Pope Francis Honors Argentina's First Female Saint: How Would It Impact?

Pope Francis canonizes Mama Antula, Argentina's first female saint. President Milei, once critical, attends, signalling a shift. The event, amid economic crisis, highlights Mama Antula's charity. Milei to meet the Pope after a week-long overseas tour.

Lisha Kannan
New Update

Image Source from The Digital Journal

In an unexpected turn of events at the Vatican, Pope Francis canonized Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, famously known as Mama Antula, as a saint. This historic moment marked Mama Antula as the first female saint from Argentina. Notably, Argentine President Javier Milei, previously a vocal critic of the Pope, attended the ceremony, indicating a shift in their relationship dynamics.


Diplomatic Shifts and Spiritual Honors: Pope Francis Canonizes Argentina's First Female Saint with President Milei's Surprising Presence


Before entering politics, Milei openly criticized Pope Francis, labelling him negatively and accusing him of supporting communism. However, since assuming the presidency in December, Milei has adopted a more restrained tone, and the Pope has displayed indifference to past insults, stressing the importance of actions over campaign rhetoric.

The canonization Mass at St. Peter's Basilica focused on Mama Antula's life—an 18th-century woman who relinquished her family's wealth to engage in charity and Jesuit spiritual exercises. This event unfolded against the backdrop of Argentina grappling with an acute economic crisis, experiencing inflation exceeding 200%. President Milei, confronting challenges after the rejection of a major reform package by the parliament, attended the service and engaged in a conversation with the Pope afterwards, with a private meeting scheduled for Monday.

Born into wealth and a family involved in slavery, Mama Antula played a pivotal role in promoting spiritual exercises despite the Jesuits being banned from Latin America at the time. In his homily, Pope Francis lauded her as a gift to the Argentine people and the entire Church. However, the Pope's unexpected critique of radical individualism as a societal virus diverged from Milei's staunch free-market ideology. Pope Francis reaffirmed his commitment to caring for the poor, cautioning against the perils of "fear, prejudice, and false religiosity" leading to the "great injustice" of neglecting the weak.

President Milei, seated prominently at the historic event, is scheduled to have a private audience with Pope Francis on Monday, concluding a week-long overseas tour encompassing visits to Israel, Italy, and the Vatican. The tour will culminate with meetings with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Pope Francis Argentina Canonization President Milei