Secular Carmelite Information

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This article reprinted with permission from the Washington OCDS publication the"Carmel Clarion"

Sr. Maravillas of Jesus. OCD 1891-1974

One of Carmel's Newest Saints 

Madrid. Spain, May 4, 2003 - Pope John Paul II appealed to Catholics to be faithful to their rich spiritual legacy, as he canonized five of their compatriots. During the homily, the Pope highlighted the heroic virtues of the five saints. Of our beloved sister, he said "St- MaravilIas de Jesus lived inspired by a heroic faith, made concrete in the response of an austere vocation. placing God at the center of her life." Among those attending the canonization was Manuel Vilar, an Argentine boy who was pronounced clinically dead when he drowned in a pool. He miraculously returned to life through the intercession of Mother Maravillas.

Maria Maravillas Pidal y Chico de Guzman was born in Madrid on November 4, 1891 and was Baptizcd on the 12th of the same month in the parish of St. Sebastian. She was the daughter of Luis Pidal y Mon and Cristina Chico de Guzman y Munoz. the Marquess and Marchioness of Pidal. At that time her father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See, having been minister for Public Works as well as exercising other high positions and being decorated in acknowledgment. He was well noted for his efforts to help the Church and religious Orders. In such a religious environment the young Maria Maravillas received a privileged education particularly from her maternal grandmother. She was confirmed in 1896 and made her first communion in 1902.

She was gifted with great natural qualifies, among which stood out her clear and deep intelligence and a will directed always towards good. These qualities were brought to perfection by grace to which she faithfully responded. She had a marked attraction to virtue right from childhood. She herself was to say many years later that she was born with a religious vocation, and at five years of age, in her own way, she made a vow of chastity. As she was growing up, besides cultivating her life of piety and finishing her private studies in languages and general culture, she devoted herself to charitable and good works, helping many poor and marginalised families. Under the direction of Fr. Juan Francisco Lopez, S.J., her spiritual life unfolded and look shape.

God inspired her to found a Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles [Madrid] the geographical center of Spain, where a monument had been erected to the Sacred Heart and to which the Nation was consecrated on May 30, 1919 by King Alfonso XIII. On May 19, 1924. Sister Maravillas and three other religious from El Escorial took up residence in a provisional house in the district of Getafe so that they could be close-by to attend to the building of the convent in Cerro. This is where she made her solemn profession on May 30th, of the same year. In June 1926 she was appointed prioress of the community and a few months later, on October 31st, the new Carmel in Cerro de los Angeles was inaugurated. This monastery was to become a place of prayer and penance for the spiritual good of the Church and Spain. Very quickly it was filled with vocations and Mother Maravillas saw in this an invitation from the Lord to multiply "Our Lady's houses", as she liked to call her Carmels.

In 1933, at the invitation of a Carmelite Bishop, she made a foundation in Kottayam in India. From this Carmel in due time other foundations were made in India.

In July 1936, the Civil War broke out in Spain. The Carmelites of Cerro de los Angeles were arrested and taken to Getafe. From there, they were able to get to Madrid where they managed to set up in an apartment on Claudio Coello street. They lived there for fourteen months that were filled with privations and sacrifices, communist searches and threats. Yet the ardently hoped-for martyrdom desired by the group of Carmelites did not occur. In September 1937 Mother Maravillas managed to leave Madrid with the whole community, reaching the ancient and then abandoned "desert" of
las Batuecas [Salamanca], which providentially had been acquired before the war began. Here she was able to found another Carmel, with some other nuns. at the request of the Bishop of Coria-Caceres.

On March 4, 1939, Mother Maravillas began to restore the convent of Cerro de los Angeles, which had been completely destroyed, with another group of nuns. With immense effort and fatigue, they were able to restore the common life by June of the same year. No matter how hard the work, she was always the first to be involved. Even in the midst of enormous deprivation, Mother Maravillas knew how to inspire courage and happiness, being always an admirable example to her daughters. In the following years the foundations multiplied.

There appeared the Carmels of Mancera de Abajo [Salamancal] in 1944; Duruelo [Avila], the cradle of the Carmelite Reform of St. John of the Cross, in 1947; Cabrera [Salamanca], in 1950, to where the community of the desert of Las Batuecas transferred, leaving the desert house for the Carmelite Friars; and the Arenas de San Pedro [Avila] in 1954. She also sent three nuns to strengthen the Carmel in Ecuador in that year. Then followed the Carmels of San Calixto in the Cordoba hills in 1956; Aravaca (Madrid] in 1958; a completely new church and monastery for the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Talavera de la Reina [Toledo] in 1960; La Aldehuela [Madrid] in 1961 where she withdrew in preparation for death; and Montemar-Torremolinos [Malaga] in 1964. She then restored and sent nuns to her original Carmel of El Escorial in 1964 and to the venerable monastery of the incarnation at Avila in 1966.

As a means of uniting the monasteries founded by her and others that had attached themselves, she obtained approval in 1972 from the Holy See for the Association of St. Teresa. She valued the friars of the Teresian Carmel and kept in contact with many of them, helping the Order with its projects.

She took a heart-felt interest in the problems of others, trying to find a solution for them. From the cloister of La Aldehuela she founded colleges for poor young people in the area. She built a suburb of prefabricated houses, and a church with its own community halls, recreation grounds, and other amenities. She bought a house in Madrid for Carmelite nuns in need of medical treatment as well as some land on which the Claune Institute, which helps needy monasteries, could build a clinic for cloistered nuns. To accomplish all these works she trusted confidently in Divine Providence.

Mother Maravillas was very generous in her love of neighbor, imitating the charity of Christ, since she saw God in everyone. In her burning desire to imitate the life of Christ as closely as possible, she loved and practiced the virtue of poverty heroically. Her daughters loved her dearly, and thus obeyed her without having to be ordered, such was her equilibrium, serenity, charity and delicacy with everyone. She always showed great equanimity and her judgment was calm, never acting out of impulse or passion. She corrected others by telling the truth, but in such a way that she would never hurt anyone. Her happiness was full of peace, never strident. Those who met her said they could see God in her. Her presence radiated peace. She was a woman of few words, yet these were penetrating.

She distinguished herself by her faithfulness in fulfilling the Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns. She knew how to conform herself to Christ Crucified through her voluntary penances and the sicknesses she had to endure. She had great enthusiasm for the charism of Carmel and the spirituality of it, spiritual teachers. By word and example she always fervently fulfilled her contemplative life in service of the Mystical Body of the Church.

Her spiritual life was truly rich with Divine graces, though she was quite reserved in revealing this. We know about them thanks to the letters she wrote to her spiritual directors. She lived the spirituality of St. John of the Cross profoundly. always feeling herself "a sinful nobody" in her radical humility. Still, she was able to say, I feel loved by the Lord" and died with great peace in the Carmel of La Aldehucla on December 11, 1974, in her eighty-third year. She kept on repeating, What happiness to die a Carmelite!

The graces accompanying her death revealed her sanctity of life. A perfume of spice emanated from her body. Many were the material and spiritual graces that came to those seeking her intercession. Very soon she became famous for her virtue and the desire arose that she be honored by the Church.

With the heroic nature of her virtue already approved, on December 18, 1997, Pope John Paul II recognized the miracle obtained through her intercession and she was beatified on May 10. 1998.


1.    History of the Order        

13.     750th Anniversary of the Brown Scapular

2.    Basic Identity of Secular Carmelites       

14.     The Brown Scapular 

3.    A Method of Meditation       

15.     Profile of an OCDS

4.    The Divine Office

16.     The Reform    

5.     Prayer,   Little Rock Congress 1976

17.      Practice of the Presence of God   

6.    Prayer,  Fr. Gabriel Barry, OCD

18.     Jessica Powers,OCD 

7.    Meditative Prayer,  Fr. Gabriel Barry, OCD  

19.     Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit (J. Powers)

8.    Elizabeth of the Trinity 

20.    The Spirituality of Jessica Powers  

9.    Fascinated by God 


10.  Raphael Kalinowski  

22.    Mother Luisita 

11.  Teresian Carmel, Origin & History   

12.  Message of John Paul II, Brown Scapular

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