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St Mariam Baouardy (2).jpeg
Born 5 January 1846 
Professed as a Carmelite nun 21 November 1871
Died 26 August 1878 
Beatified 13 November 1983, by Pope John Paul II 
Canonised 17 May 2015, by Pope Francis 1 
Feast Day 26 August
Saint Mariam Baouardy is also known as Mary of Jesus Crucified, Al Quiddisa (Holy One) and affectionately as The Little Arab and The Lily of Palestine. 
St Mariam is a Melkite Catholic and a sister of the Carmelite Order. She is the first Melkite of modern times to be canonised in the Catholic Church.
Mariam’s family originally came from Damascus, Syria. Mariam’s father, Giries Baouardy was born in Horfesch, Palestine and her mother, Mariam Chahine in Tarshish, Palestine. Mariam was born in Ibillin, Upper Galilee, Palestine. She was the thirteenth child born to her parents.

All of Mariam’s 12 siblings died in infancy. A few years after Mariam’s birth, her brother Boulos was born. Sadly, their parents died within a few days of each other when Mariam and Boulos were still babes. Mariam, was adopted by her paternal uncle, living in Ibillin and Boulos, went to live with their maternal aunt in Tarshish, Palestine. 

When Mariam was eight years old her uncle moved the family to Alexandria, Egypt. Until the age of 13, Mariam was cared for and loved in her uncle`s home. However, when she refused to proceed with an arranged marriage, her uncle beat her for disobedience and her life became untenable in her uncle’s home.

Mariam, wanted to leave Alexandria and sought help from a Muslim servant in her uncle’s home. Instead of assistance, he tried to convert her to Islam. Mariam, steadfastly refused conversion, professing her faith in the Melkite Catholic Church. In anger, the man slashed her throat. Thinking her dead, he dumped her in a dark alley. It was then that Mariam experienced her first mystical encounter―the Blessed Virgin Mary, took Mariam to a grotto, and stitched her wound.

Mariam’s eventful life continued, she offered service to poor families throughout the Middle East. She ventured overseas, and at 21 years old entered the Carmelite Convent in Pau, France, as a lay sister, where she would experience ecstasies and her stigmata. At 24 years old, she went with the founding group to establish the Carmel of Mangalore, India. After several years, she returned to the Carmel of Pau, France where she was professed as a Carmelite nun and continued her work. Later she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began planning for another Monastery in Nazareth.

Mariam, died at 33 years old in Bethlehem on 26 August 1878, which is now her Feast Day. She died at the same age as Jesus was crucified.

Our Eparchy hosts four first-class relics (which is a part of a Saint’s body) of St Mariam, in Sydney at:
St Elias Guildford―her hair―acquired 2016
iMelkite Youth Group―her blood―acquired 2019
St John the Beloved―her blood―acquired 2021
St Michael’s Cathedral―her bone―acquired 2021
The relics are held in each of our Churches for us to visit.

If you would like to read a full account of St Mariam’s extraordinary life that led to her canonisation, go
Image by Ramez E. Nassif
"What is more astonishing than the trajectory of a saint? What greater message of hope could there be today in the troubled Near East than to tell the Palestinians: here is a young girl of your race, your language and of one of your most honoured rites?"
- Reverend Amedee Brunot, author "Mariam the Little Arab"
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