Sister M. Elisa Altadill Ardit shares the story behind the remodeling of the Museum of St. Maria Micaela, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters Adorers, Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity, which will be reopened on May 12, 2023:
After a few long months of intense work, the doors of the Museum of Saint Maria Micaela at the Motherhouse – Madrid are reopened.
I would like to tell you a little about the remodeling of the Museum. It has not been an easy task, since the previous one was made with much dedication and affection by our sisters about 30 years ago. They were in charge of collecting all the memories of the Saint that they had in the houses, not only in Madrid, and it was an arduous work. Once all the objects of Micaela were received, they were distributed in the rooms and at the same time they were made to coincide with the different stages of her life.
After some time, the Museum of St. Maria Micaela needed to be remodeled to give it more space and agility, so that the visitors could see and know clearly, who our Foundress was. She, in love with God and following his inspiration, gave herself totally to dignify many other women of her time who were deprived by the society.
Many objects and mementos that in some way belonged to the Saint had been gathered together. Nothing has been lost, but it has been distributed in a different way and the bulky objects that detracted visibility have been placed in other rooms of the house with all the care they deserve. For example: the model of the palace of Guadalajara of the Counts of Vega del Pozo, where Micaela spent many times, is in the porter’s lodge, at the entrance; a large table, also from the palace, has been moved to one of the rooms; a large bench with drawers with the initials of V del Pozo is in the corridor of the central patio… Other things that perhaps those who knew the previous museum might miss are in the house cared for with all the affection we have for them.
The Museum of St. Maria Micaela has been expanded with another room, so that it is designed in five rooms, in addition to the entrance, where the reason for our origins is found. The first room presents the childhood and adolescence of Micaela, with objects from that time and from her house, from the 19th century.
In the second room, which we call her conversion, are the great inspirations that the Saint received to dedicate herself to God and to women. The meeting with the girl in the shawl, her first inspiration, was a life-changing moment. After many attempts at various schools, she stayed definitively to live in the school on Atocha Street, when one day in prayer she felt that God said to her “I want you in my work” and from there she became FOUNDRESS of the Congregation.
We have a third room dedicated exclusively to the DIVINE FAVORS. The following, the fourth room, has many objects of Saint Maria Micaela: her library, the Jesus Children that she took to the foundations, her room in Valencia where she died… Next to the image of the Sorrowful Virgin, there are two of her most outstanding spiritual directors: Saint Antonio Maria Claret, founder of the Claretians, and Father Carasa, Jesuit, both of them of great influence on the Saint. Also present is an image of Pope Pius IX, who approved the Congregation and the first Constitutions.
We move on to the fifth and last room, where the other six foundations are located. All of them are headed by the Eucharist, her dominant Passion, candles and censers of her, and a very beautiful banner with the Monstrance that Micaela had ordered to be built with her jewels. This was embroidered by a sister of the Community, Mª de los Ángeles Serrano Martínez. Here you can also find the picture painted by Luis de Madrazo (romanticism) in the same year that Micaela died (1864).
All the paintings have been restored and new frames have been put on them, and the images have been restored. Artists, craftsmen and restorers have collaborated and we have had prodigious access to them, and a young interior designer has helped us.
Furthermore, a video has been made and you will all have access to it through the Congregation’s website and social networks.
The inauguration will take place on May 12 2023 with the presence of the General and Provincial Governments, as well as relatives of the saint and people close to the house.
Sister M. Elisa Altadill Ardit