On May 4, 2019, the world witnessed the beatification of the first lay woman of Mexico in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Blessed Maria Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, known as Conchita, was born on December 8, 1862 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Can a married woman say that her soul belongs to Christ? Can a mother find time to pray, receive daily communion, and attend spiritual direction? Can a widow start lay communities and religious congregations? Conchita answers yes to all of these questions. There is no doubt that she did it anchored to the Virgin Mother at the foot of the Cross.
Conchita underwent many sufferings in her lifetime, which included the loss of three of her nine children and her husband, Francisco, when she was only 39. When their youngest child, Pedrito, drowned in a fountain at the age of three, she writes: “I went to the foot of the big crucifix and pouring my tears on His feet, I offered Him the sacrifice of my son, bowing and asking Him to fulfill His divine will in me.”
Life as a widow was not easy, but this is where the mystical life of Conchita came to the forefront. The Lord initiated her into a variety of graces and mystical experiences. Jesus told Conchita to write. Amazingly, she wrote over 60,000 handwritten pages of dialogue with our Lord, rivaling the amount of writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Makes you wonder–how in the world did she find the time?
Conchita understood that her mission was to save souls, and one of the ways she could do so was by offering up her daily crosses and sufferings.
She writes: “I carry within me three lives, all very strong: family life with its multiple sorrows of a thousand kinds, that is, the life of a mother; the life of the Works of the Cross with all its sorrows and weight, which at times crushes me until I have no more strength left; and the life of the Spirit, or interior life, which is the heaviest of all, with its highs and lows, its tempests and struggles, its light and darkness. Blessed be God for everything!”
Conchita was a woman who placed her love for Jesus and the will of God first, above all else in her life. She states,
Love is the soul of every life of prayer and every good work.”Blessed Conchita
She placed every aspect of her life in the hands of our Blessed Mother and into the heart of Jesus Crucified and remained in grace, receiving communion daily, knowing that it was Jesus and the Holy Spirit doing the works of love through her.
So, who can Conchita be for us today? She was no slacker!!! As a Blessed, she stands at the crucified heart of Jesus as a powerful intercessor for daily perseverance (in this valley of tears). She helps us to put our faith, hope, and trust in God’s plans for our lives – no matter the temptations or sufferings that will come to each of us, nor the prompts of Holy Spirit to undertake what our good God is asking us to do in service to our brothers and sisters, for the salvation of souls.
She died on March 3, 1837 and I will leave you with her words to ponder: “In the desolation of life, in the storms and temptations in which our soul struggles in the dark night of the spirit, in the pain and agony that afflicts our heart – it is then that we are able to prove to Jesus that we do remain in His love, with humility and trust.”
Blessed Conchita, pray for us!
Our podcaster today is Pam Stanford, Red Bird Ministries’ spiritual mother. Pam and her husband Tommy have been married for 31 years. Together they have 8 children, 5 on earth and 3 little saints in heaven. And adding to the Stanford bunch 2 little grandsons, Nathan and Issac, and 2 more little ones are expected to hatch in April.
Pam has a degree in architecture and works with her husband as a design build team as general contractors for over 20 years. She has been serving the Church in the Cursillo movement for 14 years as a professor helping bringing souls back to Christ.
She also has been teaching high school religion and preparing students to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation for the last 9 years in her local parish of St. Leo the Great in Leonville, LA.