At age 25 she joined the congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, in Munster and was given the name, Sr. Mary of the Divine Heart.
Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering was born on September 8, 1863 in Munster, Germany. She was the daughter of Count Clemen Droste zu Vischering and of Countess Helen von Galen. Her family was characterized by heroic loyalty to the Church.
As a child, Maria had a strong will and was inclined to emotional explosions, but she also had a very sensitive heart and a deep feeling for others. She developed an exceptional generosity and singleness of purpose. On the day of her Confirmation, July 8, 1875, she became conscious of a call to an apostolic religious life.
At age 25, having ministered to a poor girl whom society rejected she joined the congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, in Munster. She was given the name, Sr. Mary of the Divine Heart.
In 1891, she devoted herself to the girls sent to the Good Shepherd Sisters in Munster for rehabilitation and care. With an ardent love for youth ministry, she maintains: “the most needy, the most miserable, the most forsaken are the children I love best.”
In 1894, at the age of 31, she was transferred to Portugal and appointed superior of Oporto. She exercised a wide apostolate of services to persons from all walks of life—rich and poor, clergy and laity. Sr. Mary of the Divine Heart, was an active, capable, joyful religious, yet unknown to those with whom she lived, she experienced intense mystical union with God. Towards the end of her short life, Our Lord made known to her that He wanted the entire universe consecrated to His Heart, and that she was to request this of the Pope. This she did.
Pope Leo XIII was moved and requested an investigation. Subsequently, he announced the consecration by means of the encyclical “Annum Sacrum.” The preparation of this act would be preceded by a world-wide triduum which Leo XIII termed, “the greatest of my pontificate.”
Sister Maria observed the triduum in heaven. She was never strong physically: her health had so deteriorated that for many months she had been an invalid, 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, the day before the feast of the Sacred Heart. On, June 11, 1899, the Pope solemnly consecrated the universe to the Heart of Christ. Leo XIII told her father, a year later on May 7, 1900: “I call on her. I call on her in all circumstances.”
Sister Maria was beatified by Pope Paul VI on November 1, 1975.
Due to the requests and support of the people of Portugal, the Good Shepherd Congregation, through Sr. Brigid Lawlor, and in consultation with the Good Shepherd Sisters worldwide, decided in 2012 to pursue the Process of Canonization of Blessed Maria Droste.
Join us in praying for her canonization.