Ana María López Diaz-Otazu was born in León on May 6, 1916. She received her elementary and secondary education at a school run by the Carmelites of Charity.
In 1931 she started her higher education at the University of Madrid. There she contacted Fr. Pedro Poveda and the Teresian Association, founded by him and already consolidated. Since then she collaborated with them unconditionally.
She belonged to a group of university students that were formed at the Residence of the Teresian Association in Madrid. In those difficult years prior to the Civil War, besides studying and obtaining excellent grades, she collaborated actively with the Catholic Student Association, promoted by the Teresian Association.
Once the Spanish Civil War was over, she started her doctorate in chemistry in Madrid but finished it in Rome, where she moved to in 1941, in the middle of World War II. She lived there and continued working with the Teresian Association till 1960. Of those first years in Rome she often remembered the experience of welcoming in the house groups of Jews, sent by the Vatican, to facilitate their travel to Spain on their way to different countries in Latin America. From her years in Rome she kept and intense bond with the Church through its Vatican representatives. Later she was able to transmit this bond to generations of young university students at the House of Studies of the Teresian Association in Madrid that she directed and which later became “Colegio Mayor Josefa Segovia.”
On her return to Spain, Ana María was able to integrate her work as General Secretary of the Teresian Association with the direction of the above-mentioned center and with intense work at the “Comisión Episcopal de Educación.” This work allowed her to act as member of the National Educational Council where she had the opportunity to boost Professional Formation in a significant manner and participate in a program of the World Bank to finance changes in education in order to implement an Education Law of 1970.
During the decade of the 70’s Ana María spent most of her time collaborating with programs and helping people of the Teresian Association in three countries: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. She lived with sadness the Chilean revolution and was able to assess coherently the social and ecclesial realities of South America. Before her return to Spain she started an Inter-American publication that today is published in Brazil, “Nuevamérica”.
In the Church, Ana María was the first woman invited to present at an Assembly of the Spanish Conference of Bishops. This happened in 1970 and the title of her talk was “Ignorance as Poverty.” She promoted the adequate implementation of Vatican II guidelines to Catechesis. Because of this ecclesial involvement she started a movement within the Teresian Association to form Faith Educators, creating first the Jaris Institute and later a Foundation with the same name.
Her last decades of activity, the 80’s and 90’s, were dedicated to teach and write about St. Teresa of Jesus. On the occasion of the fourth centenary of St. Teresa’s birth (1981), she wrote and gave numerous talks that disseminated and facilitated the knowledge of and access to the writings of the saint of Avila.
She returned to León where she spent her last years and died in January 2010.
Her long life, which is connected with the first years of the Teresian Association, and her recent death make Ana María López a link between the “first generations” of the Teresian Association and the rest of its history. This history is presented through her publications.
The following is a selection of publications by Ana María López:
She collaborated with “Eidos”, “journal directed and published only by women.” She wrote on burning educational issues that were also edited as monographs: “Formación profesional de la mujer” (Professional Formation of Women), 1958; “Problemas morales y jurídicos del mundo laboral femenino” (Moral and Legal Problems of Women’s Labor Force), 1961; “Sindicalismo” (Unionization), 1965; “Los marginados de la cultura. La ignorancia, una pobreza contra la que hay que luchar” (The Culturally Marginalized. Ignorance as a Form of Poverty to be Fought), 1970.
Narcea Publications has published much of her research on the life and writings of St. Teresa of Jesus: “Teresa de Jesús. Amistad con Dios” (Teresa of Jesus. Friendship with God), written in collaboration with Pilar Alastrue, Madrid 1970 and1981; “Experiencia de fe en Teresa de Jesús” (Faith Experience of Teresa of Jesus), Madrid 1981 and León 1982; “Amor y Libertad en Teresa de Jesús” (Love and Freedom of Teresa of Jesus), Madrid 1986.
Also on the same topic: “Un rostro de mujer. La personalidad humana de Teresa de Jesús” (A Woman’s Face. The Personality of Teresa of Jesus) published in Revista Humanística y Teología, Oporto 1980; “La personalidad de Teresa de Jesús” (The Personality of Teresa of Jesus) published in Revista de Teología Espiritual nº 77, Madrid 1982.
Also, she had various publications on Mary, the Mother of Jesus: “María, Madre de Dios, mujer creyente. Catequesis sobre la Virgen” (Mary, Mother of God, Believing Woman. Marian Catechesis), 6 pamplets, Spanish Conference of Bishops, Madrid 1979; “María la mujer creyente” (Mary, the Believing Woman), Jaris Nº 1, Valencia 1980; “María y la mujer” (Mary and Women), Jaris Nº 9, Valencia 1984; “Un modo cristiano de vivir la presencia de María” (A Christian Way of Living the Presence of Mary), “Ephemerides Mariologicae”, Vol. XLII, Madrid 1992.
On various other topics: “Reticencias eclesiásticas frente a la mujer” (Ecclesial Hesitancy Towards Women”), in a monograph of “Communio,” July-August, 1982, pp. 246-260; “Meditación sobre la dignidad de la mujer” (Mediation on the Dignity of Women), Teología en Diálogo 2, pp. 121-156, Salamanca 1989.
In her last book she discovered an interesting and less known aspect of Poveda: El Beato Pedro Poveda y la Hermandad del Refugio, Narcea S.A. de Ediciones, Madrid 1995.