211th Anniversary of the Birth of María Antonia París y Riera

27 June 2024

Today we celebrate with joy and gratitude the 211th anniversary of the birth of María Antonia París y Riera, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.

María Antonia París was born on June 28, 1813. Her life began in the midst of a very unfavourable situation. The French troops had entered Catalonia and the War of Independence was spreading throughout the country. Her father had died two months before she was born. Her mother, Teresa Riera, arrived in Vallmoll, a widow with a three-year-old daughter, fleeing from the French soldiers and in an advanced state of pregnancy. Her story begins in a tough and painful reality, but this does not condition her or slow her down in her daring journey. All the more reason to thank God for her life. Despite the loss of her father, the reality of war and politics, she was forged in her a strong character in the face of adversity, present not only at the beginning of her life but throughout her personal experience, which left a deep mark on her experience of God and led her to live from a radical availability, abandonment and fidelity to the Father.

Her life was marked by her physical fragility from birth. Due to the circumstances of her birth, Maria Antonia’s mother feared for her daughter’s life and arranged her baptism as soon as possible. She was baptised the day after her birth, on 29 June 1813, on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Her mother used to say “that she came into the world for a great thing, for without a special providence of the Lord, she would not have been born alive”.

For many years, she had searched for the meaning of her life until she discovered God’s work in the midst of frailty and her place in the Church. In her, we experience God’s love and care for us as a source of growth in faith, prayer and vocation.

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.