BLESSED MARÍA ROMERO MENESES (1902-1977) — born in Granada, Nicaragua, as a child María showed gifts for music and art, playing both violin and piano.
Educated by the Salesian Sisters, she developed a severe case of rheumatic fever which damaged her heart. Her recovery was considered miraculous and this inspired her to consider religious life, joining the Salesian Sisters in 1920.
In 1931, María traveled to San José, Costa Rica, where she served as a music and art teacher. She was loved by her students and began to develop a special outreach to the poor and abandoned children.
María established recreation centers for the poor, food pantries, a school for poor girls, and a clinic. In the early 1970s she organized the construction of seven homes which formed the nucleus of Centro San José, a place where the poor could find decent housing.
María Romero Meneses died in 1977. She was buried in the Salesian Sisters chapel in San José and was subsequently beatified in 2002. She has come to be known as the “Social Apostle of Costa Rica.”