Salesian Sister: 1902-1977
+ Maria was born in Granada, Nicaragua, and as a child she showed gifts for music and art, playing both violin and piano. She was educated by the Salesian Sisters.
+ She developed a severe case of rheumatic fever which damaged her heart. Her recovery was considered miraculous and this inspired her to consider religious life. She joined the Salesian Sisters in 1920.
+ In 1931, she traveled to San José, Costa Rica, serving as a music and art teacher. She was loved by her students and began to develop a special outreach to the poor and abandoned children.
+ Sister Maria established recreation centers for the poor, food pantries, a school for poor girls, and a clinic. In the early 1970s she organized the construction of seven homes which formed the nucleus of the village of Centro San José, a place where the poor could find decent housing.
+ Maria Romero Meneses died of a heart attack on July 7, 1977. She was buried in the Salesian Sisters chapel in San José and was subsequently beatified in 2002. She has come to be known as the “Social Apostle of Costa Rica.”
The Salesian Sisters, the community to which Blessed Maria belonged, was founded by Saint John Bosco and Saint Mary Mazzarello. Their proper name is “Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians,” although they were given the title “Salesian” by Saint John Bosco in honor of Saint Francis de Sales, because their founder wanted them to imitate the kind and gentle ways of the saint. Today more than 13,000 Salesian Sisters minister in 94 countries.
“With a passionate love for God and an unlimited confidence in the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sr María Romero was an exemplary religious, apostle and mother of the poor people, who were her real favorites.”—Pope Saint John Paul II
O God, who raised up blessed Maria in your Church to show others the way of salvation, grant us, by her example, so to follow Christ the master, that we may come with our neighbor into your presence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Educators)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.