Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima (Mary Grace), the Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST), was born on January 29, 1858 to Peter and Mary D’Lima at George Town in Madras, India. She received a quality education and training in Presentation Convent School and taught at St. Xavier’s Free School, Madras.
Grace came to Alleppey at the request of Fr. Alphonsus OCD to establish a school in his parish. Inspired by the life of intense prayer, sacrifice and missionary zeal of the Carmelite Fathers she embraced religious life as a Carmelite Tertiary. In religion she was given the name Sr. Teresa of St. Rose of Lima. From her youthful days Sr. Teresa manifested the qualities of inner freedom and ingenuity.
In 1887 Dr. Leonard Mellano OCD, the Archbishop of Verapoly invited Sr. Teresa to Ernakulam and gave her the double mandate to start an English Medium School and found a religious community of sisters. This was the humble beginning of the Institute of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa.
A woman of deep God experience with the sense of Mission, Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima responded in a prophetic way to the demands of the Gospel and the Church in a period of great socio- political and religious ferment in India. With her unwavering confidence in God’s Providence and her deep compassion for people, she worked steadily to integrate humanity by humanizing those sections of society marginalized by casteism and economic poverty through her multifarious ministries. Her unconditional submission to God’s Will enabled her to work relentlessly for the spread of the kingdom of God.
Mother Teresa was en route to Europe with her dreams and plans for the future mission, when God called her to Himself. She died in a train accident on September 12, 1902 at Mangapatnam in the diocese of Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh. Within the short span of 15 years as the Foundress she had proved herself to be a trend-setter, a farsighted visionary and a missionary beyond her times. Her life and spirituality continue to inspire not only the members of the CSST family but everyone who is oriented towards God and committed to selfless service.