There are different categories of saints. Some are well-known and acclaimed as saints in their life time. Mother Teresa of Kolkata was known as a ‘Saint’, in her lifetime and she was Beatified a few years after her death. Others, though their life and works had been heroic, it took hundreds of years to be raised to the honours of the Altar, for example St. Joseph Vaz who worked in Canara and ‘gave his life’ for the spread of faith in Sri Lanka. But there are others whose sanctity has been misunderstood and they were branded for a long time as disobedient and as being under the power of the evil one. A classic example of this type is our beloved Saint, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified.

St. Mary of Jesus Crucified had been a favoured child of God from the time of her birth but left an orphan in early childhood. She had no ‘status’ in life, having worked as a servant for many years. She had neither education nor an aptitude for study. Yet the words that fell from her lips, while in ecstasy, were profound (some of them have been put up on the walls of her oratory at St. Ann’s). She was favoured with extra-ordinary graces and spiritual gifts by God such as ecstasy, levitation, stigmata, transpiercing of her heart, apparitions, prophecies, mysterious knowledge, bilocation, etc. Yet God permitted her to have two ‘seasons in hell’ when she was possessed by the evil one. The first was in Pau, where she got great spiritual support from the ecclesiastical authorities and the religious community. The second was in Mangalore where she got no support but condemnation and was sent back to France in disgrace.

The older sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, for a long time, considered her spiritual gifts as the work of the evil one. As a very young sister, when I spoke about her to a very holy old sister about Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified, I was told that all her actions were influenced by the evil one and the proof given to me was that she was disobedient. Now we know better. ‘After her return to Pau, she confided to the prioress: “When I remember that I went out of the enclosure of the Carmel of Mangalore to run away ,.. I was forced to do it in spite of myself”’.

Today we know the whole truth about Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified and feel proud that she was a part of the pioneering group of sisters which came to India and lived in the same premises with the pioneers of our beloved congregation. Once her sanctity was established, the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel have spared no efforts to give her a place of honour and the Oratory at St. Ann’s bears witness to this.

Today I have a great love and devotion to this saintly Arab and my faith in her intercession has increased after a small incident. The walls of the Oratory had been embellished with sayings of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified by Sr. M. Shalini A.C. The walls of her cell and the verandah attached to it, needed a replacement of her photo and the posters. The Provincial, Sr. Linette entrusted me with this task which I readily took up. I also felt that I should renew the reliquary which held a tiny bit of her bone and other objects touched to her remains. There was a document in Latin to testify to the authenticity of the small piece of her bone. The document had been translated into English and beautifully hand printed, but mildewed because of moisture. I wanted to prepare a digital print of the same and laminate the original document. I took both to Prasad Digitals where I do all my work. But when I reached my destination, I realized that I had left the packet with the documents in the auto. I went looking for the auto but it had gone. I was totally upset about the loss of the documents. Sr. Linette was most sympathetic and told me not to worry. But I had no peace of mind. Then I approached Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified and spoke to her in these very words: “It is a document to authenticate the relic of your bone. Now you must see that I get the original document back”. With that I was at peace.

The next day was 17th, the day of her cananization. At about 10.00 a.m., I got a call from Prasad Digitals to say that the auto man had come with the cover enclosing the documents. I thanked Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified and saw to it that the auto man was rewarded for bringing the precious cover with the documents.

I often take visitors to the Oratory of St. Mary of Jesus Crucified and feel happy to tell them about her life and the significance of the sacred spot on which they are standing. One ACA of Ashaniketan sub-unit spent a morning reflecting on the thoughts and noted down many of them. Others have taken photos of the same. May the little Arab lead us along the path of sanctity that she walked while on earth.


Sister Sylvette A.C.(1317)
Carmel Convent, Ashaniketan


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