OUR LADY OF GOOD SUCCESS
– Prophecies for our Times –
Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.
Foreword by Atila Sinke Guimarães
A WORD TO THE READER
Mother Mariana’s last testament stated that she left her life story, written under obedience, to her spiritual directors and bishops. This account received the approbation of Bishop Pedro de Oviedo, the tenth bishop of Quito. After her death, her biography was also written by her spiritual director and confessor, Friar Francis de Anguita, O.F.M. These documents and the lives of all the founding mothers were preserved in a large volume titled El Cuadernón.
Based on these source documents, in 1790 Fr. Manuel Souza Pereira, Franciscan Provincial in Quito and director of the Royal Convent, wrote the 400-page book entitled The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, a Spanish Sister and One of the Foundresses of the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception of the City of ST. Francis of Quito. AS a young Portuguese solider pursuing a promising military career, Pereira was converted by Mother Mariana, who appeared to him in his barracks and told him “Manuel, young solider, leave this earthly army and enlist yourself among the sons of the Seraphim of Assisi, so that, to your gain and advantage, you might fight under his banner. This army is superior to yours, and you will not regret your decision.”
Ten years ago I made a pilgrimage to see the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success, and came upon this document written by the Franciscan Provincial, who himself died in the odor of sanctity, and I translated it to English. Written with devotion in the style of Franciscan asceticism, it is a remarkable work that transmits much of the spirit of the Holy Church and the virtues of the religious life. It details Mother Mariana’s sufferings, her numerous mystical experiences and the many, many prophecies Our Lady revealed to this favored soul regarding the future of the Catholic Church, the world, the Ecuadorian nation, the Franciscan Order and the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception.
The life of Mother Mariana is so extraordinary that it seems necessary to clarify some points here to avoid confusion for the reader.
*Mother Mariana did, indeed, die three times. Historic and documented evidence record that this holy religious truly died in 1582 and returned to life. She then continued to live until a second death on Good Friday of 1588; two days later, on Ester Sunday morning, she was resurrected again. She finally died on January 16, 1635.
*Mother Mariana was chosen as abbess of the convent numerous times during her lifetime. Therefore, to conform to English usage, she would at times be called Mother, and other times, Sister. However, in this work the title “Mother” is always applied to her and the other founding mothers as a sign of respect following the style in the original manuscripts.
*The number of visions and mystical favors granted to Mother Mariana by heaven as well as the miracles that graced her life are too numerous to recount in a small book. Therefore, this summary will make a brief sketch of her remarkable life and describe only the most important visions and prophecies of Our Lady.
*I would be very pleased if this small book on Our Lady of Good Success would raise a greater devotion to her. May this hasten the day when she will be known and honored everywhere as Queen of Heaven and Earth as she has prophesied in Quito and in Fatima.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Word to the Reader about the Source Documents
Foreword by Atila Sinke Guimares
Chapter 1 Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres:Victim for the 20th Century
Chapter 2 The First Apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success
Chapter 3 The Statue of Our Lady of Good Success is Completed by the Archangels
Chapter 4 The Main Apparition: The Tabernacle Light Is Extinguished and Its Significance for the 20th Century
Chapter 5 Final Apparition Crisis in the Church and in the Clergy
The prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success, which are so opportunely synthesized by Marian Therese Horvat in this work, are a clear confirmation and an extension of what Our Lady came to say in Fatima. About 300 years before the wello0known apparitions at Fatima, the Mother of God warned of her enemies and the installation of a new Marian era that will come. In Quito she gave various details that perhaps are contained in the third part of the message of 1917, but that until today still have not been revealed: the apostasy in the clergy, the general extinguishing of the light of Faith, a conspiracy against the Church and the dominion of Satan. In my view, Fatima and Quito form two sides of the same gothic arch: it is the message of the Queen of the Universe for Catholics in our present-day conjecture. It is a warning that relates to the present.
The invocation of Good Success, from the perspective of the Connectionist Congregation of which the convent of Quito is a part, speaks of the happy development of the gestation of the Word from Conception to Birth. The contemplation of the mysteries of the august relationship between the Word and the Virgin during the nine months that He resided in her womb is implicitly contained in the Connectionist vocation. In this sense, one understands that Our Lady wanted to reveal to a Connectionist religious part of the secrets regarding the future of the Mystical Body of Christ. The invocation of “good success” was understood by the faithful in its first meaning as a simple and comprehensible plea for safe childbirth by ladies who would so invoke the Virgin. Thus, in a certain way, this invocation is analogous to Our Lady of the Parturition, Our Lady of the Light and Our Lady of Cadlemas. Later, the invocation broadened to be understood in the sense of “good success” in various undertakings of Catholics, be they women of men. However, given the revelation of Quito, the invocation could be said to have extended itself even further. There, at the beginning of the 17th century, Our Lady came to “conceive” a new era for her glory, an era that would be born much later. The “Good success, “ therefore, speaks of the broad Marian protection she would give to the Holy Church during this time and of the happy establishment of the new era that will come. It is an invocation that relates to the future.
This work of Marian Therese Horvart- Our Lady of Good Success: Prophecies for Our Times- has the special merit of transmitting to the reader the same ambience of graces and the same religious spirit that are present in the reading of the complete work of Friar Manuel Souza Pereira, O.F.M. The reader feels himself transferred the mystical ambience of that Conceptionist convent of the 17th century, with the admirable seriousness and Spanish austerity of religious who lived in complete naturality with the spiritual world and with the certainties of the Catholic Faith taken as second nature. All this is transmitted to the reader in an interesting and agreeable way when he reads here the story of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres. The precious perfume of the religious life of the past aromatizes this work.
This small book, for which I predict a “good success” and widespread circulation, is a well-made summary of the contents of the whole message. Its exposition, although brief, touches on the most important parts that can interest the reader and invite him in the future to know the larger message of the Queen of Prophets. I hope that Marian Therese Horvat, with her characteristic historical sense, her delicate religious sensibility and her indisputable literary talent, can dedicate to Our Lady and to her readers, in the near future, a more detailed book about this important matter.
Atila Sinke Guimarães
Los Angeles, September 3, 1999
My Queen and My Mother. It is the invocation that rose spontaneously to my lips when I first saw the marvelous image of Our Lady of Good Success. With its stately majesty and supernatural air, it could be no ordinary statue. It is not. It was miraculously completed by the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in the year 1611. Our Lady herself asked that this statue be placed on the abbess seat of the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception of Quito, not only to protect and govern the religious of the house, but also for the consolation and support of the faithful of the dire times to come, the 20th century. One feels the certainty of her presence and her desire to give her good success to the Catholics of our times drowning in irresolvable troubles and a sea of sadness.
The story and prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success – many of these messages for our own days – are inseparable from the person and name of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres. Mother Mariana (1563 – 1635) traveled from Spain to the New World at age 13 to help to found the Royal Convent. Favored with many singular gifts from heaven, this chosen soul was given to know many future events, especially the situation of the Church in the 20th century.
Our Lady told her that in our lamentable times, heresies would abound, the corruption of manners and customs would be almost complete and the light of the Faith nearly extinguished. To atone for the many profanations, blasphemies and abuses and to hasten the day of the triumphant restoration, this 17th century sister was asked to become an expiatory victim for our times. Thus, in a special way, the vocation of Mother Mariana links her to the crisis in the spiritual and temporal spheres that few would deny that we are witnessing today.
Two important elements bind the prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito to the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. First, there is a call for prayer and sacrifice to make amends for the many outrages and abuses of this unhappy century. Second, in both apparitions the Virgin assures us of her opportune intervention and triumph.
The prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success regarding the 20th century speak directly of a profound crisis in the Church and in civil society. She warned Mother Mariana that the Sacraments would be abused and set aside, that vocations would perish because of the poor formation and education in Catholic schools and monasteries, that impurity would inundate the streets like filthy ocean waters so that “there would be almost no virgin souls.” Repeatedly she warned of a crisis in the Church and the clergy – both secular and regular.
One of her forewarnings resounds loudly in the ears of those who have followed the Fatima apparitions: “In this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent.” It is impossible not to ask: Why was the third secret of Fatima not revealed in 1960 according to the mandate of the Queen of Heaven?
The message of Our Lady of Good Success is also a motive for hope. She promised her intercession at the very moment “when the evil will appear triumphant and when the authority abuses my power.” This would “mark the arrival of my hour, when I, in a marvelous way, will dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss.” These words harmonize perfectly with the message of success that Our Lady delivered to the three children at Fatima in 1917: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” It seems an opportune moment for this story of Our Lady of Good Success and Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres to become better known to the English-speaking public. It is not a new devotion. Since the 17th century, it has been approved and encouraged by the Church for the Ecuadorian faithful. The reader will also be interested to know that Our Lady of Good Success promised “consolation and preservation to those faithful souls” who foster this devotion to her during the 20th century. May all who read this booklet feel her maternal goodness and receive “good success” in all their good endeavors and needs.
Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres: Victim for the 20th century
It was February 2, 1634, and a daughter of St. Francis of Assisi was praying at midnight in the chapel of her beloved Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito, Ecuador. This holy sister, who is linked mysteriously to present times by the visions the Holy Virgin showed her of our century, had offered herself as a victim for the 20th century. At the close of her life, Our Lady appeared to tell her that she would die in one year, and to promise her that the great marvels and prodigies with which she and her convent had been favored would remain hidden and unknown until the end of the twentieth century.
Overwhelmed with lover for her convent and distressed at the many abuses and bad-spirited religious “who would infiltrate the convent in the sad times ahead,” she boldly begged her heavenly mother for the impossible: to allow her to live into this epoch in order “to impede in her convent the great evils reserved for those ill-fated days.”
“By the divine power, nothing is impossible, and thou can fix the longevity of the life of a human creature in centuries rather than years,” she pleaded in this difficult petition, animated by a loving zeal to preserve the observance of the rule in the convent. At that moment, she fell into ecstasy, and the Diving Spouse showed her an exact and unequivocal account of the dire times that the community and convent would pass through, above all in the middle of the 20th century. It was manifested to her that he preservation of her material life would not be necessary for this epoch, because from heaven, the Queen of Heaven would intercede to assist in the crisis with a greater liberty and authority than any human could impart. For the Church would be so embattled and suffering during these times that only the divine power and love the Blessed Virgin would sustain the faithful.
In this one of so many extraordinary vision, Christ told the favored daughter of His Heart many things about the future:
· That “the dogma of Faith of the Immaculate Conception of My Mother will be proclaimed during a time when the Church would be strongly attacked.”
· That the ingratitude and betrayal of religious souls, so dear to His Heart, would compel Our Lord “to let My justice fall upon My beloved cloisters – and even over cities – when those so near to Me who belong to Me reject My Spirit, abandoning Me alone in Tabernacles, rarely remembering that I live there especially for love of them, even more than for the rest of the faithful.”
· That imprudent admissions and internal abuses permitted by superiors are the ruin of communities: “Such communities can only be preserved – while they exist – at the cost of much penance, humiliations and daily and solid practice of religious virtues by those religious who are good. Woe to these corrupt members during those times of calamity! Weep for them, beloved spouse, and implore that the time of so much suffering will be shortened.”
· He warned her that the chastisement would be sever for those religious who squandered so many graces with their pride and vainglory to secure positions of power and rank. He especially condemned the lukewarm: “Alas! If men, and above all, priests and religious souls, would only realize how greatly I am wounded and displeased with the coldness, indifference, lack of confidence and small inveterate imperfections on the part of those who so closely belong to Me…But I will not tolerate this. Halfway measures are not pleasing to Me. I desire all or nothing – according to My example, for I gave of Myself to the last drop of Blood and Water from My shattered Body on the Cross. Moreover, I have continued to live in the Tabernacle under the same roof with these hidden souls, exposing Myself to so many hateful profanations and sacrileges! For I know well all that takes place in My sacramental life!...Woe to souls like this! Woe!"
Thus ended this vision during which the Child Jesus spoke at great length to the holy Conceptionist abbess, revealing many secrets that would take place in the times to come. The Conceptionist religious had beseeched the Most Holy Virgin that her name be unknown. The Mother of God assured her that her request would be heeded and that only after three centuries of mysterious silence, her name would become known. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Success would also wane, until almost no mention would be made of it. But this devotion would resurge and Mother Mariana’s story would be known at the end of the 20th century, the terrible century she had previewed and for which she had offered herself as an expiatory victim. Then, Our Lady promised, she would give her “good success” to those who had recourse to her and fostered devotion to her under this invocation.
This humble Conceptionist religious was Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, who was born in 1563 in Spain and died in 1635 in the convent of Quito, Ecuador that she had helped to found. Twice she would die during her lifetime, and each time Our Lord would restore her to life to continue her important mission. During this extraordinary life, she was favored with innumerable and singular gifts from heaven and received many prophecies of the future. What follows is only a brief summary of her remarkable life and a few of the prophecies revealed to her that concern our own times and that harmonize perfectly with the better-known prophecies that Our Lady made at Fatima in 1917.
Childhood of Mother Mariana: Early Signs of Predilection
Mariana Francisca was born in Spain in the province of Viscaya in 1563, the first-born child of Diego Cadiz and Maria Berriochoa Alvarez. She was the delight of her parents, for heaven had endowed her with beauty, a quick intelligence, a sweet nature, and a strong inclination toward virtue. From childhood, she would shun the games of adolescence and could be found instead in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. It is the right of God to choose where and when he will place His chosen souls whose disposition is to love and possess Him in marvelous ways – even from childhood. Such was the soul of Mariana Francisca.
confessor, a Friar Minor, recognized the precocious religious spirit of the
child and allowed her to receive Communion at age 9, at a time when children
generally made their First Communion at age 13 or 14. On that much-awaited
day, December 8, 1572, Mariana fainted in her joy after receiving the Sacred
Host. During this ecstasy, the Blessed Virgin explained to her the
grandeur of the vow of virginity, asked this of her, and told her she was
destined to be a religious of her Immaculate Conception in the New World.
She accepted and felt her soul inflamed with an ardent desire to carry out this
mission. This remarkable servant of God would remain faithful her whole
life to a prophetic mission that demanded an oblation of her whole being.
From this point on, her life was consecrated to realizing this design of
Providence, and everything outside this end lost meaning for her. She
dedicated herself to prayer and contemplation, as well as both interior and
exterior mortification, and she transformed her house into a kind of convent in
the service of her parents and two younger brothers.
Vision at Sea – The Founding of the Convent
In 1577, when Mariana was only 13 years old, she left Spain in the company of her aunt, Mother Maria de Jesus Taboada, and four other sisters, to found a branch of the Order of the Immaculate Conception in San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador). Our Lord Himself invited the young girl to leave family and fatherland and to take up the cross and great sufferings. “Strength and courage will not be lacking to you,” He told the young girl. “I desire that your will be always prepared to do Mine.”
No sooner had they embarked than a tempest of unimaginable fury came over the sea. The ship began to sink, and the sailors themselves were in despair. In the midst of the fury, Mother Maria and the young Mariana saw a monstrous serpent with seven heads in the ocean that was trying to destroy the shop. They heard a terrible voice that said: “O will not permit this foundation. I will not permit it to go forward. I will not permit it to endure until the end of time, and I will persecute it unceasingly.” This was the voice of the serpent crying out shortly before the waters became calm.
Only the two holy virgins understood why the storm had ended so mysteriously. As the waves threatened to swallow the ship, they witnessed the appearance of the Holy Virgin who carried the Child Jesus in her right arm. He carried a sword that He used to slash the heads of the serpent to pieces. To keep this event ever present in the memory of future generations of sisters, Mother Maria ordered a round scapular with this formidable vision of the Virgin and Child defeating the serpent o be made. The Conceptionists of the Royal Monastery in Quito continue to this day to wear this insignia on their habits as a lasting reminder of the momentous event.
The young girl, who fell into an ecstasy, then saw the many persecutions the future community would suffer throughout the centuries because of the hatred of the serpent for this convent and the good it was destined to do. She saw that God would permit this for the glory of His most holy mother. She also was allowed to see all the saintly religious who would blossom in this convent, as well as the unfaithful souls who would fail to correspond to the grace of their vocations. It is believed that amid these grievous trials suffered while still as sea, Our Lord granted to Mariana, still a young girl, the gift of prophecy.
The Sufferings of Mother Mariana
It is almost impossible for us to understand the next phase of the life of the novice Mariana de Jesus Torres. Hidden in the Heart of her Spouse, she was inflamed with a desire for a life of immolation and sacrifice. Our Lord Himself told her the practices she should carry out during the free hours of the community schedule and the penances she should perform each week. Her severe disciplines, sacrifices, fasting and prayer, all described in chapters of the manuscript, appear daunting to the man of our century, who finds suffering something to avoid, or, at best, to endure as austerely as possible.
Suffering is highly ennobling. On this road of suffering in union with Christ, man finds the fullest meaning of his life, and he discovers that frequently it is in the great sufferings of life, accepted with a supernatural disposition, that he can find a joy which the greatest pleasures do not give. Further, eh discovers in suffering an interior state that makes him capable of soaring to heights impossible for one who does not suffer. Only when man embraces great sufferings can his horizons expand to grand metaphysical and religious heights and his spirit advance to a superior state. At the end of Mother Mariana’s life when her sanctity was acknowledged in the community and convent, she would look back with nostalgia and sigh for the days of persecution and suffering.
While the founding mothers admired Mother Mariana’s perfect observance of the rule and practice of virtue, there were other sisters who were stirred by jealousy. Mother Mariana suffered insults and persecutions from these sisters without ever trying to justify herself or protest. Only at the foot of the Tabernacle did she confide her secret sorrows to her Beloved. One day in 1582, as she was praying before the altar, she saw the Tabernacle open and Christ Himself emerged, suffering as He had at Golgotha. The Blessed Virgin, as His feet, was shedding tears of pearls. Mother Mariana asked her, “My Lady, as I to blame for this sadness?”
“No,” she replied, “it is not you, but the criminal world.” Then as Our Lord began His Agony, she heard the voice of the Eternal Father saying, “This punishment will be fore the 20th century.” She saw three swords hanging over the head of Christ. On each was written, “I shall punish heresy, blasphemy and impurity.” With this, she was given to understand all that would take place in the present era.
The Holy Virgin continued: “My daughter, will you sacrifice yourself for the people of this time?” Mother Mariana replied, “I am willing.” And immediately the swords moved away from the agonizing Christ and buried themselves in the heart of Mother Mariana, who fell dead through the violence of the pain.
Mother Mariana’s Mysterious Death and Restoration
Mother Mariana had indeed died and stood before the judgment seat of God, Who found no fault in her and invited her to receive the crown prepared for her since the beginning of the world. At the same time, her distraught sisters implored heaven to restore the life of this exemplary religious. Our Lord presented Mother Mariana with two crowns: one of immortal glory of indescribable beauty, the other of white lilies surrounded by thorns. Mother Mariana understood that is she would choose the former, she would remain in celestial glory. With the other, she would return to suffer in the world. Her first desire was to remain in heaven to be assured of her salvation and to enjoy the unsurpassable happiness of the Beatific Vision. During her difficult struggle, Our Lady approached her and said, “My daughter, I left the glories of heaven and descended to earth to protect my children. I desire that you also imitate me in this and return to life, for your life is most necessary for the Order of my Concptionists.
“Woe to the Colony in the 20th century! If, in Ecuador, already so guilty, there are not souls who by their lives of immolation as sacrifice appease the Divine Justice, fire will rain from heaven, consuming its inhabitants and purifying the soil of Quito. Until the end of time, one of these sacrificial souls will inhabit this convent and, imitating you, will appease Divine Justice.”
Trembling yet consoled by the promise of her Divine Mother that one faithful religious would always remain in her convent, Mother Mariana chose the crown of lilies surrounded with thorns and returned to the world to suffer, to the great rejoicing of the sisters and Friars Minor who had not ceased their prayers and refused to leave her bedside.
After returning to the world, she dedicated herself with greater zeal to the practice of the monastic life, carrying out the offices of bursar, choirmaster and novice mistress. Because of God had given her the discernment of souls, Mother Mariana was able to guide the sisters under her care according to the spirit of each one. When one of the novices would conceal a fault, she would call her aside to remind her, for nothing could be hidden from her. Although she was always a model of goodness and sweetness, she demanded strict observation of even the smallest rules and insisted that her novices rise at 4 a.m. to recite The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. She warned the sisters that bitter times for the convent should come should the Little Office be put aside, and that the demon would work relentlessly to prevent its recitation. During this time as novice mistress, Mother Mariana was imprinted interiorly with the Most Sacred Wounds of Our Lord. After this mysterious wounding, her body became stiff and immovable as a rock; only her eyes and mouth could more. At the same time, all sensible consolations were removed, and she entered the dark night of tribulation, suffering an intense interior desolation. The devil appeared to her in the form of a serpent that tried to tempt her to despair by telling her that everything in her life had been illusions, deceits and lies. Forsaken by heaven and earth, she suffered without relief, feeling herself abandoned even by the Holy Virgin. On the Feast of the Purification, February 2, 1558, after more than a year of this severe abandonment, Our Lady appeared to her to dissipate the darkness of the night of her soul. The Queen of Heaven once again dispelled the infernal serpent, who gave a horrible scream of despair and hurled himself into hell with such a great roar that it caused the earth to tremble throughout the city and convent.
After a few weeks respite, the mysterious sickness returned, although Mother Mariana no longer suffered the interior pain of abandonment. At noon on Good Friday of that year, death appeared imminent. At 3:30 p.m., surrounded by her praying and weeping sisters, Mother Mariana raised her eyes to heaven, gazed at her crucifix, pressed it against her heart and, heaving a last sigh, died.
At the order of the mother abbess, her body was taken to the lower choir so that for three days it might be viewed by the people of Quito, who crowded into the church to pray to her as their protecting angel. The funeral Mass and burial was set for Monday. However, on Easter Sunday morning when the grieving nuns entered the upper choir to recite the 4 a.m. Little Office, they found Mother Mariana praying as normal. The sisters screamed and ran in horror, certain that they were seeing a ghost. Mother Mariana had resurrected a second time! This time, she would continue her life of hard penance and continual prayer for 47 more years until her final death in 1635.
Interrogated by her confessor and the abbess, Mother Mariana explained that upon this, her second death, Our Lady had placed her soul in another state of purification and she had suffered a mystical purgatory that lasted until 3 a.m. Sunday morning, the same hour Christ had resurrected. He then placed her soul back in her body, restoring it to full strength and vigor. Mother Mariana understood that God had restored her to life so that she could experience in her own person how sweet and meritorious it is to suffer and endure pain in imitation of Christ, becoming one with Him in the holocaust for the future of the Church.
Thus was the soul of this humble virgin prepared and purified to receive the apparition of the three Archangels and the Sovereign Empress under the invocation of Our Lady of Good Success, as well as for the great trials and mission reserved for her.
The First Apparitions
Of Our Lady of Good Success
After the death of the first prioress in 1593, Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres was elected and installed as prioress at age 30. During that time, there were many troubles in both the civil and ecclesiastical governments of the Spanish Colony of Quito. During the process of colonization, as it happens even among the best, there are sometimes adventurers who are crazed by the desire for gold and power. These men created a pretext for revolt among the native people of Quito against the Crown of Spain. The history of those early days of the Colony also records the presence of Spaniards of great sanctity and heroism, who dedicated themselves to the improvement of the Indians through education and religious formation and sought to protect them from the abuses of the more venal settlers and explorers.
The Spirit of Revolt in the Convent
This spirit of insurrection and strife extended to the religious sphere. Along with the many valorous and noble-minded missionaries, Spain was sending many of her undisciplined friars to the Colony, where they strove to relax the monastic rules. Thus the Church and the Country had a great need for heroic souls who, by their practice of virtue and sacrifice, would stand between the Colony and Divine Justice. Many times Our Lady of Good Success would tell Mother Mariana that without these heroic souls, she could not have held back the hand of justice of her Divine Son, and Quito would have ceased to exist. Such is the role of hidden, penitential souls like Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres and others- even in our days- who appease Divine Justice with their humble sacrifice and conformity to Divine Will.
The spirit of revolt entered the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception through a native sister, known to posterity only as La Capitana (which in Spanish means the Captain or the Leader). This non-observant sister fueled the fire of revolt among many of the native sisters who had not received full orders and did the domestic work in the convent. Many of these tertiary sisters were jealous of the Spanish mothers, especially of their holy abbess Mother Mariana, and were becoming weary of the strict observance to the rule she sweetly but unrelentingly demanded.
La Capitana secretly conspired with a priest, one of her relatives in the chancellery office, to remove the convent from the spiritual government of the Friars Minor and place it under the direct authority of the bishop. The bishop of this time, Msgr. Luis Lopez de Solis, was an Augustinian, zealous for the glory of God. However, given his frequent absences from the chancellery, the actual government of the Royal Convent fell to the Vicar General, who believed the accusations La Capitana was making against her holy superior. The plot to relax the rule and be free from the strict governance of the Franciscans began to spread.
First Vision: The Role of Our Lady before Divine Justice
In face of this insubordination and the plot to separate the convent from the direction of the Friars Minor, Mother Mariana would have recourse to her Spouse in the Blessed Sacrament to find light, consolation and strength. On the morning of February 2, 1594, she was praying prostate on the floor in the upper choir of the convent, when she felt the presence of someone who called her name. She rose and saw a most beautiful Lady, who carried the Child Jesus in her left arm, and a golden crosier adorned with precious stones in her right hand.
The Lady told her: “I am Mary of Good Success, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. It is because you are a religious soul who loves God and His Mother that I speak to you now. I have come from heaven to console your afflicted heart.” She told Mother Mariana that she carried Christ in her left arm in order to restrain the hand of Divine Justice, “always so ready to chastise this unhappy and criminal world.” In her right hand, she carried the crosier, the abbess’ staff, for she desired to govern the convent as prioress and mother. Her patronage and protections would be even more necessary during the future absence of the Franciscan Friars as directors. In fact, this would take place very soon, she told Mother Mariana.
“With this,” she said, “Satan will begin to try to destroy this world of God, making use of my ungrateful daughters, but he will not succeed, because I am the Queen of Victories and the Mother of Good Success, and under this invocation I desire to be known throughout time for the preservation of my convent and its inhabitants.” She then assured Mother Mariana that until the end of the world, she would have holy, heroic sisters hidden in her convent who would suffer persecutions and calumnies within the very boson of the community. Our Lady warned Mother Mariana of the many sufferings in store for her. To strengthen her spirit, she placed the Divine Child in the arms of the happy religious, who embraced Him next to her heart and felt within herself the strong desire to suffer.
Imprisonment of Mother Mariana; Visions Amid Sufferings
Shortly after this vision, the community, influenced by the non-observant sisters who wanted a relaxation of the rigor of monastic life, elected Mother Magdalena de Jesus Valenzuela as prioress. Soon afterward, just as Out Lady had predicted to Mother Mariana, the convent was released from its obedience to the Franciscans and became subject to the Ordinary. The observance of the rule was relaxed and strict silence disappeared, to the great sorrow of Mother Mariana, who tried to convince the new prioress to curb these excesses. In retaliation, La Capitana and the non-observant sisters spread lies and complaints about the disobedience of Mother Mariana and managed to get orders from the Vicar General for the imprisonment of Mother Mariana, who was deprived of her veil and sent to the convent prison.
The other Spanish mothers, inconsolable and unable to contain their grief at this injustice, soon were ordered to accompany Mother Mariana in her sentence. The Spanish founding mothers were joined by observant native religious who had been educated and formed by Mother Mariana and did not want to be deprived of her virtuous company. Gradually, the number of imprisoned observant sisters increased to 25. Thus united, their prayer, songs and spirit of recollection transformed the prison into an antechamber of heaven, where the strict observance of the rule shone resplendently within its dark walls.
On night during the first imprisonment in this blessed place of suffering (for Mother Mariana and the founding mothers would be imprisoned four times during this difficult period of internal strife in the Royal Convent), all the founding mothers received special visions corresponding to their particular vocations.
Mother Mariana saw Our Lord crucified, agonizing at Golgotha amid blasphemies and insults. Mother Francisca of the Angels saw her seraphic father, St. Francis. Angry at the convent, he carried a bow and walked through its halls, shooting arrow left and right. One arrow pierced the heart of a sister, who in fact died at that moment without anyone knowing the natural cause. St. Francis told Mother Francisca: “This sister was one of the main causes for the separation of the Friars Minor and the relaxation in the convent.”
Mother Anne of the Conception saw the Virgin Mary extinguishing the vigil lamp of the Tabernacle in the convent. She explained that the observant spirit of some of her daughters would be extinguished, but that it would soon be lit again, and that this light would burn throughout the centuries because one reason this Convent of the Immaculate Conception had been founded was to appease Divine Justice for the sins committed in that city. When the non-observant sisters went to Mass the next day, they saw that the sanctuary lamp was extinguished and could not be lit no matter how much they tried, until the next day when it mysteriously re-lit itself.
Mother Lucia of the Cross was given to see and admire the mystery of love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She saw the precious Blood pouring forth from His Heart and heard the voice of Christ say: “In this ocean of Blood, My Heart wants to wash all those who are guilty and who come to Me with a contrite heart.”
Mother Magdalena of St. John saw the beloved Apostle, St. John the Evangelist, who told her that among the sublime secrets revealed to him when he reclined his head on the Heart of his Master, were all the sacrileges that would be committed in the world against the Holy Eucharist. He predicted to her the horrible crime that would take place in the city of Riobamba (central Ecuador). This prophecy was fulfilled more than two centuries alter when soldiers entered St. Philip’s Church and impiously murdered the Jesuit priest Father Moscoso. They opened the Tabernacle, emptied the Hosts on the ground and trampled them underfoot. Mother Magdalena saw the soul of Father Moscoso, a martyr of the Holy Eucharist, fly to heaven even before the soldiers finished their profanation of his body.
Second Vision: Lessons and Prophecies
On January 16, 1599, during the third imprisonment of Mother Mariana in the convent prison, Our Lady appeared to her a second time under the invocation of Mary of Good Success. She told Mother Mariana that these sufferings were a heavenly gift to her and her daughters to hold back the divine ire “so ready to unleash a terrible chastisement on this ungrateful Colony. How many hidden crimes are committed by its population and in the surrounding area! For precisely this reason, this convent was founded here so that the God of Heaven and Earth would be avenged in the very place in which He is offended and unrecognized. …
“Alas! The ignorance of the learned and the follow of men who do not recognize the secret designs of God in His works! Remember the words of the Royal Prophet: ‘How marvelous are the works of the Lord!’ Be convinced of this truth; teach and impress upon your daughters- both those living and those to come- that they should love their divine vocations. Reveal to them the glorious place that God and I are saving for our heirs, those who belong to us in a special way.”
Prophecies about the Future of the Colony and Convent
Our Lady continued with these prophetic words: “In a short time, the country in which you live will cease to be a Colony and will become a free Republic. Then, known by the name of Ecuador, it will need heroic souls to sustain it in face of so many public and private calamities. Here [in this convent] God will always find those souls, like hidden violets. Accursed would be Quito without this convent. …
“In the 19th century there will be a truly Catholic president, a man of character whom God Our Lord will give the palm of martyrdom on the square adjoining this convent. He will consecrate the Republic to the Sacred Heart of my Most Holy Son, and this consecration will sustain the Catholic Religion in the years that will follow, which will be ill-fated ones for the Church. These years, during which the evil sect of Masonry will take control of the civil government - will see a cruel persecution of all religious communities, and it will also strike out violently against this one of mine.” 
An Order for a Statue to Be Made
For this reason, Our Lady continues, “it is the wish of my Mother Holy Son that you command a statue of me to be made, just as you see me now, and that you place it upon the throne of the abbess so that I may govern my convent. In my right hand place the crosier and keys to the cloister as a sign of my proprietorship and authority.
“In my left arm place my Divine Child: first, so that men understand how powerful I am in placating the Divine Justice and obtaining mercy and pardon for every sinner who comes to me with a contrite heart, for I am the Mother of Mercy and in me there is only goodness and love’ and second, so that throughout time my daughter will see that I am showing and giving to them my Mother Holy Son and their God a s a model of religious perfection. They should come to me, for I will lead them to Him.”
Then the Heavenly Queen told Mother Mariana that she would give her the exact measurements for her height so that the statue could be made just as she appeared there. She asked Mother Mariana to remove the cord that the religious wore around her waist and to give her one end of it. Mother Mariana held one end of the cord, placing it at the feet of the Queen of Angels. Our Lady took the other end and handed it to the Child Jesus, Who touched His end to the top of Our Lady’s forehead. The cord, which was too short, miraculously stretched to the exact height of His mother.
When Mother Mariana protested that she could never sufficiently describe the beauty of her heavenly mother, Our Lady promised the help of St. Francis and the Archangels in the making of her statue. Before she left, the Blessed Virgin told Mother Mariana that he holy captivity would end very soon. Enheartened by this vision, Mother Mariana wakened her daughters to pray the Little Office.
That day at the hour of Sext, 3 p.m., Mother Mariana and the other founding mothers saw and immense dragon, whose large eyes spit fire at the observant sisters. The monster prowled everywhere but could not enter either the choir or the prison. Then they saw their seraphic father Francis with a bow, shooting flaming arrows at the dragon. Wounded and anguished, the dragon caused the earth to open and then withdrew into this abyss. At this very moment, a long tremor of the earth occurred, which caused fear among the non-observant sisters and the inhabitants of the city. Shortly afterward, Mother Valenzuela, who was acting as prioress during Mother Mariana’s imprisonment, decided that things had gone too far. Pressured by the rebellious sisters, she had ordered Mother Mariana’s imprisonment, but afterward she had repented her action when she had realized the depth of their malice toward the angelic founding mothers. Mother Valenzuela, a native religious from a good family in Quito, was not a bad intentioned religious, but very weak in character and thus able to be influence by the rebellious sisters. Now, however, she took courage, exerted her influence and obtained an order for the release of the holy and innocent prisoners and the reinstatement of Mother Mariana as prioress.
The Statue of Our Lady of Good Success
Is Completed by the Archangels
After Mother Mariana and the other founding mothers were released from prison, a full investigation was made to uncover the false accusations. When the bishop learned how he had been fooled, he ordered that the leader of the insurrection, La Capitana, be imprisoned for the rest of her life as a lesson to others and to avoid further insurrections.
La Capitana, however, could not submit to this humiliation. Instead of recognizing her errors and asking for pardon, she became hardened in hr pride, bitterness and anger, which were directed with particular vehemence against Mother Mariana. The health of the rebellious sister declined as she refused all foods, and in fits of madness, she screamed, blasphemed, cursed and hit her head against the walls. Through Mother Mariana’s intervention, the bishop gave permission for La Capitana to be moved from the prison to the infirmary. However, none of the sisters dared approach the rebellious sister. Mother Mariana assumed the office of nurse, showing to the violent sister every tenderness and kindness, which was returned by insults, slaps and spittle.
Mother Mariana Begs Our Lord to Save Her Sister
Seeing the soul of her sister so near to perdition, Mother Mariana begged Our Lord for the salvation of these souls as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She had been given to understand how the devil possessed this sinful soul and communicated to her the spirit of revolt, blasphemy, hate and despair. She realized that this obdurate sister would soon die and would be cast into the depths of hell.
As she begged that the impenitent sister be saved, Our Lord appeared to Mother Mariana as He was in the Garden of Olives at the moment of His greatest suffering. She saw that the most intense interior torments of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were the ingratitude and indifference of those souls who, chosen among millions to be His spouses and ministers, left Him in grievous solitude. And this despite the fact that in the Holy Sacrament, He would live under the same roof with His spouses and come into the hand of His priests at the simple call of their voices at the most solemn moment of the Consecration.
At Mother Mariana’s supplication to made amends for her guilty sister, Our Lord agreed that La Capitana would be saved, although she would be required to remain in purgatory until the end of th world. In recompense, Mother Mariana would suffer on earth for five years the pains of hell that were reserved for La Capitana. Mother Mariana knew well through Tradition, Scripture and the teachings of the Church of the terrible torments of the damned. For eternity they suffer both the pain of the senses and the far worse pain of the loss of the beatific vision.
At the end of La Capitana’s long illness, the unhappy sister was given to understand her miserable condition, became contrite and made a general confession. She became a model of humility and piety and died one year after the death of Mother Mariana.
Five Years Suffering the Torments of Hell
Shortly after La Capitana’s heart had been touched by God’s merciful grace, Mother Mariana began to fulfill the sentence that she had undertaken for the conversion of this rebellious sister. For five years, she suffered the stench of hell that tortured her sense of smell. Her sight was constantly tormented with the presence of the devil; the blasphemies of the damned were always present to her ears; her touch was chastised with acute pains; her sense of taste was embittered by every morsel of food that she was swallowed. But the greatest suffering was the pain of loss. Without ceasing the love Our Lord with all the intensity of which she was capable, she nonetheless felt the unbearable absence of Him and felt that she was forever severed for Him. Throughout this long five years that seemed an eternity, she never lost her lovely calm and expression of peace and serenity, and she continued to meticulously follow the rule and her rigorous life of prayer and sacrifice.
At the end of the five years, Mother Mariana called together the remaining founding mothers, who in spirit had accompanied her suffering with their prayers, sacrifices and penances. She told them: “Alas, my sisters! How terrible hell is! No words can describe it!”
Our Lady Commands That a Statue Be Made
It was the year 1610, and Mother Mariana was again wisely governing the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Quito. But Our Lady complained to this predilect daughter that she should no longer delay in ordering her statue to be made and place on the abbess’ chair, where she, as absolute mistress, mother and prioress of the convent, would govern her community until the end of time.
In the early morning of January 20 at her customary prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Mother Mariana received a visit from three messengers from heaven, St. Michael, St. Gabriela and St. Raphael, who came to strengthen her heart and mind in preparation for a visit from their Heavenly Queen. Shortly after, Our Lady appeared carrying her Son in her left arm, and in her right hand, the beautiful jeweled crosier. Our Lady first prophetically showed Mother Mariana all the faithful and unfaithful religious who would live in her convent, from the first to the last, until the end of time. At Mother Mariana’s great sorrow to see that some of her daughters would lose their souls, Our Lady consoled her by reminding her of the enormous number of faithful souls “who here in my beloved convent will live and die in self-abnegation and isolation, practicing the solid virtues in heroism and hidden sanctity. Through them in the future centuries, as well as through you in these times, Divine Justice will be stayed.”
A Great Crisis in the 20th Century
Our Lady continued: “Thus do I make it known to you that from the end of the 19th century and especially in the 20th century, in what is today the Colony and then will be the Republic of Ecuador, the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic sects. They will focus particularly on the children in order to achieve this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times! It will be difficult to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and also that of Confirmation. Making use of person in positions of authority, the devil will assiduously try to destroy the Sacrament of Confession…
“The same will happen with Holy Communion. Alas! How deeply I grieve upon manifesting to you the many and horrible sacrileges – both public and also secret - that will occur from profanations of the Holy Eucharist! Often during this epoch, the enemies of Jesus Christ instigated by the demon, will steal consecrated hosts form the churches to that they might profane the Eucharistic Species. My Most Holy Son will see Himself cast upon the ground and trampled upon by irreverent feet.”
She then promised to preserve faithful souls in this convent who would make amends for these terrible sins and blasphemies. “But in these times that I now make known to you, the favor I have dispensed toward you will become known, “ she prophesied. “And when this happens, the knowledge of, and devotion to, my sacred statue will also come to light. Thus, today I categorically order you to have it made. Let it be made just as you see me and place it up on the abbess’ seat so that I may govern and direct my daughters and defend my convent, for Satan, making use of both the good and the evil, will engage in a fierce battle to destroy it.”
Once again the Queen of Heaven gravely told Mother Mariana that this battle would reach its most acute stage because of various unfaithful religious, who, “under the appearance of virtue and bad-spirited zeal, would turn upon the Religion that had nourished them at her breast.”
The Sacraments- Profaned and Forgotten
“During this time,” she continued, “insomuch as this poor Country will lack the Christian spirit, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction will be little esteemed. Many people will die without receiving it – either because of the negligence of their families or a false sentimentality that tires to protect the sick from seeing the gravity of their situations. Others, impelled by the malice of the devil, will themselves rebel against the spirit of the Catholic Church. Thus many souls will be deprived of innumerable graces, consolations and the strength they need to make that great leap from time to eternity. …
“As for the Sacraments of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and profaned in the fullest sense of the word. Masonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the objective of doing away with this Sacrament. This will make it easy for everyone to live in sin and will encourage the procreations of illegitimate children born without being incorporated into the Church. The Christian spirit will rapidly decay and the precious light of Faith will gradually be extinguished until it reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs. The effects of secular education will increase, which will be one reason for he death of priestly and religious vocations.
“The Sacred Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed and despised. … The demon will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way. He will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will incite the hatred of the bad Christians and the enemies of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church to fall up on all priests. This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous sufferings up on the good pastors of the Church…
‘Moreover, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which, acting thus to ensnare the rest into sin, will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence, will almost no longer be found in children, nor modestly in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent.”
A Devotion that will be a Consolation for Faithful Souls
Our Lady continued, saying: “This you will see from heaven, beloved daughter, where you can no longer suffer, but your daughters who will follow you will suffer. … They will have recourse to me under the invocation of Our Lady of Good Success, and I now ask and command that you have a statue made for eh consolation and preservation of my convent and for those faithful souls of that epoch during which there will be a great devotion to me, for I am Queen of Heaven under many invocations.”
Mother Mariana protested that she would never be able to describe for an artist such beauty and majesty as the Holy Virgin possessed. Our Lady promised the Conceptionist religious that she herself, with the three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, would see to the perfection of this work.
Nonetheless, as the days passed, Mother Mariana felt a reluctance to go to the bishop. First, she feared that he would not believe her and that he demands might endanger the existence of the convent. Second, she knew that the inhabitants of the Colony still had a strong propensity to idolatry, and she did not want to encourage this tendency. Thus Mother Mariana de Jesus struggled and prayed from January 21 until the dawn of February 2, 1610.
A Remedy for the Present Crisis
As was her custom, Mother Mariana was praying in the early morning of February 2 in the upper choir when Our Lady of Good Success appeared to her with a serious and grave demeanor. “Perchance you do not realize that I am an all-powerful Queen, and that I gave you this order having full knowledge of all these things that disturb you?” Our Lady said. “Why do you doubt? Why do you tremble, when there is nothing to fear? This convent is my foundation and I love it more than you possibly could. … With the making of my statue I will favor not only my convent, but also the people of Quito - and all people throughout the centuries.”
Seeing Mother Mariana’s profound humility and contrition for having hesitated, Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy, pardoned her and assured the Conceptionist religious that she herself would intervene to convince the bishop of the truth of the apparitions.
“As for your request that your name be hidden, this pleases me greatly,” the Blessed Virgin said, “and I will do as you have asked.” The bishop should not tell the details or origin of how this statue came to be made, she said, “For this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th century.” This, in fact, had happened, for it has only been the latter half of this century that the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success in resurfacing and the story of the statue is becoming better known among the public.
Again she repeated the warnings: “During this epoch the Church will find herself attacked by terrible assaults from the Masonic sect, and this poor Ecuadorian land will be agonizing because of the corruption of customs, unbridled luxury and extravagance, an impious press and secular education. The vices of impurity, blasphemy and sacrilege will dominate in this time of depraved desolation, and those who should speak out will be silent.
“But know, beloved daughter, that when your name will become known in the 20th century, there will be many who will not believe and will claim that this devotion is not pleasing to God. … A simple humble faith in the truth of my apparitions to you, my most favored child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls docile to the inspirations of grace, for Our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know that they do not, or self-satisfied with empty knowledge.”
Mother Mariana immediately went to her spiritual director, the holy Franciscan Friar Francis Anguita, to ask his counsel. For even after the convent had been placed under diocesan rule, Mother Mariana and all the Spanish Founding Mothers continued to have recourse to the sons of St. Francis for spiritual direction. After prayer and mediation, he attested to the truth of the apparitions and ordered her to go to the bishop to request that the statue of Our Lady of Good Success be made. The bishop, forwarned the report Mother Mariana sent him by a dream and startled by her message from Our Lady that he would die in two years time, gave the necessary permission and orders for thee statue to be made. His only protest was to complain that Mother Mariana had not called him sooner. “For it is God who so disposes this,” he said, “and we should not remain deaf to His voice or His requests.”
The Statue is Miraculously Completed by the Angels
After the bishop gave his approval for the statue to be made, Mother Mariana sent for Francisco del Castillo, a sculptor of talent and, more important, a man of great virtue who loved the Queen of Heaven and fasted every Saturday in her honor. He received permission to work in the upper choir of the convent, and the bishop himself visited form time to time to see how the work was progressing. As the work neared completion, the sculptor decided to travel to Europe to find the best paints for the final coat of paint for the faces. He promised to return by January 16 (1611) to finish the project.
On the night before his return, Mother Mariana and all the sisters redoubled their prayers, asking Our Lady to complete her statue herself, as she had promised. In the early morning hours, while Mother Mariana was making her customary prayer alone in the sanctuary, the church was illuminated with celestial lights. The Tabernacle opened and she was given to understand the sublime mystery of the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the womb of Mary Most Holy. She also realized the infinite love of the Three Divine Persons for Mary, who was present there, magnificent and captivating.
Then the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael saluted the Queen of Heaven. St. Michael bowed and said “Hail to Thee, Mary Most Holy, Daughter of God the Father.” St. Gabriel said, “Hail to thee, Mary Most Holy, Mother of God the Son.” And St. Raphael said, “Hail to Thee, Mary Most Holy, Most Pure Spouse of the Holy Ghost.” Then in unison they intoned: “Hail to Thee, Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity.”
In an instant after the heavenly trio ascended to the upper choir and finished the statue. Then St. Francis, who was present as the Archangels transformed the face of the statue, took his white cord and wrapped it around the waist of the holy statue. As the heavenly choir sang the Salve Sancta Parens, the Queen of Angels, amid this great joy, approached the statue and entered into it. At that moment the holy statue took on life and intoned with the celestial choir the Magnificat. It was 3 a.m., and the heavenly music awoke the sleeping sisters, who came to the choir that was filled with a brilliant light which overshadowed the statue and gradually diminished as they gasped in joy at the miraculous transformation.
When Francisco del Castillo arrived at the convent the next morning to give his final touches to the great work, he cried out in astonishment to see the statue completed: “What am I seeing? This magnificence statue is not my work. I cannot express what my heart feels. This is an angelic work, for a work of this nature could not be created on this earth by the hands of a mere mortal. No sculptor, no matter how skilled, could ever render such perfection and such unearthly beauty.” The truth of this miracle was sworn to in handwritten documents by this sculptor and by the bishop, who had been closely following the work and was astounded at the transformation.
A novena preparing for the statue’s formal installment was made, and on February 2, 1611, the bishop blessed the miraculous statue under the name of Mary of Good Success of the Purification (or Candlemas Day). She was carried in procession to the upper choir to the throne prepared for her so that she might rule and govern her house.
The Main Apparition: The Tabernacle Light is Extinguished and Its
Significance for the 20th Century
After the consecration and placement of the statue in the abbess’ seat, the government of Our Lady of Good Success became noticeable. In their moral and physical needs, all the religious would run to the feet of their Heavenly Mother to implore remedies and solutions. The Sovereign Queen watched over her daughters and never left their prayers unheeded.
Mother Mariana Accepts the Cross of Interior Suffering
Mother Mariana would have recourse to Mary Most Holy in all her trials and secret sufferings, especially when she carried the heavy weight of the office of superior. Our Lady would direct her in how to act and encourage her by reminding her of the heavy cross Christ had carried for love of mankind.
In 1619, Our Lord invited Mother Mariana to share His cross more profoundly, and presented her with the precious cross of interior sufferings. As a divine victim, especially for the 20th century, she was asked to accompany Our Lord in the major steps of His sorrowful passion. “I will be with you always,” He promised his predilect daughter. “Unite yourself to My Aggrieved Heart and, in the company of My Most Holy Mother, bear these tribulations. Carry with valor and perseverance the cross that I will place on your shoulders for you to bear through your remaining years, which will not be many. For in all times I have need of valiant souls to save My Church and the prevaricating world.”
Our Lord also made Mother Mariana understand more clearly than ever before that devotion to His Passion, to the Blessed Sacrament, and to Our Lady constitutes the support and mainstay of religious communities.
The Sanctuary Light is Extinguished – The Five Meanings
The early morning of the Feast of the Purification in 1634 found Mother Mariana praying before the Blessed Sacrament, beseeching Him that she might be united with Him and be engulfed in that love which belongs to the blessed. She also reminded Him to protect and preserve His daughters in this beloved convent.
As she finished this prayer, she saw the sanctuary light extinguish itself, leaving the altar place completely dark. Our Lady appeared to tell her that Our Lord had heard her clamors and would end her earthly exile in less than year: “Prepare your soul so that, increasingly purified, it might enter into the fullness of the joy of Our Lord. O! If mortals, and in particular religious souls, could know that heaven is and what it is possess God! How differently they would live! Nor would they spare themselves any sacrifice in order to possess Him!” She then explained the five meanings of the Tabernacle light that had been extinguished before Mother Mariana’s eyes.
Souls Who Will Begin a Restoration in the Church
“The first significance is that at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, various heresies will be propagated in this land, then a free republic. As these heresies spread and dominate, the precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs. During this period there will be great physical and moral calamities, both public and private.
“The small number of souls who, hidden, will preserve the treasure of the Faith and practice virtue will suffer a cruel, unspeakable and prolonged martyrdom. Many of them will succumb to death from the violence of their sufferings, and those who sacrifice themselves for the Church and their country will be counted as martyrs.
“In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Most Holy Son has designated to effect the restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions when all will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.”
These chosen souls, who will restore the health of the Church, seem to be very similar to the apostles of the latter times predicted by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort.
Sensuality That Will Sweep through the World
“The second meaning,” she said, “is that my community, being greatly reduced in size, will be submerged in a fathomless ocean of indescribable bitterness, and it will seem to be drowning in these diverse waters of tribulations.” Many authentic vocations would perish, she continued, because of the lack of discretion, discernment and prudence in their professions and spiritual guidance. Injustice would enter even this convent, “disguised under the name of false charity, wreaking havoc in souls.” The faithful souls, weeping in secret and imploring that such dire times be shortened, would suffer a continuous and slow martyrdom.
“The third reason the lamp was extinguished is because of the spirit of impurity that will permeate the atmosphere during these times. Like a filthy ocean, it will run through the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing liberty. “There will be almost no virgin souls in the world,” she told her. The delicate flower of virginity would be threatened by complete annihilation. However, she promised that there would always be some good souls in cloisters where tit might take root, grow and live as a lightning rod to deflect the divine wrath. “Because without virginity,” she said, “it would be necessary for fire from heaven to rain down upon these lands in order to purify them.”
The Crisis in the Clergy
The fourth reason for the lamp being quenched is that the Masonic sects, having infiltrated all the social classes, would subtly introduce its teaching into domestic ambiences in order to corrupt the children, and the demon would glory in nourishing himself upon the exquisite delicacy of the hearts of children.
“During these unfortunate times,” she foretold, “evil will invade childhood innocence. In this way, vocations to the priesthood will be lost, resulting in a true calamity.” Again she promised that during this time there would be religious communities who would sustain the Church and holy ministers of the altar, hidden and beautiful soul, who would labor with valor and disinterested zeal for the salvation of souls. “Against them,” she warned, “the impious will rage a cruel war., overwhelming them with vituperations, calumnies and vexations in order to stop them from fulfilling their ministry. But they, like firm columns, will remain unswerving and will confront everything with the spirit of humility and sacrifice with which they will be vested, by virtue of the infinite merits of my Most Holy Son, Who will love them in the innermost fibers of His Most Holy and Tender Heart.”
During this time, Our Lady foretold, “the secular clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to obtain “How the Church will suffer during this dark night! Lacking a prelate and father to guide them with paternal love, gentleness, strength, wisdom and prudence, many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger.”
“This will mark the arrival of my hour”
Our Lady continued to explain the fourth reason for the extinguishing of the Tabernacle light: “Therefore, clamor insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the privacy of your heart. Implore our Celestial Father, for love of the Eucharistic Heart of my Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity, … that He might take pit on His ministers and bring to an end those ominous times, and send to the Church the prelate who will restore the spirit of its priests.
“My Most Holy Son and I will love this most favored son with a love of predilection, and we will gift him with a rare capacity, humility of heart, docility to divine inspirations, the strength to defend the rights of the Church, and a tender and compassionate heart, so that, like another Christ, he will assist the great and small, without despising the less fortunate who ask him for light and counsel in their doubts and hardships. …Into his hand the scale of the Sanctuary will be placed so that all might be carried out with due measure and for the glory of God.”
In the future restoration of the Church, one man will have a fundamental role. Natural human curiosity leads us to ask: Who will this privileged person be? In the common Spanish language of the 17th century, prelado (prelate) was a word that designated either a civil or ecclesiastical dignitary (from the Medieval Latin praelatus). It seems to be that at the present moment all discussion regarding this man, even if the arguments are good, are established in the ambit of personal opinion. Only those who will see the future restoration of the Church will be able to affirm with certainty who this prelado is.
Our Lady continued, “To forestall the coming of this prelate and father, many hearts consecrated to God in the priestly and religious state will fall into lukewarmness. This, the, will be the cause of the cursed demon taking possession of this land, where he will achieve his victories by means of foreign and faithless people so numerous that, like a black cloud, it will obscure the pure heavens of the then-Republic consecrated to the Sacred Heart of my Divine Son.
“With these people, every type of vice will enter, calling down in turn every type of chastisement, such as plagues, famines, internal fighting and external disputes with other nations, and apostasy, the cause of the perdition of so many souls so dear to Jesus Christ and to me.
“In order to dissipate this black cloud which impedes the Church from enjoying the clear day of liberty, there will be a formidable and frightful war, in which both native and foreign blood will flow, including that of secular and regular priests as well as that of other religious. This night will be most horrible, for, humanly speaking, evil will see to triumph.
“This however, will mark the arrival of my hour, when I, in a marvelous way, will dethrone the proud and cursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him the infernal abyss. Thus the Church and this country will be finally free of his cruel tyranny.”
The Indifference of the Wealthy and Apathy of the People
The fifth reason that the lamp was extinguished is due to the laxity and the negligence of those who possess great wealth who will indifferently stand by and witness the Church being oppressed, virtue being persecuted, and the triumph of the demon, without piously employing their riches for the destruction of this evil and the restoration of the Faith. And it is also due to the indifference of the people in allowing the Name of God to be gradually extinguished and in adhering to the spirit of evil, freely delivering themselves to the vices and passions.
Alas!” My predilect daughter! If you were given to live in this tenebrous era, you would die of sorrow if you were to see a;; that I have revealed to you here. But so great is my love and the move of my Most Holy Son for this land, that We desire that even now you should offer your sacrifices and prayers to shorten the duration of this terrible catastrophe!”
Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the evil she saw and the countless souls that would be condemned during these times, Mother Mariana fell into a swoon. There the sisters found her, as if dead, except for the violent beating of her heart. All of the doctor’s efforts to restore her to consciousness proved useless. In fact, humanly speaking, her life should have ended from the shock she had received. The sisters surrounded her, beseeching heaven to leave them their great treasure, the last of the founding mothers, “the mainstay of observance, the column of the house.” Two days later, Mother Mariana opened her eyes, encouraged her sisters to continue to follow the rule, and consoled them that she would remain with them yet a little longer.
Final Apparition of the Our Lady of Good Success:
Crisis in the Church and the Clergy
In the last ten months of her life, Mother Mariana never fully recovered the vigor of her health and was often obliged to remain in bed. In sickness as well as health, she edified the community in her example. Amid her intense pains, she always maintained a smile on her lips, an admirable serenity and an imperturbable spirit, proper to a soul whose life had unfolded in the shadow of the Cross.
Mother Mariana Grows in Perfection and Sanctity
In this last phase of her life in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception of Quito, she dedicated herself to the formation of the novices, whom she taught and instructed about the religious life. She possessed the gift of discernment of spirit, which God often gives to founders of religious orders. Thus, she could perceive which youths were called to a religious vocation and encourage and foster them to fulfill it. At the same time, she used to explain to those without this vocation that it was not necessary to be a religious in order to serve God and save one’s soul, She would refuse to accept these young ladies into the convent. And her predictions were always correct. Those whom she advised to marry and who followed her advice often became the mothers of daughters who entered the Convent of the Immaculate Conception. Those who refused to listen to her advice would go to other convents and find that, in fact, they did not have a vocation.
The life of Mother Mariana during these last months of her earthly existence was one of continuous prayer. Everything spoke to her of God and elevated her spirit. When she was well, she employed all her free time in helping to care for her sick sisters, assisting with the menial chores of the convent and speaking with her sisters, who never wanted to leave her side.
Since she could read the hearts of her daughters, she would comfort and counsel them in how to progress in the spiritual life. She explained how it was necessary to die to oneself in order to practice real virtue, and repeatedly warned them to guard the common life of the convent and to obey the rule. When prayer and community life are wanting, everything falls short, for the religious without prayer is like a soldier without arms in combat. She told them to be patient in their sicknesses, since illnesses are the best and most meritorious penances, which free souls from illusions, vanity and pride, She especially warned her daughters to guard against that “cursed human respect, which makes one ask: ‘What will others say about this?’” Instead, she counseled, they should conform their lives in the cloisters to the norms of the Gospel and ground themselves firmly on the strong foundation of humility.
Crisis in the Clergy
Some of the last apparitions of the Our Lady to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres contained warnings about the corruption of the customs of priests and religious. She foretold that many priests would come to live only a superficial life of the soul and would be too greatly attached to family and wealth. They would falsely think that they could reach sanctity by the practice of one or two virtues, without constructing their spiritual their spiritual lives upon the solid foundation of a profound humility, without which no virtue can exist.
In one apparition, Our Lord showed her His Sacred Heart, riddled with small, piercing thorns that stung Him cruelly. “Understand that these are the serious as well as slight faults of My priests, secular and religious, whom I deliver from the world to bring to the cloisters. It is their ingratitude and indifference that so cruelly wounds My Heart.”
“The times will come,” He told her, “when doctrine will be commonly known among the learned and the ignorant. … Many religious books will be written. But the practice of the virtues and of these doctrines will be found in only a few souls; for this reason, saints will become rare. And precisely for this reason, My priests and My religious will fall into a fatal indifference, Their coldness will extinguish the fire of divine love, afflicting My Loving Heart with these small thorns that you see.
“For that reason, I desire that there be here souls in whom I can rest from My fatigues and in whom I might take My repose, Their afflicted and sacrificial lives will be the caressing and compassionate hands that will remove these minute thorns from My Heart and apply the required balsam.
“Alas! If you could only know My intense interior suffering…caused by the lack of correspondence to this deluge of graces with which I inundate My priests and religious and, as a consequence, by the sins that they commit!
“Know, moreover, that Divine Justice releases terrible chastisements on the entire nations, not only for the sins of the people, but especially for those of priests and religious persons. For the latter are called, by the perfection of their state, to be the salt of the earth, the masters of truth and the deflectors of divine wrath. Straying from their divine mission, they degrade themselves in such a way that, before the eyes of God, they quicken the rigor of the punishments…
“Alas, if they only knew and were convinced of how much I love them and how much I desire that they should enter into the very depths of their souls! Then, without a doubt, they would find Me and would necessarily live in the life of love, light and continuous union with Me to which they were not only called, but chosen!” Our Lord also assured Mother Mariana the He was greatly pleased by those souls who take upon themselves the sublime work of suffering for the sanctification of the clergy by means of their prayers, sacrifices and penances, and He promised such souls a special glory in heaven.
Last Apparition of Our Lady of Good Success
After the joyful celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in December of 1634, Mother Mariana went to the upper choir to pray for each of her daughters before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and His Holy Mother. As she pleaded that the might be preserved from diabolical snares and the loss of their religious spirit, the three Archangels appeared preceding their Queen, who carried her Son in her left arm.
Our Lady addressed her with these words: “My most beloved daughter and predilect spouse of the Spotless Lamb, you will soon leave this earth, the sad place of exile of the just, and come forthwith to your longed-for Fatherland….
“O, if men only understood how to appreciate the time given to them and would take advantage of each moment of their lives, how different the world would be! And a considerable number of souls would not fall to their eternal perdition! But this contempt is the fundamental cause of their downfall!"
“My daughter, commiserate with an weep for your imprudent brethren sinners, beseeching your God and Redeemer to send to their souls many special and efficacious graces, powerful enough to draw them out of the dark abyss in which they lie.”
The Meaning of the Ciborium
Once again, Our Lady emphasized the importance of the Sacrament of Penance and the weighty role of priests: “See and contemplate the grandeur of this restoring and life giving Sacrament of Penance, so forgotten and even scorned by ungrateful men. In their foolish madness, they do not realize that it is the only sure means of salvation after one has lost his baptismal innocence. What is most grievous is that even the ministers of my Most Holy Son do not give to this Sacrament the value that they should. Many view with cold indifference this valuable and precious treasure, which has been placed in their hands for the restoration of souls redeemed by the Blood of the Redeemer. There are those who consider hearing confession as a loss of time and a futile thing. Alas! If priests were given to see directly that which you are now contemplating and were enlightened with the light that now illuminates you, they would recognize this divine gift!...
She then explained the symbolism of the ciborium, filled with Hosts that St. Gabriel was carrying: “This signifies the Most August Sacrament of the Eucharist, which will be distributed by my Catholic priests to faithful Christians belonging to the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church, whose visible head is the Pope King of Christianity. His pontifical infallibility will be declared a dogma of the Faith by the same Pope chosen to proclaim the Mystery of my Immaculate Conception. He will be persecuted and imprisoned in the Vatican by the unjust usurpation of the Pontifical States through the iniquity, envy and avarice of an earthly monarch.3
3 On Dec. 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin as dogma of Church. He also proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility on July 18, 1870 during the First Vatican Council. Pius IX was persecuted in the Vatican by Victor Emmanuel, who seized the last of the pontifical states in 1870.
“See the filled ciborium so that you might comprehend the sublimity of this mystery and the reverence with which it should be treated and received by the faithful. It will be their antidote against sin, and an easy and powerful means for souls to unite themselves to their God and Redeemer, who, in the excess of His love, hides Himself in the accidents of the Host exposed to the sacrilegious profanations of His ungrateful sons.”
The Importance of Monasteries and Convents
She then explained the significance of the ampulla carried by the Archangel Raphael and the exquisite perfume it emitted. The glass vessel represented the faithful cloisters and monasteries; the purity and chastity that exist there “is the exquisite aroma that perfumes the fortunate countries that possess monasteries and convents. They purify the air polluted by those in the world delivered over to the most shameful vices and passions…
“Woe to the world should it lack monasteries and convents! Men do not comprehend their importance, for, if they understood, they would do all in their power to multiply them, because in them can be found the remedy for all physical and moral evils…
“No one on the face of the earth is aware whence comes the salvation of souls, the conversion of great sinners, the end os great scourges, the fertility of the land, the end of pestilence and wars and the harmony between nations. All this is due to the prayers that rise up from monasteries and convents.”
The Stoles and Quill of the Archangel Raphael
Our Lady explained the innumerable violet-colored stoles carried by St. Raphael symbolized the works of zeal of good priests, who, with self-abnegation, forget themselves to labor untiringly in the vineyard of the Lord for the salvation of souls redeemed by the Blood of the Redeemer.
“The golden quill marked with my name,” Our Lady told Mother Mariana, “is for all the priests who write of my glories and sorrows. It is also for all those who, by means of their writing, diffuse my cult of Good Success, of this most beloved convent, as well as your life, which is inseparable from this tender and consoling invocation. In the 20th century, it will effect prodigies in the spiritual as well as temporal spheres, because it is the will of God to reserve this invocation and your life for this century, when the corruption of customs will be almost general and the precious light of Faith almost extinguished.”
Death of Mother Mariana
On January 16, 1635, surrounded by her community and her Franciscan confessors, Mother Mariana made a solemn profession of Faith and then asked, as a last favor, to die on the ground in imitation of her seraphic father St. Francis. After receiving the Holy Host and the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, she foretold the exact hour of her death: 3 p.m. Before she died, she red her last will and testament, a moving testimony that gave her daughters inestimable advice about the religious life along with many prophecies concerning the Order.
At its end, she said: “My fathers and sisters, the time has come for me to depart; recommend my soul to God with the appropriate prayers. I thank you for everything. Always, I beseech you, have this convent and your sisters in you care. I die, as I lived, joyously and peacefully in the arms of my mother, the Seraphic Order.” Two tears rolled down her cheek, she sighed, and, with an angelic smile on her face, her blessed soul left her body.
As the news reached the streets, the inhabitants of Quito filled the convent and clamored to see the body of their cherished Mother Mariana. Throughout the three days that her body was displayed for the public, it showed no signs of deterioration or putrefaction. It remained flexible, her complexion rosy, and the charming smile on her face gave her every appearance of being alive. During eh wake, the first miracle was recorded: when a flower from the crown that encircled Mother Mariana’s head was touched to the eyes of a blind girl, her sight was restored.
In 1906, during the remodeling of the convent, the sarcophagus in which she had been buried in 1635 was opened. They discovered the whole and incorrupt body of Mother Mariana de Jesus, complete with her habit and the articles of penance that had been placed in the tomb with her.4 An exquisite aroma of lilies emanated from her whole body. Thus God preserves some of His saints who practice heroic virtue and maintain holy chastity in their earthly lives.
A Message of Hope for Our Times
This is but a sampling of the many prophecies and divine messages Mother Mariana received from Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, her Seraphic Father and the Conceptionist Foundress St. Beatrice da Silva. It is also only a sketch of the admirable life of Mother Mariana de Jesus, resplendent with virtues, prayer, extraordinary penances and sacrifices. Yet, it is obvious that the house she foretold has arrived: it is time that he name be known and the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success be spread and encouraged.
The twentieth century ended in a great crisis of Faith and Morals. Everywhere the questions arise: Where is the Church heading? What is the future of Christendom? They are questions that almost no one dares to answer.
This confusion is not only subverting the temporal sphere, but had also penetrated the walls of the Church itself. Indeed, the corruption of customs has become general and the precious light of Faith almost extinct. Yet the message of Our Lady of Good Success ends on a note of great hope: When everything will seem lost and paralyzed, that will be “The happy beginning of the complete restoration. This will mark the arrival of my house, when I , in a marvelous way, will dethrone the proud and cursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss.” It is the promise echoed by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Thus, it seems opportune to turn to Our Lady of Good Success and invoke her, to beg her for every good success – both temporal and spiritual. It is the moment to ask for her orientation and certainty amid this storm, as well as the courage and strength to keep aloft the standard of the Father. Finally, let us pray for the intervention she promised to make at this calamitous moment in History so that she may reign in glory as Queen of the Universe, alongside her Son, Jesus Christ, Lord and King.
NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GOOD SUCCESS
*Hail Mary Most Holy, Beloved Daughter of God the Father
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request (name request)… Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…
Saint Michael, pray for us.
*Hail Mary Most Holy, Admirable Mother of God the Son
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request (name request)… Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…
Saint Gabriel, pray for us.
*Hail Mary Most Holy, Most Faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, grant thy good success to this request (name request)… Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…
Saint Raphael, pray for us.
*Hail Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity.
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us.
Our Lady of Good Success, thou who art the all-powerful intercessor before the Most Holy Trinity, deign to hear and answer my request – so long as it contributed to the salvation of my souls and the glory and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church.
Salve Regina… (Hail Holy Queen…)
*In the apparitions to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, the three Archangels - St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael – addressed the Blessed Virgin Mary with the first three salutations, and then intoned the last salutation in unison.
 In 1900 Mother Frances of the Sacred Wounds founded the Congregation of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate as national reparation for this terrible sacrilege. Msgr. Luis E. Cadena y Almeida, A Spanish Mystic in Quito: Sor Mariana de Jesus Torres (New York: The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, 1990), p. 49.
 This “truly Catholic” president of Ecuador was Gabriel Garcia Moreno (1821-1875), who consecrated the Republic to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1873. Pope Pius IX pain his tribute as a man who had died “the death of a martyr… a victim for his Faith and Christian charity.”
4 Later the bodies of five of the other Spanish Founding Mothers were also found incorrupt. Today, these incorrupt bodies are kept in the lower level of the cloistered convent. They can be seen and venerated by the public only with permission of the bishop or diocesan office.