Blessed Maria Romero Meneses is considered a social reformer who brought about a “revolution of charity” in Costa Rica. When Maria was 12 years old, she became ill with rheumatic fever. She was paralyzed for almost six months, and it took her almost a year to regain her health.
She prayed to Our Lady, Help of Christians. Doctors said that her heart was damaged, but she told a friend, “I know the Blessed Virgin will cure me.” Within a few days, Maria had fully recovered and returned to school.
Assigned a spiritual advisor to help her sort through the mystical experiences she was having, Maria realized that a religious calling was for her. Naturally, she became a member of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. Her time as a novitiate was spent in El Salvador. She made her final vows in 1929 in Nicaragua. She had written that she was going to live a spiritual life modeled after St. John Bosco.
In 1931 she was sent to Costa Rica where she worked in poor neighborhoods teaching the faith and life-skills to the people to help them get jobs. She organized food distribution centers, recreation centers, schools for the poor and medical clinics. She even started the Centro San Jose, a development of homes for poor people.
Maria Romero Meneses died from heart failure on July 7, 1977. She was beatified by St. John Paul II on April 14, 2002.