Blessed Maria Romero Meneses is a saint of the new millennium. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Maria was born in Granada, Nicaragua, in 1902 to a wealthy family, her father being a government minister. At the age of 12, she became extremely sick and was paralysed for six months with rheumatic fever. She was cured through the intercession and apparition of Our Lady Help of Christians, during which she discovered her vocation to be a Salesian sister.
She entered the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters) and made her final profession in 1929. Two years later, she was transferred to San Jose, Costa Rica. She taught music, drawing, and typing to rich girls. She also trained catechists and taught the poor. She inspired many of her students to join her in her work with the poor, and was known for helping people to come to know God in a personal way.
More and more, her ministry became focused on social development, helping the rich to see how they could help the poor. She set up recreational centers in 1945, food distribution centers in 1953, a school for poor girls in 1961, and a clinic in 1966. In 1973, she organized the construction of seven homes, which became the foundation of the village of Centro San Jose, a community where poor families could have decent homes.
She died of a heart attack in 1977 in Nicaragua.