Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
Maria Maravillas Pidal was born in Madrid on 4th November 1891. She was the fourth child of Luis and Cristina Pidal. She grew up in a deeply religious setting: Catholic Spain in a devout Catholic family who were keenly interested and involved in the life of the Church. At the time of her birth her father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican. Her life continued to be immersed in the political/religious situation of her country.
Maria was a deeply religious child, energetic and intelligent. From an early age she recognized God’s call to religious life. Later she wrote, “I received the grace of vocation at the same time as the use of reason.” Having read the writings of Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross she felt called to join the Carmelite Order but this desire did not become reality until October 1919 when she was almost twenty-eight years old. She made her first vows in May 1920. Six years later, she was appointed prioress of the community she had established at the Cerro de los Angeles.
The Carmel at the Cerro de los Angeles, Getafe, about 10 km (6 miles) south of Madrid, was the first of many Carmels established by Mother Maravillas. “Her role as prioress would be permanent in the various monasteries she founded throughout her life.” In order to unite the monasteries she had established and others associated with them, Mother Maravillas obtained approval in 1972 from the Holy See to found the Association of St Teresa.
In December 1974, whilst repeating “What joy to die a Carmelite” she experienced a peaceful death in the Carmel of La Aldehuela, Madrid.
Saint Maravillas of Jesus was motivated by a heroic faith that shaped her response to an austere vocation, in which she made God the centre of her life. Having overcome the painful circumstances of the Spanish Civil War, she established new foundations for the Order of Carmel, imbued with the characteristic spirit of the Teresian reform. Her life of contemplation and monastic enclosure did not prevent her from responding to the needs of the persons she dealt with and promoting social and charitable works around her.
From the homily of John Paul II at her canonization.
Principal Events in the life of Mother Maravillas
|1891||Nov 4th she was born in Madrid, Spain.|
|1913||Dec 19 Her father died. Soon after her maternal grandmother also died. She had been influential in the religious education of Maria.|
|1918||Her mother gave her consent to enter Carmel.|
|1919||May 30 The Nation was consecrated to the Sacred Heart by King Alfonso XIII on the Hill of Angels, the geographic center of Spain.
Oct 12 She entered the Carmelite Monastery at El Escorial, Madrid.
|1920||May 7th She made her first vows. Shortly afterwards, she and Mother Rosario of Jesus, share a call to establish a Carmel near the statute of the Sacred Heart.|
|1924||May 19th Sr Maravillas and three other religious sisters from El Escorial took the first steps to establish a Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles. They left El Escorial and moved into a house in the district of Getafe.
May 30th She took final vows in the house in Getafe.
|1926||June The Bishop of the Diocese appointed her prioress of the community. She remained so for 48 years.
Oct 31 The Carmel El Cerro de los Angeles was inauguration. This monastery was intended as a place of prayer for the Church and Spain.
|1931||A time of social unrest began which eventually led to the Spanish Civil War and a time of upheaval for the community.|
|1932||Sept 15th Mons Arana, Bishop of Vijayapuram (India) asked her to found a Convent in his diocese.|
|1933||Sept 11 She established the foundation in Kottayam, India, sending eight nuns from her Community.|
|July 1936 – April 1939 Spanish Civil War|
|1936||July 22 For their own safety, they are convinced to leave the convent on the Hill and take refuge with las Ursulinas de Getafe. They suffer much during this time of persecution: the destruction of the statue of the Sacred Heart along with many convents and churches.|
|1937||September 28th Mother Maravillas and her community relocated to Las Batuecas, Salamanca.|
|1939||At the end of the war, the bishop requested that some sisters remain at Las Batuecas. [Las Batuecas, is later handed over to the Carmelite Fathers.] She led a group of sisters to restore the monastery at Cerro de los Angeles.|
||During the ensuing years of peace she established eight more communities in Spain.|
|1964||Aug 27th Sent nuns to restore the original Carmel of El Escorial, that was damaged during the civil war.|
|1965||Sept 24th Sent nuns to restore the Monastery of the Incarnation, Avila.|
|1974||Dec 11th Mother Maravillas died at La Aldehuela Carmel, Madrid.|
|1998||May 10th - beatified in St Peter’s Rome by Pope John Paul II|
|2003||May 4th - canonized in Madrid by Pope John Paul II|
To accomplish all these works she trusted confidently in divine providence.
Her memorial day is celebrated on 11th December.