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Saint of the Day

St. Maria Maravillas de Jesus

December 11
Born: 1891, Madrid, Spain.
Died: 1974.

Daughter of Luis Pidal y Mon and Cristina Chico de Guzman y Munoz, the Marquess and Marchioness of Pidal; her father was Spanish ambassador to the Vatican and a very active supporter of the Church. She was baptized at the age of eight days, Confirmed in 1896, made her first Communion in 1902, grew up in a pious family, was known as an intelligent and religious child, and early perceived a call to religious life. She entered the Carmelite novitiate at El Escorial, Madrid, Spain in 1920.

On 19 May 1924 Maria and three sisters founded a house at Cerro de los Angeles, Madrid, the geographical center of Spain, and she took her final vows there on 30 May 1924. Prioress of the house in 1926. The house expanded so quickly that Mother Marvillas was sent to found another in Kottayam, India, which over the years has expanded to many other Carmels in that country. She returned to Spain, and in 1936, as part of the anti-clerical actions of the Spanish Civil War, she and her sisters were arrested, relocated to Madrid, and subjected to fourteen months of house arrest and harassment. In September 1937 Mother Maravillas and her community relocated to las Batuecas, Salamanca, Spain where they founded a new house.

In 1939 she led a group of sisters to restore the house at Cerro de los Angeles. From there she led an expansion of the Carmelites with houses in Mancera de Abajo, Salamanca in 1944, Duruelo, Avi­la in 1947, Cabrera, Salamanca 1950, Arenas de San Pedro, Avi­la in 1954, San Calixto, Cordoba in 1956, Aravaca, Madrid in 1958, Talavera de la Reina, Toledo c.1960, la Aldeheula, Madrid in 1961, and Montemar-Torremolinos, Milaga in 1964. To unite these and other far-flung houses, she founded the Association of Saint Teresa in 1972. The Carmel in la Aldeheula was hugely expanded with schools, a community of houses for the local poor, church, community halls and other structures in what effectively became a small town.

In all these works Mother Maravillas was known for her dedication for work and prayer, her humility and care of her younger sisters, and her dedication to the Rules and spirituality of the Discalced Carmelites.

Lord God,
Who drew St. Maria Maravillas of Jesus
into the secrets of the Heart of Your Son,
grant through her intercession and example,
that we may work together for the salvation of souls,
experiencing the delights of Your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, Who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Ghost one God for ever and ever. Amen.

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