Shining Example of “The Good Life”

Today’s Lansing State Journal has the obituary of a woman who lived a life full of accomplishment and adventure. It’s hard not to feel a touch of envy, but there’s no question that she worked hard for and earned all the deep satisfactions such a life can provide. Here’s the text:

Teresa Bernardez, MD, born June 11, 1931 to Francisco Bernardez and Dolores Novoa in Buenos Aires, Argentina, named for Santa Teresa de Avila, the saint reformer of the Catholic Church. She was in private practice at the time of her death.

She served as a full professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, and was a founding and active member of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Council, a ground-breaking institution that doesn’t require candidates for certification to possess MDs. She earned her MD at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School, interned at the Hospital Vaugirard in Paris, and did her residency, and served on the faculty, at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. She served at the Tavistok Clinic in London during her first sabbatical, and was a fellow of the Bunting Institute at Radcliff College for her second sabbatical.

She was an organizer of a mental health panel at the 2nd World Conference on Women in Copenhagen in 1980. Her passion was her work with patients facing multiple challenges, women and anger, group psychotherapy, and feminism. As chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Women, Teresa led a rebellion on the revision in 1985 of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, attempting to remove from that manual three so-called mental disorders: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Paraphiliac Rapism Disorder, and Masochistic Personality Disorder. She was the author of numerous works and articles in her field, and ran many workshops.

In addition, Teresa was a regular participant in various schools of Outward Bound, and traveled the globe, including numerous trips to Europe, Uruguay, Chile, the Caribbean, Thailand, Nepal, and other lands. More recently, Teresa began writing and performing poetry and had gathered an edited collection of 50 of her poems.

Teresa was preceded in death by her parents, her four half-brothers Enrique, Francisco, Ricardo and Federico and half-sister Adelaida and her brother, Mariano. She is survived by her son, Diego Bonesatti, her ex-husband, Jorge Bonesatti. She is also survived by her sister, Aurora Bernardez, of Paris, France.


Jack McHugh

Mackinac Center Senior Legislative Analyst


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