We are women and men who join together to put our faith into practice and to contribute to human flourishing and social transformation by means of education and culture. We do so through our professional and family responsibilities, thus participating in the evangelizing mission of the Church.
We are ordinary people that do not have external distinguishing signs yet should be distinctive and unmistakable in our way of being present in society as we bring together our prayer and study, our preparation and action.
TA members are in about thirty countries in Africa, America, Asia and Europe. We wish to be like salt that gives taste, and like leavening that is added and mingled in order to build a more human and fraternal world. We want to bring the world closer to God's project that was revealed to humanity by Jesus in his Incarnation.
The Teresian Association
The Teresian Association, TA, is an International Association of the Faithful of the Catholic Church.
All the members of the Association share the same Statutes. We are united by the values of the Gospel and by having the same charism, and also by our lay spirituality of incarnation that is centred on Jesus Christ. We are called upon to engage faith and cultures in dialogue, to commit ourselves to the rights of those who are most vulnerable and to seek to advance the fair and solidarity-based development of all peoples.
The Teresian Association arose from the deep concern felt by a priest, Pedro Poveda, in early 20th century Spain when his country was at a social and religious crossroads. As he thought about the changes that society demanded, Poveda saw that it was time for Christianity to be a transforming presence, a new idea at that time.
Pedro Poveda focussed on how the men and women of the early Church lived their lives. Those people managed to change history through the witness they gave to their faith in everyday life. They were immersed in the earthly realities of which they were part.
Poveda believed in the strength of Christianity lived in that way. It meant being out in the world contributing a breath of air, leavening, salt and light. He believed in the strength of fellowship, broad-mindedness, gentleness and humility.
A journey through time
1911. – The first Academies: Oviedo, Linares, Jaen, Madrid, Malaga, Leon, Teruel, Barcelona, Avila, Burgos, San Sebastian, Cordoba…
1919. – Pedro Poveda establishes the Alumnae Association in Jaen.
Josefa Segovia Morón is elected TA President (1919-1957).
1923. – The Teresian Association applies to the Holy See for Approval as a “Pious Union”. On 11 January 1924 Pontifical Approval signed by Pius XI is received.
1928. – Three TA members travel to South America to take charge of the St. Teresa Training College in Santiago in Chile.
1928. – The first General Assembly of the Teresian Association takes place in Leon.
1935. – The TA goes to Italy and opens a university residence.
1936. – The death through martyrdom of Pedro Poveda (Madrid, 28 July) and of Victoria Díez, a TA member and village school-teacher (Cordoba, 12 August).
Josefa Segovia takes on the task of bringing people back together who were dispersed by the war. Once the war is over, she focuses on opening up the TA to new countries and also on the training of members. She receives numerous requests from the Church for TA collaboration.
The TA goes to Asia, starting with the opening of a university residence in Iloilo (Philippines).
The Boletín (Newsletter) of the Academies is revamped and becomes the “Journal of the Teresian Association”, and later “Eidos”, a review of education, is launched.
1957. – Josefa Segovia dies in Madrid on March 29th.
The 6th General Assembly, held in Los Negrales, Madrid, elects Carmen Sánchez Beato to the role of President, a post she would hold for 20 years.
1961. – The Teresian Association celebrates its 50th anniversary.
As a tribute, schools bearing the name of the Founder are opened in various parts of the world.
Research projects are launched, like that of the Somosaguas Institute of Pedagogical Studies in Madrid.
Iter Publishers is inaugurated in 1968.
The TA has several schools and university residences. It also manages schools owned by the Church or the State.
These are the years of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council and of Spain’s transition to democracy. Towards the end of the 1970s the TA recovers the Co-worker Associations that existed in Poveda’s time.
1974. – UNESCO honours Pedro Poveda as “Humanist and Pedagogue” in the centenary year of his birth.
In 1977 Angeles Galino Carrillo is elected President at the 11th General Assembly.
1978. – Acit Joven. A TA youth movement is launched in Madrid. Other youth movements would follow in Italy, Philippines and Peru.
These are years of renewed reflection and greater awareness of the transformative purpose of mission. New ways of being present in society are opened.
The ACIT co-worker associations grow.
1980. – The first Spanish-Portuguese Congress of the Teresian Association is held in Avila. It is an opportunity for reflection and exchange between Spain and Portugal.
1988. – Aránzazu Aguado Arrese is elected President (1988-2000).
1990. – A decree is promulgated that recognises the TA as an “International Association of the Faithful”, Rome, 21 November. Shortly afterwards, the Teresian Association celebrates the official reception of the new Statutes, shared by all the TA associations.
The TA is joined by MIT groups that do not have explicit commitments to the Association but that share values and aspects of the charism in projects, educational activities and events.
1992. – The First General Congress of the Teresian Association entitled “Evangelizing Today: A New Culture, a Different History” takes place in Rome, Italy, December 1992 – January 1993.
1992. – InteRed is launched as a Teresian Association NGO. It is a “network of exchange and solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia and with those on the margins in any part of the world”.
1993. – The beatification of Pedro Poveda and Victoria Díez takes place in Rome on 10 October.
The Second General Congress of the Teresian Association, “Opening Paths to Life: Education, Culture(s) and Civil Society” takes place in Seville, Spain, December 1998 – January 1999.
Loreto Ballester Reventós is elected President (2000-2012) at the 15th General Assembly.
The Pedro Poveda Chair at the Pontifical University of Salamanca is established. It is the first university activity named after the Founder of the Teresian Association.
The canonization of Pedro Poveda by John Paul II in Madrid on 4 May 2003 is a source of encouragement for the TA which is by now present in around 30 countries.
In 2009, the Diocese of Cefalù (Italy) presents the Cause of beatification of Elisa Giambelluca, a TA member who died of cancer in 1986.
The Teresian Association celebrates its first centenary with social and cultural events and Masses of thanksgiving wherever the TA is present.
In 2012, Maite Uribe Bilbao is elected President.
2016. - The film POVEDA is released and soon it is diffused in several languages and achieves several awards. It helps to make the TA founder better known.
There are currently 25 ACIT associations: 11 in America, 4 in Asia, 2 in Africa and 8 in Europe of which 7 are in Spain and form the ACIT Federation of Spain.
There are also ACIT groups in Chicago-Canada, Venezuela, Portugal, Francia, Belgium-Luxembourg.
The TA holds assemblies in summer 2018. Maite Uribe is re-elected President for a further six-year period.
The Association, with the whole Church, joins the call of Pope Francis to “go forth”, to be courageous, to go where people today need to hear the Word of Life and hope given to us by the Gospel. We welcome colleagues and friends and all those who are attracted to this charism and mission.
The Teresian Association operates as a single entity although its members belong to different internal associations: The Primary Association (PA) and the Co-worker Associations (ACIT).
Every six years there is an Assembly with representatives from each country. This takes the pulse and proposes new mission goals or priorities from a faith perspective of reality and through community discernment.
The Assembly elects a General Council and a President who serves as authority for all members and associations during the six-year period.
Currently this leadership team is formed by the following:
The organization and leadership at a local level for the Primary Association is demarcated into sectors or delegations. These comprise one or several countries, according to the number of members and projects there. They are led by teams elected by the members of the area and headed by a sector director or delegate as corresponds in each case.
The ACIT associations elect a president and a board of members in their respective assemblies.
Coordination between the various sector/delegations and associations takes place through Continental Platforms and Liaison Channels between the Primary Association and the ACIT associations.