Mother Teresa d’ Anunciada, Teresa de Jesus of her name, was the character responsible for bringing to the fore the cult and devotion of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres. Teresa de Jesus, native from Ribeira Seca parish of Ribeira Grande municipality, was born and baptised on November 25, 1658. She was the daughter of Jerónimo Ledo Paiva and D. Maria do Rego Quintanilha. Her name was chosen in honour of Saint Teresa de Jesus.
She dedicated her whole life to Jesus Christ and was to be the great promoter of the cult and feasts in honour of the Lord Saint Christ of Miracles. Teresa of Jesus lived her childhood in a religious family environment, and her education was orientated towards Christianity. Teresa could often be found in her backyard, in a small grotto, praying and calling on Our Lord and on the Blessed Mother.
From an early age, it was clear that she was a pious person who was immensely concerned about the poorest and neediest, and some would even knock on her door for food and were always attended to.
She said, “through the poor and their blessings I am helped by God, for I am a wretch.”
As an adult, Teresa wanted to become a nun because she knew that her mission was to serve God. Teresa’s brother totally disagreed and said that she would have to marry a wealthy husband to make up for the financial difficulties the family was experiencing. Teresa even told her mother that she would end her life if this went ahead.
In the meantime, her mother died and she felt very lonely. Together with her blood sister, Teresa withdrew to a monastery, taking the name Teresa of Nunciada. She entered the Esperança Convent in November 1681, in 1682 she became a novice and in 1683 she took her perpetual vows. This was the starting point of her great journey.
From an early age, she showed great devotion to Jesus Christ, ardently venerating the image displayed on the “Ecce Homo” step. In the convent, he also continued his mission of helping the poorest, attending to all in their hour of greatest need. With the help of her sister, Mother Teresa of Annunciation realised how miraculous that image of the Lord was and how much it needed to be looked after.
Teresa took on this task for the rest of her life, and her devotion to the image contributed to the faith and devotion of the people increased dramatically. Mother Teresa d’ Anunciada died on the 16th May 1738, thus committing her spirit to God. The mortal remains of the Venerable Mother are deposited in an urn, placed beside the altar of Christ.
The cult and the festivities of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres were born from the devotion of this mother, who as soon as she had the first contact with the bust of the Lord, dedicated her life to it.