Oil Dedicated to Ven Mary of Jesus de Leon
The Ven Mary of Jesus de Leon healing oil is dedicated to the Spanish Dominican lay sister, mystic and visionary. Also known popularly as “La Siervita” (the Little Servant). She lived a life which was austere and simple, and many miracles were attributed to her. Among these were levitation, ecstasy, bi-location, the stigmata, clairvoyance and healing, among more.
De León was born on March 23, 1643, in the town of El Sauzal, Tenerife.. She came from a humble family of noble origin, although in decline. She was their youngest child, having two sisters and a brother. According to the chronicles of the time, she was a woman of delicate features and a sweet face.
From an early age, De León showed mystical inclinations. She had a devotion to an image of the baby Jesus.. This image supposedly would open the doors of the church for her when she went to pray before it. There was also a laurel tree which would grow only under her care. With the death of De León’s father in 1646, poverty overtook the family. She went to her aunt’s home, where she was received and cared for. Living there, De León gradually took over the care of the farm, doing the hardest jobs and organising its operations.
She would rise at dawn and spend the entire day at work, never showing signs of fatigue. Her spiritual qualities soon became apparent, as she treasured solitude and embraced the lowliest work. She led a life of strict penance, wearing the simplest clothing and sleeping on the floor. Over time, the farm flourished. Her uncle, Miguel Pérez, felt that she should be the one to inherit their land. He drew up a will for this on 23 March 1665. Mary was torn. She felt a desire to live a religious form of life. Finally she declared her intention to enter a monastery as a lay sister, a decision which her aunt and uncle accepted.
Decisions on Monastic life
Initially De León’s guardians wanted her to enter the local monastery of the Poor Clares. Their daughter was a choir nun in that community. She chose, however, to enter the monastery of the nuns of the Dominican Second Order. As there had not yet been established any monasteries of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in the Canary Islands, De León entered the Dominican Order, due to a mysterious dream she had.
Entrance to the monastery
In February 1668, De León was admitted to the Dominican Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena. There she was to care for an elderly nun of the community. From that point on she would live within the monastery walls until her death, having never left the cloister.
It was during this time that many miracles were attributed to her. One particular episode involved a devotional medal with the image of Our Lady of Solitude. After it broke into several pieces it was reassembled spontaneously. Another possible episode of levitation was described by other nuns. De León experienced ecstasy, during which the emission of light could be seen coming from her face. There were also reports of a marked heat emanating from her body, especially when receiving the Eucharist.
De León had a great friendship with the famous corsair Amaro Rodríguez Felipe. The privateer claimed to have experienced a great miracle through De León. Pargo recounted that he was assaulted by an individual when he was in Cuba. At the very instant when the attacker would have plunged his dagger into the body of the pirate, the figure of De León appeared, interceding and preventing Pargo’s death. This phenomenon, known as bi-location, and associated with many saints, is the capacity to be in two places simultaneously.
De León died in monastery cloister on 15 February 1731, having lived within its walls for 63 years. Before her death, she fell into an ecstasy and died keeping a pulse and the pupils of her eyes clear for more than 24 hours. In her side, next to her heart, was found a wound, such as the one which would have been left by the side of Christ. Three years later her body was exhumed and was found incorrupt, whole and flexible. Her palate and tongue were preserved fresh and rosy. A jasmine-scented blood issued from her mouth.
De León’s in-corrupt body is still preserved in the Monastery of St. Catherine, where she lived out her life and died. Every 15 February, her body is placed on public display in a glass-covered coffin. This was donated by the corsair Amaro Pargo, who was present at the exhumation. The coffin is also displayed on the following Sunday.
A formal inquiry into De León’s life for possible canonization was begun in the 19th century, but soon ceased. The cause was reopened in 1992 and has been submitted to the Vatican. It remains pending. Supporters of her cause are dismayed by this lack of progress. This was despite a document from 1771 which lists 1,251 miracles attributed to her intercession.