The canonization of Mama Antula, which will be held this Sunday by Pope Francis in St. Especially because she, who lived in the 18th century, was not well known until a few years ago and now she will be an important symbol for all women for her role in the Church but also for her actions in favor of those who need him. strength to continue despite the difficulties. President Javier Milei is already in Italy to participate, with his entourage, in the canonization ceremony. Also present will be the governor of Santiago del Estero, Gerardo Zamora, who is a new saint in that province.
“Mama Antula’s charity, especially in the service of the most needy, is imposed today with great energy, in the midst of this society that risks forgetting that radical individualism is the most difficult virus to defeat,” said Pope Francis. this Friday in the audience where he received the pilgrims from Argentina for the canonization. A virus that cheats. She makes us believe that everything consists of giving freedom to one’s own ambitions”(…) In this blessed woman we find an example and an inspiration that revives the option for the end, for outcasts and outcasts of society.”
And referring to his arduous task of spreading spiritual exercises, something that Mother Antula has always pursued, Francisco – which for her part is a great stimulus to the work of women within the Vatican and the Church in general an – added that it was not easy for him, “Because of the aversion against the Jesuits, they forbade him to give the exercises, so he decided to teach them secretly. We cannot forget this dimension of secrecy, it is very important. In this sense, another message that the blessed one gave us in our world today is not to give up in the face of adversity.”
Mama Antula (Mama Antonia in Quechua, the language she spoke), whose original name was María Antonia de San José de Paz y Figueroa, was born in Villa Silípica, now the province of Santiago del Estero, in 1730. Argentina thus it did not exist then.. The region belonged to the viceroyalty of Upper Peru until 1776, when Spain decided to create the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.
At the age of 15, Mama Antula took a vow of poverty and chastity and wore a Jesuit cassock. She dedicated herself to prayer, helping those most in need and spiritual exercises that she spread in various regions of Argentina with other women, especially after the expulsion of the Jesuits from the kingdom of Spain in 1767. She cooperated with the Jesuits since the principle . She was not a nun, very unusual at that time when women usually had only two options: get married or become a nun. She was a consecrated laywoman or “blessed” as they were called back then. After the expulsion of the Jesuits she left her homeland, starting an unprecedented journey for a woman. Carrying a high cross, often barefoot, he came to Jujuy, Tucumán, La Rioja, Salta, among other places, to spread spiritual exercises. Then he went to Buenos Aires where he built what is now called the Santa Casa de Ejercicios Spirituales. Mama Antula died in 1799. Her body can be found in the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Buenos Aires.
Brave woman of the 18th century
Mama Antula was a “courageous and creative woman. During the expulsion of the Jesuits, she was encouraged to do spiritual exercises. Imagine, more than 200 years ago. “She wanted to reach everyone with the gospel and so that is why he has a restless and missionary spirit,” the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Ignacio García Cuerva, told a group of journalists, who together with other bishops, priests and nuns as well as parishioners, traveled to Rome to attend the canonization of Mama Antula.
“I think Mama Antula is an eternal nonconformist. And I hope we are too. I hope we will not experience the despair of believing that Argentina cannot continue. And about the message that Pope Francis wants to give to the Church with this canonization, García Cuerva emphasized the prominence of lay women. “Mama Antula is not a nun, she is a lay person, sometimes because of the clothes and images we have she can be confused with a nun. This canonization tells us about the protagonism of the laity, the protagonism of women, this courage and this. apostolic creativity that he had in the difficult moments that the territory that is now Argentina passed, because Argentina lived in an eternal crisis. .I think it’s “This is the message that Francis left us.”
For Vicente Bokalic Iglic, bishop of Santiago del Estero where the saint was born, Mama Antula “is an improvement over what is experienced today” regarding women. “Pope Francis has taken many steps regarding the role of women in the Church. But this woman came forward. Although the cause of canonization was opened in 1905, it was dormant for a long time. I arrived in Santiago 10 years ago because the Pope sent me there. And in 2015 we woke up when the first miracle was recognized and the small door of beatification was opened, which happened in August 2016. And since then we started to save it. In Santiago it is known but not in other parts of the country. I think he will inspire many today, just as he inspired many during those times.”
According to Alberto Bochatey, auxiliary bishop of La Plata and secretary of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, Mama Antula was a “collaborator of the Jesuits who was moved by her own decision to preach the gospel, especially when the Jesuits were expelled. In a short time, Mama Antula made people fall in love with her. Pope Francis surprised us because he was the only one to be canonized that day, usually he canonized more than one person. It is very important to listen to the Pope’s homily. And from that, Mama Antula had a big spread in the world.