Saints of the Society of Jesus: Blessed Mary Ann of Jesus

2 June; Virgin

The Blessed Mary Ann was born in Quito, capital of the most Catholic country of Ecuador. Her family name was Paredes. In her tenth year she consecrated herself to God by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Hearing of the martyrdom of the first Jesuits who died in Japan, like Saint Teresa she wished to go forth to convert the heathen. Not being allowed to do this, she enclosed herself in a secluded part of her home, where she began to lead a most austere life. Her bed was a plank, her food an ounce of bread in the week; on her head she wore a crown of thorns, on her wasted body a hair shirt, little pebbles within her shoes. She scourged herself, she wore iron chains; she gathered the drops of rain in her, hand when burning with thirst, and then threw them on the ground, in honor of Our Lord’s Passion. While thus austere to herself, she was all sweetness to others, and so won many souls to God. And God rewarded her by the sublime consolation with which He fills the hearts of His saints; at the same time her sanctity was revealed to the world by the wonders which Heaven daily wrought through her intercession.

When Quito was visited by the plague in the year 1645, the Blessed Mary Ann offered herself as a victim for her fellow-citizens, and, her offering being accepted, died of the disease, at the age of twenty-six. A miraculous lily which sprung from her blood has caused her ,to be called the “Lily of Quito,” as Saint Rose is called the Rose of Lima. Not only did the Blessed Mary Ann of Jesus choose always to be directed by the Jesuit Fathers, but, during the whole of her life, showed her devotion to the Order in some very extraordinary ways.