Saint Mariam Bawardi

Saint Mariam Bawardi (Baouardi)

(5 January 1846 – 26 August 1878) – Palestinian Melkite Greek Catholic Carmelite nun.

Blessed Mariam of Jesus crucified

Saint Mariam of Jesus crucified

Mariam Bawardi was a Palestinian girl from the village of Ibillin in Galilee.  Her remarkable story of faith and perseverance is well documented.  She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 November 1983, a term used in the Catholic Church for the first stage towards sainthood. Mariam is much revered by Israeli Palestinian Christians especially those living in Ibillin.  Her photographs, pictures and now icons are to be seen in all the churches in the village and in Christian houses too where they are displayed in a prominent and important position.  For a community that has suffered much since the mid1940’s Mariam Bawardi is a calmer of troubles, an inspiration and a symbol of hope for the future.

Click here for the story of Mariam Bawardi’s life.

Icon of Blessed Mariam Baouardi

Icon of Saint Mariam Baouardi

The foundations of Mariam’s family home in Ibillin where she grew up are still visible and a small shrine has been set up by villagers on the site.  Although very simple, a construction of unmortared stones and a corrugated iron roof laid across the top, the shrine is visited by villagers daily, pausing in their daily tasks to light candles and pray.

The simple shrine of Mariam Bawardi in Ibillin 2013

The simple shrine of Mariam Bawardi in Ibillin 2013

The family who now owns the site has set to work to rebuild her house.  The head of the family is Assad, an architect and historian.  Working from photographs and evidence remaining on the ground, he is painstakingly rebuilding the house using the same type of materials as the original, even lime mortar instead of the modern cement mortar.  Mariam’s father had been a manufacturer of gunpowder (Baouard means gunpowder) and the original stone vessel that he used for his potions is still in existence in the village.

The house where Mariam Bawardi was born in Ibillin under reconstruction 2013 Photo: A Flear

The house where Mariam Bawardi was born in Ibillin under reconstruction 2013
Photo: A Flear

At the beginning of the excavation work around the site, the remains of a Roman building were discovered less that a metre below the surface.  The Roman site is thought to be earlier than the 1st century AD and is now protected by the Israeli department of Antiquities.  Stone steps, an arch into a lower room and a grave have been revealed.  Also stones with basin shaped holes in the tops are in the site.  It is thought they may have been used in wine making.

Beside the Melkite Greek Catholic church a short distance down the road a new chapel dedicated to Mariam Bawardi is under construction.

The new chapel of Mariam Bawardi under construction next to the Melkite church in Ibillin 2013 Photo: A Flear

The new chapel of Mariam Bawardi under construction next to the Melkite church in Ibillin 2013
Photo: A Flear

Click here for a video produced by students at Mar Elias Educational Institutions with footage of the annual evening procession through the streets of Ibillin to mark the day of Mariam Bawardi, 26th August.

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One thought on “Saint Mariam Bawardi

  1. in the photo number 3 thats i am and my friends before 3 years hhh beautiful memories

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