Novena Day 4
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus (1891-1974)
“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.”
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
Feast Day ~ December 11
The fourth child of the Marquis and Marchioness of Pidal, Maria was born into a deeply devout Spanish family actively involved in the life of the Church. At the time of her birth, Maria’s father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican. Maria was convinced of her vocation, having heard God’s call to the religious life from a very early age. In her later years, she would often remark that she was “born with a religious vocation.”
After studying the works of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, Maria felt drawn to the contemplative life and joined the Carmelite monastery of El Escorial in Madrid, making her first profession in 1921. In 1924, she founded a new Carmel, Cerro de los Angeles, and from this foundation nine others followed in Spain and one in India. In July 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the nuns at Cerro de los Angeles were arrested, and for the next 14 months amidst severe privations, threats and searches, the nuns lived in expectation of martyrdom. This, however, did not happen. In the fall of 1937, Mother Maria, together with all of her nuns, managed to leave Madrid for Salamanca where she was able to found another Carmel at the request of the local bishop. In 1939, Mother Maria was able to restore the convent of Cerro de los Angeles, which had been completely destroyed. It was from the rebuilt Cerro de los Angeles that between 1944-1961, Mother Maria established additional Carmels across Spain, including one at la Aldeheula, which effectively became a little village – the convent was greatly expanded and eventually included schools, housing for the poor, a church, community center buildings and various other structures.
The hallmark of Saint Maria’s spirituality was to always give primacy of place to prayer and self-sacrifice. She had a true, passionate zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. She was dedicated to the Rules of her community and was committed to helping those in need, and initiated many apostolic, social and charitable works.
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus died at the convent of la Aldehuela in 1974 at the age of 83.