Paredes y Flores, Mariana de Jesús, St.
PAREDES Y FLORES, MARIANA DE JESÚS, ST.
Also known as Mariana of Quito, the "Lily of Ecuador"; b. Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 31, 1618; d. there, May 26, 1645. The eighth child of Jerónimo Zenel Paredes y Flores and Mariana Jaramillo de Granobles, Mariana upon her parents' death was left to the care of her sister, Jerónima, and brother-in-law, Cosme de Caso. Since the child had already begun her life of prayer, fasting, and penance, her guardians found a religious adviser for her in the Jesuit priest, Juan Camacho. She had a series of Jesuit confessors, but her most influential spiritual adviser was the Jesuit lay brother, Hernando de la Cruz. As models for her spiritual life she chose St. catherine of siena, St. rose of lima, and St. teresa of Ávila. Mariana did not enter a convent, but spent most of her time in an austerely furnished upper room in her sister's house. She wore a black garment modeled on the Jesuit cassock. Tradition holds that she joined the Third Order of St. Francis at age 21 and wore its cord; though she never wore the habit while she was alive, she was buried with it over her black "Jesuit dress." While continuing her life of personal mortification, she encouraged the poor, hungry, and ill to come to her for help. In her sister's house she developed a kind of free clinic and a school room in which she
taught native children. A number of times she predicted that the house would eventually become a Carmelite convent. In 1645, when Lima was visited with a number of calamaties—earthquakes, epidemics, volcanic eruptions—Mariana publicly offered her life for the benefit of the city. Within the generation after her death the process for beatification was begun, but it was beset with mishaps to the documents and the sponsors. She was finally canonized by pius xii on July 9, 1950.
Feast: May 26.
Bibliography: c. m. larrea, Las biografías de Santa Mariana de Jesús (Quito 1970). f. p. keyes, The Rose and the Lily (New York 1961). a. espinosa pÓlit, Santa Mariana de Jesús hija de la Compañía de Jesús (Quito 1957).
[j. m. vargas]