||26 August 1897 (aged 54)|
Liria, Valencia, Kingdom of Spain
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||27 April 1958, Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope Pius XII|
|Canonized||27 January 1974, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Paul VI|
Saint Teresa Jornet Ibars (9 January 1843 – 26 August 1897) – in religious Teresa of Jesus – was a Catalan Roman Catholic professed religious and the founder of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly. Ibars was the great-niece of Blessed Francisco Palau and a friend and confidante of the Venerable Saturnino López Novoa. Her dedication to the old and ill was noted and for the work of her sisters in Spain and later abroad.
Teresa Jornet Ibars was born on 9 January 1843 in a small town in Lleida to the farmers Francisco José Jornet and Antonieta Ibars. One sister was María and another was Josefa who became a Vincentian religious in Havana. Her brother Juan married and had three daughters who later joined her congregation. Her great-uncle was Blessed Francisco Palau – the brother of her maternal grandmother. She was baptized on 10 January 1843 and received her Confirmation in 1849.
In her childhood she demonstrated a strong concern for the plight of the poor in her area and she often took them to the home of her maternal aunt Rosa so that proper aid could be provided to them. She later moved elsewhere in Lleida to live with another aunt of hers and began teaching soon after in Barcelona in small Argensola at age nineteen when she felt called to the monastic religious life.
Ibars applied for admission into the Poor Clares near Burgos in 1868 but the anti-clerical laws at the time prevented her from embracing the religious life and so later became a member of the Secular Carmelites in 1870. The death of her father and a severe illness she contracted later confined her to her home for a prolonged period of time until her spiritual director – the Venerable Saturnino López i Novoa – encouraged her to aid the old of the region who needed proper attention. She met Novoa after Father Pedro Llacera introduced her to him. Ibrars opened the first house in 1872 in order to achieve this dream in Barbastro and her own sister María aided her in this. On 11 October 1872 she and her sister moved to Barbastro with their friend Mercedes Calzada i Senan in tow. Ibars founded her own religious congregation and assumed a new religious name in honor of Saint Teresa of Ávila while she was vested in the habit on 27 January 1873 – the official founding of the new order; she was also appointed as the order's first superior. The motherhouse opened in Valencia on 8 May 1873. She was confirmed as the superior in 1875 and went on to make her perpetual profession on 8 December 1877; in 1887 she was appointed as the superior general for the entire order. On 14 June 1876 the papal decree of praise for the order came from Pope Pius IX while Pope Leo XIII issued formal approval to the order on 24 August 1887. The general chapter for the order opened at Valencia on 23 April 1896 and she was re-elected as superior general despite begging the sisters not to elect her once more.
Cholera broke out in 1897 across the nation and she tended to the victims before the exhausted Ibars retired to the order's house at Liria where she remained for the next few months. She met Novoa for the final time on 15 July 1897. Ibars died due to tuberculosis on 26 August 1897 in Liria and her remains were housed in Liria until their transferral on 1 June 1904 to Valencia; on 25 August 1913 the remains were reinterred in the same location. In 2005 there was a total of 2527 religious in a total of 210 houses in countries such as Puerto Rico and Mozambique.
The beatification process opened in Valencia after Prudencio Melo i Alcalde inaugurated the informative process on 23 April 1945 while his successor Marcelino Olaechea i Loizaga concluded it on 7 March 1946 at which point theologians collated all of Ibar's writings and approved them as being in line with official doctrine in a decree issued on 4 April 1948; the informative process later received the validation from the Congregation of Rites on 25 June 1954. The formal introduction to the cause came on 27 June 1952 and Ibars was titled as a Servant of God.
An antepreparatory congregation met to discuss and approve the cause on 24 May 1955 while a preparatory committee also issued their approval to the cause on 8 November 1955; a general congregation also granted their favorable opinion towards the cause on 22 January 1957. On that very same day, Pope Pius XII named her as Venerable upon the confirmation that Ibars led a model Christian life of heroic virtue.
Pius XII beatified Ibars in Saint Peter's Basilica on 27 April 1958 upon the acknowledgement of two miracles attributed to her intercession while the confirmation of another two in 1973 allowed for Pope Paul VI to canonize her as a saint on 27 January 1974.