AND my patron-to-be in Carmel! In the Carmel of the Holy Spirit in Kirk Edge, they give you your religious names BEFORE you enter. I have mentioned in earlier posts my name to-be is “Sr. Mary Maravillas of Jesus and the Holy Face”. I LOVE St. Maravillas of Jesus! She is another St. Teresa of Avilas as she too reformed some of the Carmels in Spain founded by St. Teresa of Avila and founded many, many more under the same rules and constitutions and way of life that St. Teresa lived, taught and wanted all her Carmels to follow.
Her first foundation was at the Cerro de los Angeles where where was already a Sacred Heart statue – picture of it below – this monastery was called the “Cerro”:
A book I recently bought on St. Maravillas, “Following the Path of Divine Love” was recently mentioned as one of the best on life in Carmel. This book is TREMDOUS on the life of Carmel and this fantastic saint! It has much more on her life and her writings – excerpts of conversations, letters, etc. Here’s the link to a Carmelite book service run by Carmelite priests/friars in the UK: http://www.carmelite.org.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_SAINTS___BLESSEDS_OF_CARMEL_37.html (first book at the top) or you can buy it as I did from the Carmelite nuns in Brooklyn or Buffalo, New York as I live in the USA I bought mine from the Buffalo Carmelites. Here is a picture of the cover of this book:
Another great book to get on her (that I have also) if you can find it for a reasonable price (not often but they do pop up on sites like Amazon, Bookfinder, Fetch.org, books4you etc – rare and out-of-print online book sites and even ebay) is: “Let Him Do It: The Life of Mother Maravillas of Jesus” – it shows up on Amazon but I don’t see it here now. It is pretty rare and often is pretty expensive. I don’t know if the above mentioned Carmels have it to sell or not, worth asking about. Here’s a picture of the cover of this book:
I have read this book so many times! It is her life from birth to death and all the Carmels she founded, parts of her writings, teachings and letters, the hardships with the anti-Catholic regime in Spain and hardships with founding Carmels.
I love how St. Maravillas was able to reclaim land that once housed Carmelite monasteries in the time of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. One of these pieces she built a monastery of nuns in the town of Duruelo on the land where St. John of the Cross founded the first monastery of the Reformed Discalced Carmelite Friars. She didn’t want former consecrated land of the St. Teresa’s reformed Carmels to be lost.
From this book, comes one of Mother Maravillas’ prayers she wrote to her Lady for her help:
“Mother mine, how kind you have always been to me. In your hands I put these supplications. Bless them, present them to Jesus. Make your love of a Mother and your power of a Queen have weight. Oh, Mary I count on your help. In confide in your power. I give myself to your will. I am certain of your mercy. Mother of God and Mother mine pray for me.
May 30th, Cerro de los Angeles”
One story from this book is – an excerpt of St. Maravillas’ devotion and veneration of St. Teresa’s arm:
“What emotion does she received the visit of the holy arm of St. Teresa of Avila arm afterwards. (My note: after her death, St. Teresa’s body was cut into several pieces (arm, heart, etc.) and sent to her various monasteries – this story is of her arm). She wishes to plan things as if it were Saint Teresa in person who had come to this convent of hers.
She puts the arm in the Choir on an altar full of flowers. She later takes it to the refectory and places it on the table at the place of the Prioress. She orders that that day they should read at meal-time paragraphs from Saint Teresa where she speaks to her Daughters. The arm is present at their hour of prayer. She then divides the night hours so that each nun can have this in her cell for a quarter of an hour. She takes it all round the garden so that it may bless all things.”
Another funny story was when in a very isolated monastery Mother Maravillas was given a radio transmitter to speak to her monastery in the Cerro. Excerpt:
“This convent, which is very isolated, did not have easy communications during the first years when they still had no telephone.
There were urgent messages, for doctors, the sick, etc.
They speak to her of a radio which is now used as a means of communication in many places and is pleased to think that this may be of the solution to many problems. She is then given one, as is the Cerro, so that from here – for the Cerro does have a telephone – they can relay all the messages to Madrid. She immediately baptizes her transmitter with the name of “Holy Mary” and the Cerro’s with “Heart of Jesus”.
It is not easy to establish communication and one can hear her in her library: “Heart of Jesus, Heart of Jesus…Here Holy Mary, Here Holy Mary.”
One day the lines cross. A pious lady with another transmitter in a nearby farm believes she has heard a communication from heaven and devoutly answers: “In You I confide, In You I confide.”!
How Mother Maravillas laughed telling them about this.”
(Mother Maravillas at one of her Carmel foundations.)
The book is filled with beautiful stories like this of her life and sisters. When she wanted all her nuns to wear the same type/style of stocking and sandals that their holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila wore. She went to the Carmelite monastery of nuns in Burgos as they had an alparagates/rope sandal that St. Teresa wore (as did all her nuns) and made. St. Maravillas had a pattern made of these sandals so ALL her nuns could make them and wear them so they could be close to and follow their holy Mother St. Teresa in what she mandated her nuns wear. The wonderful part of this story is when the nuns in this monastery encouraged Mother Maravillas to try on St. Teresa’s sandals and they were a perfect fit in every way! St. Maravillas WAS a perfect person to follow in and fit St. Teresa’s shoes! She IS another St. Teresa! Here is the excerpt from the book on this:
“Mother Maravillas had been thinking for some time whether the sandals and the stockings that the Carmelites used now were the same as those imposed by St. Teresa on her nuns. St. Teresa did not quite describe having the foot covered as they did now.
She spoke about this on various occasions to Fr. Silverio, and he was of the same opinion. He was making inquiries to be properly informed. He told her that if she had the opportunity on one of her foundation trips, she should not miss seeing a sandal of the Saint preserved in Burgos.
Fr. Silverio gathered all the necessary documentation, together with photographs of ancient carvings of St. Teresa in which she appears bare-toed, he measured and photographed the stocking that is conserved at Naples and sought advice from the Carmelites at Burgos, etc. When he had all the loose-ends tied up, he decided to take the matter in hand.
In a letter written to Mother Maravillas he says:
“Each day I am more convinced that it was the intention of the Saint that the foot should be bare, with but a sandal. To cover the leg, stockings (that should reach the ankle) etc. I imagine all the youth to be enthusiastic about the idea and all the Discalced nuns too. Without this I do not see how they can truly call themselves Discalced.”
In communication with San Jose de Avila and when everybody was in agreement, she writes to Batuecas saying:
“From there (San Jose de Avila) they write that most pleased to do this and we are too, for undoubtedly the austerity will be greater and we shall suffer greater cold. It gives one such devotion that in these times of such great offence to God precisely in searching for greater pleasures, the Lord should request greater penance from His Carmelites.”
Over and above cutting the foot off the stockings, she wanted to have the authentic sandal to adopt for use at the same time.
In 1947, during one of her journeys to see a place for the transfer of the community at Batuecas, she goes through Burgos. As she had agreed with Father Silverio she goes to the convent and asks to see the sandal of St. Teresa. She is attended with affection and they were delighted to bring it to her. She tried it on and was delighted to see the coincidence that she had the same foot size as her holy Mother. She was able to prove that it was as she had imagined. it had only the sole and the front part which left the toes bare. only the heel was worn. She took a pattern and measurements.”
St. Maravillas carried Carmel through the second Vatican Council and kept the true life of St. Teresa intact for the daughters of St. Teresa who valued and wanted to live the life of a Carmelite, her daughters, the life she founded and reformed for Carmel. These were the 1581 Constitutions then and her Carmels and others follow these same constitutions according to to the norms given by His Holiness John Paul II on 15th. October 1984 and promulgated by him on 8th. December 1990, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, hence they are called today the 1990 Constitutions by the Carmels that follow this original and authentic rule/constitutions of St. Teresa’s (barring minor changes).
**Photo Albums for more pictures of St. Maravillas of Jesus: – see right side bar of this blog under “Photo Albums for clickable link.**
St. Maravillas of Jesus Part 1
St. Maravillas Part 2
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
“María de las Maravillas was born in Madrid, Spain, on 4 November 1891, the daughter of Luis Pidal y Mon, the Marquis of Pidal, and Cristina Chico de Guzmán y Muñoz. At the time her father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See, and she grew up in a devout Catholic family.
María made a vow of chastity at the age of five and devoted herself to charitable work. After coming into contact with the writings of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Jesus, she felt called to become a Discalced Carmelite. Her father, whom she had faithfully assisted when he became ill, died in 1913, and her mother was reluctant to accept her daughter’s decision to enter the Carmelite monastery.
However, on 12 October 1919, María did enter the Discalced Carmelites of El Escorial in Madrid. She made her simple vows on 7 May 1921.
Before her final profession on 30 May 1924, Sr María had already received a special call from God to found the Carmel of Cerro de los Ángeles, and the foundation was inaugurated on 31 October 1926 with three other Carmelites. This was the first of the series of Teresian Carmelite Monasteries that she would establish, according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelites. María was not being called to found a new order or to “branch off” from the Discalced Carmelites – she herself was very careful in pointing this out; she only sought to live deeply and to transmit the spirit and ideals of St Teresa of Jesus and St John of the Cross.
On 28 June 1926, the Bishop of the Diocese of Madrid-Alcalá appointed her prioress of the new monastery. In 1933 she established another foundation in Kottayam, India, and from this Carmel other foundations were started in India.
Her role as prioress would be permanent in the various monasteries she founded throughout her life, notwithstanding the natural aversion and sense of inadequacy she felt in accepting positions of responsibility. María’s spirit of obedience and love for the Church and for her Carmelite sisters, however, gave her the strength and diligence to carry out this duty with love.
Mother Maravillas was often criticized for the poverty of the convents she founded; charges were made that they were “not solid”, small in size and unfurnished, with bare walls on which hung chosen Bible verses or writings of the Carmelite saints. She would reply, however, that “it is not our concern to plant a seed, since the Discalced Carmelites have already been founded. Even if our convents collapse, nothing will happen”.
During the Spanish Civil War, the nuns of Cerro de los Ángeles lived in an apartment in Madrid. In September 1937 another Carmel in the Batuecas, Salamanca, was founded. In 1939 the monastery of Cerro de los Ángeles was restored. Even amid enormous deprivation, Mother Maravillas instilled courage and happiness, always being an admirable example to her daughters.
But she also remained a mystery even to the nuns closest to her, since only her spiritual directors knew the “dark night of the soul” that she lived throughout her life, which kept her in profound spiritual aridity and trials, and made total faith and abandonment to the will of God her guide.
In the following years, foundations were established in other parts of Spain. Mother Maravillas also restored and sent nuns to her original Carmel of El Escorial and to the venerable monastery of the Incarnation in Avila.
In order to unite the monasteries founded by her and others that had the same finality, she founded the Association of St Teresa, which received official approval from the Holy See in 1972.
On 8 December 1974, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mother Maravillas was anointed and received Holy Communion. On 11 December, surrounded by her community in the Carmel of La Aldehuela, Madrid, she died. At the time of her death, her sisters report that Mother Maravillas kept repeating the phrase: “What happiness to die a Carmelite!”. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 10 May 1998.” – Homily of John Paul II
From the letters of Saint Maravillas of Jesus, Virgin
(Letters to her spiritual directors: 305, 254, 101, 458b)
“Yesterday, Sunday, on climbing the stairs to go to the upper choir for the sung Mass, I was quite recollected, yet without any particular thought, when I heard clearly within me, My delight is to be with the children of men. These words which made a strong impression on me, I understood were not for me this time, but rather in the nature of a request the Lord was making me to offer the whole of myself to give him these souls he so much desires. It is hard to explain, but I saw clearly, that a soul which sanctifies itself becomes fruitful in attracting souls to God. This so deeply moved me that I offered with my whole heart to the Lord all my sufferings of body and soul for this purpose, despite my poverty. It then seemed to me that this offering was right, but what was strictly important was to surrender myself, wholly and completely to the divine will, so that he could do what he desired in me, and likewise I would accept the pain along with the pleasure. I seemed to understand that what pleased him was not the greatest sacrifice but rather the exact and loving fulfillment in the least detail of that will. In this I understood many things I find hard to explain, and how he wished me to be very sensitive in this fulfillment, which would carry me a long way in self-sacrifice and love.
I offered myself in such a way that nothing would excuse me, not even hell (if there you can love the Lord), but then I am so cowardly. The Lord will remedy that, since I can do no more than commit myself to Him in all my misery. I began experiencing this as a desire to commit myself for souls and to be faithful for this purpose: thinking about what he had done for them, it seemed he was saying to me I could not do much, but he could, with my help. On feeling this immense desire of the Lord for the salvation of souls, it seemed so amazing that nothing remained but to be committed to God so that He could carry out all his work in the soul and thus make it, despite its poverty, capable of giving him what he desires. Each time it became clearer to my soul so that nothing of my own remained important, except that the Lord alone be glorified.
What a treasure the Lord has given me in allowing me to live in Carmel! Here, everything is arranged with such simplicity, yet in such a way that, living it to the full, you can do everything. How can we live in the House of the Virgin, pleasing the Lord with her, yet not imitating her, as the Holy Mother desired? I felt that this is the Carmelite’s way, imitating Mary, how we must grow less, to be truly poor, self-sacrificing, humble, nothing. I felt quite deeply how Jesus gives us in his own life continual examples of sacrifice, of humiliation, of making ourselves small, yet we do not understand. I felt his mercy and zeal for souls in this way, that here is the strength that can take hold of our life through his mercy. By his grace, may I, who am so absolutely poor in everything, be well able to imitate him in this with more ease than other creatures.
I seemed also to understand that these lights were not given only for myself, but also for guiding my sisters. The sole thing I do, many times in the day, is to say to the Lord that I wish to live only to love him and to please him, that I desire all that he wishes in the way that he wills.”