Blessed Maria Droste

Maria Droste

A journey of faith and sacrifice

Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering was born on September 8, 1863, in Münster, Germany. She was the daughter of devout Catholics Count Clemens Droste zu Vischering and of Countess Helen von Galen.

As a child, Bl. Maria had a strong will but with a very sensitive heart and great empathy for others. She developed an exceptional generosity and singleness of purpose. On July 8, 1875, the day of her sacrament of confirmation, she became conscious of a call to an apostolic religious life.

On November 21, 1888, age 25, she joined the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Münster and was given the name Mary of the Divine Heart.

In 1891, she devoted herself to the girls under their care in Münster. With an ardent love for ministering to youth, she maintained: “the most needy, the most miserable, the most forsaken are the children I love most.”

Three years later, she was sent on mission to Portugal and appointed community leader at the convent in Oporto. She exercised a wide apostolate of services to persons from all walks of life—rich and poor, clergy and lay people. Bl. Maria was an active, capable, joyful religious, yet unknown to those with whom she lived, she experienced an intense union with God that was mystical in nature. Towards the end of her short life, she had a profound experience where Christ made known to her that he wanted the entire universe consecrated to His Heart and that she was to request this of the pope.

She persevered in doing just this, which moved Pope Leo XIII to request an investigation. The consecration was announced through the encyclical “Annum Sacrum.” The preparation of this act would be preceded by a worldwide triduum which Pope Leo XIII termed, “the greatest of my pontificate.”

Throughout her life, Bl. Maria was never strong physically.  It was during this time that her health had so deteriorated that for many months she had been almost unable to move, suffering excruciating pains from a spinal disease. She said to her confessor: “My mission on earth will be completed as soon as the consecration is accomplished.” 

She died on June 8, 1899, sadly the day before the Feast of the Sacred Heart. On, June 11, 1899, the pope solemnly consecrated the universe to the Heart of Jesus. Pope Leo XIII told her father a year later on May 7, 1900: “I call on her. I call on her in all circumstances.”

Blessed Maria Droste was beatified by Pope Paul VI on November 1, 1975.

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