San José (Costa Rica). On 7 July 2022 we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the birth into heaven of Blessed Sister Maria Romero Meneses (1977-2022), Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of Central America, a sign of God’s mercy, especially among the poorest.
Born in Granada, Nicaragua on 13 January 1902, on 6 January 1923 she made her first profession in the FMA Institute. In 1931, she was sent to San José of Costa Rica, which became her second home. Here she spent herself for “poor and abandoned children” for 46 years with tireless charity, setting up thirty-six festive oratories, social works, homes for homeless families, and a clinic for medical assistance to the poor. Beatified in Rome on 14 April 2002 by Saint John Paul II, Sister Maria Romero is the first woman Blessed of Central America.
Casa Maria Ausiliatrice “Sister Maria Romero Social Works,” was founded by her in San José in Costa Rica, in the Province of Our Lady of the Angels of South-Central America (CAR). The work continues for the poorest, offering them in addition to concrete help, Salesian hope and optimism. Numerous pilgrims come to honor the Blessed at the Mausoleum where her remains rest, and which was renovated in 2020.
Sister Maria was the instrument that God used to make love and mercy visible, especially towards the poorest and the neediest. The ‘fantasy of charity’ spread through her with such creativity that it overflowed into great works, initiatives, words, concrete gestures, all under the sign of the obedience, poverty, and chastity she had professed. The Blessed had a jovial and playful character. She was able to grasp the positive side of people and events and she knew how to involve others in goodness and charity.
When the pupils talked to Sister Maria about the slums, about the poverty in which the people in that neighborhood lived and the abuses to which they were subjected, she exclaimed, “Girls, do we want to remain motionless, contenting ourselves with sighing in pain and disapproval up to heaven? No, we don’t talk about it! Let’s get to work; we will work for the good. We will certainly pray. We too must go to the homes of the poor, not to speak of hatred and revenge, but of Christian charity, of benevolence towards all. We will go in Mission and you will be little missionaries.”
On 25 December 1939, two by two the young women had their first experience in different peripheries or outskirts. Later, they thought of the Catechism and, with the permission of the parish priests, they went to the Curia to the Archbishop, Msgr. Victor Manuel Sanabria who, after listening to them, sent them to proclaim the Word. Thus, the festive oratories were born which became 36 and, like Don Bosco, Sister Maria tried by every means to attract children and young people to the Oratory.
All the works she founded were, according to the motto of the Salesian Congregation Da mihi animas cetera tolle, moved by the desire to save souls and distance them from sin. This is the reason why she opened the School. She felt great sorrow regarding the dangers to which the girls were exposed in the inevitable daily round trips.
If she gave alms, food, and basic necessities, she always did it with the same goal: to pass from the material to the spiritual and thus reach the souls. Urged by her compassionate heart, and at the sight of such great need, in 1973 she founded the Ciudadela de Maria Auxiliadora – the Little City of Mary Help of Christians – with the first seven small decent houses for the poor.
The impetus she always had in giving herself to others, especially to the poor and the needy, came from above, from her great love for her “King and Queen”, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Mary Help of Christians. Her sure source was the Holy Scriptures, in particular the Gospels. “I spend pleasant and precious moments, savoring this inexhaustible source.”
Blessed Maria Romero often said: “Spend your time in the service of God and for the good of souls! Can there be a more profitable occupation for such a short life as this one?”
To celebrate Blessed Sister Maria Romero, the FMA of the House of Mary Help of Christians animate various initiatives, including the Novena, with the procession from the House to the parish church on the 1st day and other devotions started by Sister Maria Romero and continued by tradition. To live the Triduum, three videos were made with insights into the stages of the life and works of the Blessed, available on the YouTube Channel: Call to life, Call to show the face of God in others, Call to be Helpers among the poorest according to the Salesian Charism.
On 7 July 2022, on the 45th anniversary of the birth into heaven of Blessed Sister Maria Romero, the Eucharistic Celebration will be broadcast on the Facebook page of the Sister Maria Romero Social Works.