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99-year-old Carmelite nun credits her family and Mary for her long, happy vocation

Sister Francisca Teresa (left). The nun with her Carmelite sisters (right). / Courtesy of Church of Concepción

Denver Newsroom, Jun 17, 2022 / 04:42 am (CNA).

Agustina Medina Muñoz is 99 years old and has been a Discalced Carmelite cloistered nun in Chile, for almost 80 years.

In the religious order, she took the name Francisca Teresa of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face in honor of the French saint and doctor of the Church through whom her vocation matured.

“They say I’m 99 years old. It’s hard to believe it. My life has passed so quickly,” the nun said in a testimony published in the Archdiocese of Concepción’s magazine Nuestra Iglesia (Our Church).

The nun’s testimony which the Carmelite sisters took down based on things she has said and then approved, says that Francisca Teresa was born on March 23, 1923, and that she is the first of eight siblings.

“My grandmother Asunción always lived with us and was part of the family. She was one of the most important people in my life. Her affection, her piety for the Blessed Virgin always served as a guide in my life,” Sister Francisca Teresa said.

“My family was very decisive in my vocation. My father was a man of prayer, he not only went to Mass, I saw him pray. Praying the Rosary as a family for me was an everyday thing,” she recounted.

“The Blessed Virgin held a privileged place in my family, She was the mistress of the house, the Queen of the home,” she highlighted.

Even though “we didn’t lack difficulties in life, when you have faith, everything is experienced differently, even suffering finds its meaning. I learned all this in my family.”

Her ties to the Carmelites began with Father Avertano, a Discalced Carmelite who met St. Teresa of the Andes and who used to go to her house as her mother’s spiritual director, and were furthered by reading the “Story of a Soul” by St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, French patron saint of the missions and Doctor of the Church.

“It was under the influence of her writings,” also in French, “that I felt impelled to enter Carmel.”

The nun recalled that she had to give up having a boyfriend and her violin, which was “one of my great loves.”

“I entered the Carmel of Los Andes when I was 20” in 1943, she explained. The nun was next sent to the Concepción Monastery where she has lived most of her religious life.

“I feel happy to be a Carmelite. At 99 years of age, I can say that I have been happy in my consecrated life,” she related.

In religious life “I haven’t been without difficulties, but it’s worth living a life given to God. The greatest desire of my heart has been union with Jesus, to be Light with him. And I very much want to see him soon.”

Sister Francisca Teresa calls Mary “My Dear Mother Virgin” and that “in her I find everything. I invite you to try invoking her as a mother.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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