Catholics in Ecuador are preparing to mark the upcoming beatification of Sister Maria Troncatti, an Italian missionary who helped evangelize the country in the early 20th century.
On Nov. 24 in the city of Macas, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, will preside at the beatification of Sister Maria, who was a member of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
The Salesian superiors of Latin America, as well as other members of the order, will also attend the ceremony.
Sister Maria Troncatti spent many years of her life ministering to the natives in the eastern region of Ecuador. The cities of Macas, Mendez and Sucua were all evangelized by the Salesian order since the time of their founding.
The sister was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1883. During World War I she worked as a nurse for the Red Cross in a military hospital. In 1922 she left her country for Ecuador, never to return, to work with the Shuar tribe in the Amazon forest.
On the eve of her 85th birthday, she wrote a letter to her nieces and nephews back in her native country.
“You tell me that you are always hoping to see me return to Italy. At my age it is impossible and not the fault of my Superiors. They have told me many times that they would let me come to see my family if I wanted to.”
“I never accepted,” she wrote, “first because my place is here, but also because, when the day to leave arrived, the detachment from my parents, Superiors, country, language, from everything cost me dearly. When I boarded the boat, I said goodbye forever. We will see each other once again in Heaven.”
Sister Maria Troncatti died in an accident in the city of Sucua on Aug. 25, 1969, when the plane carrying her to Quito crashed. She was declared Venerable on Nov. 8, 2008.