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Buenos Aires: Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy & tomb of Mamma Antula

About the Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy (Nuestra Senora de la Mercedin) in Buenos Aires:

The Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy (known as Iglesia de la Merced ) is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in the city of Buenos Aires .  Originally the site was ceded to the Dominican Order; then in 1589, the Mercedarian fathers arrived in the country and took charge of the land and building.   In 1603 a small adobe church with wood and straw roofs, which was dedicated to the Virgen de las Mercedes , and an adjoining convent .

In 1721 the construction of a larger building was planned along with the Jesuit and Italian architects Giovanni Andrea Bianchi and Giovanni Battista Prímoli arrived in Buenos Aires , who worked intensively on the current Argentina, designing several churches in Buenos Aires, and the Jesuit ranches in the current Province of Córdoba .

In 1733 the nave, the dome, the chancel and the transept were added and the building was finished around 1779.

The Mercedarian order left the country, along with others, due to the Ecclesiastical Reform Law initiated by Governor Martín Rodríguez and his minister Bernardino Rivadavia in 1823 .

In 1894 , a total remodeling of the building began, whose façade was modified by the architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo . The interiors were also worked on by various artists, who made mural paintings and stuccoes that gave more splendor to the sober interiors of the colonial era. The inauguration of the works took place on April 24 , 1900 .

In 1917 Pope Benedict XV conferred the hierarchy of Minor Basilica.

The tomb of Mamma Antula in the Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy in Buenos Aires:

One of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Buenos Aires is here:  the tomb of Antonia de Paz y Figueroa (1730-1799), religious name María Antonia of Saint Joseph. She later simply was known as “Mama Antula“.

Born in 1730 into a wealthy family, the future saint left home at 15 to avoid an arranged marriage. Her family expected her to enter a convent, but that was not her calling. Nuns in the 18th century were cloistered and Mama Antula, after meeting Jesuit priests, decided to dedicate her life to working with them and spreading the Word.  As it turned out, the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish colonies in the Americas in 1767,  so Mama Antula kept up the efforts of the Jesuits’ spending years walking throughout Argentina (estimates are that she walked over 3,000 miles)  and teaching about the church in Quechua, the language from her home province of Santiago de Estero in the north of the country, and Spanish, Argentina’s official language.

She helped to promote the idea of an independent Argentina, but in such a way as to not draw the ire of the Spanish viceroys.

In Buenos Aires, she established the Daughters of the Divine Savior.

The movement to canonize her began in 1905.  On Aug. 27, 2016, she was proclaimed venerable,  due to a miracle that took place in 1904:  A follower in Buenos Aires was inexplicably cured of an acute and generalized infection (and clearly without antibiotics). The sick girl, María Rosa Vanina, recovered days after praying for Mama Antula’s intercession.

She was beatified by Pope Francis in 2016, and now the next step will be Sainthood.

Her tomb here in Our Lady of Mercy Basilica has become an increasingly important pilgrimage site.

Finding the Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy (Nuestra Senora de la Mercedin) in Buenos Aires:

It is located next to the Convent of San Ramón Nonato and is located a few meters from the Plaza de Mayo , in the financial city of the city.
next to the Convent of San Ramón Nonato

Address:  Reconquista 207, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires

Tel:  +54 11 4042-4312

email:  plmerced@gmail.com

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