Cuautitlán (Mexico). On 28 April 2024, Cuautitlán, the Diocese that gave birth to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, witness to the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated the closure of the diocesan investigation into the process of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Sister Antonietta Böhm, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians (1907 – 2008).

Present at the event were Sister Phyllis Neves, Visiting General Councilor of the FMA Institute, representing the Mother General, Sister Chiara Cazzuola; the Provincials, Sister Margarita Chavarría Primavera, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province (MME); and Sister María del Socorro Hernández Castillo, of Mother of the Church Province (MMO); the Vice Postulator, Sister María Guadalupe Chávez Rodríguez (MME), FMA; members of the Salesian Family and acquaintances of Sister Antonietta, through whom they received physical, spiritual, and material graces.

The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by Mons. Efraín Mendoza Cruz, Bishop of the Diocese of Cuautitlán, with the Bishop emeritus of Veracruz, Mons. Luis Felipe Gallardo Martín del Campo; the Episcopal Delegate, Mons. Omar Nemesio Montoya García; Mons. Adolfo Martínez Melo, Promoter of Justice, and other diocesan priests. Also concelebrating were Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB General Postulator of the Causes of the Salesian Family; Fr. Gabriel de Jesús Cruz, Vice Postulator; Fr. Ignacio Ocampo, Provincial of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province (MEM); and other Salesians of Don Bosco.

The liturgy of the Word, on the V Sunday of Easter, led to reflection on the “true vine”, without which the branches “can do nothing” (cf. Jn 1:5); on pruning, so that it bears more fruit; and on invitation to remain in Him. In his homily the Bishop said, “Sister Antonietta lived her human and Christian virtues in a heroic way; her life was a life always united to Jesus […] She bore fruit with her good works of holiness that she did not cultivate for herself, but for the Church, for her religious community, for all those who sought her for her prayer and advice […]. Sister Antonietta was pruned throughout her life, that is, God asked her to renounce, asked her to make sacrifices, asked her to let herself be pruned. It was painful, but only when you let yourself be pruned by God’s love and mercy can you bear fruit.”

At the offertory, together with the Bread and Wine, handouts – bags with various foodstuffs – were presented, signifying the mission that Sister Antonietta carried out in favor of the most disadvantaged, to bring bread to everyone’s table.

Rite of closing

The steps accomplished were illustrated, such as the establishment of a tribunal with the task of personally listening to the testimonies of people who knew the Servant of God closely; the collection of testimonies and writings – about 3500 pages – on her life of virtue, on the graces obtained with her prayer during her life and with her intercession after her death. Furthermore, documents have been collected that speak of her life, work, pastoral action, and government in all the Countries in which she lived: Germany, Italy, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico.

The document was consigned in three copies: the original archetype which will be preserved in the diocesan archive, and two certified copies, which will be taken to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome.

The notary of the court, Mrs. Lourdes Jasso Arredondo, read the minutes of the closing session of the diocesan process. The formal act concluded with the oath of having faithfully fulfilled his office by Msgr. Efraín Mendoza Cruz, who declared the diocesan investigation definitively concluded. The other members of the tribunal also took the oath, placing their right hand on the book of the Gospels. The notary finished reading the act of attesting to it, signing and sealing the boxes, with the Bishop and the members of the court, so that no one can open them until they are delivered to Rome.

What is expected now from the Dicastery of Saints?

Once the formal act was completed, Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni explained the next steps to the assembly. The Dicastery will give legal validity to the diocesan process and will appoint a rapporteur who will coordinate the drafting of the document called ‘positio’, to demonstrate that Sister Antonietta lived in a heroic way the Christian virtues and has a great reputation for holiness and signs. A Postulation collaborator will help with the drafting. When the positio is ready, it will be subjected to the review of nine theologians, nine Cardinals and, if it is positive, the Pope will declare her Venerable.

“The cause does not stop here; now we must continue with all our commitment in prayer, asking the Lord for the miracle necessary for the beatification and above all, letting ourselves be inspired by this beautiful life, which offers us a life that has borne great fruit, despite being pruned in moments of sacrifice and difficulty,” underlined Fr. Pierluigi.

Subsequently, Sister Phyllis Neves addressed those present: “I am here on behalf of Mother General Chiara Cazzuola, to raise our thanks to the Lord and the Virgin Mary for the grace of taking these steps in the cause of dear Mother Antonietta. Her holiness consists in bringing out the sweetness, closeness, and tenderness of the Mother of God. Her characteristics were: her maternal attitude, understanding, explicit charity which was expressed in kindness towards all, attentive listening, faithful and creative government, the predilection for the poor, and for the salvation of the world, ardent love for Jesus. She had the call to make Mary Help of Christians transparent, for whom she became the blessing hand everywhere through the statuette, which belonged to Mother Ersilia Crugnola and donated to her in 1973, with the task of making her work.”

This gesture has been handed down through numerous blessings with the statuette of the Help of Christians given to the participants by Sister Estela Vidales López, FMA, continuing Mother Crugnola’s instruction to “Make her work”.

Recital “Seeds of love”

The event culminated with the recital “Seeds of Love”, an artistic expression created by a group of young Past Pupils, with the musical entertainment of the Éfeta group. Sister Guadalupe Chávez, Vice Postulator of the cause, and Sister Leticia Nava coordinated the group, with the collaboration of the FMA and lay people responsible for the costumes, choreography, and scenography.

Sister Antonietta’s life was told as a seed that the “Divine Sower” planted and grew with care in the shadow of His Love. In due time, the plant was pruned by suffering, to become a strong plant, then transplanted beyond the sea to other lands, to bear fruits of holiness, which manifested themselves in boundless charity. A plant chosen by Mary Help of Christians to be an instrument of God’s love, becoming a large tree that shades the needy and those who accept her maternal goodness. (Flyer Recital)

Photos: FMA MME


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