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Fronteras: San Antonio's First Saint? The Journey Of Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy

Intercession prayer card for Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy.
Intercession prayer card for Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy.

A woman who came to South Texas by way of Ireland in the late 19th century is on a path to possibly become the first saint in South Texas.

Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy created a church and a school for Black children at the time of segregated education. She founded the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate in San Antonio in 1893, which now has a legacy of serving the poor and people of color in the community. Since her death in 1907, Mother Margaret Mary’s ministry has spread across several Southern states and into Mexico and Africa.

Sister Geraldine Klein, General Superior with the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate, explained the canonization process is long and complicated. It involves the approval of the archbishop and work with a canon lawyer to pass on Mother Margaret Mary’s legacy to postulators, who guide a cause for beatification or canonization required by the Roman Catholic Church.

“When we talk about saints, we all kind of think about those way over there in Italy or France or the northern part of the United States,” said Sister Geraldine, “and we don't think about anybody ever coming out of the rough life of South Texas, coming to San Antonio, doing what she did in the time that she did it.”

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren