As the sounds of music and applause echoed throughout the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, the Catholic Church in Mexico celebrated the first beatification of a laywoman in the country.
The beatification Mass of Blessed Maria Concepcion Cabrera was celebrated May 4 by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, at the famed basilica.
The life of Blessed Cabrera, affectionately known as "Conchita," gave witness to living Christian life as "a wife, mother, widow, and an inspiration for religious institutes and apostolic initiatives," Cardinal Becciu said.
"The beauty and strength of her witness consists in having chosen, from her adolescence, to consecrate herself to the absolute love: God," he continued.
Thousands packed the basilica that houses St. Juan Diego's tilma, which bears the image of Mary, who appeared to the indigenous saint in 1531. To the left of the historic image hung a portrait of Blessed Cabrera.
The portrait of the newly beatified laywoman was unveiled as her granddaughter, Sister Consuela Armida, and Jorge Guillermo Trevino, the man miraculously healed of multiple sclerosis through her intercession, carried a relic of Blessed Cabrera to the main altar.
Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Blessed Cabrera married Francisco Armida in 1884 and had nine children. Before her husband's death in 1901, she had already founded and received pontifical approval for the Apostolate of the Cross.
Through her writings and way of life, she inspired the founding of several religious congregations for men and women before her death March 3, 1937.
Throughout her life, Cardinal Becciu said in his homily, Blessed Cabrera "spoke about God in a convincing and natural way, which proved her ardent love for him." That same love, he added, was also visible in her love for others, especially the poor.
"Her concern for the poor was unceasing, she wanted to be poor among the poor, adapting herself to them externally in order to share in the difficulties of their lives and help them better," the cardinal said.
Cardinal Becciu said that Blessed Cabrera stands out as an example for all Christians, especially women, "as a model of apostolic life" who kept her eyes fixed on heaven while caring for the sufferings of those most in need.
"Through her intercession, may we listen to the supplicant voices of those who experience spiritual or material poverty and respond to that voice with the charity that distinguishes the faithful disciples of the Gospel," the cardinal said.