Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

Two Flowers of Holiness of the Holy Land




On 17th May, the Lord will make a great gift to his Church. And primarily it is a great gift to our Church in the Holy Land, but also to the whole Church. Two daughters of our land, two Palestinian will be canonized: Mariam Baouardy (1846-1878) and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas (1843-1927).

It is an event that has a strong resonance for everyone, especially in Carmel: let us thank the Lord for giving us saints who has lived much of the realities we live, in the same places, and thus for offering us two elder sisters to look up to and to imitate.

Sister Marie Alphonsine, was born in Jerusalem and founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary and opened schools for girls, foundation of the family and of society. She lived all her religious life in a spirit of service and self-effacements such that it was only when she died that her own sisters knew that she was the founder of the Congregation, on the orders of the Virgin Mary that appeared to her regularly.

Mariam of Jesus Crucified, was born in Ibillin, Galilee; then she entered Carmel in Pau (France); she participated in the founding of Carmel in India (Mangalore 1870) and then in 1875 founded the Carmel of Bethlehem. She also helped in the founding of Carmel in Nazareth (1878) and visited the one in Jerusalem ... She lived a life of intense prayer in great humility and simplicity, giving all its importance to fraternal charity.

It is highly probable that our two new saints could also meet in 1875, the two of them were in Bethlehem. If it were so, we can imagine their conversation in Arabic, all centered on the love of Jesus, the desire to help all people especially the poor through service and prayer. Their sensitivity could allow them to discover, each in the eyes of the other, the Lord's presence, his powerful action for a mission that only he knew at that moment. They have been guided to holiness, day to day, often in the dark, sometimes in combat.

If today the Church honors them and gives them to us as an example, for their part, they have always desired to be hidden and ignored. Mariam said:

"Blessed are the little ones! Everywhere there is room for them.
 But the important ones embarrass everywhere … "
"Today holiness is not prayer, nor visions or revelations, nor science to speak well nor penances: it is humility.
Holiness is the rule, pure and simple, and humility ...
Humility is peace. It is a queen; the humble soul is always happy. Pride causes unrest. The humble heart is the vessel, the chalice that holds God.
The Lord says, a humble soul, truly humble,
will perform more signs that the ancient prophets ... "

Is not that what takes place under our eyes? Mariam, "little nothing" sometimes misunderstood by her sisters, intercedes for us, and many are the graces received, not counting the miracles of healing. She supports the Christians of the Holy Land and the Middle East with her testimony of faith and her trials. She proclaims to the world that this land still bears new fruits of holiness. And finally, for us Carmelites, she is an encouragement on the path of prayer and intercession, in a joyful fraternal life, in simplicity and availability to the Holy Spirit.

In this beautiful month of May, do not hesitate to pray to Saint Mariam and Alphonsine. They are powerful before the heart of  God and they are eager to come to our aid ...

"It will be  my  happiness in heaven, to see  all my  sisters, all  of them, around the heart of God
May I be able to see them, even though from a distance, it is enough for me, it will be my happiness ..."


Note: the quotations of Blessed Mariam are extracted from "Thoughts Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified" by D. Buzy p. 108 and 60 (French text).

Dites à l’Esprit Saint que vous l’aimez, dites-lui : Esprit Saint, je t’aime !
On ne dit pas beaucoup, pas assez, à l’Esprit Saint que nous l’aimons. Nous le disons à Jésus, à la Vierge Marie …

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