Baouardy, Maríam, Bl.

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In religion, Marie de Jésus Crucifié, also known as Marie of Pau, Discalced Carmelite; b. Abellin (Zabulon, between Nazareth and Haifa), Cheffa-Amar, Galilee, Palestine (now Israel), Jan. 5, 1846; d. Bethlehem, Aug. 26, 1878. Miríam was born into a poor, Lebanese, Greek Melchite Catholic family headed by Giries (George) Baouardy and Maríam Chahyn. Her parents died when she was very young, and when she was three, an uncle in Alexandria, Egypt, took in the orphaned Maríam and her brother Boulos (Paul). At age 13, she refused an arranged marriage in order to consecrate her virginity to God and entered domestic service. She had never learned to read or write.

While working for families in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Beirut, and Marseilles, she discerned her vocation. In 1865, she entered the Sisters of Compassion, but was forced to leave because of ill health. For the next two years (May 1865 to June 1867) she was a postulant of the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition until she was judged unsuited for the cloister because of the unusual manifestations of her spiritual life, which included levitation, ectasies, and stimagtization (186776).

Together with her former novice mistress, Miríam joined the Discalced Carmelites at Pau, France (June 14, 1867). In 1870, she was sent with a group of founding sisters to Mangalore, India, where she made her profession (Nov. 21, 1871). Her spiritual director, Apostolic Vicar Ephrem M. Garrelon, believing her mystical experiences were a sign of demonic obsession, obliged her to return to France in 1872. In August 1875 she traveled to Palestine, where she died, to build a carmel at Bethlehem and to plan another for Nazareth. Maríam, patroness of prisoners, is best remembered for her humility and devotion to the Holy Spirit. Her cause was officially introduced in Rome on May 18, 1927, and she was beatified by John Paul II, Nov. 13, 1983.

Feast: Aug. 25 (Carmelites).

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 77 (1985): 58. L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 48 (1983): 10. b. stolz, Flamme der göttlichen Liebe (3d ed. Gröbenzell 1970).

[k. i. rabenstein]