Queen Isabella I of Castile, Spain. / Credit: New World Encyclopedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
ACI Prensa Staff, Nov 29, 2023 / 12:55 pm (CNA).
On Nov. 26, 1504, Queen Isabella of Spain — known as “the Catholic” monarch — died, and more than 500 years later, 133 Masses were celebrated in her memory in thanksgiving for her life and legacy as well as to promote the cause for her canonization.
For several years, the Enraizados en Cristo y en la Sociedad Association (Rooted in Christ and in Society) has kept up an ongoing campaign to promote devotion to the queen of Castile, who has been named a Servant of God by the Catholic Church.
This year, 133 Masses were celebrated with this intention, most of them in Spain but also in Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States.
The campaign joins the relaunch of the diocesan commission to promote the cause of canonization of the queen. The diocesan phase, which began in 1958 in the Archdiocese of Valladolid, was concluded in 1972.
Transferred to Rome, the historical “positio” (a formal brief arguing for canonization) was approved in 1990 as “authentic, complete, and suitable for judging the virtues and reputation for sanctity” of the monarch, the wife of King Ferdinand of Aragon and “unanimously praised by the consultants of the historical section of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,” as detailed on the website of the commission for the canonization of the queen.
In 1993, the Spanish Bishops’ Conference asked Pope John Paul II to expedite the procedures for the cause. The Vatican Secretariat of State responded that “a suitable time of study and reflection” was prudent due to unspecified circumstances. Subsequently, both in 1997 and in 2001, these requests were renewed.
The opinion of the Vatican Theological Commission is necessary for the queen to be declared Venerable, a prior step to her consideration as Blessed.
The archbishop of Valladolid, Luis Argüello, explained his pastoral decision to relaunch the cause of Queen Isabella both in Spain and in Latin America in an article posted on the archdiocesan website in January. Among other points, he noted the success of the publication of the proceedings of the international symposium “Elizabeth the Catholic and the Evangelization of America,” now in its second edition.
Luis Argüello, archbishop of Valladolid and general secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. Photo credit: CEE
The archbishop of Valladolid stressed the opportunity to encourage the work of the commission at a time when phenomena such as historical revisionism by the cancel culture as well as indigenism among the peoples of the Americas seeking to recover their identity are clouding the reputation of the queen.
The archbishop of Granada, José María Gil Tamayo, has also advocated for the prompt official recognition of the sanctity of the Catholic queen, whose remains rest in his cathedral.
“The queen went out of her way for the poor,” he noted, “for the poor here, with her style and tenor of life, of sobriety. And, at the same time, with the Indians on the islands” and the continents. “She went out of her way to defend their rights. Charity was always present in this woman,” the prelate explained.
Gil, who referred to Isabella of Castile as “this holy woman,” predicted that “history will also value all the consequences of her government,” and from a Christian point of view, “the great evangelizing feat in the history of the Church” — announcing Christ to the native peoples of the Americas.
“Without this woman, it would not have been possible,” the archbishop of Granada stressed.
The Rooted in Christ and in Society Association also maintains a campaign for the faithful to declare their devotion to Isabella of Castile, whom they consider an example of a woman, wife, and mother who was also involved in the affairs of state.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.