The Little Arab, the Flower of Carmel of Bethlehem | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

The Little Arab, the Flower of Carmel of Bethlehem


The Celebration of Mass in the chapel of the convent of the Carmelite Sisters of Bethlehem. The Mass, presided over by His Excellency, Bishop Maroun laham, Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, was concelebrated by Bishop Kamal Bathish, Bishop Joseph Zrayie and other priests. A large number of faithful from Bethlehem and its surroundings, from Haifa and Nazareth, as well as pilgrims gathered to celebrate the “Little Arab”, humble nun of the Monastery in Bethlehem, the object of extraordinary divine graces.

In his homily, Bishop Maroun recalled the experience lived by Mariam of Jesus Crucified, who chose the path of simplicity and humility in her actions… A daughter of Teresa of Avila, Miriam lived her example, the way of holiness and virtue, mediation and prayer, embodying the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity and poverty. She was beatified November 13, 1983, by Blessed John Paul II, in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Mariam Baouardy, of Syrian-Lebanese origin, was born in Ibillin, a small village in Galilee, in 1846, and entered the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, in Marseille, at the age of 20. Her extraordinary gifts were soon realized, and she was invited to join a cloistered monastery.
In 1867, she entered the Carmelite nuns of Pau, was then sent to Mangalore, India, where she made her profession and took the name Sister Maria (Mariam) of Jesus Crucified. She then felt a strong calling to open a Carmel in the Holy Land, in Bethlehem. She left with five sisters, acquired the land and after eight months had already finished the construction of the monastery, thanks to a French benefactor who had taken this project to heart.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary signs that accompanied her life increased. Sister Mariam received the Stigmata, and met immense sufferings before she died on August 26, 1878, in Bethlehem, due to gangrene contracted after a fracture, caused by a fall.

Today there are seventeen nuns of various nationalities at the Monastery in Bethlehem, living in silence and prayer for all people and for the peace of all mankind.
The canonization process continues, and the nuns, together with the entire Church, pray that the “little Arab” become the first Saint of Palestine. Mariam teaches us to commit our entire life in that which does not pass, in what truly matters, in God alone.

We ask her intercession in our difficult quest for justice and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.
At the end of Mass, after the blessing, the kissing of the relics of the Blessed, and the greeting of the nuns, a time of fellowship was offered in the hall of the monastery.