Spotlight on Spiritual Maternity: Ven. Concepción Cabrera de Armida ("Conchita")
Congregation for the Clergy
"Conchita" was a wife and mother with children. Over the course of many years, Jesus prepared her to live a life of spiritual motherhood for priests. In the future, she will be of great importance for the universal Church.
Jesus once explained to Conchita, “There are souls, who through ordination receive a priestly anointing. However, there are ... also priestly souls who do not have the dignity or the ordination of a priest, yet have a priestly mission. They offer themselves united to me… these souls help the Church in a very powerful spiritual way. … You will be the mother of a great number of spiritual children, yet they will cost your heart the death of a thousand martyrs.
“Bring yourself as an offering for the priests. Unite your offering with my offering, to obtain graces for them.” … “I want to come again into this world. … in my priests. I want to renew the world by revealing myself through the priests. I want to give my Church a powerful impulse in which I will pour out the Holy Spirit over my priests like a new Pentecost.
“The Church and the world need a new Pentecost, a priestly Pentecost, an interior Pentecost.”
As a young girl, Conchita once prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, “Lord, I feel so incapable of loving you; therefore, I want to marry. Give me many children so that they can love you more than I.” She had a very happy marriage, and gave birth to nine children—two girls and seven boys, each of whom she consecrated to Our Lady, “I give them entirely to you as your children. You know that I am not capable of raising them. I understand too little of what it means to be a mother. But you...you know it.” She endured the death of four of her children, each dying a holy death.
Naturally, Conchita’s spiritual motherhood was very apparent in one of her sons who became a priest. She wrote about him, “Manuel was born in the same hour that Fr. José Camacho died. Upon hearing the news, I prayed to God that my son could replace him at the altar. … When little Manuel began to talk, we prayed together for the great grace of a vocation to the priesthood. … On the day of his First Holy Communion and on all the major solemnities, he renewed this prayer. … At the age of 17, he joined the Society of Jesus.”
Her third child, Maneul was born in 1889. While living in Spain, he wrote to his mother about his decision to become a priest. She wrote back to him, “Give yourself to the Lord with all your heart, and do not hold anything back! Forget about creatures and forget especially about yourself! I cannot imagine someone consecrated to God who is not a saint. One cannot give only half of oneself to God. Be generous with him!”
In 1914, she met Manuel in Spain for the last time, because he never returned to Mexico. He wrote in a letter to her, “My dear little mother, you have shown me the way. Fortunately, I have heard from your lips since my earliest years the challenging and saving teaching of the Cross. Now I want to put it into practice.” His mother felt the pain of separation, “I took your letter to the tabernacle and told the Lord that I accept this sacrifice with my whole soul. The next day I was carrying your letter close to my heart when I received Holy Communion and, in this way, renewed my total offering to the Lord.”
This testimony first appeared in the 2007 publication Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity, published by the Congregation for the Clergy. Reprinted with permission.