Bl. Maria Candida Shares our Eucharistic and Marian Zeal
Born in Italy in 1884, Blessed Maria Candida of the Eucharist was one such women. She wrote, "When I was still a child, and before I was old enough to receive Jesus in Communion, I used to rush to the front door to greet my mother when she returned from Mass. There I stood on tiptoe to reach up to her and cried, "I want God too!"
At the age of fifteen, Maria Barba recognized a calling to religious life. However, she experienced opposition from her family, so much so that she had to wait twenty years before joining the Discalced Carmelites in Ragusa. This time was filled with interior suffering, made worse by the fact that her brothers discouraged her from leaving the house alone after the death of her mother. This meant she could not attend Mass.
Upon finally entering the Carmel in 1919, Maria Barba took the name Maria Candida of the Eucharist. Inspired by St. Therese's Eucharistic devotions in "Story of a Soul", Maria wished "to keep Jesus company in the Eucharist for as long as possible." Elected prioress five years later, Maria would soon begin her own writings and meditations entitled Eucharist: True Jewel of Eucharistic Spirituality.
She wrote on the three theological virtues,
"O my Beloved Sacrament, I see you, I believe in you!... O Holy Faith. Contemplate with ever greater faith our Dear Lord in the Sacrament: live with Him who comes to us every day... O My Divine Eucharist, my dear Hope, all our hope is in You... Ever since I was a baby my hope in the Holy Eucharist has been strong...My Jesus, how I love You! There is within my heart an enormous love for You, O Sacramental Love... How great is the love of God made bread for our souls, who become a prisoner for me!"
Like us Mercedarian Sisters, Bl. Maria understood that the greatest model of a Eucharistic life is the Blessed Virgin.
"I want to be like Mary," she wrote, "to be Mary for Jesus, to take the place of His Mother. When I receive Jesus in Communion Mary is always present. I want to receive Jesus from her hands, she must make me one with Him. I cannot separate Mary from Jesus. Hail, O Body born of Mary. Hail Mary, dawn of the Eucharist!"
In 1949, Maria Candida of the Eucharist fell ill, and entered eternal life in June. Her feast day is celebrated March 21st.
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Sr. Jeanette Marie, Vocations Director