A Smile… and miracles blossom

Rome (Italy) Immagine correlata a A Smile… and miracles blossom

Rome (Italy). On July 7th we celebrate the memory of Blessed Maria Romero Meneses, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians born in Nicaragua in 1902 and lived in San Josè di Costa Rica until 1977.

“Jesus approached them and walked with them” (Luke 24: 15). Like the disciples of Emmaus, Blessed Maria Romero knew how to recognize the living presence of the Lord in the Church and, overcoming difficulties and fears, she was an enthusiastic and courageous witness before the world.

Sr. Maria was a volcanic soul, just like her country of birth, Nicaragua, the land of forty volcanoes. She was born into a well-off, established family (her father was also the Finance Minister) who gave herself entirely to the poorest of the poor, with total trust in Providence. Growing up in a Christian family, from her childhood she felt herself an apostle among her peers. However, it was in Costa Rica that Maria discovered in a decisive and upsetting way, the true condition of the poor and she decided to dedicate herself to them without reserve.

With evangelical and ecclesial sensitivity, she won over her young students to her apostolic anxiety. They became ‘missionaries’ in the villages surrounding the Capital, among the abandoned children and the disinherited families. Even adults, wealthy entrepreneurs and renowned professionals, were conquered by her devotion to Mary from whom she received extraordinary graces. Thus, they were drawn to actively collaborate in the initiatives of assistance that Sr. Maria, under the action of the Holy Spirit, planned with the daring of a most authentic faith in Providence.

For her poor ones, Sr. Maria first obtained gratuitous medical visits, thanks to the volunteer work of specialized doctors; and then, with the collaboration of industrialists of the place, she began courses for the professional preparation of girls and women. In a short time, she gave life to an outpatient clinic with various specialties to provide medical and pharmaceutical assistance for many persons and families without any health insurance. Alongside this, she prepared adequate facilities for patients, sometimes entire families, in addition to rooms for catechesis and literacy in the waiting area; then a Chapel, a garden, and even a veranda with canaries.

For homeless families, often reduced to a precarious life under the bridges on the outskirts, she had ‘real’, comfortable houses built with the colors of a very small garden so as to rehabilitate bitter souls, restore dignity to lives brutalized by abandonment, opening hearts to horizons of truth, hope, and a new capacity for social insertion. Thus arose the ‘Cities of Mary Help of Christians’: a work that still continues today thanks to the interest of her collaborators through the lay Association of Assistance (Asociación Ayuda a los Necesitados).

Among her many works and her special activity as spiritual counselor (each day she spent hours and hours in challenging private colloquies, the so-called consultations), she found time for an intense mystical life that was the source of Sr. Maria’s apostolate. From her initiative were born many oratories, the Little House of the Virgin, always open for the material and spiritual needs of the marginalized, the Social Work of Mary Help of Christians, the Citadel, and the l’Asociación Ayuda Necesitados...

The life of Sr. Maria was also characterized by prayer, obedience, prodigies (like the Madonna’s water, an amphora filled with many small medals of Mary for her poor who certainly could not go to Lourdes!), and by a strong love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

Her ideal was to “love Jesus deeply, ‘Her King’, and to spread His devotion alongside that of His divine Mother. Her most intimate joy was the possibility of bringing children, the poor, the suffering, and the marginalized to the truth of the Gospel. The greatest recompense for her sacrifices was seeing a ‘lost life’ restored to peace and faith”.

She made herself ‘all to all’ and forgot herself to win more new friends for her Jesus. She spent herself to the end of her days, the first of which she had decided to take a little rest.

The Government of Costa Rica declared her an honorary citizen of the Nation. Her body is found at San Josè of Costa Rica, near the grand work she founded, The House of the Virgin and Social Work. John Paul II beatified her on April 14, 2002.

She is the first woman of Central America to be Beatified. Liturgically, she is remembered on July 7, the day of her birth into Heaven.

As we admire her examples of holiness, let us try to follow her footsteps to be in our turn, courageous witnesses of the Gospel.

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