St Miriam

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified was born at Abellin in Galilee on the 5 January 1846 and at baptism was given the name Miriam meaning Mary. Her parents were George and Mary Baouardy who belonged to the Greek-Melkite Catholic Rite. Baouardy means a man of powder which was what her father manufactured

Miriam’s parents died before she was three years old. A paternal uncle who lived in Abellin took charge of Miriam and treated her as his daughter. At about the age of twelve Miriam moved with her uncle and family to Alexandria in Egypt. After many experiences she found work in Marseille, France, in 1863.

Four years later Miriam entered the Discalced Carmelites at Pau in France and was given the name Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified. She went with the founding group to establish the Carmel of Mangalore in India, in 1870. It was there in Mangalore that Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified made her profession. She returned to France in 1872. Three years later she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began the planning for another at Nazareth.

Before leaving for Bethlehem Sister Mary persuaded Mgr. Lacroix, Bishop of Bayonne, to send the rule of the Priests of Bétharram to Rome for recognition, something he refused to do for St. Michael Garicoits their founder. Sister Mary was also instrumental in obtaining the permission for the Betharram Community to work in the Holy Land and be chaplains to the Carmel at Bethlehem.

Noted for her supernatural gifts, her devotion to the Holy Spirit, a great love for the Church and the Pope, she died at Bethlehem in 1878.

Pope John Paul II declared Miriam Blessed on 13 November 1983 and Pope Francis declared her a Saint on 17 May 2015.

The feast-day of St Miriam is on 25 August.

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