Friday, June 13, 2008

Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá, Prince of the Pampas

The Argentinian producer San Jose has produced a documentary on the life of the first Blessed of the native tribe Mapuche- a lay Salesian, Ceferino Namuncurá, beatified in Argentina in 2007.

The young man is known as "Prince of the Pampas", and so the DVD is entitled, "Ceferino Namuncurá, Prince of the Pampas."

Ceferino Namuncurá was born on August 26, 1886 in Chimpay, in the Black Rio province of Argentina. His father was chief of the area until Ceferino reached the age of 11, and he grew up as a traditional Mapuche. He moved to Buenos Aires to study in 1904 and then went to Frascati, Italy, where he was received by Pope Pius X in Rome that same year. Since childhood, he was afflicted with tuberculosus until the end of his life, and his illness prevented him from beginning the necessary training with the Salesians to become a priest as he wanted. He died in Rome in 1905, before reaching 19 years of age, at the hospital "Fatebene Fratelli." He is buried in Fort Mercedes, Argentina.

"Blessed Ceferino is the first Argentinian born, yet the third native Indian of the continent, to be beatified." Each year on his birthday hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to Chimpay to pray, asking his intercession for good health, and offering thanks.

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