The life of Venerable Mary of Agreda (1602-1665) reminds me of the life of Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635). They were both born in Spain, they both belonged to the religious community of the Conceptionists Poor Clares. They both served as abbess for many terms in their own community. They were both mystics with extraordinary gifts. And their bodies remain incorrupt till this day.
Mariana de Jesus Torres was born in Spain in the province of Viscaya in 1563. Little Mariana would avoid games and could be found instead in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. Her Franciscan confessor allowed her to receive Holy Communion at age 9, at a time when children generally made their First Communion at 13 or 14.
Mariana made her First Communion on Dec. 8, 1572. Mariana fainted in her joy after receiving the Sacred Host. During this ecstasy, the Blessed Virgin explained to her the grandeur of the vow of virginity, asked this of her, and told her she was destined to be a religious of her Immaculate Conception in the New World.
In 1577, the 13-year-old Mariana left Spain with her aunt, Mother Maria de Jesus Taboada, and four other sisters, to found a branch of the Order of the Immaculate Conception in San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador).
During their journey, a tempest of unimaginable fury came over the sea. The ship began to sink, and the sailors gave up hope. In the midst of the fury, Mother Maria and Mariana saw a monstrous serpent with seven heads in the ocean that was trying to destroy the ship. They heard a terrible voice that said: “I will not permit this foundation. I will not permit it to go forward. I will not permit it to endure until the end of time, and I will persecute it unceasingly.”
Mariana fainted and Mother Maria continued her prayers. Finally, light came and the tempest calmed down. When Mariana woke up, she told her aunt that she had seen a serpent larger than the sea and then a beautiful Lady appeared. The Lady was clothed in the sun, crowned with stars, carrying a beautiful Child in her arms and over her heart a monstrance of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Lady 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. To remind the sisters of future generations of this event, Mother Maria ordered a round scapular with this vision of the Virgin and Child defeating the serpent to be made. This insignia is wore by the sisters of the Conceptionists of the Royal Monastery in Quito.
Mariana also saw the many persecutions the future community would suffer throughout the centuries because of the hatred of the serpent for the convent. Mariana saw all the saintly religious who would blossom in the future convent, as well as the unfaithful souls who would fail to respond to the grace of their vocations.
The women arrived in Quito on Dec. 30, 1576, and the official founding of the convent took place on Jan. 13, 1577.
Mother Maria strove to help young Mariana practising the virtue of humility. Mariana strictly observed the rules of the convent, did severe penances, prayed earnestly, and practised charity toward her fellow religious.
可敬品阿格蕾妲的瑪利亞.高洛良 (1602-1665) 的一生，讓我想起瑪利娜.耶穌.陶麗詩 (1563-1635) ；她們兩人都在西班牙出生，同屬無玷安貧嘉蘭修會修女，又多次獲選為修院院長；她們不止領受奇妙的恩寵，直到今天，她們的遺體仍沒有腐朽。