present the posthumous work of the great spiritual theologian, Marie-Michel Philipon, O.P.,
a theological work on the spirit and doctrine of the Servant of God, María Concepción
Cabrera de Armida. He entitles it simply:
Conchita, a Mother's Spiritual Diary. This
study took up most of his time during the last years of his life, for he realized it would
bring us a spiritual message of capital importance, a gift of Providence for the Church of
first contact Father Philipon had with Conchita's life and doctrine took place during a
voyage he made to our Scholasticate in Mexico. He arrived in 1954 to give a series of
intuitive talent – as he himself said – discovered this great treasure for the Church.
It aroused in him the desire to make her known, especially to his European readers.
quite a few reasons not only the publication of his book was delayed but also its
elaboration. Not the least reason was the
problem of understanding a foreign language, considering the style so characteristic and so
personal of Conchita's writings, as well as the overpowering task of bringing together such
God, in His Providence, opened the way and the Father's spirit of obedience was decisive in
the matter. Prominent ecclesiastics and his
religious superiors let him know he would render a service to the Church by making known
Conchita's spiritual doctrine, especially today when there is coming about, a certain
neglect or loss of the meaning of essential Christian values.
Philipon returned several times to Mexico to become acquainted in depth with the
environment. He also, in keeping with his
method, wanted to collect some authentic testimonials from living witnesses, and so, once he
had an over-all view, he set himself to, edit the work.
When it was almost completed, the Lord willed to call him to Himself.
first part, which he entitled The Story of her Life was
fully edited by him. The first two chapters of
the second part, "Great Spiritual Themes," i.e., "The Mystical Writer"
– which he might well have wanted to revise somewhat more, but which we present fully
respecting the text – and "The Doctrine of the Cross," which he called the
central chapter, are entirely from his pen. He
only failed to point out some perspectives on the last three themes, The Virgin
of the Cross, The Mystery of the Church and The
Abysses of the Trinity.
When he was in the course of writing about Mary, God called him, but he left behind some
notes, outlines and a choice of texts. I have only taken over the responsibility of
putting them in shape, and making them available because of the spiritual wealth which they
contain, and I say this publicly out of an elementary concern for literary honesty.
simply, I admit why I was induced to do what I have done and make this resolution.
knew Father Philipon in 1994, when I was prefect of studies in our Scholasticate.
There came about a deep affinity of thought between us, and from this moment on he
chose me as his main assistant and counselor, due to my knowledge of Conchita’s writings.
lengthy conversations, he told me again and again humorously and sincerely: "I keep my
full freedom and my own way of thinking." In
his notes he wrote: "I have spoken with Father de la Rose hundreds of times."
That is why I think I know his innermost thoughts wholly objectively and why I have
taken on myself the responsibility of finishing this work, following, with the greatest
fidelity, his thinking which I know perfectly.
Philipon intended to write a prologue to explain some principles of method for clarifying
the meaning, the intent and the limitations of his work.
knows that this is as a rule the last page an author writes when he himself judges his work
as a whole. Fortunately he wrote the main
ideas, ideas which would have been expressed most carefully and elaborated in his own
personal literary style.
present below his notes which I think are
essential for the understanding of his posthumous work.
did not want to write about Conchita. Despite
myself I was impelled by the force of events, that is by Providence.
Prominent ecclesiastical personages who knew Conchita or who were acquainted with her
doctrine, convinced me to write.
the slightest pretense of wanting to say everything, rather on the contrary in full
awareness of the partial and imperfect nature of this book, I have simply wished to respond
to the manifest call of God and be the pen which endeavors to present the spiritual message
of an admirable daughter of the Church of God.
fundamental document: The Account of Conscience is
not a biography but a Diary, and not a complete one which jots down day after day all the happenings of
human existence. Rather it is a Spiritual
Diary which only relates mainly the intimate relationships she had with God.
These relationships she faithfully wrote down during more than forty years in
obedience to the formal command of her spiritual directors.
unique, providential fact which permits us to follow step by step from the age of thirty-two
to seventy-five, the progressive ascent toward God of a privileged soul, a soul of
exceptional heroism, endowed with a spiritual message, for the whole Church and for all men
of today, a soul which had received from God the mission of recalling to the world that
apart from the Cross, there is no salvation.
diary does not report everything but it does explain everything. We must begin with
the psychological and concrete data whence sprang the mystical intuitions and the spiritual
doctrine. Both are inseparable.
Whence we have two complementary parts: Her
Life Story, thence The Doctrine, the Great
was impossible to say everything and to set within one single volume the myriad of pages of
this mystical author, seemingly the most prolific of contemporary literature.
we manage to express the essence of a Spiritual Diary which has at least sixty-six thick
bundles of manuscripts? We had no other
ambition, no better intention than that of revealing to the world the inexhaustible riches
of the Cross and of the mysteries of God contained in these writings.
We think they constitute one of the present day treasures of the Church of Christ.
Church along will judge it, for the Lord has entrusted it to bring men to God and He has
granted it, with the help of His Spirit, the gift of an infallible discernment of spirits.
submit unreservedly this attempt to recall to the
world the mystery of the Cross which is set at the innermost center of the Gospel and at the
heart of the Christian mystery.
be sure, on certain points, before this life and doctrine of a Mexican woman who spent her
days far from Europe, there is aroused a feeling of surprise and a questioning of its
suitability for our modern way of thinking.
danger lay in modifying what she wrote according to our contemporaneous categories which,
besides, will very soon be outmoded. We are
ever annoyed at and distrustful of what we read about Chinese thinking or Hindu mysticism by
a Westerner. There is always a danger it is
Europeanized and consequently altered. We do
not modify a Chinese thought without deforming it.
seemed to us preferable and truer to bring the reader into a personal contact with the
original by way of a translation as faithful as possible, expressive of Conchita's
psychological reactions and her characteristic mentality, for Conchita's Spanish text is
filled with Mexicanisms.
folklore is fashionable today. Radio, TV have
taken on a more and more planetary sense which makes us better understand and feel the
resemblances and differences which bring together or separate men, their civilizations and
their cultures, the various expressions of their religious sentiments.
II has made us experience that the Catholicity of the Church is not uniform but is unity
amid variety. Never have men measured, with
such comprehension and objectivity, at the same time their basic unity and their legitimate
diversities. Christ was an oriental.
Nonetheless all men recognize themselves in this man.
same holds true for all the saints of Catholicism. No
matter what their origin, their race and the color of their skins, no matter what their
social class and the forms of their culture or even of their illiteracy, we feel ourselves one
with them in Christ.
a Mexican, is a saint of our own. She is our
sister in Christ. She has become through her apostolic zeal and her heroic immolation
the spiritual mother of a multitude of souls who, as did she, want to walk in the footsteps
of Christ to be crucified with Him and save men with Him.
is close to us. This daughter of Mexico is
bound by the communion of saints to all her brothers and sisters in Christ.
She is a model for all, not in her personal and inimitable charisms but in her love
for Christ, in her life offered up for her Church.
is in this spirit of Catholicity, her example and her writings are to be approached.
Then it is, we marvel at the multiform riches of the capital grace of Christ.
us distrust our Cartesian, Hegelian, existentialist and western mentalities.
The center of the Church is in Rome, but its radiance extends no more to Europe alone
than to all the countries of the Universe.
is a witness of this Catholicity. Her message
is addressed to priests and religious souls but also to the laity.
She is a model for all.
appear to us the designs of Providence."
were, then, the notes and comments brought together by Father Philipon.
Roberto de la Rosa, Missionary of the Holy Spirit