December 11, 2008

Saint Maria Maravillas de Jesus

1891-1974 – Memorial - December 11th

Maria Maravillas Pidal y Chico de Guzman was born in Madrid on 4th November 1891 and was baptized on the 12th of the same month in the parish of St. Sebastian. She was the daughter of Luis Pidal y Mon and Cristina Chico de Guzman y Munoz, the Marquess and Marchioness of Pidal. At that time her father was Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See, having been minister for Public Works as well as exercising other high positions and being decorated in acknowledgment. He was well noted for his efforts to help the Church and religious Orders. In such a religious environment the young Maria Maravillas received a conscientious education particularly from her maternal grandmother. She was confirmed in 1896 and made her first communion in 1902.

She was gifted with great natural qualities, among which stood out her clear and deep intelligence and a will directed always towards good. These qualities were brought to perfection by grace to which she faithfully responded.

She had a marked attraction to virtue right from childhood. She herself was to say many years laters that she was born with a religious vociation, and at five years of age, being as she was, she made a vow of chastity. As she was growing up, besides cultivating her life of piety and finishing her private studies in languages and general culture, she devoted herself to charitable, good works, helping many poor and emarginated families. Under the direction of Fr. Juan Francisco Lopez, SJ, her spiritual life unfolded and took shape.

Having come in contact with the works of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, she decided to consecrate herself to the Lord in the contemplative life in the Carmelite monastery of El Escorial (Madrid). She was clothed in the Order's habit in 1920 and made her first profession in 1921.

God inspired her to found a Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles (Madrid), the geographical centre of Spain, where a monument to the Sacred Heart and the Nation was consecrated to the Sacred Heart on 30th May 1919 by King Alfonso XIII. On the 19th May 1924, Sister Maravillas and three other religious from El Escorial took up residence in a provisional house in the district of Getafe so that they could by close-by to attend to the building of the convent in Cerro.


She made her solemn profession in this house on 30th May, the same year. In June 1926 she was appointed prioress of the community and a few months after, on 31st October, the new Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles was inaugurated. This monastery was to become a place of prayer and penitence, for the spiritual good of the Church and Spain.

Very quickly it was filled with vocations and Mother Maravillas saw in this an invitation from the Lord to multiply "Our Lady's houses", as she liked to call her Carmels.

In 1933, at the invitation of the Carmelite Bishop, she made a foundation in Kottayam in India. From this Carmel in due time other foundations were made in India.

In July 1936, the Civil War broke out in Spain. The Carmelites of Cerro de los Angeles were arrested and taken to Gestafe. From there they were able to get to Madrid where they managed to set up in an apartment in Claudio Coello street. There followed fourteen months filled with privations and sacrifices, searches and threats. Yet the ardently hoped-for martyrdom desired by the group of Carmelities did not occur. In September 1937 Mother Maravillas managed to leave Madrid with the whole community, reaching the ancient and then abandoned "desert" of las Batuecas (Salamanca), which providentially had been acquired before the war began. Here she was able to found another Carmel, with some of her nuns, at the request of the Bishop of Coria-Caceres.

On 4th March 1939, with another group of nuns she was able to restore the convent of Cerro de los Angeles which had been completely destroyed. With immense effort and fatigue, they were able to restore common life by June the same year. No matter how hard the work she was always the first to be involved. Even in the midst of enormous deprivation, Mother Maravillas knew how to inject courage and happiness, being always an admirable example to her daughters.

From there she led an expansion of the Carmelites with houses in Mancera de Abajo, Salamanca in 1944, Duruelo, Avíla in 1947, Cabrera, Salamanca 1950, Arenas de San Pedro, Avíla in 1954, San Calixto, Córdoba in 1956, Aravaca, Madrid in 1958, Talavera de la Reina, Toledo c.1960, la Aldeheula, Madrid in 1961, and Montemar-Torremolinos, Málaga in 1964. To unite these and other far-flung houses, she founded the Association of Saint Teresa in 1972. The Carmel in la Aldeheula was hugely expanded with schools, a community of houses for the local poor, church, community halls and other structures in what effectively became a small town.

In all these works Mother Maravillas was known for her dedication for work and prayer, her humility and care of her younger sisters, and her dedication to the Rules and spirituality of the Discalced Carmelites.

Born
4 November 1891 in Madrid, Spain

Died
11 December 1974 in La Aldehuela monastery, Madrid province, Spain of natural causes

Venerated
17 December 1996 by Pope John Paul II

Beatified
10 May 1998 by Pope John Paul II in Rome

Canonized
4 May 2003 by Pope John Paul II

4 comments:

  1. wat is she the patron st of???

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can you post a prayer by her.
    I need it for my catechism 3rd grade class. She is todays Saint. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lord Jesus Christ, Thou doth ask us to put on the meekness and humility of Thy Heart. I thank Thee for having glorified in the Church Thy humble servant, Saint Maravillas of Jesus. In this way, Lord, Thou giveth her in Heaven the just reward for her fidelity on earth. May the example of her virtues stimulate the desire in many souls to walk along the veritable Way, the Truth and the Life which Thou alone art. Saint Maria Maravillas de Jesus please grant me the intercession & favor I ask of Thee. Amen. (Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.)

    ReplyDelete

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