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Pidal y Chico de Guzmán, María Maravillas de Jesús, Bl.


Baptized María Christina Luisa Ildefonsa Patricia Josefa, also known as Mother Maravillas de Jesús, Discalced Carmelite; foundress of the Association of Saint Teresa; b. Madrid, Spain, Nov. 4, 1891; d. Dec. 11, 1974, in the Carmel of Aldehuela (Madrid). María Pidal was born while her father, Luis Pidal y Mon, the marquis of Pidal, was the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See. Her mother, Cristina Chico de Guzmán, was also a devout Catholic.

María did not enter religious life until she was nearly thirty. Drawn to the Carmelites after reading the works of saints john of the cross and teresa of Ávila, she entered (1920) and was professed (1921) at the Escorial Carmel, Madrid.

In 1924, with three others, she founded the Carmel of Cerro de los Angeles at the geographical center of Spain, where she pronounced her solemn vows that same year. Because the carmel expanded so quickly, other communities, including one in Kottayam (1933), India, evolved from it.

During the Spanish Civil War (193639), the sisters lived in an apartment in Madrid, and their number continued to grow. In September 1937, they opened a carmel in the Batuecas near Salamanca. Following the war, Marí restored Cerro de los Angeles and continued to found other carmels (Mancera de Abajo, Duruelo, Cabrera, Arenas de San Pedro, San Calixto, Aravaca, Talavera de la Reina, La Aldehuela, and Montemar-Torremolinos) and restored that at El Escorial and Ávila. To bind these carmels together, Mother María obtained Vatican approval for the Association of Saint Teresa (1972).

A miracle attributed to her intercession was approved Dec. 18, 1997. Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Maravillas de Jesús on May 10, 1998.

Feast: Dec. 11 (Carmelites).

Bibliography: Si tu le laisses faire: mère Maravillas de Jésus, Carmélite Déchaussée (Montsûrs 1993), French tr. of Si tú le dejas: vida de la Madre Maravillas de Jesus, Carmelita Descalza (Madrid 1976). Acta Apolstolicae Sedis, no. 12 (1998) 599.

[k. i. rabenstein]

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