+ Maria and her twin brother, Max, were born in Erdbrostenhof Palace in Münster, Germany, into a wealthy and distinguished family that had proven his faithfulness during the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Kulturkampf.
+An intelligent and lively child, she was educated by the Sacré-Coeur Sisters in Riedensburg, Bavaria. It was during her time in school that she developed a special devotion to the Heart of Christ. During a mystical experience in 1883, she came to understand that she was dedicate herself to the Sacred Heart as a religious sister.
+ After an encountered with a young woman in a hospital in Darfield, she discerned that she was called to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a community that showed special care for unwed mothers and young women in who were victims of trafficking and exploitation. She entered the community on November 21, 1888 and received the religious name Sister Maria of the Divine Heart.
+ In her spirituality, she always brought together devotion to the Heart of Jesus with devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, but her spirituality was always manifest in the care she showed for the girls entrusted to her care, reflecting that “the most needy, the most miserable, the most forsaken are the children I love best.”
+ In 1894, she was sent to the community’s foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, before being name superior of the mission in Porto only a few months later.
+ Inspired by another mystical experience, Sister Maria of the Divine Heart urged Pope Leo XIII to consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although she was initially ignored, she expanded her petition to include the practice of devoting the first Friday of each month to the Sacred Heart. Ultimately, the pope accepted her proposal and in 1899, in the encyclical Annum sacrum, he decreed that the consecration would take place on June 11 of that year.
+ Blessed Maria “of the Sacred Heart” Droste zu Vischering died on June 8, 1899, the vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart and three days before the consecration was to take place. She was beatified in 1975 by Pope Saint Paul VI.
For prayer and reflection
“My only burning desire was to belong to my beloved saviour; it seemed to me that he was inviting me, and all the words related to this subject seemed to be spoken to me.”—Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering
O God, who called blessed Maria of the Divine Heart to seek your Kingdom in this world through the pursuit of perfect charity, grant, we pray, through her intercession that we may advance with joyful spirit along the way of love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.