Argentina is set to have its first female saint as Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of “Mama Antula.” Pope Francis authorized the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints to issue the decree recognizing a miracle, which is linked to Blessed María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, widely known as “Mama Antula.” She was born in Argentina in 1730.
Following a meeting held on the evening of Tuesday, October 24, with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis granted the authorization for her canonization. This significant development makes her the first female saint to be born in Argentina.
In a video message sent on March 4, 2023, to the Diocese of Villa Silípica, the hometown of Blessed María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, Pope Francis expressed confidence in her canonization nearing, as two miracles were under scrutiny. However, the Vatican has yet to disclose the specific details of the miracle attributed to the future saint, which received approval from the Pope on October 24.
Blessed Mama Antula María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa was born in 1730 in Santiago del Estero. She began working with the Jesuits at a young age, assisting in the organization of spiritual exercises. Later in her life, she relocated to Buenos Aires, where she dedicated two decades to preaching the message of Christ.
In 1795, she founded the Holy House of Spiritual Exercises in Buenos Aires, which continues to fulfill its mission today under the care of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Divine Savior. She passed away on March 7, 1799, while residing at the institution. Her final resting place is within the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Buenos Aires.
The miracle that paved the way for her beatification received approval on March 4, 2016. This miracle, dated back to 1904, concerned the inexplicable recovery of Sister María Rosa Vanina, a member of the Daughters of the Divine Savior. The nun had been diagnosed with acute cholecystitis along with septic shock, and medical experts had predicted an inevitable fatality.
As a result of this miraculous event, on August 26, 2016, María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa was beatified by the delegate of Pope Francis, who at the time served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato.