Maria Romero Meneses (1902-1977) is known as Central Americaâ€™s first official saint for her humanitarian work and miracles. At the age of 12, she suffered from a form of rheumatic fever which left her paralyzed for six months. She attributed her full recovery to the intercession and apparition of Our Lady Help of Christians. After her recovery, MarÃa decided her calling was to be a Salesian sister.
The Granada native was sent to San Jose in 1931 and dedicated her life to helping the poor of Costa Rica. She taught, created food distribution centers and opened both a medical clinic and a school for poor girls. An excellent fundraiser, who was able to unite wealthy patrons with poor causes, MarÃa was able to organize the construction of new homes for poverty stricken families. The village of Centro San JosÃ©, where the first seven such buildings were constructed, eventually expanded to include a market, school, job training center and church.
MarÃa died in 1977 at a Salesian house in LeÃ³n and was buried in a chapel in San JosÃ©. Pope John Paul II authorized her beatification on April 14, 2002. Her canonization is still pending. She has been called both the female John Bosco and the Social Apostle of Costa Rica.
The colonial house where MarÃa was born is now a small museum and sanctuary dedicated to her. The building is located one block south east of Xalteva church and Parque Xalteva. The room where she was born has been converted into a chapel and Mass is held there twice a week. In an adjacent room are family pictures, quotations, original writings and other objects of the famous Nicaraguan nun. There is also a small shop that sells religious objects, and souvenirs. Note that all the information is in Spanish.
On Calle Estrada, you'll also be able to find a tiny chapel dedicated to MarÃa, with more information about her life and work.
Historical Building Types: