The Catholic Defender: Saint Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes
Mariana of Jesus de Paredes (Spanish: Mariana or María Ana de Jesús de Paredes; October 31, 1618 – May 26, 1645) is a Catholic saint and was the first person to be canonized from what is now Ecuador. She was a recluse who is said to have sacrificed herself for the salvation of her city.
From her earliest childhood Mariana, who was born in 1618, felt altogether drawn to God and to heavenly things. Meanwhile she attached herself to the Immaculate Virgin with unbounded confidence and tender devotion. She received the habit of the Third Order from the Franciscans in her native town of Quito, Ecuador, and in consideration of her great virtue, she was permitted to take the three vows of religion. Then she repaired to her home where she led a life hidden in God and devoted to prayer and penance.
By means of the Sign of the Cross or by sprinkling holy water she restored many sick persons to health; she also raised a dead woman to life.
Mary Ann grew close to God and his people during her short life.
The youngest of eight, Mary Ann was born in Quito, Ecuador, which had been brought under Spanish control in 1534.
Attracted to religious life at an early age, at ten she made vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. She initially wanted to be a Dominican nun, but instead became a hermit in home of her sister. Her life changed at that point, and except to attend church, she never left the house again.
Given to severe austerities, she slept little, and ate an ounce of dry bread every eight or ten days, surviving solely on the Eucharist which she received during daily Communion. Given to ecstacies; had gifts of prophecy, remote viewing, reading of hearts, healing by making the Sign of the Cross or sprinkling with holy water, and at least once restored a dead person to life.
Mariana practiced the greatest austerities, ate hardly anything, slept for only three hours a night for years, had the gift of prophesy, and reputedly performed miracles. When an earthquake followed by an epidemic shook Quito in 1645, she offered herself publicly as a victim for the sins of the people.
She is the patron saint of Ecuador and venerated at the Church of the Society of Jesus in Quito.
She joined the Secular Franciscans and led a life of prayer and penance at home, leaving her parents’ house only to go to church and to perform some work of charity.
When the plague broke out, she offered her chaste young life as a sacrifice to God in behalf of the stricken citizens. God accepted the sacrifice. She died shortly afterwards, in the 28th year of her age, in 1645. She was beatified by Pope Pius IX, and canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII.
She established in Quito a clinic and a school for Africans and indigenous Americans. When a plague broke out, she nursed the sick and died shortly thereafter.
After the death of Saint Mariana of Jesus de Paredes, a beautiful lily sprouted forth from her blood, and so she has been styled the Lily of Quito. But in far greater measure did Saint Mariana of Jesus deserve the name because of the innocence of her life. She preserved it unsullied in the midst of a wicked world, carefully protecting it by the practice of rare austerities.
Paredes possessed an ecstatic gift of prayer and is said to have been able to predict the future, see distant events as if they were passing before her, read the secrets of hearts, cure diseases by a mere sign of the Cross or by sprinkling the sufferer with holy water, and at least once restored a dead person to life.
She was born on October 31 1618 in Quito, Ecuador and died on May 26 1645 at the age of 26 in Quito. We celebrate her feast day on May 26 every year in the Catholic Church.
She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950. The liturgical feast of Saint Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes is celebrated on May 28.