august 26. Mariam baouardy, who MIRACULOUSLY OUTLIVED A THROAT SLITTING
Lived 1846 to 1878
Mariam was her parents’ 13th child and 1st daughter, and none of her brothers survived infancy. Her birth came after her parents journeyed on foot to Bethlehem to mourn the loss of their 12 sons. There, they prayed to the Virgin Mary for a daughter (or, as one chronicler puts it, beseeched her for a girl-child). At three, her parents predeceased her and Miriam was orphaned, left in the care of a cruel or benevolent uncle, depending on the chronicler’s point of view.
CHRIST'S STILL SMALL VOICE
Once as a child, a pair of small birds died in her hands as she attempted to wash them. By another account, she accidentally drowned the two. While burying them, a clear-but-disembodied voice said inside of her: Behold, everything fades away, but if you want to give me your heart, I shall remain with you for always.
At 13, she moved to Egypt with her family and was betrothed to wed. The night before the ceremony, she felt a calling to forgo the marriage and devote her life to God. The clear-but-disembodied voice returned, repeating it’s phrase. When she revealed this news, her uncle beat her severely, but she did not relent.
VISIONS OF A HOLY NURSEMAID
Mariam was lonely, and when she revealed this to a servant and confidante, he tried again to pull her away from God by wooing her. She resisted him and he drew his knife, slicing her throat. He dumped her, blood-drenched, in a nearby alleyway.
What happened next was a miracle: a nun dressed in blue came upon her cut body and spirited her away to an unlocatable grotto. There, the mysterious figure stitched her throat’s slit and ministered to Miriam for a month. She found herself in the company of angels, the Virgin, and her parents. She also saw the throne of the Most Holy Trinity and Christ in His humanity. It was not her time to die, and the nun nourished Miriam with a curative soup. She promised to return to her future deathbed to give Miriam a spoonful of the liquid. Miriam’s voice was forever affected by the injury and the white scar spanned the whole front of her neck; a doctor later estimated that the slit was 4 inches long.
THE STIGMATA AND OTHER SUFFERINGS
Miriam had a knack for suffering. Snakes appeared to her in visions and frightened her. Once she was struck with a sudden bout of blindness, lasting for 40 days. She had a serious fall that left her near dead, but she recovered despite the grim prognosis. At 19, Miriam journeyed to France and, after a series of rejections, she became a nun. At this time she received the stigmata.
Of her first stigmata she said: It seemed to me that I was gathering roses to decorate Mary´s altar: these roses appeared to have thorns on both sides, and the thorns were thrust in my hands and into my feet. When I came to myself, my mouth was very bitter, my feet and hands swollen: in the middle of my hands and on my feet there were black bumps.
Just before dying of gangrene, she said aloud: Jesus, mercy.