Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

Blessed Maria Droste: A Woman with A Mother’s Heart

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By Silvia Rocha, Partner-in-Mission, Portugal (South Europe Region)

On June 8, 2024 – the Feast of Blessed Maria of the Divine Heart – the chapel at the house in Paranhos, Porto, Portugal, where she lived and died was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The event took place on the momentous occasion of the 125th anniversary of her death and in commemoration of the Consecration of the World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which took place on June 11, 1899.

In preparation for the event, the Maria Droste Spirituality Center organized a retreat, a nine-day prayer novena, and a three-day triduum – the last of which was broadcast live on the province’s vocation ministry YouTube channel, which you can access here.

On the second day of the triduum, a lively round table event was held entitled “Sister Maria’s mission in the Diocese of Porto, from a female perspective”.

At this event, Sr Filomena Reis gave a talk on the “Charism and Spirituality of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and the Mission of Sister Maria”. Among many aspects discussed, Sr Filomena spoke about Blessed Maria’s role as an educator, which – as a woman with a mother’s heart – she courageously developed, rescuing as many children and young people as possible from situations of misery to provide them safe shelter and adequate education.

The second speaker at the event was Sr Fátima Pires, who presented on “Sister Maria’s leadership style”. At the beginning of her presentation, she recounted the words of Blessed Maria who, when appointed as leader of the community in a building almost in a state of ruin, said: “I love being a woman, to show the Portuguese what a woman is capable of!”.

By referencing the characteristics that made up Blessed Maria’s strong personality, Sr Fátima traced her psychological profile. Her curiosity, stubbornness, generosity, responsibility, creativity, availability, and courage, combined with her great faith in God, empowered her to overcome the challenges posed by living in such a house – the place where she lived and worked until her final breath.

Other talks that evening included topics on “The Marian dimension in the vocation and consecration of Sister Maria” by Silvia Rocha and “The different dimensions of Sister Maria’s artistic sensibility” by Susana Catarina – who also entertained participants through a beautiful musical repertoire featuring a vocal quartet and an organist.

During the ceremony mass on the feast day itself, presiding Bishop Manuel Linda consecrated the chapel’s altar, placing within it a fragment of bone from Blessed Maria Droste’s right foot.

The dedication of this chapel reinforces the mission that Blessed Maria began in the house, namely, the spread of the merciful love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which welcomes, forgives, and uplifts all those who turn to him.

It also strengthens it as a place of pilgrimage for the young in Porto who have such devotion to Blessed Maria Droste that they elected her as their patron for World Youth Day in Lisbon in 2023.

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