Rome (Italy). On 25 August 2021, we celebrate the dies natalis of Blessed Maria Troncatti. Born in 1883 in Corteno Golgi (Brescia), in 1908 she became a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. In 1922, the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Caterina Daghero, assigned her to Ecuador to undertake the evangelizing mission among the indigenous people. With two sisters, she entered the Amazon jungle in 1925 and settled in Macas. There for 44 years, with motherly care she shared the path of holiness with the Shuar population, who with affection and gratitude called her “Madrecita buena” (good Little Mother).
Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni, Salesian of Don Bosco, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Congregation and of the Salesian Family, portrays the maternal virtues of Sr. Maria Troncatti:
“In the Equatorial jungle, she proclaims and testifies to everyone the love of the Father. She is the “Madrecita“, always prompt to go out to meet not only the sick, but all those who need help and hope. From the simple and poor clinic, she founds a real hospital and prepares the nurses herself.
She is a ‘doctor’ for the body and the spirit. While she treats or distributes medicines, she advises and evangelizes. With maternal patience she listens, she fosters communion among the people, and educates indigene and settlers to forgive. “A glance at the Crucifix gives me life and courage to work“, this is the certainty of faith that sustains her life. In every activity, sacrifice or danger, she feels supported by the maternal presence of Mary Help of Christians ” (P. Cameroni – Like stars in the sky, p.170).
Fr. Giovanni Vigna, SDB missionary, leaves this testimony about Sr. Maria:
“With what exquisite motherhood she conquers hearts! She finds a solution for every problem which, in the light of the facts, is always the best. … I saw her treat human nature under all its aspects, even the most miserable. Well, she treated them with the kindness that was spontaneous and natural in her.”
Sr. Maria Troncatti’s ability to take care of people with the heart of a mother comes from a love that knows how to come close, to the point of sharing everything with the poorest, as the Mother General of the FMA Institute stressed on 25 August 2019, in her Message on the occasion of the 50th of her death:
“We can say that she is a frontier woman, a prophetic Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, who lived the requirements of inculturation with the sensitivity and intuition of the Saints, because enculturating oneself is a matter of love and those who love know how to understand, adapt, be close to. This is Sr. Maria Troncatti, a great missionary because she is capable of loving and being in solidarity with the poorest, with those suffering in body and spirit, with the young indigenous generations, not with words, but with the language of the heart, with gestures of delicate humanity, a wonderful ‘way’ to evangelize and educate effectively.”
The service and commitment of evangelization lived moment by moment with tireless dedication and profound humanity among the Shuar, are for Sr. Maria Troncatti what the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate, On the call in the world to Holiness calls “little steps on the path of sanctification” (GE 31).
Dying in a plane crash in Sucúa on 25 August 1969, she was remembered in the “Prayer of the Martyrs of the Way – Life for life, Life for the Kingdom, Life for the Amazon” at the Pan-Amazon Synod “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology” in October 2019, because she was able to offer her life for peace between the settlers and the Shuar.
On 8 November 2008, she was declared Venerable and on 24 November 2012, Blessed. Her remains rest in Macas (Ecuador).