A SAINT FOR OUR ISLANDS

(This is the first of a series of articles which the Committee for the Canonization of Mother Margarita Maturana will publish in the next few months. The purpose of this series is to make the faithful of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa aware about the amazing person of Mother Margarita and the blessings that have flowed through her work in Mercedarian Missions around the world.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our islands had a saint they could call their own? It’s a reality that could take place very soon, and you could be a part of it.

Recently, Sr. Flor de Maria Alvarez MMB., the General Postulator of the Mercedarian Sisters, came to Saipan to update us on the Canonization process of Mother Margarita Maturana. The Mercedarian Sisters first touched the soil of our islands on March 4, 1928. This weekend marks the 89th Anniversary of the arrival of the Mercedarian Sisters, who have served for so many years and been an inspiration for many. We celebrate the joy of their service.

Mother Margarita was declared Venerable in 1987 by Pope John Paul II and Beatified on October 22, 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. She has already had one miracle attributed to her, and can now be declared a saint of the Universal Church, through another miracle or an “Equivalent Canononization,” which does not require a miracle. This means that the Pope can waive the second miracle requirement, if there has been a long standing devotion to Mother Margarita among the faithful.

Mother Margarita looked at Christ, His Mother and the Church and had an irresistible desire to transform the cloistered order to a missionary order. The impossibility of a poor, cloistered order carrying out this evangelization came to fruition because Mother answered God’s call and entrusted the rest to His providence.

Our Mother of Mercy always guided this humble order of nuns, who take a fourth vow “to lay down their lives, if necessary, for the salvation of souls.” Originally they made this vow to ransom captive Christians , who might lose their faith in Moorish lands. But Mother Margarita saw a bigger field of captives – those in faraway lands who did not know Christ.

She wanted to spread the faith to the most remote areas of the world. She considered the Pacific Islands “the ends of the earth,”but these were also her favorite missions among the many around the world. She loved the simplicity and openness of island peoples, and the people loved her too. Her spirit was contagious. Today we still see her smiling at us from her picture that hangs in Mount Carmel Cathedral.

Her spirit remains and many favors have been granted through her intercession. Today, at Maturana, the work of the Mercedarian Sisters is still strong in the Marianas. Mother Margarita’s influence has circled the world. Her cause for Canonization is our cause as well, because she is our saint.

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