Pope Francis Canonizes Argentina's First Female Saint, 'Mama Antula,' in St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis Canonizes Argentina's First Female Saint, 'Mama Antula,' in St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City - Argentina celebrates the historic canonization of its first female saint, affectionately known as "Mama Antula," in a solemn ceremony presided over by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday.

María Antonia de San José de Paz y Figueroa, revered as "Mama Antula," lived in 18th-century Argentina and dedicated her life to the dissemination of Jesuit spirituality across the country.

The canonization event drew thousands of attendees, including Argentina's newly-elected president, Javier Milei, who was described as a "wayfarer of the Spirit."

Amidst the solemnity of the Mass, Pope Francis delivered an impromptu reflection, extolling Mama Antula's missionary zeal and her remarkable journey across perilous terrains to share the message of God with unwavering determination.

In his address, Pope Francis hailed Mama Antula as a symbol of apostolic fervor and audacity, particularly during the tumultuous period when the Jesuit order was expelled from Argentina. Her unwavering commitment to spreading spiritual enlightenment in the face of adversity earned her admiration and reverence from millions of faithful worldwide.

The canonization ceremony featured traditional rituals, including the recitation of the Litany of All Saints and the veneration of Mama Antula's relics. Notably, Claudio Perusini, a man miraculously healed through her intercession, was honored during the Mass, further underscoring her miraculous influence and sanctity.

In addition to Mama Antula's canonization, Pope Francis used the occasion to reflect on contemporary social issues, drawing parallels between the Gospel narrative of Jesus healing a leper and the ongoing struggles of marginalized communities. He emphasized the need for compassion and solidarity, urging believers to confront fear, prejudice, and discrimination with empathy and action.

The canonization holds profound significance for Argentina, with thousands of faithful gathering in St. Peter's Basilica and across the country to commemorate this historic moment.

Relics of Saint Maria Antonia de San Jose

President Javier Milei's presence at the ceremony further underscored the national pride and spiritual resonance associated with Mama Antula's elevation to sainthood.

Following the Mass, President Milei is scheduled to hold a private audience with Pope Francis, symbolizing the deep bond between Argentina and the Catholic Church.

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