Rome Newsroom, Feb 9, 2024 / 11:41 am
Pope Francis met with Argentine pilgrims on Friday morning ahead of the historic canonization of the county’s first female saint on Sunday.
During his address, Pope Francis presented Blessed María Antonia of St. Joseph de Paz y Figueroa, more affectionately known as “Mama Antula,” as an example of “charity” and “an inspiration that revives ‘the option for the last, for those that society discards.’”
The saint’s example and legacy is especially important for us today “in the midst of this society that runs the risk of forgetting that ‘radical individualism is the most difficult virus to defeat. A virus that deceives. It makes us believe that everything consists of giving free rein to one’s own ambitions,’” the pope said, quoting from his encyclical Fratelli Tutti.
Born in 1730 in Silipica, Santiago del Estero, in northern Argentina, María Antonia’s early life was characterized by a fervent desire to serve God. She helped parents with the instruction of their children and administered care to the sick and poor.