Dead at 33: "Look, Dad, I Didn't Change, I Am only Dressed in Brown"

Sister Belén de la Cruz was 33 years old when she died of ovarian cancer in 2018 at the Carmelite convent in San Calixto (Cordoba), Spain.

Before joining the Carmelites in 2005, she was a student at the elite Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros (CUNEF) in Madrid and the golf champion of Andalusia.

Even as a child, she was very good at sports. She loved cycling, football and golf, but she didn't like competition.

A month before she entered the convent, she won a golf prize in Puerto de Santa María, but on the photo with all the winners, she was missing.

Sister Belén's fame began after her death, her father Estanislao Pery Paredes told (5 June).

For example: More than 600 people attended her funeral on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Most of them were outside the church, getting wet.

She was 19 or 20 when she wrote her first letter to the prioress of San Calixto, who did not make it easy for her because she was so young. She was 21 when she entered.

The first few months were very difficult for her. Four weeks after her entrance, she wrote a letter to her parents: "I would be deceiving you if I said it wasn't costing me anything."

But as time went on, she saw that this was her life. She felt at home, happy, but she did not change dramatically in the convent. She used to tell her father: "Look, Dad, I'm the same, but dressed in brown".

In the convent she moved up very quickly. First she was assigned to the revolving window, behind which the sisters at the entrance speak to visitors without being seen. Then she became third in the hierarchy, in charge of the convent's maintenance and in contact with the gardeners, the plumber and the electrician.

Later, as the youngest in the convent, she was appointed mistress of the novices and then sub-prioress.

On 14 April 2017 she was diagnosed with an ovarian tumour. During her retreats with the nuns, Sister Belén made great efforts to hide her suffering.

Once, during a chemotherapy session, the doctor was interested to know why Sister's name was "de la Cruz" (of the Cross).

She replied: "Because the cross is a blessing. What does a priest do when he gives a blessing? He makes the sign of the cross. What do we do when we bless ourselves? The sign of the cross. Everything is in the cross. In it is salvation and peace".

When she died on 5 April 2018, less than a year after her diagnosis, some sisters confessed that they had not realised that "she was so ill".


Father Karl A Claver
This is very inspirational.
Jeffrey Ade
What a beautiful story!