The members of the Teresian Association live with our contemporaries, without external distinction, but with a unique way of integrating life and faith. Professional practice, family, and active participation in civil and ecclesial platforms are privileged spaces from which we contribute, along with many others, to the respect of the dignity of people in our societies, with special attention to those who do not have access to the right to education, to the poorest, to those who are alone or forgotten. In these, Pedro Poveda found the core of what he called "true humanism.”
We, who aspire to live an intense spiritual life, must be externally simple, modest; we must go unnoticed; blend in with all sorts of people; we will not use any distinguishing sign; we will not seek to stand out in any way. But we must be distinguished in our inner selves by the distinction of virtue; elevated with the elevation of holiness, unique with the uniqueness of the spirit of Christ.” Saint Pedro Poveda, 1917.
Lay character, purpose, and program
From the beginning, the Teresian Association collaborates in the advancement - in current terms, "empowerment" - of women; working from the vantage point of education, to raise awareness of their rights, their dignity, and their role in society. The Teresian Work has been made possible thanks to a first group of collaborators close to Pedro Poveda, and to a significant number of students, alumnae, friends, and supporters, - most of them women, "intrepid, pioneers,” inspired by Saint Teresa of Jesus (historically they are known as Teresians)
The scientific and educational preparation of Christian professionals for teaching [in all walks of life] and their presence in the educational and cultural structures of society was for Poveda "a noble goal and a felt need,” "not addressed by any another Work." This is the main purpose of the Teresian Association and its essential feature, the training of teachers.
The Teresian Association was born with the desire to address the drama of the confrontation between Christianity and modernity, today understood as the need to sustain the dialogue between faith and knowledge; faith - cultures - justice; faith - technology, which we assume as a program, and which, according to Saint Pedro Poveda, is summarized in the words of the Apostle Peter: "You, then, taking utmost care, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience, piety.” (Saint Pedro Poveda, 1919)
Those of us who participate in this Charism work together with other people and groups that contribute to creating just societies, promote transcendental values, respect diverse identities, ways of life, cultures, religious beliefs and sociopolitical options. We try to support our presence with study and prayer, as means for a better understanding and discernment of the signs of the times. We exercise our professions in different areas, individually or corporately.
For the development of the mission, various educational works, foundations and non-governmental organizations, publishing houses, journals, socio-educational projects, cultural and spiritual centers, etc. have been created in the places where we are present. In each of them we work with other people, collaborators, volunteers and beneficiaries, as well as those who lend their support in various ways. All are mediations for the specific mission we carry out.
The name Teresian Association is inspired by Saint Teresa of Jesus (Ávila) who, in the words of Saint Pedro Poveda, lived "a fully human life while belonging totally to God."
Its members are integrated into different associations, according to their specific vocation, and share the same mission and spirituality. Around Poveda’s charism there are youth movements, adult associations, student associations (alumni/students) families, and social and cultural projects.
The Teresian Association is registered in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life of the Holy See.
The headquarters and government are in Rome. In Spain there is also an international headquarters for hospitality. In each city where the Association is present, it has a place of reference.