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Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury
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Saint María Maravillas de Jesús

A Carmelite foundress as busy as her spiritual mother, St. Teresa of Avila


© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC BY-SA 3.0

Discalced Carmelite Nun – (1891-1974)

Her life

+ Born in 1891, Maria was the daughter of the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See.

+ Remembered as being a pious child, she felt called to the religious life at a young age and entered the Carmelites in the Carmel of El Escorial in Madrid, in 1920.

+ In 1924, Maria was asked to help establish a new Carmel near Madrid. She was appointed prioress of the community in 1926. This community grew so quickly that she was asked to travel to Kottayam, India, to establish a  new Carmelite community there. She would, in time, found several communities in India.

+ Maria returned to Spain in 1936 and, as part of the anticlerical actions of the Spanish Civil War, she was arrested and placed under house arrest for fourteen months. After her release, she and her community moved to Salamanca.

+ In the years that followed, Mother Maria Maravillas would found eight other Carmelite convents in Spain.

+ Honored for her life of prayer and dedication to her Order, Saint Maria Maravillas de Jesús died on December 11, 1974, and was canonized in 2003.

Spiritual bonus

On this day, the Carmelite Order remembers another of their saintly members: Blessed Franco of Siena. An Italian noble and soldier, he lived a sinful life before being converted to the faith by the preaching of the Dominican Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni. He decided to leave the world behind and live as a hermit. He later joined the Carmelite Order, but continued to live as a hermit. Known for his spirit of penance and for his gift of prophecy, he died on December 11, 1291.


“One thing is necessary: she has chosen the better part, which shall not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42


O God, who called your handmaid blessed Maria Maravillas to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Nun)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Special thanks to Jose Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro for allowing the use of this image.

Photo CREDIT : © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC BY-SA 3.0

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