Born in Barcelona, Spain, on September 1, 1592, Jeronima Maria Agnes Astorch's early years were marked with both tragedy and remarkable heavenly favors. She was orphaned at age 6, then at 7-years-old experienced an adverse reaction to eating raw almonds that actually killed her. During her wake, her grieving family summoned a renowned mystic - Madre Angela Serafina Prat, the foundress of the city's Franciscan Capuchin monastery - who fervently prayed over her lifeless body and effected a resurrection! This defining moment in Jeronima Maria’s life cemented her desire to become a Capuchin nun herself, and at the age of 11, she obtained permission to board among them in their monastery. She lived with the sisters for six years before they finally admitted her to the novitiate in September 1608; a year later in 1609, she professed her vows. As a newly consecrated religious, she chose the name "Sr. Maria Angela", more than likely after the nun who miraculously saved her life.
|Bl. Maria Angela Astorch,|
a handmaid of the Eucharist
In 1645, Sr. Maria Angela founded another Capuchin monastery in Murcia where she also served as the Abbess until her 70th year. During this period of her life she studied Scriptures; wrote extensively; practiced contemplative prayer to a high degree; and experienced many other extraordinary charisms (visions, visits from her Guardian Angel, etc.) that she obediently recorded in a journal, per orders from her confessor. Her reputation for learning was so widespread in Spain, a church commission was formed to study the orthodoxy of her writings. Needless to say, she passed the inquisition with flying colors and one official even said of her, "Too bad she is a woman and cannot be ordained. What a preacher she would have made!"
The incorrupt body of Bl. Maria Angela, as venerated in Murcia, Spain.
A Short Prayer
Lord, in the deep silence of our hearts, allow us to continually contemplate You even amidst the noise of this world. Amen.