Discalced Carmelites of the Australia Oceania Region
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St Mary of Jesus Crucified

August 29, 2017

From a dossier produced by the Carmel of Bethlehem for the canonisation of Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (2015)

The spiritual experience of Mariam and her message are a constant call to charity, reconciliation and peace. In a concrete and deeply spiritual way, she invites believers, especially all Christians to commit themselves fully to peace and reconciliation between peoples and communities.
To speak of reconciliation in the dramatic situations experienced in the Middle East might seem premature. But peace is based on justice and reconciliation. It is a voluntary process. It opens up possibilities of living together, based on recognition of the evil committed and suffered, the forgiveness that is possible and the healing of wounds. It offers new paths of justice, respect and listening. Mariam’s experience teaches us that peace is founded on putting down deep roots in the Lord, source of all peace: ‘When you see a tear in the dress of another, do not tear more, but cut a piece of your coat to mend the hole… I tell you, and I repeat: Jesus will clothe you with a bridal dress. Instead of reopening a wound by throwing vinegar into it, we must instead seek to soften and close it with the oil of charity.’ These words of Mariam are a testimony to practical charity which is the seed of peace and reconciliation.
In Mariam’s life we find three dimensions of reconciliation: the path to inner and communitarian peace through reconciliation with one’s personal history, an experience of unity of the Church and a call to live together among believers of different religions.
Mariam was a young woman hurt by the trials of life: orphaned very young, rejected by her family because of her refusal to marry, persecuted for her faith, taken for being mad/possessed in religious life and in search of her brother whom she never found after their separation in early childhood. Instead of succumbing to all of these hurts, she abandoned herself to the Holy Spirit who transformed her into a radiant person.
Her ecclesial experience at the crossroads of different rites shows us how unity is possible if one is seeking the essential: charity united with faith in Christ, one Pastor of the Church. ‘The renewal of our churches needs the pure heart of Mary of Jesus Crucified… We must indeed have hearts that see God in order to build our churches and make them places of communion, of prayer, of encounter with God and of reconciliation’ (Pastoral Letter of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, 2003).
Ecumenical dialogue is related to interreligious dialogue. The three religions that profess faith in the one God and share the most significant pages of the Old Testament were present close to Mount Carmel since ancient times. By personal experience, Mariam is a sign of unity among Christians of the East and West; likewise, her personality and her being part of the Order of Carmel make her a point of encounter between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. We know that apart from economic and political interests, it is mainly the lack of peace between the three religions which represents a very serious threat to peace in the Holy Land and worldwide.
Mariam wanted to be ‘the little sister of all.’ To those who want to be artisans of peace and reconciliation, she offers this attitude of the heart, a way of life that recognises in every person a brother or sister in humanity. In the drama of current conflicts, with Mariam, a door is opened.