The Feast of Saint Mariam Baouardy in Bethlehem
The Holy Land is not a spiritual museum. It is a place of living people and living faiths, and the Christian faith is no exception. More than a quarter million Christians live in the Holy Land, most of whom consider themselves to be Arab or Palestinian Christian. Their religious denominations include Catholic, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox and various Protestant confessions. These Christians, sometimes referred to as “The Living Stones” of the Holy Land, can be found all over the region, but primarily reside in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the coastal cities of Jaffa, Haifa and Akko, and Nazareth and the Galilee. One such Christian was Mariam Baouardy.
Who is Mariam Baouardy?
Saint Mariam Baouardy, or Mary of Jesus Crucified, was born in 1846 in the village of Ibillin in the Galilee, she was the 13th child of two poor Christians, and the only to survive infancy. Her survival was accredited by her parents as a result of their decision to walk barefoot from their village to Bethlehem and ask for the Virgin Mary to intercede on their behalf. Out of this sincere devotion was born “The Little Arab” as she became known.
As her parents died when she was two years of age, Mariam was separated from her infant brother and lived with relatives until being sent to Egypt, first to be cared for by relatives, but ultimately as a child bride. Yet even before arriving in Egypt, she was known to be of an extraordinary character, possessing no formal education but deeply aware of all that happened around her.
Did she have any contact with the Virgin Mary?
For many years in Egypt, she suffered at the hands of uncaring relatives who treated her poorly for her refusal to marry, and nearly perished at the hands of a Muslim suitor who slashed her throat in anger for her rebuke towards his advances. She was miraculously saved by “a nurse in Blue” whom she believed to be the Virgin Mary herself. Throughout her brief life, she had experienced ecstasies during which she was in contact with the Virgin Mary, had been witnessed by others to have levitated, and had born the stigmata on several occasions. She had proven herself to be a clairvoyant through numerous revelations of what was to pass in the life of her cloistered communities, and above all, encouraged her fellow religious and laity to understand the totality of God’s love.
Where did Mariam Baouardy live throughout her life?
Mariam wandered through Egypt, Lebanon and ultimately Jerusalem until she joined the Carmelite nuns after swearing an oath of perpetual virginity at the Tomb of the Holy Sepulcher. As the “nurse in blue” had informed her,
"You will never see your family again, you will go to France, where you will become a religious. You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa. You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second, and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem."
The first house was in Pau, France, the second in Mangalore, India, and the third in Bethlehem, the Holy Land, where her life had begun through the devotion of her parents. In Bethlehem, she was instrumental in building the Carmelite convent which was constructed on the foundation of the palace of King David, and overlooks the grotto where Christ was born. As foretold, Mariam died at the age of thirty-three, on August 26th, 1878 at her convent in Bethlehem.
Who beatified Mariam Baouardy and when?
Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified Baouardy was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1983, and canonized in 2015. Her relics can be found in the Carmelite convent chapel of Bethlehem, where the cloistered Carmelite sisters are happy to show pilgrims the recreated cell of and the few personal possessions of Saint Mariam, as well as to allow for a moment of prayer and contemplation in the beautiful stone chapel where her relics are kept for veneration.
When is her feast day?
Her feast day is celebrated August 25th and 26th by local Christians and international pilgrims alike.
At our workshop, we have many Bethlehem olive wood hand carved religious pieces which are produced to help Christians in the Holy Land and around the world share their faith and glory to God in the highest with the best quality. Although we don’t have Saint Mariam Baouardy figurines yet, we do have outstanding figurines of other saints like olive wood Saint Anne statue, Saint John the Evangelist Olive Wood Statue, and olive wood Saint Francis of Assisi's statue. For all the hand carved olive wood Saints Statuettes that we have, check our Saints category on our online market where you can view the items in 360 degrees by clicking here.
"I am in God, and God is in me. I feel that all creatures, the trees, the flowers belong to God and also to me. I no longer have a will, it belongs to God. And all that is God´s is mine.”
We, the Bethlehem Handicrafts’ team, are so proud to put the Holy Land in your hand by giving you a variety of the best and the most outstanding original Bethlehem’s olive wood carvings with the best quality made in the Holy Land.