Paraguayans rejoice for sainthood of one of their own

Friday, Apr. 13, 2018
By Catholic News Service

ASUNCION, Paraguay (CNS) — In rural Paraguay in 2002, a newborn who spent 20 minutes without signs of life after the umbilical cord was cut was declared dead after attempts to revive him failed.

A nurse at the scene then prayed for the intercession of “Chiquitunga” and the baby came back to life. The miraculous healing of Angel Ramon in the department of San Pedro was attributed to the intercession of the venerable Servant of God Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in a March 7 decree announcing her beatification from the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

The eldest of seven children, Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria was born in Villarica, Paraguay, Jan. 12, 1925. Chiquitunga, as she was popularly known, will become the first Paraguayan woman to undergo beatification, a step toward sainthood.

Maria Felicia was a member of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites when she died in Asuncion April 28, 1959, after contracting hepatitis. “Our joy is overflowing” at this anxiously awaited announcement, said Carmelite Father Cornelio Villalba.

We thank God for this great gift,” he said, noting that the church in Paraguay now has to “prepare for this great event.” More than 60,000 people are expected to attend the June 23 beatification Mass at the General Pablo Rojas Stadium in Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital.

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