May 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 10

Saint Of The Month

St. Mary Ann of Quito – May 26

Photo of a painting of Saint Mary AnnBorn Mariana Paredes Y Flores in 1618, Mary Ann was the daughter of a noble family in Quito, which was then part of Peru. When her parents died, Mary Ann moved in with her sister's family. Showing great piety at an early age, she received her first Communion at seven years old, which was unusual for the time. Three years later, the devout young girl took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and soon after, she became a member of a Franciscan lay group.

Counseled by Jesuits, Mary Ann spent most of her life in solitary prayer in her sister's house, leaving only to attend Mass. She did not, however, completely cut herself off from the world. Mary Ann taught Indian school children at the house and tended to the sick and poor who came to her door.

Tradition holds that Mary Ann had miraculous powers of prophecy and healing. She was also known for the austerities she practiced during her many hours of prayer. By some accounts, she ate only a few scraps of bread every few days and lived mostly on Communion wafers. At times, she slept only three hours a night and wore a crown made of thorns.

In 1645, Quito was struck with a series of natural disasters. Epidemics ran rampant while nearby volcanoes erupted and earthquakes shook the city. One day during Mass, Mary Ann offered her life to God to pay for the sins of the city's residents, hoping to end the disasters. The earthquakes did cease soon after, but the epidemics ran their course. Within a few weeks, Mary Ann died. It is said that almost immediately a white lily bloomed where some of her blood had spilled. Today, she is remembered as "the Lily of Quito."

Dear Almighty Father,
enable us to be giving during challenging times.
Help us to see that our heartfelt gifts are precious to others.
Dear Lord,
give us the courage to see our plans through so that others
may reap the rewards of our sacrifices.
We ask this in Your name.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives