"Not so easily was I remade as made. He spoke and all things were made. But while he made me simply and at once by a word, he has in the remaking of me said many words, and worked wonders and suffered much." (St. Bernard)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nuestra Señora de Buen Suceso

Let me tell you about how God gave a special gift to His faithful missionaries...

From the beginning of the Stephen F. Austin mission trip, many of the people from SFA were asking us if we were going to Nuestra Señora de Buen Suceso. We, the FMC missionaries, had never heard of this. Our Lady of Good Success is a Marian apparition deemed 'worthy of belief'. Throughout the trip, some of them would talk about it. Yet, we had no plans of going there, because, once again, we had never heard of it. When the last day of the trip came we were in Quito for our pilgrimage to visit some of the sites special to Quito. I received a phone call from a former FMC missionary, Francisco, who lives in Quito. He told me he was coming into Quito with a group of missionaries from Stuebenville Univiversity who were in Ecuador for a medical mission. He wanted to meet up. Rachel and I met with him and talked for a bit, briefly sharing the Lord's work in our missions. It then occurred to me to ask him: 'Do you know where Nuestra Señora de Buen Suceso is?' He said: 'Yes. And actually our group is going there at 3pm today, if your group of missionaries want to come?'

YES!! Rachel and I were in shock, jumping for joy, so excited for the gift the Holy Spirit was granting His faithful missionaries. We didn’t tell the SFA group where we were going, we wanted to be a surprise. At 3pm, we arrived at the church, La Inmaculada Concepción. It is not just a church, it is a convent for the Conceptionists sisters. It was then that I realized what an incredible miracle this gift was from the Holy Spirit. The chances of us getting to go was next to nothing. The Conceptionists are a cloistered order. The nuns do not leave and outsiders are not permitted to see the nuns, and access to the convent is only granted to the public 3 times per year. Jesus was giving a special treat! When we entered, Mother Superior was waiting for us. She led us through the convent ringing a bell. This was to alert the other nuns to hide themselves because outsiders were approaching. The sanctity of that place was tangible, the rich silence permeating. We learned that in 1610, our blessed Mother appeared to Madre Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres and asked her to make a statue of her with the child Jesus. The statue is now located in a beautiful chapel which we saw. As we entered the chapel, the silence was transformed in a crescendo of delicate prayers. The hidden nuns were singing, praising the Lord!

Then, we were led into a small room where we could see the body of Madre Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres. She died in 1635, and her body is incorruptible! Our Lord permits this as a reminder of our hope in eternal life, sometimes preserving the ones who persevered in faith here on earth. In total, there are nine incorruptible sisters. What an incredible gift... I have never experienced such a holy place!

I felt that our Blessed Mother was with us, guiding us and providing us with affirmations for a job well-done preaching the Gospel in the jungles of Ecuador. All of the missionaries were transformed by that holy place. Please keep them, the sisters, in your prayers, as they are continuously attacked by the government who wants to take their convent away from them. But, as our Blessed Mother said in her prophecies, that shall never come to pass. Such is the power of God that ‘the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against’ (Mt. 16:18) the Church.

Altar in the chapel of the convent

The statue that Madre Mariana was instructed to have made by our Blessed Mother

A painting of the apparition of Mary to Madre Mariana

Imagine some nuns in their habits slam dunking

Praying over a little with cancer

'Speak a lot with God and little with creatures and you will have a lot of peace.'

Confessional booths

The courtyard of the convent

Padre Lucas Maria... My short encounter with him has me convinced that his love for Jesus is so intimate

A plaque indicating the place where the president Gabriel Moreno was martyred by masons. This was prophesied by our Blessed Mother.

For an interesting read on the history of Mary's appearance to Madre Mariana Francisca de Jesus Torres and the fulfillment of certain prophecies see the website: http://www.olrl.org/prophecy/goodsuccess.shtml