Theresa Chikaba was born in the year 1676 a daughter of a king of the African West Coast. We know that her country, which was evangelized by the Capuchin Friars after the year 1686, was a part of Guinea. Her African name was Chikaba.
At the age of ten she was captured on a sea shore by the Spanish and placed on a slave ship. She was baptized at Saint Tome' and finally landed in Seville. Being a royal princess, she was not treated in the same way as the other slaves. Instead she was transferred to Madrid and introduced to King Charles II who entrusted her to the care of the Marquis of ManceTa.
In the year 1700, she refused an advantageous marriage with a prince of her native country who had come recommended by King Louis XIV from France to the Court of Madrid . She attempted to enter a Convent but her desire was refused by all the convents of Madrid for the sole reason that she was black. Finally, she was accepted by the Convent of the Dominican Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Mary Magdalene, commonly know as the Convent of Penance in Salamanca. However, the bishop of Salamanca would only allowed her to enter the convent as a maid. It was only later that she was admitted to the community and received the habit. She was solemnly professed on June 29th, 1704 and was given the name Theresa Juliana of Saint Dominic.
This saintly women was known for her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and her extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Virgin. She believed that it was the Blessed Virgin who had intervened from the moment of her baptism throughout the many steps of her spiritual life .
Sister Chikaba practiced all the virtues in a heroic degree, especially the virtue of charity toward all the ill of the community. She prayed constantly for the conversion of sinners and the unfaithful, and for the poor souls and was known for her great acts of penance. She practiced humility and possessed great patience in spite of all the scorns and persecutions which she endured, because of the color of her skin, at the hands of the Marquis and later in the convent. She gave great example to everyone in Salamanca with her virtues and supernatural gifts of healing, prophecy and advise.
This saintly woman died on December 6th, 1748 after a virtuous life of 44 years in the convent. Her remains are kept in the convent of the Dominicans Sister-Las Duenas-in Salamanca.
Prayer to Sister Chikaba
you desire that we see your image in all people.
Grant that by the prayers and intercession of your servant Chikaba,
we may come to better appreciate your gifts to all races and all cultures.
Grant also that Africa might continue to pour upon the whole Church
a surge of heavenly energies and an invaluable richness of grace and holiness.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.