The eldest of the Mirabal sisters, Patria shows loving devotion to others and to God. She is dutiful and displays maternal tendencies from an extremely early age, even removing her own diaper to put on baby Dedé so that her cries will not disturb their mother. Over the course of the novel, she repeatedly seeks to reconcile her strong feelings of faith with her equally powerful human needs for meaning and fulfillment. From birth, Patria feels both an innate connection to God and love for the world and all living things. Alvarez compares young Patria to the shoot of a plant growing automatically towards the light, emphasizing the natural quality of these aspects of her character. Although Patria sometimes struggles to bring her spiritual and worldly desires into harmony, her faith and maternal devotion to the care of her family and others remain the twin driving forces of her actions. 

Patria undergoes several crises related to the tension between the spiritual and the worldly. Alvarez uses these crises to build a special association between her and the Virgin Mary. After Sor Asunción instructs Patria to listen to learn if God is calling her to become a nun, she undergoes a sexual awakening that she initially sees as conflicting with her spiritual desires. However, she finds a resolution when she meets Pedrito while washing his feet. This Christian ritual symbolizes humility and selfless love, which allows Patria to compare him to Christ. Later in the novel, she loses her faith when she delivers her stillborn child, but she regains her connection to the Virgin Mary during a pilgrimage to Higüey. On a later retreat, she sees a freedom fighter killed by government bombs and has an epiphany that he and all the people threatened by Trujillo are her metaphorical children. The maternal responsibility she feels to protect them mirrors the extension of the Virgin Mary’s role from the mother of Christ to the symbolic mother of all humanity. Although Patria has previously held back from joining Minerva and Mate in the resistance out of fear for the safety of her personal family, that epiphany gives her the courage to become Mariposa #3.