April 14, 2021

With a massive Mass the Bolivian faithful celebrate their first saint

With a massive Mass the Bolivian faithful celebrate their first saint



Devotees of Saint Nazaria Ignacia March, considered the first saint of Bolivia, celebrated her canonization today with a massive Mass, attended by the Bolivian ecclesiastical authorities together with the delegations that arrived in the past from the interior and exterior of the country.

The main event took place in the western city of Oruro, where Nazaria Ignacia focused a large part of her mission, with a procession along with some of her relics and a massive mass in the open air at the foot of the sanctuary of the Virgen del Socavón, which had as a corollary the discovery of a large portrait of the religious.

The Eucharist was presided by the president of the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia (CEB), Ricardo Centellas, with the participation of Bolivian Cardinal Toribio Ticona and the country's bishops.

During the homily, the Bishop of Oruro, Cristóbal Balasick, stressed that the woman canonized by Pope Francisco on October 14 "is an example for all" and asked the attendees not to forget that example.

The work of the saint focuses on the first half of the twentieth century, being she religious of the Sisters of the Forsaken Elders and then becoming the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Cross Church, a religious institute that she created in a beaterio with " forty cents of capital, "said the bishop.

Balasick recalled that the task of women consecrated to religious life and who arrived in Bolivia in 1912 had one of its most important points during the war between Bolivia and Paraguay, in the Chaco War (1932-1935).

"She was called by the Church (…) to offer service to the orphans and the poor, and to the women who had lost their husbands in the Chaco War," said the prelate.

He mentioned that Nazaria Ignacia and her congregation worked for the "promotion of women" to the point of founding the first union of women workers, at the same time that she worked materially and pastorally assisting miners and peasants.

The creation of soup kitchens and the so-called "pot of the poor" was another work that was underlined by the cardinal.

Preparations for the celebration began on Wednesday with the arrival of delegations from the faithful from abroad and from different regions of the country.

Yesterday, the municipality of Oruro put the name of the saint to an avenue that leads to a large monument of 45 meters of the Virgen del Socavón, located on the top of one of the hills surrounding the city.

A pilgrimage was also developed that went through some of the most representative places where the religious focused her work.

Nazaria Ignacia de Santa Teresa de Jesus March Mesa was born in Madrid in 1889, but most of her work was done in western Bolivia, so she is considered the first saint of the country after being canonized.

The woman consecrated to the religious life also carried out a missionary work in Uruguay, Spain and Argentina, where she died on July 6, 1943.

His remains were transferred to Oruro in 1972 and since then they remain in that city as requested before dying.

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