"The Lily of Quito" -- Feast Day May 26th
The lives of the people of the Colonial period, characters, both good and bad, that have been affected by the appearance of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador have contributed to create an enchanting, and to some, a seemingly phantasmal story. Like the intertwining fibers of a beautiful tapestry, these fibers both bright and dark, create the illusion of lights and shadows upon its medium. These lives are essential in relaying an accurate account of the life and times of Mother Mariana and Our Lady of Good Success. Lacking one or the other, the glorious story and devotion to Our Lady under this eloquent title of Good Success would not exist. This section of the website is dedicated to focusing on one of the many "lights" of this tapestry.
"A Saint Has Canonized Another Saint"
This first light is a subtle light—rather a soft glow which emanates from the picture itself.
In the history that revolves around the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador, there exists not only the Mariana that is known affectionately as "Mother Mariana", the visionary but a St. Mariana, the Lily of Quito. Both bear the name of Mariana de Jesus. When discovering the distinction between these two "Mariana’s" there is a natural urge to feel a little tinge of disappointment since our heroine of the story of Our Lady of Good Success has not yet been canonized. Instead this "other Mariana" has been chosen to hold this title of honor and sanctity, becoming the first canonized saint of Ecuador. (For the sake of lessening the confusion between the 2 Mariana’s I will title Mother Mariana –"Mother Mariana" and St. Mariana I will title "The Lily of Quito")
Remember, then, that in this intriguing story of Our Lady, Mother Mariana asked Our Lady of Good Success a special favor—to remain unknown and hidden as it were from the local people of that time since she feared they would try to idolize her. Our Lady of Good Success granted her request but promised her that this favor would only be for a time. She stated that in the Twentieth Century Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres would become known as this devotion to Our Lady of Good Success would see resurgence.
This page is dedicated then to St. Mariana de Jesus Paredes y Flores-The Lily of Quito. She is a minor character in the story of Our Lady of Good Success but an important one nonetheless. The Lily of Quito is essentially important since she subtly points approvingly and encouragingly to the legitimacy of this devotion to Our Lady of Good Success by the recorded account of her respectful and revering attitude toward Mother Mariana.
The known account of "The Lily of Quito’s" contact with Mother Mariana is a bit unusual in that it occurred at Mother Mariana’s funeral in 1635. It is written in "The Lily of Quito’s" own hand in her diary that she kept. It is now part of the archives of the Carmelite Monastery in Quito which was once her home. These archives rest in the Jesuit Church of "La Compania".
Upon learning of the death of Mother Mariana, The Lily of Quito wished to venerate the remains of the sister that understood the concept of true sanctity. Rightfully, they were kindred spirits at heart. It is said that "The Lily of Quito", upon reaching the Conceptionist Church, found it already packed with faithful souls paying their last respects to Mother Mariana. Despite being only seventeen years of age, "The Lily of Quito" was already known far and wide amongst the people of Quito for her sanctity. At the sight of this holy young woman and out of respect for her reputation of sanctity, a passageway was created so that she could easily make her way through the throng to be as close as possible to the coffin. From this choice spot, she participated in the funeral ceremony. She was able to gaze upon the face of the deceased as she listened to the inspired words of the Bishop of Quito, Mons. Fr. Pedro of Oviedo( also Spiritual Director of the Conceptionist sister). At the end of this inspirational sermon, "The Lily of Quito" could not contain in her heart that which had just been revealed to her about Mother Mariana’s exemplary and virtuous life by way of Divine Inspiration. With deepest sincerity and reverence, she exclaimed, "A saint has died!"
Thus her appearance at the funeral of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres made a testimony to this good sister’s sanctity.