Saint of the Day – 9 May – Blessed Carmen Elena Rendiles Martínez more commonly known as Blessed Maria Carmen Rendiles (1903-1977) – in religion María Carmen – was a Venezuelan professed religious of the Servants of the Eucharist and the founder of the Servants of Jesus of Caracas, Apostle of Charity, Catechist, Administrator and founder of many schools and convents. She served in a leadership position for her order in France where she spent her time of religious formation and returned to Venezuela to found her order in 1965 and assume control as Superior-General of her new order. Patronage – Servants of Jesus of Caracas.
Blessed Maria Carmen was born on 11 August 1903 in Caracas, Venezuela. She was the third of eight children and her family was wealthy and respected in the capital city. Her baptism was celebrated in the church of Santa Anna on 24 September 1903 and she received her Confirmation on 28 October 1905, she made her First Communion on 11 March 1911. Carmen was born with a rare physical deformation and was missing her left arm. She lived her whole life with a prosthetic arm but this physical setback never affected her joyful spirit. She was admired and impressed many people with how she lived her life, not letting her handicap hold her back.
When she was fifteen, she become a Catechist at her parish and would go on missions to nearby towns to teach. She did this for many years and began to feel the calling to be a religious nun and serve God. In 1927 she joined the Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, which was based in France but had convents in Venezuela. She studied in Toulouse, France. When her studies were completed, she went back to Caracas and worked there in the convent for about 10 years.
She served in many different jobs and positions during her time as a nun and in 1951 she was named the Provincial Superior for her region. During this time, she started new convents and several schools in both Venezuela and Columbia. She even started a school for poor children in her old childhood home, which she inherited.
Blessed Maria Carmen founded the Servants of Jesus on 25 March 1965. The order received diocesan approval and support on 14 August 1969 from the Cardinal Archbishop of Caracas José Humberto Quintero Parra. She was the Superior General of her new order from 1969 when she was appointed until her death on 9 May 1977 due to influenza. In 2015 there were 94 religious in a total of 19 communities in both Venezuela and in Colombia.
In 5 July 2013, Pope Francis declared her a venerable (decree of heroic virtues) and on 16 June 2018 she was Beatified. The beatification miracle involved the healing of Trinette Durán de Branger on 18 July 2003 and the ceremony was celebrated in Caracas, Venezuela, by Cardinal Angelo Amato. Her process of sainthood continues.
“It brings immense joy to the entire Catholic Church of Venezuela, and especially for the Archdiocese of Caracas, to announce that Pope Francis has signed the decree approving the beatification of Mother Carmen Rendiles Martínez” announced Archbishop of Caracas Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino.
“On 21 November, a miracle presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints was approved, for which it will be beatified next year.”
Urosa explained that Martinez will become the third Venezuelan beatified by the Vatican. The blessing comes after the Vatican studied and approved, an “instantaneous, perfect, stable and lasting” miraculous healing on Trinette Durán de Branger, on 18 July 2003.
Urosa extended his congratulations to the Congregation Servants of Jesus, founded by Mother Rendiles Martinez, for her tireless and laborious work performed through the commission that leads to the process of beatification and canonisation.
“It has been arduous work carried out by Dr Silvia Correale, postulator of the cause, Sister Rosa María Ríos, vice postulator and the general superiors of the Congregation,” the Cardinal pointed out. “The current head of the religious order is Mother Maria Eugenia Noreña.”