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Father Anthony Ho

Mystic saw Our Lady strike the serpent 

Voices July 11, 2018

Nuns of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador, helped transfer the incorrupt body of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres to a new sarcophagus. (American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property)

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.

                                             目睹聖母打倒巨蛇

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。

瑪利娜.耶穌.陶麗詩於 1563年出生於西班牙的比斯開。小小的瑪利娜,會避免遊戲而到在聖堂內朝拜聖體。她的告解神師是位方濟會會士,特准她九歲初領聖體,而是時一般兒童,多會在年屆十三、十四歲時,才被允許初領聖體。

1572年12月8日,瑪利娜初領聖體時,在極喜悅中神魂超拔,見到聖母要她堅守貞潔,並向她解釋貞潔聖願的富麗,告訴她將會在新大陸的無玷修會服務。

1577年,十三歲的瑪利娜,跟隨姨母瑪利亞.耶穌.塔博昂姆姆,抵達厄瓜多爾的聖方濟各基多,開設無玷修會分院。

遠赴重洋的海旅途中,風暴突發,威力難以想像;看來船隻快要下沉,船員都陷於絕望時,瑪利亞姆姆和瑪利娜都看到有條七頭巨蟒,在海中要摧毀她們乘坐的船;巨蟒咆哮著說:「我不許這修會的創立,我不許它前去,我不許它存在至時間終結,我要不斷迫害它。」

瑪利娜最後昏倒過去,瑪利亞姆姆則仍繼續熱切祈禱。終於,光出現,風暴過去,海浪平靜,人船俱保。瑪利娜醒來時,告知姨母瑪利亞姆姆:她看到巨蟒比海洋還大,然後有一位美麗的女士出現,身披太陽,頭冠星辰,手抱美麗的聖嬰,胸前有聖體豪光,她一手拿著一個金色的大十字架,十字架的末端是尖矛。在聖體和聖嬰之手的協助下,這位美麗的女士和聖嬰,聯手把尖銳的十字架,戳穿巨蟒的頭,把牠砸得粉碎。後來,為紀念這事,瑪利亞姆姆下令製做圓的聖衣,畫上聖母與聖嬰合力粉碎蛇頭的事蹟,作為基多的無玷修會修院內修女們必要配戴的會徽。

瑪利娜亦預睹因巨蟒的憎恨,修會將在未來的多個世紀中遭到很多迫害。瑪利娜看到修會將來在要萌生的聖善會士們,也看到不貞忠於聖召恩寵的靈魂們。

1576年12月30日,她們到達基多;1577年1月13年日,無玷安貧嘉蘭修會正式蓆地成立新修院。

瑪利亞姆姆努力幫助瑪利娜習守謙遜之德,她亦循規蹈矩,謹守修院會規,嚴做克苦,熱心祈禱,在修院內以愛德待人。