Post by Admin on Jan 21, 2018 20:20:01 GMT
OUR LADY OF GOOD SUCCESS
adapted from Chiesa Viva, N o 413, February 2009
It was the year 1563. In the Basque province of Viscaya, near to the border with France, into an aristocratic family of Spain, Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres y Berriochoa was born as the first daughter of Diego Torres and Maria Berriochoa, both devout Catholics. Mariana was endowed “with rare beauty, quick intelligence, a sweet nature and, above all, a strong inclination toward virtue”. From infancy, Mariana rejected all the childish games of youth to secretly retire to the church of her baptism, which was close to her home. Her mother would often find her prostrate there before the Tabernacle. At the age of seven, a fire broke out in the church destroying it and damaging her house and paternal property, precipitating the family into poverty. The parents of the young girl found themselves obliged to leave Viscaya and to relocate themselves and their three children to Santiago of Galicia, in the northwestern part of Spain.
One day, prostrate at the foot of the Tabernacle, with her heart inflamed with burning desire to unite herself to Jesus in Holy Communion, Mariana exclaimed aloud: «Oh, my Love! When will that day arrive when I might unite myself to You in Holy Communion?». Instantly, she heard a voice coming from the Tabernacle: «Whatever day you desire, My daughter, for your heart is even now prepared!». Unveiling the secret of this dialogue to a Franciscan priest, with his instruction, she began to prepare for this great day. On December 8, 1572, at the age of nine, Mariana received her First Holy Communion. Upon her first embrace with Jesus the torrent of divine love in her heart overwhelmed her and she fell into ecstasy. She saw our Immaculate Mother who explained to her the grandeur of the vow of virginity. She taught her the meaning of such a vow and instructed Mariana to make it, for her Heavenly Queen had destined her to be a religious of her Immaculate Conception.
Then, she saw in the Tabernacle the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity and St. Joseph. She pronounced the solemn vow of chastity, repeating the words taught to her by Our Lady. When she was finished, the Eternal Father blessed the union of Mariana and His Holy Son, who asked her to walk the road of sacrifice and love.
The leading families of Quito, along with many inhabitants of the city, met a group of friars to petition the King of Spain to found the first Convent of the Immaculate Conception of the New World, in their colony. The King, Philip II, in 1566, issued the Royal Edict for the foundation of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception of Quito, dedicated to praying the Divine Office and devoted to the religious education and formation of the Spanish daughters and criollas of the spanish colony. The King himself sent from Spain the first group of founding mothers and he placed at their head the Rev. Mother Maria de Jesus Taboada, related to the royal family and aunt of Mariana.
As soon as Mariana heard of the foundation of this new Convent, she understood Jesus’ words when He was inviting her to leave her paternal home to join Him. The founding Mother Maria decided to take Mariana with her and, a few days before taking leave, upon receiving Holy Communion, she had a vision of Jesus Who explained to her: «My Spouse, the time has already arrived for you to bid an eternal farewell to your motherland and to your paternal home. Eagerly coveting your beauty, I will bring you to My house, where, behind strong walls, you will live far from flesh and blood, hidden and forgotten by all human creatures. For your inheritance and patrimony, you will have, in imitation of Me, the cross and great sufferings. Strength and courage will not be lacking to you. I desire only that your will be always prepared to do Mine».
In 1576, no sooner did Mother Maria, the other four founding mothers and Mariana embarked for Ecuador, when a tempest of unimaginable fury came over the ocean. The clear sky of day suddenly darkened, being transformed into a most disastrous night. The ship began to sink and the frightened sailors, rendering their efforts futile, cried out that this terrible tempest would bury them all in the ocean’s bottomless tomb. Thinking to be cause of such disaster, Mariana joined her aunt to pray to God for His mercy. Then both Mother Maria and Mariana beheld a vision. From out of the ocean, a monstrous serpent with seven heads arose, stirring up the waters of the sea, and attempting to destroy and sink their ship. Mariana fainted. However Mother Maria continued her entreaties to Heaven and upon completion of her prayer, suddenly, the light of the day made a breach in the darkness and the tempest calmed down. God had answer her prayer.
When Mariana woke up, she told her aunt that she has seen a serpent larger than the sea and then a Lady of incomparable beauty appeared “clothed in the sun, crowned with stars, carrying a beautiful Child in her arms” and over her heart a monstrance of the Blessed Sacrament. In her hand she carried a large cross of gold, which had a sharp lance at its end. The Lady, with the help of the Blessed Sacrament and the hand of the Child, struck the head of the serpent with the end of this cross so forcefully that the serpent was slashed to pieces. Two years later, Mother Maria ordered to strike a cloth medallion showing the scene of Mariana’s vision, and since that time the Conceptionists wear it on the breast of their habit.
The founding Sisters arrived in Quito on December 30, 1576. On January 13, 1577, the Convent was founded. The spiritual and temporal government of the religious was placed in the hands of Rev. Father Antonio Jurado O.F.M. who received the vows of obedience of the Founding Mothers. All the inhabitants of Quito joined in this solemn celebration of the first Convent of the Immaculate Conception in their Colony.
On completing her 15th year, September 8, 1577, Mariana entered the novitiate, beginning the year of probation under the guidance of her aunt and the Friars Minor. On October 4, 1579, after observing two years of religious life, practicing all virtues and strictly following the Rule, Mariana made her religious profession at the hands of her Abbess, Mother Maria. As she finished pronouncing her vows, she fainted in ecstasy. Thus, at the same time, Mother Maria accepted her profession, Mariana heard the Eternal Father repeating the words of her aunt: «If you are faithful in this, I promise you eternal life». She then saw Our Lord Who, with ineffable majesty and sweetness, then espoused Himself to her, placing on the finger of her right hand a beautiful ring with four precious stones. On each stone was written one of the four vows: poverty, obedience, chastity and cloister. Our Lord addressed her, saying: «My Spouse, I desire for you a life of immolation. Your life will be a continuous martyrdom».
Apparition of the Most Holy Trinity
It was the year 1582. One day, after a particularly bitter incident with one of her Sisters, Mother Mariana went to the feet of Jesus Christ communicating to Him her torment and begging Him for fortitude. While she was talking to Jesus, at a moment, she heard an overwhelming sound, and saw that the whole Church had become immersed in darkness, as from dust and smoke. Looking up, Sister Mariana saw the main altar illuminated by full day. The Tabernacle opened and Christ Himself emerged, suffering, as on Golgotha in His agony with the Blessed Virgin, St. John and Mary Magdalene at His feet. Seeing this, the humble virgin, believing herself to be at fault, prostrated herself on the ground with her arms extended in the form of a cross, exclaiming: «Lord, I am the guilty one. Punish me and pardon your people». Her Guardian Angel made her rise, saying: «No! You are not to blame. Arise and approach, for God desires to reveal to you a great secret». She arose, and seeing the tears of the Most Holy Virgin, she addressed her, saying: «My Lady, am I to blame for thy sadness?». «No, it is not you, but the criminal world!».
Then, as Our Lord agonised, she heard the voice of the Eternal Father saying: «This punishment will be for the 20th century»! Then, she saw three swords over the head of Christ. On each was written: “I shall punish heresy”, “I shall punish impiety”, “I shall punish impurity”, and she was given to understand all that would take place in the 20th century. The Holy Virgin continued: «My daughter, will you sacrifice yourself for the people of this time?». «I am willing» Mariana replied. Immediately, the swords moved away from the agonising Christ and buried themselves in the heart of Sister Mariana, causing her a mystical death from the violence of the pain. She appeared before God’s justice. Our Lord presented her with two crowns: one of immortal glory of indescribable beauty; the other of white lilies surrounded by thorns, and He said: «My Spouse, choose one of these crowns». She had to choose between the glory of Paradise and the glory of her return to earth, for suffering as a sacrificial victim to placate the Divine Justice for the heresies, impieties and impurities that would be committed in the 20th century. Reassured by the Virgin Mary’s words and her promise of help in this terrible test, Sister Mariana replied: «My Lady and Mother, may the Divine Will be accomplished in me». After these words, Mariana chose, with humility and resignation, the crown of lilies surrounded with thorns and returned to the world to suffer.