St. Louis de Montfort Academy and I had the enormous privilege of assisting the nuns of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador. We helped transfer the incorrupt body of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres to a splendid new sarcophagus. This magnificent work of art was created by the organization, Devotees of Our Lady of Good Success.
In the morning we arranged the room, removing some furniture and laying her body on a cushion of silk damask formerly serving as a mantle for Our Lady of Good Success. Inside the cushion lining were inserted several documents with names of the Devotees who had assisted financially in the making of the sarcophagus. After a brief practice, we retired until later that afternoon.
Shortly after five o’clock the placement began, with Mother Mariana now in a fresh habit and her Conceptionist Sisters all present. Col. Carlos Hoffmeister Poli, a distinguished member of the Devotees and Master of Ceremonies, led a prayer to commence. In almost military fashion yet with tender devotion, we solemnly placed Mother Mariana in the sarcophagus. The abbess of the convent, Mother Ines, then led some hymns of thanksgiving with the other nuns, followed by photos and the signing of documents to bear witness to the event. It was a simple ceremony for an exceptional soul.
Hard pressed one would be to find the history of a soul so privileged as that of Mother Mariana. In the sixteenth century at the tender age of seven, she received permission from her pastor to receive her First Holy Communion, at that time when normally one had to be at least twelve. And on that occasion she received a mystical experience to which she was no stranger already. Moved by her love for Our Lord sacramentally present, she wished to unite herself with Him more fully as a religious. At eleven years old she learned that her aunt Mother Maria Taboada, who was abbess of the Conceptionist Order (an order under the patronage of the great Catholic King Philip II of Spain), was on her way to the distant lands
of New Spain. There a convent was to be founded on property given by the said King for this purpose. Along with ten other Conceptionist nuns, Mother Maria was to travel there by ship, and young Mariana had to go with her. She pleaded with her parents insistently, and they acquiesced to leave her under the maternal care of Mother Maria who willingly allowed her niece to join her, as she understood it to be God’s will. After a heart-breaking separation with her family, they left on the perilous journey. Mariana was never to see her parents again on this earth.
After many hardships and sufferings, the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito was founded, and Mother Mariana spent some sixty years of her life gracing the convent with her holy presence and direction. Her life of extraordinary sanctity and austerity edified many, but caused jealousy for others. To be sure, her holiness was so great that she willingly suffered the pains of hell for five whole years for one of those envious nuns who persecuted her dearly. To appreciate her incomparable life, one must read her biography A Spanish Mystic in Quito. As a testimony to her great sanctity and that of her fellow foundresses, God has deigned to keep their bodies incorrupt. To this day, Mother Mariana’s history continues.
Recollecting the fond memories in these few lines somehow re-enlivens in me the supernatural aura that surrounds the convent. The mystical Mother Mariana is a saintly intercessor not only for her spiritual daughters, but for all of us in the twenty-first century surrounded as we are by materialism, atheism, Satanism, and immorality. By contemplating her life, her prophecies, and her great Mistress, Our Lady of Good Success, the oppression of the world dissipates and confidence in the victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is fortified.