Teresa and her companions have chosen God, but do not yet know precisely what God has chosen for them. Meanwhile, they follow the footsteps of Teresa of Avila; the great reformer of the Carmelite Order and teacher of inner life, preferring the silence and meditation, but also opening up the house every day to share some of this same experience with other people of the country, especially girls and brides who gather there to work together and listen to readings which are a bit more interesting than the usual chatter.
On this foundation engages an unexpected thing, a real “out of the schedule”: a dying mother asks Teresa to take home with her two children, already fatherless. Teresa agrees, giving up her plans for a retired life, starting from February 19, 1877, to receive one after another so many orphans in the country to fill the small house. The lifestyle becomes so reshaped in favor of the girls.
As confirmation that the work is willed by God, Providence never fails: on the 5th of August 1879 the owner of the land, adjacent to the chapel of St. Giusto, offers her the opportunity to buy it at good conditions. So the new monastery rises around the chapel, and with it arises the idea of building a larger church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On July 12, 1888 Teresa and her companions wear the Carmelite habit. The life of Sr. Teresa Maria is always marked by adversities, sufferings and misunderstandings that she faces with great confidence, seizing them as opportunities to share the Passion of her Lord, without letting any comment come out of her lips, but just asking Jesus for the strength to face them and offer them for love.
The desire that she brought in her heart since a child, to worship Jesus in the Eucharist, is realized after many difficulties on the 11th of January 1902, with the inauguration of the Perpetual Adoration from the part of Archbishop Mistrangelo in the new Church of “Corpus Domini” in Florence, where still continues without interruption.
This Eucharist center, the heart from which spring all the works of the Institute, becomes the impetus to build other houses in Italy and in foreign missions. June 8, 1904 the first missionaries sail from Naples to Syria, present-day Lebanon. The first house is Kobayath. On May 29, 1907 she realizes one of her greatest desires: to open a home in Haifa at the foot of Mount Carmel in Israel.
With her profound sorrow, the mother will never see the first houses of the mission due to a long and painful illness, which will bring – April 23, 1910 – to make her “fly”, as she called the transition from this earth to heaven.
She is beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 1986 at the stadium in Florence.
The ideal missionary wanted and transmitted by the Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross, her dream of “giving souls to Jesus” continues to lead her family by opening new horizons of announcement, the incarnation and witness of the Gospel in Brazil (1979), Republic Czech (1995), Egypt (2004).