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She dedicated herself to the education of children, caring for the sick, and helping the poor.
On Thursday, representatives from the Argentine Church arrived in Rome to participate in the canonization of Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, popularly known as "Mama Antula." She will be canonized on Sunday in a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica.
Maria Antonia was born in Santiago del Estero in 1730 into a wealthy family that provided her with a good religious education and cultural training.
While she was still young, Maria Antonia began to work with the Jesuits, dedicating herself to the education of children, caring for the sick, and helping the poor.
In 1767, King Charles III decided to expel the Company of Jesus from the colony's territories. Although that decision generated a climate of hostility towards the Jesuits in Argentina, she continued to exercise the apostolate of spiritual exercises until her death.
Argentina is set to have its first saint as Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of "Mama Antula." https://t.co/tlag3eEBHm
"During her lifetime, she organized spiritual exercises for nearly 80,000 people of all social classes," Vicente Bokalic, the bishop of Santiago del Estero, said, stressing that Mama Antula is an example of a Catholic woman who opposed opposition and prejudice.
In the late 18th century, Maria Antonia traveled to the northern Argentine desert to organize spiritual exercises with the help of parish priests.
"She was recognized slowly. When she arrived in Buenos Aires, they labeled her as crazy and possessed. That didn't matter to her as she continued with her cart helping the poor."
"Her actions remained forever in people's consciousness as something great," said the promoter of the canonization cause, Silvia Correale.