HOLY LAND - "Mariam preached and wrote about humility. She who was a humble servant, became the great Saint that all people can now venerate," said Bishop William Shomali, speaking of Saint Mariam Baouardy in a new film written and directed by Veronick Beaulieu and distributed by the Foundation of Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified.
The film’s opening scenes take place in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on May 17, 2015. The faithful, holding and waving Palestinian flags, attend the canonization ceremony of two Palestinian nuns, Mariam Baouardy and Mary Alphonsine. Patriarchs, bishops, priests, religious men and women, and especially Carmelites and Rosary Sisters all converged to witness this moment of great pride and joy.
“During the canonization, said Bishop Shomali, I was thinking about this mystery of a humble person venerated by all humanity, of “the little nothing” who became the center of attraction for millions of the faithful, many of whom are present at St. Peter’s Square.”
Making a film about Saint Mariam Baouardy had been a wish for Mrs. Nathalie Ferrier, the head of the Foundation of Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified. The project, which started in 2009, saw many ups and downs and for a moment of time was abandoned. But with the news of the canonization in 2015, the plan to make the film was restarted. “After I learned about the canonization of Mariam, I knew that it was a great news for Palestine, the Church and also for the people responsible of the foundation and I was delighted. And it was by sharing my joy with them and by their wish that making the film was relaunched,” pointed out Veronick Beaulieu.
The film consists partly of interviews with Carmelites, heads of the Catholic and Melkite Churches and others who talk about the most remarkable traits of the Palestinian Saint.
“I’ve learned a lot about the spirituality of Saint Mariam Baouardy and her life,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, after the screening of the film in Bethlehem in January. “I’ve appreciated especially the way the various religious figures of the Holy Land, very different one from another, related to her.”
“Holy Spirit, inspire me!”
Ten minutes into the film, it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit, Whom Mariam called “my Mother”, played an important role in her life since a young age. “My vision for this film, said the director, was to make Mariam known by the prism of the Holy Spirit, because It goes through all her life as an immense confidence in the Providence from childhood until her death.”
Guided by this same Holy Spirit, Saint Mariam embarked on many journeys in the west and the east of the world. She worked as a servant in Lebanon, traveled to Marseille and stayed with the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Unhindered by her illiteracy, she then entered the Carmel in Pau and took the name Sister Mariam of Jesus Crucified. She founded two Carmel monasteries; one in Mangalore in India and the other in Bethlehem. Throughout her life, she experienced religious ecstasy, visions, levitation and demonic possessions.
Who is Mariam Baouardy to us today? she is a sister, a servant, a daughter, an Arab traveler from the 19th century and most importantly an intercessor. She was blessed to find her purpose in the world; to give her life fully to Jesus. For Veronick Beaulieu, “She is a “little woman” who deserves real attention and she can quickly become our companion should we really want to be on the way of listening to the Holy Spirit.”
*The film, which is entitled “Mariam Baouardy, Sœur Marie de Jésus Crucifié, Une sainte entre Terre et Ciel”, is written and directed by Veronick Beaulieu and distributed by the Foundation of Saint Mariam of Jesus Crucified (Fondation Sainte Mariam de Jésus Crucifié).
The film is in French and available in Arabic, English, German, Spanish and Italian versions with subtitles for deaf and hearing-impaired people.
To purchase the film, please send a message to the following email: [email protected]