Mother María Antonia. A strong and committed woman

On the bicentennial of her birth, the figure of Mother Maria Antonia emerges as an example of a woman committed to her most vulnerable peers.

Marisa Cotolí-September 16, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
maria antonia

February 2, 1870, Antonia María de Oviedo y SchönthalWith the wisdom of one who is constantly searching, she chose a new name: Antonia Maria de la Misericordia. 

In the stories of the prophets, mercy is an overwhelming characteristic of God, who hears the suffering of those who have been condemned on earth by other human beings, and intervenes out of love.

For Mother Antonia, women become a missionary key and the love given to them becomes the lifeblood of the Congregation. They reveal to us the face of God.

Antonia Maria's life, her identity as a strong and intelligent woman and her identity as a mother, teacher and religious, announce life for the women of today. Antonia Maria was a woman, inhabited by God, who discovered the freedom and humility of being fully present to generously give her life for the benefit of others. 

His main desire was to be in God's desire. With a human gaze, she discovered life and, with a humanizing gaze, she enhanced it. A woman passionate about life, she contemplated the beauty and art of Creation. Her artistic skills in literature, music and painting refined her sensitivity. She deeply developed her studies and cultivated her own talent, in the midst of a society in which the sphere of female activity was very restricted. 

Antonia Maria knew how to take advantage of the factors of culturization to enter the modern world through culture. She used her intelligence and enthusiasm to learn throughout her life and to teach with courage.

The pain of many women in prostitution did not escape her notice. Surprised and moved, she discovered the call to a dignity-enhancing service. 

Her willingness to give her life, by opening the first shelter, brought about an inner transformation, which had a radical impact on her life and that of many women. 

Vocation oblate

The vocation we have received makes us especially sensitive to the injustices in which many women are immersed in situations of prostitution, gender violence and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

This leads us to live as contemplatives in action, to pray with women to a God who listens to them and helps them to believe in themselves and to believe that oppression and death do not have the last word. 

Called to live in community, we form a family that is an expression of fraternity and a sign of joy, mercy, tenderness and hope in different realities. And this is possible because we believe in a God who offers us every day the possibility of freeing us from what oppresses us and of giving us the strength to stand up and walk looking towards the future with hope. 

Back to the essence of charisma

This second centenary of the birth of Antonia Maria de Oviedo y Schönthal is an opportunity to make visible the life of a great woman who, with total trust in God, dared to found and energize a Congregation, with a name of her own, which she herself honored: the Oblates of the Most Holy Redeemer.

A woman, in whose life is revealed gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, intelligence, courage, joy and strength combined with fragility, of one who knows that she belongs only to God. 

For the congregation, this means the possibility of revitalizing, updating and deploying the charism and mission, inserted in the reality of the world, attentive to social changes and to the situations of greater vulnerability suffered by women. 

A propitious time to promote devotion to Venerable Mother Antonia de la Misericordia, whose beatification process is still active, awaiting the recognition of her sanctity by the Church. 

We wish to continue to promote the Oblate charism and mission in an innovative way. Attentive and open to what the most vulnerable realities of the world demand, and responding creatively and boldly. 

Promoting equality and inclusion and denouncing the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and all kinds of situations that violate human rights. 

We want to let the world know that life can win the pulse of death. That it is possible to live from the fundamental values of welcome, respect, justice, equality and love.

The authorMarisa Cotolí

Vicepostulator for the cause of beatification of Mother Maria Antonia

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.