María Josefa Segovia Morón
In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the promulgation of the Decree recognizing the heroic virtues of the Servant of God, María Josefa Segovia Morón, the first President of the Teresian Association. She continued the spiritual and pedagogical legacy of the charism inspired to Saint Pedro Poveda, founder of the Teresian Association, after that July 28, 1936, when his life was given up in martyrdom.
María Josefa Segovia Morón was born on October 10, 1891, in Jaén (Spain) and died on March 29, 1957 in Madrid (Spain). She was 22 years old when, in 1913, Pedro Poveda invited her to take charge of Saint Teresa Academy that was opened that year in Jaén. He approached her because of the excellent recommendations he had received about her and about her brilliant academic background.
It was in the first third of the twentieth century when women discreetly started to play roles of significance in society.
Josefa Segovia had graduated from the prestigious Education School of Madrid that prepared young people for diverse positions in the field of education, including the newly created body of Teaching Supervisors. She was a member of one of the first graduating classes.
In those years, the Teresian vocation was beginning to grow. It was a way of living in depth the call to follow Jesus and his Gospel as lay people, to contribute to social transformation and to the dignity of people through education.
Josefa Segovia was part of the first group of young women who brought to life the new vocation that was born in the Church, the Teresian Association. She was outstanding for her joyful, serene and pedagogical temperament that permeated her work but, above all, for her profound spiritual experience, in the style of Teresa of Avila, both "strong friends of God." In 1919, she was appointed President of the Teresian Association, which received diocesan and civil approval in Jaén in 1917.
Just before her 31st birthday, Pedro Poveda wrote her a letter in which he expressed her spiritual profile: "Grace made you a new creature because, even at the human level, God perfected you and elevated you to the extent that you do not look the same as before." "I declare and confess (...) that the spirit of the Teresian Association is embodied in you." "May the Lord give you perseverance and, as you have been growing in virtue each day since I know you, may you continue making progress in virtue until the Lord takes you to heaven."(1922)
She was at the helm of the Teresian Association in the tough postwar years, both in her own country and in Europe. She did it with extraordinary strength, finesse and dedication, according to the testimony of several people from different social and ecclesial areas who knew her. During her life, the Teresian Association spread over four continents, opening educational centers and social projects in many countries. The number of members grew significantly.
On March 25, 1957, before entering the hospital to undergo stomach surgery because of a chronic illness she had since 1939, she wrote in her table calendar: Fiat! Simple and definitive expression of a life of faith filled with trust and commitment. Four days later that Fiat was fulfilled.