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La Institución Teresiana (IT), an international association of believers founded by San Pedro Poveda in 1911 celebrates the centenary of its pontifical right this month. To commemorate this milestone, the Archbishop of Seville, Monsignor José Ángel Saiz, will preside over a Eucharist in the Cathedral tomorrow, Friday 12 January, at seven o’clock in the evening. The ceremony will be broadcast on the Cathedral YouTube channel.

On 11 January, 1924 the Institución Teresiana received a brief signed by Pope Pius XI signifying that this association, with ecclesiastical and civil recognition in Spain, had earned the endorsement of the Universal Church. This made possible its growth, its spread into other latitudes, and its entry into other countries.

Currently close to 3,000 members in 30 countries across Africa, America, Asia, and Europe make up the Institución.

With this pontifical right, the Church gave the green light to a new secular vocation: “One way of being present in society, according to the class and status of each, with commitment and dedication, serious training, and a life of deep faith. The Second Vatican Council decades later recognized this path as open to laypeople and underscored the evangelical role of believers as the Church out in the world,” explain sources from the Institución Teresiana.

In this way, we can see a sense of the future that they preempted: the organization of the laity around an identity and a mission. The novelty, then, that the Institución Teresiana presented became even more evident when searching for a space to house it canonically among the lay associations in existence in the Church at that time. This is an affirmation of the ecclesiastical sense of Pedro Poveda and his work.

For women

Josefa Segovia, then director of the Institución, was the person in charge of presenting the Institución before the Pope to seek his approval in October, 1923.

The institution has approximately 300 members that shared the charisma through varied commitments. In Spain, there were varios academic centers, all run by women. Similarly, around 700 students prepared to perform roles as teachers or studied at university, and more than 450 former students participated in the life of the Institución’s diverse activities.

This gamble on women, their education, and their promotion has been a constant in the history of the IT. Along those lines, it also supports women in countries where poverty doubly marginalizes them. One example is the development NGO InteRed, which works toward the eradication of inequalities and development through education, with a special focus on women and girls in impoverished countries.

La Institución today

According to its Statues, approved by the Holy See in 1990, the objective of the Institución Teresiana is human promotion and social transformation through education and culture from public and private entities and organizations. It participates thusly in the evangelical mission of the Church, which its members carry out through work and careers, family life and their presence in society.

The hundred years since the pontifical right have brought the Institución Teresiana universality, roots through the diversity of its countries, opening into other cultures, and dialogue with other beliefs.

Learn more about the Institución Teresiana here.

Open to a new lay vocation

The work that Pedro Poveda began in 1911 and was approved in 1924 by Pius XI has traveled a path over the years since that is synthetically reflected in the logo of the centenary as a sign of gratitude for those year, for staying open to evangelize, for clearing paths for many people.

As indicated by sources in the Institución Teresiana, it “is open to those who are searching for a place to live out their Christian vocation from the very heart of the world in their daily lives, through their careers, family lives, and presence in society, with an exceedingly human spirit, as the founder said, but orienting their lives around faith in Jesus Christ and relevance to the Church.”