Here is an extract of from a new book which has an appendix giving the little known details of how the Story of Our Lady of Good Success became known in the twentieth century. Garcia Moreno was preparing a dossier for getting Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres beatified by Pope Pius IX containing a summary of Fr. Sousa Pereira’ biography written in 1790, but died before sending it. His widow let the daughter of Garcia Moreno’s secretary. Clotild Varela, have the summary and made shorthand notes from it before destroying the dossier at the command of her spiritual director. She later entered the Convent of the Immaculate Conception where she began to give out copies of her notes. A copy reached the Archbishop of Quito who began an investigation on the authenticity of the notes, and thereby of the only source now available of the story, since Fr. Sousa Pereira’s biography has been hidden in the wall of the convent, along with the Caudernon, the complete set of original documents. Our Lady foretold that all the document would be found at a later date, but until then, we merely have the notes of Sr. Mariana Varela. Here is a quote to support this, and those interested for the full story can get a copy of the new book which treats of this interesting subject, and also the newspaper accounts of the miracle of 1941, when the eyes of the statue of OLGS moved before 30,000 witnesses during three days. Three days after the miracle, the Archbishop of Quito approved a novena to OLGS. Does not the miracle indirectly verify the notes of Sr. Mariana Varela?
How the Story Became Known
"Clotild Varela, born on September 9, 1879, who, when she was about eleven years old, helped her father, Mr. Rafael Varel Yepez, in the separating and organizing of the writings that belonged to President Garcia Moreno. They immediately found the letter and package
intended for the Roman Pontiff, [Pope Pius IX]. Clotilde began to read the three notebooks, and found them extremely delightful and beneficial. She asked Dona Mariana Alcazar to allow her to bring them to her house, and obtained that favor in an unconditional manner.
"She read them in their entirety, and re-read them, and even meditated upon them. She found in them a stimulus for striving for greater holiness. She informed her confessor, Father Miguel Meneses, about all of this, who, instead of approving the spiritual devouring of those pages, ended up by disapproving of her reading. What dangers did that ascetic
priest discern? Doubtlessly those of illusion and vain curiosity, given that that biography of Sister Mariana de Jesus Torres contains in large part apparitions and revelations of the supernatural order, resembling fanciful and spectacular literature. What is more, with the intention to uproot what he considered to be a temptation, Father Meneses ordered
his penitent to deliver up the three notebooks to the fire. Who does not see that such a command was disproportionate! It would have been enough that the aforesaid priest would have collected them and kept them in a safe place.
"Miss Clotilde Varela heard the command with much annoyance, and expressed it to her confessor. He maintained his command. Then she asked the reverend priest to allow her to make, in cipher or in shorthand, a copy of those pages which seemed the most important to her. This having been allowed by her confessor, Miss Varela undertook
the task by making use of the skill she had learned from her father, who in turn had learned it from Garcia Moreno.
"The year was 1899, when Father Manuel Sousa Pereira’s original manuscripts were consumed by the fire. And shortly afterwards, Clotilde Varela entered the religious order of the Conceptionist nuns. She also took the name of Mariana de Jesus.
"It is presumed that not many years passed before requests poured in for copies [of her notes] in ordinary writing, understandable by all: and then Sister Mariana de Jesus Varela, with the abbess’ permission, willingly satisfied these desires. Interest and enthusiasm grew, even among faithful outside of the convent. This came to the attention of the archbishop, His Grace Carlos Maria de la Torre, who named a commission of theologians: Father Joel Monroy, Mercedarian, and Father Jose Urarte, Jesuit, so that they would speak with Sister Mariana de Jesus Varela and subject her to appropriate questioning. Father Monroy gave his sickness as an excuse, but said that he would subscribe to the
verdict that Father Urarte would give, who was a Jesuit very competent
for the case.
"It was during the year 1934 when the latter religious spoke with Sister Mariana de Jesus Varela in the following terms: “When you translated or made a summary of the life of Sister Mariana de Jesus Torres, were you faithful and did not change anything? And when you put what you had written in cipher into ordinary writing, were you also faithful and did not change anything? Please answer these two questions in all truth. I could ask you to answer under oath, given that I have been authorized to do this. However I do not do this. But do tell the truth.”
"“Sister Mariana de Jesus Varela answered in the following words, ‘I was faithful and did not change anything when I wrote the original text in cipher, and when I translated what I had written in cipher into ordinary writing. I can solemnly swear that I am telling the truth.’”
Extract taken from Vida de Garcia Moreno by Severo Gomezjurado, S. J.
(Quito, Editorial Don Bosco, 1970), vol. IX, pp. 476-491.
Newly published in English in The Story of Our Lady of Good Success and Novena (pp. 145-147) available in print and Kindle Book format at www.dolorosapress.com.