On March 14, 1930, Venerable Maria del Carmen Gonzales-Valerio was born in Madrid, Spain. Following her birth, she become seriously ill. This prompted her to be baptized at an early age. At the age of two, she was confirmed. A family friend, Most Revened Tedeschini wanted to give her the Holy Spirit which she would desperately need later in life.
She enjoyed praying Rosaries with her family as well as litanies and attending Mass. From a young age she made little sacrifices like St. Theresa of the Child Jesus. Besides being close to Our Lord, Maria was dedicated to the poor and had a sense of modesty. At only five years old, when a poor person would come to her door, she would give them the little money she had. She would also tell them to wait for her mother so that she could give them something, too.
At the same age, she was invited to a birthday party. Her mother dressed her in a nicely ironed sleeveless dress and told her not to crease it. But upon leaving her house, “she had put a jacket over it,” her mother recalled. When asked by her mother why she was wearing the jacket, she explained that she would not attend the party wearing the dress without the jacket because of modesty.
Upon her mother’s request, she made her first communion at only six years old. Later that same year, her father was arrested by Communist militiamen. The Spanish Civil War was just at its beginning and would come to an end right before World War II. Her father was killed soon after his arrest. During his arrest, he told her mother to tell Maria and her siblings that he died for God. Religious persecution in Spain was prevalent. He also said that he gave up his life for a Catholic Spain where crucifixes were in schools.
The family was in danger for being Catholic and her mother sent the children to live with their aunt. Her mother took refuge in a Belgium embassy. The children were then taken to Russia and raised in Marxism and Maria attended a Catholic school as a boarding student.
In 1939, she contracted Scarlet Fever. During this time, she offered her sufferings and later her death for the conversion of those who killed her father. She also prayed for the current president of the Republic, Manuel Azana. (It is said that Azana converted to Catholicism on his death bed in 1940.)
At first, Maria foretold that her death would be on July 16 which is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, her patron saint. But her Aunt Sophia was getting married that day. Thus, she said she would die the next day, July 17.
On that day, around 1 pm, she began to pray and noted that she heard Angels singing and she saw the Blessed Mother and Angels ready to take her to heaven. Her last words were, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe fourth my soul to you.” She was only nine years old.
On January 16, 1996, St. Pope John Paul II declared her venerable. She lived her life with faith, hope and charity.
Ven. Maria Carmen, please pray for Us!
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