María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary

Last updated
c. 1943 Mother Maria Concepcion of the Nativity and the
Perpetual Help of Mary, mfPS
(1st Foundation 1942)
Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico NM02.jpg
c. 1943 Mother María Concepción of the Nativity and the
Perpetual Help of Mary, mfPS
(1st Foundation 1942)
Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico

María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary (María Concepción de la Natividad y el Perpetuo Socorro de María) is the religious name of the Reverend Mother Foundress of The Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary (mfPS) which she founded on June 24, 1942 in Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico.

Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary

The Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary (mfPS) is a single Roman Catholic active/contemplative religious order distinguished by three (3) Branches: the Men's Branch for Priests and Brothers/Friars, the Women's Branch for Nuns and the Lay Branch for those of all ages and professions, including the sick, dying, and those children conceived but as yet "unborn" or "pre-born".

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.


Early life

Born María Concepción Zúñiga López, María Concepción states that when she was still a young girl, Jesus Christ instructed and dictated the Rule and Constitutions of the Order to her. [1]

During and after María Concepción's First Holy Communion (which her mother helped her daughter to make in secret because her father was a 33rd degree Mason and all the Catholic churches and schools in Mexico at that time were closed, and most priests, bishops and Religious had to go into in hiding [1] due to the violent slaughter of Catholics by government forces or "Federales" under the Calles government) the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist spoke to little María Concepción and taught her the Faith and how to pray since she had received absolutely no religious education or catechesis at all during this time (1924-1928) of anti-Catholic, anti-Church religious persecution throughout Mexico by the atheist Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles.

Federales is a Spanglish word used in an informal context to denote security forces operating under a federal political system. The term gained widespread usage by English speakers due to popularization in such films as The Wild Bunch, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Blue Streak. The term is a cognate and counterpart to the slang "Feds" in the United States.

Jesus Central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, and is widely described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

Eucharist Christian rite

The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.

Living in a secular household during a time of violent religious persecution in Mexico, María Concepción Zúñiga López had never seen women living in a Religious community and did not even know Religious Life for women existed. At one point in her education, she was learning secretarial skills that include typing and short hand from a group of women who taught in a business school near her home. María Concepción told her spiritual director, a famous Mexican bishop in hiding, that she was drawn to a life of prayer and the bishop explained to her that the women who were teaching her were Carmelites in hiding (they did not wear a Religious habit but secular dresses) and actually belonged to a Religious Congregation (Catholic), the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Hermanas Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazon [2] ) founded in María Concepción's home town of Jalisco by Venerable Mother María Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament. [3]

Religious habit distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order

A religious habit is a distinctive set of religious clothing worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognisable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anchoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform style.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the term "congregation" is used not only in the senses that it has in other contexts, but also to mean specifically either a type of department of the Roman Curia, or a type of religious institute, or certain organized groups of Augustinian, Benedictine, and Cistercian houses.

Venerable Mother María Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, also called Mother Luisita was a Mexican Roman Catholic nun who founded the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mexico and the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.

Apostolic mission

Mother María Concepción

of the Nativity

and the Perpetual Help of Mary, mfPS
NM w mfPS 1971.jpg
Mother María Concepción with the Religious Nuns and Friars of the Order of Atonement, Christmas 1971
Title"Nuestra Madre"
Foundress of the Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary
María Concepción
Zúñiga López

(1914-12-08)8 December 1914
Died15 October 1979(1979-10-15) (aged 64)
Religion Roman Catholic
Nationality Mexican Citizen
Order Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary
Senior posting
Period in office1942–1979

Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary (mfPS) live the Primitive Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi and at their Profession make five (5) Vows: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, and two (2) special Vows particular to the Order, the Vow of Victim to the Divine Justice and Mercy of Christ, and the Vow of Obedience to the Pope. The Superior General of the Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary is the Pope, so Christ instructed the young María Concepción Zúñiga López regarding the focus of the work of the Franciscan Minims for the Holy See, which included living and preaching the Gospel in word, work and prayer to end schism within the Church and to catechize and convert schismatics, apostates, and those who had, in any way, separated themselves from the Church and the Vicar of Christ. Without exception, Mother María Concepción began all her writings and correspondence with the words: "Long Live the Vicar of Christ". [1] Paul VI (1963-1978) was the incumbent Pope during the Second Foundation of the Order of Atonement in Mexico City. [1]

María Concepción held that the work of the Apostolate of a Franciscan Minim Nun begins with their motto "Charity and Immolation" through Perpetual eucharistic adoration in union with the Eucharistic Victim Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. She and the Minim Nuns associated with the Order of Atonement of the mfPS live a religious life that is both active and contemplative. They have a special focus on catechizing Catholic mothers and women living in the world through frequent religious conferences and retreats for women given by the nuns.

Nun Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

Eucharistic adoration

Eucharistic adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic and some Lutheran traditions, in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful. This practice may occur either when the Eucharist is exposed, or when it is not publicly viewable because it is reserved in a place such as a church tabernacle.

Blessed Sacrament devotional name for the body and blood of Christ

The Blessed Sacrament, also Most Blessed Sacrament, is a devotional name used in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, as well as in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, and the Old Catholic Church, as well as in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, to refer to the body and blood of Christ in the form of consecrated sacramental bread and wine at a celebration of the Eucharist. In the Byzantine Rite, the terms Holy Gifts and Divine Mysteries are used to refer to the consecrated elements. Christians in these traditions believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic elements of the bread and wine and some of them, therefore, practice Eucharistic reservation and adoration. This belief is based on interpretations of both scripture and sacred tradition. The Catholic understanding has been defined by numerous ecumenical councils, including the Fourth Lateran Council and the Council of Trent, which is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Order which began as a "Pious Union" [4] (the Code of Canon Law after 1983 uses the term Associations of the faithful [5] [6] ) in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico on June 24, 1942 and given status as a sodality on October 2, 1942 never ceased to exist canonically even though it was disbanded on October 23, 1951 by Bishop Jose G. Anaya. Canonical status was reaffirmed in Rome under Pope Paul VI on October 30, 1963 after Mother María Concepción travelled to Rome under the auspices of the same Bishop of Zamora who had earlier disbanded the first Foundation. With the express authorization of the Sacred Congregation of Religious, dated October 1963, the Order was founded a second time in Chilapa, Guerrero, Mexico in January 1964. Again, it received approval as a Pious Union in Mexico on September 1, 1964 after being placed under the protection of a Mexican Bishop, Fidel de Sta Maria Cortes Perez, whom the Pope introduced to Mother María Concepción while she was in Rome. Pope Paul VI assigned this Bishop to assist the foundress during a visit to Rome in October 1963 to ask Pope Paul VI for his help to re-establish the Order and to give it his full papal approval. Following the death of Pope Paul VI and of several bishops involved with promoting the Order, and the intervention of some Mexican prelates in Mexico and in the Vatican who opposed the Order's receiving direct Papal institution, approval and direction, the status of this request is still pending[ when? ]. [1]

Fidel Sta Maria Cortes Perez, Bishop of Chilapa, wrote on September 1, 1964 (the Feast of Saint Anna the Prophetess, said to have been present when Mary and Joseph presented the Baby Jesus in the Temple 40 days after His Birth):

"Considering the good conduct, the noble goals that are proposed to atone to the Lord for the sins of men, of encouraging the spirit of prayer and of some other apostolates by the letter herewith,

WE APPROVE the Pious Union of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary, established in this city."

In 1963, just prior to the end of her exclaustration María Concepción Zúñiga López wrote in a brief autobiography of her life about the founding of the Order of Atonement, which she handed to Pope Paul VI during her first meeting with this Vicar of Christ:

That is why, one of the mysteries, the most easily comprehensible — if the expression fits for the human mind — is to teach souls the value of suffering, of their voluntary crucifixion in union with Him, Christ immolated. That is, Victimhood to Divine Justice. And here again I emphasize and urge very fervently, pleading and asking for the approbation of the Order of Atonement, so that being spread all over the world, it may spread, on its part, that devotion that will save the world on the day of final judgment.

And if, so that this might be, it would be better that I were not on earth, so that the immense joy of seeing that ideal realized might not detract from the glory of God or the good of my soul, I believe that if Your Holiness were to ask God to take me, He would do so. For being then with Him, there would be no danger of vanity and everything would be for His greater glory.

María Concepción Zúñiga López, My Best Book (October 3, 1963) translated from the Spanish by Sor San Andres [1]

Mother María Concepción died on October 15, the Feast of Saint Teresa of Avila, in 1979.

Historic delays and setbacks to the Order

A review of the evidence shows that in the lives of the Saints and founders of Religious Communities within the Church there are many examples of delay, betrayal, contradictions from members of the hierarchy and local prelates, persecutions, wars, schisms and setbacks of every sort.

While Mother María Concepción was still alive but after the death of the bishop of the Zamora foundation, the new bishop in the years following c. 1949–1952 along with some of the younger nuns wished to make changes to the Order that were not consistent with, and actually contradicted, what the foundress said Christ had told her. The foundress refused to compromise, and the Order was suppressed. [1] During the next 12 years of exclaustration Mother María Concepción documented that Jesus Christ made it clear to her that he had inspired others elsewhere worldwide regarding the formation of this Work of Atonement and Legion of Victim Souls. She later published and circulated to a subscription readership that extended worldwide that Christ had warned her that if Mexican prelates and others in Mexico continued to fail to establish "His" Order of Atonement, Christ would not be prevented meanwhile from, at the same time, inspiring others to do "His Will" elsewhere. [1]

Evidence of notable similarities exist in the founding of Opus Dei during the Spanish Civil War by Saint Josemaría Escrivá (1928); in the establishment of the Missionaries of Charity by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1946-1950), the founding of the Poor Clare Monastery of the Angels by Mother Angelica (1962) and Eternal Word Television Network (1981); the founding of the Home of the Mother on July 29, 1982 in Rome [7] by Fr Rafael Alonso Reymundo; in the establishment of the Order of Saint Benedict Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope, Handmaids of the Family [8] by Mother Miriam of Immaculate Heart Radio, The Station of the Cross and Catholic Answers; the establishment in Vladivostok, Russia in 1991 of the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord [9] followed in 2011 by the establishment of the CJD Canonissae in Jesu Domino or Sisters in Jesus the Lord, [10] and in the call of Pope John Paul II for religious orders to renew their communities which inspired the founding of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal by Fr Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. and seven (7) Order of Friars Minor Capuchin colleagues (1987); in the work of renewing Religious Life after Vatican II among the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia aka "the Nashville Dominicans", which led to new Religious foundations, including the Sisters of Life (1991) and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (1996-1997) established by Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor; and many other extraordinary Works of Atonement worldwide including the United States pro-life movement, which began in the USA between 1967 and 1970, and other manifestations of the Work of Atonement in Rwanda, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Russia, Korea, Eastern Europe and in many other countries.

After the death of Mother María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary, some in Mexico City who continued to live within the community in this Pious Union, along with others exterior to the community, gradually altered the Rule and Constitutions weakening the observance of the Primitive Rule of Saint Francis and such obligations as voting for a new Superior to direct the community on a regular basis. Eventually, spiritual direction and funding from those no longer in union with the Holy See provided the luxury of following a more comfortable devotional life along with the ability to develop properties in Mexico City and elsewhere. Notably, deletions and alterations in the writings of the Foundress and Founding documents began to be published.

Sor San Andres paraphrased from, Letters & Chron (1971-2017)

Such developments remain Secular institutes (some in union with the Holy See but others not in union, that is, in either material or formal schism). They offer their own singular vision and interpretation of the Work of Atonement and those living within or exterior to these institutions freely exercise their own interpretation of the Work of Atonement , to grow in perfection and the Charity of Christ.

1932 Symbolic Image of the Divine Justice with explanation of vision details, dates and imprimatur. Click on this image until it is a readable size. Vision DJ.jpg
1932 Symbolic Image of the Divine Justice with explanation of vision details, dates and imprimatur. Click on this image until it is a readable size.

Church approval can be delayed whenever interior locution or visions of Jesus and Mary are alleged. María Concepción was favored from the time of her First Holy Communion with these more unusual supernatural gifts. In 1932, at the age of 18, while still living a secular life in her family home in Jalisco and ten (10) years before the First Foundation of the Order in Zamora, María Concepción had a Vision, after which she illustrated and explained the Symbolic Image of the Divine Justice. [1] The Church gave its approval for the propagation of this Symbolic Image of the Divine Justice and the explanation of the Vision with several imprimaturs including the most recent imprimatur of Fidel Sta Maria Cortes Perez, the Bishop of Chilapa, who was appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1963 to protect the Second Foundation of the Order along with its growth in Mexico City after the Founding Nuns moved from their temporary residence in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa to property donated for a permanent Monastery in the Federal District in the Tepeyac hills behind the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

May ALL be For the Greater Glory of God. †AMDG†

mfPS media closing, used in all correspondence and media published or edited by Rev Mother María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary and the "Minims" [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 María Concepción Zúñiga López. My Best Book. ESTRELLA Magazine, Mary Conzulo.
  2. "Timeline" . Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  3. "Mother Luisita". 14 July 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  4. "Dictionary : PIOUS UNION" . Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  5. Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, replaced in 1983 by a revised Code, associations of the faithful were called piae uniones ("pious unions"). Terms
  6. "Associationes fidelium quae ad exercitium alicuius operis pietatis aut caritatis erectae sun, nomine veniunt 'piarum unionum'; quae, si ad modum organici corporis sunt constitutae, 'sodalitia' audiunt" (Associations of the faithful which are established for carrying out some pious or charitable work are called "pious unions"; if they are constituted as an organic body, they are referred to as "sodalities") - canon 707 §1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
  7. "Home of the Mother" . Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  8. "Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope" . Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  9. "Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord" . Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  10. "Sisters of Jesus the Lord" . Retrieved 6 December 2016.