Who We Are


The Teresian Association is an international association of lay people who are committed to transforming society and promoting human values in accordance with the spirit of the gospel.  The members carry out the mission through their respective professions and occupations.


The Teresian Association received its first approval from the Diocese of Jaén (Spain) in 1917.  And on January 11, 1924, Pope Pius XI granted its Pontifical approval as a Primary Pious Union.  In 1990, Pope John Paul II confirmed her lay nature as a private international Association of the Faithful, of pontifical right, subject to the laws of the Church regulating this kind of association.




The members of the Teresian Association are women and men organized according to their respective vocation and type of commitment.  They are integrated into different associations: the Primary Association and the ACIT (Asociación Cooperadoras Institución Teresiana).


The Primary Association (PA), composed of women only, is the core group responsible for maintaining the unity and vitality of the TA.  Members of the PA are called to a total self-giving to Christ, making themselves fully available in celibacy to the demands of the mission.


On the other hand, the ACIT members, composed of both men and women, are committed to carry out the mission according to their specific characteristics.


Likewise, there is a broad Movement of the Teresian Association which includes adults, young adults, married and single and also youth and children.  These groups are the IT (Institución Teresiana) Youth and the Asociación Alumnas de Poveda (AAP or Alumni of Poveda).  The movement may extend to non-Catholics in the multicultural societies where they are immersed.


who founded the teresian association? / HOW DID THE TERESIAN ASSOCIATION BEGIN?

The Teresian Association was founded by Pedro Poveda, a priest from Linares, Spain. Poveda was a Priest – Educator – Founder – Martyr. He was involved in the great questions of his time: education, social issues, culture, and knowledge.  Early on, he was moved to commit himself to human development especially to that of the poor.  His transforming action among the gypsies and cave-dwellers of Guadix (Granada), gave witness to this call.  In the heart of the caves he opened schools, soup kitchens and training centers in an effort to humanize and evangelize them.


Before the image of Our Lady of Covadonga (Oviedo, North of Spain), fondly called “La Santina”, Poveda spent long hours of prayer and while gazing at her, developed and matured his dream of training educators. Thus the “good idea” of the Teresian Association was born in 1911.


His prophetic intuition led him to think of this Association for lay people, well prepared professionally and culturally, open to accept the task of embodying faith in each particular historical moment from the perspective of education and culture.



Historical Context and Background: Conceptualization and Founding of TA (A Gentle Challenge)


Spain was a nation in the midst of a period of transition into modernism.  A debate raged over the secularizing of schools emerging with the so-called “New School” in Europe and America.  The influence of modernism was felt and there was open confrontation between faith and science. The influence of liberal, secularizing trends from Europe brought to the fore issues affecting the educational development of both men and women.


From the vantage point of Covadonga, Pedro Poveda followed events closely quickly grasping the political and socio-cultural situation of Spain. He knew that nothing would change unless people were educated to become agents of change, men and women who were free because they were aware and informed; who could choose and critically ready to make the right decisions. These years in Covadonga were key for consolidating his educational thinking.  “It was in Covadonga that I gave time to studying pedagogy in books and periodicals.”


Poveda admired the Free Institute of Teaching. It was for the value it placed on quality teaching and care for the whole person.  He lamented greatly that it was not a Catholic initiative.  The Free Institute of Teaching was not so much anti-religious as a-religious or neutral.  It was anchored on the assumption that faith and science could not co-exist.  For Poveda, what should be promoted was a Gospel-based Christianity which could shape the attitudes of a person engaged in science.


From Covadonga, he was shaping up an educational project, a charism and a mode of acting within the Church.   “We must show with deeds that science goes well with holiness of life.” he wrote.  His great respect for science made him want it to be compatible with the Christian life.   From then on his greatest intent would be to bring faith into the world of culture, intellectuality and knowledge.  “We shall form men and women of virtue and knowledge who, in turn, will form the teachers that will be responsible for the education and enlightenment of the future generation.”


Poveda came up with the idea of a Catholic Association of Teaching, for the human and Christian formation of teachers. In 1911, he published an essay entitled “Founding a Catholic Association of Teaching”.  He was proposing to create a number of academies to give human and Christian formation to teachers.


By Academy, Poveda meant a center where those about to embark on a career of primary teaching in the schools would receive instruction and…”would have the sparkle and joy characteristic of those original academies in Athens.”  In these centers, aspiring teachers would be trained by those experienced in new methodologies. Here, bonds of fraternal love could be strengthened and genuine solidarity fostered. For this purpose, he set up a center in Gijón involving a group of male primary teachers.  However, those he involved failed to follow through with the plans and the project came to nothing.


Poveda would not be put off.  He continued to pray, to think, to meditate and to dream…thus he began to turn his thoughts to those whose roles were still restricted yet with so much to give and share: the women.  The role of women was beginning to emerge at the turn of the century and women’s voices were starting to be heard.


Pedro Poveda was convinced of the influence that qualified women could have; women who were learned, cultivated and coordinated.  With renewed energy, he re-initiated his project and eventually succeeded in this endeavor, this time with women.

1.     Why the name Teresian Association?

The patron Saint of the Teresian Association is St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). Inspired by her teaching and life, Pedro Poveda conceived the Teresian Association, sometimes referred to as the “Work” (La Obra) with charactereristics he specified for the members: a life that is fully human and totally God-centered.

2.     Why a LAY Association of Women?

The Teresian Association was founded at a time when women were beginning to participate in the public affairs of contemporary society. From the start Pedro Poveda counted on the most committed collaboration of women.  Poveda’s “prophetic intuition” before Our Lady of Covadonga was a gift of the Holy Spirit, a charism which he placed at the service of the Church.  It was a gift of responding to the needs of the times: an agile group of lay women professionals that eventually became the Teresian Association.

 a.     The “Academias” (Academies) and First Teresian Members

With the groups of teachers in the Academies, he began thinking of an association of lay people who were good teachers and even better Christians, committed to their faith, qualified, able to dialogue with contemporary society from within public education.

The Academias grew and extended its branches to other cities in Spain.  The secret behind the effectiveness and the richness of the idea was Poveda’s basic philosophy of choosing a small group of committed persons willing to carry out the “good idea”.  The First Teresian Members were a handful of women with enthusiasm that was both unbounded and contagious.

On the 16th of July 1917, the Bishop of Jaén (Spain) approved the Work (Teresian Association) in his diocese and on the 11th of January 1924, Pius XI recognized and approved it in perpetuity.

b.     Josefa Segovia and a group of committed lay women

Josefa Segovia turned out to be the key figure in setting up and developing the Work of Pedro Poveda.

It began in the summer of 1913 when Pedro Poveda paid Josefa Segovia a visit. Josefa Segovia had just graduated with excellent grades from the Escuela Superior del Magisterio, the first center for higher studies in Spain which opened its doors to women without restrictions.  Poveda had intuitively seen Segovia as an excellent person who could embody his inspiration. He was convinced that Josefa was the irreplaceable person who could effectively implement his ideas of education renewal in the catholic milieu.  She was young and equipped with a serious and systematic formation; the right person for his ACADEMIAS which he conceived as the training ground of Catholic teachers who would be the best in their profession. Time proved him right.


In 1922, two years before the Papal Approval of the Teresian Association, Pedro Poveda, unhesitatingly made known to all members of the Institución Teresiana what he thought of the woman he considered the living embodiment of his Work…:

“… Your goodness is devoid of artifice and your heart naturally compassionate…Anyone who expects to see something unusual in the good sense of the word will be awed by such uniqueness. Grace has made you a different creature fo you have surpassede your natural perfection.  All the virtues in you have been fashioned by the Teresian charism.

I, then declare, on this day of St. Francis Borgia, 1922, that you are the embodiment of the spirit of the Institución Teresiana…”

Josefa Segovia made a promise of fidelity to the charism of the founder.  She was one of the first Teresian Members and which such fidelity and embodiment of spirit became the 1st Directress General of the Teresian Association.


For the Teresian Association, Poveda turned to Teresa of Jesus as role model. She is the teacher of prayer and a model of openness to God and to others; a model of prayer and action and of rich human relationships.

The Teresian Association lifestyle is essentially that of the First Christians, who were ordinary men and women who lived in the temporal structures, experienced persecutions and difficulties; who were touched, and converted by Christ’s message and presence.

The Teresian Association identity is expressed by the traits that Poveda desired for the members:

  • Christ-centeredness

  • Marian Devotion

  • Prayer as the only strength

  • Study as an indispensable tool

  • Yeast, salt and light as symbols of presence

  • Courageous announcement of the Gospel

  • Love for the Eucharist, fidelity to the Church

In the challenging words of the Founder himself:

“We who aspire to live an intense spiritual life must be outwardly simple and humble, we will not attempt to single ourselves out in anything, but interiorly, we will be unique with the uniqueness of virtue, with the singularity of the Spirit of Christ.”

(P. Poveda in Staunch Friends of God,  p. 97)


The Seal of the Teresian Association has the words DEUS – DOMINUS – SCIENTIARUM which means “God, the Lord of Knowledge” and is represented by a golden cross behind an open book.   The golden star on a page of the book symbolizes Mary, Our Lady, Mother of God.


“Después de la fe, ponemos la ciencia”

Somos hijos del Dios de las Ciencias”


The author of faith and science

is one. “God, the Lord of Knowledge”


Prayer & Study

Knowledge & Virtue

Faith & Science


The seal is the EXPRESSION of our CHARISM



made visible in our personal, communitarian & associative presences


The TA fulfills its mission in the spirit and style envisioned by PPoveda: a humanizing and transforming presence which finds in the mystery of the Incarnation the inspiration of its being in the world.

Fidelity to the charism of Poveda demands our constant rethinking of how each one, from her/his respective situation, occupation or profession can live the relation between faith and the worldly realities in which we live.

Today the Teresian Association displays an apostolic dynamism, in fidelity to the Founder, with an ongoing evaluation of individual and corporate presences.

Although the presence of the members within state structures is a principal characteristic of the Teresian Association, we are however also present in the private sector.

We fulfill our mission:

  • in the different areas and types of formal and non-formal education, attending especially to the formation of teachers and educators in general

  • in study and scientific research

  • in our participation in the cultural process of the different contexts where they are present

  • in the family as a decisive factor in social and personal development and as leaven in the Christian community

  • in special attention given to the human and Christian formation of young people

  • in the promotion of women stimulating awareness of their dignity and their role in the family, in society, in the church and in culture.


We are present in 30 countries (in 4 continents: Europe, America, Asia and Africa) and our members, single, married, adults, young adults are grouped in several associations serving the same mission but with commitments proper to each association.


  1. Spain - 1911

  2. Italy - 1934

  3. Portugal - 1945

  4. England - 1948

  5. Ireland - 1960

  6. France - 1953

  7. Germany - 1956

  8. Belgium - 1957


  1. Chile - 1928

  2. Argentina - 1938

  3. Uruguay - 1939

  4. Bolivia - 1943

  5. Peru - 1943

  6. Mexico - 1950

  7. Brazil - 1951

  8. Venezuela - 1952

  9. Dominican Republic - 1954

  10. USA - 1955

  11. Colombia - 1961

  12. Guatemala - 1971



  1. Philippines - 1950

  2. Israel - 1952

  3. Japan - 1959

  4. Taiwan - 1963

  5. India - 1973

  6. Jordan - 1985

  7. Palestine -



  1. Equatorial Guinea - 1941

  2. Congo (Zaire) - 1964

  3. Cameroun -












Centers, Programs and Projects of the Association

While our individual presences in the practice of our professions and collaborations with public and private entities are characteristic of our Association, there are some of us who serve the mission from different Centers, Programs and Projects of the Association that have arisen as a response to the needs and demands of the times and of society.

D.    Where is the TA in the PHILIPPINES?

a.     School: Saint Pedro Poveda College (formerly Institución Teresiana, 1960-1974 and Poveda Learning Centre, 1974-2004) - at present, the only School of the Teresian Association in the Philippines located in Quezon City, offers toddlers, preschool, elementary, secondary and tertiary education.  It specializes in Personalized Education Pedagogy.

Insitución Teresiana de Educación y Cultura (ITEC) Corporate Works:

b.     University Residences (dormitories for women)

    • Manila: ITEC Student Center – Dapitan

    • Iloilo: Josefa Segovia Student Center (JSSC)

    • Cagayan de Oro: Poveda University Residence (PUR) TA-supervised University Residence

They are located in the university belts of the mentioned cities and offer students, generally of the tertiary level,  lodging places that are conducive to study and learning.  Staff members offer complementary formation sessions and are available for counseling.  These residences, in other words, provide an atmosphere for the holistic development of the residents, in the spirit of the Founder’s pedagogy.

c.     Culture and Spirituality Centers: These centers offer both venue and program for retreats and seminars.

  • Tagaytay: Poveda House of Prayer

  • Cagayan de Oro: Covadonga Center for Culture and Spirituality

Teresian Association Foundations:

a.     Teresian Association International, Inc. (TAII) -  the Foundation was established as a civil entity of the Teresian Association in the Philippines and its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 6, 2001. TAII features a 3-fold program founded on 3 basic & underpinning socio-educative aspects: Social- Technical/Technological-Cultural. Fundamental to human growth and development, these elements dynamically & interactively interface. The program provides holistic, creative, alternative & personalized approaches to studying, learning & training -designed in context and for a specific purpose.  It is located at the Saint Pedro Poveda College Campus, Manila and with a branch in Mandaue City, Cebu.

b.     Pedro Poveda Foundation -  offers assistance in the ongoing formation of Diocesan Priests in their spiritual educational, cultural and pastoral updating, grants scholarships to Diocesan Seminarians, shares with the Diocesan Priests and Seminarians the charism of the Teresian Association through programs of formation inspired in the life, writings and works of St. Pedro Poveda.

 c.     Josefa Segovia Foundation - founded in 1990, is based in Davao City and services the marginalized farmers of the agricultural districts of the city and tribal communities of Bukidnon. It assists farmers in the lines of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management, Governance and Linkage with Local Government Units, Marketing, Non-formal Education, and Educational Grants through its Pedro Poveda Education Program (PPEP).

Teresian Association Training & Formation Centers & Socio-educative Projects:

a.     Center for Educators Formation – in Quezon City, offers consultancy services in the areas of teacher training and innovative education and services educational institutions that cater to the well-to-do as well as those whose clientele are economically deprived. 

b.     Project Health in Tagaytay City is primarily concerned with community development, health services and educational assistance.

 c.     Poveda Educational Assistance (PEA) provides educational assistance to poor but deserving students from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

 d.     Guadix Centers (These centers are patterned after the beginnings of Saint Pedro Poveda’s ministry to the poor cave dwellers of Guadix, Granada.)

  • Cebu: Guadix Open Center and Guadix Kiddie Center – The center caters to the marginalized people living in Barangay Luz and a handful of those coming from Barangay Lahug. It provides enrichment classes, catechism and training for the Parents of the children who attend morning classes at the Kiddie Center. Microfinance has also been introduced to the parents to help them alleviate their financial difficulties.

  • Cagayan de Oro: the center provides Catechism and tutorial classes offering opportunities for the children to learn and develop values and culture to neighboring households. It also provides formative activities and venue for both spiritual and academic growth of the children.