July 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 12

Saint Of The Month

Blessed Maria Romero Meneses

Photo of the Blessed Maria Romero Meneses

Maria Romero Menses was born on January 13, 1902 in Granada to a rich bourgeois family. Her father was a high-ranking state official. For some time he was even a minister in the liberal government, and he remained a deeply religious man who was always sensitive to the problems of poor people. Maria had a great talent for music and visual arts. She studied at a school run by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians - a female branch of the Salesians. After completing her education, she joined the congregation and became a nun in 1923. In 1931 she was sent to Costa Rica to organize educational centers run by the order. She started her work in very modest conditions.

Soon she won the trust of her students and later also of their wealthy parents. This allowed her to develop many more projects helping the country's poorest residents.

She organized medical and educational volunteer services providing the poorest residents of San Jose and local villages with free advice from the best specialists. She noted the problem of homelessness and initiated construction of houses for homeless families. Her activities won her great popularity. In 1968 the American Women's Association awarded her title of Woman of the Year and in 1976 the Rotary Club of Costa Rica granted her a gold medal. She worked until the day she died, July 7, 1977.

She died on the first day of a vacation ordered by her superiors. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 14, 2002.

God, You extend Your special love to the poorest and the suffering,
let the example of Blessed Maria Romero Menses encourage us to be ready
to help every man in need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives