Saint Mariam Baouardy -The Lily of Palestine
The story of St. Mary of Jesus Crucified is amazing.
From Mystics of the Church:
Saint Mariam Baouardy -The Lily of Palestine - Extraordinary Mystic, Stigmatic and Victim Soul (1846-1878)
Saint Mariam Baouardy, known in religion as Mariam of Jesus Crucified, was born in Ibillin, located in the hill country of upper Galilee, Palestine. Her family originated in Damascus, Syria. They were Catholics of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Rite, descendants of the Archeparchy of Antioch, the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. Her father, Giries (George) Baouardy, came from Horfesch, Palestine; her mother, Mariam Chahine, came from Tarshish, Palestine.
Her martyrdom and miraculous cure through the Blessed Virgin Mary
In her isolation from her uncle’s family, she turned to a Muslim servant to have him deliver her letter to Nazareth. For his part, the young man encouraged Mariam to reveal her personal troubles. He became outraged at her uncle’s treatment of her and played upon the mind and feelings of the young girl. He introduced conversion to Islam as a remedy to Mariam’s problems. His words and actions focused young Mariam directly upon her Christianity. However, she soon realized the young man’s true intentions, and this caused her to draw back. She denied his advances and loudly proclaimed her faith in the Church of Jesus. “Muslim, no, never! I am a daughter of the Catholic Church, and I hope by the grace of God to persevere until death in my religion, which is the only true one.”
Her so-called protector, furious at being rejected by this young Christian, became violent. Eyes flashing with hatred he lost control and kicked her to the floor. He then drew his sword and slashed her throat. Thinking her dead, he dumped her bloody body in a nearby dark alley. It was the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8,1858. What followed was a strange and beautifully moving story, told years later by Mariam to her Mistress of Novices at Marseilles, France:“A nun dressed in blue picked me up and stitched my throat wound. This happened in a grotto somewhere. I then found myself in heaven with the Blessed Virgin, the angels and the saints. They treated me with great kindness. In their company were my parents. I saw the brilliant throne of the Most Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ in His humanity. There was no sun, no lamp, but everything was bright with light. Someone spoke to me. They said that I was a virgin, but that my book was not finished. "
She then found herself once again in the grotto with the “nun dressed in blue”. How long did Mariam remain in this secret shelter? She later spoke of one month, but she was not sure. One day, the unknown nurse prepared some soup for her that was so delicious that she greedily asked for more, and all her life she was to remember the taste of this heavenly soup. On her death bed she was heard to say tenderly, "She made me some soup! Oh, such good soup! There I was a long time, looking, and never ate soup like that. I have the taste in my mouth. She promised me that at my last hour, she will give me a little spoonful of it."
Toward the end of her sojourn in the grotto, the nurse in blue outlined for Mariam her life`s program, "You will never see your family again, you will go to France, where you will become a religious. You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa. You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second, and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem." - Read the entire story here.
A priest friend, founder of a Carmelite community of men gave me a first class relic of the saint on the occasion of her beatification. I am so happy for her canonization.