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Antonia Lopez Arista

 

Antonia López Arista

She was born in Linares, Jaén, in 1887 and died in the same town on November 1918 of a flue epidemic that desolated a large part of Spain that year. She was 31 years old.

In Linares, the family names López Montes, Del Castillo, Arista, Poveda and Castroverde belonged to large families that were related through blood, social and ideological bonds, and mutual help. Thus, the cousins Antonia López Arista and Isabel del Castillo Arista always considered themselves “cousins” of Pedro Poveda, even though their blood ties were not that close. In the home of of Mr. Cecilio López Montes and Mrs. Lucía Arista, parents of Antonia, José and Francisco, Pedro Poveda always found personal care and warmth as well as support for his projects. Also, during his years in Covadonga his “relatives” from Linares spent with him some time; Antonia was able to have direct knowledge of his pedagogical projects that were taking shape in Oviedo and Gijón and maintain personal contact with some of the first teachers of the Academies; José and Francisco -Pepe and Paquito-completed their higher education in Oviedo and were personally guided by their cousin priest.

Antonia López AristaAntonia is the leading name in the first record book that lists the names of the members of the Teresian Association. In the appropriate section one can read that she belonged to it since its foundation. In one of her letters it reads: “We could say that we loved the Work that did not exist yet; we prepared ourselves for it with faith and hope, we prayed for light for the one that had conceived it, and we strove to work and form our spirit according to the fervent, wise, and prudent guidance we received.” This “we” includes Isabel del Castillo and it refers to the time Pedro Poveda spent in Linares after he left Guadix in 1905 and to the subsequent years when both women supported and encouraged the first fruits of what soon would be the Teresian Association. It is worth highlighting in the memory of the Association the creation in 1908 of a storeroom for the poor, known in Linares as “The Cradle of the Baby Jesus.” This was a charitable foundation that not only attended to many needy families but it also gathered a large number of young women with whom they shared an experience of faith and deepened into the writings and talks of Pedro Poveda, who was considered guide and teacher of this group.

The life of Antonia in Linares is shared among the political activity of Don Cecilio, leader of the Liberal Party of the city, the kind spirituality of Doña Lucía, and the total dedication of herself and of her goods to the Work that was beginning.

Antonia could experience the first years of the Academies of the Work, the first foundations, and the first institutional steps of the future Teresian Association. In 1916 she was part of the first Council and in 1917 she participated in the event of the first civil and ecclesial recognition of the Work in the Diocese of Jaén. That same year, in August, she was part of the first board of directors with the Founder and Josefa Segovia.

Many times Pedro Poveda called her “soul of the Teresian Work” since she had become a clear reference for the young women who contacted the different Academies. The Teresian Association keeps her writings and what has been written about her with respect.

Collaboration AHIT

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