During the ceremony, held in the Basilica of Guadalupe, the nun, founder of the Claretian Missionaries of the Most Holy Sacrament and of the Missionaries of Christ for the universal Church, was declared blessed, the step that precedes canonization.
“Most Revered Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, as bishop of the diocese of Cuernavaca and on behalf of the Inesian Family, I ask you humbly to transmit to the Holy Father Benedict XVI our profound gratitude for having proclaimed Blessed the Venerable Servant of God Mother Maria Ines Teresa of the Most Holy Sacrament,” said Bishop Alfonso Cortés, after the Holy Father’s envoy read the text of the Apostolic Letter announcing the beatification.
Unveiled at the moment of the proclamation was a giant tapestry of Manuela de Jesús Arias Espinosa, the nun’s birth name.
Prolonged applause followed the unveiling, while a relic of the new blessed was taken in procession and placed in the presbytery by Mother General Julia Meijueiro and Francisco Javier Carrillo Guzmán, the boy whom Maria Inés Teresa of the Most Holy Sacrament saved from death, making possible her beatification with the proof of the miracle obtained through her intercession. On June 27, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI endorsed the miracle attributed to the nun.
During the homily, Cardinal Amato said that this beatification is another gift that the Holy Father makes to the Church and to all the Mexican people.
“The Pope loves her noble homeland. He has come to it as a pilgrim to encourage you to be firm in hope (…). You deserve to overcome all the difficulties to live serenely in solidarity and concord. The Holy Father’s visit was an injection of encouragement for a future of peace, concord and well-being,” added Cardinal Amato, addressing the thousands of faithful who attended the celebration.
The cardinal described the personal charism of Maria Inés Teresa of the Most Holy Sacrament, saying she was “generous in work, fervent in prayer, humble, self-sacrificing and always ready to help.”
The ceremony, which lasted approximately three hours, was concelebrated by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera and the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, as well as some 40 Mexican bishops of various dioceses of the country.
Known affectionately as “Manuelita,” the nun made her profession in the Ave Maria Monastery on Dec. 12, 1930. After fulfilling several stages of the religious life she made her final profession on Dec. 14, 1933.
Her cloistered life lasted until 1949. Four years earlier Sister Maria Inés Teresa received the news that the authorization had been signed in Rome to found the Claretian Missionaries of the Most Holy Sacrament, a new Catholic Congregation with a contemplative and apostolic ideal which was born officially on August 23, 1945, in the city of Cuernavaca. On June 22, 1951, the Holy See endorsed the new Religious Order definitively.
In time the nuns extended their evangelical activity to several countries of Asia and Africa, the United States and several Latin American and European nations.
The Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries was further strengthened on Jan. 5, 1953, when the Holy See authorized the formation of the Claretian Vanguards, a lay movement that has developed in step with the Religious Order.
The nuns are a Eucharistic, Marian and Missionary Congregation leading a contemplative-active life and adhering to the Divine Will, source of joy, with Jesus Christ as their center.
They take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience and witness fraternal love “always in a spirit of understanding and service, lived in love and peace, charity being what stimulates them to live not for themselves but for all souls in need.”
The founder did not leave texts for the Sisters of her Congregation, but her work, which left 36 missionary houses in 14 countries around the world, as well as the missionary work of priests in Sierra Leone and Mexico.
The new Blessed was born in Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit, on July 7, 1904. She died on July 22, 1981 in Rome, Italy, a few months after being received by the then Pope John Paul II on December 9, 1980.
She was the fifth of eight siblings born in a Christian family. She received her First Communion when she was seven. Her vocation arose in 1924 and five years later she entered the Ave Maria Monastery.
Those were the years of religious persecution stemming from the Cristero War (1926-1929), and the monastery moved to Los Angeles, California.
She is the founder of the Congregations of Claretian Missionaries (1945) and of the Missionaries of Christ for the Universal Church (1979).
Created in the middle of the last century, the Congregation of Missionaries, governed by the motto Oportet illum regnare (It Is Urgent that Christ Reign) and with a presence in 14 countries, is the main legacy of the new Blessed.