Sunday, August 16, 2009

Feast of Bl Maria Sagrario of St Aloysius Gonzague

Today we celebrate the feast of Bl Maria Sagrario, a discalced carmelite nun from the Monastery of St Anne and St Joseph in Madrid, Spain. She was born Elvira Moragas y Cantero in Lillo (Toledo) in 1881, and was a pioneer woman in the area of pharmacy. She studied in Madrid to become a Pharmacist, and became one of the first women to be licensed by the Pharmacy Faculty by the Central University of Madrid. Elvira then worked in the pharmacy her father owned in San Bernadino Street (Madrid). When her father passed away in 1909, she took charge of the pharmacy. She entered Carmel in June 1915, at age 34, and received the name Maria Sagrario of St Aloysius Gonzague. In the convent she performed various duties, including infirmarian, turn sister, and Mistress of Novices. On July 1 she was elected, for the second time, Prioress of the community. On July 20, 1936, the monastery was assaulted and the entire community had to flee. She was detained in the "checa" (a type of secret service police jail) on August 14. Interrogated about "the treasures of the convent," she wrote on a piece of paper: "Long Live Christ the King!" She died by shooting that same night in the San Isidro prairie. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 10, 1998. The Polish Association of Pharmacists took her as their official patroness.

Bl Maria Sagrario, pray for us!

From the letters and writings of Bl Maria Sagrario:

"May Jesus reign always in my heart! The Lord asks me to be humble, to weep over my sins, to love him much, to love my sisters much, to mortify them in nothing, not to mortify myself uselessly, to live recollected in him wanting nothing for myself, completely surrendered to his divine will.

In this vale of tears, suffering will not be lacking, and we should be content to have something to offer to our most beloved Jesus who wanted so much to suffer for love of us. The most direct way to unite ourselves to God is that of the cross, so we should always desire it. May the Lord not permit that I be separated from his divine will.

Blessed be God who gives us these ways of offering ourselves up to his love! The day will arrive when we will rejoice for having suffered in this way. Meanwhile, let us be generous, suffering everything, if not with happiness, at least in close conformity to the divine will of him who suffered so much out of love for us. However great are our sufferings, they come nowhere near his. If you wish to be perfect, seek first of all to be quite humble in thought, word, deed and desire; learn well what this means and work tenaciously to carry it out. Keep your gaze always on our most beloved Jesus, asking him in the depths of his heart what he desires for you, and never deny him anything, even if it means going strongly against the grain for you.

Blessed be he who arranges everything for our good! In possessing him, we possess everything."

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