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A New Saint From San Luis Potosi

by Joseph Toone

Mexico is about to gain another saint. María Concepción Cabrera de Armida, also known as, Conchita, was born to a respectable, but not lavish, family in San Luis Potosi on December 8, 1862, the seventh of nine children. Conchita lived many roles in her life: child, wife, mother, widow, grandmother, writer, mystic, nun... Local pilgrimages are being made to her nearby hometown, as she is about to enter the final stages of being named a saint.

A tomboy, fond of horses, who often disobeyed her parents as a child, she met her future husband while only 13 at a local ball. Francisco de Armida proposed to Conchita at that early age though they didn’t marry until 1884 when she was 21. By then she had transformed from tomboy to a slim, vain woman, fond of makeup and jewelry. She had nine children between 1885 and 1899, the youngest of whom was two years old when, in 1901, her husband died. Her six year old son also died that year, her second son to have died at six. She was 39.

Conchita's spiritual life started before the death of her husband. She showed a special love for the Holy Eucharist from an early age and took up writing while married. She wrote a lot. Her total oeuvre amounts to more than 66,000 handwritten pages. Her life as a author was not made any easier by the fact that the Mexican Revolution raged around her from 1910 to 1921 and that she was a widow having to raise her brood of children.

As a mystic, she heard God telling her: "Ask me for a long suffering life and to write a lot... That's your mission on earth." In 1896 she wrote in her diary: "In truth, after I touched God and had an imperfect notion of His Being, I wanted to prostrate myself, my forehead and my heart, in the dust and never get up again."

During her life her writings were examined by the Catholic Church in Mexico and Rome where, in 1913, she had an audience with Pope Pius X. Her writings were widely distributed and inspired the establishment of the five apostolates of the "Works of the Cross" in Mexico, all continuing today:
Apostolate of the Cross founded in 1895,
Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus founded in 1897,
Covenant of Love with the Heart of Jesus founded in 1909,
The Fraternity of Christ the Priest founded in 1912, and
The Congregation of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit founded in 1914.

Her major work, her Apostolate of the Cross, features a vision of a cross with Jesus’ pierced heart and flames of the Holy Spirit. The same is featured in our Parroquia and elsewhere around San Miguel.

Conchita lived a multi-faceted life, tomboy, wife, widow, single mother, mystic and writer. She died on March 3, 1937 in Mexico City in the arms of her children. She is to be beatified (final step in becoming a saint) in Mexico City on May 4. You can join a group of pilgrims on March 2 to visit the Hacienda de Jesús María in San Luis Potosi and view her image of the cross on a mountain top.

Her major message was love for the Church. From her writings:

“To love the Church is not to criticize her, not to destroy her, not to try to change her essential structures, not to reduce her to humanism, horizontalism and to the simple service of a human liberation. To love the Church is to cooperate with the work of Redemption by the Cross and in this way obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit come to renew the face of this poor earth, conducting it to its consummation in the design of the Father's immense love.”

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Joseph Toone is Amazon's bestselling author of the San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books and TripAdvisor's best rated historical walking tour guide. For more information contact toone.joseph@yahoo.com or visit History and Culture Walking Tours or JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.

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