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The Blessed Concepción de Armida, affectionately known as Conchita, lived a simple and joyous life on earth. What is most striking to us about Conchita is the many facets of her life. She fulfilled all the vocations of a woman: fiancee, wife, mother, widow, and grandmother. She died as a religious in the arms of her children after being given a special indulgence by Pius X. Two aspects of Conchita’s life deserve our attention: first, the sort of family life she led and second, the richness of her spiritual teachings.

Who Was Conchita?

Conchita was born on December 8, 1862 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. She was the seventh of twelve children; eight boys and four girls. She spent her childhood and adolescence in the “haciendas” sailing, horseback riding, swimming, diving, and canoeing. After the age of nine, she had no formal schooling outside of her home. Her parents had teachers come to the house to give instruction and teach her music. She loved to play the piano and was gifted with a lovely voice. In her diary, she tells us her parents were excellent Christians. “At the hacienda, each day my father presided over the recitation of the rosary in the chapel with the whole family, the farm workers, and some country folk present. My mother passed on to my soul love of the Most Blessed Virgin and of the Eucharist” (Philipon, 1978, p. 4-5).

Conchita met her future husband at a family party when she was thirteen. A short time later, they were engaged. Her courtship with Francisco Armida lasted nine years. Of her engagement she says: “I loved him with a great simplicity, as wholly enveloped in my love for Jesus. I did not see there was any other pathway to God…” (p. 15). On November 8, 1884, at twenty-one years of age, she married Francisco whom she called Pancho. At the wedding banquet, she asked Pancho to promise her he would do two things: allow her to attend Mass and receive Communion daily, and never to be jealous.

Conchita and Pancho were a model couple. Their love for each other grew with their love for Christ. She found that marriage set her free to pray better and to practice little sacrifices. At times, life was strained between Conchita and her in-laws and those around her. She underwent many humiliations but accepted them with charity.

Conchita and Pancho had their first child, Francisco, on September 28, 1885. Their son Carlos followed on March 28, 1887 and died of typhoid at the age of six. She shares in her diary, “His death was heartbreaking for me, and I felt such pain as I had never felt before” (p. 18). On January 23, 1889, Manuel was born. Manuel later joined the seminary and then became a Jesuit priest. Maria de la Concepción, born on September 29, 1890, was their first daughter. She entered the convent of the Sisters of the Cross (which Conchita herself founded). Conchita and Pancho had five other children: Ignacio, Pablo, Salvador, Pedro, and Lupe. Very tragically, Pedro drowned in the pool of their garden when he was a young child.

Conchita’s home was filled with joy. Her children said of her: “Mama always smiled… she was the greatest mother that ever lived!” (P. 38). She was always aware that her place as mother and educator was most important. She says: “I must form the hearts of my eight children, fight against eight temperaments, keep them out of harm…a great deal of patience, great prudence and a great deal of virtue are necessary for carrying out this mission of mother in a holy way” (p. 36). By the time her youngest daughter, Lupe, was old enough to go to school, the Mexican government’s persecution of the Catholic Church was reaching its peak. Conchita decided to home-school Lupe to ensure that she would receive a proper Catholic formation.

Conchita’s Spiritual Growth

Conchita’s mission was not limited to just her family circle. God wanted her to be a model for so many who are called to the service of the Church as lay men and women. Conchita lived in her home, but her horizons were those of the Church.

When she was twenty-seven, she attended her first retreat. It was there that God showed her vocation as a lay apostle: “Your mission will be to save souls”. Conchita’s apostolate grew from the circumstances of her family and social life. She founded the Works of the Cross which consists of five different apostolates for different groups. The Apostolate of the Cross is for large groups of faithful. The Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a contemplative order of sisters who offer their lives for the Church, especially for priests. For especially gifted souls, she founded the Covenant of Love, persons in their own state of life commit themselves to spirituality of the Cross. The Fraternity of Christ the Priest was for priests and bishops who want to live in the spirituality of the Cross. The last work is The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, a clerical religious congregation specially devoted to priestly work and spiritual direction of souls. Conchita offered herself as a victim for priests, knowing the impact that holy priests can have on the Church.

At the age of thirty-nine, Conchita was left a widow with eight children. Pancho contracted typhoid and died on September 17, 1901. She writes: “I helped him to die at peace. Three of our children were present when he died, and I, at that instant consecrated myself to God for always in the presence of him who had been such a prefect companion for me” (p. 53). Her husband’s death abruptly changed her life.

On March 26, 1906 God granted Conchita the grace of the “mystical incarnation”. Christ filled her soul. He wanted in her an extension of his incarnation. God especially emphasized the priestly offering of Christ crucified for the salvation of men and the glory of the Father under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Her teaching has its source in the Gospel and in the mystery of the Salvation of the world through the Cross. Conchita wrote extensively for all: married life, family life, for religious, for priests, for all the laity in the world. For more than forty years, on the advice of her spiritual directors, she faithfully kept a diary that numbered sixty-six handwritten manuscripts which equals in number the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Conchita died a holy death on March 3, 1937. The last years of her life were difficult. Conchita offered herself in sacrifice for the Church, for priests, for homes, and for the renewal of the world through the Cross. On December 20, 1999, she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II.

Conchita’s education in sanctity began in her home where her parents educated her from the time she was nine years old. She grew to become a devoted wife and mother of eight children, the youngest of which she home-schooled. Conchita is a model of holiness in the home and especially a model for all home-schooling mothers and families.

References and additional resources

Find out more about Venerable Conchita and “A Mother’s Spiritual Diary”

Philipon, M.M. O.P. (Ed.). (1978). Conchita A Mother’s Spiritual Diary. New York: St. Paul’s Alba House.

Philipon, M.M. O.P.Conchita A Modern Mystic. Coyoacán: Editorial Cimiento, A.C.

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Prayer For Christian Families

“Under Thy paternal gaze, O Lord, and with confidence in Thy Providence and in the loving patronage of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the family will become a sanctuary of virtue and a school of wisdom.”

Excerpt from Pope Pius XII’s Prayer for Christian Families


"The entire educational process must be carried out with love, which is perceptible in every disciplinary measure and which does not instill any fear. And the most effective educational method is not the word of instruction but the living example without which all words remain useless."

Edith Stein

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