She was the first President of the Teresian Association
Maria Josefa Segovia Morón was 22 years old when she met Fr. Pedro Poveda. He needed a good professional educator to direct an academy for teachers in training, in Jaen, and he did not consider her youth to be a handicap. He placed in the hands of this young woman the project he was starting.
Josefa Segovia had graduated from La Escuela Superior del Magisterio (Teachers College) in Madrid in 1913. Upon completion of her studies she returned to her hometown of Jaén. After receiving excellent references about her, he offered her the direction of the academy he was starting. On accepting the position she began identifying herself with the work of the Teresian Association.
St. Pedro Poveda wrote on one occasion about her: “Grace made you a new creature because, even at the human level, God perfected you and elevated you to the extent that you do not look the same as before.” “I declare and confess (…) that the spirit of the Teresian Association is embodied in you.” “May the Lord give you perseverance and, as you have been growing in virtue each day since I know you, may you continue making progress in virtue until the Lord takes you to heaven.”
As a result of the close collaboration of those years, she became well acquainted with the Founder of the emerging Lay Association that received civil and ecclesiastical approval in 1917. Poveda himself had called his Work a ‘good idea’ and Segovia abandoned her plans of matrimony and gave herself to the task of overseeing the numerous Academies that were starting all over Spain.
It was Josefa Segovia, as President of the Association, who presented the Work to Pope Pius XI, in order to obtain on January 11 of 1924, the perpetual canonical approval of the Association.
The Work continued to grow. Already during the life of the Founder it reached America. After Poveda´s death, in 1936, Josefa Segovia continued the expansion of the TA, now present in 30 countries of four continents, including the United states, Canada and Cuba.
Born born in Jaén, Spain, on October 10, 1891, she died in Madrid on March 29, 1957. She was the first President of the Teresian Association.