PARAGUAY, BEATIFICATION OF CHIQUITUNGA, Agenzia Fides •
“A young Christian model,” “…a fulfilled, very intelligent person who radiated joy,” “… young witness of a holiness that is possible and is not an unattainable ideal,” “…a model of a reflective person, who questioned things and discussed them, because there are realities that are necessary to discuss in walking toward the good.” was Bishop Adalberto Martínez Flores, Bishop elect of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo description of the young Disclaced Carmelite, María Felicia de Jesús Sacramentado Guggiari, better known as “Chiquitunga” to the Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news organization. She was beatified on Saturday 23 June 2018 in Asunción, at a ceremony attended by 50,000 faithful from allover Paraguay and Argentina.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints celebrated at the solemn celebration.
A saint for all times
“Look at how she convokes holiness!” Bishop Martínez assured speaking with Agenzia Fides. They are not only people that admire the lives of the saints; they also want to imitate the generosity of Chiquitunga.” “Providentially,” he continued, “the Holy Father has appointed me bishop of the diocese where she was born, a land of saints we could say, by the numerous testimonies of Christian life. In Villarrica, there were very great manifestations of faith and giving God thanks during these days, with many pilgrims who came for the beatification.” For the Bishop, “we have to be proud” of the Blessed, a saint “for all times,” “especially in these, in which Paraguay needs people that consecrate themselves totally to the Lord in the milieu in which they live.”
“A new devotional impetus is departing from Villarrica toward Chiquitunga, that unites to the one in Asunción, where the Blessed lived the last five years of her earthly existence, and where the testimony of her lay apostolate was gathered. In Asunción the cause of canonization has been promoted in collaboration with the Carmelite nuns from the capital. Shorty after the appointment of Bishop Ricardo Valenzuela (now bishop of Caacupé) work has begun based on the idea of Chiqutunga’s fraternity, with the objective of spreading devotion and taking, just as she did, the smile and touch of the Word of God and concrete help to the neediest in the prisons, hospitals, or the ill in their homes.” explained Carmen Gamarra, the group coordinator.
A much more realistic movie
Felipe González, a young member of the group, related that the Blessed surprised him by the fact that the first and the last visit of her day was always to Jesus in the Tabernacle with whom she had a very close relationship and that made her activity as a student, catechist, and promoter of Catholic Action (CA) fruitful. During an assembly of CA, she spoke on several occasions defending her position, contrary to that of young Ángel Sauá, with whom she later fell in love. Later she maintained a spiritual correspondence with him, at the request of her spiritual father, and she offered her Carmelite consecration for his priestly holiness.
In his homily, the Cardinal recalled that “Ángel invited her to the movies, and in response she invited him to see a much more realistic movie: she took him to the hospital to visit the sick. There they met a person who needed a transfusion and both of them donated their blood.” The Cardinal defined Chiquitunga as “a library of holiness” for the great quantity of generous acts, kindness, and humility gathered during the cause and “as an outstanding figure of a young saint, educated and enthusiastic for her faith and vocation.” “The witnesses of her time speaks of a great faith, convinced and explosive,” “some compare her with Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” Cardinal Amato continued, emphasizing that the Blessed, born on the 12 January 1925, belonged to a family profoundly attached to national politics and personally persecuted and for that reason. “She renounced human love to give it to the Lord” through the contemplative life. After working for four years as a teacher, María Felicia entered the Carmelite monastery in Asunción, where she added Jesús Sacramentado to her name,” and she lived without losing her joy, until 28 April 1959, when she died of infectious hepatitis. As of next year, the anniversary of her “dies natalis” (literally birth date) will be the date of her liturgical memorial.
Pope Francis’ greeting
After the Angelus with the faithful gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, 24 June, Pope Francis recalled the new Blessed with these words: “Yesterday, in Asunción (Paraguay) María Felicia del Santísimo Sacramento, María Felicia Guggiari Echeverría, a nun of the Discalced Carmelites was proclaimed Blessed, called by her father and even today by the people of Paraguay as “Chiquitunga.” She lived the first half of the 20th century, she enthusiastically joined Catholic Action, and she dedicated her life to the care of the elderly, the sick, and prison inmates. “This fruitful experience of the apostolate, sustained by daily Eucharist, led to her consecration to the Lord. She died at the age of 34, accepting her illness with serenity…Her witness is an invitation to all young people, especially those from Paraguay, to live their lives with generosity, gentleness, and joy. Let us welcome Chiquitunga with applause and all the people from Paraguay!”
Photos: Hector Morán, from the magazine Tupãrenda team
Original: Spanish. 1 July 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA