St. Maravillas of Jesus


She was born in Madrid on 4th November 1891 into the deeply Catholic family of the Marquesses of Pidal. After a childhood and youth proper to her social status, she left all to enter the Escorial Carmel in 1919.

In 1924, by divine inspiration, she founded the Carmel of Cerro de los Ángeles beside the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In 1933 she founded a Carmel in Kottayam (India).

From 1936 to 1939, persecution broke out against the Spanish Church, so the Discalced Carmelites in Cerro undertook a risky pilgrimage, which ended up in the Carmelite Desert of Batuecas (Salamanca) and resulted in recovering the monastery for the Order.

In 1939, Mother Maravillas returned to Cerro and begun numerous foundations in the spirit of Saint Teresa of Jesus: 1944 Mancera de Abajo (Salamanca), 1947 Duruelo, 1950 Cabrera (Salamanca), 1954 Arenas de san Pedro (Avila), 1956 San Calixto (Cordova), 1958 Aravaca (Madrid), 1961 La Aldehuela (Madrid) where she lived until her death.

From there, this daughter of Saint Teresa, bold and down to earth, always attentive to the needs of her neighbour, carried out her great social work: for example, building a church, housing complex and college for the poor.

She afterwards made a foundation in Montemar, (Malaga) in 1964.

As well, in 1964 the Archbishop of Madrid-Alcala requested her to restore the Escorial Carmel, where she had lived during her first years in the Order. In 1966, a petition arrived from the Bishop of Avila to save from extinction the Incarnation monastery, where Saint Teresa of Jesus had lived for 30 years.

On 11th December 1974, she fell asleep in the Lord, in her monastery of La Aldehuela, leaving behind her a trail of light and love after putting at the service of God and of the Discalced Carmel all of her gifts and vocation, her whole life. Each year thousands of pilgrims come to her tomb in the monastery church.

In 1974, Fr Finian, the then Discalced Carmelite General, wrote to Pope Paul VI a moving letter containing an eloquent portrait of the Mother, and asking for the prompt introduction of her Cause. The Discalced Carmelite Order carried the Cause ahead and Mother Maravillas was beatified in Rome in 1998 and canonized in Madrid in 2003 by His Holiness, John Paul II, who said of her that she “… lived by a heroic faith, embodied in her response to an austere vocation, putting God as the centre of her existence. She made new foundations for the order of Carmel, presided over by the spirit characteristic of the Teresian reform.”