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“Blessed Conchita of Armida, Apostle of Jesus, Prayed for the Sanctity of Priests”

(By Renato Martínez – Vatican City)

“The central point of the mystique of Mary Conception Cabrera Arias of Armída, was her passionate love for Jesus and her desire to make Him known to all peoples.” Interview with Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, on the Christian virtues of the new Mexican Blessed.

“Conchita’s legacy is to give her life for the Church and the salvation of humanity. An inheritance that is also a teaching for all of us. Living in God you can be a creator, you can be creative, you can have a huge imagination to encourage the Church, to make it new,” says Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints explaining the virtues and spirituality of Mary Conception Cabrera Arias of Armída, familiarly known as “Conchita,” a Mexican mystic beatified this May 4th, in Mexico City. The interview is from our colleague Roberta Barbi.

D. - His Eminence, today Mary Conception Cabrera Arias of Armida, laywoman, mother of nine children, is beatified. Can you tell us about her spirituality?

R. - You called her “mother”; it is interesting. She is a very, very unique figure. She lived in Mexico from 1862 to 1937. And she was a wife, mother, widow, mystic, founder of five congregations. She has a very singular spirituality: she concentrates on this: on the love of the Blessed Virgin.

That is to say, she almost identifies herself with Mary and Mary wanted to take above all, the aspect of the Cross, and suffering. She wanted to resemble Mary by accepting any pain that happened in her life, and offer it to the Lord.

D. - The mission that the Lord entrusted to “Conchita” - as they familiarly called her - was that of saving souls, especially those of the priests for whom she prayed so much. How did this call come about?

R. - This woman is great because she is mystical, with a great love for God and to the Blessed Virgin. But at the same time she was a wife; she had a husband whom she loved very much and for whose death she suffered terribly.

Then, she was the mother of nine children, four of them died causing her great pain, great suffering. And she accepted all suffering, and accepted them by offering them to the Lord, knowing that suffering, placed in the hands of God, is a fruit of blessing and salvation.

And one motivation, one specific purpose was to offer - these sufferings (ndr) - to have holy priests. Like Mary, she saw the Apostles as a figure of Jesus, so Conchita saw the priests as a figure of Jesus, and she felt she was the mother of the priests, her children.

D. - According to the new Blessed, what was the importance for the Church of having holy priests?

R. - She used to say in her prayers, “May they be priests so that they can raise the materialized and sensual world, that they be a lever to be able to raise the world.” She knew that priests are saints or do not say anything: they are salt without flavor, which loses its flavor.

D. - Conchita was also a great mystic who left 46 works collected in 158 volumes. What can be said about her writings?

R. - An impressive amount: as you remembered, there are 60,000 pages written by hand. Imagine everything that this mystic wrote, to the point that her spiritual director said, “It will take many men and many years to discover the spiritual treasures of these writings.”

The central point of her mystique was her passionate love for Jesus and her desire to make Him known to all peoples.

D. - Among other things, her manuscripts, as she said, inspired the establishment of five apostolates of the Works of the Cross, very important in Mexico and are still active today. Can you tell us about them?

R. - They are the five Works of the Cross. The first is called The Apostleship of the Cross. This work is addressed to all the faithful: lay people, priests and religious. The second: The Religious of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose members are dedicated to the contemplative life; the Religious are dedicated to the contemplative life.

Then there is the Covenant of Love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, formed by the laity who seek sanctification in the spirit of the Cross.

For the diocesan Bishops and Priests, she founded the Priestly Fraternity, the fifth along with another, venerable: Father Felix de Jesus Rouger, with whom she founded the Foundation of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.

All of them are active works, which still attract many vocations, and many give their lives as members. We speak of the first years of the twentieth century, before the Council came, to show how the Holy Spirit has always worked in the Church and has also valued lay mothers, to be a source of grace for all the people of God.

Mexico has as a Blessed to a mother of nine children.

R. - Her legacy is to give her life for the Church and the salvation of humanity. An inheritance that is also a teaching for all of us. Living in God you can be a creator, you can be “creative,” you can have a huge imagination to animate the Church, to make it new.

There is beauty, there is an enormous wealth that makes us go beyond these crises, because then, there remains the vitality of the branch of the vine, that is Christ, and He knows how to renew the Church in an unexpected way with beauties that we can touch with our hands.

The Ascension of the Lord

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