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Saint Mary Ann de Paredes: The Lily of Quito      
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This program discusses the possibility of breatharianism, or living without eating food, and is not a full instruction. For your safety, please do not attempt to cease eating without proper expert guidance.

For your safety, please do not attempt to cease eating without proper expert guidance.

In scriptures, the human body is often referred to as the temple of God. Yet, it is quite an uncommon privilege for any soul to attain this sacred abode that houses the Divine, as it is truly a blessing to be reborn as a human being. On several occasions, Supreme Master Ching Hai has spoken about the rarity of this phenomenon:

To be reincarnated in the human world is hard. You have to have enough Human Quality. You have to have affinity with the parents and with the society, with the people around which you are born. Very difficult.

To be a human, you need some merit. You have done something good in the past in order to be able to pick a human birth.

As a living temple of God, the human body is fully equipped with miraculous wonders that can be awakened in those who are spiritually conscious and have complete faith in the Creator of all life. Inedia, Latin for “fasting,” is the human ability to live without food. Since time immemorial, there have always been individuals who can sustain themselves on prana, or the vital life force. Through the grace of the Providence, inediates, people who follow a food-free lifestyle, can draw the energy from nature to nourish themselves:

They live on the chi from the ground, or from the forest, and from the sun and from the air. They make use of all that. Or they live on love, on faith alone.

These individuals are known as breatharians (pranarians or inediates), solarians, or waterians, and they come from all walks of life, from different cultures, and all corners of the world.

Indeed, the possibilities and miracles in this life as our benevolent Creator has designed for us are endless; we only need to connect within to recognize our abounding largess as God’s children. Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly recommended a weekly series on Supreme Master Television to introduce those individuals of the past and present who have chosen to live food-free on Earth. May their spiritual stories enthrall you; may hearts be opened, and horizons be expanded. We now invite you to join us for our program, “Saint Mary Ann de Paredes: The Lily of Quito,” on Between Master and Disciples.

“In the last years of her life it was so evident that the Eucharistic bread was her only food, that everyone believed it, and it had ceased to be a matter of surprise.”

Hallo, blessed viewers. Welcome to Between Master and Disciples on Supreme Master Television. Today we go back in time to the 17th century to meet Saint Mary Ann de Paredes, also renowned as “The Lily of Quito,” who was a revered saint from Quito, Ecuador. Respected for her ability to exist without food, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes lived for many years solely on the wafer-thin Holy Communion, relying on her divine love of Jesus to sustain her physical body.

Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was born on October 31, 1618, to a family with a noble lineage in Quito, Viceroyalty of New Granada, a Spanish colony which later became Ecuador. Her father, Don Jerónimo Flores Zenel de Paredes, was a noble from Toledo, Spain, while her mother was Doña Mariana Granobles y Jaramillo, who was likewise of an aristocratic ancestry. Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was the youngest of their eight children. Her parents were considered to be devoted Christians, much respected by the townspeople.

In fact, whenever their fellow citizens talked about the Paredes family, they called them “the house of prayer” or “the house of saints.” According to the Saint Mary Ann de Paredes’ biography, “The Life of the Blessed Mary Ann of Jesus, de Paredes Y Flores, an American Virgin Called the Lily of Quito,” author Father Boero revealed that as soon as she was born, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was already a source of wonder: she refused to take any milk from her mother for an entire day. It marked the beginning of Saint Mary Ann de Paredes’ inclination towards a food-free life.

“The very same thing happened two or three times in succession; nor could the mother with all her endeavors ever induce the dear little babe to take nourishment more than twice a day and at determinate hours, viz. towards midday and about midnight…. and was observed moreover that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of every week it commenced and always continued to take nourishment but once and that at midday. Then at last they perceived that it was not an effect of the badness of the nourishment, but the virtue of abstinence which operated unpremeditatedly and as it were by a prodigy in this soul.”

After she was weaned, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes continued to eat very little food. Indeed, she reduced her food consumption even further, abstaining from food three days a week. Her widowed mother and the entire household tried to tempt her with all kinds of delicious meals, yet Saint Mary Ann de Paredes remained firm in her resolve not to eat.

Extraordinarily, unlike other young children, at four years of age she was already giving away any sweet treats she received as presents to others. As a young child, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was very much influenced by her mother’s piety, often imitating her in prayers and supplications to God. Even after her mother passed away when she was five years old, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes’ remarkable faith became stronger. Living with her older sister, Doña Jerónima, and her family, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was often found to be absorbed in her devotion to Jesus.

“She spent all the time, which was not employed in these innocent occupations in exercises of piety: retiring to places set apart for prayer, reading good books and the Lives of Saints, and in vocal prayers. She erected a little altar in her chamber and upon it placed a little statue in bass-relief of the most Blessed Virgin and another likewise of the Infant Jesus. Here she passed many hours, either in adorning the two images, or in praying before them…. She, although she was younger than her three nieces, still by her wisdom and maturity beyond her age, had acquired such authority and reverence, that they all regarded her as their guide and mistress.”

In addition to the daily prayers, the young Saint Mary Ann de Paredes often spent her time in solitude doing penances that were often too extreme for a child not yet ten years old. Impressed by her devotion and worship of Jesus, Father Camachio, her confessor, agreed to allow her to take part in the Holy Communion service, which was unheard of for one so young. Prior to her first Holy Communion, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes renounced her title of Doña, vowing to remain chaste for the rest of her life.

By the time she reached ten years old, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes renewed her vow of chastity, as well as adding two more: the vows of poverty and obedience. Subsequent to making the vows of poverty, she gave away all her property and possessions bequeathed to her by her parents. Two years later, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes persuaded her sister and her confessor to allow her to live as a hermit. According to Catholic tradition, a hermit was a person who worshiped God in an environment that was secluded from the rest of society. A hermit was a Christian living as an eremitic as a result of his religious conviction for the purpose of changing and expanding his heart. Receiving their consent, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes moved to a chamber separated from the rest of the house, decorating her living quarter with a few pieces of furniture of the poorest quality.

“From the moment the blessed child, at the age of twelve, voluntarily shut herself up in her retirement, she lived in the midst of the world, within the walls of her paternal home, and in a thickly crowded city, no otherwise than if she had been in the most remote and forsaken solitude of the desert. She no longer allowed any one from without to enter her rooms; nay, not even her nearest relatives of the house, except very rarely, or on business; desiring to live solely to herself, and completely aloof from the world, which she had renounced forever.”

Once in seclusion, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes continued her abstinence of food, relying solely on the Eucharist as sustenance. In a note to her confessor, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes outlined her weekly schedule which included:

“In time of Advent and Lent, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I will make my prayer from ten to twelve at night, on the cross. On Fridays, I will, moreover, place peas in my shoes, wear a crown made of thistles… and I will fast the whole week, without tasting a morsel of anything. On Sundays, I will take an ounce of bread; and every day communicates with the grace of God.”

Eventually, her food-free lifestyle spread throughout the city. Those who questioned the veracity of her inediate state soon became convinced by the firsthand accounts of those who knew her.

“All who gave testimony in the different processes, either as eye-witnesses or who spoke to their own certain knowledge of Mary Ann's fasts, all without exception agreed in affirming, that by a special favor of Almighty God she lived for many years, and was entirely supported by that heavenly and spiritual food, which she received every day in holy communion, having no longer any need of material or earthly food.”

Religious authorities in the city of Quito further affirmed her ability to be nourished by the grace of God and her love for Jesus.

“That she really lived on holy communion, the testimony of Fathers John Camaccio, Antonio Monosalvas, and Alfonso Roxas, who, from having been her confessors, were acquainted with her every action, even the most insignificant, although hidden and interior, leaves no room for doubt.”

In addition to her fame as an inediate, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was much loved by the city’s less fortunate. With permission from her sister and brother-in-law, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes generously distributed food to the poor, as well as joined the household servants daily in kneading and baking bread which she later gave away the same day. Similar to other well known inediates in history, such as Blessed Alphais of Cudot, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes’ entire being also emitted a fragrance, as well as any possession associated with her.

“Finally, I am persuaded that that most delicious odor which the body of Mary Ann exhaled, and which communicated itself to everything which she used, was the effect or demonstration of her immaculate purity. Such at least was the unanimous opinion of all the witnesses who gave evidence in the different processes. They said that both her person as well as her clothes, sent forth almost always such a fragrant odor…”

After she passed away in 1645, at the age of 26, her body was still exuding a fragrance noticeable to all those who paid their last respects. Indeed, the fragrance permeated her coffin and was still present when it was opened three years later. Additionally, soon after her death, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes became widely known as the Lily of Quito when a pure white lily suddenly grew overnight upon her death from a hole in which her attending servant usually buried Saint Mary Ann de Paredes’ blood after her acts of severe penance when she was still alive.

Over two hundred years later, on November 10, 1853, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes was beatified by Pope Pius IX. Subsequently, a century later, she was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 9, 1950. Similar to many others throughout the centuries, Saint Mary Ann de Paredes once more demonstrates the human body’s ability to survive solely on God’s grace. Her faith and love for God not only uplifted her spirit but also nourished her physical body.

Courageous viewers, we appreciate your company for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Good People, Good Works, coming up after Noteworthy News. May Heavens grace your life with an abundance of joy and loving kindness!

November 24, 1878 The New York Sun DEAD AND YET ALIVE! The Extraordinary Case of Miss Fancher of Brooklyn.

FACTS VERIFIED BY ABUNDANT TESTIMONY. A Mental Sight that is not the Clap-Trap of Clairvoyance.

Lying for Thirteen Years Almost Motionless, and at Times Cold with the Chill of Death and Pulseless; Blind, yet Reading with Perfect Ease; Seeing and Describing Acts and Persons Far Removed from her Bedside— Mental Phenonema that Might Seem Incredible Except for THE Testimony of Physicians, Clergymen, Teachers, AND Trustworthy Friends—Without Food FOR Months at a Time— Seeming Never to Sleep.

Tune in to Supreme Master Television on Sunday, February 20, for our program, “Mary J. Fancher: The Brooklyn Enigma,” on Between Master and Disciples.

Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program, “Mary J. Fancher: The Brooklyn Enigma,” on Between Master and Disciples.

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