Contemplative Educator Beatified

Founded Sisters of Our Lady of Carmel

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FIESOLE, Italy, OCT. 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- From her youth, Maria Scrilli always preferred God's will to her own.



Sister Maria Stella Marzano, vice postulator of the blessed's cause, said that this was a key feature of the founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of Carmel, Mother Teresa of Jesus (Maria Scrilli), beatified last Sunday in Fiesole, near Florence, Italy.

By papal mandate, the ceremony was presided over by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes.

Maria Scrilli was born in Montevarchi, in the Italian province of Arezzo, in 1825.

She entered the convent of the Carmelite Nuns of Saint Mary de' Pazzi in Florence, but subsequently was inscribed in the Carmelite Third Order and, on returning to her native town, began her educational mission as directress of an all-girls high school.

In 1854, she founded a new religious institute for contemplatives and educators.

The foundation was suppressed in 1859, for political reasons, but was reestablished in Florence in 1875.

Mother Teresa of Jesus died in 1889.

Sister Maria Stella Marzano said on Vatican Radio that "her work was suppressed not only because of the political precariousness, but because of a decidedly anti-clerical and hostile climate, especially toward feminine religious life."

"The politicians of Montevarchi, Masons and anti-clerical, in no way wanted nuns in the area, even though they greatly esteemed Mother Mary Teresa and her educational work among youth," said Sister Marzano.

The blesseds' decision to always do God's will is something which "led her to make important choices, such as consecration to God, leaving the convent, perseverance in wanting the institute," said the sister.

Following Christ

In his homily during the beatification ceremony, Cardinal Saraiva recalled that in her spirituality, adherence to God on the way of the cross appears as one of the fundamental points.

"For us, often lost pilgrims on this earth, in face of the situations of our time, her experience serves to stimulate us to persevere in faithfulness to God's plan for our lives, to be attentive and diligent with our brothers and sisters," said the cardinal.

The Portuguese cardinal said that the new blessed, being devoted to her neighbor, saw the need to offer a healthy education to young girls, especially the neediest, reported Vatican radio.

The new blessed wanted women to have a complete human preparation from the cultural, scholastic and religious point of view, preparing them for a worthy job.

This was the reason Mother Mary Teresa had her spiritual daughters make a fourth vow, in addition to those of poverty, chastity and obedience: "To present themselves as useful to their neighbor through Christian moral and civil education," said Cardinal Saraiva.

He also emphasized the profound union with God and Christocentric life of the new blessed.